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JimD

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Future Governmental Structures
« on: August 12, 2013, 04:09:33 AM »
This topic is to discuss what types of government (if any) are going to proliferate as collapse approaches and overtakes us.  I believe that answers will vary depending on current wealth, power, geographic location, religion, culture, climate change, Peak Oil, famine, current political structures (you can't get everywhere from here), past political structures (you can sometimes go back to what you used to do), population levels, how armed the populace is compared to the current government, what you have that others want, etc.  Speculate to your hearts content.

One restriction if you don't mind.  Off limits will be ideological arguments for or against any specific type of government.  They all suck in one way or another and arguing about their finer points or lack thereof is not relevant to what ends up being implemented in the future (unless of course you get to be the dictator, but then you don't have to argue anyway). 

A not so short primer follows on types of government so that we all are working from a version of the same sheet of music.  It is as confusing as hell to be honest. A Wiki link I plagiarized from.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government

Definition:  A government is the system by which a nation, state, county, community, tribe or corporation executes its laws/policies and creates new laws/policies.

Identifying what type of government one of the above entities uses seems trivial at first (for example most Americans think we have a democratic government because that is what they are taught as children), but when you examine how the government is structured and functions you get a very different answer (the US is technically a Federal Republic but arguably functions as a Plutocracy which was, of course, the intention of the country's Founders in 1786... I think).

Terminology issues need to be kept in mind.  We have posters here from all over the world and the words liberal, conservative, socialist, republican, etc. don't mean the same thing in the US as they do in many other places.    For example in many places in the world the word "Liberal" when associated with a political party means the opposite of what it does in the US.  In other words the Liberal party is the 'conservative' party outside the US (if that makes any sense).  We will probably confuse each other a lot.

Forms of government are categorized by 1) who holds decision making power, 2) who elects or puts those decision makers in those positions of power, and 3) how power distribution is structured.  Overlying the above are socio-economic and political system attributes (i.e. the damn commies and ugly capitalists... or is it the other way around).

1 Who holds decision making power is broken down into aristarchic, autocratic, monarchic or pejorative attributes.  There are 6 kinds of aristarchic structures (aristocracy, meritocracy and technocracy among them); 4 kinds of autocratic structures (autocracy, despotism, fascism & dictatorship); 7 kinds of monarchic structures (various kinds of monarchies and emirates); and 7 kinds of pejorative structures (bankocracy, kleptocracy, corporatocracy among them).

2 Who puts the decision makers in power is broken down into authoritarian, democratic, oligarchic, and a libertarian/other categories.  There are 2 authoritarian structures (authoritarian and totalitarian); 7 kinds of democratic structures (demarchy, democracy, direct democracy, liberal democracy, social democracy, totalitarian democracy, representative democracy); 7 kinds of oligarchic structures (theocracy, plutocracy, oligarchy, stratocracy among them); 7 kinds of the libertarian/other structures (anarchy/libertarian, Maoism, banana republic among them).  NOTE:  My bias shows here as I am one of those that argues that libertarians are just the conservative (in the US sense) wing of the anarchist political movement.  In other words libertarians are anarcho-capitalists and anarchists (in the US sense) are most commonly anarcho-syndicalists or anarcho-communists). YMMV.

3 Power distribution is broken down into Republican, Federalism and miscellaneous attributes.  There are 7 kinds of Republican structures (Republic, Federal Republic, Socialist Republic, Islamic Republic, Parliamentary Republic, etc); 3 kinds of Federalism structures (Federalism, Federal Monarchy, Federal Republic); and there are 9 kinds of miscellaneous structures (Presidential, Parliamentary, Anarchy, Chiefdom, Bureaucracy, etc).

The structures which overlay 1,2 & 3 above are the socio-economic and political system attributes.  Socio-economic systems are broken down into 5 types (Capitalism, Communism, Feudalism, Socialism, Welfare State); and political system is broken down into 4 types (Elitism, Polyarchy, Centrist, Personalist).

If you think the above is complicated it is only scratching the surface.  But it is fair to say that almost every combination of the above pieces which are not incompatible with each other have been or are currently being used to govern people.  I don't think there has ever been a working Direct Democracy, a Corporate Republic; or an established Anarchist/Libertarian State (though if Franco's side had lost the Spanish civil war we would have had one).  I do think that Corporate Republics have a good chance of being tried however.  Direct Democracy not so much.  Note that many words used in discussions like this are not used exactly the same way as in general casual conversation (at least in the US) so don't be shy about looking things up in those Wiki pages.

One can review all the above and lots more by visiting the following Wiki page and all the links it leads to (all of it would take hours).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government

I think that is enough structure to get us started (maybe way too much), but if anyone has corrections (I am no expert in this and may have messed some of it up) to the above or thinks more needs to be added feel free. 

Now I have to start working on a post of what kind of governments I think are going to show up in various places.  So much to do, so little time.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 04:46:45 AM »
This topic is to discuss what types of government (if any) are going to proliferate as collapse approaches and overtakes us.

I'm glad you started this topic, I'd made a note to start it otherwise when I had some time. Only one question though - are you principally focusing on the near future - the pathway into collapse and short term arrangements henceforth (for the duration of collapse), in terms of the expectations for most of the world?

Or is it a discussion in which we can cover possible forms of government suited to the long term future of mankind (where I have much stronger interests personally, and which relates to the much longer term future)? I can start another if appropriate.

As to what I expect to happen in the nearer future - I foresee two main pathways, both ending in a similar place. The destination for most of the planet in terms of governance that I foresee is feudal style warlords fighting over small enclaves where survivors and resources to sustain them persist. How far society regresses will depend a lot upon ultimate carrying capacity and the resulting technological base - ie the furthest I anticipate is to regress to the point of nomadic tribes and the least regression I foresee is to the point of subsistence based small kingdoms limited in size by devolved communications and lost social structure (warlords have to grow from small beginnings usually).

Some countries I think will disintegrate into that state almost directly, perhaps with a period of increasing civil unrest and perhaps even civil wars in the interim.

Other countries will first successfully enforce absolute police states on their populaces and maintain coherence at the cost of humanity for quite a bit longer, before ultimate disintegration. They may start wars with each other to maintain political control and to do things they wouldn't usually get away with using this as a pretext. The majority of violence in these nations will be one sided, by government against populace - rather than conflict between more evenly balanced groups.

I believe both of these pathways are already being trod by some nations. That is perhaps part of the normal cycle of governance throughout human history in one sense - but I think it is growing and nations are going to predominantly move into those systems in the sense that the modern world is going to implode (large nations and the social technologies used to govern them currently will become obsolete).

In both branches we will see a rise in nationalism (or tribalism where the nation disintegrated), increasing hostility towards outsiders and "others", and discrimination against vulnerable groups of people who are easy to scapegoat and incapable of effective resistance. This will remain a major element for as long as humans are pressuring carrying capacity, only alleviating once the population has "overshot" and resources are once again relatively plentiful in relation to the resultant population.

People always seek to assign blame, and people typically look to tribal structures.

For violent psychopaths I foresee a future littered with opportunity, for enlightened wise rulers - not so much - the planning and thinking of people and tribes will become ever more short term and brutally pragmatic as the immediacy and severity of the problems they face intensifies.

It is unlikely that historically vulnerable and marginalised groups will fare well - women, the elderly who do not possess a relevant skill (that is, most of them in this instance), outsiders and children.

Laurent

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 09:55:10 AM »
Personally I don't want to know what kind of dictatur will control me but what do I want and more important what type of government can solve the climate problem.
The problem does begin with the constitution, if you let the politics, aristocrats, religious or any corporate mind write it, we should not expect much of it. It has to be written (and change) by a pool of people drawn among the nation.
All the discussions (and solutions sometimes)  we have on this forum can then be assembled in one constitution.
(There is a new French web site witch aim for that : http://www.vuncf.org/ )
(If you want to know about the guy, check here : http://rim951.fr/?p=2560 (in French sorry))
I do think if the constitution is important, the way you organize your own life is almost as much important, like how to do you own your property, how do you take decisions among the persons around you (The constitution you'll write yourself will reflect what you are doing)...

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2013, 04:51:48 PM »
Personally I don't want to know what kind of dictatur will control me but what do I want and more important what type of government can solve the climate problem.
The problem does begin with the constitution, if you let the politics, aristocrats, religious or any corporate mind write it, we should not expect much of it. It has to be written (and change) by a pool of people drawn among the nation.
All the discussions (and solutions sometimes)  we have on this forum can then be assembled in one constitution.
(There is a new French web site witch aim for that : http://www.vuncf.org/ )
(If you want to know about the guy, check here : http://rim951.fr/?p=2560 (in French sorry))
I do think if the constitution is important, the way you organize your own life is almost as much important, like how to do you own your property, how do you take decisions among the persons around you (The constitution you'll write yourself will reflect what you are doing)...

Or if you should even own property at all in some senses? I want to know - what the f*ck gave anyone the right to pollute the air I breathe, consume the water I need to survive, and claim ownership of virtually the whole productive earth surface - essentially locking me out of any ability to survive without either becoming a criminal or engaging in a socioeconomic game forced upon me by society from birth?

What is land ownership, but the ability of someone through either force or opportunism to be able to say they own something that they just took? That's how it starts.

If you're being pragmatic, I think it's inevitable things will take some very negative steps. There are likely no solutions to climate change per se at this stage in the game - but there are still solutions for the future of our species. The majority of people will continue to behave along usual lines - and thus there is little one can do in all probability about the sorts of governments that will likely become dominant as collapse advances. One might still be able to slip through the cracks though - or if enough people were involved collectively do something different on a bigger scale in a given location (hard to see how people with a different mindset could be geographically concentrated to that degree though).

