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JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #50 on: August 16, 2013, 01:55:44 AM »
ccg,  Yes, good points.

As to the Mexican immigration into the US issue I think it will be very interesting.  Having a daughter in law whose grandparents were illegal immigrants from Mexico I get something of a window into this issue.

It is always good to remember if you are an American that our country stole (Mexican American War and Texas revolting against Mexico (with lots of US help) and then joining the US) most of the US southwest from Mexico in the 1800's.  Mexicans don't really think of that land as rightly ours in the first place.  There are Mexican Americans who can date their ancestry on these lands back to before the US existed as a country.  I live in Arizona and frequently get a rise out of the locals by joking that we live on occupied territory and are going to have to give it back someday.  Not only would quite a few Americans not from Texas be more than happy to give Texas back it seems a lot of Texans would be happy to go their own way as well (just joking OLN  ;)

Your point about immigration (and in our case the Mexicans that never left) changing a country a lot is a big part of the political problems in the States in my opinion.  Latino's are the biggest ethnic group in the US after whites.  In some states the demographic trends indicate that in the not too distant future they are going to take political control.  This race issue is IMHO a big driver of a lot of the extreme right wing political views in the US.  Similar race issues are causing problems in a number of European countries as you mentioned.

If we get around to writing up what is likely to happen to the US as collapse overtakes it those demographic race issues along with secessionist tendencies/desires in many parts of the US will certainly play a part in what happens here.  That would be an interesting discussion.

I missed the items about the fence construction on the India/Bangladesh border.  Definitely indicates the direction that situation is likely to go.  There is, of course, not a chance that Bangladesh could, by themselves, change the directions of Indian intentions.  And if Pakistan tried to help Bangladesh I would expect a good chance of a nuclear exchange.

Rubikscube

I had not considered that India might just take the country over in order to manage the situation.  If the UN is still functioning at that time it would make sense for the remaining large powers to try and keep a lid on the situation and they might encourage such a thing.  After all, even delaying a possible nuclear exchange on the sub-continent would be perceived to be in everyone's interests.  But, like you say, India is going to be struggling with  keeping their house functioning and the Bangladesh issue could just overwhelm them.

Another big issue for south east Asia is Vietnam.  Sea level rise is going to demolish the rice growing regions there as well.  Not to mention they have big issues with water on the Mekong being used upstream and low flow from loss of melt in the Himalaya's.  Maybe we should look at them and see what their prospects look like.
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

TerryM

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #51 on: August 16, 2013, 06:11:44 AM »
If we're considering cyclonic flooding (as I think we should be), isn't it likely that at least the western border with India will be inundated as well? Setting up border guards with lethal orders may work during reasonable weather but when everything is under water manning the border becomes problematical.
The western border doesn't appear defensible when rising oceans are coupled with storm surge.
Terry

mabs

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #52 on: August 16, 2013, 07:05:14 AM »
I've been itching for a while to post a few thoughts here. I have another post rattling around in my head, but I think I'll leave it to incubate a bit longer. I do however have a quick thought I want to get out.

I apologize if I'm misreading this, but it seems to me that most people posting here seem to make the implicit assumption that it will still be government that will govern us. I'm not sure if your use of the word "government" is loosely defined as some centralized form of organization with authority (however derived) to issue orders, organize collective action, and otherwise get people to do things, or you rather mean something related to the nation-state. However, in the opening post, it seems to me that the latter definition of government is preferred. Most of the  "forms of government" defined in the wiki link at the top of the thread have been largely developed to apply to the nation-state as a form of human organization, with its various flavors and nuances. Whether we are talking about a liberal democracy, a dictatorship, monarchy (with its many flavors), we are talking about forms of organization that take the nation-state as given.

The nation-state is a relatively new thing in the history of humanity. We generally consider the Treaty of Westphalia as the official birth of the nation-state, but it wasn't until the middle of the 19th century that the nation-state began to spread throughout Europe, and it wasn't until after WWI that it became the only accepted form of organization. Nation-states share a number of basic characteristics: a defined territory, with recognized boarders, a government that has the monopoly of force within the territory, and (some argue) a government generally recognized to have the right to exercise said force within said territory. Today, if some territory is not part of a nation-state (e.g. Palestine, N. Pakistan) we really don't know what to do with it. We give them  names meant to show that they fell short somewhere and require fixing of some sort. For example, these regions may be called semi-autonomous regions, or failed states, or no-man's land.

The reason I bring this up is because I want to point out that the nation-state, with all its flavors of internal organization, is ultimately a product of the Industrial Revolution, and its spread and success coincides with the discovery of oil. It blew out of the water all other forms of human organization: city states, clans, tribes, guilds, princedoms, kingdoms, feuds, dominions, lands, and.... no-man's lands, which were a heck of a lot more common before the advent of the nation state. There was a lot of diversity in terms of human organizations back in the day, and the nation-state drove them all to extinction.

That being said, under moderate rates of climate change, I find it hard to see how governments, of the nation-state variety, can maintain their monopoly of force within their domain and fight off external challenges to their sovereignty in the years to come. Political scientists are already wringing their hands over the demise of the nation state in the face of global forces. States find it hard to retain control over what is going on within their territory, the outcomes of their policies are entirely at the mercy of what is happening half-way across the globe. They also find it hard to insulate themselves from external influences, particularly when those external factors could easily undo all the best policies they've put in place over the last century and that people have come to rely on. In the past two decades or so there has been a marked tendency of nation-states to give up pieces of their sovereignty, either to territorial subdivisions within their boarders or to transfer pieces of it to inter-governmental organizations, the EU. If we look outside the OECD nations, we see a whole lot of troubled states, struggling to hold on to some semblance of control - the Arab Spring and its aftermath being the most obvious example.

It is hard to see what could reverse this trend, even under normal circumstances. It is easy to see how climate change, even at moderate levels of impact, would only accelerate and exacerbate it. For example, governments will find it difficult to retain the loyalty of the armed forces when it has a tough time feeding its population. It will be hard for any government to retain the loyalty (loosely defined) of the elites when it cannot protect them from natural disasters or the throngs of people laying claim to their stuff. When resources dwindle, so does the ability of governments to control what's happening within their territory. They will certainly try to retain control, but it is largely pointless: the stuff that created the complexity that allowed governments to exist is gone, and so are nation-states as a form of organization.

That does not mean it's chaos all the way down.

I'll stop here, for now.
No god and no religion can survive ridicule. No church, no nobility, no royalty or other fraud, can face ridicule in a fair field and live.
-Mark Twain, Notebook, 1888

TerryM

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #53 on: August 16, 2013, 02:50:37 PM »
Mabs
Thanks for your post. The end of the nation state as you describe it may equate with the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.
Terry

ritter

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #54 on: August 16, 2013, 05:56:40 PM »
Mabs
Thanks for your post. The end of the nation state as you describe it may equate with the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.
Terry

Oh, Terry. You're such a killjoy!  :)

I'm no expert at governments but I can't see the larger countries staying in one piece. Here in the US, geography is as varied as political sentiment. How that all holds together under the stresses coming is beyond me. I see secession and the rise of states as the central government, followed by the decline in states and the rise of local governments in some places, warlords in others and whatnot in others. The crystal ball is cloudy but the overall trend is away from civilization as we've known it, just as Terry says.

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #55 on: August 16, 2013, 06:34:54 PM »
Mabs

Well put.

I agree with what you posted.  I did not in any way intend to imply that the most prevalent forms of government today and the nation-state are permanent fixtures.  I consider the term "government" to apply to any level of governing clear down to the tribal group level.  It just takes different forms in different places at different times and circumstances.  The Wiki government descriptions cover most all possible government forms clear down to that level, but they do not explicitly lay them all out.

Your description of the gradual breaking down of the nation state is a great description of our slow ongoing collapse.  We can expect that to accelerate in many locations in the near future (Egypt anyone). 

I think post collapse governmental structures will resemble those of the middle ages (i.e. feudal structures with a modern twist) in most cases a lot more than what we have today.  I expect to see the rise of aristocracy, a noble class and social immobility in many places.  Also religious dictatorships, war lords, despots, a few fairly large and powerful countries (or functioning remnants thereof) which resemble their predecessors, etc.  A rise in slave based economies....and worse.

But all this takes time. Barring the Black Swan, which turns the applecart over all at once, I expect the pace of collapse to very gradually accelerate over the coming decades towards some kind of crescendo where we past the point where any meaningful global civilizational structure exists any longer. 

Feel free to speculate away on what you think we will see and why.  What is hardest in this type of activity is to imagine and consider the high impact low probability events which have a disproportionate impact on the end results.  Guaranteed there are a couple of those events in our future that we are not discussing now or giving any real consideration of.  The smartest thing that Donald Rumsfeld ever said was, "It's not the known knowns, or the known unknowns that gets you. It is the unknown unknowns."  Bangladesh is predictable.  It is a known known.  What is going to bite us that we have not thought about yet or have not planned for. 
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 #56 on: August 18, 2013, 01:35:25 PM »
.............Not only would quite a few Americans not from Texas be more than happy to give Texas back it seems a lot of Texans would be happy to go their own way as well (just joking OLN  ;)
.........

