Author Topic: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face  (Read 13163 times)

Cain

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#1  Education is the key to economic growth

This is painfully obvious, yet mention it to a geostrategist or foreign policy adviser, and they will sigh in exasperation and say "try explaining that to the politicians. No, please."  Income growth is correlated directly with literarcy rates to the rank of a "middle-economy" like that of Mexico or Turkey - after that, quality of education tends to make the difference between a first-rate economy and a middling one, and often explains why certain high literacy countries (ie Brazil) perform worse than expected.

Yet first world nations are making education, especially tertiary education, a preserve of the elite and are actively attacking their own educational sectors.

#2  Only economic inefficiency can save us now

The Soviet Bloc and China produced a lot of pollution.  However, they produced a lot less pollution than they would have done if they were fully industrialised market economies, because their production inefficiency, price controls, central planning in general interferred in optimum production levels and thus overall growth and pollution output.

If global temperatures rise over 2 degrees celsius in the next 50 years, we are fucked.  This is certain to happen unless we reduce our carbon emissions, as a planet, to 80% of what they were in the 1990s, by 2050.  The 2000s oversaw the biggest growth in carbon emissions since the 1960s, and the biggest output of carbon ever.  It isn't going to happen.  The 2 celsius rise would still be pretty bad, but humanity as a whole would weather it.  Instead, we seem to be moving towards the option of "global climate change feedback loops".  I don't need to explain why that is bad, I hope.

#3  Protectionism is what makes a strong economy

You only move to a free market once you've built up enough economic strength that you are ahead of your competitors.  And you only do that in order to stop them from using your own mercantilist policies against you.  England, the poster-child for laissez-faire, didn't abolish most tarriffs until after 1850, and in the 17th century had some of the most excessive tarriff controls in the world.  America, under Hamilton's guidance, continued through until the 1950s, followed the same schema.  Interestingly, copyright protection does not seem to be a necessary protectionist measure, as both the Netherlands and Switzerland experienced sustained periods of growth in the modern era without them.  Indeed, China frequently abuses or completely ignores copyright law at this moment, and is flourishing (though individual patent holders probably are not.

#4  France, as things are, will be the last man standing as everything else collapses.

Nuclear power provides 80% of the country's fuel needs.  It retains a fully independent nuclear arsenal, a fully independent arms industry and has the highest birth rate in Western Europe, combined with some of the lowest incidences of population per square miles.  Even when it comes to its troublesome minorities, they integrate better into French culture than they do with other, nearby countries.  Germany, by contrast, is to be consigned to the dustbin of history.  Its population is shrinking, the east years for the iron fist of Communism once again (and no wonder - Est Germany made Communism work), it is in thrall to Russian energy and it is going through one of its periodic bouts of extreme illiberalism towards minority groups - immigrants who are necessary to prop up the German welfare state and economic growth the country benefits from.  The UK has stunted it's own military projection capabilites for a generation and is relying on a legacy energy system which cannot cope with increasing demand.  By 2030, the country will be suffering rolling blackouts, and so be in thrall to Russia as much as Germany currently is.

#5 "Peak Oil" doesn't happen when all the oil runs out

It happens when over half of the world's oil has been extracted.  Because then you're on declining resources to extract the rest.  La Wiki sez:

Quote
Optimistic estimations of peak production forecast the global decline will begin by 2020 or later, and assume major investments in alternatives will occur before a crisis, without requiring major changes in the lifestyle of heavily oil-consuming nations.

You see that happening yet?  Because I don't.  The thing is, the scary thing about Peak Oil, is that it will immediately follow an oil-rich, high production period, and hit hard and without mercy.  A price in which oil prices are rising exponentially, causing inflation in the value of key assets and causing severe market shocks.  Any of this sounding familiar?

And it's not like we just need oil for our factories and war machines, either.  Plastic seems pretty important, for example.  

More later

lunar

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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2011, 09:57:49 pm »

 Pretty accurate but I have a few problems with #4, firstly you completely overlook France's archaic military, it's absolutely decrepit and barely functioning, much like with Russia you only see the best stuff despite major French aircraft manufacturers.  Secondly while it's true the UK has stunted its military capabilities it  still has one of the best militaries in the world, (although there isn't really much competition at the moment), and is the HQ for huge arms manufacturers.  The UK's problem really lies with its lack of production ability and reliance on the financial sector.  The UK nor Germany won't be in thrall to Russia due to the EU's long term plan to diversify sources, ie Russia, Middle east and importantly S.America.  If Europe really wanted to work there would be an alliance between the Franco-Germanic countries ie UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia, Germany's exports are the source of it enormous wealth and it has plenty of land for a relatively small population.

