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HairyOb1

A Turning point?

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I’ve read about this a long time ago, that there’s something in the human condition that will listen to anything but the truth in order to carry on living as they do, as otherwise there would be rafts of suicides: it was based on the environmental future of the planet, and that people would believe anything other than the truth, as to believe the actual truth would see mass despair and deaths, that people would stop procreating, stop buying things, stop working, that the powers to be were careful in the handling of information like this for this very reason.

One can see this in money, in the unfettered borrowing of money, the PCP drive, the taking on of extraordinarily high mortgages, the high credit card debts, everything.

 Anyone with half a brain can see perpetual growth cannot be sustained.  Talking to my wife a while ago, I mentioned that the more a firm goes and creates products outside of its normal range, the more I believe they’re struggling for growth.  One of these I saw the other day, was different flavour Red Bull.  Kit Kat did it too, Orange, Mint, etc, etc.  You can see them desperately at HQ admitting they cannot sell anymore Red Bull, it’s saturated, so what they need to do is now make orangeade and dress it up as a Red Bull product.  The more this goes on, the more I realise we’re coming to some kind of turning point in modern history.

Anybody else think we're coming close to a new era of how we live?

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Growth is a concept. Yes in terms of physical consumption there is ceiling. But in terms of virtual consumption, there is still room for growth. 

Is in essence work not a way to reduce work? Are we not trying to make everything possible for our specie to not have to do the work needed to cater to our basic and less basic needs?

I'm being philosophical I know

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Perhaps perpetually increasing standards of living ARE possible, but without increasing environmental damage. 

This is scientifically possible.  You could have a completely closed recycling loop for goods.  Powered by energy from zero-carbon non-polluting sources.  This has been a realistic notion since the 1950's, if the full nuclear cycle including breeder reactors had been adopted enthusiastically.

Perpetual growth of population is of course not possible.  There is only finite space on the planet. 

But with ever growing technological capability, there is no intrinsic reason why a controlled level of population shouldn't have ever increasing standards ?

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I'd say that companies are struggling in the "western" countries due to the narrow vision of economic investments that we live with. 

There's masses of untapped demand and economic growth potential in the developing world (africa, latin america, middle east, central asia, south asia). However to a large extent the potential is not being developed. 

Red Bull would not need to make up new things... they could be selling in masses of new markets. Similarly for KitKat and others... But the massive misallocation of capital and investments to inflate existing assets in the west and not exploiting the untapped potential in the developing world keeps us in eternal limbo. like 10 restaurants competing furiously in a small wealthy corner of a city and leaving the rest of the city devoid of any restaurants... and then complaining that "demand is not rising" whilst ignoring 90% of the city!

All of that then is a catalyst for many side effects... civil wars and dictatorships, migrant crises, no waste management and environmental degradation, uncontrolled population rises etc...

Ultimately the solution will have to concede that we are one planet. We need to have a holistic approach that includes ALL people in ALL countries as well as the nature and environment EVERYWHERE... not a "this is my border, outside it is your problem" idea that is ultimately futile and self-destructive.

Edited by hayder

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John Perkins in 'confessions of an economic hitman' pointed out that we have models of unlimited economic growth set into a planet of finite resources. He mentioned how everything is geared towards profit, a death economy in a way. 

He thinks we should move towards a 'life' economy as there will not be anything left for future generations. Profits are no good if we're all dead. 

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3 minutes ago, hayder said:

I'd say that companies are struggling in the "western" countries due to the narrow vision of economic investments that we live with. 

There's masses of untapped demand and economic growth potential in the developing world (africa, latin america, middle east, central asia, south asia). However to a large extent the potential is not being developed. 

Red Bull would not need to make up new things... they could be selling in masses of new markets. Similarly for KitKat and others... But the massive misallocation of capital and investments to inflate existing assets in the west and not exploiting the untapped potential in the developing world keeps us in eternal limbo. like 10 restaurants competing furiously in a small wealthy corner of a city and leaving the rest of the city devoid of any restaurants.

