Arctic Sea Ice : Forum

AGW in general => Policy and solutions => Topic started by: JimD on August 12, 2013, 04:09:33 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now I have to start working on a post of what kind of governments I think are going to show up in various places.  So much to do, so little time.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 12, 2013, 04:46:45 AM
This topic is to discuss what types of government (if any) are going to proliferate as collapse approaches and overtakes us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is unlikely that historically vulnerable and marginalised groups will fare well - women, the elderly who do not possess a relevant skill (that is, most of them in this instance), outsiders and children.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Laurent on August 12, 2013, 09:55:10 AM
Personally I don't want to know what kind of dictatur will control me but what do I want and more important what type of government can solve the climate problem.
The problem does begin with the constitution, if you let the politics, aristocrats, religious or any corporate mind write it, we should not expect much of it. It has to be written (and change) by a pool of people drawn among the nation.
All the discussions (and solutions sometimes)  we have on this forum can then be assembled in one constitution.
(There is a new French web site witch aim for that : http://www.vuncf.org/ (http://www.vuncf.org/) )
(If you want to know about the guy, check here : http://rim951.fr/?p=2560 (http://rim951.fr/?p=2560) (in French sorry))
I do think if the constitution is important, the way you organize your own life is almost as much important, like how to do you own your property, how do you take decisions among the persons around you (The constitution you'll write yourself will reflect what you are doing)...
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 12, 2013, 04:51:48 PM
Personally I don't want to know what kind of dictatur will control me but what do I want and more important what type of government can solve the climate problem.
The problem does begin with the constitution, if you let the politics, aristocrats, religious or any corporate mind write it, we should not expect much of it. It has to be written (and change) by a pool of people drawn among the nation.
All the discussions (and solutions sometimes)  we have on this forum can then be assembled in one constitution.
(There is a new French web site witch aim for that : http://www.vuncf.org/ (http://www.vuncf.org/) )
(If you want to know about the guy, check here : http://rim951.fr/?p=2560 (http://rim951.fr/?p=2560) (in French sorry))
I do think if the constitution is important, the way you organize your own life is almost as much important, like how to do you own your property, how do you take decisions among the persons around you (The constitution you'll write yourself will reflect what you are doing)...

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

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

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

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

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

What we need - if it's a valid discussion for this thread - is more like the Indian tribes that considered future generations in their decision making progress, and genuinely considered their interest even before they were born. Only in that way can humanity be safeguarded into the future - the moment people in the present take everything to themselves, is the moment people who come later start to get screwed over - and the long term foundations of any human civilisation eroded.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 12, 2013, 05:40:04 PM
ccg

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

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

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

Somalia

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

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

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

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

Post Western influence I would expect a declining population living near subsistence level that experiences frequent famines and constant low level warfare as different tribes/factions vie for control.  At this point no one will ever hear of the place again because we will all be too busy elsewhere.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 12, 2013, 10:02:47 PM
JimD,

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

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

On thing that is lacking in all current forms of government is an awareness that exponential economic growth is not possible.  Which future forms of government are more capable of developing a steady state economic model that allows for an equitable means for the exchange of goods and services. 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Anne on August 12, 2013, 10:32:40 PM
To sound a discordant note: talk of governments and constitutions presumes some sort of social order. If we are facing the sort of upheaval suggested, then we will be looking at people - not necessarily of our choosing - who control primary goods and resources, and who have the means to defend them.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 12, 2013, 10:39:22 PM
To sound a discordant note: talk of governments and constitutions presumes some sort of social order. If we are facing the sort of upheaval suggested, then we will be looking at people - not necessarily of our choosing - who control primary goods and resources, and who have the means to defend them.

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

On the other hand the world's leaders may gather around a campfire, holding hands and singing "Kum Ba Yah".
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 13, 2013, 12:44:57 AM
Ann

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

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

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

And as OLN said.  The rich and powerful are often going to take what they need from the weak.  That kind of behavior is another constant throughout human history and the empire/colony system was just a sort of formalized way of stripping wealth from weaker entities.  It goes on today and will tomorrow too.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Anne on August 13, 2013, 01:13:04 AM
You're right about kleptocracies. They are alive and kicking in many parts of the world and present themselves as practical (but unofficial) alternatives to recognised government. There's a question mark over the distinction between them and aristarchies - it's all down to a value judgement really.

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

On the other hand the world's leaders may gather around a campfire, holding hands and singing "Kum Ba Yah".
   ;D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq9FCBatl3A# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq9FCBatl3A#)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Anne on August 13, 2013, 01:17:39 AM
Actually, I've answered my own question. The internet giants are rich and powerful enough to secure electricity... but what would they do with that capability?
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 13, 2013, 02:11:25 AM
Actually, I've answered my own question. The internet giants are rich and powerful enough to secure electricity... but what would they do with that capability?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is certain is the mathematical impossibilities of running anything resembling the current system indefinitely, and sustaining a majority of the population indefinitely into the future. In a sense perhaps the rest is just little details blowing in the wind...
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 13, 2013, 02:27:48 AM
Kenya - heading for a train wreck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Future governmental structures (2030 and out):  Primarily tribal and a form of Kratocracy (rule by the strong).  Strong possibility that the country will break into autonomous regions living eventually at the subsistence level in most areas.  One would expect a lot of low level, but very violent warfare, amongst the various groups for control of limited arable land and scare resources.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 13, 2013, 03:04:52 AM
Kenya - heading for a train wreck

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

I think I see more where you were headed.

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

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

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

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

In this sense, it seems reasonable to argue that Kenya is likely relatively stable and secure by regional standards and when Kenya has fallen many nearby nations will have already fallen? Also - the changes in surrounding nations may have acted to accelerate the demise of Kenya as it stands today - driving a greater region into instability and chaos.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Anne on August 13, 2013, 04:31:25 AM
Actually, I've answered my own question. The internet giants are rich and powerful enough to secure electricity... but what would they do with that capability?
Not a lot - data still has to sit on physical servers, and be transmitted using extensive physical infrastructure. I have trouble picturing a world wide network still operating on this basis - though one might be able to operate fragments of the existing one. You'd need to keep an awful lot more than electricity running to do so though.
Yes, agreed. But the companies I'm talking about are rich enough to secure effective fragments of the whole. They grow richer by the day as they are providing what people desire. Their urge for self-preservation will ensure some continuity. Obviously not what we enjoy now, let alone worldwide, but enough to be influential. I just can't see them surrendering that power if anyone with vision is in charge. Unlike democracies. Seriously, we ignore the power of multinationals at our peril.

As for police states - yes. Good grief, yes, and whatever remains of the digital multinationals will be either driving that or enslaved to it.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 13, 2013, 02:41:10 PM
I always take population predictions with a grain of salt. While I can't be certain, I would think that population predictions look at current birth and mortality rates, the age distribution of the  population (what percent are still of child bearing age) and extend these out into the future to arrive at a population prediction. With the coming difficulties, partially as a result of AGW impacts, I suspect the mortality rates will climb dramatically. While birth rates may meet projections, far more children will die before reaching adulthood. Similarly, the adult population will die younger. Perhaps the 2050 projections for Kenya are relatively accurate but the 2100 are tenuous at best. I personally believe they are wildly high.

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

(Jim  D......I'm still trying to get a handle on the original question. I think it is beautifully framed, provides an interesting context. There is so much to consider that I don't feel entirely prepared to present a cohesive opinion.)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JackTaylor on August 13, 2013, 02:50:25 PM
~~ "Which future forms of government are more capable of developing a steady state economic model that allows for an equitable means for the exchange of goods and services." ~~
Hold on to that point - Some years down the road with population decline - it will be necessary.
Then,
- Which future forms of government are more capable of functioning during a continual declining economic reality? - Well past our lifetimes - so probably a 'moot point' to be discussing.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Ned W on August 13, 2013, 03:36:19 PM
Quote
This topic is to discuss what types of government (if any) are going to proliferate as collapse approaches and overtakes us.

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

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

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

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

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

Phasing out fossil fuels is going to be difficult, sure.  But we can do difficult things when we need to. 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 13, 2013, 04:45:48 PM
Quote
This topic is to discuss what types of government (if any) are going to proliferate as collapse approaches and overtakes us.

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


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

It's not that humanity can not change it's current behavior, it's just that I believe it will be a very unpleasant learning experience and not one that will happen without a great deal of pain
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: TerryM on August 13, 2013, 04:51:58 PM
Ned
You hold a uniquely optimistic view of the future, at least in this neighborhood. I think you're wrong but I do appreciate the diversity of opinion that you bring to the discussion.
My own experience seems to show a lessening of liberal democratic governance and an upswing in both totalitarian rule and theocratic structures both domestically and globally. Could you direct me to some data that backs your claims?
This isn't an attempt at confrontation but rather an inquiry as to what you've noticed that is so different than what has come to my attention.
My own world view has been shaped by 67 years of living in Canada and the US. I'm not a world traveler and recognise that other cultures may have experiences that I've never been privy to. I've lived a very uneven life that has allowed me access to most cultures found on this continent and this has undoubtedly shaped my worldview.
If I've got this thing wrong, I'd sincerely like to know what facts I haven't been taking into consideration.
Terry
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 13, 2013, 05:05:09 PM
ccg & SH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ccg  I like the your kind of discussions too so have at it.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 13, 2013, 05:23:41 PM
NED W

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

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

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

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

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

As to this...

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

That fits in here just fine if put into a form of describing what types of government we are going to see.  So tell us 'why' the above is your opinion.  Show us your logic and numbers to get us there so we can see if we agree or not.  I do question the use of "on average" though.  "On average" can hide a lot of disaster and suffering and collapse.  Average the US and Somalia together.  Looks like things are just peachy. 
 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 13, 2013, 05:27:49 PM
~~ "Which future forms of government are more capable of developing a steady state economic model that allows for an equitable means for the exchange of goods and services." ~~
Hold on to that point - Some years down the road with population decline - it will be necessary.
Then,
- Which future forms of government are more capable of functioning during a continual declining economic reality? - Well past our lifetimes - so probably a 'moot point' to be discussing.

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

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

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

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

So in the short run who knows, but overall I expect the world to be more democratic in 2113 than in 2013.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 13, 2013, 05:50:14 PM
Along the way there were brief contrary movements (e.g., 1930s Europe) but the general trend has continued to move towards liberal democracy. 

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

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

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

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

Given how Obama appears to have (almost entirely) continued precisely the same policies as Bush before him - where is this democratic choice? What evidence is there that voting for a different leader from such a selected menu with such a convoluted and controlled path for the choices to get to your ballot paper is really democracy? I mean - evidence above and beyond the fact you make ticks on a piece of paper like they used to in Communist Russia when choosing their party candidate?
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Ned W on August 13, 2013, 05:53:21 PM
Quote from: OldLeatherneck
In the 1980s, I held the same opinion that you currently hold.  However, I have a much more jaundiced view today.

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

Have you read Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature"?  I don't agree with everything but it's a pretty good representation of how I see things.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 13, 2013, 06:15:09 PM
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With Kenya for example - it appears to have no critical resources, but with a population of 44 million - that's about twice as many as Syria, which is pressuring the surrounding region (Jordan especially) with refugees. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As demand grows, so the market will.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Ned W on August 13, 2013, 06:17:39 PM
Don't worry, I'm not going to try to take over this thread.  Just responding to a few direct questions that people have asked...

