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Degrowth Thread

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 11:22:20

The main catergories of the 1% are tech weenies and global merchants. But do not forget (as stated earlier in the thread) that "extreme poverty" is a quarter of what it was, during a period when the population basicly doubled. Do not also forget that every economic level benefitted during this same period, from the poor through the various middle classes.

In fact, Doom would appear to be receding in the distance, not approaching.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 11:48:28

Pops wrote:The top 1% captured created as much of the profit of growth as the bottom 80% over the last 40 years.

There that's better.

Some think that is as it should be and we should be thankful to our overlords when they occasionally tinkle down on us.
Written on a Dell computer with Microsoft software purchased from Walmart and delivered by UPS.connected to the internet by either AT&T land line or Dish network satellite. A little thanks would seem to be in order.
But degrowth is no panacea. Piketty claimed that lower growth relative to the rate of return on capital is what drives inequality, R>G. His point was inequality was higher in the feudal era which had little growth. I'd guess that low or degrowth would require serious enforcement of anti-competition, anti-monopoly rules else Bezos and Walton and whatever corporate person gobble up all competition and become our new liege lords.
Capitalism has always required regulation and the rule of law to maintain opportunity for all.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 12:08:20

Ibon wrote:The story

In the centuries past hard work and toiling in the fields would occupy the vast majority of peoples time and a lot of mental energy as well. Church on Sunday or Saturday would be a day of rest and contemplation.

And then came the industrial revolution and technology that was supposed to open up time for leisure and freedom. But it seems like most folks chose the huge distraction of consumption which kept them in chains, in debt, so the promise of free time didn't happen. Because most people need something to fill the void. Consumption culture and going into debt are not just simple manipulations of advertising firms making you believe that you need this or that product. Consumption is largely a distraction to fill the void.

Truth be told the vast majority of humanity cannot endure freedom and not being chained and harnessed. If technology freed us from the toil of hard physical labor we replaced this with consumption culture that kept us still distracted and chained to being in debt and behind on mortgage payments etc. This is collectively self induced.

I bring up this psychological component in this discussion because the biggest challenge with degrowth and the rise of AI etc. is what do people then do with the void that ensues?

What will be the new chains people will invent to keep themselves distracted if there isn't a new Iphone being released every 10 months?



Ibon,

Excellent post and excellent observations. Have you read Bretrand Russel’s bit on idleness?

https://libcom.org/files/Bertrand%20Rus ... leness.pdf
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 12:10:57

Ibon wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote: I think not. The vast majority of Chinese and Indians between them half the worlds population would sure like to give freedom and sufficiency a good try.


They are chained and harnessed in their pursuit of "freedom"

Consumption culture is a promise of a big illusion. And there is a reason everyone is chasing it. It is the only monoculture option in town.

More and more I am coming to realize that there is no solution that brings along the mass of humanity.

Just small pockets of alternatives.

I am giving up on contemplating on the juggernaut of humanity as a unit that needs to solve its dilemma. It's hopeless. Focus on ones own alternative arrangements but forget about Kudzu Ape in his entirety.


Very Darwinian. Likely.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 12:16:14

vtsnowedin wrote:
Pops wrote:The top 1% captured created as much of the profit of growth as the bottom 80% over the last 40 years.

LOL, over the last 25 years I've captured 100% of the value of my labor.
If you feel obliged to donate a portion of your value to those "creators" to buy themselves a bigger yacht then more power to ya.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 12:27:13

Pops,

I never said degrowth was no panacea, and it’s clear who wants growth, everyone.

What I said was, simply put, infinite growth is impossible, we need to find a sustainable model or perish.

And I don’t give much creedence to the degrowth web sites I’ve seen.

And you seem to have a thing for “yachts” today.

We spent $93k on the boat that houses us with no need for heating or cooling and with no taxes. I’ve made investments in the boat so that we now have got wind and solar, off grid. I did rent a car for 3 days to see the island, first I’ve driven since October. I do run the dink back and forth which consumes some gas. No TV, read a lot.

Granted we are not typical, but there are a fair number of us. So don’t paint all with one brush.