The Johnny

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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2011, 01:59:56 am »

This is a nice analyzis, personally speaking #1 and #3 in relation to Mexico:

Here they just want to boost technician education (specialized slaves for our transnational overlords); for example, the UNAMs (universidad nacional autonoma de mexico) matriculate (# of spots available for students) hasnt grown in equal terms to population growth or hasnt kept up for about 30 years. High education? Go to a private school or fuck yourself seems to be the policy. So there goes our 1st world.

And the general retard discourse is to abolish worker protection and to open up the economy (here come rape and pillage us foreigners!) under the guidance of the IMF, and weve all seen how good following their advice turns out.

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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2011, 05:28:01 am »

 Pretty accurate but I have a few problems with #4, firstly you completely overlook France's archaic military, it's absolutely decrepit and barely functioning, much like with Russia you only see the best stuff despite major French aircraft manufacturers.  Secondly while it's true the UK has stunted its military capabilities it  still has one of the best militaries in the world, (although there isn't really much competition at the moment), and is the HQ for huge arms manufacturers.  The UK's problem really lies with its lack of production ability and reliance on the financial sector.  The UK nor Germany won't be in thrall to Russia due to the EU's long term plan to diversify sources, ie Russia, Middle east and importantly S.America.  If Europe really wanted to work there would be an alliance between the Franco-Germanic countries ie UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia, Germany's exports are the source of it enormous wealth and it has plenty of land for a relatively small population.

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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2011, 02:16:04 pm »
Peak oil or not there are more important things to do with petroleum than burn it for energy.

I just hope if/when a collapse comes it is after I'm dead and not when I'm in such an advanced state of age I am a member of the expendable/useless portion of the population. 
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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2011, 02:48:15 pm »
Sucks that I'm going to live through all this, but if one has plans of immortality I guess it's a necessity. I do see, amid the coastal flooding and petrolium decline, a hasty and frightened switch to alternative fuel sources, and advanced recycling processes. Landfill mining, anyone? Coal will last much longer, so there may be a switch to diesel and electric vehicles. Ethanol will be ultimately abandoned because it's a complete shit fuel and the growing population will need food farming land. Nuclear will continue, with increased solar and wind production, especially wind. You should see the massive turbine areas in Indiana, basically farms as far as the eye can see, regular farms, with turbines sticking up like alabaster pillars. Fission is too far off to even be considered in the picture. I see mass transportation becoming much more frequent as well.
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Cain

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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2011, 03:47:01 pm »

 Pretty accurate but I have a few problems with #4, firstly you completely overlook France's archaic military, it's absolutely decrepit and barely functioning, much like with Russia you only see the best stuff despite major French aircraft manufacturers.  Secondly while it's true the UK has stunted its military capabilities it  still has one of the best militaries in the world, (although there isn't really much competition at the moment), and is the HQ for huge arms manufacturers.  The UK's problem really lies with its lack of production ability and reliance on the financial sector.  The UK nor Germany won't be in thrall to Russia due to the EU's long term plan to diversify sources, ie Russia, Middle east and importantly S.America.  If Europe really wanted to work there would be an alliance between the Franco-Germanic countries ie UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia, Germany's exports are the source of it enormous wealth and it has plenty of land for a relatively small population.

France is ovehauling its military as part of its strategic five year plan.  Furthermore, its the capacity to rebuild it that counts.  Other countries may have newer toys...but they're entirely in thrall to Washington, London, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Beijing or Paris for them.  Finally, France isnt going to be fighting anything but wars of choice for the next 20+ years, so upgrading is optional for them.

The UK military have been consistently getting their arses handed to them for the past decade by orphans with shoes.  Their past record in Basra and Helmand tell us the UK military lack the ability to gather intelligence, to act upon intelligence, to deploy in any strategic fashion and to build on gains they may, somehow, actually make.  When it comes to modern counterinsurgent warfare, I would rank the US above the UK, and believe me that is not high praise.  Furthermore, without aircraft carriers, the UK has to rely on France for global deployment.