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

See the first couple paragraphs of the wikipedia page on "liberal democracy" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_democracy). 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I do not think things get better with time - unless you cherry pick start/end points and the segment of the population that you ask.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 13, 2013, 09:05:11 PM
Liberal Democracy
Quote
Variant of democracy; a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of liberalism. It is characterized by fair, free, and competitive elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, and the protection of human rights and civil liberties for all persons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are entitled to your opinion but I see no logic in it.  Give us a reasoned argument that can end up with every thing being better in 2113 than it is now.  Miracles don't count. 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 13, 2013, 09:59:06 PM

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

JimD,

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

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

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1269.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fjj597%2FOldLeatherNeck%2Fb6bd7506-b5d0-4f05-a4f2-9215a4970b7b_zps185ed12e.jpg&hash=fbf51b01011e222ab024daaab0db0763)
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 13, 2013, 10:11:19 PM
ccg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As demand grows, so the market will.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is sort of the way I think the continent will go at the macro level.  Individual enclaves which  avoid the worst are likely to exist (facilitated by rich countries after their resources).  But very ugly overall.  Will this disaster help the globe avoid or mitigate any of the effects of climate change?  Not much. Is what I think will happen fair?  Not a bit, but fairness has nothing to do with it as usual.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 13, 2013, 10:41:52 PM
We've had several comments here using "better" as a metric, yet we have not set any parameters by which to measure "better".  We here in the US have been inculturated since the end of WWII to equate acquisition of material objects, wealth and societal status as a measure of success.  I'm going to paraphrase an old saying; "He who dies with the most toys, wins".

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

OLN

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

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

I share your idealism about what a more perfect societal structure would provide its citizens.  I just don't see it happening prior to collapse and its aftermath.  If we actually can learn from our mistakes and apply them post collapse maybe our descendants will create such a place (in between pausing to piss on our graves).  But I also expect those left standing after the dust settles a couple of hundred years from now to be a pretty hard tough people and I am sure they are going to perceive us as having been weak and ineffectual.  They might think very differently about that pyramid than we do.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Ned W on August 14, 2013, 03:41:04 PM
Has people's quality of life generally improved over the last century, worldwide?  I think it's obvious.  Probably the best metric is life expectancy at birth, because it integrates so many factors related to basic quality of life (infant mortality, disease, malnutrition, violence, ...):

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.j-bradford-delong.net%2Fmovable_type%2Fimages2%2FMaddison_life_exp.gif&hash=bfadabf0fd050fa0481005472ac57a97)
(Maddison 2001 via Brad DeLong (http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2003_archives/001846.html)).

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

* Women were second-class citizens with few options in life and frequently died in childbirth (maternal mortality rates were 100 times higher (http://www.deathreference.com/images/medd_02_img0098.jpg) in the 1910s vs. today).

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

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

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

This has nothing to do with "he who dies with the most toys wins".  I'm talking about essential things like being able to feed your children, having access to education beyond age 12, having the right to vote or to drink from a public drinking fountain, and not dying in childbirth.  With all due respect, I'd say that anyone who disputes the real progress in advancement of basic human rights over the past century is in deep denial.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Ned W on August 14, 2013, 03:42:17 PM
That leads to the next question -- is it reasonable to assume that these trends will continue over the next century? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll close by responding to this remark:

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

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

That's the key condition that hasn't changed -- human resourcefulness and tenacity.  We can't really foresee the challenges that our grand-children and great-grandchildren will face, any more than people in 1913 could imagine what would happen over the course of the 20th century.  But since we're speculating about the future here, my bet is that the next few generations will do at least as good a job of rising to their challenges as previous generations have. 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Rubikscube on August 14, 2013, 05:12:09 PM
Ned W. Back in mid 19th-century, people all over the world started pumping this black substance called oil in a reckless pursuit of unlimited growth. When we first started doing this we did not have the slightest idea what the long term consequences of this would be, as a result we have a global warming which today poses a tremendous threat to our society. You might say that this is not an existential threat because of our ability to adapt, but that doesn't really matter to me. What matters is that back in the 19th-century we did not know what we were doing. If CO2 had turned out to have the same effects as methane or various ozon depleting gasses, then we would all be dead before anyone knew what was going on, and, I can assure you, we would not have been able to adapt.

This system that created climate change in pursuit of growth is basicly the same system that we have in the west today, a system that continues to pursuit growth on the expence of sustainability, and that in my oppinion gives no reason to be optimistic about the future. My point is that this positive trend of yours has no predictable value what so ever when this trend is created by a system that is not sustainable. It may collapse any time, actually, I think it will collapse any time because we have such a negligent attitude toward climate change, and seemingly we aren't even trying to adapt. What comes afterwards is chaos and a surge in fascism, communism and nationalism. Liberal democracies, I think, will not be found in abundance.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 14, 2013, 06:36:39 PM
Ned W

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway let's get back to this thread.  Describe what type of government is going to exist somewhere between 2050 and 2100 or something like that and why you think it will happen.
 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Ned W on August 14, 2013, 07:09:22 PM
Quote
Probably the most rigorous efforts were the climate wedges approach that was detailed 5-6 years ago.  The authors updated it once and Joe Romm used to push it as a solution.  But the authors gave it up because our BAU path made it unworkable

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

Wedges Reaffirmed (http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/wedges-reaffirmed/P1)

They also continue to develop the stabilization wedges concept (e.g., here (http://www.princeton.edu/mae/people/faculty/socolow/13-05-24-Belgirate-%28REVISED%29-Lago-Maggiore-Italy-ASP-Wedges.pdf), just a few months ago). 

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

What is your source for the claim that Pacala and Socolow have "given up" on their mitigation wedges as "unworkable"?
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 14, 2013, 08:18:47 PM
Peru
Time for a place that is in relatively good shape.

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

No significant foreign relations problems.

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

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

Severe water stress in Lima region

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

Decent economy strongly tied to exports.

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

Wheat production 220,000 MT

Corn production 1,600,000 MT

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

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

Government is likely to maintain its current form for sometime.  Eventually population stress and other adverse conditions will increase the prospects of more authoritarian structures. 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 14, 2013, 08:26:03 PM
You're referring to Pacala and Socolow.  Two years ago they explicitly reaffirmed their approach:

Wedges Reaffirmed (http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/wedges-reaffirmed/P1)

They also continue to develop the stabilization wedges concept (e.g., here (http://www.princeton.edu/mae/people/faculty/socolow/13-05-24-Belgirate-%28REVISED%29-Lago-Maggiore-Italy-ASP-Wedges.pdf), just a few months ago). 

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

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

That was my understanding.  Looks like I am mistaken about that.  But there is a very good discussion to be had about the 'wedges' concepts, requirements, prospects for implementation, and likelihood of success.  I have considered in the past starting a topic on this very subject.  If you would like to start it and explain what they are to everyone I will be more than happy to jump in and have some good discussions.  How's that?
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 14, 2013, 08:31:52 PM
JimD,

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

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

Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 14, 2013, 10:29:07 PM
JimD,

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

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

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

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

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

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

But YMMV.  Do you think literacy is an important metric in these discussions?
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 14, 2013, 10:42:34 PM


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

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

Therefore, using literacy as a metric for these discussions would not be meaningful.  Although, the dismal literacy rates in Africa are only going to compound their many problems in the future.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 15, 2013, 10:13:17 PM
Bangladesh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Military:  small approx. 350,000

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

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

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

An interesting graphic on sea level rise and Bangladesh

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

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

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

Thoughts??
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 15, 2013, 10:28:50 PM
Bangladesh

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

Thoughts??

JimD,

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

Another thing to consider when there is a very large sudden death toll, is the spread of diseases, which have no respect for international borders.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 16, 2013, 12:31:53 AM
First I agree with the demand related to minor amounts of migration as you describe (though it will be interesting to see how successful the clampdown on migration in the US from Mexico is).  But this type of migration is not at any where near the level of mass migrations which could be triggered by climate change and local/regional governmental/civilizational collapse.  To me there is an apples and oranges difference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, long post short - I think the trickling effects of migration are more important than some might think, and the resilience of other nations to secure their external resource supplies in the face of increasing demands across the board perhaps overestimated.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 16, 2013, 12:43:00 AM
Conclusion:  Bangladesh is likely to be the first great crises of the climate change era.  By the end of the century it is highly likely that the country will not exist.  But the great crises, probably precipitated by massive flooding due to a storm surge from a large cyclone added to the rising sea levels, is going to be triggered by a large immediate death toll and a forced migration out of the coastal areas.  They will have to go to India and they will try and go to India.  What will India do?  Do they refuse entry to what will likely be 10's of millions of refugees initially and almost everyone eventually; who are also Muslim (don't forget their history of conflict with Muslims).  Where would they put them considering their own population numbers and growth rate and their own severe problems.  This crises could start slow and at almost any time depending on the vagaries of bad storms.  Or nothing could happen for 20 years and then it hits hard and fast.  It seems unlikely that it will not be mostly a done deal by 2050.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myanmar (Burma), on another hand, which is somewhat better of (having less issues with overcrowding), may try to distance itself from the havoc and large groups of migrants, coming from Bangladesh, by building a large wall, of fence, along its western border. The last thing they want is even more muslim refugees creating ethnical conflicts. A move that will be partly financed by China and other countries in South East Asia in a desperate attempt to keep the chaos away from their doorsteps. (This is becoming highly speculative, but that is what this thread is all about, isn't it?). In fact, I think any future goverment in Myanmar that is able to keep the country together, will have the blessing of China (whether it is a democratic of authoritarian one) and that Myanmar therefore has good chance of surviving for quite a while, despite neighbouring countries Bangladesh and India getting into severe trouble.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 16, 2013, 01:55:44 AM
ccg,  Yes, good points.

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

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

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

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

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

Rubikscube

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

Another big issue for south east Asia is Vietnam.  Sea level rise is going to demolish the rice growing regions there as well.  Not to mention they have big issues with water on the Mekong being used upstream and low flow from loss of melt in the Himalaya's.  Maybe we should look at them and see what their prospects look like.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: TerryM on August 16, 2013, 06:11:44 AM
If we're considering cyclonic flooding (as I think we should be), isn't it likely that at least the western border with India will be inundated as well? Setting up border guards with lethal orders may work during reasonable weather but when everything is under water manning the border becomes problematical.
The western border doesn't appear defensible when rising oceans are coupled with storm surge.
Terry
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: mabs on August 16, 2013, 07:05:14 AM
I've been itching for a while to post a few thoughts here. I have another post rattling around in my head, but I think I'll leave it to incubate a bit longer. I do however have a quick thought I want to get out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll stop here, for now.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: TerryM on August 16, 2013, 02:50:37 PM
Mabs
Thanks for your post. The end of the nation state as you describe it may equate with the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.
Terry
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ritter on August 16, 2013, 05:56:40 PM
Mabs
Thanks for your post. The end of the nation state as you describe it may equate with the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.
Terry

Oh, Terry. You're such a killjoy!  :)

I'm no expert at governments but I can't see the larger countries staying in one piece. Here in the US, geography is as varied as political sentiment. How that all holds together under the stresses coming is beyond me. I see secession and the rise of states as the central government, followed by the decline in states and the rise of local governments in some places, warlords in others and whatnot in others. The crystal ball is cloudy but the overall trend is away from civilization as we've known it, just as Terry says.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 16, 2013, 06:34:54 PM
Mabs

Well put.

