jdumars wrote:Civilization (the establishment of communities of people whose demand for resources outstrips their ability to produce them locally) is completely, utterly unsustainable on any level.
Everyone dances around the topic, but this is it. Every human system breaks down in the end because it is contrary to nature, not in concert with it.
The current model of society is obsolete and utterly unsustainable, no argument there. But why is that? What is the underlying reason? I would argue that it's largely because of how money works, as Mike Ruppert often puts it.
All money is borrowed with interest, therefore there is always more debt than actual money. Compounding interest and new loans increase debt perpetually. For this debt and interest to be paid off, or more accurately shifted around (as it is never really paid off), the economy has to grow infinitely. Economic growth always increases the need for energy and resources. Unfortunately we live in a finite world.
In addition to that, there is a duality in this economic model. It operates under the assumption that there is an infinite amount of resources available, but at the same time there is an incentive to create scarcity, as something scarce is much more valuable than something abundant and easily accessible, like say air, or sun light. Basically if there ever was a magical perpetual motion machine that was cheap to manufacture, required no maintenance and produced an endless amount of free energy, it would not be as economically viable as oil, for example. No return customers. That being said, the fundamentals of how our whole world economy works, are seriously flawed, and until we change them, we change nothing. This can be said for most existing popular ideologies, including capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism etc. as they are all fundamentally very similar.
And whether there are enough resources in any given area or not, depends in large part on how efficiently those resources are used, recycled and renewed. But it also depends on the fundamentals of the local economy; if it's geared towards infinite growth and based on scarcity, it's ultimately unsustainable. However, if it's a resource based economy of sorts, that is geared towards using as little finite resources as possible the most efficient way possible while recycling them and using mostly renewable resources, it could be sustainable, in fact it probably would even produce abundance with the right kind of technology.
Some people would argue that the population of such a place would grow unsustainably, bla bla bla. Not necessarily, population growth in Italy for example, is negative; they are now "importing" people from Africa to join the work force. An economy that requires infinite growth, always requires more labor, which typically means more people. That's why population growth is largest in the third world; they might not have money or resources but if they get five kids they at least have a labor force, with which to obtain money and resources.
My 2 cents.