JimD,

No offense taken.  About 5-6 months ago TerryM and I were chatting about whether Canada would become a refuge for displaced climate refugees.  I told him then that I would gladly drive 40% of the population of Texas to the Canadian border.  Not a day goes by that I don't see bumper stickers that say "SECEDE" or "Take Back America".  The political climate here in Texas is devolving faster than the real climate.  To the point that my wife (native born Texan) and I are travelling to the East Coast next month looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #57 on: August 18, 2013, 07:21:43 PM »
.....  Not a day goes by that I don't see bumper stickers that say "SECEDE" or "Take Back America".  The political climate here in Texas is devolving faster than the real climate.  To the point that my wife (native born Texan) and I are travelling to the East Coast next month looking for greener pastures elsewhere.

Wow.  Well hopefully you are not seeing both of those bumper stickers on the same vehicle as it would be a little stupid to advocate for both. Life there must be getting you down if you are thinking of leaving your chosen retirement location.  You could always come back to AZ.  I don't see secessionist bumper stickers here more than every other day  ;D  Actually us commie/liberal/minority lovers, or whatever we are supposed to be, are taking this state over slowly but surely.  Maybe we can do a prisoner exchange.  I'll grab one of the guys with a big  wheel truck and the politically correct secede bumper sticker (we even have a few with Confederate flags we could do without) and exchange him for you and your wife.  How's that.

Your post does bring up the interesting point of whether the US will be able to hold together long-term and if not how that breakup will manifest itself.  There have always been a lot of secessionist feelings all over the west.  Wiki lists active movements in Alaska, Texas, Vermont, the Pacific Northwest (WA, OR, Northern CA, and British Columbia) and a group in the South that wants to reconvene the Confederacy.  There are, of course, folks who think that way in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and other places as well.   

Now a lot of those folks do not think the issue through very well and do not realize that they are very dependent on resources and money from other parts of the US.  Not to mention the wealth pump that the American empire is overall.  But many just do not seem to care.  The long-term effort on the political right in this country to generate mistrust and hatred of the "government" has led a lot of people down an illogical path.  A lot of Texans do not realize how dependent they are on federal monies coming into the state via federal transfer payments and Defense Dept expenditures. 

My perception of this phenomenon is that in large part the secessionist movements are founded on a nostalgic view of a somewhat mythological past.  Especially in the west there is a lot of superficial connection to our frontier roots and the ability of our ancestors to live, if not outside the law, at least independent of it.  This was not in actual practice what occurred but many seem to think so.  And then there is the white, evangelical, Libertarian/Anarchist, Tea Party aspects of this whole side of the political spectrum.  I am convinced that a major part of this intensity of feeling is the subconscious reaction of our basic nature seeing what is happening in the world along the lines of losing our dominant place and being replaced by these people who don't look like us, think like us, or go to our churches and we are not going to put up with it.   Demographics are working to change the mix of our population and, no matter whether we liked or hated the way we were in the past, the US is going to be a different place and there is no returning to the way it used to be.

It seems obvious that secession, anytime in the near to medium future is so clearly not in anyone's interest that it just will not get the momentum to get anywhere.  Ignoring the constitutional issue of whether a state has such rights or even whether the nation as a whole would put up with it if someplace tried to do such a thing.  Post collapse all bets are off if the Union no longer exists in a meaningful form that can provide joint security and a financial base which is clearly a better choice than various states going their own way.  Secession will come then because no one will care any more whether a state leaves or not.
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 #58 on: August 18, 2013, 07:46:10 PM »
...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....

I just came across an article discussing the Muslim refugee problem coming out of Myanmar.

Quote
...He was part of the swelling flood of Rohingya who have fled Myanmar by sea this past year, in one of the biggest movements of boat people since the Vietnam War ended.

Their fast-growing exodus is a sign of Muslim desperation in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, also known as Burma. Ethnic and religious tensions simmered during 49 years of military rule. But under the reformist government that took power in March 2011, Myanmar has endured its worst communal bloodshed in generations.....

Looks like a little ethnic cleansing going on.  So India has built a fence and shoots on sight anyone crossing it and Myanmar is expelling its own Muslim population.  Kind of narrows the options for Bangladesh.  This, as is said, will not end well.

http://www.trust.org/item/20130717124133-mkzbt/
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

retiredbill

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #59 on: August 19, 2013, 12:33:40 AM »

I just came across an article discussing the Muslim refugee problem coming out of Myanmar.


There was a segment on the refugee problem on the Newshour last week.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/july-dec13/rohingya_08-15.html

People would pay for safe passage out and then be held for ransom on some island. Those who couldn't
pay ransom would be sold as slaves on fishing boats.

But how many such situations are due to climate change and how many to religious persecution
not related to climate change? Or ongoing practices brought to light by modern communications? I'm
not sure we can tell unless the causative factor is crop failure or sea level encroachment. I'm reminded
of the saying that everything looks like a nail to someone with a new hammer.

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #60 on: August 19, 2013, 05:56:08 PM »
Peru
Time for a place that is in relatively good shape.

I guess relatively is a key word.

This article is from 2010 and refers to the IPCC apparently rating them as third most vulnerable country in terms of climate change:

http://www.theguardian.com/journalismcompetition/amateur-winners-2010-amateurs

Dying glaciers, agriculture already affected by increasingly extreme weather?

This article suggests a possibility of migration from the land to the cities (a recurring theme as people find it impossible to continue to farm in an economically viable manner):

http://www.perusupportgroup.org.uk/article-168.html

Another link about Peruvian migration:

http://www.iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home/news-and-views/press-briefing-notes/pbn-2012/pbn-listing/peru-migration-profile-confirms.html

Seems to already be quite a strong migration pressure outwards.

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.

Having taken a little look - I'm not so sure? The killer is the glaciers - though the escalating difficulty of agriculture is potentially significant too (as everywhere).

I think the point about people moving to the cities - a trend we see all around the world - is an interesting trend to look at in the context of climate change. It means large numbers of people are abandoning their self reliance and food security (albeit sometimes compromised already by the effects of climate change and other factors) to rely upon the rest of their society and species to provide the essentials of life.

In the context of the changes we are seeing this seems rather harmful to me, while it may make rational sense for any one family in any given set of circumstances the net effect is to take people off the land and into vulnerability. It overloads city infrastructure and administration at the sort of time that it is most stressed from other factors too. It is arguably a recipe for accelerated collapse within the cities (and later, the spread of epic pandemics).

On the whole, I don't think I'll put Peru on my list of climate change utopias to set sail for just yet.

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #61 on: August 19, 2013, 06:30:13 PM »

.....People would pay for safe passage out and then be held for ransom on some island. Those who couldn't
pay ransom would be sold as slaves on fishing boats.

But how many such situations are due to climate change and how many to religious persecution
not related to climate change? Or ongoing practices brought to light by modern communications? I'm
not sure we can tell unless the causative factor is crop failure or sea level encroachment. I'm reminded
of the saying that everything looks like a nail to someone with a new hammer.

I did not intend what is going on there now to have any connection to climate change.  The comment about the Muslim refugee problem was to provide further data about possible migration routes out of Bangladesh.  Myanmar was mentioned as a possibility.  If the current situation there is of a historical Muslim/Buddhist conflict that is in the process of getting much worse then it indicates that that direction is not much of an option.

Just as a general note the climate change refugee problem in this part of the world is eventually going to get horrendous.  Thailand, Vietnam and Bangladesh are going to get hammered with sea level rise at some point.  People are going to be passing each other heading to the opposite places.
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 #62 on: August 19, 2013, 07:47:03 PM »
ccg

Yes, without a doubt I mean it relatively.

Peru
Time for a place that is in relatively good shape.

I guess relatively is a key word.

....Dying glaciers, agriculture already affected by increasingly extreme weather?

This article suggests a possibility of migration from the land to the cities (a recurring theme as people find it impossible to continue to farm in an economically viable manner):

.....
Seems to already be quite a strong migration pressure outwards.

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.

Having taken a little look - I'm not so sure? The killer is the glaciers - though the escalating difficulty of agriculture is potentially significant too (as everywhere).

I think the point about people moving to the cities - a trend we see all around the world - is an interesting trend to look at in the context of climate change. It means large numbers of people are abandoning their self reliance and food security (albeit sometimes compromised already by the effects of climate change and other factors) to rely upon the rest of their society and species to provide the essentials of life.

In the context of the changes we are seeing this seems rather harmful to me, while it may make rational sense for any one family in any given set of circumstances the net effect is to take people off the land and into vulnerability. It overloads city infrastructure and administration at the sort of time that it is most stressed from other factors too. It is arguably a recipe for accelerated collapse within the cities (and later, the spread of epic pandemics).

On the whole, I don't think I'll put Peru on my list of climate change utopias to set sail for just yet.

You have a lot of good points.  I am not talking about a great place to go but I think a place that can survive.