All of that then is a catalyst for many side effects... civil wars and dictatorships, migrant crises, no waste management and environmental degradation, uncontrolled population rises etc...

The problem with investing in most parts of the World, is getting your money and reasonable profits out, without it being stolen or overtaxed by the corrupt gangster politicians, other powerful groups or just the general lawlessness of the place. Unless of course you are a powerful international corporation with protection from a 1st World country. Even then you can be fleeced, or get bound up in interminable litigation, like Vodafone in India.

UK, and the West in general, has a big advantage from the rule of law and independent courts.

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9 minutes ago, Freki said:

Growth is a concept. Yes in terms of physical consumption there is ceiling. But in terms of virtual consumption, there is still room for growth.  Agreed.

Is in essence work not a way to reduce work? Are we not trying to make everything possible for our specie to not have to do the work needed to cater to our basic and less basic needs?

I'm being philosophical I know

I'm a reader of philosophical fiction, if that makes sense, and one book really got my attention, whose title I am forgotten.  However, the gist of it, is that with automation, and AI, robots, we will inevitably have mroe time on our hands, moreso the less educated, or skilled should I say, and that these people will be more affected by it.  This necessitates the need for Universal income, in that without it, we create an underclass of peasants unable to feed and house themselves.  However, the gist of the book is that if we do that, it's inevitable that we create, or should I say evolve, into two different species of human being.  

I think it was Donald Sutherland who argues the Hunger Games isn't an allegory, it's a direction.

8 minutes ago, kzb said:

Perhaps perpetually increasing standards of living ARE possible, but without increasing environmental damage. 

This is scientifically possible.  You could have a completely closed recycling loop for goods.  Powered by energy from zero-carbon non-polluting sources.  This has been a realistic notion since the 1950's, if the full nuclear cycle including breeder reactors had been adopted enthusiastically.

Perpetual growth of population is of course not possible.  There is only finite space on the planet. 

But with ever growing technological capability, there is no intrinsic reason why a controlled level of population shouldn't have ever increasing standards ?

I think that's the nub of it: we do have the technology, but we'll have to have an agreed controlled population, across the world, and we have to address what that would mean, as regards an increasing elderly population, what happened when population control isn't under control.

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1 minute ago, onlooker said:

The problem with investing in most parts of the World, is getting your money and reasonable profits out, without it being stolen or overtaxed by the corrupt gangster politicians, other powerful groups or just the general lawlessness of the place. Unless of course you are a powerful international corporation with protection from a 1st World country. Even then you can be fleeced, or get bound up in interminable litigation, like Vodafone in India.

UK, and the West in general, has a big advantage from the rule of law and independent courts.

yes. I know. having worked with and dealt with dozens of developing world countries. 

The issue is really international and all actors play a role in it. We have most of the money from raw material extraction and processing in the developing world end up either as profits for corporations in the west, or the small crumbs that the "locals" get end up in the hands of their elite... who then siphon it off to Europe! 

Uncontrolled population growth, no forward planning, no holistic and equitable economic cooperation in the world... all in all, we sadly live in a world that is self destructing due to the ease with which short term narrow self interest trumps (geddit!) a holistic long term vision for the planet.

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Just remember, everything is portrayed at an extreme level, this it what grabs people's attention.

Everything that we are told, may or may not be true, but generally there is an agenda behind it. That agenda normally involves some sort of extreme selfishness.

Not long ago, we had apparently reached peak oil and this was a disaster, now we don't appear to have reached peak oil anymore. However if don't stop burning oil the planet will become a wasteland.

Now I don't like oil burning as a principle, it appears to me to be stupid to have all these metal boxes driving around chucking out fumes , let alone the infrastructure required to produce the chemicals. But those in power don't care, I think it has become policy to stop dependency on oil for foreign policy reasons, imagine if all that oil money had been fed back into the American economy directly.

