Thursday, February 27, 2014

Double Bind: Earth VS The Market

It seems Japan is in trouble, and I'm not referring to Fukushima radiation. The trouble I'm talking about is a consequence of population decline. If you click on the link, the first paragraph explains why this is a problem:

"By 2060, the government estimates, there will be just 87 million people in Japan; nearly half of them will be over 65. Without a dramatic change in either the birthrate or its restrictive immigration policies, Japan simply won't have enough workers to support its retirees, and will enter a demographic death spiral. Yet the babies aren't coming."

It also proves that our current economic system is a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are defined by the need for continuous and exponential growth. As the article, linked and quoted above, clearly states, population growth is a necessary element of that expansion. No one denies the fact that "the economy" has to expand at a rate of approximately 3% per year if it is to avoid a recession, leading to depression, and ending in collapse. On the other hand, we live on a finite planet, with finite resources and a finite capacity to absorb pollution and waste. That means there's an absolute limit which has very nearly been reached. This is one of several double bind flaws that are inherent to the system. The only way out of a double bind dilemma is to eliminate one of the conflicting requirements. In this case, one of those elements is a conflict with the natural limits of the planet; the other is the imperative of the market system, to grow. Is there any way of resolving this dilemma? Actually, yes. There are a few possible solutions, but nobody wants to talk about them. Once I've explained what those possible fixes are, you'll understand why.

Solution #1:
Abolish the pyramid scheme. Eliminate the need for continuous growth. That would require an end to the current market system. This is the solution I would favour.  Needless to say, the powers that be, who sit at the apex of the pyramid, don't like this option, and have ruled it out.

Solution #2:
Free up room for expansion. This is the solution promoted by people like Bill Gates. He claims it's necessary to prevent global warming, but that's a lie. The regulation and restriction of energy consumption, justified by the alleged threat of man-made global warming, is a ploy to buy the system time. It also serves to condition people to see their very existence as a threat to the planet, thus softening their resistance to the planned culling. As the linked article about Japan proves, he is being dishonest in his assertion that this goal can be accomplished by simply lowering birth-rates. Bill Gates isn't stupid; he must know this: In order to avoid system-collapse, the population reduction would have to mainly target adults, especially the elderly.  I see this as the motivation behind, what some are calling, the soft-kill agenda. Believe it or not, this is the more humane of the options being considered by the powers that be.

Solution #3:
Let the pyramid scheme collapse, then start over. This option would be devastating for the Earth's ecosystems and inhabitants. The planet would probably recover because it can survive more punishment that we can. I suspect this solution would be adopted as a last resort, should #2 fail or turn out to be too slow. As the Architect said of the machines in "The Matrix", "There are levels of existence we are prepared to accept." The "elite" have taken precautions to minimize the hardship they, and their most loyal minions, would face. There are enormous, underground facilities that we know have been built, ostensibly to ensure "continuity of government". No doubt, a number of private ones exist as well. I expect they're quite nice. They'd be powered by geothermal energy, or something more advanced, have kick-ass air filtration systems, bio-domes and holographic view windows. Those facilities could sustain their occupants comfortably and indefinitely while they waited for the dust to clear. Then they could emerge and start to rebuild their empire. In order for this plan to work, most of the people left on the surface of the Earth would have to be wiped out. Therefore, a global nuclear war is a strong possibility immediately prior to the elite's evacuation. There is some evidence to suggest that this scenario has played out before, many thousands of years ago.

As far as I can tell, these three solutions are the only ways that the over-population-versus-economic-growth situation can be resolved. This is why I have been so passionate and persistent about the need to abandon the market-driven society. It's not just because we'd be happier if we did; it's because the alternative is something no remotely sane person could want.

13 comments:

  1. A very interesting entry I must say. Makes sense to me!

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  2. 'No one denies the fact that "the economy" has to expand at a rate of approximately 3% per year if it is to avoid a recession, leading to depression, and ending in collapse.'

    I don't deny it exactly - but I do question this factoid. Where does it come from? Whom does it serve? If it's true, and collapse is inevitable, what is 'collapse'? Doom or freedom?

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    1. Hi Speedbird
      I think I got that figure from David Harvey's talk, called "The End of Capitalism", but I've heard that approximate number mentioned many times before. As I understand it, a certain % of GDP growth is needed to balance inflation. This link explains the theory briefly:
      http://useconomy.about.com/od/grossdomesticproduct/f/Ideal_GDP.htm
      I'm not aware of anyone who disagrees with it in the context of the-system-as-it-is.
      Doom or freedom? That depends on a lot of things, especially for individuals. In the short to medium term, and on a collective level, it's probably going to look a lot like doom. On the other hand, so would a continuation of the status quo, and no "probably" about it. Collapse would, at least, open the door to other possibilities. Real freedom requires abandoning the domination/submission paradigm.

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  3. I think the magic words are 'pyramid scheme'. If we are living in a pyramid scheme, then growth is required, and collapse is inevitable. Evidence for this would be if the people at the very, very top were getting all the benefit. In that case, we either fix the Scheme so it isn't a pyramid, or we plan to make the most of the collapse.

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    1. Yes, and unfortunately, as with most other pyramid schemes, the people in the middle tiers will do almost anything to avoid admitting that it is a pyramid scheme.
      "The bigger the trick, and the older the trick, the easier it is to pull, based on two principles: they think it can't be that old, and it can't be that big for so many people to have fallen for it."
      -from the film "Revolver"
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ViNHuJ7IJ4

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  4. Interesting about the people in the middle, hadn't thought of that. I suppose part of it is embarrassment at being duped; but part of it also is that I think it can be hard to tell the difference between a Great Enterprise and a pyramid scheme. I mean, I'm sure Rome started as a Great Enterprise, though it was something rather different by the time of Christ, and I guess He left some good advice on what to do about it. I don't think it's inevitable that a Great Enterprise must become a pyramid scheme, and I'm not sure that Tolkien did either. He had to come up with the Ring as a specific reason why Great Enterprises go astray, and he proposed that the problem could be fixed in some sense.

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    1. Could you please define "Great Enterprise"?

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  5. I mean things like the cathedrals of Europe, which seems to me like honest expressions of faith and goodwill to future generations.

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    1. If I understand correctly, you mean: spatially and temporally, large scale, cooperative projects. I think it's problematic to make a good/bad value judgement part of the definition since most things are a mixture of the two. Every cloud has a silver lining. Or so I've heard.
      In that case, the key to identifying any large-scale cooperative project as a pyramid scheme is in the answers to two questions, "Can it survive if it stops growing?" and "Does energy consistently flow from the base to the apex?" If the answer is, "no" to the first and "yes" to the second, it's a pyramid scheme. It's the unidirectional energy flow that creates to need for endless growth.
      Those cathedrals stopped growing ages ago, so they can't be a pyramid scheme. The jury's still out on the pyramids. (Kidding, couldn't resist.)
      All empires are pyramid schemes. You may be right about Rome, in that it might not always have been an empire. But as soon it took on those two defining characteristics, it became one.

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    2. Yes. And a message quite often plugged in the 'mainstream media' is that anything worthwhile must grow to survive, and that things that don't grow continually are worthless. This is of course madness.

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  6. P.S. I can't seem to comment here from my Mac system, only Windows.

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    1. That sucks. I don't know what the problem might be.

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