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Old December 10 2012, 05:58 AM   #1
Yminale
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Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

I'm surprised no one set up this topic

http://io9.com/5966689/after-extensi...arth-is-fucked

Another point of view.
http://discovermagazine.com/2012/oct...s#.UMVrqIPAd8E
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Old December 10 2012, 06:15 AM   #2
gturner
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

That's hilarious. I especially liked "Werner, sporting a neon green winter hat over bright pink hair." Yeah, that says it all.

"But resistance movements – Werner cited the Arab Spring and Occupy movements as recent examples – could disrupt our otherwise inevitable course of enviro-destruction."

Planetary salvation via roving rape gangs. Who knew?!
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Old December 10 2012, 07:50 AM   #3
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

We know she had sex with Theia, and they even had a child, so yes.
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Old December 10 2012, 10:41 AM   #4
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

So, to sum up: even our best efforts at environmental management are doomed to fail, unless massive scale resistance movements start springing up and send our cultural personality back toward a pre-technological era. Science has given you your mandate, people: Go blow some shit up.
So... lets see, the conclusion of the article is that it's either Capitalism (monetary based system) or its 'back to the stone age' (get rid of technology)?
Seriously?
Capitalism is NOT the only system on the planet that can work - and its on the verge of collapse.

This assumption that without money, we would revert back to bartering or would blast ourselves into the stone-age is inherently idiotic, especially since we live in a world where increasing levels of automation are being used (and at present, with the technology we already have, we can automate 75% of the global workforce using robotics/machines/computers - while most of the jobs are inherently unproductive to society, seeing how they exist solely for the purpose of 'moving money around' and could cease to exist with a different perception).
Of course... without enough people to change the environment, it won't materialize - and the present system will continue to go on for as long as it can (until it finally grinds to a halt).

Oh and... cultural personality is ALREADY in the pre-technological era. Majority of the people on the planet aren't even aware of the technology we had 50 years ago at our disposal, let alone today... hence why they keep saying things are 'impossible' to do (coupled with the notion that some are die-hard defendants of the present socio-economic system, who in turn also have a tendency to think that anything else is 'bad').
Lack of relevant general education causes ignorance and makes people that much more prone to being manipulated/used by others because they were not exposed to other things in life. They get their info from the sources that are 'deemed credible' and therefore, they rarely if ever consider other things when making decisions.
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Old December 10 2012, 01:14 PM   #5
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

So, if I'm getting what he said, unless we abandon capitalism and revert back to the stone age, capitalism, which is the only non stone-age system available, will put us back in the stone age?

This guy's either on drugs, or should be, or is aiming for a career in satire. Which he's not going to get
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Old December 10 2012, 02:54 PM   #6
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

So, this guy wrote a model he won't actually share with anyone, but uses it to comfortably declare that capitalism is doomed and Earth is boned unless Occupy Wall Street brings down The System?

Okay, then.

I'll grant that the planet is screwed up and is getting worse, and there are real problems we aren't doing enough to address, but his suggested approach is just absurd.
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Old December 10 2012, 07:00 PM   #7
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Deks wrote: View Post
Capitalism is NOT the only system on the planet that can work - and its on the verge of collapse.
Capitalism has been "on the verge of collapse" for decades if you listen to some people.
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Old December 10 2012, 07:16 PM   #8
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

MNM wrote: View Post
Deks wrote: View Post
Capitalism is NOT the only system on the planet that can work - and its on the verge of collapse.
Capitalism has been "on the verge of collapse" for decades if you listen to some people.
Since about 1848, in fact.
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Old December 10 2012, 07:54 PM   #9
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

^ And since then it HAS collapsed, several times in several places, in some cases spectacularly. What usually happens is the locals get up, dust themselves off and rebuild their institutions using a less materialistic, more socially-oriented set of economic policies, which are then slowly rolled back over successive years to make those policies more and more palatable to capitalists.
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Old December 10 2012, 08:27 PM   #10
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

^Oddly enough, given the progressive slant of your post, I think you're making the same mistake that many right-wing people make: namely, equating "capitalism" with "laissez-faire capitalism."

I do agree with you that some ways of managing a country's economy are more humane and rational than others, and that free-market fundamentalism inevitably leads to the sort of spectacular pile-up we saw in 2008.

I'm not convinced, however, that a "less materialistic, more socially-oriented set of economic policies" must necessarily be un- or anti-capitalist.

What's more, I'm not convinced that capitalism has a monopoly on economic injustice, or that only capitalist economic systems fail. Some of the most atrociously unjust and unsuccessful economic systems in history had nothing capitalistic about them.

Last edited by Aeronef; December 10 2012 at 08:46 PM.
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Old December 10 2012, 09:10 PM   #11
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Aeronef wrote: View Post
^Oddly enough, given the progressive slant of your post, I think you're making the same mistake that many right-wing people make: namely, equating "capitalism" with "laissez-faire capitalism."
That's like equating "gun" with ".50 caliber automatic machinegun." If it's pointed at a child's head when it goes off, that's a distinction without a difference.

