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Thread: Societal Collapse

  1. #1
    Journeyman Teenwolf's Avatar
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    Societal Collapse

    I was surprised nobody brought this up when it was in the news a month ago.

    A 1972 study from MIT modeled projected growth of Capitalism leading to environmental collapse. It was largely derided and not taken seriously at the time, but new analysis shows the study has proven shockingly accurate 50 years in. Less than 20 years until societal collapse makes total sense to me. I had sort of projected this myself, thinking about what happens when these reports saying we have 12 years to change course as a civilization, now less than 10 years, age into "well, people of earth. You're all condemned to lives of misery in a dying world where the rich have siphoned all the money to the top." Why would any 20 something go to work in that rigged system?

    I believe what Chris Hedges said recently is correct. He said that AOC and leftist politicians will never be the answer to our problems. They're merely ineffectual pawns promoting Democracy while showcasing its utter failures. I believe the way forward is public protest. Occupy X 10 or times a hundred. That's the only thing that makes politicians side with people over corporate interests. It's an eventuality, I think. So the quicker we get there, the better our chances, or our children's chances more accurately.

    Terrifying world to live in. Hard to think about having kids right now. I've been getting feelings when I see parents with young kids, and my wife is 37, so our time to decide is ending. But its starting to look more like an apocalypse buddy situation.

    "My favourite is when Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi say "we need a strong Republican party." And I'm like, "um, well, I donít. Not sure why you do." And then I realized why they do need a strong Republican party. Because if there was no Republican party, even if you were a fan of the Democrats, you would be like "hey, now what's holding you back from doing good policy if there's no opposition?" Because they'd be revealed as frauds." - Judah Friedlander

  2. #2
    All Star Sour Masher's Avatar
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    My take is that pronouncements of total collapse or all life dying on the planet are exaggerations, and most people making them know this. But they also know people, and how dumb and selfish they are, so if they say that our chosen path will lead to ruin, where 3/4 of the human population will starve and suffer, and we will radically shift life on this planet so that 3/4 of all species die off and life will have to move toward the polls and away from the barren wasteland that will be the equatorial zone for a couple of million years until all the warming we causes cycles back down (more likely, we will science out a solution that brings it back in less time), than a disturbing number of people will think the following:

    1. I don't care, I will be dead before that happens.
    2. I don't care, I will be one of the rich who will step on the backs of the poor toward my future of survival.
    3. I don't care, because while I am currently in the group that will probably be left without when things get worse, I aspire to be one of the ones that get to leave the rest behind.

    So, instead, they make claims that pronounce the end of our species or all life on the planet. The former may happen, but it will take an incredibly effective 12 Monkeys type virus, or total nuclear war, and even then, I wouldn't put it past our species to survive in pockets, to grow once again to the all polluting, all consuming kings of the world. The latter is very unlikely. Yes, we are making huge changes to the planet, creating climate change at an insanely rapid pace on a geological scale. But the planet has gone through 5 other mass extinctions, where it all went south fast and hard, and bounced back just fine with new life when conditions were right. The planet and life in general are incredibly resilient. As destructive as we are, I very much doubt we could end it even if we wanted to. I very much doubt we could even end ourselves if we wanted to, not completely. If we do sadly keep marching to the doom of most of us, there will be survivors, and though they will likely be the rich and powerful that let it all get screwed to hell to begin with, maybe their descendants will have learned from our collective folly and will rebuild a better world in the future.

    As long as we have enough people who deny we are on a path to ruin, or think one of the above thoughts, that is our most likely future--things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, and maybe they get worse again, and better again, and on it goes until the end of it all. But that is a long way off.

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    All Star TranaGreg's Avatar
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    Studies like these are theoretically interesting, but IMO not terribly useful as they assume all trajectories continue as is, which is never the case. As people demand different choices, the market reacts. Whether it's car manufacturers moving to EVs, or the evolution of solar and wind power as real contributors to the overall capacity, or the gradual move to local food sources, the public demands change and the market moves to fill those demands. Meat consumption will IMO decrease significantly as costs increase and reasonable alternatives continue to come on the market of increasingly good quality. The thing is, these things will never be substantive enough to make the world safe and secure ... there will always be way too much demand for large SUVs and steak dinners ... they'll always be just enough tho to keep us from tipping over the precipice. There will be recessions, and even depressions ... but societal collapse? - there's too much at stake for those with control over the levers to allow that to happen.

  4. #4
    Neo-Malthusians were wrong then - and history has so shown - and they're wrong today. They're excellent at creating spectacles of climate or food "end of world" scenarios grounded in pseudo-science, but they're accuracy is akin to the Rapture barkers who claim the end of the world is coming on a certain day.

    NASA's climate carnival barker back then was a Dr. S.I. Rasool; he was partnered with Dr. Gordon MacDonald on Nixon's CEQ. About the only thing I'll give credit to Dr. Rasool on was that if you want to get serious about climate change and eliminate fossil fuels, nuclear power was and remains the best option. The Climatic Research University in East Anglia, UK put out some seriously laughable stuff that shockingly passed the more serious peer review that went on in that time.