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

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

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

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

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

JimD,

No offense taken.  About 5-6 months ago TerryM and I were chatting about whether Canada would become a refuge for displaced climate refugees.  I told him then that I would gladly drive 40% of the population of Texas to the Canadian border.  Not a day goes by that I don't see bumper stickers that say "SECEDE" or "Take Back America".  The political climate here in Texas is devolving faster than the real climate.  To the point that my wife (native born Texan) and I are travelling to the East Coast next month looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 18, 2013, 07:21:43 PM
.....  Not a day goes by that I don't see bumper stickers that say "SECEDE" or "Take Back America".  The political climate here in Texas is devolving faster than the real climate.  To the point that my wife (native born Texan) and I are travelling to the East Coast next month looking for greener pastures elsewhere.

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

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

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

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

It seems obvious that secession, anytime in the near to medium future is so clearly not in anyone's interest that it just will not get the momentum to get anywhere.  Ignoring the constitutional issue of whether a state has such rights or even whether the nation as a whole would put up with it if someplace tried to do such a thing.  Post collapse all bets are off if the Union no longer exists in a meaningful form that can provide joint security and a financial base which is clearly a better choice than various states going their own way.  Secession will come then because no one will care any more whether a state leaves or not.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 18, 2013, 07:46:10 PM
...Myanmar (Burma), on another hand, which is somewhat better of (having less issues with overcrowding), may try to distance itself from the havoc and large groups of migrants, coming from Bangladesh, by building a large wall, of fence, along its western border. The last thing they want is even more muslim refugees creating ethnical conflicts....

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

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

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

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

http://www.trust.org/item/20130717124133-mkzbt/ (http://www.trust.org/item/20130717124133-mkzbt/)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: retiredbill on August 19, 2013, 12:33:40 AM

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


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

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

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

But how many such situations are due to climate change and how many to religious persecution
not related to climate change? Or ongoing practices brought to light by modern communications? I'm
not sure we can tell unless the causative factor is crop failure or sea level encroachment. I'm reminded
of the saying that everything looks like a nail to someone with a new hammer.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 19, 2013, 05:56:08 PM
Peru
Time for a place that is in relatively good shape.

I guess relatively is a key word.

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

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

Dying glaciers, agriculture already affected by increasingly extreme weather?

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

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

Another link about Peruvian migration:

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

Seems to already be quite a strong migration pressure outwards.

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

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

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

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

On the whole, I don't think I'll put Peru on my list of climate change utopias to set sail for just yet.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 19, 2013, 06:30:13 PM

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

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

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

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

Yes, without a doubt I mean it relatively.

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

I guess relatively is a key word.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

http://www.irinnews.org/report/85179/global-twelve-countries-on-climate-change-hit-list (http://www.irinnews.org/report/85179/global-twelve-countries-on-climate-change-hit-list)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 19, 2013, 10:32:40 PM
You have a lot of good points.  I am not talking about a great place to go but I think a place that can survive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now that you mention it, I recall reading before about the increased river flooding from glacial melt in Bangadlesh - they get hammered from both sides - all the harder to contend with, but I don't think it fundamentally changes things, they're done either way.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Rubikscube on August 20, 2013, 12:26:02 AM
When it comes to Peru, I don't think we shall be to worried about their domestic food production, even though Peru is highly vulnerable to climate events, such as El Ninos and melting glaciers. As JimD mentions they have a huge production capasity in their vast areas of untouched rainforest. This is also the case, I think, for rest of South America. Despite the fact that they are very vulnerable to climate change (just look at the rollercoster which the water levels of the Amazon river have gone through during recent years), their food production capasity outnumber their own population to such an extent that I think they will be self sustained with food despite of climate change's dire effects.

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

In the end I predict an ever so slightly increase in autocratism and the number of old fashion ruthless dictatorships, both in Peru and the rest of South America, though some countries will resist giving up its resouces more strongly that others, something that might again spark some quite significant military conflicts. There are many examples of attempted "colonizations", resulting in full scale revolutions that eventually have lead to all kinds of different regimes as well as huge regional conflicts.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 20, 2013, 06:20:07 PM
Rubikscube

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

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

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

Like you, I expect eventually that government structures will mostly return to autocratic dictatorships which are heavily influenced by the US.  Gradually though. 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: TerryM on August 20, 2013, 10:20:31 PM
Peru, or any country rich in anything that the US may covet will be at risk of takeover when a scarcity presents itself. Iraq and Libya had oil, but any resource that the US considers as a necessity will be grabbed up one way or the other. Canada's fresh water will eventually find it's way to the American West whether Canada wishes to sell or not. The Tar Sands would be developed even if a new Canadian government wanted to halt production.
Other countries will probably cut back on military spending before the US making the military imbalance even larger than it is at present.
Any future scenarios have to account for the presence of a very large, very vicious, wounded animal taking whatever resources it believes it needs for it's own survival. Everyone else will be walking softly and keeping their heads low.
Terry
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Anne on August 20, 2013, 10:25:58 PM
Peru, or any country rich in anything that the US may covet will be at risk of takeover when a scarcity presents itself. Iraq and Libya had oil, but any resource that the US considers as a necessity will be grabbed up one way or the other. Canada's fresh water will eventually find it's way to the American West whether Canada wishes to sell or not. The Tar Sands would be developed even if a new Canadian government wanted to halt production.
Other countries will probably cut back on military spending before the US making the military imbalance even larger than it is at present.
Any future scenarios have to account for the presence of a very large, very vicious, wounded animal taking whatever resources it believes it needs for it's own survival. Everyone else will be walking softly and keeping their heads low.
Terry
Terry, I'm afraid you're right, and that the USA (if they are still U) will not be the only power on the prowl.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on August 25, 2013, 05:01:03 PM


Somalia

[...]

Post Western influence I would expect a declining population living near subsistence level that experiences frequent famines and constant low level warfare as different tribes/factions vie for control.  At this point no one will ever hear of the place again because we will all be too busy elsewhere.

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

So it seems to be possible to survive after collapse if you can manage to stay in the dead angle. That would also fit the brute/realistic conclusion presented by TerryM.
 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 25, 2013, 06:06:47 PM
SATire

Yes this is interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 25, 2013, 06:43:27 PM
Rubikscube

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

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

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

The domestic costs imposed by AGW (fortifying coastal cities, infrastructure to secure water for areas in need and to prevent flooding where it occurs etc.) will suck available resources from our military.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 25, 2013, 06:51:19 PM
Other countries will probably cut back on military spending before the US making the military imbalance even larger than it is at present.

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

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

If you want to understand the long term fate of any empire, read "The Sorrows of Empire" by Chalmers Johnson.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on August 25, 2013, 07:35:05 PM
JimD, indeed Somaliland is surely not in a fine shape (e.g. female circumcision) - but doing way better than the Somalia. The situation in small societies may be principally unstable, if they have resources big societies are interested in. As TerryM concluded, you could limit that point to interest by USA. Maybe within this century we will have to add China as candidate, after they will have matched USA not only economically but military-wise.

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 25, 2013, 07:59:28 PM
SATire

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

To conlude - yes I am biased. I am biased to any feasible path to a governmental system worth to live in and which can be achieved in and by my generation without sacrificing my children. I am pretty sure that you may be biased in a very similar way - so differences could mainly be in the perception of "feasible" or "worth to live in" and the "how" and "when".
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 27, 2013, 06:02:01 PM
SATire

Yes, I understand.

On this point however..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think that given another decade of non collapse, the world will be geopolitically very different from today.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Rubikscube on August 27, 2013, 11:45:58 PM
What the US and European nations have been doing for the past two centuries is to exploit thier technological superiority, gained somewhere after the renaissance, to directly, or indirectly, colonize almost the entire world. Meaning they have been seizing land in other parts of the world, exploiting whatever resource they could find there (manpower, farmland, gold, ect...) and despite the fact that a colony needs resources i order to be maintained, they have been making great profits because they didn't have to care for the people of the colony.

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

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

And what about the US? Will it return in the form of a fascist like corporatist/military oligarchy? Will we see a kind of revolution because of the social indifferences? Or is the US going to dissolve completely? I personally lean toward the first solution (not the preferable one, of course), anything may happen, but I don't think it will turn out to be especially good for the american people. It is to be said, in the end, that America is blessed with fertile farmlands (they are at least fertile today), that is somehow going to have an impact.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on August 28, 2013, 09:32:36 AM
[...] Then I expect them to act either unilaterally or in concert with other powers.  When have countries not behaved in this fashion?  Many of those countries which have the ability to use force have not had the need because the US has been providing a part of their military/security burden for them.   Part of the price they pay for this service is that they assume a secondary status in the strategic relationship they have with the US.  Quid pro quo.
JimD - quid pro what?

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 28, 2013, 05:54:14 PM
SATire

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

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

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

For instance Syria.

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

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

So I find it a little disingenuous when some criticize the US in such strong terms when those critics live in countries which are partners in the very system they are complaining about. 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 28, 2013, 06:50:41 PM
So I find it a little disingenuous when some criticize the US in such strong terms when those critics live in countries which are partners in the very system they are complaining about.

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

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

I suppose if you reduce it to fundamentals, it's a sort of expression of the competitive urges evolution requires.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on August 28, 2013, 07:04:58 PM
JimD - my latin is still good enough for that words, but the context was disturbing for me. Please reread my post and keep in mind that I did not criticize US. Of course there are lots of reasons to criticize other countries - but usually I concentrate most of my critics to my own country for a good reason in international discussions. Here I was refering to the advice to take major risks into account - not doing so would limit the feasibilty of any future plan significantly.

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

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

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


Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on August 29, 2013, 12:38:46 AM
SATire

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

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

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

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

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

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

The reality is a little more complex and messy - underlining the issues with any considerations of adaptation - moving up the mountain might help with drought and heat, but with increasingly erratic weather it can also freeze you from time to time. I appreciate anomalous episodes of cold are not unique to mountain environments - but by trying to counter one vulnerability, one is accepting another - limits to adaptation.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on September 05, 2013, 04:20:33 PM
ccg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All somewhat tangential to governance I appreciate.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on October 09, 2013, 06:15:42 PM
In light of all of our discussions regarding how various countries will deal with the coming  civilizational crunch I offer some prototype military robots for your consideration.

