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Author Topic: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins  (Read 114330 times)

JimD

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #200 on: February 17, 2014, 05:12:42 PM »
A little more info on the California Power station incident.  We have the theoretical about crashing the system and the practical as they say.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-attack-20140211,0,7627269.story#axzz2tb16VNMz
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: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #201 on: March 01, 2014, 05:25:00 PM »
Another example of practical monkey wrenching?

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Vulnerable people living near a raging coalmine fire in Morwell, still burning three weeks after it was deliberately lit on 9 February, have been advised to leave their homes.

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Coal Mine Fire Still Burning After Weeks Looks Like Mordor, Fills Australian Town With Smoke

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Police on Wednesday gave chilling details of the massive fire’s origins. Victorian police chief commissioner Ken Lay said it was believed the firebug lit a “test fire” in Hazelwood on 28 January to study its behaviour, before setting another in the area on the morning of 9 February.

The arsonist then set three fires on the Strzelecki Highway at Driffield, near Morwell, around 1.30pm on the Sunday, which spotted into the Hazelwood open-cut coalmine and continues to burn.

“This fire was set on the worst fire day for this year and had the potential to cause an enormous amount of damage and loss of life,” Lay told reporters.

Police believe the person responsible was likely to be someone who lives or works in the Latrobe Valley or wider Gippsland region, with the fires lit along dirt tracks leading into plantations behind the highway which also provided easy getaway routes.

“This was someone with a vehicle, a mode of transport, to set three sets of fire within a 15-minute period,” Inspector Mark Langham said.

The test fires lit two weeks earlier were also in similar locations, set within a few kilometres of each other on high fire-danger days, he said.
 

http://www.newsweek.com/coal-mine-fire-still-burning-after-weeks-looks-mordor-fills-australian-town-smoke-230557

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/28/morwell-mine-fire-vulnerable-residents-advised-relocate
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

werther

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #202 on: March 08, 2014, 01:07:30 AM »
Hi all,
On the Blog there’s a lengthy discussion again on the ‘Decreasing Arctic albedo’-thread. It focuses on the role of peak-oil and the possible response of government/leading class.
It  could better be discussed here, as it is very related to a policy to promote a rapid crash or a grass-roots movement on city/state level.

As FI Gail Tverberg has been arguing on the ‘Our Finite World’ Blog, an early collapse of the FF-based economy might prevent the worse part of CC/AGW. In that scenario, the main part of what’s left in the earths’ crust isn’t going to be burnt, because it isn’t economically viable to extract it.
In that case, we’d only have to sit and wait, the collapse, expressed through EROEI calculations, is to be expected within five to ten years.

One problem I’ve got with that opinion is that severe consequences of our FF-burning history are already encapsuled in the present trend. In that light, to sit and wait is equivalent to wasting precious time.

Some see the transition to renewable as a viable response. Not Tverberg. I hate to admit, but I guess she’s probably right. Most arguments I’ve seen from supporters of a renewable energy future have a smell of wishful thinking. When the whole chain of production of goods is considered, it seems hard to imagine the EROEI of renewables to be enough to support the kind of exploitation FF’s have provided.
I HOPE the supporters are right. I will support myself. But I don’t expect a miracle.
So if the line expressed by FI Tverberg has it right AND we have to endure the brunt of AGW ín the pipeline’, there’s a hard future ahead.

On the Blog, some express the opinion that ‘the powers that be’ will apply severe measures to keep control in case of collapse. In that case, Hopkins’ approach will in fact be imposed upon the survivors in a sort of slave/feudal societal structure.
In fact, it is already taking form in the social arrangements in FI the Netherlands, as beneficials are required to repay in the form of duties.

To end this post, in the light of ongoing developments in this world at this moment, it seems appropriate to continue this thread. Let’s consider how a viable way could be achieved to conserve a certain sphere of personal freedom within a progressively constraining social and ecological environment.

JimD

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #203 on: March 08, 2014, 03:27:24 AM »
werther

Many of us have been reading Tverberg's analysis for 5-6 years now, or more I am not sure how long.  While I have a lot of respect for the efforts she puts in and in some cases I agree with her analysis there has long been a tendency for her to land on the side of early crisis and early collapse.  I don't think I am exaggerating when I say we have already passed the dates of some of her earlier predictions.  She has been a Peak Oiler for a long time and seems to see the entire system through that lens.  I think the below

Quote
an early collapse of the FF-based economy might prevent the worse part of CC/AGW. In that scenario, the main part of what’s left in the earths’ crust isn’t going to be burnt, because it isn’t economically viable to extract it.
In that case, we’d only have to sit and wait, the collapse, expressed through EROEI calculations, is to be expected within five to ten years.

is extremely, highly unlikely.  To the point of absurdity.  There is an incredible amount of high EROEI crude oil already discovered and not being produced which is still available.  It is currently not on the market due to political turmoil and infrastructure problems.  Namely Iraq.  We are approaching the point where production declines are certain to manifest themselves in Saudi Arabia and this scares people.  But Iraq has the oil, providing it is put on the market, to completely stand in for any production declines in SA and then some.  And there are all the other arguments which are still valid such as efficiency improvements, higher mileage vehicles, etc.  It is just not possible for EROEI to decrease fast enough to trigger a collapse in 5 to 10.  Nicole Foss argues that the financial system will flip soon and trigger collapse and that problem will take the low EROEI liquid energy sources off the market as no one will be able to afford to produce them (see the Automatic Earth blog).  She and Illargi have been arguing this point since before the 2008 crash.  While I do think we are approaching another big economic/financial downturn I still do not think we have stressed he total system hard enough and long enough to wring out all the slack.  We have a lot of fat left to burn and we are not malnourished yet.  All of the people who thought we were on the verge of a big collapse in 2006 should have learned a lot from the tools bought out of the financial boxes to keep this mess afloat. Peak Oil of conventional crude supplies arrived years ago, but the high prices that generated brought about the tar sands oil and the vast increase in fracking for oil and gas.  Just those sources alone, largely totally unexploited still, are sufficient to keep us on the Peak Oil plateau for a couple of decades when combined in with the eventual production of the big supplies of conventional crude in Iraq.  Us Americans did not invade Iraq just for fun, we wanted that oil.

An area that I am in complete agreement with Tverberg is her opinion on replacing fossil fuels with alternative energy sources and still maintaining industrial civilization.  That idea is ludicrous and an example of magical thinking.  All one has to do is run the numbers on what is required to replace fossil fuels and it quickly becomes obvious that alternates cannot fit the bill.  This can easily be proven from an EROEI viewpoint and also from a financial/resource viewpoint.  This civilization and our vast population was built upon a foundation of almost free energy in the form of ancient sunshine stored for us in the fossil fuels.  This is not replicable in any way by direct solar, wind, hydro.  Just cannot be done. 

Civilization is not sustainable and industrial civilization even less.  Industrial civilization is living on borrowed time.  But it is not going to die for awhile yet.

Absolutely those with deep power resources will try and manage the situation going forward.  I am always trying to point out methods and motivations for how and why they are doing many of the things they do.  I have also stated a number of times that we are headed towards authoritarian/totalitarian governance which I already think is evolving towards a modern version of feudalism.  Democracy has no future and it has largely ceased already in many respects.  In times of great stress the chaos of democracy is non-functional and people naturally gravitate towards and follow strong leaders.  Authoritarian governance is the norm for human civilization.  Democracy has occupied niches at times but it is not suitable for dealing with AGW should we decide as a global civilization to deal with it as everyone would have to be ordered what to do and made to do it.  And when collapse happens one can be certain that the utter mayhem which results will not allow time for it either.

