Overshoot Defined, Part II
(Overshoot, Defined – Part I can be found here).
Arnold Toynbee in “Mankind and Mother Earth” outlines a narrative history of the world. Encompassing 21 different civilizations, Toynbee’s final work reveals a lifetime of understanding and applied study to the history of man.
Considered one of the world’s best historians, and a philosopher of history, Toynbee was a major figure in historical literature. Of the 21 previous civilizations, only 5 still survive today: Western, Orthodox Christian, Islamic, Hindu, and Far Eastern. His final book tells us why these too will collapse and fail. Another reader might conclude that Toynbee was offering a modicum of hope in his last book, but I disagree. I think Toynbee finally understood the hubris of humankind and the folly of what we’ve done to ourselves and to the only planet we can live on.
Toynbee expresses is final thoughts at the end of his life, which was spent in the study of history. Wiping away the facade of historical lies and deception, the next to the final chapter titled The Biosphere lays it all bare: we have rapidly destroyed our planet. Covering the period of 1871 – 1973, Toynbee shares a few words:
By the 1970s it looked as if the biosphere was in danger of being overwhelmed, polluted, and perhaps ultimately made uninhabitable for any form of life by one of the biosphere’s own creatures and denizens, Man. Retrospectively it could be seen that Man’s power over the biosphere had been increasing progressively.
Since the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic Age, perhaps 70,000 / 40,000 years ago, Man has been taking the offensive against the rest of the biosphere; but it is only since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, no more then two hundred years ago, that Man has become decisively dominant. Within the last two centuries, Man has increased his material power toa degree at which he has become a menace to the biosphere’s survival; but he has not increased his spiritual potentiality; the gap between this and his material power has consequently been widening; and this growing discrepancy is disconcerting; for an increase in Man’s spiritual potentiality is now the only conceivable change in the constitution of the biosphere that can insure the biosphere – and, in the biosphere, Man himself – against being destroyed by greed that is now armed with the ability to defeat its own intentions.
Our economic and material gains vastly outpaced our social structures, which largely failed to adapt. More to the point, we as individuals also failed to evolve, even reverting into a more selfish state, embracing materialism and greed over personal development and knowledge.
In the 1970s the devastating effect of Man’s impact on the biosphere is being demonstrated by a number of symptoms. The biosphere’s human population is increasing at an accelerating rate, and this growing population is concentrating itself in gigantic cities.
The cities are spreading tentacles round the globe in the form of speedways for mechnized overland vehicles and air-lanes for planes. The minority producing industrial commodities, or food stuffs and organic raw materials, by more and more sophisticated and high-powered mechanical process is polluting the biosphere water-envelope and air-envelope with the waste products of its pacific activities, even when it was not defoliating the flora and killing the fauna (humans and non-humans alike) by intentionally destructive military operations.
It’s 2021 and his words are just as accurate today, as they were 45 years ago when this was written. Nothing has changed, everything has just become immeasurably worse. Most of us alive today were born into these worsened conditions of the biosphere and simply have no idea what the world has lost. How nature itself has been changed, supplanted, uprooted, bulldozed and turned into massive monoculture plantations and ecological dead zones. Even the forests now are no longer ‘natural’. Microscopic plastics have been found now at the highest elevations on the planet, and in the deepest trenches of the oceans and in the farthest reaches found at both the North and South poles. Our ecological damage and destruction is now found absolutely everywhere.
For billions this may seem to be very normal, having never known anything else, or even comprehending that what we still have left today is very different then what once existed just two hundred years ago. The Industrial Age poisoned and polluted the world at the hand of the money changers and profit makers who foisted their global enterprises upon the whole of mankind and the fauna of the Earth. Converting raw materials stolen from ancient forests and remote regions into today’s fashionable trinkets and toys for a rapidly exploding population, the Earth was strip mined for resources as fast as humanely possible, leaving behind enormous waste streams in the air, water and soil that will last for hundreds of thousands of years.