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

http://phys.org/news/2013-10-boston-dynamics-atlas-wildcat-sprints.html (http://phys.org/news/2013-10-boston-dynamics-atlas-wildcat-sprints.html)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ritter on October 09, 2013, 07:40:32 PM
Yeah Terminator!  :o
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on October 09, 2013, 08:54:39 PM
cool thing - the next war could turn into some kind of RoboCup

I just wonna hope they will run on renewables and will not need some humans as batteries...
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Laurent on October 09, 2013, 09:11:09 PM
Yes, technology has to be control otherwise will run into big problems very fast !
I guess you know already Asimo, Nao, HRP4 :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_m56irWKeI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_m56irWKeI)

Robocup mentioned by satire :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zcDsYD6GJos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zcDsYD6GJos)
http://www.robocup2013.org/ (http://www.robocup2013.org/)
there goal is to compete in 2050 with humans on the football field, the competition move each year, in Asia, Europe, USA.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on October 12, 2013, 10:11:02 PM
Not to minimize the destruction and loss of life which is now occurring in the Indian stare of Orissa due to the monster cyclone Phailin.  This storm was packing

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The awkward flip side of this is that there will not be much advance warning of the precise timing of collapse episodes in most (or any?) regions.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on October 13, 2013, 05:49:20 PM
ccg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I guess if the existing population was compliant and meek there is the potential for an extreme leaning leader to rise in America who would implement the sort of solutions the Nazis did in Germany. I think that would become very complicated in the US though as it's composed of so many and so varied ethnic groups - and I'm not sure if it's as easy to rally a key section of the population behind an abstract enemy (illegals) as opposed to specific races of people (hispanics). I suspect hatreds and sympathies would tend to divide more naturally along racial lines than abstract ones.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on October 16, 2013, 07:22:53 PM
We already have armed militias patrolling the borders of states in the Southwest. We also have domestic police who are subjecting U.S. citizens who are Hispanic to random searches. What would be the likely response if the trickle of immigrants from Mexico were to turn into a flood as a result of severe and persistent drought?

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

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

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

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

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

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

It has ironic relevance to contemplate on a thread about future governmental structures and the vulnerability of nations to degradation and failure - the worst enemy of America must surely be itself - all China and Russia need do is wait, and keep selecting the smarter and cheaper options for wielding power and influence.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Shared Humanity on October 17, 2013, 02:11:40 AM
We already have armed militias patrolling the borders of states in the Southwest. We also have domestic police who are subjecting U.S. citizens who are Hispanic to random searches. What would be the likely response if the trickle of immigrants from Mexico were to turn into a flood as a result of severe and persistent drought?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is why I feel pretty sure that one day, in the not to remote future, more than 50% of the US population is going to be in support of Tea Party, and this deadly mix of well funded "tea-party madness", poor migrant communities made up of Hispanics and arfo-americans and the immense strain that climate change and market dictatorship will put on the American people, is a recipe for genocide. It might be the poor migrant groups that fires the first shots in desperation, like CCG vaguely suggested, but they are simply outnumbered and "outfinanced", and I fear they are going to be slaughtered by disillusioned, fanatic white Americans. Polarization of the politics might in turn lead to a break up of the union, but the political system, however, will probaly remain unchanged. Wall Street has got such a firm grip on all of America that an invation from outside is in my oppinion the only thing that can stop them, and climate change can in turn only change the political system by forcing the US to confront foreign powers militarily. Feudalism/oligarchy is the best description of the most likely future political system in the US.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 21, 2013, 02:39:13 AM
It might be the poor migrant groups that fires the first shots in desperation, like CCG vaguely suggested, but they are simply outnumbered and "outfinanced", and I fear they are going to be slaughtered by disillusioned, fanatic white Americans.

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

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

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

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

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

I wonder what happens to the nuclear arsenal if the US starts to break up...
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: idunno on October 21, 2013, 04:33:22 AM
As an outsider to America, it's none of my business, except as regards your foreign and energy policies, which affect me and mine.

But fools rush in...

America has always had a very healthy suspicion of government. But in recent years that has grown, in certain quarters, into a complete contempt for your own government. And, looking in on the recent shennanigans, fair enough.

BUT, it is a truth universally acknowledged that the first duty and responsibility of any government is to protect its own citizens; in Syria, not so much, but there is a civil war on. In many other jurisdictions, that responsibility has even been extended as far as the provision of universal healthcare, but lets not even go there.

My point is that the US government is, theoretically, looking out for your interests. And in the age of globalisation, who else is? The US is just a nation state: numerous nation states have found, to their cost and regret, that the international financial markets and multinational corporations wield power to humble mere nations. Have the markets any obligation or duty to look after your best interests?

It used once to be a truism that as Wall Street prospered, so did Main Street, or some such. But that involves Mr Burns off of the Simpsons, or the Koch Bros, splashing out on a load of yachts and such; and pension funds doing well; and it all trickles down. But these days the really big players aren't Mr Burns so much as Sheikh KhalifaBin Zatad al Nayam, who buys his yachts elsewhere...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/travel/5742/the-worlds-biggest-superyacht.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/travel/5742/the-worlds-biggest-superyacht.html)

Other "big swinging dicks" on the modern Wall Street including inter alia, the Chinese government, who've spent 20 years reinvesting all the profits from actually making the stuff in stores to buy stocks.

It"s globalisation; and it's not all bad.

A year or so ago, I read what I thought a really good column in the HuffPo, or somewhere, describing how some Americans, who win by globalisation; well-educated, smart, computer savvy and predominately liberal, find themselves huddled behind locked doors, scared of what is happening out on the streets; straining to hear the baying mob of redneck losers howling outside.

"We DEMAND..."

Oh right, this is good, there's so much obvious need out there, what is it that they demand?

"We DEMAND that YOU pay LESS taxes!"


°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Over here, of course, we've got it all sorted out. Just look at Lords Monckton and Lawson, and then there the bit when Her Majesty's Silver Rod in Black Boots by appointment to the Royal Footstool has to... er, what was it that I was saying? Any chance of a green card?
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Bruce Steele on October 21, 2013, 07:56:01 AM
From here in sunny Southern Calif. I,d have to say my competition is Hispanic ( I mean that as a compliment) shoulder to shoulder, with plenty to learn from each other. Competition  is a good thing and knowing other people are willing to take up the slack the minute you begin to back off keeps an old man healthy. Working hard is somehow easier if you think you're not somehow the end of the line.
I have lived in enough places in the Great Basin to know how that looks ,and a little about how it feels.
 Maybe I've just read to much Wendell Berry but if we can hope for some way out of this mess it's going to have to have some sort of agrarian base. If that's going to happen around here it will have at it's heart a large portion Hispanic farmers.
 If we could improve the lot of the agrarian base in Mexico via agricultural improvements ( solar powered tillers for instance) we could reduce the movement away from the land... I know everyone says it's Monsanto but it's also the cost of feeding stock. Promoting off grid solutions in Mexico might even pay off with running examples for North Americans to someday mimic. Someday if we ever come to our senses.
 It is my opinion that the next thirty years offer the best chance to experiment with low or zero fossil fuel options. Most people have no idea why I think feeding a few people off grid is so important but I suspect a third world farmer would understand my priorities.  Agrarian solutions that provide some alternative to city life and some employment for people willing to work the land is the future or we don't have one... Cities have no future without a secure food infrastructure. Thirty year timeframe.
 Fighting it out with our home armories is a whole lot more nuts and gets way to much air time as far as I am concerned.     


 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on October 21, 2013, 10:31:33 AM
I wonder what happens to the nuclear arsenal if the US starts to break up...
It probably will be used. As TerryM put it here: http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,359.msg8486.html#msg8486 (http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,359.msg8486.html#msg8486) "I think in their death throes they may do much to alleviate the worlds population problems" - that nuclear winter could result in a quick end of global warming and other things we think about today...
So, please try to control the nukes. That was also possible when USSR broke up. All you need are some reasonable poeple at the key positions.   
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on October 21, 2013, 07:30:05 PM
When you are barging along in the dark and keep running into trees it might be hard to remember that happens when you are in the middle of a forest.

America in particular has a long history of spasms of political extremism.  It is part of our heritage.  My first ancestors (other than the native American ones I mean) who came to America in the 1620's were strongly encouraged to do so (it was prison or hanging or emigrate) because they were political and religious extremists.  This continent was a dumping ground of the unwanted from many countries and remains so to some extent even today.  The unwanted are always being discarded because of their political and/or religious views, their lack of being needed in the economies of their countries (surplus people), and similar reasons.

A melting pot of this kind of mix being landed on a rich and undeveloped continent and allowed to fend for themselves and, after some struggle, to branch out in whatever direction they decided was appropriate, as we did, is going to have some distinctive cultural traits/faults.  Those traits are likely to annoy and be incompatible with the places they came from.  These new people are also not likely to give much of a crap about what those in the places they came from think about them either.  It is political suicide in this country to openly base a policy position on what works in some country in Europe.  A large percentage of Americans will oppose that policy just because that is where it comes from.  This is part of American culture.  We don't have a lot of respect for other cultures because they did not want or respect us.  We are an individualistic people by the basic makeup of our emigrants as well as the several hundred years of scratching out a living on the frontier.  Many of us still think of ourselves as rugged individualists who do not need or much want anyone governing us.  We can take care of  ourselves just fine and you can just stay the hell out of our lives and especially out of our way is the way we think.  These type of feelings are very common here.  And it matters not that this cultural attitude is pretty much non-functional in this crowded modern world.

The Tea Party is the current version of one side of the great long-term division of American society.  Contrary to what Rubicscube indicated, the polls show that Tea Party members make up about 15% of the US electorate and are currently getting a lot of support from the evangelicals who make up about 50% of the Republican party. This likely temporary alliance is currently powerful enough to bring the government to a halt at times.  Such political stalemates are not uncommon in many countries over the last  100 years.  Having such a political stalemate in the US at this time is very dangerous economically due to US preeminence financially and our potential to bring everyone down with us.  But the basic situation is not that unusual and if we were Argentina or Italy no one would be particularly concerned that we were at each others throat's.

The demographics of the Tea Party members are such that they do not have a long-term future unless they can dramatically increase their appeal to younger citizens (not very likely).  Tea Party members are predominantly old (average age is over 60), affluent (well off baby boomers), college educated, retired,  overwhelmingly white, heavily racist, anti-immigrant, and concentrated in the typical strongholds of that demographic (i.e. the South and West).  If you really dig into the guts of who they are and what they believe and want to have happen you are looking at a repackaged version of the Southern white cultural power block.   While it would be incorrect to say that this faction wants to refight the American Civil War such a viewpoint would be ignoring that the Civil War has never ended.  America is still struggling internally with the divisions which caused the Civil War and this current struggle is just another chapter in that struggle.  The Tea Party wants, along with a large percentage of the rest of the Republican Party, to disenfranchise the non-white and poor citizens from a chance to control the wealth, direction or cultural norm of the country.  They see now, as they did 170 years ago, that full participation of all citizens in the political and cultural direction of the country would cause the loss of what they consider to be the right and proper way of American life.  A white Protestant dominated religious, cultural, political and economically run country.  Their way of life is threatened with marginalization and loss of power.  They are fighting for what they think is their survival.  But demographics says they cannot win fairly and, unless they can overthrow the country (extremely unlikely) they will lose most of what national power they have over time.  In places though they will remain strong for a long time if not for decades; parts of the South and locals like some of the districts in AZ and rural parts of other states, especially in the west.  But the percentage of the white population is shrinking fast in demographic terms (about 2% per Presidential election cycle overall and much faster in specific locations like the big cities).  Only gerrymandering allows the conservatives to hold as much power as they do now.  It is hard to hold onto that kind of power.  Time is not on their side.