I like my personal freedom just as much as anyone.  But I would give everything for our species to survive.  Dealing with AGW is far more important than anyone's freedom or all of our freedoms.  Survival takes precedence no matter what.  We cannot fix this problem until the 'me' is deleted from the equation and only the 'us' is calculated going forward.  Which means, of course, that the equation cannot be solved.
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

Bruce Steele

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #204 on: March 08, 2014, 05:38:10 PM »
Werther, Conventional oil supplies are in decline and if Hubbert is right the decline will intensify.Big oil has put an enormous amount of effort into non-conventional sources to maintain supplies but the bet may be a loser. For now the switch to lower EROEI sources has helped maintain big oil market share and gross oil supplies but if the bet on non-conventional goes south and the market goes south on investments large enough to maintain the drilling frenzy total oil supplies will also begin to decline.
Renewables are at this point are maintaining total supplies rather than replacing them but should the investment market switch from a losing bet on the fracking panacea into renewables it seems to me renewables will become a replacement for oil supplies. Total emissions should at that point begin to decline. The argument that there are inefficiencies in how we utilize our energy could be used to make the argument that the transition to renewables could be combined with improvements in efficiency to buy society some time. My opinion is there are enormous inefficiencies that higher energy expenses will begin to erode. Will renewables hold civilization together if population keeps rising? No.   So getting control of population growth is critical . This is true though no matter what energy supply powers civilization.
 I also believe humans need to rethink the paradigm that places  agriculture workers at the lowest rung of society. Agriculture is renewable, if done correctly ,and those sectors of society that deliver on renewable outcomes should be elevated in the social hierarchy.   
 So switch the investment priorities, cut waste, and reward ( socially ) those people willing to switch to renewable systems. It will buy us all time. Our value systems are IMHO a big part of civilizations ills.
They can be changed.

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #205 on: March 08, 2014, 07:01:08 PM »
The bottom line I think is that the minimum price of oil is rising as the EROI of the sources and the availability of supply are increasingly pressured.

The maximum price of oil that can be sustained without damage to the rest of the economy (and consequent demand destruction) is not really rising, if anything the reverse as other resources are also pressured and competing for the effort/energy/money.

The collision between the two we see in economic impacts such as 2007/08 preceded by a spike in the price of oil (and by implication other key commodities such as food).

As that margin of profitability diminishes, the feasibility of continuing to operate civilisation as we know it shrinks into an ever smaller margin. One suspects the peak oilers could still be more right than most people think now - just on a somewhat later timescale.

The analogy with Malthus comes to mind - an awful lot of people seem to think the "Green revolution" prevented a Malthusian catastrophe.

It didn't. It simply delayed it a bit. We shouldn't get swept away by illusions of success just because the more aggressive predictions of failure turned out to be wrong.

Bruce Steele

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #206 on: March 08, 2014, 07:23:24 PM »
 Ccg, I agree with your points but food costs are a relatively small part of most people budget. To effect the changes that I believe would promote the points above ,governments worldwide should eliminate all energy subsidies and tax incentives.
 All agriculture subsidies should be eliminated and large taxes should be placed on processed foods.
This should encourage victory gardens , direct markets, and depopulation of cities.
Although this would put burdens on the poor they are the portion of the population that would most quickly ramp up personal production of their food supplies. It would take awhile for poor families to have larger families to supply their new labor demands so it might not be a long term population cure but it would likely be a temporary one.Although these changes wouldn't likely affect the lifestyles of the top 1% it would undoubtable negatively impact their ability to syphon profits from the rest of us. The existing systems have been designed for the enrichment of the 1% and they would make all sorts of arguments for maintaining the existing tax structures. The current system is for their benefit and it is killing the planet. Throwing the whole thing on it's head will likely never happen but finding solutions needs thinking way outside the box. Food is a very small portion of peoples expenses in western societies and eliminating tax subsities for energy should more than compensate for higher food bills.Energy subsities benefit energy waste and monetarily benefit the rich at the expense of all taxpayers. Those weren't golden eggs and it's time to strangle the goose.
 p.s. Mice got into my little greenhouse for seed starts and ate all my little tomato plants. Damn foul mood.
Time to start over.   

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #207 on: March 08, 2014, 08:14:48 PM »
Ccg, I agree with your points but food costs are a relatively small part of most people budget. To effect the changes that I believe would promote the points above ,governments worldwide should eliminate all energy subsidies and tax incentives.

You're giving away your status as a member of an affluent nation not struggling to eat... though of course food costs as a portion of income are still typically fairly modest even at the poorer end of the western populations as compared to many other countries.

That said I suspect it's also a question of comfort factor - if you are used to spending a high proportion of your income on food or energy and the price rises a little bit - it's just an extra little squeeze. If you are not used to it and the price rises proportionately by a lot (even though to less than the other set of people identified) then you get angrier and more desperate and perceive more impact on your lifestyle.

Hence the initial fuss about gas/petrol prices in the US rising from $1.50/gallon to $4 gallon - notwithstanding that the price was still half that of the UK. In a society where food spend is < 10% of income the other 90% will be accounted for too (in most cases) and it gets noticed if food grows to 20%.

As food prices rise more and more people can't pay for all the things they might take for granted before - water, internet, electricity, gas, education, road repairs, health, etc. - I think the social stresses are caused more by the rate of change than the absolute lifestyle (ie to lose one or two of those things in a western nation can make you angry and desperate yet many people live on an ongoing basis with virtually none of them).

I'd agree that the existing subsidies need to go away - I don't know that it would so much encourage victory gardens or individual cultivation or increased population - but it's ridiculous to store up such a large public health problem by having such cheap junk processed food (and it seriously distorts the market). Much better to have a diverse and varied diet - also much better for the long term health of the land itself.

To encourage the domestic production of food paradoxically I'd argue the minimum wage should be raised. Not only could people then afford the more expensive food implied by ditching the subsidies but it would reduce the pressure to work such long hours (for poverty rates of pay) and give people more time to save money by producing more food for themselves (which arguably should be incentivised).

I don't see increasing population as a function of agricultural labour requirements as likely in developed nations on this side of collapse.

p.s. Mice got into my little greenhouse for seed starts and ate all my little tomato plants. Damn foul mood.
Time to start over.

That really sucks (especially suspecting the scale you're talking about ie not just a dozen plants).

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #208 on: March 08, 2014, 08:22:26 PM »
<I>I agree with your points but food costs are a relatively small part of most people budget. To effect the changes that I believe would promote the points above ,governments worldwide should eliminate all energy subsidies and tax incentives.
 
All agriculture subsidies should be eliminated and large taxes should be placed on processed foods.</I>

I have to strongly disagree. For the vast majority of the world's population, food costs are the single biggest expense. Eliminating food subsidies would condemn a couple of billion people to death by starvation. The 1st billion would die within a generation (20 years). By UN estimates we already have 1 billion people suffering from chronic malnutrition, 60 million of them starve to death annually. A couple of billion more have adequate food to eat because their governments subsidize the distribution of foodstuffs to their citizens. In a post-growth world economy, the market mechanisms break down. Food will absolutely have to be grown and distributed outside of the market mechanism. Failure to do this will bring an almost instantaneous collapse across large regions of the planet. The subsidizing of food is already done in every nation of the world, including the wealthiest. In the U.S. this takes the form of food stamps and food depositories. In less wealthy regions this takes the form of transfers of basic foods (primarily grains) at subsidized levels or entirely free.

