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Degrowth Thread

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby theluckycountry » Mon 27 Sep 2021, 16:28:38

In the small town I live in I can see the effects of degrowth just in the collapsing back roads. These once well maintained bitumen roads are 'withering' so to speak, dying, which is the opposite of growth. Growth actually stopped roughly 25 years ago when the endless conversion from gravel to blacktop stopped abruptly. It's interesting to drive around the hills and note the number of bitumen roads that begin at one end, off some major road, run for say 12km to another major road, but in the middle is a 2 or 3 km section of gravel. Like an unfinished project, which is what they are basically. And they are everywhere out here.

When people in planning circles or green towns movements speak of Degrowth it's always on the basis of a controlled return to something more sustainable, but that is never how it works in the real world. In the real world money, or access to resources, stops flowing and you get a collapse of whatever was built. Just like a person who gets old and starts to have health issues, the doctors continually patch them up but they know in the end that old person will be dead soon. This is how I view global road networks.

Unfortunately they are still building new highways, and housing developments based on the previous investment trap mentality. By the time they admit we need to switch to a gravel road system, perhaps with some new plant based additive to make them more resilient (a dream) there will be very little energy left in the ground to accomplish this. Ie: building the fleets of graders needed for maintenance, ripping up all the problematic concrete and bitumen roads.

Perhaps this current collapse in the industrial system we built up over the past 100 years will remove the need for many roads, if it continues at the pace it has been over the past 2 years there will be a lot less cars driving, and that's oil saved as well. I see it already on my roads, less traffic because of the increased unemployment and the work from home transition. Poor people don't drive cars except for essential trips. poor people don't have plumbers, and lawnmowing contractors, and delivery drivers visiting all the year long.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 29 Sep 2021, 17:19:04

theluckycountry wrote:In the small town I live in I can see the effects of degrowth just in the collapsing back roads. These once well maintained bitumen roads are 'withering' so to speak, dying, which is the opposite of growth. Growth actually stopped roughly 25 years ago when the endless conversion from gravel to blacktop stopped abruptly. It's interesting to drive around the hills and note the number of bitumen roads that begin at one end, off some major road, run for say 12km to another major road, but in the middle is a 2 or 3 km section of gravel. Like an unfinished project, which is what they are basically. And they are everywhere out here.


OTOH, life expentencies, living standards on average, and the amount of roads and housing available continue to improve rather consistently, over time.

So there's that.

But I know, you have doom to sell, whether backed by credible facts or not. :idea:
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 29 Sep 2021, 18:17:25

Out,

It is the difference between looking backward and looking forward.

The standard disclaimer: past return are no guarantee of future performance.

Just one example; China has a coal crunch. They did. Not have a crunch until they did, and now the do.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Revi » Tue 19 Oct 2021, 01:39:02

Roads are an amazing thing. I hope some of them hold up for a while. It costs around $2500 a mile for a gravel road and $5000 a mile to maintain an asphalt road. Not surprising that some are being poorly maintained.
Deep in the mud and slime of things, even there, something sings.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 19 Oct 2021, 08:11:30

Image Image

In some places without a stable tax income base you get “capital improvements” that then can not be sustained.

This kind of thing goes on in third world countries. The want a road, for good reason, they find someone to help pay for the road, but then they can not maintain it. The above photos are of a bridge on a portion of an island ring road, incomplete.

Clearly an older bridge, all of the marking, signs, handrails, etc are long gone. The handrails are actually in the creek where they went in some previous accident. The locals were sympathetic and were as helpful as possible, they understand how it can happen.

The bridges on the leeward side of the island are worse. Many were taken out by previous hurricanes, years ago. The Chinese come in and rebuild. Cheap way to buy UN votes. And the US does little.

Not to be too smug about it I have seen the same issue in the USA, AMTRAK is an example I have experience with. When you work for Amtrak you work for the federal government, the vehicles have federal plates. There is small income from fares. Small income from states. Uncle Same is the main source of funds, so it is a political football.

