- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Can you see that in your crystal ball?

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on December 20, 1999 at 21:07:45:

In Reply to: within those next 25 years we will have made great strides in technology posted by David on December 20, 1999 at 18:02:37:

: I can neither affirm nor deny (damn, I am sounding like a politician now) any of those facts.

I can provide references and data from reputable sources.

: All I can say that if they are, indeed, true, than I would agree with your projection. I hope, however, that within those next 25 years we will have made great strides in technology and be able to mitigate those events.

Why hope on a future invention; instead of doing something about it now?

You can't predict the course of invention; merely lying back and saying "someone will work it all out somehow" is pure Pangloss. And continuing to consume ever-greater amounts whilst leaving the cleanup and hangover to the next generations is rather irresponsible, to say the least.

Quite apart from all else, as SDF and myself have pointed out a number of times, the conversion from an oil-based to an alternative-based economy would require a significant one-off energy consumption; and every year we delay doing something about it, we reduce our capacity to shift our pattern of consumption.

It's the classic Easter Island paradigm; the Polynesians landed there and sustained a comparatively advanced Polynesian civilisation by converting Easter Island's forests to farmland and consuming the wood to resources. However, as the population grew, the usage of wood far outstripped the regeneration the trees were capable of; until the forests were wiped out to sustain the island civilisation; at which point the islanders could no longer leave, since they built boats with wood; and there was no wood left to build boats with. And, as any geography student knows, the civilisation and the population then collapsed...

: What I am worried about is what kind of government the population would opt for. It could very well be a Stoller brand socialism, a laissez-faire capitalism, or, god-forbid, facism. When people are under duress they tend to make really poor decisions [Read Post-Versaille Germany].

And when there aren't enough resources left to keep a civilisation going, it tends to collapse altogether. Bear in mind that, to have a large and monolithic society, you need a large amount of raw materials; we aren't even likely to have that in a worst-case scenario; the more likely case is a state of Balkanisation down to a township level and a population crash.


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