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Smith writes: "This is how giant corporations are wiping out life on earth in the course of a routine business day. And the bigger the corporations grow, the worse the problems become."

Capitalism is the main driver of planetary ecological collapse. (photo: unknown)
Capitalism is the main driver of planetary ecological collapse. (photo: unknown)

Sleepwalking to Extinction

By Richard Smith, AdBusters

18 November 13


Capitalism and the destruction of life and earth.

uper Typhoon Haiyan has sent a chill through the global nervous system. Thousands dead. Weather scientists in shock. Lives destroyed. The greatest typhoon to touch land in recorded history brings with it more than total destruction. It ups the level of urgency for a new economic paradigm ... one that puts the planet first. Radical economist Richard Smith shows us a way out of the "climate madness" about to descend everywhere.

When, on May 10th, scientists at Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island of Hawaii announced that global CO2 emissions had crossed a threshold at 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in millions of years, a sense of dread spread around the world and not only among climate scientists. CO2 emissions have been relentlessly climbing since Charles David Keeling first set up his tracking station near the summit of Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958 to monitor average daily global CO2 levels. At that time, CO2 concentrations registered 315 ppm. CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations have been rising ever since and have recently passed a dangerous tipping point: 400ppm.

For all the climate summits, promises of "voluntary restraint," carbon trading and carbon taxes, the growth of CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations have not just been unceasing, they have been accelerating in what scientists have dubbed the "Keeling Curve." In the early 1960s, CO2 ppm concentrations in the atmosphere grew by 0.7ppm per year. In recent decades, especially as China has industrialized, the growth rate has tripled to 2.1 ppm per year. In just the first 17 weeks of 2013, CO2 levels jumped by 2.74 ppm compared to last year.

Carbon concentrations have not been this high since the Pliocene period, between 3m and 5m years ago, when global average temperatures were 3°C or 4°C hotter than today, the Arctic was ice-free, sea levels were about 40m higher and jungles covered northern Canada; Florida, meanwhile, was under water along with other coastal locations we now call New York, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sydney and many others. Crossing this threshold has fuelled fears that we are fast approaching converging "tipping points" - melting of the subarctic tundra or the thawing and releasing of the vast quantities of methane in the Arctic sea bottom - that will accelerate global warming beyond any human capacity to stop it.

"I wish it weren't true, but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400 ppm level without losing a beat," said Scripps Institute geochemist Ralph Keeling, son of Charles Keeling.

"At this pace, we'll hit 450 ppm within a few decades."

"It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster," said Maureen E. Raymo, a scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a unit of Columbia University.

Why are we marching toward disaster, "sleepwalking to extinction" as the Guardian's George Monbiot once put it? Why can't we slam on the brakes before we ride off the cliff to collapse? I'm going to argue here that the problem is rooted in the requirement of capitalist production. Large corporations can't help themselves; they can't change or change very much. So long as we live under this corporate capitalist system we have little choice but to go along in this destruction, to keep pouring on the gas instead of slamming on the brakes, and that the only alternative - impossible as this may seem right now - is to overthrow this global economic system and all of the governments of the 1% that prop it up and replace them with a global economic democracy, a radical bottom-up political democracy, an eco-socialist civilization.

Although we are fast approaching the precipice of ecological collapse, the means to derail this train wreck are in the making as, around the world we are witnessing a near simultaneous global mass democratic "awakening" - as the Brazilians call it - from Tahir Square to Zucotti Park, from Athens to Istanbul to Beijing and beyond such as the world has never seen. To be sure, like Occupy Wall Street, these movements are still inchoate, are still mainly protesting what's wrong rather than fighting for an alternative social order. Like Occupy, they have yet to clearly and robustly answer that crucial question: "Don't like capitalism, what's your alternative?" Yet they are working on it, and they are for the most part instinctively and radically democratic; in this lies our hope.

Capitalism is, overwhelmingly, the main driver of planetary ecological collapse

From climate change to natural resource overconsumption to pollution, the engine that has powered three centuries of accelerating economic development, revolutionizing technology, science, culture and human life itself is, today, a roaring out-of-control locomotive mowing down continents of forests, sweeping oceans of life, clawing out mountains of minerals, pumping out lakes of fuels, devouring the planet's last accessible natural resources to turn them into "product," while destroying fragile global ecologies built up over eons of time. Between 1950 and 2000 the global human population more than doubled from 2.5 to 6 billion. But in these same decades, consumption of major natural resources soared more than sixfold on average, some much more. Natural gas consumption grew nearly twelvefold, bauxite (aluminum ore) fifteenfold. And so on. At current rates, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson says that "half the world's great forests have already been leveled and half the world's plant and animal species may be gone by the end of this century."

Corporations aren't necessarily evil, though plenty are diabolically evil, but they can't help themselves. They're just doing what they're supposed to do for the benefit of their shareholders. Shell Oil can't help but loot Nigeria and the Arctic and cook the climate. That's what shareholders demand. BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and other mining giants can't resist mining Australia's abundant coal and exporting it to China and India. Mining accounts for 19% of Australia's GDP and substantial employment even as coal combustion is the single worst driver of global warming. IKEA can't help but level the forests of Siberia and Malaysia to feed the Chinese mills building their flimsy disposable furniture (IKEA is the third largest consumer of lumber in the world). Apple can't help it if the cost of extracting the "rare earths" it needs to make millions of new iThings each year is the destruction of the eastern Congo - violence, rape, slavery, forced induction of child soldiers, along with poisoning local waterways. Monsanto and DuPont and Syngenta and Bayer Crop Science have no choice but to wipe out bees, butterflies, birds, small farmers and extinguish crop diversity to secure their grip on the world's food supply while drenching the planet in their Roundups and Atrazines and neonicotinoids.

This is how giant corporations are wiping out life on earth in the course of a routine business day. And the bigger the corporations grow, the worse the problems become.

In Adam Smith's day, when the first factories and mills produced hat pins and iron tools and rolls of cloth by the thousands, capitalist freedom to make whatever they wanted didn't much matter because they didn't have much impact on the global environment. But today, when everything is produced in the millions and billions, then trashed today and reproduced all over again tomorrow, when the planet is looted and polluted to support all this frantic and senseless growth, it matters - a lot.

The world's climate scientists tell us we're facing a planetary emergency. They've been telling us since the 1990s that if we don't cut global fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions by 80-90% below 1990 levels by 2050 we will cross critical tipping points and global warming will accelerate beyond any human power to contain it. Yet despite all the ringing alarm bells, no corporation and no government can oppose growth and, instead, every capitalist government in the world is putting pedal to the metal to accelerate growth, to drive us full throttle off the cliff to collapse.