The Tea Party just got done shooting themselves in the foot and are pretty likely to pay a big price for it in the next election.  I expect them to lose a lot of elections in the next cycle and end up with much less power.  In the meantime they are going to go right back to the mats and hit the political system hard in a few months and intend a repeat of the budget/debt fight we just experienced.  But it will not result in the US falling apart.

There is no reason what-so-ever to be concerned about the US nuclear stockpile.  America is just not that unstable and is unlikely to be so for decades yet.  If that genie comes out of the bottle it will be far more likely to do so from India or Pakistan than any other place.  Or North Korea, or Israel after them.

The idea that the US will eventually breakup into a series of smaller nation states cannot be discounted as oncoming collapse and basic American cultural norms both push in that direction.  But doing so is such a disadvantageous thing to do I suspect it will not happen until things have so degenerated that giant nation-states are basically obsolete.  America is quite likely the last place that will happen.  And by then it just will not matter.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on October 21, 2013, 09:21:15 PM
A couple of Tea Party explanatory articles that should help clarify my ramble above.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cdcf559c-3678-11e3-aaf1-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=intl#axzz2iNvwVr3t (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cdcf559c-3678-11e3-aaf1-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=intl#axzz2iNvwVr3t)

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/06/tea_party_radicalism_is_misunderstood_meet_the_newest_right/ (http://www.salon.com/2013/10/06/tea_party_radicalism_is_misunderstood_meet_the_newest_right/)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Rubikscube on October 22, 2013, 12:03:00 AM
Maybe actual Americans (particularly from the north) will have more insight - but I actually suspect one could have political breakdown along historic lines (eg the civil war - south vs north). It seems to me the cultures and values that drive the nation still split along historical lines quite strongly.

I was in fact thinking about this possibility, but restrained my self to suggest a breakup of the US. I am simply not sure wheather a civil war will be allowed to happen, because it may have such dire consequences for the US ruling class (the ultra rich), and one should not underestimate their ability to manipulate people's opinions and clamp down on public unrest. Then again, things like internal differences between the rich, short term thinking and outside forces with different motives mingling in, may spark a civil war even though it will not be in the intrest of any americans, not even the richest. It is also a possibility that we have a non-violent breakup, it really depends on to what extent the people are willing to accept it. In the end, I'm quite unsure of what will be the outcome on this subject, and the nuclear issue is something I haven't thaugth about, even though I should have been.

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

Well, I was not thinking of groups like the KKK who are outright racists. I would actually say that the mainstream tea party attitude on immigration and multi culturalism is frightening enough. I think very many people would have been surprised by how little restraints a mob of regular tea party folks would have with killing regular immigrants in the right settings.

You are very correct about people being apathetic though, but apathy can so easily turned into rage under the right circumstances. Never underestimate the destructive powers of mobb mentality and group think. Also remember that setting people up against each other is a tactic used for crowd controll many times in the past.

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

These are currently not dominant interests, that is true, but they will be. Tea Party is a phenomenon that was created by Money, people like the Kochs, Rupert Murdoch and many more has intensively been feeding this monster for a long time. Not just because of strategic reasons, but also because their own human brains have convinced themselves that this is actually the way it should be. Many of them are therefore fanatics, just like all the other tea party folks, and they seems to get more money for every day that passes by

Without getting too much into American politics, I wouldn't say that tea party representatives were to badly hurt by this goverment shutdown either, because people who voted for these guys were prepared to take extensive measures against "Obamacare" in the first Place, something that this is evident in continued popularity of maniacs like senator Ted Cruise. It is first and foremost the moderat republicans who took the big losses. Money runs the show in ways it have never done in the past, and climate change is just an amplyfier on topp of this "US cake".
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 22, 2013, 02:07:42 PM
There is no reason what-so-ever to be concerned about the US nuclear stockpile.  America is just not that unstable and is unlikely to be so for decades yet.  If that genie comes out of the bottle it will be far more likely to do so from India or Pakistan than any other place.  Or North Korea, or Israel after them.

While I'd tend to agree the US is likely to disintegrate pretty late in the day compared to most other nations - I'm nowhere near so sanguine about the US nuclear threat. Perhaps the risk of internal nuclear war is fairly remote, but given the US track record for hostility and aggression - the propensity to bomb other much smaller countries and posture against Russia (and China, somewhat), the historical failure to commit to a no first use doctrine (despite having a colossal conventional army).

Combined with a blatant disregard for international law, the open kidnap (rendition) and enhanced interrogation (torture) of people by any sensible definition entirely innocent of anything (no due process to define anything else), a hostile approach to mass surveillance (even of supposed allies) - and the general idiocy the US government is happy to portray to the world (shutdown, debt ceiling, etc.) I'm far from sanguine about thousands of nuclear weapons in the hands of such a nation. It seems to me it would represent an escalation of existing policy, rather than a change in direction.

On the other hand - since I think the corporations really run the show - I still think it's a pretty unlikely event, as it would be bad for business (and profits). Nobody sane would plan on having a nuclear war (while the sanity of US politicians is more questionable than most).

All in all I think a lot of the problem in the US - and why such strange ideologies take root so easily (along with creationism, climate change denial, etc) is that the education system fails American citizens. This general principle is true to some extent in many nations - America just seems to head the pack. I've known people in all seriousness tell me they think Obama is a Communist...
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 22, 2013, 08:00:25 PM
There is no reason what-so-ever to be concerned about the US nuclear stockpile.  America is just not that unstable and is unlikely to be so for decades yet.  If that genie comes out of the bottle it will be far more likely to do so from India or Pakistan than any other place.  Or North Korea, or Israel after them.

While I'd tend to agree the US is likely to disintegrate pretty late in the day compared to most other nations - I'm nowhere near so sanguine about the US nuclear threat. Perhaps the risk of internal nuclear war is fairly remote, but given the US track record for hostility and aggression - the propensity to bomb other much smaller countries and posture against Russia (and China, somewhat), the historical failure to commit to a no first use doctrine (despite having a colossal conventional army).

Combined with a blatant disregard for international law, the open kidnap (rendition) and enhanced interrogation (torture) of people by any sensible definition entirely innocent of anything (no due process to define anything else), a hostile approach to mass surveillance (even of supposed allies) - and the general idiocy the US government is happy to portray to the world (shutdown, debt ceiling, etc.) I'm far from sanguine about thousands of nuclear weapons in the hands of such a nation. It seems to me it would represent an escalation of existing policy, rather than a change in direction.

On the other hand - since I think the corporations really run the show - I still think it's a pretty unlikely event, as it would be bad for business (and profits). Nobody sane would plan on having a nuclear war (while the sanity of US politicians is more questionable than most).

All in all I think a lot of the problem in the US - and why such strange ideologies take root so easily (along with creationism, climate change denial, etc) is that the education system fails American citizens. This general principle is true to some extent in many nations - America just seems to head the pack. I've known people in all seriousness tell me they think Obama is a Communist...

ccg, I don't think you have a clue about this country, but we butt heads all the time on a variety of issues. Some people like to ignore history, including things like how atomic weapons were developed. I'm somewhat familiar how such weapons are guarded in the US, but tell me how are they guarded in Britain! If you come close enough to where atomic weapons are stored in America, you will be warned once and if you come any closer you will be killed on that spot. How does that work out in England and why do the British and France still have atomic weapons? What need is there for those countries to have them?

I wish all atomic weapons were gone, but I'm not a Doomsdayer wanting such things around for self defense. I seriously doubt nuclear weapons could stop a bolide impact, but it's possible and maybe a few should be left on the shelf, managed by all the nations of the world.

America has it's problems, but I'd take a quick look around where you live before making judgments based on people you obviously don't know. When Lt. Gen. Puller was surrounded by Chinese in Korea and was asked how it feels to be the first Marine Corps General to retreat, he said: "Retreat, hell, I'm just attacking in a different direction." It started a tradition in the USMC of not leaving the bodies of our dead behind, because of what those Marines did, fighting their way out of there. They didn't run and didn't leave their dead behind. When push comes to shove, the people in America will stand together and that includes all of them, even the Teabaggers, because we fight together. We aren't worried about the Chinese or anyone else, but ourselves. We'll figure that out eventually, so don't worry about us, worry about yourselves! We should also consider the fact that we don't owe anyone anything, because the people we truly owe things to are dead and gone. Warriors don't die, they just fad away, right? Only Doomsdayers survive! <sarc>

When calculating emissions per capita, exports need to be included. America has vast resources and it isn't like our people consume them all. France has some world class wines, but the world has caught up in wine production and England has good gin, but what have you done for me lately, but whine? I can understand why America has to have nuclear weapons, but can you explain why any nuclear weapons need to be inside continental Europe? Russia can still keep their nukes at this moment and put them in Asia. Having two continents dumb enough to have nuclear weapons is better than three.

When we want to look at climate change or future government structures, we should look at the past, examining the trends and it doesn't take Nostradumbass to do that. I think the message of freedom is very clear and people don't like centralized governments. It's going to take the whole world to get us beyond our present problems, so it's time for governments to care about what their people truly care about. The attitude that people are the problem exists more in Europe than anywhere else. I envision people as a solution and not merely the problem. Even a child will clean up their room, when properly instructed to do so.

 
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on October 24, 2013, 02:48:54 PM
[...] and why do the British and France still have atomic weapons? What need is there for those countries to have them?
I think all nations with atomic weapons have them just because some other nations have them, too. That is the old and still valid logic. But to switch off human life on earth it would take the nuclear winter and since that takes a few thousands of nukes two nations are able to do that.

[...]
When we want to look at climate change or future government structures, we should look at the past, examining the trends and it doesn't take Nostradumbass to do that. I think the message of freedom is very clear and people don't like centralized governments. It's going to take the whole world to get us beyond our present problems, so it's time for governments to care about what their people truly care about. The attitude that people are the problem exists more in Europe than anywhere else. I envision people as a solution and not merely the problem. Even a child will clean up their room, when properly instructed to do so.
The attitude, that poeple are the problem is not special to Europe. That attitude is wide spread in Asia (e.g. the tough laws in Singapore exist to handle that) and e.g. death penalty is not a European thing. In Europe we have a tendency to radical politics quite similar to tea-party, but not inside an old existing big party but in new radical parties. Left and right radical parties are somehow very close together in their intolerance against freedom - so look at AvD, Le Pen, Wilders, Grillo, Greece Fashists, true Finns and how they argue against waisting money for poeple/strangers/ecology/whatever liberal thing. And they all want to attac personal freedom by surveillance - which we in Germany know from communist StaSi only. Furthermore, this surveillance is believed to be driven by big companies - it looks like the cloud-companies work together with e.g. NSA to sell personal data and to get technology. That upsets educated liberal poeple. E.g. spying data or having 30% operating profit margin while not paying taxes is both considered crime.

To get back closer to the topic I would like to say that Governments will still be needed for some tasks in future: Providing education for everybody, infrastructure and protecting the rules for fair/sustainable economy. Most of the other stuff of the pyramid of needs can then be organized by the poeple themselves, which is allways prefered over any kind of heteronomy.
To adress the last point - transparency is the key to prevent heteronomy by big companies. E.g.  Fairphone could convince Samsung to make phones not harming poeple in Kongo because for educated poeple there is allways an alternative possibility.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ggelsrinc on October 24, 2013, 07:57:32 PM
[...] and why do the British and France still have atomic weapons? What need is there for those countries to have them?
I think all nations with atomic weapons have them just because some other nations have them, too. That is the old and still valid logic. But to switch off human life on earth it would take the nuclear winter and since that takes a few thousands of nukes two nations are able to do that.