I like the idea of the US constitution in many respects - but:
1. It's produced America, the nation most directly responsible for so many of these problems
2. It doesn't mean much any more anyway, federal government is choking off most of the rights enshrined within it

With respect to 1, I'm unsure how much mode of governance actually matters in terms of resource usage and environmental attitudes. The British empire seems no better and had a totally different governmental history (monarchy).

What we need - if it's a valid discussion for this thread - is more like the Indian tribes that considered future generations in their decision making progress, and genuinely considered their interest even before they were born. Only in that way can humanity be safeguarded into the future - the moment people in the present take everything to themselves, is the moment people who come later start to get screwed over - and the long term foundations of any human civilisation eroded.

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2013, 05:40:04 PM »
ccg

Speculate in what ever direction your thoughts take you.  I am going in a somewhat different direction but all viewpoints are welcome. 

I just wanted to steer folks away from ideological arguments as they so quickly get very ugly and no one learns anything from them.

I will try and post something here later today.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2013, 07:21:35 PM »
Well given my lifelong tendency of thinking things are much more complicated than they appear at first blush, which is currently being reinforced by another reading of Taleb's Black Swan, I am going to approach this subject from a somewhat granular level.  I will first speculate on what kind of government structures will proliferate in the bottom tier of Third World countries.  I pick them first for two reasons; one, I am a little lazy this week and they are probably the easiest, and two, since collapse dynamics will hit them first I think they are going to be changing first.

Somalia

During the middle ages Somalia was governed by a series of Sultanates (Emirate from our primer).  Rule in these Sunni Muslim Sultanates was by an Emir who held absolute power within the confines of Islamic law.  Rule was hereditary (until the Sultanate was overthrown - rinse and repeat).  The economic system was a version of feudalism.  Enter the colonial powers Britain and Italy in the late 1800's and we start the conversion to colonial control.  The Dervish branch of Islam fights hard and it takes until 1920 before the British have complete control.  Colonial control exists in some form until 1960 when the Somali Democratic Republic is formed.  The SDR structure consisted of a parliament, a president and was intended to have democratic elections.  By 1969 the military overthrew the elected government, banned political parties, dissolved the parliament and the Supreme Court, suspended the constitution, and instituted a military run communist government structure. They instituted literacy programs and social service functions. Somalia entered into war with Ethiopia which eventually brought in the Soviets on the Ethiopian side and resulted in defeat.  The government over time became much more dictatorial and repressive until the Civil war broke out in 1991.  This war is ongoing.  Western interests, primarily the US and the UN are still exerting efforts to force fit the structure of the local government and are fighting Islamic (Al Queda) insurgents today. 

By any reasonable definition Somalia is a failed state.  A great deal of concern exists in Western countries over this country due to its proximity (piracy) to key shipping lanes (especially oil) so it is unlikely to be allowed to sort itself out and return to some form of Islamic State as was its historical path.   For security reasons the West cannot allow a radicalized Islamic government to come into existence in a locale ripe for piracy and disruption of a key strategic resource.  So what is in their future?

Well a lot more of the same.  Their current puppet government, structured along the lines of a western style democracy, will be maintained, but it will have no meaningful power and it will not be allowed to make any decisions contrary to Western interests.  Successfully stamping out the Islamic insurgency is unlikely due to the resource requirements needed to accomplish such a task, so long-term there will be constant to occasional military expenditures by the west in order to maintain an acceptable security situation.  At least as long as key oil and cargo shipments are still passing the coast.  This situation will persist until there is significant retreat from the global stage by the Western powers.  IMHO we are talking about 30-40 years for this situation. 

When the Western powers reach the point that they no longer have strategic interests in the area they will abandon it post haste.  Once foreign powers are no longer exerting control over the region I would say it is almost certain that it will revert to some form of a strict Islamic government run along feudal lines.  The location is such that climate change will be adversely impacting their already marginal agriculture and fishing off the coast is likely to be less productive than today.  The country is hot, largely arid and has little in the way of water resources. There are no critical mineral resources there to generate wealth and wealthier nations are currently exploiting their agriculture sector (mostly meat production) as much as possible.  GDP is currently $333 per person and 80% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic.

Post Western influence I would expect a declining population living near subsistence level that experiences frequent famines and constant low level warfare as different tribes/factions vie for control.  At this point no one will ever hear of the place again because we will all be too busy elsewhere.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2013, 10:02:47 PM »
JimD,

Thanks for starting this most important topic.  In addition to your recommendation to keep ideology out of the discussion I also recommend that we stay away from discussing social issues, no  matter how important some of these issues are to many of our members.  I also strongly recommend that no one suggests any actions that might be perceived as being revolutionary.  It is one thing to predict areas that will be prone to civil unrest and another to vocally call for or support any armed insurrection.  There are plenty of internet forums where those discussions are more appropriate.

What I find interesting is that strong central governments are essential to take any actions to mitigate or forestall the worst impacts of AGW/CC.  Whereas local communities are more capable of planning for adaptation and sustainability.  Can anyone imagine if a committee of UN bureaucrats determined the building codes for Neven's new house and dictated what vegetable he plants in his garden. 

On thing that is lacking in all current forms of government is an awareness that exponential economic growth is not possible.  Which future forms of government are more capable of developing a steady state economic model that allows for an equitable means for the exchange of goods and services. 
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

Anne

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 10:32:40 PM »
To sound a discordant note: talk of governments and constitutions presumes some sort of social order. If we are facing the sort of upheaval suggested, then we will be looking at people - not necessarily of our choosing - who control primary goods and resources, and who have the means to defend them.

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2013, 10:39:22 PM »
To sound a discordant note: talk of governments and constitutions presumes some sort of social order. If we are facing the sort of upheaval suggested, then we will be looking at people - not necessarily of our choosing - who control primary goods and resources, and who have the means to defend them.

Anne, that 's a very good point.  With that being the case, I would suspect some of the more powerful nations will use force to take the goods and resources prior to the  onset of a complete collapse.

On the other hand the world's leaders may gather around a campfire, holding hands and singing "Kum Ba Yah".
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2013, 12:44:57 AM »
Ann

To sound a discordant note: talk of governments and constitutions presumes some sort of social order. If we are facing the sort of upheaval suggested, then we will be looking at people - not necessarily of our choosing - who control primary goods and resources, and who have the means to defend them.

Actually the type of scenario you describe is a form of government also.  Presuming you are talking about basically a group of thugs who take power and control all the resources by the use of violence you could easily categorize their government as a Kleptocracy (a criminal state or mafia state).  It would likely be either Authoritarian or Totalitarian.  And function via a form of Feudalism.  Warlords, narco-states, etc.

As you point out, in the future as was normal in the past, people are frequently not going to have any choice in who their leaders are.  One of the constants of human civilization.

And as OLN said.  The rich and powerful are often going to take what they need from the weak.  That kind of behavior is another constant throughout human history and the empire/colony system was just a sort of formalized way of stripping wealth from weaker entities.  It goes on today and will tomorrow too.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Anne

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2013, 01:13:04 AM »
You're right about kleptocracies. They are alive and kicking in many parts of the world and present themselves as practical (but unofficial) alternatives to recognised government. There's a question mark over the distinction between them and aristarchies - it's all down to a value judgement really.

I'm also interested in international companies. Suppose it were possible (it might be) to secure some sort of electricity supply in the chaos. The power exercised by internet giants would be astonishing. Control and supply of information is essential to the exercise of political power.

On the other hand the world's leaders may gather around a campfire, holding hands and singing "Kum Ba Yah".
   ;D

Anne

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2013, 01:17:39 AM »
Actually, I've answered my own question. The internet giants are rich and powerful enough to secure electricity... but what would they do with that capability?

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2013, 02:11:25 AM »
Actually, I've answered my own question. The internet giants are rich and powerful enough to secure electricity... but what would they do with that capability?

Not a lot - data still has to sit on physical servers, and be transmitted using extensive physical infrastructure. I have trouble picturing a world wide network still operating on this basis - though one might be able to operate fragments of the existing one. You'd need to keep an awful lot more than electricity running to do so though.

A more credible means of long distance communication would be radio. People operating radios might find themselves in high demand - or more likely their equipment (and possibly them) would be coercively acquired to serve people with more and bigger guns. Or they might be regulated or silenced in the case of nations wanting to isolate their people from the world.

I suspect people will generally flock to leaders who promise security in uncertain times.

Historically governments at extremes of the political spectrum do well (or better at least) in uncertain and difficult times. Moderate governments would be expected to dwindle away and civil liberties/freedoms with them.

Once collapse sets in in earnest, I expect the only constant will be chaos and regime change, excepting the delayed onset of such in nations that successfully enforce totalitarian police states for some time (it seems to me if you succeed in doing so, you can run a nation a long way down without losing control eg North Korea).

It depends on the rate of collapse how successfully such police states could be constructed though. It takes time to "educate" people and to gain control over the population to a degree sufficient to be entirely totalitarian. While the US and UK appear to be headed on this path - I don't think they're quite there yet. The legislation and security apparatus is increasingly obviously in place - but not the established absolute control of the populace (at least not beyond credible doubt). Nations attempting this route are racing the onset of increasing stresses, and in some cases attempting to overcome a historic legacy of general moderation and even civil liberties.

I think it's really very hard to predict the human factor as sometimes the path of history is bent by the actions of a single person standing at the right time and place.

What is certain is the mathematical impossibilities of running anything resembling the current system indefinitely, and sustaining a majority of the population indefinitely into the future. In a sense perhaps the rest is just little details blowing in the wind...

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 02:27:48 AM »
Kenya - heading for a train wreck

Population 44 million in 2013
                  97 million in 2050 (UN projection)
                 160 million in 2100 (UN projection)
                  53% of the population lives in poverty
                  73% of the population is below 30 years old

Economy - relatively vibrant at this time and growing at several percent.  It is the financial hub for its region.  GDP is 25% agriculture and 75% misc commercial.  61% of GDP comes from tourism revenues.