I did not intend to give the impression that the country will not suffer a collapse as everyone is going to have that happen sooner or later.  They have way too many people and as the glacier dependent agriculture locations lose their ability to sustain the numbers people living there they will migrate to the cities or to other countries as they can.  Until that option is no longer available or viable.  Like everywhere Peru is going to have to have a big population reduction sometime in the future.  Once the population reduction has occurred they probably can feed them selves or close to it.   

I agree that much of the migration to the cities going on today is not a good thing.  But it is certainly understandable.  All over the world people are migrating away from subsistence farms to cities or other countries looking for more economic opportunity.  A large number of those farms are still viable for subsistence living.  It is just that those people want more from life.  I think this trend will slow and stop on an aggregate basis and eventually all land that can be used will see farming activity on it.  Collapse will force a lot of people back in that direction.  Of course there are too many people and many will have to perish before any kind of equilibrium is found.

In Peru areas where they are currently farming will still be farmed as much as possible, just with less people as water supplies decrease.  Subsistence farming will grow in the Amazon region as well as ranching, logging and other uses.  Not necessarily good for the environment in the long run but they have not seriously exploited this part of the country and we know they will because they have no choice.   

Other than over population their biggest problem is water.  Population reduction and relocation, water conservation and further exploitation, and some migration I guess will eventually reach a point where there is a balance.   One way or another.  Peru at that point is still going to have exploitable resources which can be traded on the world market for bulk food and that is key in the future.

Not a utopia but certainly a big step up from Bangladesh.

I read up some on your point that Peru is ranked by the IPCC as the 3rd most vulnerable due to climate change (because it surprised me).  The author of the article did not get that quite right.  I could find no IPCC ranking but rather a discussion of different studies on that subject (one of which had Peru 3rd).  See IPCC quote below. 

Quote
However, few studies have been globally comprehensive, and the literature lacks consensus on the usefulness of indicators of generic adaptive capacity and the robustness of the results (Downing et al., 2001; Moss et al., 2001; Yohe and Tol, 2002; Brooks et al., 2005; Haddad, 2005). A comparison of results across five vulnerability assessments shows that the 20 countries ranked ‘most vulnerable’ show little consistency across studies (Eriksen and Kelly, 2007). Haddad (2005) has shown empirically that the ranking of adaptive capacity of nations is significantly altered when national aspirations are made explicit. He demonstrates that different aspirations (e.g., seeking to maximise the welfare of citizens, to maintain control of citizens, or to reduce the vulnerability of the most vulnerable groups) lead to different weightings of the elements of adaptive capacity, and hence to different rankings of the actual capacity of countries to adapt. It has been argued that national indicators fail to capture many of the processes and contextual factors that influence adaptive capacity, and thus provide little insight on adaptive capacity at the level where most adaptations will take place (Eriksen and Kelly, 2007).

This study listing the 100 countries most vulnerable does not even have Peru on it. 

www.gm.undp.org/Reports/100%20nations%20most%20vulnerable%20to%20climate%20change%20


Here is a World Bank list of about 50 countries that has a pretty non-political metric with some granularity.  It might be a good one to use to decide what countries to look hard at.  Peru is not on it either.  They do have an interesting note about Bangladesh that I missed.  For a time there are going to be very large melts coming out of the Himalaya due to the warming climate.  That is expected to result in yearly flooding in Bangladesh of 30-70% of the country.  That is a big additional negative.

http://www.irinnews.org/report/85179/global-twelve-countries-on-climate-change-hit-list
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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 #63 on: August 19, 2013, 10:32:40 PM »
You have a lot of good points.  I am not talking about a great place to go but I think a place that can survive.

Technically I think a lot of places will be survivable for the foreseeable future - certainly for some decades - just with a rapidly diminishing carrying capacity (cases such as Bangladesh where it can go to zero fast in large regions are relatively special cases).

I expect near future collapse of civilisation (and hence population) but I don't anticipate massive restrictions in the habitable geographic range of our species until significantly later - over a timescale of centuries. Even if there were a large abrupt release of methane, I wouldn't update that to faster than a timescale of decades - the earth system still has to absorb heat and undergo the physical changes in question even then.

The collapse of civilisation will be just another phase of our history in a sense - in that sense there are numerous precedents. The subsequent restriction of habitable range will be something far beyond our historical experience and is the bigger ultimate threat in many ways (not least of which it implies that the pressures driving collapse ever deeper will be unrelenting for centuries, but also that there is a distinct possibility a majority of the land surface may no longer be habitable for our descendents). Whether or not civilisation can re-emerge at all under such conditions is an open question (and precisely where I tackle most of my personal efforts).

I read up some on your point that Peru is ranked by the IPCC as the 3rd most vulnerable due to climate change (because it surprised me).  The author of the article did not get that quite right.  I could find no IPCC ranking but rather a discussion of different studies on that subject (one of which had Peru 3rd).  See IPCC quote below. 

I really ought to have pursued that more before referring to it - thanks for the links - though the 100 countries one seems broken as is?

I note the recurring presence of India and China in several categories on the second link - those two are going to shake the world when they go down.

Now that you mention it, I recall reading before about the increased river flooding from glacial melt in Bangadlesh - they get hammered from both sides - all the harder to contend with, but I don't think it fundamentally changes things, they're done either way.

Rubikscube

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #64 on: August 20, 2013, 12:26:02 AM »
When it comes to Peru, I don't think we shall be to worried about their domestic food production, even though Peru is highly vulnerable to climate events, such as El Ninos and melting glaciers. As JimD mentions they have a huge production capasity in their vast areas of untouched rainforest. This is also the case, I think, for rest of South America. Despite the fact that they are very vulnerable to climate change (just look at the rollercoster which the water levels of the Amazon river have gone through during recent years), their food production capasity outnumber their own population to such an extent that I think they will be self sustained with food despite of climate change's dire effects.

However, that said, this does NOT mean in any way that South American countries will thrive, as if though they where on their own in the world, they may not even do fairly good. All countries that have food will, in a not to distante future, have a resource that everybody very strongly demands, which is not always a very good thing. Just look at what happened to Africa, they had copper, gold, silver and virtually anything else that was in great demand and today they find themselves at the very bottom for the world order. If countries like Brazil and Argentina were among the richest in the world, then they would be in a golden position, but they are not. As the Power of US has gradually decreased, virtually all South American countries have been able to showcase growth and progress for the last decade, but with the exception of Chile perhaps, they all remain poor. Their gouverments are not very solid, nor are their economies especially well structured and the huge gap between different layers of society as well as high crime rates, remains a constant problem for all South American countries, that include of course Peru. A country such as China (or you might as well say South-Korea or Japan), with its economic muscles and a desperate need to feed a far to big population, would have both the motive, and means, to destabilize and eventually seize great control over the resources to a fragile region such as South America. That is, after all, what the US have been doing for the last century.

In the end I predict an ever so slightly increase in autocratism and the number of old fashion ruthless dictatorships, both in Peru and the rest of South America, though some countries will resist giving up its resouces more strongly that others, something that might again spark some quite significant military conflicts. There are many examples of attempted "colonizations", resulting in full scale revolutions that eventually have lead to all kinds of different regimes as well as huge regional conflicts.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #65 on: August 20, 2013, 06:20:07 PM »
Rubikscube

I agree that South America is in a "relatively" good position when compared to places like Africa and Asia.  Not many places there appear on lists of the most impacted countries by climate change.

As time goes on, and the (once again) relative position of the US in the power rankings changes, I would expect some retrenchment in the colony aspects of superpower activities.  It takes lots of resources to project power a great distance.  Large fleets, many aircraft and a network of  bases to support them.  The US is currently expanding in Asia to meet the growing threat from China.  But will we be able to manage such costs 20 years from now.  Eventually we will have to pull back to a more regional, vice global, structure we can afford.  The same thing will happen to China.  Its troubles are going to catch up with it as well.  I do not believe that in 2040 China will have replaced the US as the leading power in the world.  The factors influencing the approaching collapse will degrade everyone's capabilities.  So, in the future sometime, I expect we will drawback from Asia where China will end up with the overall dominant position and there is little likelihood that China will be in a position to challenge us for the dominant position in South America.  Actually I think it certain that the US would not allow any other power to intrude into "our" hemisphere.  Australia and New Zealand, one could argue, are going to be very impacted when the US has to pull back as China really needs to control that area for its resources.  That would be another interesting discussion.

South America has lots of resources to offer a colonial power such as the US.  Geographically it also is far closer to the US than China and we have a long history of exerting control in the region.  I would expect that much if not all of South America to have returned to a colonial type of  control by the US near mid-century.  In a world of declining resources, climate change and over population the Western Hemisphere is best suited to become a viable enclave in a world in chaos so we will work hard to control it.  This is not to say that the countries in South America will be totally controlled by the US nor that many of the countries there will not recognize it being in their best interest to be in the sphere of US influence vice on their own or under Chinese influence.

