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Dave, great essay as usual. You have a unique ability to boil subjects down to their core. Having said that, you must remind yourself to accept the world for what it is. Yes the world is being destroyed by human activities. And yes, humans are ignoring and/or purposefully denying such degradation is taking place. But that's the way it is. Take comfort in the fact that it must be this way. Personally, I find Stoicism comforting in response to the emptiness I feel when I look at the blindness of my peers. Stoicism requires that when you stress, discomfort, fear or sadness that you ask yourself if the object of your discomfort is under your control or not. If it is not, just let it go. Accept it for what it is. If it is under your control, take the steps necessary to change it. You write this blog because you are interested in - dare I say fascinated by - the ability of humans to destroy their world at the same time as they deny doing so. I too am amazed at this process, but I recognize and try to remind myself constantly that there's nothing I can do about it. My role is simply to marvel at it and actually contribute to the degradation as an unwilling participant, as our culture requires. I urge you to continue your work with the full knowledge that it will be ignored by those who have the most to gain from it and read vigorously by those of us who are already in the choir. glaucus
Great post and comments. Clearly there are some diminishing returns at work here, as each increment of growth requires an ever larger increment of debt to fuel it. As for the the growth vs. austerity argument, it does seem that all else being equal austerity hurts the poor more proportionally than the wealthy. At least in theory the Krugman 'growth' model would help the poor and middle hold on to a greater share of a shrinking pie. Will either approach solve anything? Of course not. The charts you provide show that growth costs too much anymore. And everybody knows austerity is just another excuse to balance the books on the backs of those least able to afford it. The more I think about it though, the more I agree with IDontExist's comment above that we're damned either way. glaucus
Of course the policymakers don't care (or really anyone else for that matter) about the on-going Holocene extinction. Well, not to any degree greater than how it will affect humans and the prospects for the Human Imperative you described in a prior post. That's the problem... current society promulgates a purely anthropocentric viewpoint on the world. And it's been costing us bigtime. Who knows how many more species can be lost out of the biotic web until it falls apart completely. glaucus
Of course we'll kick the can. There are simply too many special interests who will NOT be denied. Think about the battle royales that would occur: National Association of Realtors vs. AARP? Defense industry vs. Big Oil? It would be a bloodbath. Every interest will continue getting their payday. Besides, Nobel Prize winning EconoGod Paul Krugman doesn't think debt matters because we pay so little interest on it. But can interest rates stay low forever? I think not. And when the interest rate rises, that's when the rude awakening begins. -glaucus
Toggle Commented May 14, 2012 on Merrily We Roll Along! at Decline of the Empire
Great breakdown of the economic history that lead us to where we are today. Daly says things that people just don't want to hear. My solace is that ecological laws trump those of people. As I like to say, you can choose to create any kind of society you want so long as you live within the confines of what nature will allow. Western society has been living out of those bounds through our use of fossil fuels over the last century plus. And we've built a whole arrangement of living AND belief system around the expectation of that lifestyle expanding, progressing, and growing. In short, the unsustainable cannot be sustained, and the history of the 21st century will bear this out with uncertain (though significant) consequences for us all. glaucus
Dave, this is one of the single most-important posts you've contributed thus far. You have deftly deconstructed the Krugman in just a few lucid paragraphs. "Specifically, it is a liberal political issue which is strongly identified with Democratic party, and Krugman is the quintessential liberal political animal." Perfectly put. I heard him late last week on NPR peddling his nonsense, but it plays well to the crowd. Listeners who called in were honored to pose questions to the kool-aid man himself. Give me a break. Until natural science can pull free of association with the faulty economic and political ideology, there will continue to be gross ignorance on the severity of our predicament. -glaucus
Great post, Dave. The problem we face as a society is that unfortunately so many of our decision-making processes only factor in social, political, and economic considerations. There is little to no physical science entering into the discussion. As physical limits and realities begin to present themselves much more insistently, this will hopefully change. Keep up the good work! I talk about many of these issues - particularly the importance of considering physical and natural laws in the decision-making process - on my urban planning-focused blog: -glaucus is now following The Typepad Team
May 6, 2012