25% of the labor force works in the commercial sectors while 75% works in agriculture.  Agricultural exports are largely coffee, tea and flowers.  Any time there is a failure of the monsoon rains famine occurs unless food aid is supplied by other countries.  The high resolution regional climate models indicate that Kenya will experience higher temperatures, significantly less rainfall and more frequent droughts as the effects of the changing climate kick in. 

Kenya is currently completely dependent on imported petroleum  as it has yet to develop any of its own minor reserves.  If developed Kenya's oil reserves (providing they are commercially viable) are only sufficient for its own uses and are not of sufficient size to generate any long-term revenues.  Oil imports are 25% of the nation's import bill.  Kenya has no more than a 21 day oil reserve.  Most electricity is generated via hydroelectric facilities and some is imported from Uganda.

Though the two main tribal groups consist of 97% of the population there are dozens of sub groups and 69 different languages are spoken in the country.

The country is predominantly Christian at 83% and Muslim 11%.  Muslims are concentrated in the east (next to Somalia) and along the coast (where the oil is).

Politics are unsettled historically and historically conflicts have centered around tribal conflicts.  In the last few years there have been significant conflicts among the tribes over control of land and power sharing.  Government corruption is a very large problem.

It is easy to see the train wreck coming.  Population is going to surge when the country already sits on the knife edge of being able to grow sufficient food.  Climate change is going to significantly reduce food production.  Tourism, the main stay of earnings, is heading for its own global train wreck as, over time, the number of people in the world who can afford it is going to shrink dramatically.  The country has no significant resources or manufactured goods it can export for hard cash or in trade for food when the rains fail...as they are going to do.  Famine is coming and when donor countries can no longer provide relief the country is going to disintegrate into tribal fiefdoms.  Muslims allied with those in Somalia will compete for control of the eastern and coastal regions.

Future governmental structures (2030 and out):  Primarily tribal and a form of Kratocracy (rule by the strong).  Strong possibility that the country will break into autonomous regions living eventually at the subsistence level in most areas.  One would expect a lot of low level, but very violent warfare, amongst the various groups for control of limited arable land and scare resources.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2013, 03:04:52 AM »
Kenya - heading for a train wreck

Population 44 million in 2013
                  97 million in 2050 (UN projection)
                 160 million in 2100 (UN projection)
                  53% of the population lives in poverty
                  73% of the population is below 30 years old

I think I see more where you were headed.

A couple interesting footnotes I think is to not only consider the impacts internally but to also consider external factors. These may shape not only collapse internally (based on if outside interests have stakes in key resources or whatnot) but also have a knock on effect to neighbouring countries.

With Kenya for example - it appears to have no critical resources, but with a population of 44 million - that's about twice as many as Syria, which is pressuring the surrounding region (Jordan especially) with refugees.

It becomes a pertinent question where these people will try to flee as famine and war push them to increasingly desperate measures, and how longer term migration trends will work (ie there is both the short term short distance movement within a nation and to surrounding areas, and a longer term longer distance push to get to entirely different parts of the world).

Kenya already hosts a large number of people who fled Somalia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dadaab

In this sense, it seems reasonable to argue that Kenya is likely relatively stable and secure by regional standards and when Kenya has fallen many nearby nations will have already fallen? Also - the changes in surrounding nations may have acted to accelerate the demise of Kenya as it stands today - driving a greater region into instability and chaos.

Anne

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2013, 04:31:25 AM »
Actually, I've answered my own question. The internet giants are rich and powerful enough to secure electricity... but what would they do with that capability?
Not a lot - data still has to sit on physical servers, and be transmitted using extensive physical infrastructure. I have trouble picturing a world wide network still operating on this basis - though one might be able to operate fragments of the existing one. You'd need to keep an awful lot more than electricity running to do so though.
Yes, agreed. But the companies I'm talking about are rich enough to secure effective fragments of the whole. They grow richer by the day as they are providing what people desire. Their urge for self-preservation will ensure some continuity. Obviously not what we enjoy now, let alone worldwide, but enough to be influential. I just can't see them surrendering that power if anyone with vision is in charge. Unlike democracies. Seriously, we ignore the power of multinationals at our peril.

As for police states - yes. Good grief, yes, and whatever remains of the digital multinationals will be either driving that or enslaved to it.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2013, 02:41:10 PM »
I always take population predictions with a grain of salt. While I can't be certain, I would think that population predictions look at current birth and mortality rates, the age distribution of the  population (what percent are still of child bearing age) and extend these out into the future to arrive at a population prediction. With the coming difficulties, partially as a result of AGW impacts, I suspect the mortality rates will climb dramatically. While birth rates may meet projections, far more children will die before reaching adulthood. Similarly, the adult population will die younger. Perhaps the 2050 projections for Kenya are relatively accurate but the 2100 are tenuous at best. I personally believe they are wildly high.

This is not to say that Kenya is not heading for a train wreck but it will be a slow train wreck, as more and more of the population die due to increased levels of starvation, disease and violence. These increased rates will climb through the century, slowly at first and accelerating over time.

(Jim  D......I'm still trying to get a handle on the original question. I think it is beautifully framed, provides an interesting context. There is so much to consider that I don't feel entirely prepared to present a cohesive opinion.)

JackTaylor

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2013, 02:50:25 PM »
~~ "Which future forms of government are more capable of developing a steady state economic model that allows for an equitable means for the exchange of goods and services." ~~
Hold on to that point - Some years down the road with population decline - it will be necessary.
Then,
- Which future forms of government are more capable of functioning during a continual declining economic reality? - Well past our lifetimes - so probably a 'moot point' to be discussing.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2013, 03:36:19 PM »
Quote
This topic is to discuss what types of government (if any) are going to proliferate as collapse approaches and overtakes us.

In the interest of maintaining a diversity of opinions, I'd say that I don't think there's going to be a "collapse" in the next century or so, and think that the long-term trend towards the expansion of liberal democracy will generally continue.  In 2100 I expect the world to be on average somewhat better off, somewhat less violent, somewhat less religious,  and somewhat more democratic than today. 

On the downside, I expect that ecosystems will be somewhat impoverished due to climate change, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity and spread of invasive species, and human cultures will also continue to lose diversity via globalization (e.g., extinction of rare languages).

I think that the "denialists" underestimate the potential for future climate change, while some "alarmists" tend to underestimate society's ability to adapt and overcome disruptions.

Look at the past century of European history.  WWI and WWII were back-to-back disasters of epic scale, followed by a half-century of "Cold War".  But in most ways Europe is far better off in 2013 than it was in 1913. 

Or look at China.  Over the past century China has overcome disaster after disaster, both foreign- and self-inflicted.

Phasing out fossil fuels is going to be difficult, sure.  But we can do difficult things when we need to. 

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2013, 04:45:48 PM »
Quote
This topic is to discuss what types of government (if any) are going to proliferate as collapse approaches and overtakes us.

In the interest of maintaining a diversity of opinions, I'd say that I don't think there's going to be a "collapse" in the next century or so, and think that the long-term trend towards the expansion of liberal democracy will generally continue.  In 2100 I expect the world to be on average somewhat better off, somewhat less violent, somewhat less religious,  and somewhat more democratic than today. 


In the 1980s, I held the same opinion that you currently hold.  However, I have a much more jaundiced view today.  I think by 2025 we will begin to see serious signs of societal collapse beginning in those countries that are already struggling to establish any meaningful form of government.  By the 2040-2050 timeframe, the wheels will start coming off worldwide.  Between the ravages of AGW/CC and the impact of declining resources, the world's population will begin dropping precipitously. 

It's not that humanity can not change it's current behavior, it's just that I believe it will be a very unpleasant learning experience and not one that will happen without a great deal of pain
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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2013, 04:51:58 PM »
Ned
You hold a uniquely optimistic view of the future, at least in this neighborhood. I think you're wrong but I do appreciate the diversity of opinion that you bring to the discussion.
My own experience seems to show a lessening of liberal democratic governance and an upswing in both totalitarian rule and theocratic structures both domestically and globally. Could you direct me to some data that backs your claims?
This isn't an attempt at confrontation but rather an inquiry as to what you've noticed that is so different than what has come to my attention.
My own world view has been shaped by 67 years of living in Canada and the US. I'm not a world traveler and recognise that other cultures may have experiences that I've never been privy to. I've lived a very uneven life that has allowed me access to most cultures found on this continent and this has undoubtedly shaped my worldview.
If I've got this thing wrong, I'd sincerely like to know what facts I haven't been taking into consideration.
Terry

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2013, 05:05:09 PM »
ccg & SH

A couple interesting footnotes I think is to not only consider the impacts internally but to also consider external factors. These may shape not only collapse internally (based on if outside interests have stakes in key resources or whatnot) but also have a knock on effect to neighbouring countries.

Agreed.  I figured that if folks found the discussion interesting we would all fill in those kind of details.  They take a lot of text and are easier to flesh out when there are multiple inputs. Sort of hit the individual countries and then work on synergies.

Quote
With Kenya for example - it appears to have no critical resources, but with a population of 44 million - that's about twice as many as Syria, which is pressuring the surrounding region (Jordan especially) with refugees. 

It becomes a pertinent question where these people will try to flee as famine and war push them to increasingly desperate measures, and how longer term migration trends will work (ie there is both the short term short distance movement within a nation and to surrounding areas, and a longer term longer distance push to get to entirely different parts of the world).

I think an analysis of the region's overall population and resource issues might show that for a number of countries in Southern Africa there is no where to go in practical terms.

Quote
Kenya already hosts a large number of people who fled Somalia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dadaab

Yes.  Thus greatly exacerbating the destabilizing of that region of the country and its likely drift towards Muslim control.