Like you, I expect eventually that government structures will mostly return to autocratic dictatorships which are heavily influenced by the US.  Gradually though. 
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 #66 on: August 20, 2013, 10:20:31 PM »
Peru, or any country rich in anything that the US may covet will be at risk of takeover when a scarcity presents itself. Iraq and Libya had oil, but any resource that the US considers as a necessity will be grabbed up one way or the other. Canada's fresh water will eventually find it's way to the American West whether Canada wishes to sell or not. The Tar Sands would be developed even if a new Canadian government wanted to halt production.
Other countries will probably cut back on military spending before the US making the military imbalance even larger than it is at present.
Any future scenarios have to account for the presence of a very large, very vicious, wounded animal taking whatever resources it believes it needs for it's own survival. Everyone else will be walking softly and keeping their heads low.
Terry

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #67 on: August 20, 2013, 10:25:58 PM »
Peru, or any country rich in anything that the US may covet will be at risk of takeover when a scarcity presents itself. Iraq and Libya had oil, but any resource that the US considers as a necessity will be grabbed up one way or the other. Canada's fresh water will eventually find it's way to the American West whether Canada wishes to sell or not. The Tar Sands would be developed even if a new Canadian government wanted to halt production.
Other countries will probably cut back on military spending before the US making the military imbalance even larger than it is at present.
Any future scenarios have to account for the presence of a very large, very vicious, wounded animal taking whatever resources it believes it needs for it's own survival. Everyone else will be walking softly and keeping their heads low.
Terry
Terry, I'm afraid you're right, and that the USA (if they are still U) will not be the only power on the prowl.

SATire

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #68 on: August 25, 2013, 05:01:03 PM »


Somalia

[...]

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.

JimD - there is a part of Somalia called Somaliland which managed to evolve a bit since 1991 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somaliland
There was a very good arcticle in German Zeit "Fortune in the blind angle of the world" http://www.zeit.de/2013/32/afrika-somaliland: It is now some kind of federal-religious-democratic system, able to live from taxes and to invest a bit in education.

So it seems to be possible to survive after collapse if you can manage to stay in the dead angle. That would also fit the brute/realistic conclusion presented by TerryM.
 

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #69 on: August 25, 2013, 06:06:47 PM »
SATire

Yes this is interesting.

But, as the Zeit article notes:  no other country recognizes Somaliland formally.  There would not seem to be any natural protectors of this region nor reasons for such alliances to form.  Nobody bothers them because they have nothing anyone wants.

The article describes the unusual occurrence of the muslim tribes convening and working out a power sharing arrangement based upon Sharia Law.  Instead of the usual resorting to bloodshed until one tribe gains, at least temporary, ascendancy over the others.  This is certainly a good thing.

They also have some fishing and an export market for meat production.  Not a bad situation for now.

But I note that the article indicates that oil may have been discovered on their territory (though no production yet).  This is not necessarily good news as it will likely break down their security situation.  Right now no outside entities are interested in what they have.  If there is oil there that will change.  The other tribes in the rest of Somalia will decide that this breakaway part of their country will need to be brought back under their control.   That would mean more civil war.

Also one has to consider the long-term effects of population increases and AGW effects.  These factors might also be considered to have a high chance of changing the situation in Somaliland for the worse.

 
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 #70 on: August 25, 2013, 06:43:27 PM »
Rubikscube

I agree that South America is in a "relatively" good position when compared to places like Africa and Asia.  Not many places there appear on lists of the most impacted countries by climate change.

As time goes on, and the (once again) relative position of the US in the power rankings changes, I would expect some retrenchment in the colony aspects of superpower activities.  It takes lots of resources to project power a great distance.  Large fleets, many aircraft and a network of  bases to support them.  The US is currently expanding in Asia to meet the growing threat from China.  But will we be able to manage such costs 20 years from now.  Eventually we will have to pull back to a more regional, vice global, structure we can afford.  The same thing will happen to China.  Its troubles are going to catch up with it as well.  I do not believe that in 2040 China will have replaced the US as the leading power in the world.  The factors influencing the approaching collapse will degrade everyone's capabilities.

I think this is spot on. The Soviet Union collapsed not because they were unable to compete with the U.S. technologically but because they were unable to continue to invest in their military at the levels to compete..

The domestic costs imposed by AGW (fortifying coastal cities, infrastructure to secure water for areas in need and to prevent flooding where it occurs etc.) will suck available resources from our military.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #71 on: August 25, 2013, 06:51:19 PM »
Other countries will probably cut back on military spending before the US making the military imbalance even larger than it is at present.

While this may be true, it takes a great deal of a society's wealth for an empire to project power across the planet. Far fewer resources are required by small countries in order to suck those resources out of the empire. Look at Iraq. Thousands of home made IED's made the cost of occupation prohibitive.

The U.S. economy is already showing the strains of supporting our empire. Trillions of dollars (latest estimates are $4 trillion if we include the long term care of our injured veterans) will be spent as a result of our little ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you want to understand the long term fate of any empire, read "The Sorrows of Empire" by Chalmers Johnson.

SATire

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #72 on: August 25, 2013, 07:35:05 PM »
JimD, indeed Somaliland is surely not in a fine shape (e.g. female circumcision) - but doing way better than the Somalia. The situation in small societies may be principally unstable, if they have resources big societies are interested in. As TerryM concluded, you could limit that point to interest by USA. Maybe within this century we will have to add China as candidate, after they will have matched USA not only economically but military-wise.

I think, future governmental structures must still be able to maintain all points of "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs" (see e.g. above in OLN's-post) for their poeple to stay stable and accepted. So some kind of democratic structures, human rights or liberty must be existent - but the structures could be very different dependent on regional/historical backgrounds and the different perception of the word "liberal" or other priorities in religious societies or philosophies in Asia. 

To maintain both acceptance of the poeple and to reach a size to get more stable next to USA (or China) I think the principle of subsidiarity is usefull. Local self-administration under some kind of federal government should be extended by contracts beween countries/nations/societies. Maybe the EU could grow to something like that in future. E.g. after Russian gas/oil will be consumed or became obsolete the EU could savely grow far east without beeing to much bothered by the powerfull. It could also be attractive to Africa - if there wasn't that population increase preventing any sustainable future there.

Since the basic need is education, it must be provided by that governmental system in optimal way: That is not only the most valuable resource you can have - it can also not be stolen other than by attraction. It is also the basis for sustainable economy, ecological live, constant population and the fundament for stable governmental structures. So in future societies/regions will have to compete via educational systems instead of resources.

The big question is - how to fit big international companies in such a system? Neither the German way (companies "advise" the government) nor the French way (companies "are owned" by the government) nor the EU or USA way (regulations from competing lobbying) nor Chinas "brute-force capitalism with some plans" seem to be practical in my opinion. I think we would need some kind of economical government system to solve the AGW-problems in the long run. 


JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #73 on: August 25, 2013, 07:59:28 PM »
SATire

Quote
..... if they have resources big societies are interested in.  As TerryM concluded, you could limit that point to interest by USA. Maybe within this century we will have to add China as candidate, after they will have matched USA not only economically but military-wise. .....

I do not agree that one can limit this point to the US.  If it was modified to say that the US has greater interests than any other country, but that others will also have significant interests perhaps.  There are a lot of wealthy countries which have resource/security needs that they will work hard to satisfy.  The US and China will not be playing this game by themselves.

Given your perspective I see the consistency of your description of how you would like to see the world change into the future.  My perspective is very different than yours and I come to very different conclusions.  But that is why we are all here discussing the future and gaining understanding of different perspectives. 

 
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

SATire

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #74 on: August 27, 2013, 04:42:38 PM »
I do not agree that one can limit this point to the US.  [...]
If I understood Terry right (here and in that mitigation scenario thread), US is currently the only one able and willing to enforce their interests. I am not talking about good or bad here, that is just an observation. And I agree with Terry, that this observation must be considered in any plan for the future. So we have to find ways to survive and to evolve inside or next to the "wounded animal".

Given your perspective I see the consistency of your description of how you would like to see the world change into the future.  My perspective is very different than yours and I come to very different conclusions.  But that is why we are all here discussing the future and gaining understanding of different perspectives. 


You are right with that point. I have to admit, that my perspective on future changes is strongly biased. Since I have children (teenagers) biology forces me to some responsibilty. So I am strongly biased to governmental systems and transition periods which both offer minimum risks. Secondly, I am biased to sytems and transitions which could be feasible to go in my personal environment/experiences during my lifetime - because that makes risks a bit manageable for me personally.

Subsidarity and the way the EU grows after collapse in eastern Europe and Yugoslawia makes me think, that the brocken parts of collapsed countries can be peacefully joined under some common rights. That could also work in future, I think and hope. There is plenty of room for different governmenal systems below the roof - until all the needs can be fulfilled for the poeple.

To go arround the collapse due to AGW/fossil fuel crisis I also prefer smooth transitions - e.g. to start to switch to renewables allready now (until 2030 or 2050, since that is easy and allready targeted by several communities) and not when it is to late (when we allready suffer the crisis). Energy-wise that is the same - whether oil/coal is empty or we stop to use it to limit AGW is a similar scenario.  I assume the latter case much more probable - the stone age also did not end because of a lack of stones ;-) AGW-wise there is a difference - the planet will be quite different in both scenarios.