This production enabled the human population of the Earth to literally explode, overtaking the entire planet with our species and projecting our impacts throughout the world. What was once quite inconceivable was not, as new technology and innovations and inventions proliferated the reach – and the poisons – of mankind throughout the Earth.
Man’s capacity to make the whole biosphere uninhabitable is apparent in the extermination of a number of undomesticated non-human species of living beings, but Man himself and his domesticated animals are not immune. Some of these, too, are being poisoned by unintended consequences of deliberate human activities.
Toynbee writes of the “physical growth of the world” (civilization) being absolutely enormous for someone born in 1889 and then living into the 1970’s. I could say the same, since I was born, I have seen and participated in enormous changes to the planet and the cities and towns that have grown from small burbs to staggeringly high levels of sprawl and populations. I spent years looking for a way to escape such places which are now nearly impossible to find.
Toynbee saw two world wars, I’ve seen countless regional conflicts (already) with more sure to come. Genocide in Toynbee’s time was abhorred and rejected, just as it still is today as it continues to plague the world even now. Nothing has changed. His ‘wars of religion’ descriptions can be easily applied to the 21st century wars of religion that still rage. Nothing has changed. Even the players remains the same, and so does the indoctrination and propaganda that goes along with it. Mass migrations then and now are similar, people fleeing conflict, death and suffering – and devastating environmental collapse always following behind.
It’s sad actually, to realize that except for the dates and the references to certain names and places, nothing has changed. We have the same problems as always, and even the same horrific issues that plague our species. Ecologically speaking, the environment is significantly worse now then even then, resembling nothing of our ancient past except the same coastlines and endless tossing of the ocean waves. Everything else based on land has seen stupendous changes, none for the ‘better’ as mankind plunders his way through every resource he can find, carting it all away to be sold for a profit.
I blame civilization, this civilization, the one that I was born into, but it’s possible that has never really gone deep enough in understanding. Toynbee’s civilization was just like this one, ours is only an extension of his after all, and we’ve all failed at all the important lessons that we should have learned but forgotten long, long ago. We still have the same senseless wars, the same insatiable greed, the same profit motives (or worse), the same corrupt politicians and inept leaders, the same short-sighted thinking. In all respects, it’s the same as ever, but only worse, as far as I can tell. Nothing has gotten any better.
Everyone has been told about the “Earthly paradise” that is promised to exist “just around the corner”. Toynbee writes of this too, but we’ve all heard it. Social media was supposed to revolutionize the world, but only made it worse. Reaching Mars is supposed to offer hope to mankind, but will only make it worse. Renewable energy technology is supposed to defeat climate change, but will only make it worse. More isn’t always better, more can often be worse then before. But you have to develop the right perspective and understanding to know why this is factually true.
A recent research paper showed that the switch to electric vehicles would not be a good idea for most people or for the planet, because this will increase global pollution. A new electric vehicle may sound nice, but their resource demands versus what you already have are enormous. That car your presently driving is already a part of the global waste stream, but a new electric vehicle that hasn’t yet been built (and thus, it’s raw resources remain unused and likely, still in the ground) represents a big jump in resource consumption and pollution contributions.
This is why I continue to argue that the world actually needs less of everything. Less consumption, less profits, less resource extraction, even less people. We’re way, way into global overshoot on people, consumption, and waste generation. We’re still acting like an infinite world is just out of our reach if we just manage to develop some new whiz-bang technology that let’s us “have it all”.
This is a complete fantasy – we DID have it all – and we WASTED IT. And since we haven’t changed one bit, it’s quite ludicrous to assume that we’d get it right the next time should we ever get the chance. There is also Jevons Paradox – we’ve also wasted every new ‘efficiency’ we’ve ever devised, none of this has ever actually ‘saved’ anything. We always consume it all and then demand more.
The future does not yet exist; the past has ceased to exist, and therefore, in so far as a record of the past survives, the recorded events are immutable.
