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Degrowth Thread

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 17 Aug 2019, 19:58:11

I’ve recently read a couple of books that talked about the power of myth, or abstraction if you like. One theory is that it is the ability to believe in these myths that has allowed us to develop groupings larger than a tribe. May be something to that.

Some thing that learning agriculture put us on this bad patch, others say mastering fire, or language. Myths are another of those theories.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 17 Aug 2019, 21:01:56

Newfie wrote:I’ve recently read a couple of books that talked about the power of myth, or abstraction if you like. One theory is that it is the ability to believe in these myths that has allowed us to develop groupings larger than a tribe. May be something to that.

Some thing that learning agriculture put us on this bad patch, others say mastering fire, or language. Myths are another of those theories.

Yes certainly we have a tendency to follow group think and thus blend in. Herd mentality
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 17 Aug 2019, 21:10:50

Myths tie a society together in a common belief system, they can be irrational even and can persist for long periods as long as they are benign to ecological principals. If they contradict ecological principals they are doomed. Period.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby EdwinSm » Sun 18 Aug 2019, 12:03:33

The economic playbook is being rewritten with the idea of negative interest. Here in Finland one of the major local banks is talking about charging customers interest to have money in a savings account, and we had to close my wife's saving accounts because her balance was too low attracting monthly fees.

I am sure that negative interest rates can give a good economic base to degrowth!
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 19 Aug 2019, 06:58:05

Ed,

That’s really interesting. Lots of ramifications. I don’t think the economists can conceive of an sustainable economy. It would surely require major modifications to our culture.

Doable?
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 11 Sep 2019, 06:48:39

Came across this clip last night. Powerful stuff.

https://youtu.be/dedzkxCQOag

It’s from Jimmy Carters lCrisis of Confidence” speech. As a young man I did not listen to this speech, or if I did I did not HEAR the message. Or maybe I did take delivery of the message and just forgot where I first heard it.

Full text here. It extremely interesting to look back upon.

https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speech ... idence.htm
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Wed 11 Sep 2019, 12:03:54

Newfie wrote:Came across this clip last night. Powerful stuff.

https://youtu.be/dedzkxCQOag

It’s from Jimmy Carters lCrisis of Confidence” speech. As a young man I did not listen to this speech, or if I did I did not HEAR the message. Or maybe I did take delivery of the message and just forgot where I first heard it.

Full text here. It extremely interesting to look back upon.

https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speech ... idence.htm


Wow. Indeed. That famous line about what did the Eastern Islanders think when they cut the last tree. One day historians will look over these archives and wonder....." They actually knew what was going on, they made speeches decades before. How could they have been so twisted to do absolutely nothing about it"
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 08 Oct 2019, 20:00:43

I’ve been thinking about resource depletion recently, how we need to look at soil, water, and oil as resources to be husbanded. And I was thinking how climate change was different, not a resource depletion issue.

But then....it struck me that...

If you say that our atmosphere has a certain capacity to absorb green house gasses, a LIMITED capacity to absorb these gasses, the climate change can also be described l, accurately, as a resource depletion issue. We are depleting the atmospheres ability to absorb our excess carbon.

I think that is a useful formulation in describing the problems we face, if we can describe them more simply but more universally then they become clearer and the corrective actions become more cohesive and more clear.

We are facing serious resource depletion issues on many front because of our excess usage. The solution is that we need to reign in usage on all fronts. Degrowth is a necessary element, the central element required to bring Earth back to a sustainable balance.

Arguing minor details of one or the other elements is not required, the general principal should be obvious to the most casual observer, we can not over spend our savings account.

That this simple but fundamental concept is in doubt by most Americans is a testament to the power of the Consumerist propaganda we have been fed for the past century or so.

Yet there is great truth to the simple maxim that we can not expect to overspend our accounts without consequence. It just needs to be said, repeatedly, in the face of the obvious lies we have been told. Eventually folks will see the truth, too late to avoid dire consequences, but the sooner the better.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 12 Oct 2019, 18:29:38

Hyperconsumerism has been also said to have religious characteristics,[10] and have been compared to a new religion which enshrines consumerism above all, with elements of religious life being replaced by consumerist life: (going to) churches replaced by (going to) shopping malls, saints replaced by celebrities, penance replaced by shopping sprees, desire for better life after death replaced by desire for better life in the present, and so on.[7] Mark Sayers notes that hyperconsumerism has commercialized many religious symbols, giving an example of religious symbols worn as jewelry by non-believers.[7]


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperco ... cteristics
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 12 Oct 2019, 19:12:49

Not sure these ideas should reside in the Degrowth Thread but I don’t want to start a new thread and they may end up working here.