Marxists have never had a better argument against capitalism than this inescapable and apocalyptic "contradiction." Solutions to the ecological crisis are blindingly obvious but we can't take the necessary steps to prevent ecological collapse because, so long as we live under capitalism, economic growth has to take priority over ecological concerns.

We all know what we have to do: suppress greenhouse gas emissions. Stop over-consuming natural resources. Stop the senseless pollution of the earth, waters, and atmosphere with toxic chemicals. Stop producing waste that can't be recycled by nature. Stop the destruction of biological diversity and ensure the rights of other species to flourish. We don't need any new technological breakthroughs to solve these problems. Mostly, we just stop doing what we're doing. But we can't stop because we're all locked into an economic system in which companies have to grow to compete and reward their shareholders and because we all need the jobs.

James Hansen, the world's preeminent climate scientist, has argued that to save the humans:

"Coal emissions must be phased out as rapidly as possible or global climate disasters will be a dead certainty ... Yes, [coal, oil, gas] most of the fossil fuels must be left in the ground. That is the explicit message that the science provides. [...] Humanity treads today on a slippery slope. As we continue to pump greenhouse gases in the air, we move onto a steeper, even more slippery incline. We seem oblivious to the danger - unaware of how close we may be to a situation in which a catastrophic slip becomes practically unavoidable, a slip where we suddenly lose all control and are pulled into a torrential stream that hurls us over a precipice to our demise."

But how can we do this under capitalism? After his climate negotiators stonewalled calls for binding limits on CO2 emissions at Copenhagen, Cancun, Cape Town and Doha, President Obama is now trying to salvage his environmental "legacy" by ordering his EPA to impose "tough" new emissions limits on existing power plants, especially coal-fired plants. But this won't salvage his legacy or, more importantly, his daughters' futures because how much difference would it make, really, if every coal-fired power plant in the U.S. shut down tomorrow when U.S. coal producers are free to export their coal to China, which they are doing, and when China is building another coal-fired power plan every week? The atmosphere doesn't care where the coal is burned. It only cares how much is burned.

Yet how could Obama tell American mining companies to stop mining coal? This would be tantamount to socialism. But if we do not stop mining and burning coal, capitalist freedom and private property is the least we'll have to worry about. Same with Obama's "tough" new fuel economy standards. In August 2012 Obama boasted that his new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards would "double fuel efficiency" over the next 13 years to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, up from 28.6 mpg at present - cutting vehicle CO2 emissions in half, so helping enormously to "save the planet." But as the Center for Biological Diversity and other critics have noted, Obama was lying, as usual.

First, his so-called "tough" new CAFE standards were so full of loopholes, negotiated with Detroit, that they actually encourage more gas-guzzling, not less. That's because the standards are based on a sliding scale according to "vehicle footprints" - the bigger the car, the less mileage it has to get to meet its "standard." So in fact Obama's "tough" standards are (surprise) custom designed to promote what Detroit does best - produce giant Sequoias, mountainous Denalis, Sierras, Yukons, Tundras and Ticonderogas, Ram Chargers and Ford F series luxury trucks, grossly obese Cadillac Escalades, soccer-kid Suburbans, even 8,000 (!) pound Ford Excursions - and let these gross gas hogs meet the "fleet standard." These cars and "light" trucks are among the biggest selling vehicles in America today (GM's Sierra is #1) and they get worse gas mileage than American cars and trucks half a century ago. Cadillac's current Escalade gets worse mileage than its chrome bedecked tail fin-festooned land yachts of the mid-1950s! Little wonder Detroit applauded Obama's new CAFE standards instead of damning them as usual. Secondly, what would it matter even if Obama's new CAFE standards actually did double fleet mileage - when American and global vehicle fleets are growing exponentially?

In 1950 Americans had one car for every three people. Today we have 1.2 cars for every American. In 1950 when there were about 2.6 billion humans on the planet, there were 53 million cars on the world's roads - about one for every 50 persons. Today, there are 7 billion people but more than 1 billion cars and industry forecasters expect there will be 2 to 2.5 billion cars on the world's roads by mid-century. China alone is expected to have a billion. So, at the end of the day, incremental half measures like CAFE standards can't stop rising GHG missions. Barring some technical miracle, the only way to cut vehicle emissions is to just stop making them - drastically suppress vehicle production, especially of the worst gas hogs.

In theory, Obama could simply order GM to stop building its humongous gas guzzlers and switch to producing small economy cars. After all, the federal government owns the company! But of course, how could he do any such thing? Detroit lives by the mantra "big car big profit, small car small profit." Since Detroit has never been able to compete against the Japanese and Germans in the small car market, which is already glutted and nearly profitless everywhere, such an order would only doom GM to failure, if not bankruptcy (again) and throw masses of workers onto the unemployment lines. So given capitalism, Obama is, in fact, powerless. He's locked in to promoting the endless growth of vehicle production, even of the worst polluters - and lying about it all to the public to try to patch up his pathetic "legacy." And yet, if we don't suppress vehicle production, how can we stop rising CO2 emissions?

In the wake of the failure of climate negotiators from Kyoto to Doha to agree on binding limits on GHG emissions, exasperated British climate scientists Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows at the Tyndall Centre, Britain's leading climate change research center, wrote in September 2012 that we need an entirely new paradigm:

Government policies must "radically change" if "dangerous" climate change is to be avoided "We urgently need to acknowledge that the development needs of many countries leave the rich western nations with little choice but to immediately and severely curb their greenhouse gas emissions... [The] misguided belief that commitments to avoid warming of 2°C can still be realized with incremental adjustments to economic incentives. A carbon tax here, a little emissions trading there and the odd voluntary agreement thrown in for good measure will not be sufficient ... long-term end-point targets (for example, 80% by 2050) have no scientific basis. What governs future global temperatures and other adverse climate impacts are the emissions from yesterday, today and those released in the next few years."

And not just scientists. In its latest world energy forecast released on November 12, 2012, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns that despite the bonanza of fossil fuels now made possible by fracking, horizontal and deepwater drilling, we can't consume them if we want to save the humans: "The climate goal of limiting global warming to 2°C is becoming more difficult and costly with each year that passes... no more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2°C goal..." Of course the science could be wrong about this. But so far climate scientists have consistently underestimated the speed and ferocity of global warming, and even prominent climate change deniers have folded their cards.

Still, it's one thing for James Hansen or Bill McKibben to say we need to "leave the coal in the hole, the oil in the soil, the gas under the grass," to call for "severe curbs" in GHG emissions - in the abstract. But think about what this means in our capitalist economy. Most of us, even passionate environmental activists, don't really want to face up to the economic implications of the science we defend.