You can only understand where we are today if you conscientiously increase your perspective, otherwise it will be hidden from you. This will limit your knowledge and understanding. We (humankind) all used to live very different lives then what we have today and for hundreds of thousands of years, we didn’t wreak the planet. But in a very short time, we’ve broken that intrinsic agreement of survival and triggered catastrophic and potentially irreversible changes that now threaten our very survival, and that of the entire biosphere. That is the perspective that we must embrace. It is the irrevocable truth of our present predicament.
And in Toynbee’s final words in his final book in the final chapter:
Will mankind murder Mother Earth or will he redeem her? He could murder her by misusing his increasing technological potency. Alternatively he could redeem her by overcoming the suicidal, aggressive greed that, in all living creatures, including Man himself, has been the price of the Great Mother’s give of life. This is the enigmatic question which now confronts Man.
I think a few of us know that answer now.
16 thoughts on “Overshoot Defined, Part II”
Trashing the planet and hiding the money isn’t a perversion of capitalism. It is capitalism
Exploiting people, exploiting land, and keeping its ugly side secret. Its historical effects are all too recognisable in the Pandora papers now
Capitalism was arguably born on a remote island. A few decades after the Portuguese colonised Madeira in 1420, they developed a system that differed in some respects from anything that had gone before. By felling the forests after which they named the island (madeira is Portuguese for wood), they created, in this uninhabited sphere, a blank slate – a terra nullius – in which a new economy could be built. Financed by bankers in Genoa and Flanders, they transported enslaved people from Africa to plant and process sugar. They developed an economy in which land, labour and money lost their previous social meaning and became tradable commodities.
Too big to jail: why the crackdowns on dodgy finance have been so ineffective
‘As the geographer Jason Moore points out in the journal Review, a small amount of capital could be used, in these circumstances, to grab a vast amount of natural wealth. On Madeira’s rich soil, using the abundant wood as fuel, slave labour achieved a previously unimaginable productivity. In the 1470s, this tiny island became the world’s biggest producer of sugar.
Madeira’s economy also had another characteristic that distinguished it from what had gone before: the astonishing speed at which it worked through the island’s natural wealth. Sugar production peaked in 1506. By 1525 it had fallen by almost 80%. The major reason, Moore believes, was the exhaustion of accessible supplies of wood: Madeira ran out of madeira.
It took 60kg of wood to refine 1kg of sugar. As wood had to be cut from ever steeper and more remote parts of the island, more slave labour was needed to produce the same amount of sugar. In other words, the productivity of labour collapsed, falling roughly fourfold in 20 years. At about the same time, the forest clearing drove several endemic species to extinction.’……’
Trashing the planet and hiding the money isn’t a perversion of capitalism. It is capitalism | George Monbiot | The Guardian
Crapitalism has ruined the planet – and the future for all of humanity. All the proponents of crapitalism always ignore the massive levels of wastes and destruction caused by converting resources into profits, making stupid trinkets for brain dead sheep. Nobody really cares as long as they get their tiny little slice of the pie.
Frankly, humans are unfit for this planet, the economic model they created absolutely sucks. They’re largely too stubborn and too stupid to do anything about it either, which is why this endless cycle of death and destruction continues to this very moment.
The history of our ‘development’ is championed as one where mankind has ‘overcome’ every obstacle to further himself. What is never explained in those narratives is the ecological wastes and destruction man has left behind. That’s the real story, how mankind wrecked the world without care or concern, poisoning the planet and making it unfit for survival by man or beast.
Here’s a NZ origin story (in part) of black soot being created, impacting the atmosphere in the 1400’s. https://phys.org/news/2021-10-early-human-impacted-earth-atmosphere.html
This is why I strongly object to the bogus ‘pre-industrial’ date setting scams I so often come across. We’ve been altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere for a LONG time, setting in motion the very effects we are seeing today. We don’t remember what it was like when atmospheric C02 was just 285 ppm. We don’t remember what the ocean or forests or deserts or tropics was like back then. The seemingly endless vast reserves of virtually everything. But we should remember, or at least try, because what we have today is nothing like what it was back then. This should scare the living hell out of us all.
The phenomenon of Baseline Shift; each generation looks around and whatever it sees thinks that is normal. Thus a child born on a rubbish heap or in a concentration camp thinks that is normal.