Quote
In this sense, it seems reasonable to argue that Kenya is likely relatively stable and secure by regional standards and when Kenya has fallen many nearby nations will have already fallen? Also - the changes in surrounding nations may have acted to accelerate the demise of Kenya as it stands today - driving a greater region into instability and chaos.

Temporarily sort of stable.  But with really poor long-term prospects.  I do not doubt that Kenya could be pulled down by its neighbors.  Lets look at them and see what we find.

SH,  Of course the UN projections for 2100 are nonsense.  That was intended to be an implied part of my post.  I think the projections for 2050 are crazy as well.  Such are BAU projections.  Given the situation Kenya is in and the likely conditions that will exist there in the not too distant future I can't see how the population can double in the next 37 years.  On the speed of the collapse it could go either way.  Any near term famine issues will be covered by foreign food donations as has happened in the past.  An unfortunate side effect, in a rather cold hearted sense I realize, is that this would work towards making the situation worse long term.  Fixing their problem for them with donations in the near term adds impetus to the population growth curve and results in more people to feed when the time comes that there are no longer any food donations forth coming.  The famine will then proceed at a much more violent pace and accelerate collapse.  It's that dilemma thing again.

ccg  I like the your kind of discussions too so have at it.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2013, 05:23:41 PM »
NED W

In the interest of maintaining a diversity of opinions, I'd say that I don't think there's going to be a "collapse" in the next century or so, and think that the long-term trend towards the expansion of liberal democracy will generally continue.  In 2100 I expect the world to be on average somewhat better off, somewhat less violent, somewhat less religious,  and somewhat more democratic than today. 

On the downside, I expect that ecosystems will be somewhat impoverished due to climate change, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity and spread of invasive species, and human cultures will also continue to lose diversity via globalization (e.g., extinction of rare languages)....

Look at the past century of European history.  WWI and WWII were back-to-back disasters of epic scale, followed by a half-century of "Cold War".  But in most ways Europe is far better off in 2013 than it was in 1913. 

Or look at China.  Over the past century China has overcome disaster after disaster, both foreign- and self-inflicted....

A diversity of opinions is always welcome around here (providing it is polite and reasoned).  Your statements above indicate you disagree with most of the posters around here on a variety of subjects.  Neven likes discussions to be kept somewhat on topic and I would suggest on several of the items above (likelihood of collapse, ocean acidification issues, loss of biodiversity effects, etc) you should review the posts under those topics and post your reasoning there.  You might change your mind after reading them or change ours.  Who knows.

As to this...

Quote
In 2100 I expect the world to be on average somewhat better off, somewhat less violent, somewhat less religious,  and somewhat more democratic than today.

That fits in here just fine if put into a form of describing what types of government we are going to see.  So tell us 'why' the above is your opinion.  Show us your logic and numbers to get us there so we can see if we agree or not.  I do question the use of "on average" though.  "On average" can hide a lot of disaster and suffering and collapse.  Average the US and Somalia together.  Looks like things are just peachy. 
 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2013, 05:27:49 PM »
~~ "Which future forms of government are more capable of developing a steady state economic model that allows for an equitable means for the exchange of goods and services." ~~
Hold on to that point - Some years down the road with population decline - it will be necessary.
Then,
- Which future forms of government are more capable of functioning during a continual declining economic reality? - Well past our lifetimes - so probably a 'moot point' to be discussing.

I agree that many of these things that we are talking about may well occur past our lifetimes (those of us past 60), however, we need to get the discussions started now.  If future leaders and policymakers don't know what the future holds for them, they can not effectively plan to govern effectively.

Secondly, the field of sustainability needs to be expanded to include Governance, Economics and Sociology.  While it should be obvious why we should include Governance and Economics, I'm including Sociology because we need to understand how certain nations, cultures, religions and political structures will adapt to change.  I've taught Change Management and lead many diverse corporate teams through the change process.  It always amazed me the internal resistance to any change to BAU, even when you could provide someone with statistical data showing that the change was in their best interest. 
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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2013, 05:37:27 PM »
Quote from: TerryM
My own experience seems to show a lessening of liberal democratic governance and an upswing in both totalitarian rule and theocratic structures both domestically and globally. Could you direct me to some data that backs your claims?

I dunno about "data".  But I'd say that the world was more democratic in 1813 than in 1713, and more democratic in 1913 than 1813, and is vastly more democratic in 2013 than 1913. 

Along the way there were brief contrary movements (e.g., 1930s Europe) but the general trend has continued to move towards liberal democracy. 

So in the short run who knows, but overall I expect the world to be more democratic in 2113 than in 2013.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2013, 05:50:14 PM »
Along the way there were brief contrary movements (e.g., 1930s Europe) but the general trend has continued to move towards liberal democracy. 

Can you please clarify what you mean by liberal? It has different connotations depending on who you are (as I think JimD noted initially).

As for democracy - I'm not really sure. Do you consider Russia a democracy today? They held elections in which people cast votes. There were alternative candidates. Nobody was surprised when Putin won.

Did you know that during Soviet era Russia, they also held elections in which people cast votes?

In what we please to call democracy today, it seems to me it's mostly just a cunning sleight of hand trick. You cast a vote, sure - but what counts is the choices you have to vote for. And right now, you don't seem to get a whole bunch of choice. It's mostly propaganda for the sheep, far as I see.

Given how Obama appears to have (almost entirely) continued precisely the same policies as Bush before him - where is this democratic choice? What evidence is there that voting for a different leader from such a selected menu with such a convoluted and controlled path for the choices to get to your ballot paper is really democracy? I mean - evidence above and beyond the fact you make ticks on a piece of paper like they used to in Communist Russia when choosing their party candidate?

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2013, 05:53:21 PM »
Quote from: OldLeatherneck
In the 1980s, I held the same opinion that you currently hold.  However, I have a much more jaundiced view today.

That's funny -- during the same time period I've moved in the opposite direction (from "more jaundiced" to "more optimistic"). 

Have you read Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature"?  I don't agree with everything but it's a pretty good representation of how I see things.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2013, 06:15:09 PM »
Quote
With Kenya for example - it appears to have no critical resources, but with a population of 44 million - that's about twice as many as Syria, which is pressuring the surrounding region (Jordan especially) with refugees. 

It becomes a pertinent question where these people will try to flee as famine and war push them to increasingly desperate measures, and how longer term migration trends will work (ie there is both the short term short distance movement within a nation and to surrounding areas, and a longer term longer distance push to get to entirely different parts of the world).

I think an analysis of the region's overall population and resource issues might show that for a number of countries in Southern Africa there is no where to go in practical terms.

Now here is an interesting point. People don't migrate precisely rationally - at least not if I interpret the push and pull factors accurately. They migrate based on perception as much as anything else - the grass being greener is a factor.

I'm not especially well travelled (and this is a disadvantage in terms of detailed discussions of different cultures) but I do have an observation from my direct knowledge of both the USA and Russia (I've spent time in both places living with natives, so to speak).

Today, in Russia - many people - even in relatively affluent cities (the most striking example I can think of is drawn from someone living in the port city of Novorossiysk, but the principle is supported by numerous examples) have this idea that the USA is this wonderful land of milk and honey, freedom and wealth - a paradise on earth. They would migrate there in a heartbeat if the opportunity were presented (while not being unhappy enough to actively try to get there). They think jobs are plentiful and it's easy to do well there (and are very resistant to the notion things aren't so great in the US, with the notable exception of Russians who have actually visited it).

Meanwhile in the US and UK, people perceive Russia in general part according to historic information that nobody has gone to the trouble of updating. They remember old Communist era propaganda (some of it even true) and if they're a bit more up to date the experience of Russia during their international debt default - when armed fights in the streets was apparently pretty normal (you can see the influence on society in the prevalence of bars on lower floor windows and steel doors and walls). They think Russians are universally poor and there is nothing there to want to move to.

However, it seems to me for someone who is poor in America - Russia would have a lot going for it. They have universal and extremely cheap public transport. Their healthcare is generally cheap to free at point of use - and not really that bad quality wise. In the cities (I grant the countryside is generally much poorer - you start looking for evidence of electricity as you travel further from the cities) one has air conditioning, broadband internet and cars (driven even worse than in the US, but I digress). Employment teaching English would probably not be hard to find, given a shortage of first language English speakers and a demand for tuition.

Accordingly not only do people tend to think the grass is greener somewhere else, but culturally speaking it seems to me the push and pull factors driving migration (or at least the desire thereof) are based upon historic information - commonly agreed and disseminated perceptions rather than current actual facts.

Presumably that's why both the Soviet and Western blocs put so much effort into propaganda telling their own people how good they had it (the US still does this...) and how badly off other people were. North Korea still does this today.

Finally, if there really is nowhere to go - you only have two choices - stay and die in situ - or travel in hope. Again - the facts don't matter so much. I suspect these general tendencies limit the scope of analysis to accurately predict migration to some extent?

As to the range of migration - especially the longer term slower burning sort driven by push pull factors as opposed to immediately overwhelming problems - just look at the diversity of people crossing the Mexican border into the US or trying to cross the Channel to get into the UK. Often they will travel through as many countries as it takes to get to where they want to be. In some instances, they may even be travelling through places worse than their origin to do so. Some people will walk underequipped across deserts in these attempts, despite rather high mortality rates - driven mostly by hope and aspiration. Demand is already sufficiently strong that this is a global industry - the movement of people outside the legally authorised channels.

As demand grows, so the market will.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2013, 06:17:39 PM »
Don't worry, I'm not going to try to take over this thread.  Just responding to a few direct questions that people have asked...

Quote from: ccgwebmaster
Can you please clarify what you mean by liberal? It has different connotations depending on who you are (as I think JimD noted initially).

See the first couple paragraphs of the wikipedia page on "liberal democracy"

Quote
As for democracy - I'm not really sure. Do you consider Russia a democracy today? They held elections in which people cast votes. There were alternative candidates. Nobody was surprised when Putin won.