A couple of weeks ago I came across an article showing a strong difference in younger folks. Two groups: A is socially active and NOT lonely while B is socially active but reports as LONELY. Group A is far more likely to be engaged in an organized religion while Group B far more likely to be engaged in a POLITICAL group.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/artic ... 41374.html

Now also reading about consumerism and religion it seems that there is a strong trend away from organized religions towards consumerisim. Or perhaps more accurately the consumer portion of our society has co-opted elements from religion and visa versa. Brands demand brand loyalty and give back a sense of belonging, of defining ones self. The argument is that once we turned to religion to find our self esteem, to know that we were the right kind of person. And that process involved how well we confirmed to the societal code. More recently that process has been co-opted by Brands and they define our position in life. We no longer ask if we are moral but if we have the correct shoes or brand of car. Through advertising we are programmed to strive for some ultimate higher state that is defined by the brands; Nirvana would be something like Gucci, BMW, and the Bold New Look Of Kohler. We are never satisfied because our image of perfection is consumer based and there is always some “better” brand that were we to acquire it we would become “better” people.

Far from the criteria being God the criteria has become ourselves. Now once we choose our identity, much of the traditional trappings of religion come with it. There are sins, unclean things, demons, angels, and priests. The objects that fulfill these roles merely change.


The problem in terms of religious demographic then becomes that our analysis of religion is flawed. If a raver of the late 1990’s is engaged in a fundamental religious practice, as is an anarchist protestor against globalism, then the rise of the Nones is not really about no religion. You can, I think, already see this in the explanations by the Nones for why they left religion. Politics is a common explanation (often a disagreement with the more socially conservative politics of more conservative religion) but so too are traditional beliefs. Yet, I think the notion that humans have a basic religious drive is a very strong hypothesis. We’re thus seeing through consumerism the rise of non-religious religions that can provide the sense of meaning and “spirituality” people seek.


This is a very difficult and complex concept that is impossible to treat fairly here. I’m attaching a single link that I found interesting and thoughtful. There is a LOT of current literature on this topic. Google searches for “capitalism religion” “Consumerisim religion” and the like will provide many scholarly hits.

https://www.timesandseasons.org/harchiv ... index.html

Ibon,
This line of inquiry makes me think of your considerations about how we may evolve through the bottle neck. I’m still not convinced there is an adequate feedback mechanism. However I do believe that something significant is going on at THIS time. Though you might find some of this interesting, and perhaps more stimulating that the endless partisan baiting.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 14 Oct 2019, 14:04:27

Well here is some good news.

https://theness.com/neurologicablog/ind ... table-cme/

According to this we have a 12% chance of a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) within a decade. That would knock the socks off the economy and give us some breathing space. Maybe.

Not a lot of faith in this stories probabilities, but we can hope.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 14 Oct 2019, 14:49:22

Newfie wrote:
Ibon,
This line of inquiry makes me think of your considerations about how we may evolve through the bottle neck. I’m still not convinced there is an adequate feedback mechanism. However I do believe that something significant is going on at THIS time. .


There was a saying that you can recognize the religion of a people by looking at the monuments and temples they build. An alien anthropologist looking down on the modern human landscape would conclude that shopping malls and all the boulevards of box stores where thousands flock daily certainly represent the religion of the people.
I think the resistance of people to understand ecological limits and the denial we see of climate change are both related to the way consumerism represents a deep ideology similar to religions. After all, it is not hard to understand that we live on a finite planet. It is not hard to understand CO2 emissions causing climate chaos. So why the resistance? It's a religion!
This summary would lead one to conclude that modern humans are royally fucked. How does this assessment resolve itself with my theory that the consequences of climate change may very well provide the impetus to move us in the direction of self regulation? Well, I think it is fair to say that reality in the end sets the foundation on top of which ideology rests. The current consumer religion ideology rests on top of the foundation of both abundant fossil fuels and a still healthy biosphere. When these foundations change the ideology will also change. It will have no choice. It is just that very simple. Humans adapt.
Consider how consumerism spread around the planet regardless of culture, race, political ideology, economic model, geography, nationality. It is global. This demonstrates how robust a religion it has become but it also demonstrates how quickly humans collectively coalesce around a specific ideology. That fact is very important when considering what changes lie ahead and the ability of humans collectively to adapt.
Most people assume a powered down less energy intensive lifestyle means a loss of quality of life. I am not one of them.
I see a renaissance when the foundation no longer allows us to fly on a whim, to buy a 2nd or 3rd car, boat, snow mobile, whatever. This is when ideology starts to shift and ask yourself where will folks gravitate toward when their ability to consume is curtailed?