[...]
When we want to look at climate change or future government structures, we should look at the past, examining the trends and it doesn't take Nostradumbass to do that. I think the message of freedom is very clear and people don't like centralized governments. It's going to take the whole world to get us beyond our present problems, so it's time for governments to care about what their people truly care about. The attitude that people are the problem exists more in Europe than anywhere else. I envision people as a solution and not merely the problem. Even a child will clean up their room, when properly instructed to do so.
The attitude, that poeple are the problem is not special to Europe. That attitude is wide spread in Asia (e.g. the tough laws in Singapore exist to handle that) and e.g. death penalty is not a European thing. In Europe we have a tendency to radical politics quite similar to tea-party, but not inside an old existing big party but in new radical parties. Left and right radical parties are somehow very close together in their intolerance against freedom - so look at AvD, Le Pen, Wilders, Grillo, Greece Fashists, true Finns and how they argue against waisting money for poeple/strangers/ecology/whatever liberal thing. And they all want to attac personal freedom by surveillance - which we in Germany know from communist StaSi only. Furthermore, this surveillance is believed to be driven by big companies - it looks like the cloud-companies work together with e.g. NSA to sell personal data and to get technology. That upsets educated liberal poeple. E.g. spying data or having 30% operating profit margin while not paying taxes is both considered crime.

To get back closer to the topic I would like to say that Governments will still be needed for some tasks in future: Providing education for everybody, infrastructure and protecting the rules for fair/sustainable economy. Most of the other stuff of the pyramid of needs can then be organized by the poeple themselves, which is allways prefered over any kind of heteronomy.
To adress the last point - transparency is the key to prevent heteronomy by big companies. E.g.  Fairphone could convince Samsung to make phones not harming poeple in Kongo because for educated poeple there is allways an alternative possibility.

The Have/Have Not mentality that caused WWII and the Cold War has simply evolved to use corporations instead of mainly nations to serve their purpose. The generations have changed, but not the players. Many Totos are required to open the curtains revealing the Wizard of Ozs of our people's delusion, so we can appeal to the humanity of our wizards once revealed, allowing both sides to escape our present nonsense. It may not be a horse of a different color once we are convinced it isn't so.

Well enough of my fantasies for one day, just like still having hope that eventually the lack of corruption will make governments work in the people's interest and not the interest of the elite. My directions inform me it starts with people, then corporations and finally governments. I believe even a bad person can be transformed, once all the illusions of superiority are conquered.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on October 24, 2013, 08:14:14 PM
I think all nations with atomic weapons have them just because some other nations have them, too. That is the old and still valid logic. But to switch off human life on earth it would take the nuclear winter and since that takes a few thousands of nukes two nations are able to do that.

I think it's highly unlikely the world can ever achieve disarmament (save by total collapse) in this respect - the tactical advantages of sneakily retaining at least some warheads, and trying to be the only nation with them - are too big to ignore.

Also it wouldn't take thousands of nukes to cause a large scale effect - a smaller regional exchange is enough:

http://www.wunderground.com/resources/climate/nuke.asp (http://www.wunderground.com/resources/climate/nuke.asp)
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/110223-nuclear-war-winter-global-warming-environment-science-climate-change/ (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/110223-nuclear-war-winter-global-warming-environment-science-climate-change/)

To get back closer to the topic I would like to say that Governments will still be needed for some tasks in future: Providing education for everybody, infrastructure and protecting the rules for fair/sustainable economy. Most of the other stuff of the pyramid of needs can then be organized by the poeple themselves, which is allways prefered over any kind of heteronomy.

It seems to me that for humans to organise themselves in a larger more complex civilisation than a tiny village or tribe of hunter gatherers requires us to organise into a hierarchy with an uneven distribution of power from top to bottom.

I can't see any point trying to fight our basic nature in this respect, and would agree governments are therefore needed. The question therefore should be how to constrain them and try to limit the extent to which inequality can start to destabilise the structure.

To adress the last point - transparency is the key to prevent heteronomy by big companies. E.g.  Fairphone could convince Samsung to make phones not harming poeple in Kongo because for educated poeple there is allways an alternative possibility.

Some things should both be basic human rights - and enforced and respected globally. That's a bit more than just transparency - you need the teeth of enforcement too. The problem there though is again perhaps human nature - that people don't care so much about other tribes...
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on December 01, 2013, 08:41:20 PM
Migration issues have been a big part of these discussions.  Below is a piece which gives a global picture of who is emigrating where so far. 


Quote
The exodus from Bangladeshis into India has for the first time been termed by the United Nations as "the single largest bilateral stock of international migrants" in the eastern hemisphere and also in the developing world....

Quote
...However the biggest rise in the number of Indians migrating to a single country was to the US. In 2013, 2.1 million Indians were in the US, which was also home to 2.2 million foreign-born from China and 2 million from the Philippines.

The UN-DESA report said that since 2000, the number of international migrants born in China or India and living in the US had doubled, whereas the number of Mexican foreign-born had only risen by about 31%....

...Asians and Latin Americans living outside their home regions formed the largest global diaspora groups. In 2013, Asians represented the largest group, accounting for about 19 million migrants living in Europe, some 16 million in north America and about 3 million in Oceania....

I'll have to let my anti-immigrant neighbors in on those numbers  ;)

Quote
...In 2013, half of all international migrants lived in 10 countries, with the US hosting the largest number (45.8 million), followed by the Russian Federation (11 million); Germany (9.8 million); Saudi Arabia (9.1 million); United Arab Emirates (7.8 million); United Kingdom (7.8 million); France (7.4 million); Canada (7.3 million); Australia (6.5 million); and Spain (6.5 million)....

...The US gained the largest absolute number of international migrants between 1990 and 2013 — nearly 23 million, equal to one million additional migrants per year....

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-09-13/india/42040328_1_bangladeshi-migrants-south-asians-largest-group (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-09-13/india/42040328_1_bangladeshi-migrants-south-asians-largest-group)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on December 02, 2013, 05:38:50 PM
An interesting source of resources for our superpowers.

Quote
Mexican drug cartels looking to diversify their businesses long ago moved into oil theft, pirated goods, extortion and kidnapping, consuming an ever larger swath of the country's economy. This month, federal officials confirmed the cartels have even entered the country's lucrative mining industry, exporting iron ore to Chinese mills....

...The Knights Templar cartel and its predecessor, the La Familia drug gang, have been stealing or extorting shipments of iron ore, or illegally extracting the mineral themselves and selling it through Pacific coast ports, said Michoacan residents, mining companies and current and former federal officials.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mexican-drug-cartels-now-make-money-exporting-ore-21046124 (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mexican-drug-cartels-now-make-money-exporting-ore-21046124)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on February 22, 2014, 05:00:55 PM
A VERY excellent article on democracy by Yanis Varoufakis.  A commenter I frequently turn to as I find his scholarship and explanations often compelling.

We speak often here of the lack of power and input into the decision making processes that control our lives.  I am quite the cynic about all of this (probably from reading Yaroufakis too much) as I believe that the Public has almost no power or input by design.  It is not a bug as they say but a feature.  As one might imagine Varoufakis believes this also.  He traces a pretty compelling argument. 

Enjoy.  Comments welcome of course.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/yanis-varoufakis-can-internet-democratize-capitalism.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/yanis-varoufakis-can-internet-democratize-capitalism.html)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Shared Humanity on February 22, 2014, 06:45:19 PM
A VERY excellent article on democracy by Yanis Varoufakis.  A commenter I frequently turn to as I find his scholarship and explanations often compelling.

We speak often here of the lack of power and input into the decision making processes that control our lives.  I am quite the cynic about all of this (probably from reading Yaroufakis too much) as I believe that the Public has almost no power or input by design.  It is not a bug as they say but a feature.  As one might imagine Varoufakis believes this also.  He traces a pretty compelling argument. 

Enjoy.  Comments welcome of course.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/yanis-varoufakis-can-internet-democratize-capitalism.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/02/yanis-varoufakis-can-internet-democratize-capitalism.html)

Great article....so much to consider. While I agree with much of it, there are some key arguments that I take issue with. Let me read it again before I comment. I would encourage everyone interested in the role of politics in the current human condition to read this.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on February 28, 2014, 05:29:26 PM
An interesting article which points out the hidden structure of the 1%. 

Bow to Davos Man, your homeless overlord

Quote
Economist Adam Smith wrote famously in 1776 that:

A merchant, it has been said very properly, is not necessarily a citizen of any particular country.

Over 200 years later, the head of Gillette, Al Zeien, espoused a similar view.

A global company views the world as a single country. We know that Argentina and France are different, but we treat them the same.

These quotes both highlight the global capitalist drive to accumulate profit in any market. But there is a difference between the two. Smith focuses on an economy in which capital flows between nations. Zeien alludes to an internationalism of capitalism into a singular global system that has occurred since the 1970s.

Quote
It is this very shift in capitalist accumulation that has created a new, transnational capitalist class. The formation of this class has evolved from the opening up of national economies and global integration since the Thatcher and Reagan era. Capital has become more mobile. This means that class formation is less and less tied to a particular nation-state or territory.

The transnational capitalist class is a global ruling class. It is a ruling class because it controls the levers of an emergent transnational apparatus and global decision-making. It is a new hegemonic bloc of various economic and political actors from both the global North and South, which has come out of the new conditions of global capitalism.

....
Members of this new class have connections to each other that have become more significant than their ties to their home nations and governments....

...What makes this class different from the traditional ruling class in previous epochs is that the interests of its members are increasingly globally linked, rather than exclusively local and national in origin....

...As a result, the whole global production process is broken down into smaller parts and moved to different countries where investment and profit are the highest. Yet, at the same time, this worldwide decentralisation and fragmentation of the production process has taken place alongside the centralisation of command and control of the global economy by this class....

...in the past 20 years, the richest 1% had increased their incomes by 60%. Barbara Stocking, an Oxfam executive, said unequivocally that this is:
… economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive … We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true.The top 147 transnational corporations control roughly 40% of the entire economic value of the world’s transnational corporations....

...Therefore, the 21st century is going to see conflicts and disputes for control between the new transnational ruling group and the expanding ranks of the poor and the marginalised.

http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/02/davos-man-the-homeless-overlord/ (http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/02/davos-man-the-homeless-overlord/)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on March 01, 2014, 08:40:05 PM
Fascism and the future

John Michael Geer has put out an excellent series of blog posts the last few weeks.  Great food for thought on where some of our democracies might be headed.  It is a thought provoking series of posts on what fascism was originally and what he thinks counts today and where we might be headed.  It is US centric but has universal value.  Especially since fascism was not grown here in the US.  I have some disagreement with him as his definition of fascism is pretty rigid and adheres to the original.  I feel that all things evolve and while what we see today is materially different from the original it is also clearly some sort of grandchild as well.  Part 3 is the best but it is hard to get there without reading all of them.