I do agree with you that some ways of managing a country's economy are more humane and rational than others, and that free-market fundamentalism inevitably leads to the sort of spectacular pile-up we saw in 2008.
True as that is, I was mainly alluding to the disaster-capitalism experiments that devastated Argentina in the 1980s and other similar misadventures in South and Central America. There's a fairly large collection of broken countries and broken governments in our recent history who saw their economies implode basically because somebody (or a large group of somebodies) pulled a leveraged buyout of all their key industries and then stuck the taxpayers with the bill.

I'm not convinced, however, that a "less materialistic, more socially-oriented set of economic policies" must necessarily be un- or anti-capitalist.
Many capitalists are quite insistent that it IS. And I am not sufficiently impressed by the achievements of capitalism to pretend that it is an appropriate solution to all possible social/political needs.

Put that another way: capitalists are great at producing new commodities or superior versions of old ones. They are great at driving industry, at employing people, at creating wealth and prosperity. They are great at innovating and evolving new capabilities in existing technologies. There are, however, a number of things that capitalists do exceedingly poorly. Social investment -- that is, maintaining the stability of important institutions that promote broad social stability -- is one of those things. Justice and law enforcement is another, along with education, emergency response, political discourse and military defense. None of those things are capitalistic in nature, and a civilized society cannot function properly without them.

Problems arise when capitalists insist on being placed in charge of these inherently non-capitalistic institutions and running them as if they were commodities. This is the equivalent of using a loaded gun to hammer in a nail because your gunsmith told you that "guns don't kill people, they're just really useful tools." Then when the mishandled gun inevitably goes off, the wounded patch themselves up and resolve to start using the right tools for the right job. They buy smaller guns and fewer of them, much to the chagrin of the local gunsmiths.

What's more, I'm not convinced that capitalism has a monopoly on economic injustice, or that only capitalist economic systems fail.
True, but only capitalist economic systems fail systematically. Socialist systems mainly fail when/because they are designed to benefit influential party members at the seat of power to the expense of everyone else. They're actually QUITE successful in that context, considering that they tend to remain relatively stable for long periods of time with only occasional disruption. It's probably similar to the kind of stability that sideshow bo-- er... the author of the OPs paper had in mind when he wrote this paper.

Some of the most atrociously unjust economic systems in history had nothing capitalistic about them.
True as that is, just because a system is unjust doesn't make it a failure. Saddam Hussein, for example, was arguably the most effective leader Iraq ever had, despite the fact that he was basically a gangster with an army of psychopaths at his beck and call.

What causes a lot of problems is that many people -- especially capitalists -- like to believe that capitalism is a social/political system as well as an economic one. When it is used in this way, it inevitably disrupts and collapses the social and political apparatuses it sought to improve. To put that another way: many people in many countries have found out the hard way that while there are many capitalist MARKETS, there is no such thing as a capitalist SOCIETY.

Thus few people are willing to admit that Iraq possesses and has always possessed a capitalist economy, even under the Hussein regime. Its long term stability had much less to do with the inherent stability of capitalism than it had to do with the imposed stability of Saddam's iron-fisted rule.
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Old December 10 2012, 09:29 PM   #12
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

So, what does this have to do with the Earth again?

Humanity may very well be F**ked as described, but that's not the same thing as the Earth. Realistically speaking, we are not going to destroy the entire biosphere. As some of the commentators on that site pointed out, the planet will continue just fine without us. Just another mass extinction.

Of course, some people may consider the fate of humanity and the fate of the Earth to be the same thing, but that's merely hubris.
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Old December 10 2012, 09:36 PM   #13
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
So, what does this have to do with the Earth again?

Humanity may very well be F**ked as described, but that's not the same thing as the Earth. Realistically speaking, we are not going to destroy the entire biosphere. As some of the commentators on that site pointed out, the planet will continue just fine without us. Just another mass extinction.

Of course, some people may consider the fate of humanity and the fate of the Earth to be the same thing, but that's merely hubris.
It's just shorthand. Obviously, this planet is going to go on, whether we're here or not, probably until the Sun swells up and swallows it in a few billion years.

"The world," as far as we're concerned, doesn't exist if we are all dead.
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Old December 10 2012, 11:37 PM   #14
Aeronef
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
That's like equating "gun" with ".50 caliber automatic machinegun." If it's pointed at a child's head when it goes off, that's a distinction without a difference.
This is a non-sequitur.

My point, in case I wasn't clear, is that your post confused one particular type of capitalism with capitalism in general. And that this is exactly the sort of reductionism that pervades the discourse of market fundamentalists, who argue that markets can never fail--only be failed. The difference being, that they regard capitalism as something essentially good, while you seem to regard it as essentially evil.

What's more, you pretty much admit that I was correct to point this out. For as you yourself go on to say:

I was mainly alluding to the disaster-capitalism experiments that devastated Argentina in the 1980s and other similar misadventures in South and Central America. There's a fairly large collection of broken countries and broken governments in our recent history who saw their economies implode basically because somebody (or a large group of somebodies) pulled a leveraged buyout of all their key industries and then stuck the taxpayers with the bill.
That is to say: you were talking about a small number of cases, in the past couple of decades, and making sweeping generalizations based on this very limited data set. Thank you.