To conlude - yes I am biased. I am biased to any feasible path to a governmental system worth to live in and which can be achieved in and by my generation without sacrificing my children. I am pretty sure that you may be biased in a very similar way - so differences could mainly be in the perception of "feasible" or "worth to live in" and the "how" and "when".
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 04:48:06 PM by SATire »

JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #75 on: August 27, 2013, 06:02:01 PM »
SATire

Yes, I understand.

On this point however..

Quote
If I understood Terry right (here and in that mitigation scenario thread), US is currently the only one able and willing to enforce their interests. I am not talking about good or bad here, that is just an observation. And I agree with Terry, that this observation must be considered in any plan for the future. So we have to find ways to survive and to evolve inside or next to the "wounded animal".

...I still disagree.  Terry may be right that the US is currently the only country 'willing' to exert this kind of force.  But that is somewhat debatable as China is exerting force over resources in Asia right now.  One could also claim that a part of the Russian strategy is to control future resources as well.  I contend that many countries have the ability (to varying degrees) to enforce their interests but currently are not choosing to do so; the EU, NATO, individual European countries, Japan, Israel, India.  In my opinion the EU (in the guise of NATO) has drifted into and out of enforcement actions as they see fit (in concert with the US - we were not by ourselves in Iraq and Afghanistan nor are we likely to be by ourselves in Syria).  At the current time many entities or countries who have the ability to enforce their interests (or could develop the ability) have no need to do so.  This will change over time as stresses from climate change, food production and energy issues worsen the security situation for those countries.  Then I expect them to act either unilaterally or in concert with other powers.  When have countries not behaved in this fashion?  Many of those countries which have the ability to use force have not had the need because the US has been providing a part of their military/security burden for them.   Part of the price they pay for this service is that they assume a secondary status in the strategic relationship they have with the US.  Quid pro quo.
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 #76 on: August 27, 2013, 06:48:18 PM »
Quote
If I understood Terry right (here and in that mitigation scenario thread), US is currently the only one able and willing to enforce their interests. I am not talking about good or bad here, that is just an observation. And I agree with Terry, that this observation must be considered in any plan for the future. So we have to find ways to survive and to evolve inside or next to the "wounded animal".

...I still disagree.  Terry may be right that the US is currently the only country 'willing' to exert this kind of force.  But that is somewhat debatable as China is exerting force over resources in Asia right now.  One could also claim that a part of the Russian strategy is to control future resources as well.  I contend that many countries have the ability (to varying degrees) to enforce their interests but currently are not choosing to do so; the EU, NATO, individual European countries, Japan, Israel, India.  In my opinion the EU (in the guise of NATO) has drifted into and out of enforcement actions as they see fit (in concert with the US - we were not by ourselves in Iraq and Afghanistan nor are we likely to be by ourselves in Syria).  At the current time many entities or countries who have the ability to enforce their interests (or could develop the ability) have no need to do so.  This will change over time as stresses from climate change, food production and energy issues worsen the security situation for those countries.  Then I expect them to act either unilaterally or in concert with other powers.  When have countries not behaved in this fashion?  Many of those countries which have the ability to use force have not had the need because the US has been providing a part of their military/security burden for them.   Part of the price they pay for this service is that they assume a secondary status in the strategic relationship they have with the US.  Quid pro quo.

I think it should also be noted that most nations exert their power more subtly and intelligently than the US. The perception (and I personally think quite rightly) is that the US is more than happy to send it's army around wherever it's whims take it, while more mature nations such as China use economic and diplomatic means of achieving their objectives (and play a much longer term game).

Even in isolation as the worlds only superpower, the US seems to me to represent the epitome of unsustainability. It has struggled to convincingly "win" even relatively minor engagements when it has acted in isolation against far smaller and less well financed and armed nations (I appreciate part of that is a changing perception of what counts as "victory").

With China emerging as the new pre-eminent world power (though I suspect for even less time than the US was), Russia quietly biding it's time and rebuilding and modernising their military and the emergency of a nuclear armed India - I think the world is changing. The US is always - on account of simple geography and resources - going to be a big player in some form or another - but I see it becoming increasingly marginalised and despised on the global stage as the years and decades roll by. You can only go around punching little guys in the face and stealing their lunch money so many times before more mature members of global society start to despise you for it.

Contrary to what many Americans appear to believe - the USA is not the world, and the rest of the world does matter. This, I think, is a major issue retarding American progress at this point - the deeply embedded ignorance of the population as to big picture issues, world events, the role of the US and the context of that role within history - climate change - resource depletion - etc.

An America fast asleep and dreaming an increasingly sour dream from which it is steadfastly refusing to wake up. Without educating people better - how can informed policy and a long term outlook ever emerge? Easier perhaps to bend the power inwards - reinforcing the message of greatness and propaganda thereof, while increasing the isolation from the rest of the world and using an ascendant police state to crack down on dissent?

As I see it, the stage is ripe for a long term thinking China to harvest the disenfranchised nations, build diplomatic relations with them and in the not too distant future - even underwrite their security as the US has done in recent history. Once that tide really sets in - most nations will switch to the stronger side. China is quietly also modernising their military and throwing around it's weight in "their" region - which will expand greatly.

Not to want to sound too negative about the US - my impression is there are some great ideas buried in the morass of selfish consumerism that drives the nation now. If you turn back time and look at the ideals and principles upon which the nation was founded, for example... there was a real chance to build something better - and the ideas retain value even as the implementation festers and decays.

I think that given another decade of non collapse, the world will be geopolitically very different from today.

Rubikscube

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #77 on: August 27, 2013, 11:45:58 PM »
What the US and European nations have been doing for the past two centuries is to exploit thier technological superiority, gained somewhere after the renaissance, to directly, or indirectly, colonize almost the entire world. Meaning they have been seizing land in other parts of the world, exploiting whatever resource they could find there (manpower, farmland, gold, ect...) and despite the fact that a colony needs resources i order to be maintained, they have been making great profits because they didn't have to care for the people of the colony.

That is very simply told what the west have done to the rest for 200 years or so. But what happens when a colonial power starts consuming so much of the resources from its colonies that it have to lend resources (or Money, if you want) in order to maintain supremacy over these colonies? Well, then their empire crumbles. Once upon a time all of Latin America were locked the iron fist of the US, and people like Pinochet made sure American companies could steal Venezuelan oil and Chilean copper, just leaving behind symbolic sums that usually ended up in the pockets of the respective countrys military elite. But when the US had partied of long enough, they could no longer prevent their colonies form falling into the hands of Chaves, Morales and other liberators and as a result thier debt is now spiraling out of control and their system crumbles. The US is out of money.

This is the reason why I did not mention the US or any European countries when I was proposing potential future colonial powers of Latin America. Those with the most cash in their pockets are the ones that will grab the most land and pay of the most dictators. Such countries include not only China, but also South-Korea, Russia, Canada, Turkey, not to mention Saudi-Arabia and the smaller gulf states like Qatar. In the case of China, I am sure they will face some serious difficulties because of climate change and they will most likely have to overcome financial setbacks, but despite the fact that the US has a much bigger GDP, China is not overspending, China is not de-industrializing and thus, China, compared to the US, has got all the momentum. They also have a well structured goverment which has the ability to act very decisively (both on good and bad), and they are allready tapping African countries for their resources the good old fashion European way. And don't forget; China also have monopoly on rare earth metals. If they want food, they will get food, I can assure you that. The only thing that can get in their way is a short term financial setback that causes so much internal unrest that the gouverment won't be able to do a proper restructuring of the economy, if find that an unlikely scenario though.

And what about the US? Will it return in the form of a fascist like corporatist/military oligarchy? Will we see a kind of revolution because of the social indifferences? Or is the US going to dissolve completely? I personally lean toward the first solution (not the preferable one, of course), anything may happen, but I don't think it will turn out to be especially good for the american people. It is to be said, in the end, that America is blessed with fertile farmlands (they are at least fertile today), that is somehow going to have an impact.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 11:51:10 PM by Rubikscube »

SATire

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #78 on: August 28, 2013, 09:32:36 AM »
[...] Then I expect them to act either unilaterally or in concert with other powers.  When have countries not behaved in this fashion?  Many of those countries which have the ability to use force have not had the need because the US has been providing a part of their military/security burden for them.   Part of the price they pay for this service is that they assume a secondary status in the strategic relationship they have with the US.  Quid pro quo.
JimD - quid pro what?

Since I am sure we can transform our economy into a long term sustainable one without the need of fossils, the future risks will all be man-made and thus controlled by all the players.

Biggest risk #1: A major conflict with nuclear weapons. The nuclear winter would kill all our children in the Northern Hemisphere during the >10 years without plants. Also the children in US-fallout shelters will not do much better than children in EU or any other similar place.

#2 risk for children: The mad-max world, which some people fear could be a result of a collapse of US or a similar place (this scenario is very unlikely in most places in Europe, as explained elsewhere). Life expectation for children would be severely limited in such an environment.

#3 risk for our children: Famine in an AGW-world with to much population and lack of ressources. This is exactly the situation wich needs to be addressed by the future governmental systems (Fullfilment of Needs), e.g. by education (to limit population peacefully), e.g. by technologies (renewable/sustainable economy). 

