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The Seneca Effect: a Book Review by Jantje Hannover

General Ideas
This is a review of the German edition of “The Seneca Effect” written by Jantie Hannover for the site of the radio station “Deutschelandfunk.” Very well done by someone who really read the book. Here I report a translation made mainly using “Google Translate,” and also some intervention on my part. Not a very good English, but at least understandable (U.B.)

Collapsing SystemsWhat empires and avalanches have in common

The Italian chemistry professor Ugo Bardi has written a book about the Seneca effect. He refers to the abrupt collapse of systems: observed in avalanches and balloons, but also in financial market bubbles and powerful empires.
By Jantje Hannover

When a balloon bursts or an avalanche takes place, it is a network structure that suddenly reorganizes. (image stock & people / Michael Nolan and Oekom Verlag)

Net, nodes, and collapses

“It would be a consolation to our weak souls and our works, if all things would slowly pass away as they arise, but as it happens, growth is slow, while the road to ruin is fast.”

This is what the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca said about 2,000 years ago. And as if Seneca had wanted to prove this sentence, in the course of his life he too had become more and more wealthy and influential, even rising up to become advisor to Emperor Nero. Until he fell out of favor and was eventually suspected of being part of a plot against the Emperor. Then, Nero ordered him to commit suicide.

The author Ugo Bardi, Professor of Chemistry in Florence, is interested in rapid crashes after a successful ascent, a development, shown as an example by numerous physical processes. He baptizes this phenomenon the “Seneca effect”. In the diagrams and illustrations in Bardi’s book, mostly diagrams that show the development of different events, the “Seneca curve” is by far the most frequent: “All breakdowns have certain characteristics in common: they are always collective phenomena, that is, they appear only in so-called complex systems, that is, in network structures of ‘nodes’ that are interconnected by links, a collapse is the rapid restructuring of a large number of such links.

The easiest way to illustrate the idea of this network structure in complex systems using the Internet. Ugo Bardi cites the example of the Facebook predecessor, Friendster. Some users had logged out, others found that they had too few contacts and also logged out. The net imploded.

About rising and falling

Even if a balloon bursts, an avalanche emerges, or the tension of the continental plates discharges in an earthquake, these are ultimately links in a network structure that suddenly reorganize itself – with possibly catastrophic consequences for humans, a real “Seneca ruin”, as Ugo Bardi says. He shows that financial bubbles and the collapse of powerful empires have comparable properties. An example is the Roman Empire. According to Bardi’s analysis, it had to go down mainly because the minerals gold and silver, the most important elixir of the Roman financial system, were increasingly difficult to obtain: “Depletion is a tricky concept which has little or nothing to do with the fact that a mineral actually becomes scarce or even runs out. Rather, it is a question of costs and benefits. Mining costs increase over time as miners first exploit the easily accessible and highly concentrated ores. “

At first, the Romans and their vassals did not need more than a sieve to wash the gold nuggets out of the river sand. Soon, they needed pickaxes and shovels, as well as digging mines and employing machinery and trolleys. In the end, mining devoured so much money that it was no longer worth it. And it is precisely on this point that today’s humanity is heading for at high speed, says Bardi. Even if today they can resort to incomparably more sophisticated technologies, we are currently in danger because of the low oil price: “Unfortunately, at present it does not look as if the governments of the world and the public are realizing the problem of mineral scarcity and that we are moving only very slowly towards a decline in consumption. But no matter what is done or not done today, the world’s current industrial system has to undergo major changes, so great that its continued existence is by no means assured.”
The future of the world

The collapse of the global economy due to the scarcity of raw materials was also predicted by the Club of Rome 45 years ago with its study “The Limits of Growth”. Bardi considers the scenarios computed by computer simulations to be up to date. For the parameters of resources, economic development, population growth or food supply, the scenario generated mainly Seneca curves, that is steep crashes. Today, the collapse could be imminent, but – like an earthquake – cannot be accurately predicted. The same applies to the flora and fauna of the planet Earth, also called Gaia, which flourish like the world economy in a complex network structure.

“According to the Gaia hypothesis, the earth’s ecosystem has some ability to create and sustain conditions that enable life, and our earth behaves, at least in part, even as a living thing. That is, Gaia holds homeostasis (balance), so that the ecosystem is able to avoid major disasters and recover from inevitable ones. ”

The author shows that the earth maintained an approximately constant temperature over the last 542 million years because more complex life forms have continued to exist all over this time. It seems that the earth has compensated for increasing intensity of the sun’s irradiation, which has been increasing, by regulating the carbon content of the air. As we know, humankind is currently and consistently turning the carbon thermostat in the wrong direction.