Older people have a baseline of the 1940s or 1950s, when much of the world was largely untouched by ‘civilisation’ -David Attenborough meeting remote tribes as the first contact etc.- and when wildlife populations were much, much higher than nowadays, i.e. fivefold higher or more. The human population was much, much lower when I was born, i.e. around 2 billion.
Over my lifetime ‘we’ have converted a huge amount of food into human bodies using oil, and each body needs an ongoing supply of food to remain alive. And both the energy supply and the capacity of the land to produce food are in decline.
I suppose the baseline for children born over the next year or two will be a world in which everything- from the food supply to the environment to the financial system to the human population- is in collapse as a direct consequence of the idiotic policies promoted by governments over many decades.
Richard Heinberg alluded to this state of being ‘over the hill’ when he wrote “Peak Everything’.
However, we are quite a way off Peak Mayhem. That probably won’t arrive for another 3 to 5 years.
As anyone who is awake knows, it is all unravelling. The shortage of energy in China is partly due to environmental collapse insofar as the wild swings in temperature and crumbling infrastructure have led to a shortage of electricity, whilst at the same time attempts to maintain production via the use of coal are totally at odds with the need to have air that doesn’t kill everyone very quickly.
‘The primary causes of power disruptions are the aforementioned reduced availability of hydroelectric power in much of southern China, as well as limited supplies of coal due to the ongoing China/Australia trade dispute. The latter cause is expected to be more sustained in impact, as the year-long embargo by China on Australian thermal coal has depleted China’s strategic reserves and caused commercial and residential prices to rapidly spike. China imports about 10% of its annual thermal coal needs; of this, Australia was close to 70% of the total prior to the mid-2020 embargo. It is expected that China will be forced to drop the embargo ahead of the fourth quarter, but this is not certain. Reopening its markets to Australian coal imports would be an important stabilizing step for China’s manufacturing base, but would nonetheless take weeks or even months to ramp back up to normal output.
If China does not capitulate on the importation of Australian coal and cannot close the gap with imports from Brazil, South Africa, and the US, the southern region will continue to see constrained power availability, reducing export volumes especially from Shenzhen’s ports, Hong Kong, and Xiamen, as well as Tianjin, Dalian, and Qingdao in the north. We would expect in this scenario to see these ports be utilized by ocean carriers for more transshipments out of Southeast Asia or central China, while export-focused capacity shifts to Ningbo and Shanghai, as well as alleviating significant congestion pressure at Kaohsiung and Busan. Freight rates are anticipated by some maritime industry players to soften somewhat, though a bullish case for barely-reduced rates could be made that a very large backlog of existing cargo and ongoing delays at US and European ports will keep volumes at a high level through Lunar New Year at least, with a strong likelihood of continuing through the ILWU negotiations.
Looking at 2022, any significant level of ongoing power disruptions will begin to cause fractures in China’s economy, particularly in the finance and heavy manufacturing sectors as well as within the population. Such fissures have in the past led to increased belligerence by China against neighboring and regional countries, which could have unexpected disruptive effects on maritime and air traffic in the Far East. With regard to which sectors of the economic base will receive favored treatment for any surplus power, heavy manufacturing (auto, shipbuilding, infrastructure), high technology, energy (renewable and traditional), petrochemicals, medical, and metal processing will likely be protected first. These are considered critical industries in China due to the PLA’s direct investments into these sectors (as well as the in-kind benefits to China’s military industrial complex), with industries such as homegoods, consumer electronics, and garments receiving the least support. This will in particular impact retailers in the US and Europe who are already falling short on inventory, and were hoping for a strong late-year push to close the earnings year on a high note.
More broadly, it should be expected that the continuity and consistency that China-based supply chains have historically enjoyed will be diminished in the short- to intermediate-term. Fortis expects that Xi will tip China’s dual-circulation economic strategy in favor of protecting domestic consumers, particularly to offset the political instability introduced by energy and food price increases. We can also reasonably expect to see internal enemies of the CCP and PLA be targeted for power rationing, or even villainized as over-users of precious energy resources at the expense of the civilian population. In closing, the energy disruptions in China are but one more canary in the coal mine indicating accelerating catastrophic failure cascades, further consolidation of internal power by Xi and the CCP, and an ongoing bifurcation of geopolitical spheres between China and the US.’