Agriculture policy, in the form of price supports, are an ongoing source of heated debate in the U.S. This usually focuses on the budget impacts but what is not discussed is that these price supports encourage a level of food production that allows the U.S. to provide food aid across the planet.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 08:28:12 PM by Shared Humanity »

JimD

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #209 on: March 08, 2014, 08:36:47 PM »
Bruce

Re mice eating your tomato seedlings.  We used to have the same problem.  My mother-in-law told me to surround the tomato seedling trays with trays of plants from the onion family.  We used scallions.  I would drop about 7-8 scallion seeds per cell (50 cell trays) and fill enough trays to surround all the tomato trays.  Worked like a champ and we did it for years.  Apparently mice hate onions and will not walk across the trays to get to the tomatoes. 

When it was time to transplant the tomatoes we also transplanted the scallions.  We sold tons of scallions for $1.50 a bunch.  We panted each scallion cell at 6 inch spacing and 4 rows per 30 in bed.  Yes we planted them into plastic mulch.  This was a great way to make easy money as we just pulled the number of scallions we could sell for each market.  They just kept slowly getting bigger and they actually will get very large (3/4 inch dia) and about 3 ft tall.  People went nuts over them. 
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: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #210 on: March 08, 2014, 08:45:56 PM »
SH

Quote
In a post-growth world economy, the market mechanisms break down. Food will absolutely have to be grown and distributed outside of the market mechanism. Failure to do this will bring an almost instantaneous collapse across large regions of the planet.

This dovetails into my reasoning about how collapse is most likely to be triggered by food production.  In the poor countries you are describing the end comes when their financial situation is such that they can no longer subsidize or buy global commodities for their populations and the supply situation is such that countries like the US will no longer provide free bulk grains.  When this happens that individual country will likely fail or at least take a big stairstep down in terms of population numbers to a new level which it can support internally.  I think this type of failure will pop up here and there at first and slowly gain momentum over time.  As AGW intensity slowly increases the above will work its way up the food chain so to speak.  It does not take much imagination how the chaos this creates will materially degrade other parts of the global system and help drag other places down.
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

Bruce Steele

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #211 on: March 08, 2014, 10:42:05 PM »
SH,  Almost all crop subsities here in the U.S. go to commodity crop production. Those crops use fossil fuel derived fertilizers ,huge tractors and tend to supplement corporate scale farming. They in the case of the Oglala also are draining important aquifers and in general also promote strip mining soil fertility.These artificially promote population growth at the expence of future generations. Starvation is unavoidable so long as we depend on unsustainable systems. The name of this page is "collapse" and I guess you can decide yourself whether pulling the plug on the current 7.2 billion humans is somehow more inhumane than waiting till we get to 9 billion and crash then but there are many species on this planet you are committing to extinction the longer you postpone the inevitably of our overshoot . The poor on this planet will be feeding themselves in the long run and I suggest we ease that transition by changing the current support structures. My suggestions were more based on screwing with the 1% than hurting the 99% but it's all academic anyhow. Promoting self sufficiency and easing into that transition is in my opinion more humane than ignoring the inevitability of the situation. I have zero ability to affect my suggestions and I would think your mindset of avoiding reality as long as possible will rule the
day. Nothing personal and I am sure we would enjoy each others company if we actually knew each other.
 JimD,  I will take your advice and if I would have rearranged all my onion seed starts I might have avoided the little setback.     

Bruce Steele

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #212 on: March 11, 2014, 02:18:44 AM »
SH, I would like to offer an apology. I would like to somehow walk back the line " your mindset of
avoiding reality". It was rude and has no place on this forum. It has been bugging me since I pushed the post button. I could erase it but that would be chickenshit without an apology. It will go down as a reminder to me to avoid posting when I am in a bad mood. Sorry

wili

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #213 on: March 11, 2014, 05:51:07 AM »
Here's another angle/response to the Holmgren thesis: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-03-07/paul-kingsnorth-on-living-with-climate-change

Quote
[Q]His basic argument was that economic growth and the growth-based economy is the thing which is frying the biosphere and pushing us over the edge, and the only way to have any hope of saving that is to deliberately engineer economic collapse because that’s the only way it stops growing, and that actually we would be well advised to put some or all of our energy into actually withdrawing our support from the economic growth model in such a way that we deliberately bring about its collapse.  I wondered what your thoughts were on his approach?
 
[A]It’s interesting because I think there’s going to be a lot more of this in coming years. You’ve probably seen the rise of Deep Green Resistance as well, that’s another slightly more radical, angry response to this idea that the thing that’s destroying the world is the capitalist machine and therefore you must destroy the capitalist machine.
 
It’s quite right really. Obviously the thing that’s destroying the world is economic growth. More broadly, the thing that’s destroying the world is advanced capitalism. What you do about that, on the other hand, is another matter. I haven’t read Holmgren’s paper so I can’t really comment on it.
 
In terms of withdrawing your support from the machine as it were, it seems like a great idea to me. That’s what I’m trying to do myself. I don’t think you’d ever get enough people to withdraw your support from it to crash it, but to be honest I think it’s starting to crash itself anyway. It seems to be completely unsustainable. Again, this is a question of everybody’s individual response to the crisis we’re going through now.
 
I think everybody’s individual response will be different, and his seems to be, as far as I can tell, quite sensible. Whether it will have the effect that it wants to have, I don’t know but what’s clear from an ethical point of view to me is that this industrial machine is destroying the world. We know that. It seems to be an obvious ethical obligation really to withdraw your support from it and your engagement with it as much as possible.
 
But of course, the reality is that we’re all stuck in it. Just by being born into our generation in this country it’s almost impossible to completely withdraw yourself. But you can still do what you can do. You can’t predict the future. How many people are going to do that kind of thing? We don’t know. Anything could happen over the next 10 or 20 years. It could be another economic crash, it could be a rapid climate change event and everything could change and everybody’s attitudes could go out the window.
 
One thing that is exciting I suppose is that we shouldn’t underestimate how quickly people’s attitudes can change when circumstances change. If we had a giant economic collapse, if we had rolling climate change, if we had all this stuff coming at once and making it very very obvious that we weren’t going to keep on going in the same direction then anything could happen. That doesn’t mean we could reverse everything and get back to how it was, but we could have a very very different attitude. At some stage, our intellectual assumption that capitalist growth and progress are the only game in town is going to collapse. How soon that will be, I don’t know, but it will happen because it so obviously is undermining even its own assumptions, and when that happens then things start to get really interesting, but in what direction we have no idea at all.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #214 on: March 11, 2014, 07:57:09 AM »
Quote
One thing that is exciting I suppose is that we shouldn’t underestimate how quickly people’s attitudes can change when circumstances change. If we had a giant economic collapse, if we had rolling climate change, if we had all this stuff coming at once and making it very very obvious that we weren’t going to keep on going in the same direction then anything could happen. That doesn’t mean we could reverse everything and get back to how it was, but we could have a very very different attitude. At some stage, our intellectual assumption that capitalist growth and progress are the only game in town is going to collapse. How soon that will be, I don’t know, but it will happen because it so obviously is undermining even its own assumptions, and when that happens then things start to get really interesting, but in what direction we have no idea at all.

Hence the Arctic Sea Ice Blog and this forum. I'm hoping against hope that attitudes will change...
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

JimD

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #215 on: March 11, 2014, 05:33:54 PM »
Hence the Arctic Sea Ice Blog and this forum. I'm hoping against hope that attitudes will change...

I am sure I speak for all of us here when I say that we all appreciate everything you have been doing over these past few years.
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

wili

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #216 on: March 11, 2014, 06:32:59 PM »
Hear! Hear!
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #217 on: March 11, 2014, 08:25:24 PM »
Hear! Hear!

Thanks for the link....a great read. His contention that the solutions will come from outside of the system is exactly what I believe.