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/02/fascism-and-future-part-one-up-from.html (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/02/fascism-and-future-part-one-up-from.html)

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/02/fascism-and-future-part-two.html (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/02/fascism-and-future-part-two.html)

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/02/fascism-and-future-part-three-weimar.html (http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/02/fascism-and-future-part-three-weimar.html)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on March 01, 2014, 09:09:15 PM
The decline of democracy.  Another very interesting article on what is happening in governmental systems.  Particularly pertinent for the US.  Fairly long but a good read.  I believe that the situation in the US is in much worse shape than the author seems to think (but then he writes for the Economist so I am sure he is constrained in some not so subtle ways). 

Quote
What’s gone wrong with democracy

Democracy was the most successful political idea of the 20th century. Why has it run into trouble, and what can be done to revive it?

Quote
THE protesters who have overturned the politics of Ukraine have many aspirations for their country. ....But their fundamental demand is one that has motivated people over many decades to take a stand against corrupt, abusive and autocratic governments. They want a rules-based democracy.

It is easy to understand why. Democracies are on average richer than non-democracies, are less likely to go to war and have a better record of fighting corruption. More fundamentally, democracy lets people speak their minds and shape their own and their children’s futures. That so many people in so many different parts of the world are prepared to risk so much for this idea is testimony to its enduring appeal.

Yet these days the exhilaration generated by events like those in Kiev is mixed with anxiety, for a troubling pattern has repeated itself in capital after capital. The people mass in the main square. Regime-sanctioned thugs try to fight back but lose their nerve in the face of popular intransigence and global news coverage. The world applauds the collapse of the regime and offers to help build a democracy. But turfing out an autocrat turns out to be much easier than setting up a viable democratic government. The new regime stumbles, the economy flounders and the country finds itself in a state at least as bad as it was before. This is what happened in much of the Arab spring, and also in Ukraine’s Orange revolution a decade ago.

And even more likely that is what is likely happening in the Ukraine today.

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Democracy is going through a difficult time. Where autocrats have been driven out of office, their opponents have mostly failed to create viable democratic regimes. Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife.

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The progress seen in the late 20th century has stalled in the 21st. Even though around 40% of the world’s population, more people than ever before, live in countries that will hold free and fair elections this year, democracy’s global advance has come to a halt, and may even have gone into reverse. Freedom House reckons that 2013 was the eighth consecutive year in which global freedom declined, and that its forward march peaked around the beginning of the century. Between 1980 and 2000 the cause of democracy experienced only a few setbacks, but since 2000 there have been many. And democracy’s problems run deeper than mere numbers suggest. Many nominal democracies have slid towards autocracy, maintaining the outward appearance of democracy through elections, but without the rights and institutions that are equally important aspects of a functioning democratic system.

Lots more good stuff.

http://www.economist.com/news/essays/21596796-democracy-was-most-successful-political-idea-20th-century-why-has-it-run-trouble-and-what-can-be-do (http://www.economist.com/news/essays/21596796-democracy-was-most-successful-political-idea-20th-century-why-has-it-run-trouble-and-what-can-be-do)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on March 08, 2014, 05:19:04 PM
Slave states

Inside Qatar's squalid labour camps

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The Qatari authorities say they have increased inspection of accommodation, but I visited four so-called labour camps in Doha and they were all squalid.

Some were better than others, but they were all overcrowded with around six to eight men to a room.

Twenty and sometimes up to 40 men have to share a kitchen, which is often just a few cooking hobs hooked up to gas canisters and nothing more.

The toilet and washing facilities are so basic and dirty that some men use buckets of water to wash.

One Bangladeshi man said that raw sewage had been leaking into the camp from a broken pipe.

Quote
'21st Century slave state'
 
The 2022 World Cup has kicked off a multibillion-dollar construction boom in Qatar, and roads and hotels are being built to accommodate the fans and businesses that will flock to the emirate.

But though Doha, the capital, looks uber-modern, with glittering skyscrapers and innovative architecture, its labour system is less forward-looking.

Human rights groups and trade unions say migrant workers are subject to a labour system that enables trafficking and forced labour.

Last year, 185 Nepalese workers died, many from heart failure, and 450 Indian workers have died since 2012. Figures of deaths from other nationalities have not been published.

Indian and Qatari authorities say the death rates are normal.

However, Human Rights Watch called the figures "horrendous" and the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sharan Burrow, says it is "an exceptionally high mortality rate".

She says if this trend continues some 4,000 workers will die before the first World Cup football kick-off.

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In a ramshackle, cockroach-infested camp, 22-year-old Anil Lamichhane told me he regrets coming to Qatar and wants to go home to Nepal.

"My company doesn't care about us. When we complain to our seniors they say, 'We will see, we will see'. But when will they see us? We don't get safety shoes in time, we don't get helmets, we don't get good gloves, we don't get good accommodation, we don't get good food. We don't get good salaries - only $9 per day - and we work six days per week.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26482775 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26482775)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on March 22, 2014, 04:35:44 PM
We talk a bit about how those making the macro decisions about how the world is being run might have an agenda or some sort of general plan/strategy in mind.  I do think there is a group consensus among them that is unstated but also a cultural outlook that does not require stating.

Thus the neo-liberal ideological approach is to do their best to exercise the more predatory aspects of unfettered capitalism when ever it is possible.  So we have an example below of what the conservative capitalist austerity model does to weak states and I think it is a method of stripping the last of the resources before consigning the place to the trash heap of collapsed states.   So maybe I was wrong and Bangladesh is not the first place to collapse but it is Greece.  There is no conceivable way to fix this place.

Ukraine had better look out for it's self.

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Greece is the most recent and historically unprecedented neoliberal experiment on a global scale. The neoliberal offensive is moving head on in the country and, if Chile "was the laboratory for the early phases, Greece has become the laboratory for an even more fierce implementation."(1) What we have in place right now in Greece can be best described as the "downsizing of a country"(2) that brings profound changes in its social and economic fabric. Greece's economy has shrunk by nearly one-third since 2007, and the debt has become unmanageable. Through cut-throat austerity measures, massive privatizations and cuts in the most sensitive sectors of public education and public health, the constant process of de-industrialization and the loss of sovereignty, it looks like "Greece will emerge as a poorer country, with a diminished productive base, with reduced sovereignty, [and] with a political class accustomed to almost neo-colonial forms of supervision."

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Unemployment rates are currently climbing to 30 percent, the same percentage Greece had in 1961. As a point of comparison, unemployment in the United States in 1929 was 25 percent, and in Argentina in 2001, it was 30 percent. More than 70 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for more than a year, leaving most to rely on charity after losing monthly benefit payments and health insurance. This percentage does not include young people seeking a job for the first time, employees without insurance and part-timers. Unemployment is up 41 percent from 2011, and for those 15-24, it has reached 51.1 percent, doubling in only three years (5) and setting a negative record for a Eurozone country.(6)

The IMF/European Central Bank recipe is generating wealth in the global financial casino, while 31 percent of Greeks live at risk of poverty, according to Eurostat (2012). These statistics put Greece in seventh place in poverty percentages among the 27 EU countries. More specifically, in Greece: 28.7 percent of children up to 17 years old; 27.7 percent of the population between ages 27-64; and 26.7 percent of Greeks older than 65 live in the poverty threshold.


By social necrophilia, I mean . . . economic policies and austerity measures that result in the physical, material, social and financial destruction of human beings . . .

There is an 11.8 percent increase in child poverty, raising the number of poor children to 465,000 in 2011.(7) The Greek social and welfare state has been collapsing through draconian cuts in wages and pensions, massive layoffs and the violation of vested rights, of labor laws and of collective bargaining rights. All collective bargaining expired on May 14, 2013, and it has been replaced by individual contracts where workers become hostages of their employers. Base salary went tumbling down to 500 Euros monthly (400 for young people) - not to mention a retroactive salary cut of 22 percent (32 percent for youth) in February 2012.

In March 2013, the government announced additional pension cuts of up to 20 percent. According to the Labor Institute of the National Confederation of Greek Workers (2012), new measures dictated by the Troika (the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund) will lead to at least a 35 percent deterioration of salaried employees' and pensioners' lives. As an example, since the beginning of 2011, 113,268 people have disconnected their telephone landlines to decrease expenses. With a 19 percent increase in the cost of electricity, 350,000 people now live without electricity in Athens. Additional taxes on property have ravaged the middle class that is now "paying rent" in their own houses through new taxes and fines imposed. Quality of life is radically deteriorating for Greek people.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/22584-neoliberalism-as-social-necrophilia-the-case-of-greece (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/22584-neoliberalism-as-social-necrophilia-the-case-of-greece)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 23, 2014, 01:32:09 AM
So we have an example below of what the conservative capitalist austerity model does to weak states and I think it is a method of stripping the last of the resources before consigning the place to the trash heap of collapsed states.   So maybe I was wrong and Bangladesh is not the first place to collapse but it is Greece.  There is no conceivable way to fix this place.

The thing with Greece though is that they are chained to the euro. I suspect the outcome would be quite different in the current day context if they had their own currency that they could devalue to attract more tourists etc compared to other destinations. Their debts are also euro denominated and so for as long as they are chained into it they are going nowhere.

One presumes they are being kept in thrall for ideological reasons, as in the UK where the government is systematically attacking the poorer and vulnerable section of the population while relaxing higher tax rates and keeping loopholes open for tax avoidance for the wealthy.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on April 10, 2014, 09:40:21 PM
We se the results of the Arab Spring daily in the news about Egypt and Syria.  The disasters of Libya and Tunisia sort of tend to slip the mind.  Tunisia below.  The disintegration of the global order as stress of one kind or another brings fragile countries down is far more likely to create chaos and mayhem than anything looking like progress.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/family-tunisia-case-study-state-capture-aka-kleptocracy.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/family-tunisia-case-study-state-capture-aka-kleptocracy.html)

Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on April 10, 2014, 10:15:43 PM
We se the results of the Arab Spring daily in the news about Egypt and Syria.  The disasters of Libya and Tunisia sort of tend to slip the mind.  Tunisia below.  The disintegration of the global order as stress of one kind or another brings fragile countries down is far more likely to create chaos and mayhem than anything looking like progress.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/family-tunisia-case-study-state-capture-aka-kleptocracy.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/04/family-tunisia-case-study-state-capture-aka-kleptocracy.html)

You know - there's quite a bit of civil unrest - current and very recent - rumbling on around the world. There's plenty more potentially on the near future horizon.

The trouble is there isn't really any convenient monitoring or media attention to the big picture that I'm aware of?

So in a sense we won't see things worsening as much as they actually are because the media tends to focus on one or two big stories (right now the trivial matter of a missing aircraft) and pushes all the rest under the carpet. If 10 countries are collapsing or 50 - we'll probably only be bearing around 1 or 2 of them...?

Does anyone know of an updated map showing current civil unrest/conflict around the world? A sort of heat map as it were?
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Anne on April 10, 2014, 10:35:38 PM
Well, there's Global InTAKE (http://www.globalintake.com/world_risk_map.php?wrmtype=b) but I don't know how reliable it is.

There's this depressing Youtube map (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXHVpOh0feU) The Economist issued on 30 December of the risk of unrest around the world in 2014, but they don't show their workings.