If you want a yes/no answer, then I'd say no, Russia's not much of a liberal democracy.  Of course it wasn't under the USSR, or under the czars before that.  Not all parts of the world have been democratizing equally fast.

All I'm suggesting here is that in general and over the broad scales of space and time, quality of life has tended to improve.  I admit I'm not an expert on Russia, though.  Do you think that, overall, life in Russia for ordinary people is better or worse today than it was in 1963 or 1913 or 1863 or 1813?

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2013, 06:31:41 PM »
All I'm suggesting here is that in general and over the broad scales of space and time, quality of life has tended to improve.  I admit I'm not an expert on Russia, though.  Do you think that, overall, life in Russia for ordinary people is better or worse today than it was in 1963 or 1913 or 1863 or 1813?

That may be true when comparing the time periods you cited and the one country you are asking about.  However, if someone asked me to compare quality of life in the US between 1963 and 2013, I would state that it is declining.  In 1963, both political parties embraced science.  Public education was at it's highest level as studies (can't cite them specifically) have shown that since 1963 or 1964 (when I graduated H.S.) that SAT scores have been declining.  Recently, real wages have been declining.  Corporations have more influence over elections and minorities are finding it more difficult to vote.  While I appreciate high speed internet, satellite radio & TV as well as flat screen HD TVs, these toys to do not constitute an improvement in the quality of life.
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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2013, 06:37:51 PM »
See the first couple paragraphs of the wikipedia page on "liberal democracy"

Thanks for clarifying, in the US it often seems to mean "supports the Democratic party aka Obama".

If you want a yes/no answer, then I'd say no, Russia's not much of a liberal democracy.  Of course it wasn't under the USSR, or under the czars before that.  Not all parts of the world have been democratizing equally fast.

All I'm suggesting here is that in general and over the broad scales of space and time, quality of life has tended to improve.  I admit I'm not an expert on Russia, though.  Do you think that, overall, life in Russia for ordinary people is better or worse today than it was in 1963 or 1913 or 1863 or 1813?

At the risk of being contentious, I'm going to say I don't think the US is much of a liberal democracy either. Having experienced an "enhanced security screening" at TSA hands, and noting the extremely widespread state surveillance - I can honestly say I'd sooner live in Russia - and that Russia felt a lot more free and liberal (speaking as an outsider to both nations, using liberal in a general sense).

With respect to the progression of life in Russia, I think it depends a lot who you ask. I think it's still valid to say plenty of old people there would still take Stalin back in a heartbeat? They aren't saying this exclusively out of nostalgia but because they genuinely found life better back then. Better for someone with more in depth experience and knowledge of Russia to comment really (ie a native), but my impression is that large swathes of people were "overlooked" during the transition away from communism, and perhaps again during the changes following international debt default. While younger people seem to do OK (in the cities at least), it's common to see old people trying to sell flowers, fruit, vegetables etc by the road side - presumably as the state pension is rather small.

[EDIT] As a final aside, I really don't buy into the "things get better with time" argument. My mother received a free university education and was able to purchase her first house at a value about half of her annual income. They were coming off the back of the second world war and rationing ended while she was a child. Jobs were still often for life and quite secure and one could look forwards to a final salary pension in many cases as well as profiting from rising property values.

Today, for my generation - a university education is an increasingly costly burden of debt as a greeting by society to adulthood. The value of the degree is greatly diminished and even with several of them or further education still, one can struggle to get any job at all. House prices are 6-7 times a typical income - meaning in real terms they cost perhaps 15 times more than they did for my parents. The idea of jobs for life is dead, and job security progressively undermined by the government. Final salary pensions are gone and my generation has no reasonable expectation by the time they are that old of having any pension at all, or healthcare, or even a habitable environment.

So I do not think things get better with time - unless you cherry pick start/end points and the segment of the population that you ask.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2013, 06:58:12 PM by ccgwebmaster »

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2013, 09:05:11 PM »
Liberal Democracy
Quote
Variant of democracy; a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of liberalism. It is characterized by fair, free, and competitive elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, and the protection of human rights and civil liberties for all persons

First I would say by the wiki definition above that you are going to struggle to find any countries in the world that practice the talk.  The US clearly does not fit the above.  Even many of the countries in Europe struggle with aspects of this.  But let us not forget that there is a lot more to it than this.  A liberal democracy sits at level 2 of our primer.  Level 1 is what kind of decision makers the country has.  Level 2 determines how they are selected.  Calling oneself a liberal democracy, as is the current fad around the world, does not in any way mean that is the way the government actually functions.  US and Russia being prime examples.

I dunno about "data".  But I'd say that the world was more democratic in 1813 than in 1713, and more democratic in 1913 than 1813, and is vastly more democratic in 2013 than 1913. 

Along the way there were brief contrary movements (e.g., 1930s Europe) but the general trend has continued to move towards liberal democracy. 

So in the short run who knows, but overall I expect the world to be more democratic in 2113 than in 2013.

Ned I must say that I think you know that this type of argument has no validity.  You are just saying that you think we have always progressed to date (this is arguable as well) and therefore it is always going to get better.  Your assumptions about democracy and fascism in the statement are also highly arguable.  You are using the same kind of argument here...

Quote
Look at the past century of European history.  WWI and WWII were back-to-back disasters of epic scale, followed by a half-century of "Cold War".  But in most ways Europe is far better off in 2013 than it was in 1913. 

Or look at China.  Over the past century China has overcome disaster after disaster, both foreign- and self-inflicted.

Conditions which determined what happened in your examples don't exist any more.  So they cannot be used to make projections.  Initial inputs into making projections must include current conditions (which have deteriorated markedly from even 30 years ago).  Looking at data trends (population, climate change, energy EROEI, food production, etc) can give a probability of what future conditions are likely to be.  Then you work from that.

You are entitled to your opinion but I see no logic in it.  Give us a reasoned argument that can end up with every thing being better in 2113 than it is now.  Miracles don't count. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2013, 09:59:06 PM »

You are entitled to your opinion but I see no logic in it.  Give us a reasoned argument that can end up with every thing being better in 2113 than it is now.  Miracles don't count.

JimD,

We've had several comments here using "better" as a metric, yet we have not set any parameters by which to measure "better".  We here in the US have been inculturated since the end of WWII to equate acquisition of material objects, wealth and societal status as a measure of success.  I'm going to paraphrase an old saying; "He who dies with the most toys, wins".

We need to have a paradigm shift whereby we define what the basic needs of individuals truly are and how society needs to be organized to provide those needs.  Using Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" society must provide a means for individuals to have more than just the bottom rungs of basic biological/physiological and safety needs.  There must be a path upwards where some individuals can achieve a sense of belonging and possibly even some degree of self esteem. I believe that proper governance can provide the basics framework for this, however, other institutions are necessary to help with upward mobility.........and I do NOT mean wealth acquisition.


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2013, 10:11:19 PM »
ccg

This is a good sidebar.  Let's talk about Africa in light of the below.

Quote
With Kenya for example - it appears to have no critical resources, but with a population of 44 million - that's about twice as many as Syria, which is pressuring the surrounding region (Jordan especially) with refugees. 

It becomes a pertinent question where these people will try to flee as famine and war push them to increasingly desperate measures, and how longer term migration trends will work (ie there is both the short term short distance movement within a nation and to surrounding areas, and a longer term longer distance push to get to entirely different parts of the world).

I think an analysis of the region's overall population and resource issues might show that for a number of countries in Southern Africa there is no where to go in practical terms.

Now here is an interesting point. People don't migrate precisely rationally - at least not if I interpret the push and pull factors accurately. They migrate based on perception as much as anything else - the grass being greener is a factor.....

Finally, if there really is nowhere to go - you only have two choices - stay and die in situ - or travel in hope. Again - the facts don't matter so much. I suspect these general tendencies limit the scope of analysis to accurately predict migration to some extent?

As to the range of migration - especially the longer term slower burning sort driven by push pull factors as opposed to immediately overwhelming problems - just look at the diversity of people crossing the Mexican border into the US or trying to cross the Channel to get into the UK. Often they will travel through as many countries as it takes to get to where they want to be. In some instances, they may even be travelling through places worse than their origin to do so. Some people will walk underequipped across deserts in these attempts, despite rather high mortality rates - driven mostly by hope and aspiration. Demand is already sufficiently strong that this is a global industry - the movement of people outside the legally authorised channels.

As demand grows, so the market will.

First I agree with the demand related to minor amounts of migration as you describe (though it will be interesting to see how successful the clampdown on migration in the US from Mexico is).  But this type of migration is not at any where near the level of mass migrations which could be triggered by climate change and local/regional governmental/civilizational collapse.  To me there is an apples and oranges difference.

I have not had time to dig into the numbers for all the countries in Africa as I have done with Kenya and Somalia so we are going to have to make a big assumption here.  The assumption I am going to make is that, with only a few exceptions, every country on the continent will be in collapse mode sometime between circa 2030 and 2050. 
African population 1.11 billion in2013  (UN numbers)
                           2.39 billion in 2050 (UN projections)
It seems a given that the 2050 projection is going to be quite a bit high, but it does tell us a lot about population trends until enough countries are in collapse that the mortality rate exceeds the birth rate on a continental level.  Individual countries are, of course, going to be all over the place. 

Mass migrations means we are not talking about a few boat loads of people or someone crawling over the border fence.  We are talking about 10's to maybe 100's of millions who want to hit the road and get out of town.  I am going to make a claim here that no country/region outside of Africa is going to facilitate this movement.  I would even go so far as to expect that any country/region which thought that these kinds of numbers of people wanted to come live with them are going to perceive that desire as a very high level national security threat.  Those who feel that way will actively try to prevent any such migration.  I know the US would use every means as its disposal to prevent them coming here (and I am not exaggerating).