More specifically he mentions "withdrawing support" which is a concept that is part of my masters research project. The current advanced capitalism/industrial system exists as a result of our support. We are all part of this system and how the system behaves is the logical result of our participation in the system. We are all behaving rationally within the system and the results are highly irrational, presenting an existential threat. To alter these results, persons must step outside of the system, withdraw their support. If sufficient numbers of people living in developed western nations do this, we can transform the system and alter the results.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 08:32:41 PM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #218 on: March 14, 2014, 10:53:50 PM »
SH, cool. So how would you recommend one going about the task of withdrawing from the system? I have my own ideas, but I'm always eager to hear others', especially those who have made a specific study of it.

Meanwhile, here's another read that kind of fits in here:

The Creation of Society's Shared Hallucinations

Quote
The fundamental problem with issues such as Climate Change and Ecological Degradation is that they stem from a core problem, the exponential growth of human demands upon the earth, and thus the only solution is an end to that growth. With the industrialized human societies having spent the past two centuries developing a tight fit to the exponential growth facilitated by fossil fuels, an end to that growth will require wrenching changes to how those societies are structured and operate. Such changes, while producing great concern to the general populace, will be extremely threatening to those that have succeeded under the current societal arrangements. These are the rich and powerful that have most control over media organizations, as well as other determinants of social reality such as the school system and the workplace

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-03-13/the-creation-of-society-s-shared-hallucinations
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #219 on: March 14, 2014, 11:29:44 PM »
On the collapse issue:

NASA-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?

   
Quote
A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

    Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common."

    The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary 'Human And Nature DYnamical' (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

    It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

    The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business - and consumers - to recognise that 'business as usual' cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.

    Although the study is largely theoretical, a number of other more empirically-focused studies - by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance - have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a 'perfect storm' within about fifteen years. But these 'business as usual' forecasts could be very conservative.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #220 on: March 16, 2014, 08:27:12 PM »
wili.....I will try to briefly reply.....I am currently working on research and hope to publish within a year. I briefly considered pursuing a PhD but have come to the conclusion that I lack the discipline to do this.

My research interest was born out of my 30 plus year career in manufacturing. As a manager (upwards to 400 direct reports) I developed the ability (trial by error) over my career to develop vibrant, effective organizations where the vast majority of employees loved coming to work. I had very low turnover and highly productive teams. These teams stood in stark contrast to groups led by my peers. My basic method was to foster communication throughout my organization. I would create, very methodically, a rich communication network where this communication not only built relationships but the sharing of individual perspectives caused the organization to become very flexible and solve problems quickly and effectively. I went back to school 3 years ago to try to understand why I was effective as a manager.

My interest was in the "learning organization". How do organizations learn how to learn.

What I have discovered applies not only to manufacturing groups but, in fact applies to any bounded entity (group of individuals who see themselves as that group) These bounded entities can be small (a family) or large (a country) or massive (human civilization).

1. All of reality can be viewed as a system, a bounded entity that acts rationally within a set of beliefs.

2. Larger systems are made up of subsystems and these subsystems are, in turn, made up of smaller systems.

3. Systems overlap. Their boundaries can include parts of other systems (e.g. Various religions are included in the larger system of the U.S. but these systems also span the boundaries of individual nation states).

4. All systems have an overriding purpose, the perpetuation of the system. The reason for this is that all individuals within the system or bounded entity have an overriding interest in its perpetuation.

5. Systems that have a robust network, interconnections within the individual components of the system, are more robust than systems that are less well interconnected. (My success as a manager was directly related to my success at creating these highly interconnected communication networks within my organization. I had inadvertently created a highly resilient bounded entity.)

6. A resilient system is more flexible and adaptable, able to withstand shocks.

7. Smaller, less complex systems are more resilient than larger complex systems.

8. A previously robust system can become less resilient if the robust interconnections within the system are broken or weaken. Systems can weaken due to attacks from within or without.

9. Just as the creation of larger systems are the result of the integration of subsystems through the creation of interconnections, the collapse of larger systems is a dis-integrative process, a breaking of the robust connections that form the larger system.

10. All systems have as their foundation, a set of shared beliefs, a paradigm that guides the systems behavior and deliver the logical results. Individuals, as rational actors within the system, make decisions consistent with the foundational paradigms without usually being aware of their existence.

11. System results are the logical outcome of rational behavior of the system. This system behavior cannot be altered from without. The system will see such attempts as a threat to its existence and will either destroy or coopt the external agents for change.

12. System behavior and the logical results of this behavior can only be altered from within, although the system will see these internal efforts as threats as well. While there are many ways to alter system behavior from within, the most powerful way is at the level of paradigm. It is also paradoxically the easiest as, for each individual, it can occur in an instant, as the veil is lifted, pulled away, exposing the existing paradigm and allowing for choosing a new paradigm to  operate which is transformative and can alter the behavior of the system.

Modern industrial capitalism is just such a system. As western Europe began the transformation from a feudalistic society to what ultimately became the modern system of global capitalism, brilliant philosophers worked to understand and define the nature of economic man. Five of the most influential were Descartes, Mandeville, Locke, Hume and Adam Smith. Together and with contributions from other thinkers of the day, they created the foundation, the very paradigm that guides the system, its behavior and results.

This paradigm or concept is that of the "Invisible Hand".  Mandeville proposed that "private ethics did not matter; anything that happens, be it moral or amoral, contributes to the general welfare." As others explored this idea, ethics became seemingly irrelevant. The originally universal notion of the relationship between ethics and economics, which we encounter in the Old Testament, was turned on its head. The argument began that the more vices there were, the more material well-being there could be. "Greed is good" is not an accident but a desired feature of the emerging system. Adam Smith refined this and argued that the individual pursuit of pure self interest, would logically result in the common good. This paradigm forms the foundation and continues to guide the system of capitalism today. It can be found in public discourse everywhere and serves as a justification of the pursuit of wealth. Each of us, as rational actors within the system, make economic choices guided by this paradigm. We seek to improve our standing within the system, to improve our lives and the lives of our family.

While a very useful construct to build a philosophical foundation for the creation of the modern economy, this concept or paradigm is patently false. Any student of economics is well acquainted with the "tragedy of the commons". The pursuit by individuals of pure self interest is the root cause of all of the ills of modern human civilization. This selfish pursuit does not contribute at all to the common good but is the source of misery. Pollution, poverty, overfishing of fisheries are all logical results of the pursuit of pure self interest. Because the paradigm is a falsehood or lie, all forms of institutions have arisen to mitigate the effects of (e.g. prisons to incarcerate the desperately poor) or limit the destruction that the pure pursuit of self interest causes. Despite this, the paradigm continues to form the very foundation of the system of capitalism. We continue to act as rational actors within the system pursuing our own self interest while railing against the logical results of such a pursuit, the destruction of the environment, rampant poverty and injustice and now the existential threat that is AGW.

What is needed is a new paradigm. New paradigms always occur on the individual level and they attain their power as more and more adopt and operate from the new paradigm. Each person continues to participate in the existing economic system but by having the new paradigm guide their economic choices they will transform the system from within. All systems, true for the system of Capitalism as well, see new paradigms as a threat to their very existence and will fight this threat.

We need to discard or "withdraw from" the old paradigm, "The Invisible Hand" and fashion a new paradigm to guide our economic being. This new paradigm must recognize that every economic transaction has a value that is attached and communicated to the rest of humanity. Each transaction made by the individual must also contribute to the common good, to benefit ourselves while simultaneously benefitting those who are party to the transaction and society as a whole. It is no longer possible for us to separate ethics from economic choice but ethical decisions need to be at the foundation of each and every choice we make as economic beings. Do we value the environment? Then every economic choice must be made so that it contributes to its well being. Keep in mind that adopting this paradigm means that we can no longer make economic choices out of pure self interest. We must decide for ourselves if we choose to continue to be rational actors, guided by the existing paradigm, and serve to perpetuate the system or choose to operate from the new paradigm with its attendant impact on the realization of pure and amoral self interest.