Fossil empire at the crossroads

Ugo Bardi’s report is in places quite demanding for the non-naturalist, for example when it comes to discovering in the course of world events the action of the second principle of thermodynamics or the phenomenon of phase transition. But the author packs his broad knowledge in a humorous and understandable language, incorporating historical events, anecdotes, and even science fiction novels, and manages to keep the interest of the reader over and over again.

“Our present-day empire, which we can justifiably call the ‘fossil empire’, is at a crossroads, because fossil fuels have well exceeded their usefulness, even if we do not want to admit it, and they are putting us in danger. Today, the threat of this problem is not yet sufficiently penetrated into the consciousness of our imperial rulers. ”

And because that is so, Ugo Bardi has devoted some chapters to coping with the collapse. However, he considers these possibilities quite vague and relativizes them, given the egoism of the people and their tendency to refuse to give back what they once had. After all, the collapse also brings opportunities, because only in this way could something new arise. In any case, Bardi’s attempt to make the imminent danger to the inhabitants of planet earth a little more concrete by means of processes in complex systems remains absolutely worth reading.

Ugo Bardi: “The Seneca Effect Why Systems Collapse and How We Can Handle It”,
translated by Gabriele Gockel and Sonja Schumacher, Oekom Verlag, 312 pages, 25 euros.

Cassandra’s legacy by Ugo Bardi


33 Comments on "The Seneca Effect: a Book Review by Jantje Hannover"

  1. davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 9:21 am 

    Many fail to grasp the nature of the imperial rulers because of their own lust of empire and their passion for vengeance. These intellectually shallow people are straight jacketed by a bygone history. They are habituation by mass public opinion that seeks a common enemy when the real enemy is within ourselves. The real enemy is us.

    The US is not “THE” Empire. It is part of “THE” Empire. Global civilization is the real empire now. The US is nothing without this global self-organizing power of human driven global greed. The same is true of China, Russia, and Europe. We are now truly one world made up of many powers. The change really happened post 08 when the final shoe dropped with the end of 20th century economics. We are now all helplessly connected economically and that is the real connection. You war then you starve. I am talking wars between the powers not proxy wars. We will all fail together because the productivity of the global system gives rise to this global Empire. Without globalism there is no affluence and without affluence there is not civilization.

    The US may be a significant player in this empire motif but many other countries participate and encourage the behavior. One could argue the US is hostage to great powers. Its people being destroyed both within and from without. The US is only the conduit for competing armies of global lobbyist and power brokers. Even within the US there are factions that cooperate and compete and the result is a muddle of US power that appears hilarious but if one looks deeper once can see the real powers subverting the global world. In Europe and with Asia friendly American allies this empire has its own life of cooperation and competition. We then have the Sino Russian opposition that is a competitive check to the imperial tendencies of the US and its many support networks in Europe and Asia. IMA a very vital check and the reason there is hope. The whole world is then wrapped up in the economic and political market based liberal democracy of nations making up our global world. This is the real power we can call the goose and what it produces the golden egg.

    Here we see the real master is profit and price. The goal is self-interest which includes yield seeking but also the maintenance of a playing field of rules. We cannot trust each other in confidence unless we have rules of cooperation. Confidence is liquidity and lack of it is collapse. This is about all of us then. It is about factions competing and cooperating in the real life of locals where we all dwell. We increasingly meet digitally. We travel and interact. It is when we do this we see our common humanity. When we are alone within ourselves we choose greed and self-interest.

    So far for many decades we have managed to maintain this liquidity of confidence. We almost lost it in 2008. We are sure to have another shock. Could this be the year? Wouldn’t that be so poetic on the 10th anniversary of the great financial crisis a mother of all crisis? I am wondering if NK crisis will fade and the reason I say this is business. Anyone who knows what is going on knows a war there will destroy the global economy. In this case NK won but it also lost because now it must live with the baggage that goes with NUKs. The US, China, and Europe are in a debt meltdown. Unfunded liabilities, overcapacity, and the rot of bad debt will continue to haunt these only powers that matter. Russia is part of this but in its own purgatory of being an outsider not knowing where it belongs. Somehow these powers continue to manage to grow and produce despite all the systematic dislocations.