Is it naïve to assume that pursuits will move more in the direction that enhances well being? Music, arts, nature, friendship, singing, science, creative crafts, serving the poor, service in general. Giving of yourself to make your planet and community more resilient. A religious renaissance that weaves nature into the fold of mankind instead of pure extraction of resources. I actually see many examples of humans pursuing exactly these more virtuous values. I thnk the result is they are happier than those following the religion and ideology of unsatiable consumption.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 14 Oct 2019, 14:57:33

Newfie wrote: and perhaps more stimulating that the endless partisan baiting.


There is something important to point out, something I already did over a year ago. Most folks are so stuck in polarization that immediately there is the assumption that because you take a position against the criminal actions of Trump that this somehow labels you a democrat or socialist. One thing really important to understand is that this is exactly the narrative that Trump and his base promote in order to keep the polarity very much robust since they can hide their criminal behavior behind a nation stuck in divisiveness.

I think we are far along enough to see the instability, the criminality, the incompetence, the character, etc. to recognize that many who are taking a stand against the demagogue in the white house are not doing so to feed this tribal divisiveness.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby mousepad » Mon 14 Oct 2019, 15:01:00

Ibon wrote: immediately there is the assumption that because you take a position against the criminal actions of Trump that this somehow labels you a democrat or socialist.


That is a good point. But what can you do? Voting democrat essentially is also a vote for criminals. Only the color changes.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 14 Oct 2019, 15:14:50

Ibon wrote:
Newfie wrote:
Ibon,
This line of inquiry makes me think of your considerations about how we may evolve through the bottle neck. I’m still not convinced there is an adequate feedback mechanism. However I do believe that something significant is going on at THIS time. .


There was a saying that you can recognize the religion of a people by looking at the monuments and temples they build. An alien anthropologist looking down on the modern human landscape would conclude that shopping malls and all the boulevards of box stores where thousands flock daily certainly represent the religion of the people.


I had the identical thought with a twist. In past ages folks would willingly build expensive monuments as directed by the elite. They were cathedrals, pyramids, holy cities, etc. We still build temples as directed by the elites. Which besides the sky scrapers include their personal mansions and air craft carriers.


I think the resistance of people to understand ecological limits and the denial we see of climate change are both related to the way consumerism represents a deep ideology similar to religions. After all, it is not hard to understand that we live on a finite planet. It is not hard to understand CO2 emissions causing climate chaos. So why the resistance? It's a religion!


Which is where my idea of this economic culture being a religion comes from. The concept of a finite Earth and the impossibility of infinite economic growth are so intensely in conflict that it must take some extremely powerful mental manipulation to get folks to go along with the fantasy. The only thing I know of with that power is religion, the Power or Myth. What’s really fascinating is that this myth was created and took over the collective right under our noses. It seems so obviously wrong as to be no threat, yet here it is. Truly an amazing hit of propaganda. I’m in awe!

This summary would lead one to conclude that modern humans are royally fucked. How does this assessment resolve itself with my theory that the consequences of climate change may very well provide the impetus to move us in the direction of self regulation? Well, I think it is fair to say that reality in the end sets the foundation on top of which ideology rests. The current consumer religion ideology rests on top of the foundation of both abundant fossil fuels and a still healthy biosphere. When these foundations change the ideology will also change. It will have no choice. It is just that very simple. Humans adapt.


Me thinks that “adaption” will be a bloody mess. Most revolutions are.

Consider how consumerism spread around the planet regardless of culture, race, political ideology, economic model, geography, nationality. It is global. This demonstrates how robust a religion it has become but it also demonstrates how quickly humans collectively coalesce around a specific ideology. That fact is very important when considering what changes lie ahead and the ability of humans collectively to adapt.


And perhaps that is what scares me the most, the rapidity at which the here can change. I can see a time when there is an awareness sweeping through the herd that they have been royalty duped and are pissed off. Greta maybe represents the first ripple of that tsunami. It may, or may never, catch fire and run over our existing culture. Don’t know. And it may, will likely?,be a regional thing; catching fire in some regions while other regions remain under governmental control. Kind of like the French Revolution sweeping across Europe except on a truly global level. How will 1.2 billion Chinese react when told they have to go back to the rice fields?


Most people assume a powered down less energy intensive lifestyle means a loss of quality of life. I am not one of them.
I see a renaissance when the foundation no longer allows us to fly on a whim, to buy a 2nd or 3rd car, boat, snow mobile, whatever. This is when ideology starts to shift and ask yourself where will folks gravitate toward when their ability to consume is curtailed?