Also, Russia put forward military plans in 2009 for $700 billion worth of upgrades to their equipment, in addition to plans for an increased naval capacity (which would allow them to militarily claim Artic oil and gas reserves).  Russia has the human capital to compete with the US on this front - it produced the first 5th Gen fighter aircraft, the PAK-FA “Firefox” prototype, outside of the USA - and in the meantime, it has shown that, for instance, in the 2008 conflict, it can steamroll most nations in the "near abroad" with little in the way of planning or effort with the legacy equipment it currently has (against a US-backed proxy.  A proxy who is trained by the USA and has 70% of its military budget paid for by the USA and NATO, no less).

Europe can plan to diversify all it wants (just as it presumably plans to deal with the economic crisis at some vague future point).  Doesn't change the fact that the major sources of energy for Europe are Russian gas pipelines, and a pipeline from Kazakhstan (population 40% ethnic Russian) that has a terminal right next to Abkazhia (Russian-backed breakaway province in Georgia).  Oh, and then there is the supposed non-Russian alternative Nabucco pipeline, which involves the good graces of Iraq.  Iraq, who are currently a reluctant satrapy of Iran in everything but name.  Iran, who are supported by...Russian arms and Russian diplomatic cover.  In the meanwhile, the demand for energy keeps going up.

Who else can step in?  Nigeria?  Oh boy...they're two steps away from civil war at the best of times, start increasing European influence in the region and that will likely make things worse...not to mention their own, home-grown terrorist networks have a thing for targeting foreign oil workers, whether those groups are the secular MEND, or more religious outfits.  Venezuela and Colombia aren't exactly pictures of stability either, and their exports are more US orientated.  Brazil has oil off its coast, but god knows how long that will take to be fully developed, given their level of corruption and lack of requisite skilled workers in that field.  Algeria?  Can't compete on that level.  And with Germany junking its nuclear power plants entirely, they're going to need lots of energy.

As for Germany's inflated economic "miracle", most of that has come from cutting wages and pocketing the difference, and reconstruction in the east.  It isn't sustainable.  In the meantime, Germany's economic "success" pushes the value of the Euro up, threatening the financial stability of the PIIGS by making devaluation impossible.  Their central bankers and politicians are openly stigmatizing foreigners and Muslims, at a time when gastarbeiters are helping along the above scenario by being willing to take home a lower pay.  They're shooting themselves in the foot while standing near a cliff-edge.

Cain

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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2011, 03:50:56 pm »
Sucks that I'm going to live through all this, but if one has plans of immortality I guess it's a necessity. I do see, amid the coastal flooding and petrolium decline, a hasty and frightened switch to alternative fuel sources, and advanced recycling processes. Landfill mining, anyone? Coal will last much longer, so there may be a switch to diesel and electric vehicles. Ethanol will be ultimately abandoned because it's a complete shit fuel and the growing population will need food farming land. Nuclear will continue, with increased solar and wind production, especially wind. You should see the massive turbine areas in Indiana, basically farms as far as the eye can see, regular farms, with turbines sticking up like alabaster pillars. Fission is too far off to even be considered in the picture. I see mass transportation becoming much more frequent as well.

Unfortunately though, coal will exacerbate climate change.  Which I'd really, really rather not do.  A mix of renewable and nuclear, to make up the shortfall, seems the most sensible approach (assuming the nuclear industry doesn't continue its march to near investment banking levels of irresponsibility and regulatory deception) but that takes decades of planning and building.

And I don't think we have decades for that anymore.

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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2011, 04:33:23 pm »
Sucks that I'm going to live through all this, but if one has plans of immortality I guess it's a necessity. I do see, amid the coastal flooding and petrolium decline, a hasty and frightened switch to alternative fuel sources, and advanced recycling processes. Landfill mining, anyone? Coal will last much longer, so there may be a switch to diesel and electric vehicles. Ethanol will be ultimately abandoned because it's a complete shit fuel and the growing population will need food farming land. Nuclear will continue, with increased solar and wind production, especially wind. You should see the massive turbine areas in Indiana, basically farms as far as the eye can see, regular farms, with turbines sticking up like alabaster pillars. Fission is too far off to even be considered in the picture. I see mass transportation becoming much more frequent as well.

Unfortunately though, coal will exacerbate climate change.  Which I'd really, really rather not do.  A mix of renewable and nuclear, to make up the shortfall, seems the most sensible approach (assuming the nuclear industry doesn't continue its march to near investment banking levels of irresponsibility and regulatory deception) but that takes decades of planning and building.