That's why, if you listen to environmentalists like Bill McKibben for example, you will get the impression that global warming is mainly driven by fossi- fuel-powered electric power plants, so if we just "switch to renewables" this will solve the main problem and we can carry on with life more or less as we do now. Indeed, "green capitalism" enthusiasts like Thomas Friedman and the union-backed "green jobs" lobby look to renewable energy, electric cars and such as "the next great engine of industrial growth" - the perfect win-win solution. This is a not a solution. This is a delusion: greenhouse gasses are produced across the economy not just by power plants. Globally, fossil-fuel-powered electricity generation accounts for 17% of GHG emissions, heating accounts for 5%, miscellaneous "other" fuel combustion 8.6%, industry 14.7%, industrial processes another 4.3%, transportation 14.3%, agriculture 13.6%, land use changes (mainly deforestation) 12.2%. This means, for a start, that even if we immediately replaced every fossil-fuel-powered electric generating plant on the planet with 100% renewable solar, wind and water power, this would only reduce global GHG emissions by around 17%.

What this means is that, far from launching a new green-energy-powered "industrial growth" boom, barring some tech-fix miracle, the only way to impose "immediate and severe curbs" on fossil fuel production/consumption would be to impose an EMERGENCY CONTRACTION in the industrialized countries: drastically retrench and in some cases shut down industries, even entire sectors, across the economy and around the planet - not just fossil fuel producers but all the industries that consume them and produce GHG emissions - autos, trucking, aircraft, airlines, shipping and cruise lines, construction, chemicals, plastics, synthetic fabrics, cosmetics, synthetic fiber and fabrics, synthetic fertilizer and agribusiness CAFO operations.

Of course, no one wants to hear this because, given capitalism, this would unavoidably mean mass bankruptcies, global economic collapse, depression and mass unemployment around the world. That's why in April 2013, in laying the political groundwork for his approval of the XL pipeline in some form, President Obama said "the politics of this are tough." The earth's temperature probably isn't the "number one concern" for workers who haven't seen a raise in a decade; have an underwater mortgage; are spending $40 to fill their gas tank, can't afford a hybrid car; and face other challenges." Obama wants to save the planet but given capitalism his "number one concern" has to be growing the economy, growing jobs. Given capitalism - today, tomorrow, next year and every year - economic growth will always be the overriding priority ... till we barrel right off the cliff to collapse.

The necessity of denial and delusion

There's no technical solution to this problem and no market solution either. In a very few cases - electricity generation is the main one - a broad shift to renewables could indeed sharply reduce fossil fuel emissions in that sector. But if we just use "clean" "green" energy to power more growth, consume ever more natural resources, then we solve nothing and would still be headed to collapse. Producing millions of electric cars instead of millions of gasoline-powered cars, as I explained elsewhere, would be just as ecologically destructive and polluting, if in somewhat different ways, even if they were all run on solar power.

Substituting biofuels for fossil fuels in transportation just creates different but no less environmentally-destructive problems: converting farm land to raise biofuel feedstock pits food production against fuels. Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas or grasslands to produce biofuels releases more CO2 into the atmosphere than the fossil fuels they replace and accelerates species extinction. More industrial farming means more demand for water, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. And so on. Cap and trade schemes can't cut fossil fuel emissions because business understands, even if some environmentalists do not, that "dematerialization" is a fantasy, that there's no win-win tech solution, that capping emissions means cutting growth. Since cutting growth is unacceptable to business, labor and governments, cap and trade has been abandoned everywhere.

Carbon taxes can't stop global warming either because they do not cap emissions. That's why fossil fuel execs like Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil (the largest private oil company in the world) and Paul Anderson, CEO of Duke Energy (the largest electric utility in the U.S.) support carbon taxes. They understand that carbon taxes would add something to the cost of doing business, like other taxes, but they pose no limit, no "cap" on growth. ExxonMobil predicts that, carbon tax or no carbon tax, by 2040 global demand for energy is going to grow by 35%, 65% in the developing world and nearly all of this is going to be supplied by fossil fuels. ExxonMobil is not looking to "leave the oil in the soil" as a favor to Bill McKibben and the humans. ExxonMobil is looking to pump it and burn it all as fast as possible to enrich its shareholders.

Hansen, McKibben, Obama - and most of us really - don't want to face up to the economic implications of the need to put the brakes on growth and fossil fuel-based overconsumption. We all "need" to live in denial, and believe in delusions that carbon taxes or some tech fix will save us because we all know that capitalism has to grow or we'll all be out of work. And the thought of replacing capitalism seems so impossible, especially given the powers arrayed against change. But what's the alternative? In the not-so-distant future, this is all going to come to a screeching halt one way or another - either we seize hold of this out-of-control locomotive, or we ride this train right off the cliff to collapse.

Emergency Contraction or Global Ecological Collapse?

If there's no market mechanism to stop plundering the planet then, again, what alternative is there but to impose an emergency contraction on resource consumption?

This doesn't mean we would have to de-industrialize and go back to riding horses and living in log cabins. But it does mean that we would have to abandon the "consumer economy" - shut down all kinds of unnecessary, wasteful and polluting industries from junkfood to cruise ships, disposable Pampers to disposable H&M clothes, disposable IKEA furniture, endless new model cars, phones, electronic games, the lot. Plus all the banking, advertising, junk mail, most retail, etc. We would have completely redesign production to replace "fast junk food" with healthy, nutritious, fresh "slow food," replace "fast fashion" with "slow fashion," bring back mending, alterations and local tailors and shoe repairmen. We would have to completely redesign production of appliances, electronics, housewares, furniture and so on to be as durable and long-lived as possible. Bring back appliance repairmen and such. We would have to abolish the throwaway disposables industries, the packaging and plastic bag industrial complex, bring back refillable bottles and the like. We would have to design and build housing to last for centuries, to be as energy efficient as possible, to be reconfigurable, and shareable. We would have to vastly expand public transportation to curb vehicle use but also build those we do need to last and be shareable like Zipcar or Paris' municipally-owned "Autolib" shared electric cars.

These are the sorts of things we would have to do if we really want to stop overconsumption and save the world. All these changes are simple, self-evident, no great technical challenge. They just require a completely different kind of economy, an economy geared to producing what we need while conserving resources for future generations of humans and for other species with which we share this planet.

The spectre of eco-democratic revolution

Economic systems come and go. Capitalism has had a 300 year run. The question is: will humanity stand by and let the world be destroyed to save the profit system?