    It is anyone’s guess how long this can continue. What is the true balance of the forces of decay and growth? Do we have aggregate growth or only the appearance? Are we kidding ourselves and telling ourselves what we want to hear? That is uniquely human flaw. These forces of growth and decay are both operating. We see accelerating wealth transfer globally both within nations and between them.

    This is the classic late term civilization scenario. When the base is gutted civilizations fail. When the elite kill the goose there is no golden egg. How long can this go on? What is the real storyline? This will be a fantastic story that will play out but the end will not be happy. It will be all of our story. Some want to claim this is a replay of the 20th century with winners and losers. We will all be losers with some losers who are temporary winners. Some will profit on the end game but they will not escape it.

  2. Cloggie on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 9:43 am 

    but as it happens, growth is slow, while the road to ruin is fast.”

    It took centuries to build Dresden, but only a few hours to ruin it.

    fossil fuels have well exceeded their usefulness

    ???

    They gradually have made themselves impossible, but not useless.

  3. Davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 10:03 am 

    What about Warsaw?

  4. sunweb on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 10:06 am 

    davy – can post your long comment on Facebook?

  5. Cloggie on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 10:17 am 

    What about Warsaw?

    What about it? It’s not a city in the US or UK, now is it? The Poles had begun to throw out Germans from Versailles-Poland and needed to be stopped.

    Poland was just a pretext for the US to get their desired war in Europe started. After the war the argument of “helping the Poles” was worthless as they gladly handed Poland over to the laving care of Stalin. Poland was nothing but the useful idiot of the Americans.

    WW2: lies, lies, lies. And Davy is all too willing to perpetuate them. But Davy, as usual, is betting on the wrong horse.

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v04/v04p135_Weber.html

    “President Roosevelt’s Campaign To Incite War in Europe: The Secret Polish Documents”

  6. Davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 10:40 am 

    Nedernazi history revisions. The Nazi’s were victims. Lol. No nation was without sin in WW II but one nation was above all other was the perpetrators of evil and the Nedernazi chooses to hide that reality.

  7. Davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 10:47 am 

    Sun web. I don’t do bookface. Do long comments annoy you? What about many smaller comments who’s summation is equivalent or greater? How does one say something concerning these broad topics in one paragraph. Roll your mouse right past the comment if it annoys you. Skim it for points if any. In seconds I can be through a Mad Kat or Nedernazi puke. I see no shortage of space on this board.

  8. Sissyfuss on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 12:36 pm 

    They didn’t listen, they’re not listening still. Perhaps they never will.

  9. Cloggie on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 12:56 pm 

    Nedernazi history revisions. The Nazi’s were victims. Lol. No nation was without sin in WW II but one nation was above all other was the perpetrators of evil and the Nedernazi chooses to hide that reality.

    Davy hides again behind unsubstantiated
    moralistic abstractions (“Germany evil, US/USSR/UK/France/Poland/Canada/India/Holland/Norway/Belgium good”.lol).

    WW2 was the gang rape of Germany (the country of Davy’s mother) by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill, as planned of the mid-thirties and nothing else. And the Nuremberg lies were designed to portray the Germans in the worst possible light, while whitewashing the far greater crimes of the Alllies.

    Davy keeps insisting that without ever going in discussion, just asserting. Davy wants to portray events such that the US and USSR acted as a sort of International Red Cross, just to prevent the Europeans from killing each other and keep them apart. This interpretation of event is ridiculous. This never happened in history and will never happen. Instead the Americans did everything they could to get the war in Europe started.

    The truth is that in the thirties the US had an enormous economy of 29% global GDP, eclipsing everybody else (#2 USSR had 13%, Germany 11%), but were geopolitically a backwater. The US leadership wanted to change that so they could start their desired “American Century”,

    https://documents1940.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/time-life-the-american-century/

    …a euphemism which meant and means that everybody on this planet should be subjected to “benevolent hegemony”.

    Since 1933, until today, the US government attempts to overthrow any government that tries to stand in its way, if necessary at the cost of hundreds of thousands killed and in the case of WW2, millions.

    The US government is the third most sadistic, evil, lying POS in world history, after the USSR (#2) and communist China under Mao (#1).