And I don't think we have decades for that anymore.

We don't have decades, and the coastal flooding is inevitable, regardless of whatever hasty changes everyone chooses to make. And the denialists march on. Have they looked at Venus recently?
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Cain

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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2011, 10:21:59 pm »
Yeah.  And it may only take 6 degrees to put us on that path.  That's when an ocean anoxic event should take place, killing everything in the ocean which relies on oxygen, building up hydrogen sulphide in the depths...which will of course eventually get into the atmosphere via rain.  That's it, then.  Assuming humanity survives what comes before, with Europe and North America turning into deserts reaching up to the arctic circle, and Holland, Bangladesh and parts of the Chinese coast being wiped off the map completely.

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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2011, 10:46:29 pm »
[always look on the bright side of life] Well at least it might solve the population explosion [/always look on the bright side of life]
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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2011, 11:12:41 pm »
Yeah.  And it may only take 6 degrees to put us on that path.  That's when an ocean anoxic event should take place, killing everything in the ocean which relies on oxygen, building up hydrogen sulphide in the depths...which will of course eventually get into the atmosphere via rain.  That's it, then.  Assuming humanity survives what comes before, with Europe and North America turning into deserts reaching up to the arctic circle, and Holland, Bangladesh and parts of the Chinese coast being wiped off the map completely.

The worst that can happen is a cataclysm on the scale of the Permian extinction. 4 million years of worms and cockroaches, baby. But Earth will bounce back. Humans...ah well. Should get some interesting life forms out of it though.

This planet will thankfully never reach the level of Venus, one, because it's not close enough to the Sun, two, because there are organisms here which feed on just about anything that can be provided; any spike in levels will cause a spike in those, and gradually the levels will decrease. Again, the Permian was the worst extinction event the planet has ever seen, it's called the Great Dying for a reason. And it ended some of the most successful lineages in history (e.g. trilobites), 96% of all marine species and 3/4ths all terrestrial vertebrates. And if you read up on it, this is /exactly/ the same sort of path we are headed for right now. I don't see any primates surviving it.
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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2011, 11:26:34 pm »
You know, if I really sat down and thought about the above for a while, I think it would make me pants shitting terrified and suicidal.
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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2011, 12:02:44 am »
Sucks that I'm going to live through all this, but if one has plans of immortality I guess it's a necessity. I do see, amid the coastal flooding and petrolium decline, a hasty and frightened switch to alternative fuel sources, and advanced recycling processes. Landfill mining, anyone? Coal will last much longer, so there may be a switch to diesel and electric vehicles. Ethanol will be ultimately abandoned because it's a complete shit fuel and the growing population will need food farming land. Nuclear will continue, with increased solar and wind production, especially wind. You should see the massive turbine areas in Indiana, basically farms as far as the eye can see, regular farms, with turbines sticking up like alabaster pillars. Fission is too far off to even be considered in the picture. I see mass transportation becoming much more frequent as well.

Corn ethanol has no future, that doesn't mean ethanol has none though,  you can make ethanol by fermenting a pretty wide range of stuff and a lot of that stuff is a byproduct of agriculture and currently being burned or sold off very cheap for what few applications there are for it. 
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Re: Some simple facts about the future people would rather not face
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2011, 12:18:51 am »
Sucks that I'm going to live through all this, but if one has plans of immortality I guess it's a necessity. I do see, amid the coastal flooding and petrolium decline, a hasty and frightened switch to alternative fuel sources, and advanced recycling processes. Landfill mining, anyone? Coal will last much longer, so there may be a switch to diesel and electric vehicles. Ethanol will be ultimately abandoned because it's a complete shit fuel and the growing population will need food farming land. Nuclear will continue, with increased solar and wind production, especially wind. You should see the massive turbine areas in Indiana, basically farms as far as the eye can see, regular farms, with turbines sticking up like alabaster pillars. Fission is too far off to even be considered in the picture. I see mass transportation becoming much more frequent as well.

Corn ethanol has no future, that doesn't mean ethanol has none though,  you can make ethanol by fermenting a pretty wide range of stuff and a lot of that stuff is a byproduct of agriculture and currently being burned or sold off very cheap for what few applications there are for it. 

Not going to matter. I foresee the collapse of industrial civilization within 100 years.
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