    Even more neo-Malthusians have been proven wrong - over and over again, I'll note - about world food supply. The easiest and best known to point at is Paul Ehrlich's work, culminated in his laughably shoddy work "The Population Bomb". But there's literally dozens of peer-reviewed papers from that era about food supply running out due to overpopulation, with the only marginal differences being how and when these catastrophes would happen.
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  5. #5
    All Star Sour Masher's Avatar
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    We had less than a billion people on the planet around 1800 when Malthus wrote his essay. We have nearly 8 billion now. We have gotten better data and have accounted for innovation better, so I believe our projections are better. We have been able to vastly expand our population by shifting our calorie consumption to less nutritionally dense, factory farm produced staples, which causes a host of health issues, but has been crucial to the rapid expansion of the population as a species. The world could not have gotten to the population we have now without those changes, and the desire of many to adopt diets that return us to the past are antithetical to sustaining and continuing to grow our population. But this is all an aside, because I don't think TW was talking about collapse based on our species exceeding carry capacity (although, many argue we already have done that, if everyone on the planet consumed at the level of Americans).

    On the climate issue, you are again pulling stuff from far back, but just because the science was imprecise then does not mean it has not improved along with the data we have. The data is very sturdy now and there is an overwhelming consensus on what has happened and what will happen if current trends continue. We have very recently and very rapidly made massive changes to our environment. It has fueled our rapid species growth and everything we have today, from food to concrete and cars. Putting aside the specifics and quibbles about dates and extents of impact, and conceding that there have been warnings in the past that were more dire than they should have been, it is truly baffling to me that anyone can deny how overwhelming rapid growth in our population and the subsequent energy needs of that population, look at all we have wrought, both awe-inspiring and terrible, and not accept that humanity has shaped its environment to a significant extent, changing the global landscape, pumping out a tremendous amount of CO2 in the process, and caused the rapid spike in global temperatures we are seeing.

    If you want to go back to old study that were off the mark on timing, I will go back farther to other times in our planets history this has happened and you can see the results. It is and will continue to have a domino effect. The warming not only increases because of what we are doing directly, but what we are doing is causing other changes, like the melting of permafrost that will release even more warming gases. We have a clear fossil record of what happens when the earth warms like this, and will mean a massive disruption to our ways of life, with huge shifts in the zones where we can love comfortably. It won't happen overnight, of course, but on a geological scale, it is happening at lightening speed, so fast we can see the changes happening in a single generation, and if we don't act and only continue to react, we will suffer tremendously for it, for generations to come. We know what just a few degrees means for the planet, and how big a change that will be for us, and we can see it coming and we can try to mitigate and slow that change so it is more manageable. But we are not doing enough, because too many deny the change is happening, or deny we have any impact on it, or deny what these changes will mean.
    Last edited by Sour Masher; 09-16-2021 at 01:53 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Sour Masher View Post
    collapse based on our species exceeding carry capacity (although, many argue we already have done that, if everyone on the planet consumed at the level of Americans).
    If everyone consumed like Americans, we'd need eight earths to sustain humanity.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Sour Masher View Post
    But we are not doing enough, because too many just don't give a shit.
    Fixed.
    If DMT didn't exist we would have to invent it. There has to be a weirdest thing. Once we have the concept weird, there has to be a weirdest thing. And DMT is simply it.
    - Terence McKenna

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  8. #8
    Administrator revo's Avatar
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    FWIW, Former Guy predicted America's democracy will collapse in 3 years. LOL.

  9. #9
    Journeyman Teenwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TranaGreg View Post
    Studies like these are theoretically interesting, but IMO not terribly useful as they assume all trajectories continue as is, which is never the case. As people demand different choices, the market reacts. Whether it's car manufacturers moving to EVs, or the evolution of solar and wind power as real contributors to the overall capacity, or the gradual move to local food sources, the public demands change and the market moves to fill those demands. Meat consumption will IMO decrease significantly as costs increase and reasonable alternatives continue to come on the market of increasingly good quality. The thing is, these things will never be substantive enough to make the world safe and secure ... there will always be way too much demand for large SUVs and steak dinners ... they'll always be just enough tho to keep us from tipping over the precipice. There will be recessions, and even depressions ... but societal collapse? - there's too much at stake for those with control over the levers to allow that to happen.
    Watch the video and comment again. They have 3 projected models. One is a business as usual model, another is increasing pollution, and lastly, a reduced consumption type of scenario. So the question is really, "which model does our current response best resemble?" I'd say we are either business as usual or increasing environmentally devastating. I see no change in sight for years. The miniscule capitalist adjustments you mention amount to a rounding error in terms of efficacy.

    This is speaking to how society, and the people within society will respond to being told that the world is officially fucked. With increasing wealth inequality and generational poverty, how will those folks respond? I think a general strike is the only solution to force government to do the right thing, and I believe that an Occupy WS type of movement will organize the general strike. It's only a matter of time. Those Occupy folks are still out there. Next time they'll be joined by their adult children. Hey, just my take on how society crumbles.
    "My favourite is when Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi say "we need a strong Republican party." And I'm like, "um, well, I donít. Not sure why you do." And then I realized why they do need a strong Republican party. Because if there was no Republican party, even if you were a fan of the Democrats, you would be like "hey, now what's holding you back from doing good policy if there's no opposition?" Because they'd be revealed as frauds." - Judah Friedlander

  10. #10
    All Star Sour Masher's Avatar
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    The occupy type strike, who exactly should join? What impact will strikes have when they don't include essential workers like doctors and nurses and those in rural areas that don't resonate with such a message, like farmers? If they stopped working people would die, but if they don't, what real change is going to come? I just don't see something big and inclusive enough happening any time soon, and even if it could, there are lots of ethical concerns to grinding the capitalist machine to a halt. The system may be broken and flawed, but it is also so ingrained in the fabrics of our lives, trying to take it down takes down most of the people in the system too.

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