And this is only half a year. The other half we live in a small cabin but that is much more costly. We have to pay for electricity and drive quite far to get anything. But firewood is free for the taking.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 13:00:14

Don't be so defensive newf, we're all sinners.

The point of degrowth not being a panacea or path to nirvana is just as I said, low growth is likely to increase inequality. The rapid growth of the 19th thru early 20th century was a huge equalizing factor that lowered inequality to historically low levels. That isn't an attack, necessarily, it's just a fact.

High marginal taxes in the mid-20th further reduced inequality. Movement conservatism fought to lower those taxes on the rich and eventually reversed those gains and the value added by labor began flowing upward again. Really, VTs feeling that the creators deserve all the profits and labor should say "thank you, sir" for privilege of low wages is prolly as good a plan as any.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 13:13:45

My criticism is in the mistaken belief that wealth is a zero sum game where wealth accumulated by some rich person has been extracted by means fair or foul from the little people. In fact the value of our computers and software and much of the other innovations we all now use and enjoy is the product of research and development of ideas had by a few. That they got very rich off those ideas did not steal anything from you or I and we are all free to unplug if we want to go without the benefits these things now provide. Of course few will but they should stop whining about the "excess" wealth of the rich people because they can't take it with them and it will eventually get into circulation one way or the other.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 13:20:26

Really V? None other than the IMF declares " Now, nearly 80 years later, Rogers’ quip is getting the punchline it deserves: A devastating new report from the International Monetary Fund has declared the idea of "trickle-down" economics to be as much a joke as he'd imagined."

https://psmag.com/economics/trickle-dow ... eed-a-joke
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 13:36:23

onlooker wrote:Really V? None other than the IMF declares " Now, nearly 80 years later, Rogers’ quip is getting the punchline it deserves: A devastating new report from the International Monetary Fund has declared the idea of "trickle-down" economics to be as much a joke as he'd imagined."

https://psmag.com/economics/trickle-dow ... eed-a-joke

That is a perfect example of treating wealth as a zero sum game. All the charts use wealth as 100% and show a division so you think in 2019 they are dividing the same pie as existed in 1945.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 13:53:48

Actually trading labor for money is a zero sum game, the more the ownership takes the less labor gets.

It isn't about wealth per se, it's about workers sharing in the value they create.

Not to digress too much but Michael Dell or the Waltons or Bezos or Jobs didn't invent anything. Dell assembled parts; Walton only perfected low wages he didn't invent them; Jobs, like Edison, didn't invent things but merely exploited the ideas of others. That seems a pretty widespread practice.

If Dell flew off to Galt's Gulch would the PC market suddenly freeze up from lack of invention? I'm gonna say: LOL

Defenders of the 1% seem to think it's about envy. I don't care how big Bezos' yacht is except as a measure of his success in skimming his workers value. It's no skin off my nose, I haven't worked for a wage in decades.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:14:52

I remember the days before the Commodore 64 when having a computer in your home was a fantasy you read about of watched in cartoons like the "Jetsons". Jobs, Gates Dell, etc. took the state of the art and took it further and made that fantasy a reality and the products they created had never existed before so there was no historic split between labor and capitalist management to change in the managements favor. The factory workers got new jobs that never existed before and did quite well with them. The people making slide rules in Hong Kong had to find a new product to make and sell to college students but you will always have to get rid if the buggy whip makers if there is progress.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:22:33

I loved the Jetsons.
Georges job was to press one button, once a day, one day a week.
Jane spent the day shopping and at the historical society.
All due to great leaps in invention.
Just like today, huh?
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:24:02

vtsnowedin wrote:I don't claim to know what a factory worker in China thinks about his prospects but I'm pretty sure he or she is glad they are not bent over in a rice paddy planting rice seedlings. .


The generation you just described here is not much any longer in the zeitgeist of Chinese Culture. They have graduated to demanding more than just the drudgery of a 50 hour work week in a factory. They are wanting economic opportunity to chain themselves to the next stage of consumption; house, car, etc. etc.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:28:59

Perhaps this is a strange thing for an engineer to say, but half or more of the tech industry wealth arises from marketing and not technology itself. I have seen many Silicon Valley startups go bust not because they didn't have a genuine tech advance, but because they could not market it to the right customer base. I have also seen the new owner of those same patents make a fortune because he knew who to sell to. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were marketers, not engineers.