Coal For Christmas | ZeroHedge
Meanwhile in NZ the government is losing control of everything. Covid is increasingly a problem despite masks and lockdowns, and the Reserve Bank has just raised the baseline rate for the first time in 7 years.
Australia is worse, of course, with surging cases of Covid and rebellion of the masses underway.
I have taken the extensive and continuous failures of Hurunui District Council to the Office of the Auditor general, highest independent authority in the land.
I really have better things to do than constantly deal with all the ineptitude and counter-productive policies and strategies but this is like being chained to a blind man/woman who is headed for a precipice and who resists all efforts to stop them falling off the cliff and dragging me with them.
That term ‘awake’ is being badly misused (US). The connedspiracy theorists claim they’re ‘awake’ (and informed) when nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not the truth that they have embraced, it’s almost always a connedspiracy that they have fabricated and pretend to claim is the truth.
I visited an old site that I used to check often, many years ago. It’s gone full-blown connedspiracy b.s., and was a total turn-off to even try to wade through it yesterday. They’re getting lots of traffic, which means there are lots of deluded people around. The article was dealing with supposed ‘vaccination deaths’ and their claims were 100% bullshit. They fabricated the count from a gross misrepresentation of incomplete medical data that did NOT report how many vaccinated had died. Their attempt to extrapolate that number of dead was pathetic and dead wrong and matches nothing in the medical community.
Of course my comments to this fact never saw the light of day. That’s normal for me, everywhere. You can’t post contrary facts, even when it is the truth as this tends to pollute their false narratives.
The endless speculation about the ‘economy’ isn’t something I’m even remotely concerned about – because there is nothing I can do about it. It’s speculative and what actually happens is unknown (and not particularly useful in any case). What will be isn’t up to me in the larger context, all I can do is take care of my own. Zero Hedge focuses a lot of utterly useless shit that never happens. I can only speculate as to why they even bother, but it is definitely a site and a source I do not trust on any topic.
Last few days I’ve seen a lot of panicked people reacting to their news programming (I mean that literally). They’re calling me for ‘advice’. That’s a good sign that they are unable to think for themselves, and therefore, not going to last very long. This happens during every ‘crisis’ – the panic starts to creep in.
I wish there was something that could be done about it, but so far, nothing has worked. Most people can’t read two paragraphs anyway, so they refuse to read sound advice.
As usual, warnings not heeded:
Coronavirus report warned of impact on UK four years before pandemic
Exclusive: Report from planning exercise in 2016 alerted government of need to stockpile PPE and set up contact tracing system
Coronavirus report warned of impact on UK four years before pandemic | Health policy | The Guardian
From the linked article:
Which is of course, 100% true. The pandemic exercise performed here has been used to weave endless connedspiracies – none which are factually true. But that hasn’t stopped the connedspiracies or the countless millions of brain dead morons from embracing them. This has caused countless deaths, likely in the tens of thousands now (just here) and all kinds of other negative results (Typhoid Mary’s spreading the virus, anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, violent attacks, threats, hatred, it’s a daily thing here for the past year and half).
Government is POORLY designed to respond to real crisis. There is no real incentive. Ineptitude and incompetence abounds (Peter Principle). There are also asinine ‘turf wars’ for who gets credit – and who gets blame when things go wrong. There is also no profit motive to get things done on time, done right the first time. And there is bureaucratic institutionalization, which is an attempt to describe entrenched idiocy. They also lack innovation. The best ‘help’ often leaves for the more lucrative private sector.
So there is no real reason to think that government is going to be able to solve much of anything. They’re not designed to do so.
It’s actually amazing to me that the government here managed to survive the Trump ineptitude and interference in the pandemic response. This fucking idiot couldn’t have made it any worse, but now he’s trying to claim credit for what he didn’t do. Typical narcissistic asshole.