Without an adequate and stable income source they do only the minimum maintenance, that stipulated in all RR’s by the FRA and daily operations. They get by day to day but any major work or improvements are covered by grants. But the grants do not cover maintenance.

To solve this dilemma they have adopted a strategy called “capital maintenance.” In short they just abandon some amount of maintenance and apply for a capital grant to do an “upgrade”, or “replacement”, or “enhancement.” If the funds don’t come this year (decade), then they will come next year (decade.)

The worse part of this is that it has almost totally eliminated the concept of maintenance from the workforce. The necessary routines and structures are not there, or exist only where some spark of enthusiasm is keeping the flame lit. It is not an institutional concept, at least in the ROW departments.

Now I am sure, 100%, that upper management would call me a bold liar. Middle management, would do the same, unless you know the guys and have their confidence. Only then do the honest opinions come forth. Or in a formal review.

The point of this missive is that degrowth, crumbling infrastructure, can be visible. But it is sometimes carefully carpeted over. And it is here in the USA.

And, for a more recent and visible example, look to Revi’s post in “Collapse Probably Wont Happen” for a description of the situation in PR.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby The_Toecutter » Mon 25 Oct 2021, 22:54:10

Newfie wrote:The point of this missive is that degrowth, crumbling infrastructure, can be visible. But it is sometimes carefully carpeted over. And it is here in the USA.


I make use of crumbling infrastructure every day when I visit job sites. I see lots of bridges held together with wooden boards where there used to be concrete with missing chunks of concrete from their pylons, potholes that could total a car(I have to be especially careful near these using my little trike that I built, as hitting one at 45 mph would be a death sentence), guardrails that are damaged/missing, street signs that are missing, and entire sections of the power grid still using components from the 1910s and 1920s that should have been replaced the better part of a century ago.

The official statistics in this country regarding inflation, unemployment, and quality of infrastructure are about as credible as Saddam Hussein having won 99% of the vote in a fair election. And I see a lot of anger among the common people, anger that won't be abated with a few lousy stimulus checks.

What is frightening is that we haven't seen shit yet if current trends continue.
The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the old growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder. ~Thomas Jefferson
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby AdamB » Mon 25 Oct 2021, 23:18:32

The_Toecutter wrote: And I see a lot of anger among the common people, anger that won't be abated with a few lousy stimulus checks.


And what, in your experience, are the common people angry about? Is it political, economic, just general irritation at a lack of something, or perhaps cultural or generational?
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby The_Toecutter » Tue 26 Oct 2021, 00:52:45

AdamB wrote:And what, in your experience, are the common people angry about? Is it political, economic, just general irritation at a lack of something, or perhaps cultural or generational?


Lots of things.

Loss of living standard. Rapid loss of opportunity. Shortage of living wage jobs. Constant media lying about the true state of things and gaslighting of the public. Politicians who pretend there's no problem or who make problems out of non-issues while the peoples' needs go ignored and their views unrepresented.

Most people around here didn't grow up as a child dreaming that they'd be slinging crack rocks on the street corner so they could make the next rent payment, prostituting themselves out near the local motel so they could feed their kids until the next check, or stealing what they needed from the local Dollar General WHILE working a crappy minimum wage job that falls short of affording basic sustenance. It comes down to most honest people willing and able to work being priced out of basic survival if they follow that path, let alone being able to afford an actual future(consider the cost of a college education these days). Thus, crime flourishes and hopelessness is ubiquitous.

Whenever a cop shoots someone, there is a major risk of it starting a riot around here as has happened numerous times over the last 10 years. There are entire sections of my city with nothing but abandoned store fronts and boarded up buildings for blocks at a time. Hordes of homeless people are camping in alleyways and abandoned buildings and I see them every day.

The city I live in isn't exactly remarkable as far as major U.S. cities go either. According to official government statistics, it is average in many measures.

For the bottom 50% of the population, this is closer to a 3rd world country than a 1st world country. Prior to the COVID shutdowns, 3/4 of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck, 2/3 of Americans can't come up with $500 in an emergency. This has only worsened as a result of the government's COVID policies.