(OT, but strictly for twitchers there is this RSOE EDIS - Emergency and Disaster Information Service world map of current disaster and emergency (http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/index2.php#), which bizarrely includes some vehicle accidents but it doesn't include civil unrest)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: ccgwebmaster on April 10, 2014, 11:25:47 PM
Well, there's Global InTAKE (http://www.globalintake.com/world_risk_map.php?wrmtype=b) but I don't know how reliable it is.

Thanks - given Somalia and America are the same at 23% I'm a little skeptical of it - but it's still an advance on nothing.

[EDIT] Actually, if you select for "internal conflict" instead of "civil unrest", it doesn't look too bad? I'll dig into it a bit more and see if they say how they're assessing it.

[EDIT2] It looks as though the economist one is decent - it does (I think) bring home how far the rot is set in to see these maps, pity the economist one mostly seems to be a corporate service. If you don't mind I might quote your post on my forum.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on May 26, 2014, 03:26:46 PM
The cracks in the EU get a bit bigger.  This will not be a good thing in terms of the global cooperation everyone is always talking about.  My bet is it gets worse going forward.

Quote
European Voters Deliver the Revenge of the Nation-State

European elections are in the process of delivering huge swings extremes of the Left and Right extreme. From the Financial Times:


France’s nationalist extreme right turned European politics upside down on Sunday, trouncing the governing Socialists and the mainstream conservatives in the European parliamentary elections which across the continent returned an unprecedented number of MEPs hostile to, or sceptical about, the European Union in a huge vote of no confidence in Europe‘s political elite.

According to exit polls, the Front National of Marine Le Pen came first in France with more than 25% of the vote. The nationalist anti-immigrant Danish People’s party won by a similar margin in Denmark. In Austria, the far right Freedom Party took one fifth of the vote, according to projections, while on the hard left, Alexis Tsipras led Greece‘s Syriza movement to a watershed victory over the country’s two governing and traditional ruling parties, New Democracy conservatives and the Pasok social democrats.

…In Britain, the Nigel Farage-led insurrection against Westminster was also tipped to unsettle the polticial mainstream by coming first or second in the election. The Tories, the biggest UK caucus in the parliament for 20 years, faced the prospect of being pushed into third place.

In Germany, the most powerful EU state, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats scored an expected easy victory, but Germany also returned its first eurosceptics in the form of the Alternative for Germany as well as its first neo-Nazi MEP from the Hitler apologists of the National Democratic Party of Germany, according to German TV projections.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/05/european-voters-deliver-the-revenge-of-the-nation-state.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/05/european-voters-deliver-the-revenge-of-the-nation-state.html)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on May 27, 2014, 05:43:10 PM
The cracks in the EU get a bit bigger.  This will not be a good thing in terms of the global cooperation everyone is always talking about.  My bet is it gets worse going forward.
JimD - I can not see the connection between the article you cited and your interpretation: Since that was the first EU-election after Euro-crisis it is surprising, that Euro-critic-parties are less than 1/3 (and only 7% in Germany - who would have thought that 2 years ago, that most poeple consider the several hundred billions real tax payers € beeing well invested abroad...).

Most results are clearly national motivated and not related to Europe at all. No signs for cracking but for problems of governments of some nations.
 
And since nobody outside EU is really trying to cooperate I see not much changes in respect to "global cooperation". Cooperation in EU will continue between the nations and you may see some results of the EU-election in the coming weeks: E.g. some positions will be filled newly - but nothing to write home about. The impact of such inter-national parliament is really limited: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament#Powers_and_functions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament#Powers_and_functions) 
The main impact could be the entertainment of journalists ;-)

No - the local council elections in some part of EU at the same date have much more real life impact. And you probably do not find any article about that in US ;-)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on May 27, 2014, 05:59:10 PM
Quote
Most results are clearly national motivated and not related to Europe at all. No signs for cracking but for problems of governments of some nations.

But that is the point.  The EU is not a country.  National issues and concerns will become paramount as the system stresses out.  The future of the EU is in serious doubt.  Many of the 'good' things that a segment of Europe attributes to the EU are in no way certain to continue going forward.  Some countries, like Germany, hugely benefit from the current structure....at the serious expense of the weaker countries like Greece.  This cannot continue forever.

We will see over time how this works out.  My bet is that the EU project has peaked and is in decline.  Thus the early stages of collapse are progressing.  We no longer have the energy wealth to continue the very high levels of civilizational complexity.  So decline is in the works.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on May 27, 2014, 06:47:56 PM
We no longer have the energy wealth to continue the very high levels of civilizational complexity.  So decline is in the works.
I agree to that point. It does not matter if you call it austerity, decline, de-growth or first steps towards sustainability - it is the direction we are heading for anyway. Let us see, how much we can co-operate by doing so and how much we prefer to simplify our life individually. We are seeing a lot of different ways at the same time in Europe - that is the nice thing here. The future of Europe is quite unclear and also the poeples visions are changing rapidly: E.g. French poeple want to become more like Germans and vice versa - such things would have been unbelievable 50 years ago.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on May 29, 2014, 03:00:32 PM
Quote
For four years now, European institutions are the field on which incompetence and malice compete with one another, seemingly with an eye to winning the prize for the greatest damage done to the idea of shared European prosperity. The result has been a wholesale loss of trust in the institutions of the EU and the demise of the ‘assumption’ that European integration was an unstoppable, benign force. Naturally, the recent European Parliament elections reflected this mood.

The international press has summed up the election outcome as a sign that the economic crisis plaguing Europe has caused voters to be lured by the two ‘extremes’, meaning the ultra right and the extreme left. This is a verdict that the European elites, whose shenanigans are responsible for Europe’s deconstruction, are comfortable with. They see it as evidence that, despite some errors, they are on the middle road, with some wayward voters straying off the ‘right’ path both to the left and to the right. They hope that, once growth picks up again, the ‘strays’ will return to the fold.

This is a misrepresentation of the most recent electoral result. Europeans were not lured by the two extremes. They drifted to one extreme: that of the misanthropic, racist, xenophobic, anti-European right. Extreme, anti-European, leftwing parties saw no surge in their support anywhere in Europe.



http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/05/yanis-varoufakis-one-extreme-europe-parliamentary-election-results.html (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/05/yanis-varoufakis-one-extreme-europe-parliamentary-election-results.html)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on May 29, 2014, 03:13:13 PM
And a couple more.

Quote
If Europe's policy elites could not quite believe it before, they must now know beyond much doubt that they have lost Britain. This island is no longer part of the European project in any meaningful sense.


British defenders of the status quo were knouted on Sunday.
...

...European leaders must henceforth calculate that the British people will vote to leave the EU altogether unless offered an entirely new dispensation: tariff-free access to the single market along lines already enjoyed by Turkey or Tunisia; and deliverance from half the Acquis Communautaire, that 170,000-page edifice of directives and regulations that drains away sovereignty, and is never repealed.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10861252/Europe-has-an-even-bigger-crisis-on-its-hands-than-a-British-exit.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10861252/Europe-has-an-even-bigger-crisis-on-its-hands-than-a-British-exit.html)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27601932 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27601932)
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: Shared Humanity on May 29, 2014, 03:41:20 PM
Just want everyone to know, I visit this thread daily and am thoroughly enjoying these discussions.
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: TerryM on May 29, 2014, 07:31:53 PM
JimD


So Kiev may be instituting the government of the future?


Terry
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: SATire on May 30, 2014, 01:14:30 AM
EU elections: "Extremists have gained ground, but the sensibility of the majority has triumphed", Bernd Ulrich in Zeit: http://www.zeit.de/politik/2014-05/europe-election (http://www.zeit.de/politik/2014-05/europe-election)

"The longer one reflects on the elections in the EU and Ukraine, the more breathtaking it seems – and the more relieving."

"In short, Europeans have responded to impositions with trust. It’s incomprehensible"

"And that is still absolutely nothing when you look at people in Ukraine.

"But, for all that, something eerie is happening at the same time: A ghost is making the rounds in Europe, the specter of authoritarianism. [...] In the United Kingdom, the party that won not only wants to exit the EU, but it would also like to get rid of the impositions of multicultural, sexually liberal society. Of course, that is something one can wish for, but it does violence to reality.

Things are even worse in France, where the National Front, entirely independent of the EU, has nestled itself into a huge legitimation gap. "

"Rather, entire countries have opted for a kind of euro-authoritarianism. This includes Hungary, whose two-thirds majority has been reconfirmed as reactionary by this election. But this also includes Bulgaria, which is increasingly yielding to Moscow’s exercise of direct political influence. Lastly, Turkey has recently been drifting more and more into authoritarianism – indeed, the new European line of conflict runs right through the middle of this country."

"This, then, is the state of affairs in Europe: The EU is gradually emerging from the economic crisis, and the voting was reasonably sensible and surprisingly loyal to the EU. Likewise, in the Ukraine conflict, the soft power of the Europeans hasn't lost out (or at least not yet) against the hard power of the Russians. "

"Thus, on balance, the EU is in quite good shape after this historic Sunday."

(German original here http://www.zeit.de/2014/23/europawahl-rechtspopulisten-autoritarismus (http://www.zeit.de/2014/23/europawahl-rechtspopulisten-autoritarismus) )
Title: Re: Future Governmental Structures
Post by: JimD on June 03, 2014, 03:37:02 PM
Quote
The Crushing Force of Capitalism

Back to the Dark Ages of Feudalism

The mid-20th century brought the years of collective psychosis of Adolf Hitler’s “thousand year Reich,” and more recently what can be viewed as the United States of America’s imperialist manifesto or so-called “Project for the New American Century”, concocted in 1997 but still in effect today under the current administration, with the self-proclaimed objective to “promote American global leadership” resolutely and by military force, if necessary..............

Ironically, feudalism is making a comeback  in the latest evolution and under the impulse of predatory global capitalism. After all, Karl Marx, in the mid-19th century, considered feudalism to be a precursor of capitalism. Typically a feudal system can be defined as a society with inherited social rank............

Detroit and Greece are not some sort of collateral damage of “market forces” in Krugman’s “decline happens” scenario. Detroit was demolished wholesale by NAFTA, and Greece was enticed to borrow money to join the EURO zone.

The IMF itself recently conceded that the policies it has implemented for Greece resulted in “notable failures.” The IMF failed to push for an immediate restructuring of Greece’s debt, but didn’t prevent money owed by the country before 2010 to private-sector creditors from being fully repaid at the onset of the fiscal crisis. Greece’s overall debt level remained the same, except it was now owned to the Euro-zone taxpayers and the IMF instead of banks and hedge funds. Both Greece and Detroit were targets of  a predatory capitalism that sought to downgrade and then shut down all public sectors of an economy...........

A powerful network of oligarchs worldwide seems to be pursuing the objective to set back the social clock to before the era of  Enlightenment so as to return us to the Dark Ages of  lords and serfs: a new era of global slavery to benefit Wall Street’s “masters of the universe.” Compared to the Middle Ages, today’s servitude is more insidious: the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and many private banks operate like mega drug dealers. The IMF and World Bank do so with countries, while the banks do so with individuals. Once Greece, Detroit or John Doe is addicted to its fix — loans in this case — the trick is done. After a while, money must be borrowed even to service the debt..............

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/02/back-to-the-dark-ages-of-feudalism/ (http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/02/back-to-the-dark-ages-of-feudalism/)