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Degrowth Thread

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 08 Jan 2019, 08:12:48

Cog wrote:In a regimented society, the citizens will do just enough to get their allotment and no more. There is no personal motive in supporting the collective unless you are absolutely forced to by gunpoint.

But on the other hand, if you are free to innovate based on cost or lack of resources, then you are personally more motivated to succeed.


You make a good case for the success of capitalism with your comments as we have seen during the ascendancy of abundant fossil fuels and a healthy environment. Forget a moment that this success is what will have largely caused the environmental instabilities our planet is confronted with. Let's consider that on the down slope of increasing energy constraints the free spirit entrepreneurship of capitalism hits some pretty severe constraints. That focus on individual entrepreneurship will not be replaced with something else but it will have to coexist with limits.

It is hard to imagine that those limits will be solely external environmental limits as you suggest. It is far more likely that governments will attempt to manage. Our grandchildren will grow up in a completely different environment. The current polarity of individualism vs collectivism will not be as relevant since constraints will force certain capitulations around individual freedoms to consume. This wont necessarily be perceived as a loss of freedom for our descendants who may view stability and security as benchmarks for maintaining freedom and therefore be more willing and in fact embrace living under a more regulated system.

What Tanada said regarding the culture that will emerge on the other side will morph into something totally different comes to mind.

We are all obsolete in our thinking. Americans who are so focused on preserving this concept of individual freedom at the expense of any collectivist compromise and who continue to view their government as the enemy may find themselves quickly out competed by other nations who embrace a more balanced approach.

We should also consider something really possible. Our government may become more effective, less corrupt and more efficient as constraints force public officials to shift focus on serving the electorate.

Opulence breeds corruption. Constraints may turn that back. Who knows?
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Cog » Tue 08 Jan 2019, 08:22:09

To get people to willingly sacrifice for a collective purpose you have to show them two things. First, why it's essential they do so. Second, what does that end state look like that they are making that sacrifice for.

In Ww2, politicians, industry, and the people understood the sacrifices necessary to achieve the end state of defeating Germany and Japan. They also understood that after that sacrifice, that that BAU would return. A permanent power down is a much harder sell since it's harder to explain the end state and why we collectively must act now.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 08 Jan 2019, 08:23:17

You both have good points. And therein lies the problem. Every solution creates a different set of problems.

What’s needed is flexible and adaptive thinking, which NO government is good at. You may get a fresh wave but, generally within a generation, they have been assimilated into the governmental grist mill grind.

I’ve no answer to offer. Trying to see the problem is tough enough.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 08 Jan 2019, 09:38:20

Cog wrote: A permanent power down is a much harder sell since it's harder to explain the end state and why we collectively must act now.


You know, it is a much harder sell as can be seen by the attempts at international mitigations of climate change to date. There is a missing ingredient. And that is the catalyst of consequences to galvanize the collective into a similar sacrifice as you mentioned in WWII with victory gardens and rationed gas and all the rest. Because we were still in the very early stages of exploiting abundant resources back then and because we still had a clean environment it was correct that once the war ended the collective sacrifice quickly went back to BAU. I think the draw down of population and adapting to a lower energy regime is multi generational and this will cause the collective to not necessarily see sacrifice as a short term price to quickly get back to BAU as in WWII. The nature of consequences and the limited and slowly declining resource base will create another set of circumstances in terms of sacrifice. I agree though that it will only work and only ever be understood with the more or less permanent reality of external constraints. This is only permanent in the sense of the time line of the generations experiencing this. In reality, falling back to carrying capacity in deep time thinking will only be a couple of generations long.

To understand the dynamics here think of personal freedom and collective sacrifice swinging back and forth with either one dominating depending on the severity of external consequences. The slope downwards will have some jarring consequences and some bounce back now and then. Multi generational in nature means there is a possibility of some permanent shifting of cultural values in how we see our place in the community of life on the planet. This idea that we are somehow predestined or biologically constrained to remain fixed on the paradigm of being rapacious Kudzu Apes with only self interest guiding our society forward is a conclusion that has not yet been tested on the down slope.

Notice how our dialogue here is completely outside of the normal polarity of discussing say capitalism vs socialism. What we are discussing here has little to do with that.

Cherishing individual freedom is not inconsistent with collective sacrifice. In times of severe constraints they can be seen as complimentary.

Real revolutions in cultures happen when forces that were seen as polarities in one era suddenly become integrated in the next step of cultural evolution.

I have always been on this site a firm believer in the catalyst of consequences being the key force that will move our civilization and our culture toward a more steady state and sustainable model.

No pain no gain.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 08 Jan 2019, 14:34:59

It’s a short article so I quote the whole thing. From our home page.