In my case, it took me a year and a half of applying for jobs virtually every day, even going door to door, just to get a crappy minimum wage job washing dishes, after thousands of applications. I have an electrical engineering degree and at the time had about 9 years experience in that field, and was applying to jobs in my field as well as any crap jobs I could find just to have money coming in to avoid exhausting my hard won savings. I have no criminal record, an excellent credit score, and otherwise no blemishes. In 2019, one of the grocery stores I applied to that was advertising an open position had a line of people an eighth of a mile long stretching around the block. Yet at the same time that I see and experience this, I'm expected to believe the unemployment rate was only about 4% at that time. Fortunately for me, I found work in my field again this year. It only took, well, about 3 years and many thousands of applications, and thousands of hours spent applying to places, while companies bitched they couldn't find people with my skillset then proceeded to ignore my existence while demanding foreign VISA applicants.

All of these massive riots around the U.S. we've been seeing over the past decade did not occur in a vacuum or without reason. Just because the comfortably middle class have been able to afford to insulate themselves from the growing poverty does not mean things are well. It's getting more Mad Max-like around here with each passing day within the neighborhoods I live and travel in, and I've currently got a front row seat to the shit show. And what a shit show it is.

I've now got the money to splurge on a camera. Maybe I should buy a camera and ride around and show you all what these streets have become. Detroit, MI, Gary, IN, and Baltimore, MD are not anomalies. This country is completely falling apart and is in a state of incipient collapse. You will not see this ugliness looking at the official statistics or watching the cable news. It's not just the metropolitan areas suffering this fate, but so too are many small towns in flyover country, even complete with their own mass homeless encampments. The official statistics on homelessness within the U.S. are easily off by at least one order of magnitude.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby AdamB » Tue 26 Oct 2021, 11:09:16

The_Toecutter wrote:
AdamB wrote:And what, in your experience, are the common people angry about? Is it political, economic, just general irritation at a lack of something, or perhaps cultural or generational?


Lots of things.

Loss of living standard. Rapid loss of opportunity. Shortage of living wage jobs. Constant media lying about the true state of things and gaslighting of the public. Politicians who pretend there's no problem or who make problems out of non-issues while the peoples' needs go ignored and their views unrepresented.


When you talk to these folks Toe_Cutter, what is the context? Are these co-workers, people you meet on the street who strike up a conversation about your mode of transport, blue collar/white collar? For example, never in my life, my entire life, has someone broached a topic like "gee, there is a shortage of living wage jobs". Whining about no job available that they'd like, something involving warming a seat, with a secretary, for a high salary, and no responsibility. I see that comment in the MSM all the time, but never once has a person during some conversation mentioned it. And as it is the media where I've seen this comment, it is hard to claim that they then lying constantly about it.

Politicians being bashed, I hear that one. Not the media though. And loss of opportunity, that could be a topic based on the socio-economic group you are hearing your information from. I'm probably older than you, and I can't say that I hang out with the same socio-economic group I grew up in, but I still have friends from high school I see on occasion, and they certainly have a different view than the socio-economic world I'm in now.

Toe_Cutter wrote:Whenever a cop shoots someone, there is a major risk of it starting a riot around here as has happened numerous times over the last 10 years.


I'm not sure where you live, but cops shoot people where I live, and there is no instant riot expectation. Sure, they have been known to happen, and our local cops are great at tear gassing the homeless population that hangs out near the capital building, but that has been going on pre peak oil (pick your favorite), pre Trump (although his supporters themselves caused the last major riot, not the homeless or disadvantaged), and pre-this century.

Toe_Cutter wrote:In my case, it took me a year and a half of applying for jobs virtually every day, even going door to door, just to get a crappy minimum wage job washing dishes, after thousands of applications.


My daughter, who graduated college in the middle of Covid, took around 2 months to work her way into employment. First part time for a month, then a full time position. A year later, she took her 12 months of experience for a spin, got 3 offers in a week, accepted the second, then turned it down when the 3rd beat it the same afternoon, and is moving on to a publicly traded multi-national corporation with a 35% bump in pay plus bonuses. I know you are an engineer, but it is difficult to see the job market for white collar folks in a bad light right now. Depending on major of course.