Adopting this new paradigm will transform the current system and individuals can adopt this new paradigm in an instant. As more and more operate rationally from this new paradigm the system of capitalism will be transformed and many of the ills that are a result of the existing paradigm will disappear. Perhaps we can avoid the existential threat that is AGW.

I would like to add that no actions within the existing paradigm have any hope of saving us from the logical results of the system of capitalism. We will continue to inhabit a world of desperate want and injustice and environmental degradation that threatens our very existence.

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #221 on: March 16, 2014, 09:04:14 PM »
SH

Great post!
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: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #222 on: March 16, 2014, 09:10:10 PM »
Yeah, wow, SH, thanks.

On your last point, aren't all acts currently essentially forced to be 'within the current system'? Can you give examples of any economic acts that would be outside of it? Barter only? Or is consciously only buying, say, locally produced food a way of acting enough outside the system?

I do like the idea of having every economic act be a moral act. I'm not sure there are any economics departments that teach it that way, though. Any idea how to make these ideas go viral through the relevant communities? Any idea how to change the paradigms amongst the most important players most rapidly? It seems like if you could get some of these things into every economics text book, it may have a chance, but that would probably be a ways off.

Also, how does the whole growth issue fit into this?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #223 on: March 16, 2014, 09:51:51 PM »
SH

Great post!

Jim D....As I was posting, I read the quote you have by Albert Einstein. It is a great question and I believe my post is an attempt to answer his question.

Also, when I argue for crash on demand, I am actually talking about choosing to operate from the new paradigm. I am a revolutionary but the revolution is one grounded in ideas that guide action on an individual basis. It is decidedly non-violent.

Never the less, this new paradigm will wreak a great deal of change on the system of capitalism and the current system will see advocates of the new paradigm as mortal enemies. As such, the devoted adherents of the existing system will quite willingly perpetrate violence on these enemies.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 10:31:29 PM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #224 on: March 16, 2014, 10:41:39 PM »
Yeah, wow, SH, thanks.

On your last point, aren't all acts currently essentially forced to be 'within the current system'? Can you give examples of any economic acts that would be outside of it? Barter only? Or is consciously only buying, say, locally produced food a way of acting enough outside the system?

I do like the idea of having every economic act be a moral act. I'm not sure there are any economics departments that teach it that way, though. Any idea how to make these ideas go viral through the relevant communities? Any idea how to change the paradigms amongst the most important players most rapidly? It seems like if you could get some of these things into every economics text book, it may have a chance, but that would probably be a ways off.

Also, how does the whole growth issue fit into this?

All economic acts are performed by rational actors in the system. We are the rational actors. It is not that we are forced to act in a certain way, we simply take as given the paradigms that serve as the foundation for all of our actions as economic beings. Since we were born into the system, raised and taught to be rational actors within it, I suppose you could make the point we have been coerced to do what we do. We really have no other way to see ourselves and the world in which we live.

Keep in mind that people raised in another system (Native Americans for instance) found the ideas of our system abhorrent. They fought this system that was being imposed on them and were destroyed.

We simply must unshackle ourselves from this paradigm. First we need to recognize its existence and the role that it plays in all of the choices we make as economic beings. We are usually not aware of the paradigms that form and guide our behavior. We all are rational actors in the pursuit of self interest, working to attain increasing wealth and prosperity. We will point to wealthy individuals like the Koch brothers as  somehow evil while simultaneously try to figure out how to get where they are. This paradigm is the very engine of growth, its philosophical foundation, and the acceptance of this paradigm guides us in the system that is also trying to accumulate wealth, in the form of societal capital.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 10:49:15 PM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #225 on: March 16, 2014, 10:49:36 PM »
"They fought this system that was being imposed on them and were destroyed."

Right. So, doesn't that bode rather ill for those of us planning to do the same? I suspect that the more effective we are at actually "subverting the dominant paradigm" the more likely that we will be jailed or killed under some pretense or other (or perhaps under no pretense at all).

I would love it if you could give a few concrete example of what you see as the most promising developments now going on, or the most promising specific developments or actions that you think would point in the directions you want things to go. Or would that be giving away too much, in some way?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #226 on: March 16, 2014, 11:13:02 PM »
"They fought this system that was being imposed on them and were destroyed."

Right. So, doesn't that bode rather ill for those of us planning to do the same? I suspect that the more effective we are at actually "subverting the dominant paradigm" the more likely that we will be jailed or killed under some pretense or other (or perhaps under no pretense at all).

I would love it if you could give a few concrete example of what you see as the most promising developments now going on, or the most promising specific developments or actions that you think would point in the directions you want things to go. Or would that be giving away too much, in some way?

The distinction here is that Native Americans were outside of the system and their attempts to change its behavior were doomed as a result. You cannot change a system from the outside.

While seen as a threat, as actors within the system, we pose a real dilemma. The system is absolutely dependent on the existence of individuals acting rationally within the system. It is the cumulative effect of our actions that deliver the results. An individual choosing to be guided by a different paradigm is not something the system can fight. It is not unlike boxing with shadows.

Those public proponents of the alternative paradigm are quite a different story. The system will attempt to defame, marginalize or destroy them. Given the battlefield is one of ideas, the weapons brought to bear on the opponents that would be considered legitimate will be ideas as well. Of course, men who argue forcefully and persuasively for an idea (Martin Luther King) can find themselves in an early grave.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 11:20:33 PM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #227 on: March 16, 2014, 11:36:32 PM »

I do like the idea of having every economic act be a moral act. I'm not sure there are any economics departments that teach it that way, though. Any idea how to make these ideas go viral through the relevant communities? Any idea how to change the paradigms amongst the most important players most rapidly? It seems like if you could get some of these things into every economics text book, it may have a chance, but that would probably be a ways off.


This kind of misses the point and the power of paradigms. Trying to convince the most vocal adherents of the current system and the supporting paradigms is pointless and will have no effect. No economics textbooks need be nor will be written in support of the new paradigm. The system and its advocates will argue to the death about the wonderful system in which we live. We should expect nothing else as the primary motive of any system is its perpetuation.

The power of the new paradigm is that it can transform the system behavior from within, even in the face of opposition from its most avid supporters. It may sound like magical thinking but it is really quite simple. Do each of us want to operate under the existing paradigm? Do we want to continue to subscribe to the myth that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good? Can we persist in acting as rational actors within the existing paradigm in the face of a mountain of evidence that doing so will lead to our destruction? Or perhaps, we would prefer to pursue our own self interest while pointing out others as the cause for our problems? The Koch brothers might do. This is a fiction.

Either we reject the existing paradigm and act in accordance with a new paradigm or we should simply be content with the increasingly irrational and damaging but logical results of a system acting in a manner that is consistent with those paradigms.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 12:56:47 AM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #228 on: March 16, 2014, 11:56:12 PM »
"Either we reject the existing paradigm..."

Again, what exactly would that look like? Is it at first just a mental thing? It's really, really hard for someone living, for example, in most place in the USA to suddenly decide not to take part in 'the system'--not drive in any internal combustion engine, not use electricity generated by coal, not engage in economic activities of various sorts...

So would one be able to recognize someone who had rejected the existing paradigm? Or would they necessarily have to harbor their new paradigm mostly in secret--participating outwardly with the system while not 'buying in' to it? Always looking for ways to subtly subvert it without looking like s/he was doing so?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #229 on: March 17, 2014, 12:21:07 AM »
"Either we reject the existing paradigm..."