Degrowth in action. The USA and EU have opened their borders to immigrants to stem population loss. Will China do the same?

China's population will peak in 2029 at 1.44 billion before beginning a period of "unstoppable" decline, a government report said.

The study by China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) warned that the country must implement policies to handle a smaller workforce and an older population, the BBC reported on Sunday.

Both changes combined -- long-term population decline and a continuously ageing population -- could cause "very unfavourable social and economic consequences", the report said.

In 2015 the world's most populous country ended its one-child policy in a bid to tackle the problems.

According to latest UN estimates, China has a population of 1.41 billion.

The study, appearing in CASS's Green Book of Population and Labour, said that working population numbers were now stagnating, with a low fertility rate set to cause further issues.

By the middle of the century, China's population is expected to drop to 1.36 billion - a fall in the labour force of close to 200 million.

The study also predicted a rise in the dependency rate (increase in the proportion of non-working people like the elderly and the children).

While relaxing the one-child policy will help long-term, in the short-term it will create more dependents, according to the report.


https://theworldnews.net/us-news/china- ... -bn-report
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Pops » Tue 08 Jan 2019, 14:54:50

Waxing polemical to my poor granddaughter the other night she said "I'm really curious how things will be when I'm your age Pops." I opined that by then, 2060ish things will probably not be great, but that maybe when her kids are my age maybe better. Hopefully birth rates continue down and 2060 could be peak population. And equally hopefully births don't crash entirely.
So then we started watching Handmaid's Tale...
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 Newfie » Tue 08 Jan 2019, 18:59:15

Handmaidens Tale. Watched a couple of episodes with my Sis. Rubbish, rigs the mind and soul.

Better to watch straight up porn, more honest about what it is. Cheap titilation.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 09 Jan 2019, 12:47:22

A “Right to Repair” law. Perhaps a minscule mivement in the right direction.

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/science-en ... t-46797396

Funny story, we bought a mid level new washing machine. After a couple of months it started acting up. Still under warranty so they send out a technician. The machine was out of service for months while they tried to repair it. It would have been FAR cheaper for all to just repair it, but company insisted on repair. The finale”repair” was to replace the wiring harness. About the only bits not replaced were the shell and drum and motor.

In the meantime we bought the cheapest model we could find. They have both worked flawlessly since.

But then there was the time I was using the brand new “Euro green” washing machine at a French yacht club. One load took TWO hours. Lots of waiting in line.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Zarquon » Wed 16 Jan 2019, 01:32:49

There's an excellent book dealing with this topic:

https://www.amazon.com/Drilling-Down-De ... 1441976760

Joseph Tainter, an anthropologist, and Ted Patzek, professor of petroleum engineering in Texas, co-wrote this book after the Deepwater Horizon exploded. Patzek goes into the nitty-gritty details, the failed cement jobs, shear rams and misinterpreted pressure readings. Tainter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Tainter) is better known for his work on collapsing societies (Romans, Mayas etc.) and writes about diminishing returns in science, increasing complexity in society and other high-brow stuff. What makes the book so unusual is how it weaves these seemingly unrelated strands together.

To Tainter, the DH platform was a technological marvel, but also an example of the increasing complexity of our society. Not only for energy production, but for all the other problems and challenges we meet we add more and increasingly complex layers of bureaucracy and technology, until the cost becomes too high to sustain them. Collapse then happens because no society (with one exemption, the Byzantine Empire) ever voluntarily reduced its complexity. From the wiki:

"Tainter begins by categorizing and examining the often inconsistent explanations that have been offered for collapse in the literature.[4] In Tainter's view, while invasions, crop failures, disease or environmental degradation may be the apparent causes of societal collapse, the ultimate cause is an economic one, inherent in the structure of society rather than in external shocks which may batter them: diminishing returns on investments in social complexity.[5] Finally, Tainter musters modern statistics to show that marginal returns on investments in energy (EROEI), education and technological innovation are diminishing today. The globalised modern world is subject to many of the same stresses that brought older societies to ruin."

It all sounds fairly abstract and reeks of a sociology lecture, but I found it to be very readable and the author's thesis quite convincing. Highly recommended.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 24 Jan 2019, 07:24:35

Heingburg on degrowth

From our own front page

http://richardheinberg.com/museletter-3 ... ter-for-it
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 27 Jan 2019, 07:38:41

Newfie wrote:Heingburg on degrowth

From our own front page

http://richardheinberg.com/museletter-3 ... ter-for-it


You know, there is not much to argue around the logic of the article when Heinberg discusses that the requirement is a unanimous "buy in" to go down the road of collective conservatism. Reading this still on this side of consequences it reads however a bit utopic, imagining this pulling together in collective sacrifice. On the other side of the consequences however who knows what we are collectively capable of.