My son upon high school graduation applied for post high school positions, and went to work for Target. Then went to Amazon for a couple years. Paying on his student loan as he went, graduating this December. He'll get a job, my bet is before the end of January, and will probably do that at the same time as he gets his masters.

At my place of employment we've recently hired 3 people, one of them had been out of work for a year or two. Another had gone the consultant route, and decided to get something more steady. The third is settling in, relatively young and from the Rocky Mt west, enjoying life in the big city, learning as she goes. All good wages and benefits expected, but none of these kinds of jobs are available without some basic STEM education certainly.

There are places in this country that are economic powerhouses. There are far more that aren't. I've lived in both. Do you have the option of moving to one, rather than the other?


toe_Cutter wrote:I have an electrical engineering degree and at the time had about 9 years experience in that field, and was applying to jobs in my field as well as any crap jobs I could find just to have money coming in to avoid exhausting my hard won savings. I have no criminal record, an excellent credit score, and otherwise no blemishes.


I've got an engineering degree as well, and have been laid off during down times. That is the way of work sometimes. My other careers have been far less sensitive to oil prices.

Toe-Cutter wrote:All of these massive riots around the U.S. we've been seeing over the past decade did not occur in a vacuum or without reason.


I've got news, the ones in the past decade aren't the only massive riots that have happened in the US. Riots, in and of themselves, are unlikely to be indicative of any one cause, or a favorite one.


Toe_Cutter wrote: This country is completely falling apart and is in a state of incipient collapse. You will not see this ugliness looking at the official statistics or watching the cable news.


And it isn't true just because of the underlying causes of globalization, inequity in incomes, or folks at the bottom end of the socio-economic pile unhappy that the US is more a global finance and technology power than a manufacturing one. This has been happening since Ronny began encouraging union busting back in the early 80's. I'm not sure you were around for that, but the same ideas of collapse and despair were being talked about them, just without social media involved to make people believe it was happening around the corner. Just ask coal miners, or the oil and gas industry about what happened back then, people whining about buy American and not a one of them willing to support the oil and gas industry, only bash them for making obscene profits....as though the supply/demand/price equation was their fault.

Toe_Cutter wrote:It's not just the metropolitan areas suffering this fate, but so too are many small towns in flyover country, even complete with their own mass homeless encampments. The official statistics on homelessness within the U.S. are easily off by at least one order of magnitude.


I regularly drive through every small town county seat I travel past, and homeless encampments there are invisible, if they exist at all. Downtown areas of major cities however, that is entirely a different story.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Tue 26 Oct 2021, 14:30:10

Homeless people tend to move to more populated areas as there are more services they can access within walking distance. Begging on a rural road is a poor performer compared to a busy city street.
And then if you sort out the residents of a homeless camp and take out those that are there due to drug abuse or alcoholism, and mental health issues made worse by alcohol and drugs there isn't much left except some single mothers and their children who chose the father of those children poorly.
In Vermont such mothers and children can access services that can get them off the street for the most part but that does not help a mother that is also drug addicted.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 24 Nov 2021, 08:47:09

Here is a more pleasant Degrowth to me killer.

https://m.facebook.com/lostnewfoundland/
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 24 Nov 2021, 09:31:12

Degrowth Christmas humor.

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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby theluckycountry » Thu 25 Nov 2021, 06:06:40

The_Toecutter wrote:It's not just the metropolitan areas suffering this fate, but so too are many small towns in flyover country, even complete with their own mass homeless encampments. The official statistics on homelessness within the U.S. are easily off by at least one order of magnitude.