Again, what exactly would that look like? Is it at first just a mental thing? It's really, really hard for someone living, for example, in most place in the USA to suddenly decide not to take part in 'the system'--not drive in any internal combustion engine, not use electricity generated by coal, not engage in economic activities of various sorts...

So would one be able to recognize someone who had rejected the existing paradigm? Or would they necessarily have to harbor their new paradigm mostly in secret--participating outwardly with the system while not 'buying in' to it? Always looking for ways to subtly subvert it without looking like s/he was doing so?

I have always found your posts interesting and thought provoking. I appreciate the intelligence and insight you bring to these discussions. I can't help but think you know the answers to these questions.

Yes, it is at first just a mental thing, recognizing the existence of the paradigm that guides our actions. This mental thing can occur in an instant and simply requires a little reflection. Why do I make the choices I make?

Secondly, this is not about choosing not to take part in the system. I am not sure how a person would do this. This is about being a rational actor in a system but being guided by a radically different paradigm.

The existing paradigm of the system of capitalism is that "everyone may make all choices in the pursuit of pure self interest and the common good will be realized". This paradigm is patently false and the pursuit of pure self interest is the source of all of the ills of society including the existential threat that is AGW.

Choosing to discard this paradigm as a guide means that I must make decisions that follow the new paradigm. To do this, I am quite consciously deciding to make choices that are different than under the existing, yet fatally flawed, paradigm. My pure self interest is no longer the deciding factor. Yes, this means I will be making economic choices that do not maximize my profit or attainment of wealth. They will be inconvenient, impose personal costs, cause me to be less wealthy in the sense that the current system defines wealth.

The existing paradigm can be boiled down to a simple 3 word phrase. "Greed is good." I can choose to continue to embrace the existing paradigm, pursuing my own self interest. It is my choice. If I so choose, I need to accept the fact that I will be contributing to the destruction of human civilization. I am serving to perpetuate the system. I am an accessory to the crime, if you will.

This is a dilemma, a personal conundrum. One that I continue to reflect on and grapple with.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 01:03:44 AM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #230 on: March 17, 2014, 01:09:20 AM »
SH


Thanks for the post!


I've often found myself as playing near the system's boundaries. Capital accumulation followed by Hippy communes for a period followed by a reflex jump into money making endeavors, followed by tribal living (on a Harley) followed again by capitalist ventures.
Not sure that I was acting terribly rationally during any of these periods, but always keen on poking "The Man" in the eye when the opportunity arose. As an old man the most anti-social habit I've kept is my personal boycott of goods offered by those I see as bad actors.
Traveling through Cuba at the tail end of the "Special Period" gave me a glimpse of what could be if people decided that the welfare of the group was held to be as important as the welfare of the individual. Somehow the commons were being tended, everyone was being fed during a time of privation & people had a deep sense of being involved in something very important.
Hippy life in So. California started with some of that sense but soon devolved into a capitalist system dependent on psychedelics trading.  We experimented more with marketing techniques than with alternative lifestyles & the whole thing soon collapsed under its own weight (or went up in smoke).
I don't see a future for capitalism nor for democracy. In fact I don't see much of a future for much of anything after the reversion to a feudal existence lived under very brutal conditions.
The slim hope I have for the future is a breakthrough that somehow produces power while eliminating atmospheric CO2. There is nothing in our past that indicates that this is possible, yet prior to the steam engine, prior to the telephone, prior to the internal combustion engine and prior to the jet engine there was no hint that such things were to become part of our material heritage.
Keeping the lights on and keeping communications open are the minimum prerequisites for having any chance at such a technical miracle. For this reason I'll opt to keep some form of what systems are now extant viable as far into the future as possible. I recognize that this further degrades the planet's capacity going forward but frankly without some method of rapidly removing greenhouse gasses we might as well have one hell of a party & pass the Koolaid.
Terry

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #231 on: March 17, 2014, 01:18:30 AM »
Thanks again, SH. Yes, I suspected we shared much of the same vision, but I wanted to be sure and to see if you taken this in some other direction.

TerryM wrote: "Traveling through Cuba at the tail end of the "Special Period"..."

Cool. Would you consider starting a thread that briefly describes your some of your experiences and the conclusions you have drawn?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #232 on: March 17, 2014, 04:09:07 AM »

Jim D....As I was posting, I read the quote you have by Albert Einstein. It is a great question and I believe my post is an attempt to answer his question.

Also, when I argue for crash on demand, I am actually talking about choosing to operate from the new paradigm. I am a revolutionary but the revolution is one grounded in ideas that guide action on an individual basis. It is decidedly non-violent.

Never the less, this new paradigm will wreak a great deal of change on the system of capitalism and the current system will see advocates of the new paradigm as mortal enemies. As such, the devoted adherents of the existing system will quite willingly perpetrate violence on these enemies.

Resistance is what counts.  It goes to what ccg said earlier today.  One is either supporting the system or trying to take it down.  Passive behavior supports the system as that is one of their most desired behavior modes. 

Not everyone is suited for all kinds of direct action.  Non-violence is a fair choice due to reasons of skills/knowledge and also due to age and ability to execute physical acts.  To each their own depending on their abilities.  As long as they resist.

And as you point out above any kind of resistance will get you stomped on.  The folks supporting the existing system could care less if you are non-violent as they always use force.  Sometimes they will tolerate a certain amount of non-violent resistance but just as often they will come after you anyway and especially if they start seeing you are having results.  Just assume that they are coming. 

The people who resist are not doing it for themselves, they are doing it for the future.  A higher purpose than just being the rational actor in the destroy the world paradigm,

Quote
All economic acts are performed by rational actors in the system. We are the rational actors. It is not that we are forced to act in a certain way, we simply take as given the paradigms that serve as the foundation for all of our actions as economic beings. Since we were born into the system, raised and taught to be rational actors within it, I suppose you could make the point we have been coerced to do what we do. We really have no other way to see ourselves and the world in which we live.

We live in a culture and economic system that fits the definition of being insane.   
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: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #233 on: March 17, 2014, 04:57:41 PM »

We live in a culture and economic system that fits the definition of being insane.

At the very least, we are delusional.

"A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary."

Our guiding paradigm argues that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good. We believe this despite superior evidence to the contrary. This is not as disheartening as it first appears. We can simply acknowledge that the paradigm is patently false. Having successfully escaped from this delusion, we can now act to avoid its deleterious consequences.

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #234 on: March 18, 2014, 03:13:42 AM »
"Either we reject the existing paradigm..."

Again, what exactly would that look like? Is it at first just a mental thing? It's really, really hard for someone living, for example, in most place in the USA to suddenly decide not to take part in 'the system'--not drive in any internal combustion engine, not use electricity generated by coal, not engage in economic activities of various sorts...

So would one be able to recognize someone who had rejected the existing paradigm? Or would they necessarily have to harbor their new paradigm mostly in secret--participating outwardly with the system while not 'buying in' to it? Always looking for ways to subtly subvert it without looking like s/he was doing so?

I'm afraid to say that if you have rejected the existing paradigm, I think you are then the same as the native americans - the enemy of the system - and logically a target thereof.

Can you really change the paradigm without destroying the system? Is there any difference in that respect between the paradigm and the system? (particularly as now we do not have time for evolution, only for revolution).

Furthermore to instate a new paradigm requires you to either come into conflict with the existing one (particularly in the sense of revolution) or to wait until it is gone naturally (my preference, as it's a lot easier to focus on in terms of personal capability). Therefore you cannot bring about a new paradigm that dominates secretly. There must be a point at which the new paradigm forcefully (not necessarily violently per se, but in this case probably so) pushes aside the old if or while the two co-exist (if it is built from the ashes, I think you get to dispense with most of that bit).