So - for the transition we have to carefully skip #1 and #2 to be able to organize #3, which I understood is the topic here.
Please do not understand that naming the risks is similar to blaming someone/some country. It is just an observation and the risks similar are both inside US and outside US. I did not understand that last point was addressed by your "quid pro quo" - but at least that could fit a bit.


JimD

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #79 on: August 28, 2013, 05:54:14 PM »
SATire

Sorry, I sometimes forget that I should try and avoid slang as many might not understand it.

Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase which means "something for something".

In other words, when the US takes the most prominent position in some international action and the European countries take a secondary role in support there is an exchange that is going to take place.

For instance Syria.

The US will carry the major military load (they could do it by themselves but political considerations make it such that our allies be directly involved).  So the US will shoulder the military burden.  The Europeans will carry at least equal diplomatic burdens to the US.  When the inevitable terrorism side effects of the US military action pop up the Europeans are obligated to assist the US in dealing with them.  There are lots of other examples where this kind of 'something for something' have occurred like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which I mentioned earlier. 

My main point is that global colonial activities are not limited to the US.  The Europeans and other rich countries are heavily involved in these types of activities at either the primary level or from secondary positions.   By taking the secondary role many of these countries can play a political tactic at home by letting their citizens pretend or think that they are not complicit in the actions the US is taking.   But this is not the actual case.  Other wealthy countries gain great advantage from many US actions around the world.  Since they partake of the shift of wealth from third world countries towards the wealthy countries they also are equally responsible for taking the blame. 

So I find it a little disingenuous when some criticize the US in such strong terms when those critics live in countries which are partners in the very system they are complaining about. 
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 #80 on: August 28, 2013, 06:50:41 PM »
So I find it a little disingenuous when some criticize the US in such strong terms when those critics live in countries which are partners in the very system they are complaining about.

Even if one lived in a nation that didn't benefit at all from cooperation with the US (which gets a lot of attention as the current superpower - as others have pointed out it's really just continuing a line of similar traditions that Europe was primarily responsible for before, excepting that Europe did so in an even more aggressive and militaristic manner) - the things being criticised are pretty much universal human behaviour - the vying for advantage between different "tribes".

Hence while the balance of power may lie with the US currently, if you live in another bloc, the flow of history suggests you'll get your chance to enjoy the same position (for a while). The Chinese (or any other ascending power) may be playing a somewhat smarter and more long term game currently - but the bottom line is the same - the goal of enriching and favouring ones own tribe at the expense of others.

I suppose if you reduce it to fundamentals, it's a sort of expression of the competitive urges evolution requires.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #81 on: August 28, 2013, 07:04:58 PM »
JimD - my latin is still good enough for that words, but the context was disturbing for me. Please reread my post and keep in mind that I did not criticize US. Of course there are lots of reasons to criticize other countries - but usually I concentrate most of my critics to my own country for a good reason in international discussions. Here I was refering to the advice to take major risks into account - not doing so would limit the feasibilty of any future plan significantly.

I also have the feeling this is not the right place to discuss which of the latest wars like Iraq, Libya, Mali or maybe soon in Syria make sense or not. In the end it turns out, that most wars made no sense at all. We could also discuss somewhere else the colonies in Arabia and the origin of al-qaida or why the main source of our fossils is from parts of former USSR and how that fact is bad for some poeple there - a lot of complicated things which all can easily be understood in very different ways.

And I would like to questionize that countries take advantage from US actions, especially those actions, they never agreed to. At last point I questionize, that the transfer of wealth is really working well on the long term - instead of stealing ressources it is more effective to benefit from win-win-situations. E.g. the development of China and South-America is very fruitful for the economy in other countries - e.g. we love to sell the machines there. That is another reason to work for smoth transitions - a crisis in China would be very bad for both old economy as well as for the path to a sustainable economy, let alone the dangers of an instable gigant in Asia.

All this kind of discussions and actions just keep us away from starting the real things - to get sustainable while fullfiling the needs and without killing each other.



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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #82 on: August 29, 2013, 12:38:46 AM »
SATire

I did not take your message as a criticism of the US.  I was just elaborating on additional thoughts which I thought were relevant to the discussion.

I also was not trying to start a discussion on Syria.  I was just using a current event as an example.

Regarding what other countries agree to about US actions I think it fair to speculate that what, for example, the leaders of Britain and France coordinate on when they have discussions with the US president and the leaders of our foreign policy and defense establishments is often far different than what the common citizens of those countries would agree to if it were put to a vote.  The same kind of process often occurs between US citizens and the US government.
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 #83 on: September 05, 2013, 06:51:57 AM »
When it comes to Peru, I don't think we shall be to worried about their domestic food production, even though Peru is highly vulnerable to climate events, such as El Ninos and melting glaciers. As JimD mentions they have a huge production capasity in their vast areas of untouched rainforest. This is also the case, I think, for rest of South America. Despite the fact that they are very vulnerable to climate change (just look at the rollercoster which the water levels of the Amazon river have gone through during recent years), their food production capasity outnumber their own population to such an extent that I think they will be self sustained with food despite of climate change's dire effects.

While it's not empirical - I thought this an interesting footnote to the relatively positive perception of Peru and their future:

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/sep/04/peru-snowstorms-emergency-weather

It helps to highlight the difference in the nature of climate change to that peddled for a couple of decades by much mainstream science (and promoted by government statements) and the reality. The myth was that climate change would proceed slowly, gradually and relatively uniformly, in which case in Peru one would expect a gradual climb up the mountain (with some species ultimately falling off the top).

The reality is a little more complex and messy - underlining the issues with any considerations of adaptation - moving up the mountain might help with drought and heat, but with increasingly erratic weather it can also freeze you from time to time. I appreciate anomalous episodes of cold are not unique to mountain environments - but by trying to counter one vulnerability, one is accepting another - limits to adaptation.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #84 on: September 05, 2013, 04:20:33 PM »
ccg

Yes, and that point lies another big part of the problem. Those many people who think that as the climate warms we can just move agriculture to the north in places like North America and Europe.  While the high temperatures brought by climate change might indicate that crops suitable for them should now be raised there the vagaries of weather will still bring those freezing temps which used to be standard often enough that it will have a very negative impact on yields.  If not bring outright crop failure some times.
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 #85 on: September 05, 2013, 05:22:30 PM »
Yes, and that point lies another big part of the problem. Those many people who think that as the climate warms we can just move agriculture to the north in places like North America and Europe.  While the high temperatures brought by climate change might indicate that crops suitable for them should now be raised there the vagaries of weather will still bring those freezing temps which used to be standard often enough that it will have a very negative impact on yields.  If not bring outright crop failure some times.

For some reason, I was reminded of the Mongolian Dzud. Mongolia seems to already be experiencing a fair degree of climate change impacts as well as resource extraction and exploitation pressures from China, but for most of the media and world is out of sight and so out of mind.

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2012/11/06/lessons-from-dzud

Quote
According to the Red Cross, 220,000 herding households were affected of which 44,000 households lost all of their livestock and 164,000 lost more than half their herd.

http://reliefweb.int/report/mongolia/mongolia-dzud-kills

Quote
Many others don't even have livestock and live in poverty; for them the main emergency is the freezing temperatures: to buy some coal or wood you need money, which many don't have and end up burning plastic bottles and other trash they find on the streets of Arvaiheer".

It seems to me as things progress and resource availability diminishes (whether by constraint on supply and distribution or by economic unavailability) in the same time that an increasing number of people are likely to become impoverished - the stage is set for increasing human mortality.

There seems to be some disagreement about the proportion of human to the mongolian steppe resulting from climate change versus overgrazing:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23966315

Quote
While we found considerable regional differences in the causes of landscape degradation, about 80% of the decline in NDVI could be attributed to increase in livestock. Changes in precipitation were able to explain about 30% of degradation across the country as a whole but up to 50% in areas with denser vegetation cover (p<0.05). Temperature changes, while significant, played only a minor role (r2 =0.10, p<0.05)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23451249

Quote
Approximately 60% of the VOD declines can be directly explained by variations in rainfall and surface temperature. After removing these climate induced influences, a significant decreasing trend still persists in the VOD residuals across regions of Mongolia.

Interesting that the second one thinks it's comparable to:

Quote
Satellite observations identify the Mongolian steppes as a hotspot of global biomass reduction, the extent of which is comparable with tropical rainforest deforestation.

When you consider that biomass reduction also implies the addition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - it's clear biomass changes globally could contribute large amounts of extra greenhouse gas. I believe the Amazon alone is capable if dying relatively abruptly of adding around 110ppm - or almost as much additional carbon dioxide as the total residual portion from human activity for our industrial history. Similarly when one talks about things like the US midwest reverting to desert, it's prudent to remember that all the carbon previously locked up in vegetation and the soil has to go somewhere.

All somewhat tangential to governance I appreciate.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #86 on: October 09, 2013, 06:15:42 PM »
In light of all of our discussions regarding how various countries will deal with the coming  civilizational crunch I offer some prototype military robots for your consideration.

