- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Once more; which bit didn't you understand?

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on August 23, 1999 at 16:35:11:

In Reply to: To Farinata and Co. posted by Dr. Cruel on August 17, 1999 at 01:44:15:

: As Grand Moff Tarkin once observed, "This bickering is pointless."

- yet you cannot resist trying to get the last word in either, eh?

: It is quite clear what the general feeling is behind all of these spurious lines of thought. Simply put, the principle is that the world is too complicated to be run without a managerial elite. The present 'regime' is incompetant ("the only way ... humanity is master of the world is that we can wreck it ..."), and must be replaced by enlightened 'planet-mechanics', communist experts, and such.

No. No gods, no masters. I don't believe in any elite; merely an open society based on the free exchange of knowledge and co-operative effort. It is worth noting that a typical managerial response to unpleasant scientific discoveries is to suppress them; this is true equally of any government, be it corporate or centralist; the way to control people is to control their knowledge input and impose your filters on them. I abhor this, personally.

: It is pointless to demonstrate the regular and consistant failings of these 'experts', because I have not received the appropriate credentials from them.

In much the same way that you can ignore a health professional if they tell you that smoking is bad for you; who are *they* to dictate what is and isn't good for you?

(Of course, you don't understand exactly how hydrocarbon residues and free-radical-producing reactions affect human biochemistry; only you can dictate what is or isn't good for you...)

: Thus, the successes of the agricultural revolution are actually unsustainable failures,

I've seen the metaphor of an engine used here before; is it a better idea to thrash an engine continually (as it will get you from A to B faster); or is it a better idea to run the engine in cruise (which will make the engine last longer)...?

Look at the amount of arable land that has been lost to human cultivation in the last 50 years due to intensive farming methods...

: The fact remains that these conclusions are unsupportable in the real world, and that this is obvious to the majority of people.

Ah. This must be this mythical "real world" place again. What do you mean by "real world", Doc?

If you're describing the physical world, then the scientific premises take place over your pet ideology; the fact remains that we, as a species, are abusing the land and the biomass on a daily basis; the productivity and ability it has to support life is decreasing as a result. The fact that you are unable to see beyond the end of your nose doesn't make it any less the case.

Or is the "real world" a Platonic place of your imagining, where resources are infinite and no-one need worry about pollution or inequality?

: the rain forests continue to be cleared, with nary a thunderbolt from yonder Ivory Tower. The sky, contrary to these most educated and learned opinions, is most obviously not falling.

Prove that assertion, then.

: This can go on indefinitely. Where there is wealth, there will always be a claim on it, the more ingenious in relation to the magnitude of the creation. The very prosperity of capitalism is its Achilles' heel - it enriches those who would find novel ways to undermine it. One can imagine such 'science' being used to thwart settling of the West (destruction of the North American wilderness will lead to unpredictable climate changes, perhaps even a Greenhouse Effect).

Funny you should mention that; think of the Dust Bowl; it's entirely possible that it will return to the Midwest as a consequence of global warming.

For a foretaste, look at this year's U.S. weather reports; to quote the USDA (July '99) "According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, this is the worst drought in the history of record keeping for farmers in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island."

15 states haven't been declared drought areas; that leaves 36 which are significantly drier than normal, classified as areas to watch, or drought-stricken.

: Very well. This 'pompous buffoon' apparently has not the necessary credentials to run his own affairs. Yet, strangely, I feel moved to do so regardless.

Carry on smoking, then. Ignore the doctors; for what do doctors know?

: I have seen the products of such enlightened thinking firsthand, and am quite resistant to 'enjoying' them myself.

Which translates to "I'm ignorant and wish to remain that way..."

: And really now ... did you actually think that you'd convince people to re-enter the Stone Age willingly, because there is only enough oil for about two centuries or so of growth? (Not counting synthetic fuels, ethanol from biomass, geothermal energy sources, heretofore undiscovered technologies, etc.) Come now ...

Perhaps you'd care to provide enthalpies of production for these forms of power?; not everywhere is suitable for geothermal power; and most of the synthesis projects require oil to start them going; they are (at the moment) poor seconds to oil in terms of usefulness.

I'm not trying to send anyone back to the Stone Age; not even if their attitudes appear to be from there. I'm a scientist, dammit; I'm hardly going to be in favour of regression. What we need to do is moderate our consumption and actually make an effort to preserve the planet, rather than just trying to gouge it of all useful minerals as fast as possible.


: P.S. In reference to a 'finite' state of affairs ... I believe then you are an advocate of the 'open', rather than 'closed' universe theory? Heat death, and all that ...

That actually has nothing to do with this particular bit of thermodynamics; the finiteness comes from the fact that the Solar System is, to all power-generating purposes, a closed system; and solar power is not enough to launch spacecraft; thus, our energy reserves are finite, as solar receptors/LDRs/CCDs also require oil to produce them.

Thus, there comes a point at which the energy return from extracted fuel is less than the energy expended in collecting it. It's called "shit creek" in layman's terms.

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