Finally I don't think rejecting the existing paradigm is really just a mental thing - your thoughts matter not a jot if they are not backed by action. I think people also need to reflect just how deep the paradigm and the system go and how far you must be prepared to go to escape from it's orbit.

Most people here no doubt pay taxes (if not on wages then on purchases or some other thing). The revenue from those taxes goes to policing you and to maintaining your compliance with the system. Every year you therefore pay significant amounts of your personal income to the system to enable it to pay other people to keep you under control. Do we see the irony here?

Withdraw your cooperation from this system and you are a criminal.

Hint at acting against it - and you are a terrorist.

One suspects, without necessarily having any personal knowledge, that at this point life is going to be a lot tougher and you're going to be looking over your shoulder quite a bit and confronting some rather complex questions about just what you are prepared to do and in what circumstances.

Again - merely to think you are leaving the system in no way means you really have. The illusion is dangerous and it is what the system can use to trick people into thinking they are acting against it or moving away from it, when in reality it is just a nice distracting illusion - for they remain firmly within the grasp of the system.

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #235 on: March 18, 2014, 03:19:36 AM »
Our guiding paradigm argues that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good. We believe this despite superior evidence to the contrary. This is not as disheartening as it first appears. We can simply acknowledge that the paradigm is patently false. Having successfully escaped from this delusion, we can now act to avoid its deleterious consequences.

If only it were that simple?

You cannot avoid violence. You can avoid resorting to it yourself, but you cannot avoid it being used against you by those with the means to do so (mostly governments in this context, at least in the developed nations).

Furthermore the depth of the roots of delusion should not be taken lightly (America and climate change denial is a great example here).

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #236 on: March 18, 2014, 02:55:58 PM »
Our guiding paradigm argues that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good. We believe this despite superior evidence to the contrary. This is not as disheartening as it first appears. We can simply acknowledge that the paradigm is patently false. Having successfully escaped from this delusion, we can now act to avoid its deleterious consequences.

If only it were that simple?

You cannot avoid violence. You can avoid resorting to it yourself, but you cannot avoid it being used against you by those with the means to do so (mostly governments in this context, at least in the developed nations).

Furthermore the depth of the roots of delusion should not be taken lightly (America and climate change denial is a great example here).

While I don't believe violence will be perpetrated against anyone who simply chooses to make purchases based on "common good", I do agree with you that actual transformation of the economy is more difficult than it could be. We are simply too intent on making choices based on pure self interest.

Perhaps, I should go out and buy a car. It would be very convenient and I certainly could afford one even though my reliance on public transportation and cabs saves me money.

Having sold my car 3 years ago, I've yet to have militias, armed by GM, knock on my door. I can always hope they remain unable find me, I suppose.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 04:03:25 PM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #237 on: March 18, 2014, 03:07:37 PM »
"Either we reject the existing paradigm..."

Again, what exactly would that look like? Is it at first just a mental thing? It's really, really hard for someone living, for example, in most place in the USA to suddenly decide not to take part in 'the system'--not drive in any internal combustion engine, not use electricity generated by coal, not engage in economic activities of various sorts...

So would one be able to recognize someone who had rejected the existing paradigm? Or would they necessarily have to harbor their new paradigm mostly in secret--participating outwardly with the system while not 'buying in' to it? Always looking for ways to subtly subvert it without looking like s/he was doing so?

I'm afraid to say that if you have rejected the existing paradigm, I think you are then the same as the native americans - the enemy of the system - and logically a target thereof.

Can you really change the paradigm without destroying the system? Is there any difference in that respect between the paradigm and the system? (particularly as now we do not have time for evolution, only for revolution).

Withdraw your cooperation from this system and you are a criminal.

Hint at acting against it - and you are a terrorist.



Using a different paradigm is not the same as rejecting capitalism. It can be entirely consistent with capitalism as it guides us to make different choices. In fact, we already do this.

We all have families. We have parents, children, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. This social unit is very resilient, dependent on the connections between members of the family and has existed and persisted throughout human history. The economic choices we make routinely consider the impact they have on our families and we seek to benefit our families when we make them. The common good guides our choices. We do not make choices in pursuit of pure self interest.

I've raised 4 children. At no point has my government identified me as a criminal for making choices that benefit my family and I doubt if I publicly advocated for others to do the same that I would be labeled a terrorist. I'm not sure where you live but I think you should emigrate to the U.S.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 04:05:04 PM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #238 on: March 18, 2014, 03:22:22 PM »

Furthermore to instate a new paradigm requires you to either come into conflict with the existing one (particularly in the sense of revolution) or to wait until it is gone naturally (my preference, as it's a lot easier to focus on in terms of personal capability). Therefore you cannot bring about a new paradigm that dominates secretly. There must be a point at which the new paradigm forcefully (not necessarily violently per se, but in this case probably so) pushes aside the old if or while the two co-exist (if it is built from the ashes, I think you get to dispense with most of that bit).

Finally I don't think rejecting the existing paradigm is really just a mental thing - your thoughts matter not a jot if they are not backed by action. I think people also need to reflect just how deep the paradigm and the system go and how far you must be prepared to go to escape from it's orbit.


Discarding the existing paradigm and selecting a new one does result in conflict but the conflict is a personal one. Of course, we each are free to make this choice. This is the true meaning of freedom within the system of capitalism.

Do we want to operate under the existing paradigm? Do we want to continue to subscribe to the myth that the pursuit of pure self interest will result in the common good? Can we persist in acting as rational actors within the existing paradigm in the face of mounting evidence that doing so will lead to our destruction? If we so choose, we are suffering from a delusion, a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. Either we reject the existing paradigm and act in accordance with a new paradigm or we should accept the increasingly irrational and damaging but logical results of a system, behaving in a manner that is consistent with those paradigms.

We must decide for ourselves if we choose to continue to be rational actors, guided by the existing paradigm, and serve to perpetuate the system or choose to operate from the new paradigm with its attendant impact on the realization of pure and amoral self interest. I would like to suggest that no actions within the existing paradigm have any hope of saving us from the logical results of the system of capitalism. We will continue to inhabit a world of desperate want and injustice and environmental degradation that threatens our very existence.

If there is violence, if there is a war, it is a war with ourselves.

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #239 on: March 18, 2014, 03:36:20 PM »

Furthermore to instate a new paradigm requires you to either come into conflict with the existing one (particularly in the sense of revolution) or to wait until it is gone naturally (my preference, as it's a lot easier to focus on in terms of personal capability).



In this single sentence you capture the point I am making. Yes there is conflict of a very personal nature. The revolution is the personal act of discarding the existing paradigm and embracing a new one. You can certainly choose to continue to be guided by pure self interest. I will absolutely defend your right to do so.

I am not sure how this personal choice to pursue pure self interest will "go naturally" unless you mean when you pass into the next world. May you live a long life and accumulate vast wealth, entirely dismissive of the needs and fate of your grandchildren.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 04:07:44 PM by Shared Humanity »

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #240 on: March 18, 2014, 04:14:39 PM »
I attended the University of Chicago where I obtained a degree in Economics and an MBA. I would like to believe that this institution has the finest economics program in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the degree.

I thought I would link to a very short video, a small portion of an interview with Milton Friedman, a brilliant man and economist who taught and did research at the university. It is one simple example of the public discourse regarding the paradigm we have all chosen to accept and guide our lives.




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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #241 on: March 18, 2014, 04:33:44 PM »
SH, I think we mostly agree, but in the following, you seem a bit naive: " At no point has my government identified me as a criminal for making choices that benefit my family and I doubt if I publicly advocated for others to do the same that I would be labeled a terrorist. I'm not sure where you live but I think you should emigrate to the U.S."