    The good news (for Eurasia) is that the US turned itself in a halfway third world country BEFORE they managed to conquer the world.ROFL

    Even the deep state leadership of the US empire knows it is over:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-09-27/america-s-new-world-order-is-officially-dead

    Well done, Putin and Xi!!!

    Furthermore the country is split in two about the question whether the US should remain a European majority country or become a “third world shithole” (©Trump) and will eventually fall apart over this question. End good, all good (for Eurasia).

    The real question is how to contain the next super power China (answer: Paris-Berlin-Moscow + folks from the US Heartland)

    https://www.counter-currents.com/2011/08/boreas-risingwhite-nationalism-the-geopolitics-of-the-paris-berlin-moscow-axis-part-1/

  10. davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 1:12 pm 

    Lmfao, the Nedernazi takes a full page ad out for how wonderful his Nazi friends were and how horrible the Aliies were. The guy got a screw lose. The more you hype it the worse you look racist Nazi pig.

  11. GregT on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 1:35 pm 

    Still no rebuttal. Just more of the usual name calling, childish rhetoric, and delusional accusations.

  12. Boat on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 1:46 pm 

    Clog,

    Keep it simple, for whatever reason Germany took on much more than it could handle and were trounced in the end. That my boy was an exercise in stupidity. Hitler was stupid. Germans were stupid for listening to Hitler. Hitler will be known till the end of time as being stupid. What do you stand for? Stupid.

  13. Cloggie on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 2:10 pm 

    “Keep it simple, for whatever reason Germany took on much more than it could handle“

    Yeah, that’s the same argumentation as if a judge would say to a woman who has been raped by six thugs: “you were acting stupid because you took on more than you could”.

    /vommit

    Thank god you are about to vanish from history, like the USSR and Yugoslavia.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/jack37.asp

    “MR. JUSTICE JACKSON. I really think that this trial, if it should get into an argument over the political and economic causes of this war, could do infinite harm, both in Europe, which I don’t know well, and in America, which I know fairly well. If we should have a prolonged controversy over whether Germany invaded Norway a few jumps ahead of a British invasion of Norway, or whether France in declaring war was the real aggressor, this trial can do infinite harm for those countries with the people of the United States. And the same is true of our Russian relationships. The Germans will certainly accuse all three of our European allies of adopting policies which forced them to war. The reason I Say that is that captured documents which we have always made that claim-that Germany would be forced into war. They admit they were planning war, but the captured documents of the Foreign Office that I have examined all come down to the claim, “We have no way out; we must fight; we are encircled; we are being strangled to death.””

    The truth, straight in your American face, from your own supreme professional liar in Nuremberg.

    The rapists were the US, USSR and Churchill-UK.

    And the representative of “old-Europe”, Chamberlain knew exactly what was happening and who the real threat was for the British empire (spoiler: the Americans, not the Germans).

    https://documents1940.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/chamberlain-and-the-forrestal-diaries/

    But boat can’t grasp that his club has maneuvered itself into isolation and will find itself soon at the receiving end of history. What I give you is a sneak preview of what will soon general knowledge. Not that you or davy will accept the truth, but that’s okay. Time is not on your side.

  14. MASTERMIND on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 2:18 pm 

    Simple really….when the World Economy Collapses everything shuts down…the end….The collapse will be absolutely horrible..There is no collapse or horror movie ever produced that has even come close to imagining what the collapse of BAU might look like. I’m talking about every corporation and every social program going bankrupt at once.I’m talking about people eating people. I’m talking about the Worst Catastrophe to ever happen in the history of mankind. Nothing has ever, or will ever come close.

  15. MASTERMIND on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 2:19 pm 

    Solar Roadways caught CHEATING, AND Chinas Solar Road STOLEN!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkeu07U3060

  16. Davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 2:23 pm 

    “Still no rebuttal. Just more of the usual name calling, childish rhetoric, and delusional accusations.”

    ButtC hypocrite is a nazi sympathizer. LOL. No wonder you are infatuated with the mad kat. You love extremist hate. DISGUSTING

  17. Cloggie on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 2:58 pm 

    “ButtC hypocrite is a nazi sympathizer. LOL. No wonder you are infatuated with the mad kat. You love extremist hate. DISGUSTING”

    Davy is the apologist, enabler and sympathizer of a century-old global crime network. Running off to Italy won’t help 1%-ers like you, the US-equivalent of the STASI, Securetate, etc. Italians btw have a few scores to settle with their occupiers.