Boston Dynamics is building several versions of its robots for a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) a Pentagon research organization.  These robots are being built to compete in a DARPA demonstration contest in Dec designed to show off the state of the art in robotics.  Boston Dynamic has 3 prototypes; the Atlas which is obviously intended to eventually be a soldier type of robot (next additions will be an articulated head with stereo cameras and a laser range finder, along with sensate hands capable of using tools), the Wildcat which is a four legged high speed robot which resembles a small horse and can already move at 16 mph, and the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) which is intended to be a hauling robot for supporting infantry squads which can walk up and down difficult terrain hauling 400 lbs.  I recommend watching each of the 3 videos to get the real impact of this technology.  It does not take much imagination to think that within 10 years the US military will be deploying similar robots with much more sophisticated capabilities as well as lethal ones.  Border security anyone?  Projecting force?  Controlling resources?  Dealing with obnoxious Tea Party ideologues?

http://phys.org/news/2013-10-boston-dynamics-atlas-wildcat-sprints.html
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 #87 on: October 09, 2013, 07:40:32 PM »
Yeah Terminator!  :o

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #88 on: October 09, 2013, 08:54:39 PM »
cool thing - the next war could turn into some kind of RoboCup

I just wonna hope they will run on renewables and will not need some humans as batteries...

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #89 on: October 09, 2013, 09:11:09 PM »
Yes, technology has to be control otherwise will run into big problems very fast !
I guess you know already Asimo, Nao, HRP4 :


Robocup mentioned by satire :

http://www.robocup2013.org/
there goal is to compete in 2050 with humans on the football field, the competition move each year, in Asia, Europe, USA.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #90 on: October 12, 2013, 10:11:02 PM »
Not to minimize the destruction and loss of life which is now occurring in the Indian stare of Orissa due to the monster cyclone Phailin.  This storm was packing

Quote
maximum sustained winds of about 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour), with gusts up to 296 kph (184 mph).


as it reached land.  The storm surge could reach 7-9 meters (20-30 ft) and best case will still be 3-3.5 meters (10-11.5 feet).  This storm is the size of Hurricane Katrina with the power of Hurricane Andrew.  Boggles the mind a bit.

But imagine what would have happened to Bangladesh if this storm had made landfall just a bit further east.  A storm of this magnitude there would have the potential of moving forward the collapse of Bangladesh by some years.  Talk about dodging a bullet.  It is only a matter of time until one of these big bullets hits home.
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 #91 on: October 13, 2013, 01:24:15 AM »
But imagine what would have happened to Bangladesh if this storm had made landfall just a bit further east.  A storm of this magnitude there would have the potential of moving forward the collapse of Bangladesh by some years.  Talk about dodging a bullet.  It is only a matter of time until one of these big bullets hits home.

There's an interesting perspective hidden in there - by talking about an extreme event like this moving collapse forwards in time - you seem to be viewing collapse as something that happens gradually and linearly otherwise - a slow and graceful degradation?

I actually think in practice most of the episodes of collapse will be triggered by something, and extreme weather is a good candidate for many scenarios - even if the connections are indirect as with the Russian drought and the Arab spring, or the Syrian drought and subsequent civil war.

In societies that are increasingly stressed, I think it's these things that will in many cases (not just a few) tip them over the brink by shocking them beyond their remaining resilience. It is much easier to adjust to gradually changing conditions than sudden shocks.

Of course as societies become increasingly stressed, the relative size of shock required to knock them over becomes ever smaller...

The awkward flip side of this is that there will not be much advance warning of the precise timing of collapse episodes in most (or any?) regions.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #92 on: October 13, 2013, 05:49:20 PM »
ccg

What I wrote could indeed be interpreted that way.  But my actual opinion would be more in line with what you wrote.  Imprecise wording on my part.  I will try explain how I see collapse progressing.

All things being equal on any given day the press of decline factors exerts a constant pressure that incrementally degrades the conditions effecting country X.  Over time this daily degradation will cumulate and eventually cause collapse even in the absence of any unexpected shock.  Sort of exactly what you interpreted in my previous post.

However, I completely agree with you that there will be periodic and largely unpredictable, not to say unexpected, shocks which cause sudden changes in the situation for country X.  Given the state of conditions in X at the time of the shock collapse could indeed be triggered immediately.  Or moved forward in time by many years.

So everyone is already undergoing a gradual collapse (at varying speeds) and given their proximity to their specific collapse point and the nature and magnitude of the shock which impacts them they could be tipped into immediate collapse or moved much closer in time to the point where collapse just happens.

In Bangladesh's case if this giant storm had hit directly it is certainly possible that the damage done would have not been sufficient to put them in full collapse, but it is likely at this stage they would not have been able to completely recover from the damage which would have been done.  Thus their eventual collapse would have been moved much closer in time.  And, of course, with rising sea levels and unrepaired damage from previous disasters it would take a much smaller shock to trigger full collapse in the future.   Rinse and repeat all over the world.
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 #93 on: October 13, 2013, 07:58:00 PM »
JimD....

I agree with everything in this comment. General stresses are increasing everywhere and, as this continues, the most vulnerable regions (I use this term instead of nations quite deliberately.) will be susceptible to a rapid collapse when suffering a severe shock. This rapid collapse will be exacerbated and accelerated by the inevitable human response, a resort to violence. We see this in East Africa as a result of drought. This collapse does and will not respect national borders, neither between nor within.

There is another aspect to these regional collapses. To the extent that these regions are integrated into the larger systems (economic, ethnic, religious etc.) they will have the effect of  contributing to the rise in general stresses across all nations and regions.

What do I mean by "neither between nor within"?

I will use a hypothetical example, not because I feel it is imminent but because it will illuminate my point. There are numerous regions within the U.S. (Southwest. West coast, Plains states, Great Lakes, Deep South, East coast etc.) It is not necessary to agree with this specific list. You could argue for an entirely different list effectively. There are already significant differences in the cultures and attitudes of the people in these regions. These differences are economic, social, religious, ethnic, language etc. These regions will experience different impacts from AGW and each have varying levels of resilience.

If extreme drought continues and/or dramatically worsens in the southwest we might see a general regional collapse, certainly mitigated by a dramatic response by the U.S. The pain and suffering will none the less be severe. Such a collapse will not only be in southwestern U.S. but will also affect large portions of Mexico. There are already ethnic, language and socio-economic tensions that exist between Hispanics and whites in the U.S. and such a collapse will only exacerbate them. Could this result in an increase in violence across the U.S. and between Mexico and the U.S.? While not certain, one only needs to look at the historical enmity between the U.S. and Mexico or the centuries of domestic racially motivated violence between blacks and whites to conclude it is a real possibility.

We already have armed militias patrolling the borders of states in the Southwest. We also have domestic police who are subjecting U.S. citizens who are Hispanic to random searches. What would be the likely response if the trickle of immigrants from Mexico were to turn into a flood as a result of severe and persistent drought?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2013, 08:04:45 PM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #94 on: October 14, 2013, 02:25:29 AM »
We already have armed militias patrolling the borders of states in the Southwest. We also have domestic police who are subjecting U.S. citizens who are Hispanic to random searches. What would be the likely response if the trickle of immigrants from Mexico were to turn into a flood as a result of severe and persistent drought?

I'd tip increasing violence and hostility from the authorities and the natives, followed by civil unrest and potentially even outright revolt from the substantial Hispanic population that already made it across.

It's probably too late to fortify the border - so many are already on the inside! In any case - realistically - how much would it cost to keep enough manpower and resources permanently defending the border? Given that it can be tunneled under, climbed over, blown up, swum around, etc.?

I guess if the existing population was compliant and meek there is the potential for an extreme leaning leader to rise in America who would implement the sort of solutions the Nazis did in Germany. I think that would become very complicated in the US though as it's composed of so many and so varied ethnic groups - and I'm not sure if it's as easy to rally a key section of the population behind an abstract enemy (illegals) as opposed to specific races of people (hispanics). I suspect hatreds and sympathies would tend to divide more naturally along racial lines than abstract ones.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #95 on: October 16, 2013, 07:22:53 PM »
We already have armed militias patrolling the borders of states in the Southwest. We also have domestic police who are subjecting U.S. citizens who are Hispanic to random searches. What would be the likely response if the trickle of immigrants from Mexico were to turn into a flood as a result of severe and persistent drought?

I'd tip increasing violence and hostility from the authorities and the natives, followed by civil unrest and potentially even outright revolt from the substantial Hispanic population that already made it across.

It's probably too late to fortify the border - so many are already on the inside! In any case - realistically - how much would it cost to keep enough manpower and resources permanently defending the border? Given that it can be tunneled under, climbed over, blown up, swum around, etc.?

I guess if the existing population was compliant and meek there is the potential for an extreme leaning leader to rise in America who would implement the sort of solutions the Nazis did in Germany. I think that would become very complicated in the US though as it's composed of so many and so varied ethnic groups - and I'm not sure if it's as easy to rally a key section of the population behind an abstract enemy (illegals) as opposed to specific races of people (hispanics). I suspect hatreds and sympathies would tend to divide more naturally along racial lines than abstract ones.