That outcome depends to a great extent on whether we on the left can answer that question "what's your alternative?" with a compelling and plausible vision of an eco-socialist civilization. We have our work cut out for us. But what gives the growing global eco-socialist movement an edge in this ideological struggle is that capitalism has no solution to the ecological crisis, no way to put the brakes on collapse, because its only answer to every problem is more of the same growth that's killing us.

"History" was supposed to have "ended" with the fall of communism and the triumph of capitalism two decades ago. Yet today, history is very much alive and it is, ironically, capitalism itself which is being challenged more broadly than ever and found wanting for solutions.

Today, we are very much living in one of those pivotal world-changing moments in history. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that this is the most critical moment in human history.

We may be fast approaching the precipice of ecological collapse, but the means to derail this train wreck are in the making as, around the world, struggles against the destruction of nature, against dams, against pollution, against overdevelopment, against the siting of chemical plants and power plants, against predatory resource extraction, against the imposition of GMOs, against privatization of remaining common lands, water and public services, against capitalist unemployment and precarité are growing and building momentum.

Today we are riding a swelling wave of near simultaneous global mass democratic "awakening," an almost global mass uprising. This global insurrection is still in its infancy, still unsure of its future, but its radical democratic instincts are, I believe, humanity's last best hope.

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+3 # EverythingSolidMeltsIntoAir 2013-11-18 19:40
The trick is to apply capitalism, or any other -ism, for the good of humanity, in a constructive manner.

We embrace all the -ism's and use what works - this is why the marxist dialectic won't work anymore. The proletariat only revolts against the borgeoise when life is completely unbearable. Our proletariat does not know it is a proletariat and therefore cannot be led to revolution. Nobody is willing to kill or die for this revolution right now. So there must be cooperation. The 1% must shut down their own machines. The 1% must grow up and divest from the consumerism by giving away their 'money'.

One way or another.

Here is a concept that has never really been engaged with on a large scale, but offers the kernel of thought required to make the proper revolution occur. Timothy Leary - "...turn on, tune in, and drop out..." Who really dropped out? Steve Jobs? Your hippie parents who became lawyers or whatever? The problem is nobody dropped out. Dropping out is not 'fun'. It requires one to be a grown-up, to learn how to survive, to take responsibility for your own consumption.

Socialism can't work when there is inequality and the possibility of a 'game' that can be 'won'. Socialism works when a government or political majority can operate as the ultimate arbiter. Gamers, winners, tycoons, success stories - need to be ignored completely, to be made irrelevant. There can be no social value attributed to material gain for its own sake.
+7 # indian weaver 2013-11-19 10:44
The whole "turn on tune in drop out" was namby pamby fun b.s. in a way, but, it is possible, with serious planning. Living in harmony is difficult, but honest. One has to "drop in" while "dropping out". Where to "drop in"? "It takes a village", a culture, we once said. Some of us did/are doing just that, not many. Since 1968 I've moved into the cultural worlds of Tibetans (beginning ~1968) and Navajos now full time (beginning 1995). Both native peoples have lifeways with no dependence on technology. Of course, both cultures are under heavy attack by the money for decades/ centuries. To understand what it takes to live in harmony with our Great Mother one has to be there among those who do so daily, in a successful native culture. From my experiences, one has to essentially be raised within a native culture to live that way. This is not going to happen for enough to make a difference in our self annihilation. But, it is what is required: 100% commitment to living in harmony with our Great Mother, as have all native peoples until the technology era. Even with internecine wars and personal violence / battles, still no native peoples ever abandoned the foundation for all existence: living in harmony with our Great Mother. That is/was the key, now lost. I'm sticking with Tibetans and Navajos the remainder of my time here. They are the only real humans I know. And love. I adjure all to take first baby steps to a native lifeway rather than none at all, starting now.
+18 # 666 2013-11-18 20:56
"a radical bottom-up political democracy, an eco-socialist civilization"

OK, all of this is fine & dandy, & i support these goals 110%, but the author needs to face a tougher reality too.

Making massive cuts & slowing our economy (which are needed) are not just going to result in massive unemployment. The world's population is unsustainable. We MUST face that fact before anything else. Whatever we cut means lots of people die. If we don't cut we as a species will die. So who gets to make the decision about which billions live and which billions die? (the 1% have been doing that all along, and they've picked themselves to live and you and I to die.) You think a "democracy" is going to be able to handle this kind of responsibility? I don't.

Green, cut, retool, change, and yes for humanity's sake put an end of capitalism, but just know that no matter what we do or don't do, the consequences we face in the next several decades are absolutely horrific if we, as a species (not as individuals) are going to survive.

Reducing emissions and production at the levels needed for our species to survive really takes us to the point where we can sustain maybe 1/4 of the current population of 7+ billion. then subtract rising sea levels & loss of agricultural lands, higher temps & we're talking maybe 1/7 or less. And that's optimistic.

So which 6 billion in this democracy are going to volunteer to be soylent green for the rest?
+6 # indian weaver 2013-11-19 07:05
Exactly. The entire world is now built on greed and arrogance. Billions will die when we change from capitalism. Native Peoples had no priority on materialism, or even recognized any value in it. When one of their great leaders accumulated "stuff", the great "potlatches" would occur in which those with greatest material wealth gave it away. The priority was on courage, leadership, helpfulness, sharing, love and support of family and society, period. We've doomed ourselves to raping our Great Mother instead of daily honoring her. We are essentially "addicted" to materialism and this concept / Weltanchauung will annihilate my Great Mother. The first step and most important ones are to wipe out capitalism and all capitalistic systems. Good luck. Both 666, this article, and "everythingsoli dmeltsintoair" blogs are precise in their reasoning. I don't see any salvation for our planet anymore. This is a somewhat depressing tragic situation isn't it? That is why no government will discuss it honestly. If they do, they are over and done and have lost all power because they are the enemy dooming everything. Even taking out coal production will lead to immediate unbelievable tragedy everywhere. We'll see loss of enough water first, then widespread horrible deaths by the resultant diseases caused by rotting and dying bodies by the millions. Those 2 first steps alone can wipe out billions. What happens when you add each material resource's end that we depend upon? A quicker tragic demise.
-1 # RLF 2013-11-21 07:36
Worse things could happen than billions dying. The arrogance of the average person demanding to have their own children and lots of them is what is killing this planet, or at least people, and I think people need to be knocked back to about 1-3 billion to be sustainable.
+8 # Vardoz 2013-11-18 23:44
Corporations depend on our apathy. They are taking us on a suicide mission blind and crippled by their own greed. We the people must come together and voice and demand that they stop destroying the Earth for profits. Mankind matters and they need to hear us say that. It cannot be all about their profits at the expense of everything.
-40 # brycenuc 2013-11-19 00:30
The whole article is pure global-warming terrorism. CO2 is totally incapable of causing the harm claimed for it. The warmists' predictions have proven to be unreasonably high so they try to cover it with the volume and frequency of their grim predictions, their paradoxical claim of even more certainty and the invention of more "unusual" weather to blame on CO2. Wake up, World! You're being scammed.
+10 # cwbystache 2013-11-19 06:41
The world is a giant garage, with some dope warming up his car inside it with the door closed.
+9 # thekidde 2013-11-19 07:52
Yeah Bryce, I guess the disappeared and disappearing glaciers and rising sea levels are just our imagination. Duh.
+3 # Jbctrader 2013-11-19 09:05
We want to believe you, Bryce. But, where did you get your information?
+5 # 666 2013-11-19 11:52
OK "bryce-I-work-f or-koch-oil-nuc " despite wanting to laugh at the patheticness of this, the so-called 'warmists" have been unreasonably LOW -- read the data. Political decisions have keep the predictions unreasonably LOW. If we are incredibly freakin LUCKY we won't see a 4 degree temperature rise by about 2060 not 2100. And at 4 degrees, we're done, both smart & stupid people. First, you've got to turn off fox, then starting looking at things with letters and numbers...
-1 # hwmcadoo 2013-11-19 20:07
Does ignorance run in your family? It is surprising that the most ignorant on a subject talk with most authority.