Without mentioning the catalyst of consequences acting as that unifying force the article reads flat and idealistic.

Why does Heinberg continue to put the cart before the horse?

You don't get to a unanimous "buy in" without suffering the consequences of the correction. Trying to plan for this without the pain part is hopeless and just falls flat.

Since Heinberg immersed himself in Bhuddism and draws reference in the article to Bhutan's policy of Gross National Happiness, let's put a karmic spin on this.

Humans have caused immense pain and suffering on the community of life and on our planet. In a karmic sense we will not get to any wisdom collectively without collectively suffering the pain of consequences. The karmic truth is that we caused immense pain and that pain will now come back in spades during the correction. Once the pain we suffer balances out the pain we caused then and only then will any kind of collective wisdom emerge.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 27 Jan 2019, 08:23:08

Then it will be biblical pain.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 27 Jan 2019, 08:33:50

Newfie wrote:Then it will be biblical pain.


that will match the biblical pain we have already caused. Let me a bit more blunt. To assume that we will wisely and painlessly move through the bottleneck is just more of the same indulgent self entitlement that got us into this mess. And now we want our cake and eat it too. Fuck everything up and then wisely fix it all before it hurts...Heinberg has spent too much time in california with self indulgent new age folks.....its spineless spirituality.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 27 Jan 2019, 09:21:49

baha wrote:
While the rest of us live with the consequences. Ecosystems are dying. The food chain has holes in it. The ocean is dying. But the starving folks in Ethiopia have a good book to read. WTF?

This is why the 1% should be singled out and forced to carry their share of the load. They should also suffer some consequences.

:


Here is the rub. Suffering is relative to ones socio economic status. Yes of course the poor in Ethopia and around the world will suffer disproportionately in real terms. They are however much tougher in having already lived with severe constraints.

The 1%, the very wealthy, may not suffer in real terms the same dimension as the poor but the rich are so spoiled t and unfamiliar with hardship they are like the soft underbelly of a baby deer. In relative terms they will suffer immensely.

The lofty rich are way up there and have the farthest to fall. They are not honed to hardships. They are collectively spoiled wimps.

Just look at our petulant president!!!
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 27 Jan 2019, 09:51:05

not to change the subject the whole anti immigrant movement in America has had less to do about racism and a lot more to do with soft spoiled Americans feeling intimidated by the work ethic of immigrants, their hardened disposition to tolerate limits, their disposition towards hard work, their unified families, their adaptation in general to hardships. Americans are collectively soft and completely unprepared for the consequences coming.

they intuitively sense the superior preparedness of immigrants for the consequences coming and feel intimidated by them. Americans are scared and they want a wall between themselves and those better adapted to coming hardships.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:00:32

baha wrote:


The only way to get their attenption is by tearing down the tower.


yes. The left also has denigrated rural white america and J6P because of the same feeling of intimidarion that we see towards immigrants and the right has used rural america as a pawn as Trump has excelled at. To both parties folly.

Where I have doubts though is really how much spine does rural America have to demand justice against this 1%. They still seem so willing to be pawns in this set up fabricated cultural war...

Do you see them growing a spine here?
Last edited by Ibon on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:03:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Degrowth Thread

Unread postby GHung » Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:02:23

Ibon wrote:
baha wrote:
While the rest of us live with the consequences. Ecosystems are dying. The food chain has holes in it. The ocean is dying. But the starving folks in Ethiopia have a good book to read. WTF?

This is why the 1% should be singled out and forced to carry their share of the load. They should also suffer some consequences.

:


Here is the rub. Suffering is relative to ones socio economic status. Yes of course the poor in Ethopia and around the world will suffer disproportionately in real terms. They are however much tougher in having already lived with severe constraints.

The 1%, the very wealthy, may not suffer in real terms the same dimension as the poor but the rich are so spoiled t and unfamiliar with hardship they are like the soft underbelly of a baby deer. In relative terms they will suffer immensely.

The lofty rich are way up there and have the farthest to fall. They are not honed to hardships. They are collectively spoiled wimps.

Just look at our petulant president!!!


Since for western societies, especially in America, our direction for decades has been all about insulating members of society from consequences, so I wouldn't limit my critique to the very rich. What would the American middle class do without their functional technology, without their wide variety of out-of-season foods, their absurd smorgasbord of medications, or their wild variety of mindless entertainment. Fact is, few have been tested in any psyche-challenging ways, and few have witnessed how the much less fortunate must live day-to-day. Entitlement runs deep.
Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit nothing but their Souls. - Anonymous Ghung Person
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