Many capitalists are quite insistent that it IS.
So what?

Many conservatives insist that President Obama is a communist Muslim who secretly wants to destroy America. Are they correct?

And I am not sufficiently impressed by the achievements of capitalism to pretend that it is an appropriate solution to all possible social/political needs.
This is a straw man.

I never said that capitalism is an appropriate solution to all possible social/political needs. What I said was that I do not believe that a "less materialistic, more socially-oriented set of economic policies" must necessarily be un- or anti-capitalist.

I don't believe that because, as I said above, I don't accept the market fundamentalists' reductionist definition of "capitalism". Or yours, for that matter.

Put that another way: capitalists are great at producing new commodities or superior versions of old ones. They are great at driving industry, at employing people, at creating wealth and prosperity. They are great at innovating and evolving new capabilities in existing technologies. There are, however, a number of things that capitalists do exceedingly poorly. Social investment -- that is, maintaining the stability of important institutions that promote broad social stability -- is one of those things. Justice and law enforcement is another, along with education, emergency response, political discourse and military defense. None of those things are capitalistic in nature, and a civilized society cannot function properly without them.
I don't disagree. But I think you're confusing capitalism with business, and making an artificial distinction between the market and the state--once again, much as market fundamentalists do.

Markets are not separate or distinct from states: they exist within, and are shaped by, and are dependent upon, certain legal and political (and social and cultural) frameworks. It's all connected, and the character of any capitalist economy is determined by these various circumstances.

For example:

Problems arise when capitalists insist on being placed in charge of these inherently non-capitalistic institutions and running them as if they were commodities.
Actually, problems arise under many more circumstances than this. See, for example, Great Britain in the 1970s--a country which no one would ever accuse of being run by capitalists who insisted on managing state institutions as businesses.

If you want to understand the rise of the New Right and market fundamentalism, then you need to understand the contexts in which these movements arose and flourished, and the weaknesses and failures of the ideologies, institutions, and systems they sought to replace.

True, but only capitalist economic systems fail systematically.
No. That's obviously not true.

Socialist systems mainly fail when/because they are designed to benefit influential party members at the seat of power to the expense of everyone else.
You mean, like when somebody (or a large group of somebodies) pulls a leveraged buyout of country's key industries and then sticks the taxpayers with the bill?

What you're describing is not a problem with socialism, or capitalism, or any other economic and political system: it's much more basic than that. It's the problem of power.

With great power comes great irresponsibility. People will only behave in a responsible fashion if someone or something actually has the power to make them answer for their actions. The more power we have, the fewer the people to whom we have to answer, until, like God, we are all-powerful, and answerable to no one. And at this point, we indulge our every whim, no matter how bizarre, and find any resistance or inconvenience intolerable

The classical answer to this problem has been to try to create a division and balance of powers--to balance, for example, the power of the monarch, the aristocracy, and the populace. If one becomes too powerful, the others will restore the balance by combining against it. This is the foundation on which the US Constitution was built.

The problem with both capitalism and socialism is that, left unchecked, they both have a tendency to produce concentrations and imbalances of power: under socialism, an imbalance of political power that distorts the economic process; and under capitalism, a concentration of economic power that distorts the political process. They both 'systematically fail' if they're pursued too far.

True as that is, just because a system is unjust doesn't make it a failure. Saddam Hussein, for example, was arguably the most effective leader Iraq ever had, despite the fact that he was basically a gangster with an army of psychopaths at his beck and call.
I don't see how you can say that.

Let's leave aside the lack of freedom, the torture, the executions, and the use of chemical weapons against rebellious Kurds. Let's assume that a regime can be considered effective, even when it rules by force and terror, and systematically violates the rights of its own people.

This "most effective leader" practically destroyed his country, by leading it into a decade-long confrontation with the United States that ended only with Operation Iraqi Freedom. His dream of making Iraq the dominant regional power led to the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, and years of debilitating economic sanctions. And in the process, he made himself a convenient target for a United States that wanted to live out an action-movie revenge fantasy after 9/11. He might as well have painted a bullseye on Baghdad.

Whatever his economic policies may have been--and I confess I don't know much about that--whatever economic successes his regime may have enjoyed, they were more than counterbalanced by its political failures. And those failures were the all-too-predictable outcome of the nature of his regime.

What causes a lot of problems is that many people -- especially capitalists -- like to believe that capitalism is a social/political system as well as an economic one. When it is used in this way, it inevitably disrupts and collapses the social and political apparatuses it sought to improve. To put that another way: many people in many countries have found out the hard way that while there are many capitalist MARKETS, there is no such thing as a capitalist SOCIETY.
That also is obviously not true, for the reasons I've already explained.
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Old December 10 2012, 11:49 PM   #15
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Re: Scientist declares “Earth is F**ked" --Discuss?!

Somehow, I have a feeling that if Earth survived KT--it will survive us just fine thank you.

But we have no futurists. We either vote for a party that wants to take us back to the stone age (the worst of the greens who influence the DNC) or the Dark Age with the Republicans.
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