Where I come from people who are dump, proud of it and make all aware of it are called "rednecks".
+3 # Floe 2013-11-19 01:46
We are all responsible not just the big corporations. We're still buying Styrofoam for crying out loud! That's not necessary. Still buying disposable water bottles when we could be using metal or something non-disposable. We're sitting happy now that oil is down to $3.30 or so a gallon. We didn't do a thing about it but now we will and it we don't do it in time, so be it. If we decide we've had enough then we should wipe the slate clean and start again. Money will be based on sequestering carbon dioxide (and maybe even all politicians) The transition would involve a better life for everyone immediately by the work week going down to three days. Business could hire two people to share a six-day work week, same pay as they get for the whole week (yes they owe workers, corporations have had productivity gains without passing them on) and people who grow plants or inventors of renewable technologies prosper while polluters are penalized monetarily. We shouldn't do anything that doesn't feel good.
0 # Floe 2013-11-19 01:46
We are all responsible not just the big corporations. We're still buying Styrofoam for crying out loud! That's not necessary. Still buying disposable water bottles when we could be using metal or something non-disposable. We're sitting happy now that oil is down to $3.30 or so a gallon. We didn't do a thing about it but now we will and it we don't do it in time, so be it. If we decide we've had enough then we should wipe the slate clean and start again. Money will be based on sequestering carbon dioxide (and maybe even all politicians) The transition would involve a better life for everyone immediately by the work week going down to three days. Business could hire two people to share a six-day work week, same pay as they get for the whole week (yes they owe workers, corporations have had productivity gains without passing them on) and people who grow plants or inventors of renewable technologies prosper while polluters are penalized monetarily. We shouldn't do anything that doesn't feel good.
+6 # janie1893 2013-11-19 01:59
brycenuc--if you lived in the area of the tornadoes that tore through the midwest, you would change your tune about climate change, I betcha! It is happening and the weather is going to become more strange by the season. I fear for my grandchildren because I think we have gone too far. It is too late to save this planet and the human species. It is a slow down hill from here on.
+6 # indian weaver 2013-11-19 07:13
Clearly you are right. Watch the insects and birds living around you since you were born. Their numbers are changing as migration habits are changing rapidly with climate change. Different insects will appear, and others will disappear. These are our canaries in the world destroying coal mine. Most obvious to many of us are the changing populations of birds. We in Cortez, CO are in the middle of the great migration flyway. We see robins hanging around the Four Corners during winters now, starting about 2 winters ago. We see the Swainson's hawks changing their migrations. Once upon a time, 50,000 of them would congregate in the southwest near the Mexican border as they flew in droves into Mexico for the Winter. No more. Some hang around here during winters like the robins and others. Other birds migrate farther north for colder air in the Summer which is the other side of the migration coin. They are a lot smarter than we are, all living things are now victims of our greed. Too bad a horrible disease doesn't spread worldwide now and wipe out all humans - only. That's what it's going to take to save my Great Mother. Sorry to say. Still hard to believe even though I saw it coming and wrote about it back in 1995. I saw no remedy then and I see none now.
+3 # indian weaver 2013-11-19 08:25
How many of you recall the early 1960s TV show Alfred Hitchcock episode when the Earth was nearing the sun as it was losing its orbit, warming up, and everyone was fleeing north for the final years? I saw it some 55 years ago. I'm 65 now. This was the single most horrifying TV show I ever saw, still remembering it well. If that wasn't a holy insightful prognostication by a gifted seer and genius, nothing is.
+1 # indian weaver 2013-11-19 08:31
This was my vision in 1995. I'm posting the last few paragraphs next blog. The last few stanzas have been rendered obsolete by now, sorry to say:

Poem 33 1995

Intimations everywhere, no one can refute that.
Twisted minds sought wealth itself, got lazy, rich and fat.
Unheeding growls beneath the ground, we steered a steady course,
Sailed dead ahead, stealth’s frightful dread, as if without recourse.

We sucked the water from the wells and backfilled in our filth.
We trucked our waste to landfill dumps. Our streams filled up with silt.
Mortgaging our future against daily selfish sprees,
We polluted sylvan lakes apace. Down came old noble trees.

At beck and call, we wrecked it all, not planning far ahead.
Out of control, we dug for gold, ripped deep into Earth’s bed.
Mucked out black coal, sucked deep black gold while Nature watched us lose
Her gift beholden to God’s children, reduced to liar’s ruse.

Clean waters could not purify the stench of massive trash.
No one decried air’s belching sighs from flaming garbage gas.
Contaminated soil ceased to nurture nourishment.
Efforts small to fix it all were false, criminal repent.

Disaster craved unwilling souls to speak on its behalf.
Mutated lifeforms, animals and plants fled habitats.
Diversity ceased to exist, most living things would perish.
Witness many families slewn, toxed-out, poisons nightmarish. (cont'd. below)
+2 # indian weaver 2013-11-19 08:32
PURIFICATION - cont'd. from prior post:

As life wound down, heartless humans wrought a widespread death.
Spared no one. Bleached bare bones. Throttled bated breath.
Innocently creeping round, those still living were ill cursed.
Lamentful cries to darkening skies, surviving ills they nursed.