Is it naïve to assume that pursuits will move more in the direction that enhances well being? Music, arts, nature, friendship, singing, science, creative crafts, serving the poor, service in general.


Back in 1933 Russel wrote his treatise “In Praise Of Idleness” where he contemplated the virtues of having idle time to peruse just the activities you contemplate above. We didn’t do that. Instead we have found endless silly ways to stay “employed”, to convince ourselves that we are of use to the herd, the tribe. Now there is another conversation to be had, is this need to serve the tribe I ate to our biology? Or does it come from our Puritan Work Ethic history? Surely there are places on Earth where folks seem to be perfectly comfortable being idle. Or is that a myth? I simply don’t know.

Giving of yourself to make your planet and community more resilient. A religious renaissance that weaves nature into the fold of mankind instead of pure extraction of resources. I actually see many examples of humans pursuing exactly these more virtuous values. I thnk the result is they are happier than those following the religion and ideology of unsatiable consumption.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 14 Oct 2019, 15:28:08

mousepad wrote:
Ibon wrote: immediately there is the assumption that because you take a position against the criminal actions of Trump that this somehow labels you a democrat or socialist.


That is a good point. But what can you do? Voting democrat essentially is also a vote for criminals. Only the color changes.


Trump is what he is, he wears his character on his sleeve. On the other hand we have had many years of duplicitous mismanagement in favor of the elite. Trump did not create the sorry mess the USA, or the world, is in.

One of the things that highly annoys me is how some folks venerate Obama as a man of class. Well, yes, he wore the robes of office well. But he was no defender of the Earth or the downtrodden. Compare Obama to LBJ with respect to efforts to improve the social equality within the USA. LBJ clearly went far out on a limb to push his agenda of equality for all.

But then compare Obama to Carter for forthright candor concerning our global energy position and how the consumer society is eroding our humanity. Carter went far out on a limb to speak to the American folks as competent adults. That events and a master charlatan conspired to remove him from office does not diminish his value as a human. By comparison what did Obama do? His “Big Climate Change” speech? I read that carefully and it was both embarrassing and enraging that he should try to pull that BS over. He was a BIG Oil shill plain and simple.

So the problem is not that Trump won the election it is that we the people were completely failed by the political parties. Neither one was able to put forth a respectable candidate. I view Trumps election more as Americans saying; “I would rather tear the structure down than facilitate this charade.”

Yeah, Trump is a joke, and he may well get elected again because the joke is better than the charlatan. Maybe, just maybe, Americans are tired of having the elite (both parties) rub their dominance in the voters faces. And the result is a big fat orange middle finger to the status quo system.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Mon 14 Oct 2019, 15:44:51

mousepad wrote:
Ibon wrote: immediately there is the assumption that because you take a position against the criminal actions of Trump that this somehow labels you a democrat or socialist.


That is a good point. But what can you do? Voting democrat essentially is also a vote for criminals. Only the color changes.

This BS makes me more angry than anything trump does because it is a tacit endorsement of his every crime because "they're all the same."
Essentially the same as "my party is always right", just lower energy because no effort is required to make an argument.

False equivalence is why we're here. 60% don't vote because they are too lazy, the claim of cynical superiority way easier.

Partisanship isn't debating your convictions.
Partisanship is not having any.
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities.
-- Abraham Lincoln, Fragment on Government (July 1, 1854)
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby mousepad » Mon 14 Oct 2019, 15:46:45

Newfie wrote: I view Trumps election more as Americans saying; “I would rather tear the structure down than facilitate this charade.”


Very true. I think you're right.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 15 Oct 2019, 16:58:31

It is interesting that Barr made the speech he did at Notre Dame. He notes some of the same issues I pointed out above, and which Carter pointed out in his Malaise speech. Essentially he notes how we now turn to government to solve our problems rather than to look to our personal character.

This is along the lines of the argument I was making above in relation to Consumerisim. We no longer uphold some moral or idealistic ideal, but rather have a consumerist ideal such as Brad Pitt or a Kardashian. "He who dies with the most toys wins." Uh, no.

Where Barr and I appear to differ is that he is simply looking at the government services as being asked to be the arbitar of our actions. When someone fails the government should step in. Conversely this is occurring because we dont look after our own selves, we dont have reasonable and rational goals.

I do not think it is a "socialist" or SJW problem, they are a symptom as much as Trump. The problem comes from replacing our moral/ethical values with the values of the marketplace.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/bill-barr- ... 1571094063
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Cog » Tue 15 Oct 2019, 18:00:00

The left always accuses the right of precisely the things that they themselves are guilty of. Yes I've read Rules for Radicals.
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