So.  Where can they go?  The only possible directions are; across the land bridge into the Sinai then Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria then Turkey; across the Red Sea (big transportation issue here) into the Arabian Peninsula; or across the Mediterranean Sea (a much bigger transportation issue) to southern Europe. 

Other than Egypt all of the most over populated countries with very large populations needing to be on the move are going to be in the central and southern part of the continent.  To go north to the coast or to the land bridge the have to cross the Sahara and other very desolate places which have little to sustain their own populations and nothing to sustain 10's of millions of migrants.  I think it fair to speculate that any large movement north would have to fight the entire way to where it wanted to go and then kick butt when it got there in order to stay.  I think it obvious that crossing the Red Sea to get to the Arabian Peninsula is a non-starter even more than the above.

Previously I have spent some time thinking about collapse in Africa, migration issues and security issues.  IMHO no meaningful amount of migration out of Africa will ever occur.  As collapse will hit early and hard there they are going to be greatly weakened from their current state (which is pretty near the bottom globally) long before the realization kicks in that they have to get out of town.  I believe that they (as a continent) are going to work this out themselves.  The elite's of most of the countries will manipulate circumstances as best they can to survive.  They will not be averse to allowing serious population declines, facilitating them, and attacking their neighbors to secure critical resources.  As I have mentioned in the threads about agriculture, long before the industrial food system collapse's a time will come when there will be no more free food.  You buy it or you don't get it. Some locations will have critical mineral resources which could be marketed and this will help them hold out a little longer (or until some rich country shows up and takes it over), but they will eventually have to deal with their neighbors who have nothing. 

That is sort of the way I think the continent will go at the macro level.  Individual enclaves which  avoid the worst are likely to exist (facilitated by rich countries after their resources).  But very ugly overall.  Will this disaster help the globe avoid or mitigate any of the effects of climate change?  Not much. Is what I think will happen fair?  Not a bit, but fairness has nothing to do with it as usual.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2013, 10:41:52 PM »
We've had several comments here using "better" as a metric, yet we have not set any parameters by which to measure "better".  We here in the US have been inculturated since the end of WWII to equate acquisition of material objects, wealth and societal status as a measure of success.  I'm going to paraphrase an old saying; "He who dies with the most toys, wins".

We need to have a paradigm shift whereby we define what the basic needs of individuals truly are and how society needs to be organized to provide those needs.  Using Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" society must provide a means for individuals to have more than just the bottom rungs of basic biological/physiological and safety needs....

OLN

Better is indeed an amorphous term.  Maslow's Hierarchy is probably one of the best reasoned measures of what better might mean.  Goodies are irrelevant.  Few places in history have reached near the top of that pyramid.  If that defines 'better' then I claim that almost everywhere is drifting lower and I would expect that decline would accelerate over time as civilization is stressed by all our current and coming troubles.

While I would not expect any of the items in any level to disappear I would expect that the prime focus during collapse, and until a stable level is reached after that, to be only on the first 2 levels.  Anything else would be icing on the cake and of secondary importance.  People on a personal level will always try and maintain as much of level 3 as they can.

I share your idealism about what a more perfect societal structure would provide its citizens.  I just don't see it happening prior to collapse and its aftermath.  If we actually can learn from our mistakes and apply them post collapse maybe our descendants will create such a place (in between pausing to piss on our graves).  But I also expect those left standing after the dust settles a couple of hundred years from now to be a pretty hard tough people and I am sure they are going to perceive us as having been weak and ineffectual.  They might think very differently about that pyramid than we do.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Ned W

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2013, 03:41:04 PM »
Has people's quality of life generally improved over the last century, worldwide?  I think it's obvious.  Probably the best metric is life expectancy at birth, because it integrates so many factors related to basic quality of life (infant mortality, disease, malnutrition, violence, ...):


(Maddison 2001 via Brad DeLong).

In case it's not obvious, that doesn't mean that every person's life will be better than their great-grandparent's life in every conceivable way.  One could cherry-pick examples of times or places or topics where things got worse over time.   But even if you ignore the rest of the world and look just at the US and Europe, consider the state of things in 1913 for broad swaths of the population:

* Women were second-class citizens with few options in life and frequently died in childbirth (maternal mortality rates were 100 times higher in the 1910s vs. today).

* Blacks in the US were subject to widespread discrimination ranging from legal segregation to disenfranchisement to lynching.

* Poverty rates in the early 1900s were much higher than today.

Again, that's not to say that we've solved all problems, but even in the relatively advanced US and western Europe, the basic conditions of life improved radically over the past century.

This has nothing to do with "he who dies with the most toys wins".  I'm talking about essential things like being able to feed your children, having access to education beyond age 12, having the right to vote or to drink from a public drinking fountain, and not dying in childbirth.  With all due respect, I'd say that anyone who disputes the real progress in advancement of basic human rights over the past century is in deep denial.

Ned W

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2013, 03:42:17 PM »
That leads to the next question -- is it reasonable to assume that these trends will continue over the next century? 

First of all, this whole thread is pure speculation.   We don't know what's going to happen in the future, and the only way to make predictions is to try to identify the important trends in the past and present and extrapolate them to the future.  Quite a few people here expressed their own opinions before I joined in, and I don't see any of them being subjected to the kind of criticism that (for example) JimD is leveling at me here:

Quote from: JimD
Ned I must say that I think you know that this type of argument has no validity.  You are just saying that you think we have always progressed to date (this is arguable as well) and therefore it is always going to get better. [...]
You are entitled to your opinion but I see no logic in it.  Give us a reasoned argument that can end up with every thing being better in 2113 than it is now.  Miracles don't count.

Sorry, but there seems to be a bit of a double standard here.  Just to give one example, in your post up-thread at [August 13, 2013, 12:44:57 AM] you wrote:

Quote from: JimD
in the future as was normal in the past, people are frequently not going to have any choice in who their leaders are.  One of the constants of human civilization.

And as OLN said.  The rich and powerful are often going to take what they need from the weak.  That kind of behavior is another constant throughout human history and the empire/colony system was just a sort of formalized way of stripping wealth from weaker entities.  It goes on today and will tomorrow too.

So apparently it's fine for you to take a pessimistic view of human history and declare (sans evidence) that it will continue to be that way.  But it's not OK for me to take an optimistic view of history and express a similar opinion about the future.

There's a definite bias here in favor of doom and gloom.  I don't want to speculate about why.  If this thread is only for mutual hand-wringing over our inevitable dystopian future, then sorry to have interrupted it.

I'll close by responding to this remark:

Quote from: JimD
Conditions which determined what happened in your examples don't exist any more.  So they cannot be used to make projections.  Initial inputs into making projections must include current conditions (which have deteriorated markedly from even 30 years ago).

My references to 20th century examples (Europe, China, etc.) were to show that human societies often (not always) show an extraordinary ability to adapt, evolve, and surmount obstacles.  The specific challenges we'll face over the next 100 years are different, but the specific challenges are always different.  China suffered through floods, wars, famines, occupations, and the Cultural Revolution and is far stronger today.  Western Europe made it through WWI, the 1919 influenza outbreak, the Depression, WWII, and the Cold War, and again is far stronger and better off today than in 1913.  Those were all different kinds of challenges.  What they have in common is that people ultimately managed to cope with them, rise above them, and end up with a world that was better than before. 

That's the key condition that hasn't changed -- human resourcefulness and tenacity.  We can't really foresee the challenges that our grand-children and great-grandchildren will face, any more than people in 1913 could imagine what would happen over the course of the 20th century.  But since we're speculating about the future here, my bet is that the next few generations will do at least as good a job of rising to their challenges as previous generations have. 

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #37 on: August 14, 2013, 05:12:09 PM »
Ned W. Back in mid 19th-century, people all over the world started pumping this black substance called oil in a reckless pursuit of unlimited growth. When we first started doing this we did not have the slightest idea what the long term consequences of this would be, as a result we have a global warming which today poses a tremendous threat to our society. You might say that this is not an existential threat because of our ability to adapt, but that doesn't really matter to me. What matters is that back in the 19th-century we did not know what we were doing. If CO2 had turned out to have the same effects as methane or various ozon depleting gasses, then we would all be dead before anyone knew what was going on, and, I can assure you, we would not have been able to adapt.

This system that created climate change in pursuit of growth is basicly the same system that we have in the west today, a system that continues to pursuit growth on the expence of sustainability, and that in my oppinion gives no reason to be optimistic about the future. My point is that this positive trend of yours has no predictable value what so ever when this trend is created by a system that is not sustainable. It may collapse any time, actually, I think it will collapse any time because we have such a negligent attitude toward climate change, and seemingly we aren't even trying to adapt. What comes afterwards is chaos and a surge in fascism, communism and nationalism. Liberal democracies, I think, will not be found in abundance.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #38 on: August 14, 2013, 06:36:39 PM »
Ned W

I think there are material differences between what you and I are saying.  In all of your examples of human travails they were regional issues which did not impact the whole.  In many cases the areas of the planet external to the stressed ones supported the ones under stress. In all of your cases and up until recent times there was a lot of excess resources which could be exploited be they land, fossil fuels, water, and so on.  Plus population numbers had not so greatly exceeded the carrying capacity.  "Those" types of conditions do not apply any longer.  All important resources are stretched very thin, population has skyrocketed and is still climbing fast, food production is struggling to keep up with population growth and the numbers indicate it will fall short in the future, not only are we well along the production curve on fossil fuels with declining EROEI we desperately need to stop burning ANY fossil fuels immediately, the climate is destabilizing at an accelerating rate and this will impact the quality of life in innumerable ways.  the 'data' says conditions have changed dramatically for the worse.  The conclusion of every study I have read is that conditions are deteriorating and we are approaching hard limits in many areas.  Yes humans are adaptable but they are not particularly smart.  When there is slack in the system historically they have usually (not always) found a way out.  Any global reaction to our current predicament that is largely some version of BAU will without question hit those hard limits.  I read all the proposed solutions that I become aware of.  I have yet to read one that has even marginal chances of getting out of our situation without a significant level of collapse.   Probably the most rigorous efforts were the climate wedges approach that was detailed 5-6 years ago.  The authors updated it once and Joe Romm used to push it as a solution.  But the authors gave it up because our BAU path made it unworkable and Romm never mentions it any more.