Fires raged on while blood congealed from putrefying kill.
Rivers choked, frogs ceased to croak and fled creeks cracked and still.
The oceans quickly became sickly, void of deep sea life.
A thick salt lick did just the trick, preserved death’s muted strife.

Courage enough to try again, hobbling crippled from sad swamp.
A disemboweled planet suffered from misguided madmen’s pomp.
The animals emerged from caves, emerged from forest glen
To seek their heritage again, freed of greedy men.

New nests in trees, birds flirt with bees, gold plains of grains re-grown.
Lambs thrill their fill on verdant hill. Trees fruit in fertile loam.
Good corn can grow which rodents sow, energizing those alive.
Breathe deep the pleasures of Earth’s treasures. Strive to let friends thrive.

‘Twixt God and Mother Nature, my brave planet did recover.
My Father righted some foul wrongs, my Mother mended others.
‘Twas Man begot who went to pot and performed impure deed.
Break Cosmic Law and draw short straw. With Golden Rule be freed.
-1 # RobertMStahl 2013-11-19 08:35
There is a Rudolf Steiner sense of ecology missing, an ecology of mind like Gregory Bateson said, a general modesty suggested by the likes of James Lovelock. Still, there is evolution where Darwinism leads to gestalt if one does not consider history in a fuller light, and draw upon it. Lindisfarne Association scientists expand upon this formidably. Finally, and I wonder why the lesser developed technologies of energy production given in the comprehensive text, The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Physics are not on the table, that lie in some significant contrast to the considerably more advanced technology Mills is developing not requiring steam generation for pollution free energy production called CIHT, or catalyst induced hydrino transistion.

One thing is certain, that totalitarianism maintains the status quo, particularly in today's narrow containers of learning, terrifically uninspired.
+3 # Billy Bob 2013-11-19 08:49
My college freshman English professor would have had a huge problem with comments like this, Robert.

Try reading them out loud and bouncing them off of other people in the room. If other people complain about them not making sense, try simplifying until you get the point across. Some of your sentences could be broken into more than one sentence. Some of your jargon could be better explained, in context, so it wouldn't appear so esoteric. I shouldn't have to Google phrases from every sentence. What's worse, is when I do, and the sentence still doesn't make sense.

Other commenters have remarked about this with you in the past and you haven't done anything to fix it. Are you paying attention?

Do you write to communicate, or just to practice typing?

If you want to take apart my comments now, fine. There's plenty of room for improvement on my part as well. That still doesn't change the fact that some of your own comments seem off topic and too broad, or too esoteric to actually communicate. As a result, I often have no clue what you're even talking about. For all I know, you and I may agree completely. I have no idea.
+2 # indian weaver 2013-11-19 09:01
Well put. I had to laugh at the Robert statements, and move on. What the hell did he say anyhow?
0 # Billy Bob 2013-11-19 10:58
I honestly don't know.
-2 # RobertMStahl 2013-11-19 11:41
Perhaps, I should accept the hopelessness, outright. The list of crimes in the name of psychological prowess dictate little more than this maintenance of a downward spiral in evolution, advancing turnstiles alone, to which there had been a solution beforehand, like the work of F. J. Varela, or Bateson (who had no real hope for us, but proved our genius, nevertheless). See how Varela's seminal work is next to impossible to buy, much less find in academia. The solution to the problem is not the same old vertical rising. The same is true for GUT-CP.

The models we incorporate in education is where we fail to find appreciation. I wish there was more than a hole in culture, but there is not, not now. So, these are guideposts only, based on the notion that stability exists and the universe is a unity, whether or not we do leap toward some advance heretofore missing.

Acts of war toward my dissidence for many many years have been perpetrated causing this 'scream' of mine. Form is not part of the context, therein, or why culture remains a hole unfilled. I don't pretend to be a messiah, but I do see some very real stones to hop across the pond from those who are a step in time, to get at the meaning of the 'black lake bottom.' Difficulty is in what the pattern of breeding more difficulty is, and, I agree that it is an historical fact, one where we must distinguish the fish from the fish bowl. I support the bowl, mainly. It may be hopeless.
+3 # Billy Bob 2013-11-19 12:42

I'm sorry for any derogatory comments I made about you. I truly believe that your comments show a need for help. There are several things you've written which lead me to this conclusion, and I don't think it should be taken lightly.

I really think you should look into getting some counseling.

Think about it.
0 # RobertMStahl 2013-11-19 15:04
Bellow said before he, too, was murdered, and on queue after writing More Die of Heartbreak, or as promised, find before seeking. Actually, he quoted Valery where I don't speak French (no pun intended), "Trouve avant chercher" of something of the sort. Modern thought is, obviously the problem, modern psyche being this kind, or type of behavior. An atheist believing in some protestant sense, nonetheless, God never created mental disease, only humans, that from Bateson, who I take much more seriously than you. Furthermore, to quote the issue which I am sure you are drifting toward the wrong conclusion, that of Melville's schools of fish, Genesis says, "In the beginning, all was mush and without form." Without any attempt at form, or recognition of it here, I will conclude the real problem is your interpretation that it said, "In the beginning was the word." It did not. Totalitarian control is based on this kind of believing, uninformed. To know you believe is, even, a bigger worry for me. But what of it? Mush is all I can expect in your modern view, hardly aware of the progress of history, nor its context. More and more, I side with Jeremy Hammond, or Arthur Silber, in the way that this ignorance is blatant.
0 # Billy Bob 2013-11-19 18:36
So, to paraphrase:

"In the beginning of your comments, all was mush and without form, wiithout any attempt at form"

You could have left it at that.

Seriously, give me a "yes" or "no" answer:


If you can't give a direct answer, I think we can conclude that everything you say is just bullshit. Unfortunately for you, nobody else is in on your inside "joke".
-2 # RobertMStahl 2013-11-19 11:40
The system is corrupt, but, evolution is substitution. William Blake was, probably, the smartest person to walk the earth, despite his anger.