Personally, I don’t expect anything from any government except bureaucracy and bad ideas. They won’t save us (humanity), they’re part of the problem dragging us all down.
These ice cores have allowed Binitie to display in Glasgow, at what is widely acknowledged to be a pivotal moment for the planet, the purest possible air trapped in ice from another such moment, just before modern humanity began its unwitting destruction of the atmosphere, the stark consequences of which are now being faced.
The Polar Zero exhibition at the Glasgow Science Centre features a cylindrical glass sculpture encasing the air, extracted precisely from 1765 – the date that many historians pinpoint as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. A second cylinder presents an ice core containing tiny bubbles of air that were trapped as snow fell and compacted, and which now reveal the horrifying rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since that date.
“The scale of the topic is so overwhelming and so complex that it can feel distant, even apocalyptic,” says Binitie, an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded PhD student at the Royal College of Art. “People need something tangible to get hold of, that collapses that distance.”
Capsule of 1765 air reveals ancient histories hidden under Antarctic ice | Cop26 | The Guardian
Isn’t it interesting that we can quantify it, explain it and ponder it, but can do nothing to stop it being made catastrophically worse.
Mankind has a death wish… Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it~
‘There is no huge chasm after a 1.49C rise, we are tumbling down a painful, worsening rocky slope rather than about to suddenly hit a sheer cliff edge – but by most standards the world’s governments are currently failing to avert a grim fate. “We are on a catastrophic path,” said António Guterres, secretary general of the UN. “We can either save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future.”
The climate disaster is here – this is what the future looks like | Environment | The Guardian
“Earth is already becoming unlivable. Will governments act to stop this disaster from getting worse?” – Rhetorical question, and highly inaccurate. A) Governments have miserably failed to act when they should have – when it would have made a difference (decades ago). B) It WILL get worse. Already is. All the bad news about the “economy” and rising prices are directly related to deadly climate change, and so is the pandemic and all of the downstream effects of a planet becoming too hot and unlivable. And STILL the world leaders dick around and pretend they’ve got a handle on this. NO THEY DON’T. Wrong responses repeated over decades is a pretty good indication that they are actually quite inept and clueless.
What REALLY angers me about these articles is that they NEVER tell the truth. Not even close. Temperatures are already above 1.5C NOW. So all these ‘futuristic scenarios’ that depict horrible effects? Guaranteed to happen. Absolutely guaranteed. They also perpetuate the ABSOLUTE LIE that we’re going to avoid these disasters.
If you keep moving the goal posts, we’ll NEVER reach 1.5C, which is what they’ve been doing, changing their temperature predictions and date settings. That way it all looks “good” and it looks like we have a chance to avoid the worst. Not true.
All the references to the IPCC, the Paris Agreement, Kyoto, and Copenhagen are references to REPEATED FAILURE. So will the Paris Agreement. There is NO indication that the world is “ready” to do what actually needs to be done, so these stupid fuckers are just going to push the goal posts AGAIN. These dumb fucks are committing the world to absolute DISASTER.
“No one is entirely sure how this horrifying experiment will end” – absolute BULLSHIT. We do know how this will end. Only the obtuse and hopium addicted do not.
I post the Guardian articles because, although disingenuous
not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.
they are the closest to reality that any of the corporate media dare publish. And Guardian articles are useful for pointing out some of the reality i.e. ‘grim future’, to people who are in total denial of reality and continue to promote polices that make everything that matters worse at an ever faster pace.
On the local front, the price of fuel has risen significantly in the past few weeks as global energy prices rise.
Brent Crude Oil Price Charts | Oilprice.com
Brent is $84.50 at the moment, up $10 US in less than a month.
That said, fuel is still sufficiently cheap (around $2.40 NZ per litre) for wealthier people to continue to squander it on trivial pursuits.
Poor people, however, are now getting pushed ‘off the cliff’ by the rises in price of almost everything.