  18. Davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 3:06 pm 

    “Davy is the apologist, enabler and sympathizer of a century-old global crime network.”
    Sure, nedernazi, obviously you are pegged and now everyone knows you are a dirty Nazi. Your cover is blown. You want people to think you are the nice cloggie but the reality is you are a Nazi scumbag.

    “Running off to Italy won’t help 1%-ers like you.”
    What are you jealous? I wouldn’t want to be in the dreary Nederland either.

  19. MASTERMIND on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 3:37 pm 

    Existing oil reserves are scheduled to begin a catastrophic crash within 1 to 3 years. When it hits the economic and social damage will be catastrophic. The end of Western Civilization, from China to Europe, to the US, will not occur when oil runs out. The economic and social chaos will occur when supplies are merely reduced sufficiently….

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/has-peak-oil-already-happened/
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030142151300342X
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016236114010254
    http://www.geo.cornell.edu/eas/energy/the_challenges/peak_oil.html
    http://www.scribd.com/document/367688629/HSBC-Peak-Oil-Report-2017
    https://imgur.com/a/6dEDt

  20. Cloggie on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 3:44 pm 

    Namecalling is all you got, eh yankie? Boy, must your German mother hate it to have given birth to a lying scumbag like you. Cooperating with the Soviets, destroying every German city, raping every woman and to top it off, falsely inventing the most horrible crimes just to make that Big Whopper empire of yours look good.

    But I only have to read your own doomer posts to know that YOU know it is game over for your maffia operation and that scumbags like you, the henpegged dummies of the white race, are cornered. Happy dying, traitor of your own children.

  21. Davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 3:53 pm 

    This is great, the Nazi is not only exposed but also pissed. Quit your whining nedernazi you are supposed to show your white superiority not your inferiority.

  22. Mad Kat on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 5:42 pm 

    Cloggie, the arrogant 1%er has no rebuttals. Only putdowns and name calling. He knows he lives in the 3rd world now, yet he keeps waving that rotten flag of US propaganda like it was made of gold. I ignore most of his and MM’s posts as they are mostly bullshit and immature rants.

    You and I may disagree on some points, but either of us could be correct about the future. Both of us have made decisions on how and where to ride it out and only time will tell how bumpy it will be. But, I think, most anywhere will be better than the US.

  23. Davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 5:46 pm 

    shut up mad kat and say something useful. We know for the 1000 time you hate the US and feel neutered by me. Life sucks so zip your pants up and act like a man. You are such a boring dork.

  24. Mad Kat on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 5:58 pm 

    Davy, the only thing ‘neutered’ is your mind. You are severely delusional. Your immature rants prove it to the intelligent here. You are obsessed with control and trying to prove your dominance. Must be that 1%er brainwashing. Your loss.

  25. Davy on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 6:05 pm 

    how many days until you are gone mad kat?

  26. Mad Kat on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 6:41 pm 

    Gone? As in dead? Well. I have been on this earth about 26,800 days. If I live as long as my dad, I have another 5,000 or 6,000 to go. If I live as long as my uncle (still alive) I have about 7,500+ days.

    If you are talking about my posts here. Well, how long is the internet going to exist, or this site? I think I mentioned several times that I will have internet at the farm. It is available most everywhere in the Ps. The connection costs me about $20 per month. Cheap education/entertainment.

  27. GregT on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 6:58 pm 

    “Life sucks so zip your pants up and act like a man. You are such a boring dork.”

    Would anybody care to make an attempt at translating the above into adult speak?

  28. Mad Kat on Sat, 13th Jan 2018 7:15 pm 

    My 12 year old grand son might understand, but I wouldn’t ask him to lower himself to that level. Davy is sick, obviously.

  29. sunweb on Tue, 16th Jan 2018 7:38 am 

    Davy – mine was a complement. I was asking to share it on Facebook. Not that it was long or short. Sorry you completely misunderstood.

  30. Davy on Tue, 16th Jan 2018 8:29 am 

    No problem sunweb I am so used to being criticized for long comments that it becomes standard reply. I do make the effort to keep long comments to no more than a standard word page. I try not to do too many. It annoys some people and frankly I don’t have time. I am here too much as it is. Yet, so many of our topics demand more to cover a complex topic with balance.