Yeah, probably not if the choice is buying a carrot instead of a twinkie. But many people judged that making choices that benefit their families means standing in the way of projects of various sorts that could harm or displace their families, or refusing to leave homes that were foreclosed on by corrupt banks...

Often such activities (and even much milder ones) will get you on lists of various sorts.

But JimD could probably give a better informed perspective on this.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #242 on: March 18, 2014, 06:06:47 PM »
wili

We are commenting in a thread that discusses crashing the capitalist system.

I would assume that everyone on this has blog has had their computer ID electronically filed.

When the public libraries has to report anyone checking out certain books to the FBI what can you expect.

We live in a surveillance state with strong authoritarian leanings and everyone is assumed to be potentially hostile and you can be listed as a probable quite easily. 

Depending on how one defines violence; i.e. it does not have to be physical as it can just be intimidation or financial harassment, then I would say that SH's advocating a paradigm change, if effective, would certainly be perceived as a threat and could result in 'violence'. 
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: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #243 on: March 18, 2014, 06:20:53 PM »
Thanks, Jim. I had a feeling you would have some insights on this that would cheer us all up. ;D
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #244 on: March 18, 2014, 08:21:41 PM »
Milton Friedman, a brilliant man and economist

A bit of a contradiction there, I fear.  ;D

But seriously, the Chicago-style economic thinking, or at least neoclassical thinking seems to have taken over universities all over the world. I guess this is what you mean by paradigm.

It does sound compelling, the way Friedman puts it, but did he ever talk about limits, or where the thing he propagated would eventually lead to? Classical economists like Adams and John Stuart Mill said that at one point, when everyone's basic needs were fulfilled, the economy would become stationary. Neoclassical economists don't seem to do that. They seem to believe in perpetual growth, whether a system is finite or not.

One other point I'm not sure I subscribe to, is the conflation of free market and capitalism. Isn't it possible to have a free market without capitalism, especially when that point has been reached where everyone's basic needs are fulfilled? I think that capitalism is actually diminishing the free market potential, because of a concentration of power and money, which distorts the free market, turning it into a wild market with no rules, where the strongest decide everything.
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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #245 on: March 18, 2014, 11:00:05 PM »
As long as there were ever more resources, especially energy resources, to exploit and you could ignore ('externalize') the pollution and other consequences of that use, something like capitalism was indeed probably the best way to run through all of those resources and convert them into pollution and the planet into a rock. The places where that wealth were best distributed tended to be those with a strong, well organized labor movement, something Friedman would not like to hear.

But now those consequences are showing up ever more prominently and the limits to exploiting those resources are starting to hit, but we are mostly still wed to Friedman's ideas.

SH, do you think that people more easily give up one set of delusions if there is another handy set of delusions ready on hand to pick up? Or can we really live without delusions of any sort?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #246 on: March 19, 2014, 12:46:51 AM »
As long as there were ever more resources, especially energy resources, to exploit and you could ignore ('externalize') the pollution and other consequences of that use, something like capitalism was indeed probably the best way to run through all of those resources and convert them into pollution and the planet into a rock. The places where that wealth were best distributed tended to be those with a strong, well organized labor movement, something Friedman would not like to hear.

But now those consequences are showing up ever more prominently and the limits to exploiting those resources are starting to hit, but we are mostly still wed to Friedman's ideas.

SH, do you think that people more easily give up one set of delusions if there is another handy set of delusions ready on hand to pick up? Or can we really live without delusions of any sort?

We all get to choose the delusions that guide us.  ;)

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #247 on: March 20, 2014, 04:14:17 AM »
In this single sentence you capture the point I am making. Yes there is conflict of a very personal nature. The revolution is the personal act of discarding the existing paradigm and embracing a new one. You can certainly choose to continue to be guided by pure self interest. I will absolutely defend your right to do so.

I am not sure how this personal choice to pursue pure self interest will "go naturally" unless you mean when you pass into the next world. May you live a long life and accumulate vast wealth, entirely dismissive of the needs and fate of your grandchildren.

Let me be clear - when I say the existing paradigm will go naturally I mean it will crash and burn, with all the violence and suffering entailed by that.

Whether you took JimD and his 2050 or my "quite possibly within this decade" view - I will see that happen to me in my lifetime. So it is nonsense to wish me a long life and great wealth, I know what my future holds - mostly ashes, only really a question of exactly when.

Knowing what my future holds and determining my response to it is my opportunity to respond to the needs of any descendants I might have that might survive (but more than that - also to think about the species in the wider context, ie the descendants of others too). While self preservation and the hope of surviving at least for some time myself (we all die sometime!) no doubt is a factor to some extent in what I am doing - I don't know most people where I am would be thinking how they were successfully pursuing self interest...

... because I can assure you, if self interest were my primary motivation I would be failing most miserably in achieving success in fulfilling it right now.

The bottom line is that while the collective is composed of individuals, all of whom must adopt a paradigm - what matters most for the fate of civilisation is the collective paradigm, and hence the balance of power in the collective must rest with an appropriate paradigm. There necessarily will be violence if we were to get anywhere near success in transforming the situation. Indeed - on a small scale - there already has been violence in this battle...

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #248 on: March 20, 2014, 04:21:12 AM »
Often such activities (and even much milder ones) will get you on lists of various sorts.

Just attending a protest can be enough in the UK.

On the plus side - the more lists the government keeps and the more of us are on them, the harder it becomes for them to do anything about those lists...

And I think the one saving grace about big governments is that they become progressively more and more inefficient. Like adding parallel processors to a computer it is law of diminishing returns as you scale up.

In any event I don't think they're really using the lists a lot yet - the time and place for the lists is a bit later, as things start to unwind - when they want to decapitate any potential sources of protest or alternate sources of leadership.

Not that I know anything about it - just making what seem to me to be reasonable inferences.

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Re: "Crash on Demand" or Mobilize at City/State Level? Holmgren vs Hopkins
« Reply #249 on: March 21, 2014, 12:31:20 PM »
ccgwebmaster..........

Sorry for the snark. I can be a bit of an ass sometimes. My family and friends all know this. I should not expect someone on a website know this or care to deal with it.

What I reacted to was perhaps a misunderstanding on my part. It felt that you were suggesting that you, personally, could only go on with business as usual while hoping that we could somehow avoid business as usual regarding CO2 emissions. My point is that each of us going on with business as usual guarantees that BAU with regard to CO2 emissions will also be BAU. We are the demand that defines our economy.

Each of us needs to allow this new paradigm to guide our purchases. Certainly, in the short run, we need to make choices that reflect our personal situation. I live in Chicago and do not own a car. I am able to do this but someone in the suburbs might not. I never set my thermostat above 64 in the winter. We dress like it's winter, wear sweaters, warm socks inside the house. I have never had air conditioning where I live. In hot weather my family will move outside, take dinner on the shaded porch, sit under the trees that I planted in the yard, drink lots of water. I use no herbicides or pesticides, no artificial fertilizers in my vegetable garden. My yard has been over run by praying mantis, which eat all manner of pests. Some of them are more than 6 inches long. I compost everything, have rain barrels and have installed a French irrigation system under my garden. I avoid plastics and synthetic fabrics, anything made from oil really. I buy all of my dry goods in bulk, legumes, grains, flours, dried fruits etc. I store them in the saved cardboard cans in which I buy my coffee. Most of the glass containers, we reuse. I recycle everything. I use cloth rags instead of paper towels. I eat very little meat. When I do, it is usually for flavor (a bit of ham, bacon, dried fish).

There are other things, too large to list.