 

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14 minutes ago, hayder said:

Ultimately the solution will have to concede that we are one planet. We need to have a holistic approach that includes ALL people in ALL countries as well as the nature and environment EVERYWHERE... not a "this is my border, outside it is your problem" idea that is ultimately futile and self-destructive.

Your first points are interesting, but I wanted to highlight this as behind my thinking too, that, inevitably, the only way to central thinking is a borderless world, and we're so far off that, more today than at any time in my life.

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4 minutes ago, HairyOb1 said:

Your first points are interesting, but I wanted to highlight this as behind my thinking too, that, inevitably, the only way to central thinking is a borderless world, and we're so far off that, more today than at any time in my life.

yes indeed. 

and the more the world becomes economically polarised, the more that "capital and materials flow freely" the more that the "haves" will live in fear of the "have nots" and double up on borders and divisions. 

It will eventually lead to a break down of international trade and treaties on environment and emissions. 

then it will get really ugly.

we humans are parasites on the planet. we have to be conscious of that and not "overplay" our hand lest we make ourselves extinct.

Edited by hayder

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1 minute ago, hayder said:

yes indeed. 

and the more the world becomes economically polarised, the more that "capital and materials flow freely" the more that the "haves" will live in fear of the "have nots" and double up on borders and divisions. 

It will eventually lead to a break down of international trade and treaties on environment and emissions. 

then it will get really ugly.

That is my take on it, which brought Sutherland's view on Panem into the conversation.  I genuinely think we're coming to a turning poiint in our history, and it could go one of many ways, not all of which will pan out good for the majority.  I can see the world going 'French' circa 18C in this all too.

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1 minute ago, hayder said:

yes indeed. 

and the more the world becomes economically polarised, the more that "capital and materials flow freely" the more that the "haves" will live in fear of the "have nots" and double up on borders and divisions. 

It will eventually lead to a break down of international trade and treaties on environment and emissions. 

then it will get really ugly.

But with the recent vilification of the "Top 1%" by the British media and left wing politicians, few seemed to notice that the controversial report in question was about the top 1% in the World, and most UK residents belong to that group.

Those complaining about inequalities could start by offering up their own lifestyle as an example to others.

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which is sad considering our communications and transportation capabilities today, alongside the technology for farming, clean energy should put us in good stead to build an inclusive and holistic planet for humanity and nature. 

as per the Op's original statement. Companies furiously competing to sell stuff to 10% of the planet, and banks furiously trying to lend money to 10% of the planet. 

complaining that they can't increase consumption / demand.

And they're claiming to be "well educated and open minded"? I'd shudder to think how the narrow minded think!

 

Edited by hayder

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Scientifically it is feasible to live on the planet without overly damaging it. 

But to do that requires a very authoritarian government.  Everything has to be under central control.

This is the problem I think.

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16 minutes ago, kzb said:

Scientifically it is feasible to live on the planet without overly damaging it. 

But to do that requires a very authoritarian government.  Everything has to be under central control.

This is the problem I think.

I think this was what I was alluding to - IN order to propagate a system in which there is population control, and I would assume age control too, then it has to be authoritarian.

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20 minutes ago, HairyOb1 said:

I think this was what I was alluding to - IN order to propagate a system in which there is population control, and I would assume age control too, then it has to be authoritarian.

Well really there is no reason for age control.  Not until we have infinite lifespans anyhow.

But there is this fundamental conflict between sustainability and liberal capitalism and I don't know how it can be solved.

Apologists for the system contend that, as technology advances, substitutions for scarce resources are always found.  That may be largely true up to present, but even this solution has limited lifespan.

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1 hour ago, HairyOb1 said:

 

I think that's the nub of it: we do have the technology, but we'll have to have an agreed controlled population, across the world, and we have to address what that would mean, as regards an increasing elderly population, what happened when population control isn't under control.

For us humans to survive on this planet and maintain civilisation we have to do several things: 

1- having children is a cost. Everyone on planet earth has to pay a very large fee for the right to have children.

