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John: As always good stuff. Along similar lines, you may like Max and Stacy, who come to some of the same conclusions you do:
Toggle Commented Aug 14, 2009 on More breakage at John Robb's Weblog
Link to the book mentioned above:
"Instead, it's a global judo move that flips everything on its back....A core change to our fundamental economic and social model that substitutes physically moving products globally to virtually moving information about products. Where virtual presence is substituted for actual visitation and nothing is made that isn't bought." This is essentially correct. Many seem to understand innovation and progress though in terms of hopelessly outdated metrics, and see the future more in terms of the past, where hydrogen is substituted for gas, lasers are substituted for rifles, etc, etc. that's just "SEADROME THINKING" Here's a concrete example of the kind of judo flip, which interestingly enough is also an example of reversion to previous technology, which we will see a lot of, (and of course there will be a lot of new stuff too, but my money is that the future will look like a mash up of technologies familiar in Victorian england and stuff that we haven't imagined yet) From the Post: "Before the advent of quartz watches, of course everyone’s watch ran on human power—that is the power obtained from winding manually, or power harvested from the wearer’s own movement, by the various auto-wind movements. In that case the path of the energy used from the bio-sphere to the point of use of the power was therefore extremely short(from the wearer's hand to the watch). A short path of travel from point of taking something from the biosphere to it’s point of use is a common theme running through many sustainable imperatives, and we see it again here. Presently, however, the process of getting power from the biosphere to the little hands on your watch needlessly involves the mineral extraction industry, chemical battery industry, the shipping of items around the world, and some really, really nasty waste by-products. A whole globalized cycle of wasted resources and fouled ground water that is in reality totally unnecessary, and entirely replacable by non-polluting bio-power. It is also very instructive in that this shortening of the distance from the bio-sphere to the point of use is a common theme in sustainability. It is simply the recognition of efficiency. Our present-day economy, however, has a very different measure of efficiency and that’s because many of the environmental impacts caused by the economy are not explicitly priced, that is to say they appear to be free to the economy. I say “appear” free, because in reality the chickens will come home to roust, it’s pay now or pay later. P.S. "A shift in the underlying model of the global economy to one that is much, much more energy efficient. This shift isn't seen the small and peripheral gains in efficiency we see in the work of Amory Lovins' Rocky Mountain Institute." But a shift of 40% is hardly small: RMI helps the world's most famous office building reduce its energy use by nearly 40 percent.
The book that is very relevant here is Mike Davis' Planet of Slums. It has an extended discussion of the implications of the explosive growth of slums on warfare, and some issues related to conducting warfare in that environment.