It's a complete collapse under way there by the sounds of it TC. The great depression was a disaster but the infrastructure didn't collapse, only the money system that led to people starving and industry going on hold. There was a bright light at the end of that tunnel in the form of abundant cheap energy. Not this time around though. This time it's down for the count. Here's hoping you find a place to weather the decline in the decades to come.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 30 Nov 2021, 18:29:53

Well, they seem have convinced my Wife we are on the verge of collapse. Short of time, I will try to explain more Thursday. It is just getting bizarre.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Doly » Wed 01 Dec 2021, 15:17:34

I'm not particularly surprised that Toe_cutter and AdamB talk to each other as if they lived in different countries. First, the USA is a really big country. The good bits are really different from the bad bits. And if you look at the stats, what strikes me the most is the inequality levels. It's obvious to me that people living at one level really don't know about people living at the other level, and they sort of think that they must be lying, somewhat deluded or exaggerating. I think both of you are probably telling the truth as you see it, without exaggeration. And that's one of the big problems that the USA has as a country. Those levels of inequality can't go on for very long.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 01 Dec 2021, 17:58:11

Doly,

I agree that we are split and see the world through very different eyes. Inequality has something to do with it but I am not convinced that is the best descriptor. It is one descriptor for sure.

I feel something deeper is going on, something weird.

Yesterday I set a 20# box of kitty liter in the vestibule. I went to get it a couple of hours later and found someone had taken the box, opened it, and poured out the contents into a bag or something, and left the empty box.

Why???
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 01 Dec 2021, 20:28:03

I offer the below as a contemplation not as a statement of fact. The situation is very complicated and possibly volitile.

We retired and left Philadelphia in 2016, we spend our winters in the Caribbean and summers in Newfoundland. Tough life eh?

Then covid and we came back stateside June 2020, stayed in North Carolina until June 2021. At that time renters of 19 years left and we took over one apartment to do a rehab/upgrade. We had full intentions of keeping the building but as we observed Philly life my Wife became convinced it was time to cash out and leave.

Her account is that it is not the same place it once was. There is a massive building boom going on, and most of it is very poor construction. 4 story stick buildings with brick or vinyl facades. Row upon row, you can almost pass a hot dog from one balcony to the living room of the adjacent block. They are throw backs to the Soviet era mass housing. Many other older houses are being rebuilt, improved, or even torn down and replaced. A twin of our house, on our block, in very good condition just went for $1.85 million. The buyer is gutting it and making it 7 apartments. That will likely cost close to another million considering the scope which includes removing a redundant spiral staircase.

My Wife believes this is an insane bubble which is destroying the good parts of the neighborhood. The quality of life has gone down with the population increase. Everything is overloaded and it just keeps getting pumped up.

I see it in peoples attitudes. Pedestrians and bicyclists. Not all but far too many act like they are out to commit suicide by car. They just walk or ride out into the street. At night they wear all black. I very nearly hit a pedestrian yesterday because she just made a hard left into my path. They have NO sense of self preservation, they rely entirely upon others to protect them. They walk/ride down the middle of streets, engulfed in their phones or whatever, oblivious. The streets have bike lanes but they are seldom used. Bikers have no care of rules and ride counter traffic down one way streets and blow through lights. Motorist are frequently as bad, there seems to be no speed limit and we have seen many folks blow stop lights. Recently I was at a stop light with 3 cars behind me, some guy just comes up and drives around in the in-coming lane, blows the light, and keeps going. No big hurry, just his style.

Talking to my old associates is difficult. There is an extremely high level of aggression toward Republicans, hate speech really. It is clearly dehumanizing propaganda. I am sure there are places where it occurs the other way around, but not in Philly.

2 weeks ago there were 5 murders or rather executions in 3 days. 4 were men sitting in or working on there cars when some guy walks up and shoots him. Some shooters were adept, 2 rounds and done. Others used more like 18 rounds. The 5th was a 25 yo woman. It was all caught on video tape. Some guy is hanging on a corner, this woman walks up a side street, turns and is gunned down. In other incidents a guy was after someone on a bus and opened up through the side of the bus. A guy eating diner was killed by a stray from 2 chaps fighting over booze. 2 days ago a 16 yo and a 14 yo were gunned down in separate incidents. The 14 yo was waiting at a school bus stop when 2 guys came after him. 35 rounds latter he was dead of 18 injuries. The 16 yo was similar.