The same sort of thing will apply to Green Energy and EVs in the future - those who know how and where and when to sell will join the 1%.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:36:04

KaiserJeep wrote:Perhaps this is a strange thing for an engineer to say, but half or more of the tech industry wealth arises from marketing and not technology itself. I have seen many Silicon Valley startups go bust not because they didn't have a genuine tech advance, but because they could not market it to the right customer base. I have also seen the new owner of those same patents make a fortune because he knew who to sell to. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were marketers, not engineers.

The same sort of thing will apply to Green Energy and EVs in the future - those who know how and where and when to sell will join the 1%.

Yes but we will have the green energy and drive the EVs so where is the problem?
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:36:56

Newfie wrote:

Ibon,

Have you read Bretrand Russel’s bit on idleness?

https://libcom.org/files/Bertrand%20Rus ... leness.pdf


Feels like I read him way back in the 70's. I do believe there is a root cause of the imbalances that indeed does go beyond the economic system.

The need for distraction is what drives humans once they have met their fundamental survival needs and this is what has chained the masses to choosing consumption culture. Of course, that it is the only game in town results in that few have role models to choose anything differently.

I see this played out in our eco resort. There is a way to consume eco tourism just as much as there is a way to be here and hit base line in the nature and actually do nothing, be lazy as in what Bertrand Russel expounded on.

Most guests that visit us are nature consumers. They stay 2-4 days and hit all our trails and see the monkeys and their days are full of the activity of consuming what our resort has to offer. Their days are full of exercise and nature watching and by the 3rd or 4th day they are off to another bioregion, snorkelling in the Caribbean or whatever the next item is on their agenda. They flew across oceans and continents on their 7 or 14 or 21 days trip with a full itinerary hitting all the key regions and sites. This kind of movement from one place to another is quite frenetic and actually mirrors their life back at home at work. Neurologically they stay in the same sphere of experience, jacked up and consuming Panama's or Costa Rica's nature hot spots.

Another kind of guest, much rarer, is the one who books 7 to 10 days and I will go by the cabin and they will be on the hammocks, reading, doing nothing, and by day 3 or 4 they have settled into the base line of being here, not checking off this trail or that trail but actually doing nothing. This is a completely different kind of existential orientation of being here. These folks are not consuming nature but hitting base line and actually being here.

Most folks in their day to day lives keep themselves neurologically distracted by setting up their lives so that they are harnessed and chained to activities that shield them from actually ever hitting that base line. A birth or a death or a sickness will momentarily take them there but otherwise life is frenetic and a big fat distraction.

You may think I am way off topic but I don't think so. Those who have been deep in wilderness or maybe Newfie out in the sea or maybe some of us still remember childhood when boredom would incubate something that would then bloom into creativity.

These days the internet has only jacked up the frenetic pace to another level, neurologically we are able to surf to keep the distraction an almost constant.

There is a vertical quality of being which most of humanity no longer is familiar with.

It explains the split between humans and the natural world, the split between people actually, the inability to hit that base line and just be without the brain having to hitch on to some distraction.

This is the essence of consumption culture. No one can sit still anymore.
Last edited by Ibon on Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:38:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:37:54

To what Kaiser is saying and to the topic of this post. How do you market degrowth? Contraction is about less, more sells not less
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:43:56

Ibon, "This is the essence of consumption culture. No one can sit still anymore."
This is what I am trying to be immersed into , more Peace. My Signature Icon is about that. Peace as in stopping the frenetic thinking, superficial distractions and fast paced pleasure seeking lifestyle. I have been a life long city dweller and Nature can invoke this peace
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 15 Mar 2019, 14:48:13

onlooker wrote:To what Kaiser is saying and to the topic of this post. How do you market degrowth? Contraction is about less, more sells not less

I think you market as increased efficiency. You install solar panels and a heat pump and put you oil furnace out of business depriving some camel jockey of an oil sale each winter and placing less CO2 into the atmosphere.
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