That said, the actions taken against me by the FBI to destroy culture and art in my name, as hegemonic war conducted by a surveillance state I have become too well aware of is why I, simply, frame the issue, nothing more. The fact that I have pretty good information that I am on the top of Homeland Security's most wanted list, for example, for my association with the work of Indira Singh, makes me want to deal with the negative drift, directly. It is not prevention anymore, but damage control from an ecological perspective, or a separatrix according to formal convergent math, chaos math. The fact that tremendous works of art have been destroyed on my account by the FBI, track to a maintenance of a Tower of Babel analogy, of serious crimes, or the problem of evolution having gone back in the toilet that makes me want to leave the smallest of morsels behind after all is said and done. Bateson is correct, probably, that nothing can be done after you have been chosen. Corruption is at the heart of my concerns, and it is a Tower of Babel issue, absolutely.
+2 # oracle306 2013-11-19 09:34
Wow. What? Is this an acid flash-back? (Dude...learn how to write). And stop doing drugs.
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-11-19 11:02
I think of writing as a way to organize my thoughts. Often, if the words I write don't make much sense to others, they won't make sense to me either a week later. If that happens, it's obvious that, even my thoughts, made no sense in the first place.

With that said, I'd hate to think this is the way Robert actually thinks. My brain would hurt.

Who knows? Maybe his thoughts transcend human language.
+2 # oracle306 2013-11-19 09:32
Given that the author recognizes corporations are not just gonna cease or reduce their production to slow global warming, the broader solution is to stop or dramatically slow down human reproduction. The current global population growth is simply unsustainable and is the major cause of strain to collapse of ecosystems and resources. From Wikipedia:
It is estimated that the world population reached one billion for the first time in 1804. It was another 123 years before it reached two billion in 1927, but it took only 33 years to reach three billion in 1960.[68] Thereafter, the global population reached four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987, six billion in 1999 and, according to the United States Census Bureau, seven billion in March 2012.[1] The United Nations, however, estimated that the world population reached seven billion in October 2011.[3][4][5]

According to current projections, the global population will reach eight billion by 2030, and will likely reach around nine billion by 2050. Alternative scenarios for 2050 range from a low of 7.4 billion to a high of more than 10.6 billion.
+2 # Anarchist 23 2013-11-20 13:00 why are the Fundies in the USA(check out SCOTUS on TX abortion restrictions) shutting down the abortion clinics and making preventative birth control so hard to get? Actively Evil or Criminally Stupid?
+3 # oracle306 2013-11-20 13:25
The Fundies are Actively Evil AND Criminally Stupid.
+5 # Jbctrader 2013-11-19 10:02
Weaver, it may indeed be too late to stop this extinction. The best case scenario would be a massive societal upheaval. So lets upheave!

We realize the situation on the horizon. But we don't have to live the way they tell us to. Lead the way, so others can follow. And let's show cheer as we do so. As we regain self reliance in ourselves and our communities, big government and big corporations will become irrelevant and obsolete.

Yes, environmental deterioration will continue.

And it will most likely be fatal for many.

But while we are alive we can create islands of Eden in our own backyards. We can relearn and teach ancestral skills, personal responsibility and helpful spiritness.

Perhaps we shall all perish from the crash.

But if some survive, maybe they can show future generations the skills and methods we save or discover.

And maybe they can teach the horrors of our folly to their children.

Yes, the Earth will be changed. But maybe you and I can help direct evolution for its next phase.

Its not too late to change history until the last one of us gives up.

I've been wrong before. Many times wrong.

But maybe this is an opportunity to save what's best of the human spirit and creativeness and propel it into the boundless future.

Maybe this is the Normandy beachhead for all mankind.

But if even a few of us make it, we win.

Not what we lost, but another chance.

So lets lead the the way. What do we have to lose?
+2 # MendoChuck 2013-11-19 13:57
Zip-Baa-Dee-Do- Da . . . .
Zip-Baa-De-Aa . . . . .
Plenty of Sun Shine coming my way.

There . . . Does that make everyone feel any better?
0 # RobertMStahl 2013-11-19 16:25
One other thing, Bellow's 1976 novel, Humbolt's Gift is said to be the divine comedy of our day, a book he labeled as the answer to 'sleep' and, to wit, was about the ecological ignorance that Rudolf Steiner's life addressed in the course of learning and evolution. Should I apologize for this? Just, what is this moment in history, when you can't bring it up, history, that is?
0 # RobertMStahl 2013-11-19 16:28
Anyone consider the facts about Hurricane Erin on 9/11? Significant?
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-11-19 18:38
0 # RobertMStahl 2013-11-20 11:01
"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." ~ Mark Twain
0 # Billy Bob 2013-11-20 11:18
"Why does it hurt when I pee?" ~ Frank Zappa
+1 # Glen 2013-11-20 06:53
Robert, you and I have evidently read the same literature, and your point, though presented in a complicated manner, is taken by this reader.

Yes, Hurricane Erin did play a part in the weather on 9/11. The hurricane and the cold front provided good clear weather on that day. Otherwise, planes would have been grounded due to rain and storms. Weather has been and is chaotic now, and between disastrous storms and pollution many countries will possibly be bankrupt before long and unable assist citizens with recovery and illness.

The literature you referred to in earlier posts in this thread are pertinent, but a great many people have not read those authors.
-1 # RobertMStahl 2013-11-20 11:21
In the greatest totalitarian moment in all of history, with all I have in this 'library' of mine, the proverbial burning of books is my biggest contention. I have been going whole hog on this, both learning and archiving the path of evolution as that relates to learning, against the backdrop of turnstiles I turned down for the corruption that ensues. I could show you a pic of a 30' tall obelisk in front of the IMAX theater in Birmingham, AL that has been lit on fire where steam once eminated from, and which was destroyed days before the Iraq invasion when I placed a phone call to an artist friend stating that its 'spherical' meaning would outplay the bubbles of this act of mass murder. There is no end to the rabbit hole, but when you become the 'chosen' one, you go to the fringe of chaos math principles. At the time I was let go for having, symmetrically, grown an oil company five times, EGN, and, really, much of the industry in its category, by fully networking the environment from DOS to the intranet, then the internet, producing SEC reports in real time (blah, blah, blah), the vertical mentality of institutionaliz ed America (the Charlie Manson facts of life), left me to continue this education/salva tion question of humanity's most inspired on my own.

Anyway, sorry for the shorthand, now, seven years after my resignation resulting from their trickery, and adopting a psychology for something so serious and thorough, sort of, like Ferris Beuller's Day Off.
0 # Glen 2013-11-20 14:30
No need to apologize. Any who read your post carefully will get the drift.