I will agree with you that humans are very adaptable. It is part of our nature.  Especially when we are stressed.  However, no amount of adaptability can overcome not having anything to eat.  But there are other aspects of human nature as well.  In times of great stress we  have a strong tendency to orient towards more authoritarian governance, less rights, more religion, less tolerance, more adherence to the societal norm, more distrust/fear of strangers, greater violence.  I don't expect adaptability to disappear, but I also do not expect any of our other hardwired natures to disappear either.  We are not wired to play nice.

Quote
First of all, this whole thread is pure speculation.   We don't know what's going to happen in the future, and the only way to make predictions is to try to identify the important trends in the past and present and extrapolate them to the future.  Quite a few people here expressed their own opinions before I joined in, and I don't see any of them being subjected to the kind of criticism that (for example) JimD is leveling at me

Like I said in the beginning "speculate away".  I do not see a reason for you to take offence here.  No one is being rude or insulting to you or attacking you on a personal level.  We have some pretty strong disagreements on issues all the time and question each others lines of reasoning.  Happens to me too.  I just indicated why I did not think your chain of reasoning was sound and why.  Of course we are speculating.  The only way most of us see that being likely to come up with meaningful answers is to use as much data and logic as we can muster and to question each other.

Know one knows what is going to happen.  It is just an interesting intellectual challenge to try and work it out.  You may end up being right but I think it takes one or two of the Black Swan type of events to get you there.  Positive miracles do happen.  God shows up and fixes everything and gives us a second chance, fusion turns out to actually work (probably less likely than god showing up), the human race decides to stop having babies for about 20 years and actually does it (IMHO the most workable solution left), aliens arrive and decide to help us instead of eat us....

Anyway let's get back to this thread.  Describe what type of government is going to exist somewhere between 2050 and 2100 or something like that and why you think it will happen.
 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Ned W

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2013, 07:09:22 PM »
Quote
Probably the most rigorous efforts were the climate wedges approach that was detailed 5-6 years ago.  The authors updated it once and Joe Romm used to push it as a solution.  But the authors gave it up because our BAU path made it unworkable

You're referring to Pacala and Socolow.  Two years ago they explicitly reaffirmed their approach:

Wedges Reaffirmed

They also continue to develop the stabilization wedges concept (e.g., here, just a few months ago). 

I haven't seen anything from them in which they "gave it up because our BAU path made it unworkable".  They did note that the longer we delay, the more wedges will be needed.

What is your source for the claim that Pacala and Socolow have "given up" on their mitigation wedges as "unworkable"?

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2013, 08:18:47 PM »
Peru
Time for a place that is in relatively good shape.

Current government is a Presidential Representative Democratic Republic.  Reasonably fair elections, some corruption, Judiciary is somewhat compromised.

No significant foreign relations problems.

Geographically located in a fairly secure location.  No imminent population migration issues from neighboring states.  Largely arid along the coast but holds a vast hunk of the upper Amazon that is flat and largely undeveloped.

Population 30.4 million 2013 (UN)
                  41    million 2050 (UN projection)
                  42.7 million 2067 (UN projection of peak pop)
Lima population 9 million (+ 200,000/yr)

Severe water stress in Lima region

Exportable resources/goods:  copper, gold, zinc, textiles, fish meal (aqua culture)

Decent economy strongly tied to exports.

Food production index:  up 36% since 2005.  Malnutrition rates have fallen dramatically over the last 5 years.

Wheat production 220,000 MT

Corn production 1,600,000 MT

Primary negative is the water issue in the coastal and especially Lima regions.  A rapidly growing urban population coupled with decreasing runoff from the mountains due to the warming climate are going to collide.  This, however, is not an unmanageable situation and can be dealt with.  Another climate impact, through changing ocean conditions which could hurt Peru's prospects is a significant permanent decline in fishing one of the mainstays of the economy.  Over fishing is a large contributor to this problem.

2050 projection. I expect that Peru will be in relatively good shape come 2050.  It should be able to keep food production sufficient to feed itself and, if not, it has exportable raw materials needed by the wealthy countries that it can trade for food.  It lies in an excellent location strategically and its neighbors are also in relatively decent shape. This constitutes a critical security combination and it also can expect security support (although in very subordinate position) from the US and other wealthy countries.

Government is likely to maintain its current form for sometime.  Eventually population stress and other adverse conditions will increase the prospects of more authoritarian structures. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #41 on: August 14, 2013, 08:26:03 PM »
You're referring to Pacala and Socolow.  Two years ago they explicitly reaffirmed their approach:

Wedges Reaffirmed

They also continue to develop the stabilization wedges concept (e.g., here, just a few months ago). 

I haven't seen anything from them in which they "gave it up because our BAU path made it unworkable".  They did note that the longer we delay, the more wedges will be needed.

What is your source for the claim that Pacala and Socolow have "given up" on their mitigation wedges as "unworkable"?

That was my understanding.  Looks like I am mistaken about that.  But there is a very good discussion to be had about the 'wedges' concepts, requirements, prospects for implementation, and likelihood of success.  I have considered in the past starting a topic on this very subject.  If you would like to start it and explain what they are to everyone I will be more than happy to jump in and have some good discussions.  How's that?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2013, 08:31:52 PM »
JimD,

I appreciate that you are identifying different countries around the world and providing relevant statistics and projections.  Have you considered literacy rates in these countries, as may give some clues about how much the local populace can understand what is happening??

Secondly, I appreciate your comments regarding Maslow's hierarchy.  I will have a more detailed response later tonight or tomorrow.

"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2013, 10:29:07 PM »
JimD,

I appreciate that you are identifying different countries around the world and providing relevant statistics and projections.  Have you considered literacy rates in these countries, as may give some clues about how much the local populace can understand what is happening??

Secondly, I appreciate your comments regarding Maslow's hierarchy.  I will have a more detailed response later tonight or tomorrow.

Hmmm...I guess the issue of literacy rates brings to light one of my biases.  I do not buy into the arguments that increases in literacy can make any meaningful difference in solving our critical problems.  So I do not pay much attention to them. 

If we were in a growth development mode with lots of slack in the system (say post WWII conditions) and no hard limits in sight and also 50+ years for the demographic changes related to increasing education and opportunities to work their way through the system what would be the result?  For one it would result in a much higher consumption pattern and a greater per capita use of resources.  What would happen to population numbers. The UN population reports indicate that, contrary to what a lot of researchers have concluded, that there are limits to how low fertility rates will go.   Some have turned up even in the face of improving literacy rates and opportunity.  Religion and culture play into this issue more than research seems to pick up. 

But all of those arguments on how improving fertility rates can lower population are wrecked on the rocks of time.  I am one of the  more optimistic folks here on how long it is going to be before collapse is upon us and my projected date (2050) does not allow anywhere near enough time for those kind of effects to make a meaningful difference.  The UN projections take the fertility issue and rising GDP into account and they (ignoring climate change and such) project that global population will be growing still when we reach 2100. 

And what do we make of places like the US where we have declining levels of literacy.  What effect is that going to have?  I also would think it logical to assume that as the years pass and the system gets progressively more stressed that literacy rates are going to decline in most all locations.   

But YMMV.  Do you think literacy is an important metric in these discussions?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2013, 10:42:34 PM »


But YMMV.  Do you think literacy is an important metric in these discussions?

After doing a quick "Wiki" search I found that of the 10 countries with the lowest literacy rates, 9 of them are in Africa (the exception being Afghanistan).  Also there are dozens of countries that have literacy rates in excess of 99%.

Therefore, using literacy as a metric for these discussions would not be meaningful.  Although, the dismal literacy rates in Africa are only going to compound their many problems in the future.
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JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #45 on: August 15, 2013, 10:13:17 PM »
Bangladesh

Currently a Parliamentary Republic.  Since independence in 1971 it has spent about half the time under military control and half under civilian elected control.  There is a very high level of animosity between political parties.  Lots of political corruption.

From Wiki:  the country is making major strides in human development, including significant progress in areas of gender equity, universal primary education, women empowerment, reducing population growth, food production, health and renewable energy. ] The poverty rate has declined considerably since independence, and per-capita incomes have doubled from 1975-levels.

That being said the country still has a low literacy rate, high levels of poverty and poor health care.

Food Production:
Wheat 1,180,000 MT
Corn   none
Rice   34,200,000 MT (4th largest producer in world)
Millet  24,000 MT
Potatoes  11th largest producer in world
Very fertile farmland if it is not underwater

Population 156.6 million in 2013 (UN)
                  202   million in 2050 (UN Projection)
     Bangladesh is the most densely populated large country in the world.

Fertility rate is 2.55 and 34% of the population is under 15.

Foreign Relations:  India is the only place that counts.  They have serious issues over water supplies as they share 56 rivers.  Country is on good relations with China, the US and the EU.  A lot of aid flows into the country.

Relgion Muslim (89%, Hindu 8%).  4th largest Muslim country by population.

Military:  small approx. 350,000

Economy is growing at a fairly brisk rate currently.  Lots of foreign investment.  A large (largest in South Asia) new regional port is planned on an offshore island.  Lots of road, airport and train construction planned.  Microcredit is given credit for a large share of the economic improvement.

Export earnings are over 75% from clothing manufacturing.  Ship building is 2nd. No natural resources to export.