Hey!  Those are my AZ neighbors you are talking about.  If you don't own an assault rifle here you are looked on with suspicion.  Probably 50% of the people here I know are regular shooters to include my neighbors who are mostly in their 60's and 70's.   And are you trying to imply that the police are NOT supposed to do those things??  I am confused LOL.  In a way it is fun living here with all the crazy stuff.  I can get a rise in a heartbeat when these subjects come up just by saying; "What is wrong with the Mexicans wanting to take over AZ?  After all it is just occupied Mexico and they want it back."  The reactions are priceless.  A few weeks back one of the milita's patrolling the desert at night ran into the Sheriff's officers on patrol and held them up at gunpoint.  There was almost a big shootout.  I am sure if the sheriff had raised his gun people would have died.  The milita leaders apparently thought it was kind of funny but the sheriff's dept is charging one of them with felony assault of an officer. 

Add in the Tea Party politics and it is surreal here at times.  Our districts US Rep is a Tea Party wacko.  I have talked to people with college educations here who believe that shutting down the federal government entirely for a few months or longer would be a good thing.  Thinking with the sub-conscious animal brain is very common and reason is out of fashion.  In these circumstances and with things getting worse overall the tendency to see those who are not just like you as the enemy is natural  I expect it to get worse.
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 #96 on: October 16, 2013, 07:51:26 PM »
I have talked to people with college educations here who believe that shutting down the federal government entirely for a few months or longer would be a good thing.  Thinking with the sub-conscious animal brain is very common and reason is out of fashion.

I'm somewhat of a gun person myself, so I almost feel guilty using the analogy - but from where I sit (not an American) the US government is nicely demonstrating how you can be rich and powerful and all the rest of it - and still manage to shoot yourself in the foot through gross stupidity (still, it's at least entertainment for the rest of the planet - even though it does matter to them too).

It has ironic relevance to contemplate on a thread about future governmental structures and the vulnerability of nations to degradation and failure - the worst enemy of America must surely be itself - all China and Russia need do is wait, and keep selecting the smarter and cheaper options for wielding power and influence.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #97 on: October 17, 2013, 02:11:40 AM »
We already have armed militias patrolling the borders of states in the Southwest. We also have domestic police who are subjecting U.S. citizens who are Hispanic to random searches. What would be the likely response if the trickle of immigrants from Mexico were to turn into a flood as a result of severe and persistent drought?

I'd tip increasing violence and hostility from the authorities and the natives, followed by civil unrest and potentially even outright revolt from the substantial Hispanic population that already made it across.

It's probably too late to fortify the border - so many are already on the inside! In any case - realistically - how much would it cost to keep enough manpower and resources permanently defending the border? Given that it can be tunneled under, climbed over, blown up, swum around, etc.?

I guess if the existing population was compliant and meek there is the potential for an extreme leaning leader to rise in America who would implement the sort of solutions the Nazis did in Germany. I think that would become very complicated in the US though as it's composed of so many and so varied ethnic groups - and I'm not sure if it's as easy to rally a key section of the population behind an abstract enemy (illegals) as opposed to specific races of people (hispanics). I suspect hatreds and sympathies would tend to divide more naturally along racial lines than abstract ones.

Hey!  Those are my AZ neighbors you are talking about.  If you don't own an assault rifle here you are looked on with suspicion.  Probably 50% of the people here I know are regular shooters to include my neighbors who are mostly in their 60's and 70's.   And are you trying to imply that the police are NOT supposed to do those things??  I am confused LOL.  In a way it is fun living here with all the crazy stuff.  I can get a rise in a heartbeat when these subjects come up just by saying; "What is wrong with the Mexicans wanting to take over AZ?  After all it is just occupied Mexico and they want it back."  The reactions are priceless.  A few weeks back one of the milita's patrolling the desert at night ran into the Sheriff's officers on patrol and held them up at gunpoint.  There was almost a big shootout.  I am sure if the sheriff had raised his gun people would have died.  The milita leaders apparently thought it was kind of funny but the sheriff's dept is charging one of them with felony assault of an officer. 

Add in the Tea Party politics and it is surreal here at times.  Our districts US Rep is a Tea Party wacko.  I have talked to people with college educations here who believe that shutting down the federal government entirely for a few months or longer would be a good thing.  Thinking with the sub-conscious animal brain is very common and reason is out of fashion.  In these circumstances and with things getting worse overall the tendency to see those who are not just like you as the enemy is natural  I expect it to get worse.

As always, reading your posts lift my spirit. They are just filled with hope and optimism.  :o

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #98 on: October 21, 2013, 12:29:41 AM »
When I take a look at America, I see a nation that has gone completely whacko. First you have a large proportion of the population (AKA tea party folks) that has some utterly extreme and fanatical attitudes towards society. It is almost like 25% of the population are part of a religious sect, which belives are completely distanced from reality. Then you have a screwed up political system, where the democratic goverment long ago has been ousted in a coup d'etat so brilliantly executed that at least 98% of the population still have no idea what is going on. A market dictatorship where the top predators on Wall Street with the support from a handfull of high ranking military officers (people like Keith Alexander, chief of the NSA), in reality have siezed absolute power.

One of the things that are extremly dangerous about this, is that the Tea-Party folks very, very often posseses these crazy ideas about the ordinary American (white, christan, patriotic, with roots in western Europe) being something very special, that is in some way superior to other people, and worth preserving and protecting at all costs. The same ideas which gave birth to Nazi-Germany, apartheid in South-Africa as well as the current apartheid system in Israel and many, many other of the greatest tragedies in human history. Even more frightening is that these guys have the support of the markets because of their disgust of goverment regulation and support of "free" market ideas.

That is why I feel pretty sure that one day, in the not to remote future, more than 50% of the US population is going to be in support of Tea Party, and this deadly mix of well funded "tea-party madness", poor migrant communities made up of Hispanics and arfo-americans and the immense strain that climate change and market dictatorship will put on the American people, is a recipe for genocide. It might be the poor migrant groups that fires the first shots in desperation, like CCG vaguely suggested, but they are simply outnumbered and "outfinanced", and I fear they are going to be slaughtered by disillusioned, fanatic white Americans. Polarization of the politics might in turn lead to a break up of the union, but the political system, however, will probaly remain unchanged. Wall Street has got such a firm grip on all of America that an invation from outside is in my oppinion the only thing that can stop them, and climate change can in turn only change the political system by forcing the US to confront foreign powers militarily. Feudalism/oligarchy is the best description of the most likely future political system in the US.

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Re: Future Governmental Structures
« Reply #99 on: October 21, 2013, 02:39:13 AM »
It might be the poor migrant groups that fires the first shots in desperation, like CCG vaguely suggested, but they are simply outnumbered and "outfinanced", and I fear they are going to be slaughtered by disillusioned, fanatic white Americans.

I was noting the possibility of violent resistance (not necessarily direct violence, but could include simple things like destroying sections of the border fence) from ethnic groups in border areas in support of those seeking to enter if there was a large scale movement of such and subsequent violent measures to stop them. In some areas I'm not so sure it's so clear cut as you suggest numerically - Wikipedia suggests nearly 40% of the population of Texas (for instance) is Hispanic or Latino. Furthermore I assume those are official figures and they have legal status - may even mostly be American citizens. 40% is an awful lot of ethnic cleansing to contemplate and federal government is potentially effectively backing the migrants, even the illegal ones.

Maybe actual Americans (particularly from the north) will have more insight - but I actually suspect one could have political breakdown along historic lines (eg the civil war - south vs north). It seems to me the cultures and values that drive the nation still split along historical lines quite strongly. All the old divides and the groups that went into the melting pot may appear to co-exist harmoniously while the going is good - but the discrimination against "others" (and not just hispanics) is liable to increase as social stresses increase (regardless of the cause of the increase - ie political dogma instead of or as well as resource depletion and climate change).

As for fanatical whites - I could see (and am sure there already are) such groups arising - but whether or not they could gain serious political power (at a national level) or occur in sufficient numbers to shape society in such a way I am less sure. I think there is a lot of apathy in the American population (including the portion that is ethnically "white"), and corporate interests currently rule the roost. Corporate interests may favour cheap labour (including illegals).

Note that currently, although these interests are clearly present in the US - they are nowhere near dominant (and undermining their cause through their extremism I suspect - let's see what the next round of elections does to the republican party after the shutdown and failed attempt to overturn previously enacted legislation using the debt ceiling as a hostage).

On the whole I could see the federal government continuing to head down the route to dictatorship in an attempt to force the nation to remain as a unified entity and the union fragmenting at some point in the future as states start to secede or break away (eg Texas). I'm assuming the real reason behind the excessive state surveillance of the population (as in the UK) comes from the insecurity of the people running the place and their need to maintain control at any price - and much the same for the passing of legislation designed to detain (or even kill) people without due process (we see the early forerunner of this practiced for some time now - including torture - at Guantanamo Bay and presumably other sites in the rendition network).

I wonder what happens to the nuclear arsenal if the US starts to break up...