Vertical mentality is an apt description.
+2 # Anarchist 23 2013-11-20 13:02
Hmmm...does that mean HAARP was in play? I don't believe the 'Official State History' of 9/11 so this is very interesting info....
+1 # Glen 2013-11-20 14:27
Interesting question Anarchist23. A number of people are asking that question, relative to various storms and world events. It is not impossible that is the case, especially in the U.S. on 9/11 and other events, including Katrina, considering how contractors were negotiating prior to landfall. Halliburton and Blackwater, and Israeli special ops were on the case instantly.
0 # RobertMStahl 2013-11-20 17:39
I contend that, with the core of the earth a moon sized ball of pure iron, and the ionosphere, very thin, the only electrical 'force' between us and the sun maintaining about 6000 lightening bolts going off all the time around the planet, magnetically manipulating the ionosphere is a piece of cake. What pretends to be progress in our day is modernization, instead of progress. What I am saying is that Marie Antoinette has not left the sphere of dead circumscribed by NASA and the moon, or Napoleon for that matter. ("Let them eat cake.") Still, the issue is an ecology of mind defined by addressing the issue of structural coupling with nature as a species, particularly as that relates to evidence and history, indication and truth, something the human race is chasing around like Dorothy on the way to Oz.
-1 # Glen 2013-11-21 09:23
Philosophy does assist one to cope with the life surrounding them. All life. Literature can do the same. Technology then takes over to manipulate those surroundings and leads human beings into that rabbit hole you brought up. Or incinerates them.

HAARP is very real and the Alaskan facility well guarded in spite of there being educational "tours". China, et al., have accused the U.S. of using that facility, and Michael Crichton warned us of that fact.
+1 # treadlightly 2013-11-19 21:58
As I sit here in my lonely room.
All I can do is cry.

Isolation is the worst solution to being socially challenged.
+5 # universlman 2013-11-20 15:34
Is it just me, or is this article attracting a brew of strange comments?
0 # Glen 2013-11-20 16:34
The strange brew is what makes it all worthwhile. It is too easy to scan without careful reading, though, so much can be lost. Strange just might lead one to further research. I have learned a lot from researching my uncle's odd email forwards.
+1 # Malcolm 2013-11-20 19:42
"This doesn't mean we would have to de-industrializ e and go back to riding horses and living in log cabins. But it does mean that we would have to abandon the "consumer economy" - shut down all kinds of unnecessary, wasteful and polluting industries from junkfood to cruise ships, disposable Pampers to disposable H&M clothes, disposable IKEA furniture, endless new model cars, phones, electronic games, the lot. Plus all the banking, advertising, junk mail, most retail, etc. We would have completely redesign production to replace "fast junk food" with healthy, nutritious, fresh "slow food," replace "fast fashion" with "slow fashion," bring back mending, alterations and local tailors and shoe repairmen. We would have to completely redesign production of appliances, electronics, housewares, furniture and so on to be as durable and long-lived as possible. Bring back appliance repairmen and such. We would have to abolish the throwaway disposables industries, the packaging and plastic bag industrial complex, bring back refillable bottles and the like. We would have to design and build housing to last for centuries, to be as energy efficient as possible, to be reconfigurable, and shareable. We would have to vastly expand public transportation to curb vehicle use but also build those we do need to last and be shareable like Zipcar or Paris' municipally-own ed "Autolib" shared electric cars.

I've never heard of half this shit. But I have a different solution (continued)
+3 # Malcolm 2013-11-20 19:50
Ha&M clothes? What's that? What's IKEA? I must be living in the dark ages.

Anyone who haunts these pages knows that I think anthropogenic global warming is a total scam, invented, apparently, to enrich Al Gore and his minions. Gore has managed to convince the sheople of the world, especially folks here at RSN, that atmosphere is so full of "carbon" that it's going to fall on us, a la Chicken Little.

But y'know what? Regardless of CO2, I agree with most of what Richard Smith said. My BIGGEST REGRET vis a vis his article, is that he doesn't get into what we really, really need to do: stop cranking out so many fucking babies. No matter what kind of "sequestration" schemes we manage to instigate, no matter how efficient we make cars, no matter how many of us cut down on our consumeristic bad habits, population growth will eventually make it all moot. Unless we are courageous enough to confront one of the strongest facets of the human condition: "reproducing ourselves".

If people were given an "owners' manual" prior to impregnating each other, i suspect most of them would decide that it's not worth the stress and the cost to do so.

let the red thumbs hammer me to death :)
+1 # Glen 2013-11-21 06:54
Malcolm and MP, it is always a surprise to read anyone advocating for population control. There was a time when that was given a lot of thought and consideration. Later the idea was swept under the rug as people everywhere protested the loss of their freedoms and freedom of religion. It was said to me at one point that, "If we stop having children then the whole world will fill up with stupid, poor people. We need to have kids to balance it all out."

It is true - there is no way to organize 6 billion people (and increasing).
+4 # MPCicerchi 2013-11-20 21:54
Malcolm, I don't agree that it's all a scam. We can see it all around us. But I do agree wholeheartedly that all is moot with a growing human population. Cut greenhouse emissions in half? Grow the population and you are back at square one.
As a species we are not smart enough to prevent our own extinction.
+1 # Georgist 2013-11-21 21:47
"If there's no market mechanism to stop plundering the planet then, again, what alternative is there but to impose an emergency contraction on resource consumption?"

Actually there is a simple, elegant and far reaching market mechanism that will reverse both the rewards of raping the earth for profit along with rampant consumerism 180 degrees. It was first published in 1879 under the title Progress and Poverty, Why There Is Pauperism and Recessions Amid Plenty by Henry George. I urge you to download the free audio abridgment by Bob Drake. There is probably a text version free also. My paperback was cheap on Amazon.

Besides making the reuse and recycling and conservation of our precious resources from the Earth extremely desirable and the waste of them very expensive, the paradigm laid out by George also emphases the value of labor and of investment by removing taxes on both of them. Everything you produce is 100% yours as is whatever you build or invest in. In fact the central premise is what I call a Footprint Tax. Since taxes must support the necessary social and political structures they are properly derived from that which is the birthright of every being born on Earth. Namely that is air, water, and minerals and, because it depends solely upon public opinion, the relative value of location.
+2 # Georgist 2013-11-21 21:52
So we will all pay taxes according to our personal Footprint upon the limited resources that by rights belong to the entire human race. Thus minerals will be expensive and used wisely. Plus personal merit will be justly rewarded by remaining the sole property of whoever produces and saves and invests. Your home will be yours and your property tax will be according to the market demand for that location regardless of the value of the improvements.

Please read or hear Bob Drake lucidly illustrate how extensively this simple shift in tax structure completely reboots the political and economic balance of power. The groundswell needed for such a paradigm shift as this will be fueled by the articulation and debate of visionary ideas like this one. To make government of the people, for the people, by the people work, we the people have to work together on the vision that can be shared. George may not have envisioned everything but he has presented a very grounded, thorough and well reasoned vision of political / economic justice.

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