Climate Change:  Sea level rise will be catastrophic for Bangladesh and they will suffer the most and first.  Susceptibility to flooding from cyclones is severe and recent storm surges have pushed water 100km inland.  In the 1988 a severe flood covered 2/3 of the country (before any climate change effects had occurred).  Historically almost 50% of global deaths due to cyclones occur in Bangladesh.  A World Bank report says that a 65cm (yes cm) rise in sea level will wipe out 40% of the country's productive land.  Sea water is already intruding in the water supplies of 20 million people.

An interesting graphic on sea level rise and Bangladesh

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/04/29/bangladesh-and-sea-level-rise/

Migration options.  Bangladesh has only two land neighbors.  India on the west, north and east.  Burma on the southeast.  Across India to the north lie Nepal and Bhutan.  Needless to say, in light of the sea level rise maps and projections, there are no long-term prospects for Bangladesh as a country.  By the time the seas stop rising it will be underwater for all intents and purposes.  The only place these people can go in any numbers is India. 

Conclusion:  Bangladesh is likely to be the first great crises of the climate change era.  By the end of the century it is highly likely that the country will not exist.  But the great crises, probably precipitated by massive flooding due to a storm surge from a large cyclone added to the rising sea levels, is going to be triggered by a large immediate death toll and a forced migration out of the coastal areas.  They will have to go to India and they will try and go to India.  What will India do?  Do they refuse entry to what will likely be 10's of millions of refugees initially and almost everyone eventually; who are also Muslim (don't forget their history of conflict with Muslims).  Where would they put them considering their own population numbers and growth rate and their own severe problems.  This crises could start slow and at almost any time depending on the vagaries of bad storms.  Or nothing could happen for 20 years and then it hits hard and fast.  It seems unlikely that it will not be mostly a done deal by 2050.

Thoughts??
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OldLeatherneck

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #46 on: August 15, 2013, 10:28:50 PM »
Bangladesh

Conclusion:  Bangladesh is likely to be the first great crises of the climate change era.  By the end of the century it is highly likely that the country will not exist.  But the great crises, probably precipitated by massive flooding due to a storm surge from a large cyclone added to the rising sea levels, is going to be triggered by a large immediate death toll and a forced migration out of the coastal areas.  They will have to go to India and they will try and go to India.  What will India do?  Do they refuse entry to what will likely be 10's of millions of refugees initially and almost everyone eventually; who are also Muslim (don't forget their history of conflict with Muslims).  Where would they put them considering their own population numbers and growth rate and their own severe problems.  This crises could start slow and at almost any time depending on the vagaries of bad storms.  Or nothing could happen for 20 years and then it hits hard and fast.  It seems unlikely that it will not be mostly a done deal by 2050.

Thoughts??

JimD,

Excellent synopsis of the looming climate crisis in Bangladesh.  This will probably be the first location where one individual climate related catastrophy will result in a death toll of millions of people.  I have trouble envisioning a peaceful, humanitarian migration of close to 200 million people to either India or Burma.

Another thing to consider when there is a very large sudden death toll, is the spread of diseases, which have no respect for international borders.
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ccgwebmaster

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #47 on: August 16, 2013, 12:31:53 AM »
First I agree with the demand related to minor amounts of migration as you describe (though it will be interesting to see how successful the clampdown on migration in the US from Mexico is).  But this type of migration is not at any where near the level of mass migrations which could be triggered by climate change and local/regional governmental/civilizational collapse.  To me there is an apples and oranges difference.

Well, yes and no. There is a profound difference over short periods of time, yes, I'd agree. Mass movements in response to immediate crises provide a mechanism for rapid and abrupt destabilisation of surrounding regions in a way that the trickle of slow burning migration driven by push and pull factors does not.

However - I think it's easy to underestimate the longer term effects of such trickles. Throughout history people have not necessarily displaced each other purely through conquest and slaughter - but also by colonising, moving into lands occupied by others - and outbreeding them, while tending to gradually constrain the domain that the natives effectively enjoy as their "own".

You see this in the colonisation of America, in the history of the UK - and throughout human history. The cumulative effects of these trickles - often going a long way geographically in modern terms - adds up over time. By changing the composition of the destination population you not only grant other cultures and peoples a foothold but you also influence local policies and attitudes. Suppose that the US were to close the Mexican border - and start ruthlessly machine gunning anyone trying to cross. What proportion of the population in nearby states is already from south America? How would they view this? How would any minority feeling their relatives and kin were being targetted in such a way react? Would you not need to have a seriously harsh backlash against the people already living within the nation to fully control the border? Many of these people might actually be legal citizens (and many more if the amnesty process is implemented, let's set aside my personal gripes on that score...)

So over short periods of time and in terms of positive feedback causing rapid propagation of collapse (my overall view of how the whole process will predominantly play out) - I agree - short distance high headcount migrations are the biggest factor. If you start playing the scenario out over decades as I think you're generally arguing - I think you will find the slow burn migrations actually add up cumulatively to something much bigger and more influential.

It might feel like a few guys crawling over a border fence or showing up in boats - but start looking at the changing demographics of the destination nations and the tendency to take over neighbourhoods in ethnic clumps and to fail to integrate. Fertile ground for riots and social problems - even in Sweden(!) recently.

On the whole though, I agree that the fast burn massive movements from Africa will likely be essentially geographically contained in Africa, setting aside the longer term trickle that I expect would increase if Africa fell apart.

I am not so sure as you that some nations can be propped up for their resources. If all their neighbours have failed - who in the world can project enough military firepower to secure not only themselves but all their resource providers? If the answer is America - I question what it would cost and how the country could keep it's economy operating with such a high level of military spending (given where it's at now!).

It must be kept in mind that the increased problems posed by migrants is but one of many problems stacking up on top of each other. Nations must find more military strength at the same time they also find secure supplies of resources and the means to rebuild infrastructure ever faster and stronger in the face of increasingly extreme weather. As the economy folds and the standard of living starts to dwindle (the slower initial phase of collapse which I think is essentially now underway even in westernised societies) they also require ever more effort to try to maintain internal social stability (that seems especially challenging in the US due to the empowerment of the citizenry to possess meaningful firepower).

Anyway, long post short - I think the trickling effects of migration are more important than some might think, and the resilience of other nations to secure their external resource supplies in the face of increasing demands across the board perhaps overestimated.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 04:33:29 AM by ccgwebmaster »

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #48 on: August 16, 2013, 12:43:00 AM »
Conclusion:  Bangladesh is likely to be the first great crises of the climate change era.  By the end of the century it is highly likely that the country will not exist.  But the great crises, probably precipitated by massive flooding due to a storm surge from a large cyclone added to the rising sea levels, is going to be triggered by a large immediate death toll and a forced migration out of the coastal areas.  They will have to go to India and they will try and go to India.  What will India do?  Do they refuse entry to what will likely be 10's of millions of refugees initially and almost everyone eventually; who are also Muslim (don't forget their history of conflict with Muslims).  Where would they put them considering their own population numbers and growth rate and their own severe problems.  This crises could start slow and at almost any time depending on the vagaries of bad storms.  Or nothing could happen for 20 years and then it hits hard and fast.  It seems unlikely that it will not be mostly a done deal by 2050.

India is already constructing a long fence that speaks to their intentions on this score.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/sep/05/bangladesh-india-border-fence

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/libertycentral/2011/jan/23/india-bangladesh-border-shoot-to-kill-policy

And apparently intending to shoot to kill. If I was the government of Bangladesh - given the failure of the richer nations that are primarily responsible for dealing with their emissions - I'd be training my army and arming as many people as possible in order to give them a chance to break out of their borders and take over space nearby (or facilitating long distance migration to other places entirely).

Whether or not India can resist a large migration from Bangladesh is another question entirely. How many defenceless people (including women and children - even babies) can a soldier reliably shoot without an increasing risk of psychological problems? (this is why the Nazis developed the extermination camps - a way to slaughter large numbers of people quickly in as impersonal a manner as possible).

An aside - but India has a pretty poor track record of looking after it's own people, let alone people fleeing catastrophe from other places.

Rubikscube

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #49 on: August 16, 2013, 01:10:31 AM »
That is a fairly good review of Bangladesh Jim, and I don't think we will have to wait to the end of the century before the entire state practically dissolve. Actually I think the situation will get so bad that India will have to interfere militarily in order to prevent the chaos, as well as the mass migration, from dragging the entire region in to the mud. Probably occupying the country, with the excuse that it seeks to reestablish order and prevent a bloodbath. However, India have got some serious issues to deal with itself, being a chronically overpopulated country, highly dependent on fragile climate patterns and not having the best organized goverment and economy, in addition to having some quite large population centers located at sea level. Other muslim countries, I can imagine, will not be very happy with India occupying a muslim country either, especially not the arch enemy Pakistan. Because of all this, I think that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will end up among the group of countries, where a goverment will be practically nonexistent in the not to remote future. Being like a gigant Syria, where a variety of different rivaling militias and rebel groups constantly fight eachother over religious and ideological issues in the middle of an enormous humaniterian disaster, a conflict fueled by the involvment of foreign powers and the continous presence of climate change.

Myanmar (Burma), on another hand, which is somewhat better of (having less issues with overcrowding), may try to distance itself from the havoc and large groups of migrants, coming from Bangladesh, by building a large wall, of fence, along its western border. The last thing they want is even more muslim refugees creating ethnical conflicts. A move that will be partly financed by China and other countries in South East Asia in a desperate attempt to keep the chaos away from their doorsteps. (This is becoming highly speculative, but that is what this thread is all about, isn't it?). In fact, I think any future goverment in Myanmar that is able to keep the country together, will have the blessing of China (whether it is a democratic of authoritarian one) and that Myanmar therefore has good chance of surviving for quite a while, despite neighbouring countries Bangladesh and India getting into severe trouble.