2- Borders and economic / environmental disparity are the root causes of wars (sure, nationalism, religions etc are used as fig leafs to rouse the rabbles, but the root is always the same). 

3- In exchange for population control. Every adult on planet earth gets a "universal basic income" 

4- Land and multinationals are taxed worldwide and tariffs are removed. 

5- Tax rates harmonised worldwide and all tax havens eliminated. 

6- incentivise recycling, nature preservation, renewable energy... penalise waste, land degradation and nature destruction. - have the laws harmonised worldwide

7- Oversee this with a "replacement" UN which is no longer bound by the current 5 permanent members. Countries that don't adhere to the rules are simply shut out of the system until they do.

that will enable a feedback mechanism whereby surplus is not stuck at the top, population control is accepted worldwide and many of the root causes of cross border migration, wars and environmental destruction are dealt with through a positive feedback mechanism to sustain the planet. It will also increase company sales and allow international trade, travel without fear. 

It would solve so many of the world's current problems in one fell swoop. However, no one would want this in practice. there are too many narrow, short term petty interests that mean it will never come into play. 

 

Edited by hayder

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2 hours ago, HairyOb1 said:

I don't get this at all - why would acknowledgement of the truth about the finite nature of the Earth cause "rafts of suicides"?

The Earth is finite.  I know that.  But rather than worrying about the long term future the whole human race as a result, I'd rather just buy an ice cream and go and enjoy it in the park in today's sunshine.

Why?  Maybe because my natural human instincts are to survive, eat, procreate and just live for today. 

Equally maybe it's just a realisation that people don't change their behaviour until they HAVE to.  Just telling people to live more sustainably won't work.  But when they run up against the buffers of the limits of what the Earth can sustain they will adapt to it.

These doomsaying projections tend to assume that we will keep expanding until some sudden cliff edge that results in anarchy and extinction.  Well maybe.  Or maybe as we begin to approach that so we then begin to be FORCED to change and so we change.  You could argue it's already happening in the Western world - as the Developing world improve their living standards so ours must fall until we all meet in the middle.

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3 hours ago, HairyOb1 said:

I’ve read about this a long time ago, that there’s something in the human condition that will listen to anything but the truth in order to carry on living as they do, as otherwise there would be rafts of suicides: it was based on the environmental future of the planet, and that people would believe anything other than the truth, as to believe the actual truth would see mass despair and deaths, that people would stop procreating, stop buying things, stop working, that the powers to be were careful in the handling of information like this for this very reason.

One can see this in money, in the unfettered borrowing of money, the PCP drive, the taking on of extraordinarily high mortgages, the high credit card debts, everything.

 Anyone with half a brain can see perpetual growth cannot be sustained.  Talking to my wife a while ago, I mentioned that the more a firm goes and creates products outside of its normal range, the more I believe they’re struggling for growth.  One of these I saw the other day, was different flavour Red Bull.  Kit Kat did it too, Orange, Mint, etc, etc.  You can see them desperately at HQ admitting they cannot sell anymore Red Bull, it’s saturated, so what they need to do is now make orangeade and dress it up as a Red Bull product.  The more this goes on, the more I realise we’re coming to some kind of turning point in modern history.

Anybody else think we're coming close to a new era of how we live?

when I go abroad I see different flavour kit kats (to meet local tastes) and wish they had them in the UK, so I see the problem as not enough kit kat flavours. the real indicator of lack of growth is cash reserves, special dividends, buying own shares and buying up competitors.

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2 hours ago, onlooker said:

But with the recent vilification of the "Top 1%" by the British media and left wing politicians, few seemed to notice that the controversial report in question was about the top 1% in the World, and most UK residents belong to that group.

Those complaining about inequalities could start by offering up their own lifestyle as an example to others.

Yes but we make comparisons with our peers...I don't feel particularly rich because I have a radio but if this was 1918 to have such a radio would be a marvellous thing available only to the world's richest people.  It is all relative.

...and I spent six months in India years ago (not Goa) and so I know what poverty looks like...

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  • 302 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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