Nobody nowhere knows nothing. Frankly it sounds like some kind of gang warfare but the news gives just the barest passages. These do not appear to be crimes of passion.

To me this bespeaks a general breakdown if the social contract. John Locke said the ONE fundamental right you give to government is vigilantism. Jared Diamond and others make a similar point; the foundation of civil government is in the reduction of revenge violence/killing through the application of law. Is this people taking back the enforcement of rules even if they are street rules?

There is some weird paradox where the well off whites in our neighborhood have such a feeling of entitlement that they flaunt their own personal disregard for safety and others clearly are taking matters into their own hands to dispense justice as they see it.

If push were to come to shove it is, to me, pretty clear which side would prevail. At what point push comes to shove is unclear. Maybe it is when the police decide to stand down, to quit being the monkey in the middle.

My sense is that the minority black community is split with a fair portion being rather conservative church going, salt if the Earth type citizens who understand the personal power dynamic pretty clearly. They understand the need for a professional government and the city management to provide fundamental services. Does there come a time when they revolt against the D party? As it is the highest anti-bad demographic rests in the black community, quite possibly because there is a deep distrust of the government.

I don’t know the racial make up of the Rittenhouse jury, my guess is majority black ladies. I have served in such a jury and I came away with a deep respect for these women. They took their job very seriously and did some pretty serious soul searching to come up with a fair verdict. They were no dummies, they could see through the baloney easily enough and got to the essential truths in short order. They were sick and tired of “these young hoodlums ruling our streets.” I saw no racial prejudice but a lot of practical knowledge and traditional values. I think thats why Rittenhouse got off, not because he acted properly (he didn’t) but because he was on the side of order vs anarchy; God represents order and the Devil anarchy.

So I can see the stage set for some pretty dramatic civil strife as these various parties attempt to work things out. That strife can then easily fall over into a general disruption which tanks the already wobbly economy. How far it goes is anyones guess. Will it devolve into a general collapse? Who knows. But it is a possibility.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Thu 02 Dec 2021, 13:28:23

Newfie wrote:
I don’t know the racial make up of the Rittenhouse jury, my guess is majority black ladies.

You guessed wrong.
The jury is composed of 11 women and nine men; 19 of them are white and one is Hispanic, according to reporting from WISN 12 News’s Hillary Mintz.

That was the pool including alternates.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Thu 02 Dec 2021, 14:38:28

LOL, gunfights in the street is your idea of "order"? Rittenhouse, Zimmerman proves that if you can legally carry a gun, any murder is justified simply by saying "I was afraid he was gonna take my gun and shoot me!"
Once everyone is armed 24/7 there is no such thing as murder, it is always self-defense. That seems to be the aim anyway
That will help degrowth.

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Strangely I feel like the current climate is more one of ephemeral decadence rather than untold agony. Especially the last 10 years but really the last 40 years, government is borrowing merely to keep the party going. As I have ranted repeatedly, subtract yearly borrowing from so-called yearly "growth" and you find that we have been de-growing since about 1985. Housing increased 20% last year, because the government props up the mortgage lending market by buying every paper available. The stock market has been overvalued for years and is now approaching the 44x value that proceeded the dot.com bust.

Degrowth has been with us for a while. Diminishing returns from increasing complexity is the diagnosis. Only the foam of trillions in funny money are supporting the whole edifice. Bridges crumble while we wait for the Apple VR goggles to make reality tolerable. Turns out that apps, interest, and real estate commissions don't an economy make.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 02 Dec 2021, 20:16:06

vtsnowedin wrote:
Newfie wrote:
I don’t know the racial make up of the Rittenhouse jury, my guess is majority black ladies.

You guessed wrong.
The jury is composed of 11 women and nine men; 19 of them are white and one is Hispanic, according to reporting from WISN 12 News’s Hillary Mintz.

That was the pool including alternates.


As I said I was guessing. I just took a look and found that Kenosha was 79% white in 2019. So that goes a long way to explaining.

My personal observations about the case I was involved in which was 11 people of color, 11 black and 1 asian, remain.


Perhaps it goes to show that at core many people have a similar moral standard.
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