    BTW, we need more of your sobering analysis on the challenges facing renewables. Thanks

  31. Theedrich on Wed, 17th Jan 2018 3:13 am 

    The U.S. is the world’s foremost threat.  Anyone who doubts this should read the recent book by Daniel Ellsberg, “The Doomsday Machine,” particularly chapters 12 and 13 on the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.  On the 27th of that month, Yankeeland came within a hair’s breadth of destroying all civilization on earth.  It was only the fortuitous presence of a single Soviet commander, Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov (Васи́лий Алекса́ндрович Архи́пов) as the Second Captain and chief of staff of the 4-sub brigade aboard the nuke-armed “Foxtrot-class” submarine B-59, that kept Ragnarök from happening.

    During that summer and fall, in the period leading up to that narrow escape, Washington under president and whoremaster John F. Kennedy, in its maniacal confidence that it had God on its side, was then as now playing with fire.  With its taunts and threats it drove the USSR under Khrushchev to install nuclear missiles in Cuba, the island run by the self-glorifying Communist madman, Fidel Castro.  As it turned out, and in contrast to American beliefs, Khrushchev could not control Castro, who almost started a world war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

    As Ellsberg reveals, although neither Khrushchev nor Kennedy wanted war and both were determined to avoid it at all costs, they both engaged in a bluffing game, pretending to threaten what neither ever intended to execute.  Events soon spun out of control and took off on their own trajectories.  The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, remembering their glorious mass murders of millions of civilians in Germany and Japan during WW II, were itching to unleash the dogs of war, convinced that by obliterating a hundred million people on the other side and “accepting” only about ten million American deaths, they would win another war.  It began to turn into a real-world version of the movie Dr. Strangelove.  The American people were completely ignorant of all of this;  they greedily accepted the propaganda that it was Captain America and American righteousness that had won the day.  It was only in the 1990s, through memoirs and admissions of participants on both sides, and intense investigative research, that the truth came out about the various, virtually preternatural flukes which kept the world from ending.

    But since that time, the Yankee demigods have learned nothing and, in fact, have grown ever more brazen in their operations to conquer the world.  As the “accidental” warning of a missile inbound to Hawaii on Saturday, 2018 Jan 13 shows, a nuclear sword of Damocles hangs over our heads by a single hair.  And the “bi-partisan” government of the United States, especially with its Demonic Party, for domestic political gain, now demonizing Russia more than ever, is eating away at that hair.

  32. Mad Kat on Wed, 17th Jan 2018 3:50 am 

    Yes, Theedrich. The US powers-that-be are going insane. I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and, yes, the peasants were not told the truth. I was 18 then.

    We are closer now than anytime since then, to nuclear annihilation. Most Americans do not know that they can be atomized less than 20 minutes after an ICBM leaves Russia and in minutes from nuclear subs off shore. The US anti-missile systems are all antiques built before the Cuban crisis and not likely to be effective today. Not even aimed where the missile are likely to come from.

    Ignorance is bliss.

  33. Davy on Wed, 17th Jan 2018 4:49 am 

    “The U.S. is the world’s foremost threat.”

    I would agree with that statement but only on the level of geopolitically. The corruption of the deep state and the likely infiltration of the oversized military makes a potential civilization ending war dangerously possible. These players it seems will stop at nothing to maintain hegemony, IMA, an illusion of hegemony.

    On the level of economics China is clearly the danger. China is now the credit driving force in the global economic system. It drives commodities and it supplies the rich economies with many of the things that are needed to keep a smooth running economy going. China represents the force that is developing the world with projects across the globe. China is one big bubble of many bubbles. It has not realized bad debt and overcapacity for social reasons. It is setting itself up for a huge fall once this unsustainable arrangement ends. That fall will likely take the global economy down and possibly with catastrophic results. It is unclear if we can survive whole a Chinese Minsky moment.

    On yet another level China and by extension Asia are the most dangerous environmentally. China’s growth is killing the planet. The west is in decline but Asia is still expanding and its blueprint is a wealthy western lifestyle for a burgeoning middle class. The world is already at tipping points and with China and the rest of Asia seeking prosperity this likely means no amount of effort to save the planet is going to work. This is in no way a moralistic statement. China has every right to destroy the planet. The west is still doing it so until Asia and the west agree to massively degrowth together then why shouldn’t China and Asia see a few prosperous years at the expense of the planet.

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