I actually like the Guardian for the most part. I know many people don’t. They’re more moderate, level headed then what others prefer. This article wasn’t bad in the sense that they were closer to the truth then what nearly any other mainstream publications has dared to admit, it’s just that they are still making the same errors and assumptions, I suspect they know this. Probably couldn’t get it past their editors to make it more real. Or something. Catering to advertisers and moderates? I don’t know.
I only know that what makes it into print these days consistently fails to reveal the terrible truth. I think there is an ‘understanding’ at work here, across the entire world, to not reveal too much right now (assuming that they know more then they let on, it’s quite possible that they do not). Mild to moderate warnings are ok, but nothing else. They may not actually understand that they’re wrong about important points and measurements, dates and predictions. If they’re being fed inaccurate information, they’re guilty of repeating it to millions.
Your fuel prices would be $9.08 per gallon here, exorbitantly expensive (collapse the economy expensive). Adjusted for NZ dollar vs US dollar, it’s actually $2.64 per gallon, way cheaper then what we are paying (I just paid $3.51 for diesel, gas is a little less).
I wish the US had switched to the metric system back in the 70’s when we should have. And everybody should be driving on the right side of the road, never did get that left side driving thing.
Driving on the left is the natural extension of walking or riding on the left; this is because the majority of people are right-handed.
Two strangers on a road approached with their weapon-carrying hand closest to the potential enemy.
As I understand it, the driving on the right practice emerged because the drivers of ox wagons liked to watch the edge of the road carefully to avoid tipping over. And nobody travelling on a road argued with the driver of an ox wagon, so they moved to the unnatural side of the road.
I also believe that when Britain and France were at war (most of history after the English lost their ‘French territories associated with the Norman conquest) the French abhorred anything English; thus, Napoleon instructed everyone to walk or drive on the right, and imposed that on conquered nations. But that may not be the case.
All mainstream media -even the Guardian- are held hostage by the need for advertising revenue; thus, practically every publication is interspersed with adverts promoting rapid destruction of the biosphere and the rendering of the Earth uninhabitable, whilst at the same time those publications declare that we are on a path to catastrophe.
Governments are the real problem because they are fully committed to protecting and promoting the bankers’ globalised Ponzi scheme, which demands perpetual growth on a planet undergoing environmental meltdown and severe depletion of resources.
Ironically, as oil prices rise, demand destruction (businesses and people unable to afford the higher price) kicks in and demand destruction leads to oil prices falling.
Effectively, we have a globalised system whereby governments (in collusion with central banks) ‘print’ money to facilitate the conversion of fossil fuels into life-threatening pollutants. This has been known for decades. The game being played now is to keep the masses complacent and compliant as we transition through the collapse phase of the Ponzi scheme and the ‘controllers’ attempt to establish some other system for controlling the populations of industrialised nations.
That is where everything comes unstuck! People who have no electricity or fuel and cannot afford food tend to start gathering in the streets and attacking the symbols of authority.
Natural gas exported by Russia is currently keeping the lights on in Europe. But China also wants natural gas.
Maybe it will rain enough in the US for hydro-electricity generation to recover, and for some of the agriculture to recover. Continuation of the current American drought will surely bring down the house of cards in a matter of months.
But it’s not just the US: much of South America is undergoing environmental collapse, accompanied by economic collapse. And China is in very bad shape, environmentally and energetically.
With criminals and clowns running everything and obvious signs of collapse almost everywhere, I am very focused on personal preparations.
That’s all interesting. Re: governments. Isn’t capitalism the real problem? Or going even deeper (because this exists under any “ism”) the need for profits? Has there ever been any form of government that has not trashed and exploited the resources? My reading of history indicates no – but I’ve not read everything.
The need to convert resources into elements of profit, at however it can be done, with little regard for the environmental consequences, including the process employed, in a system specifically designed for maximum profits and maximized opportunity – this is the system by which humankind has destroyed habitability of the planet, thereby giving rise to exploding populations that wouldn’t even exist if this system hadn’t been designed and followed.
Governments are inept and bound to their defined roles, but by themselves, they don’t produce anything. Generally speaking in the western world, they don’t exploit resources directly and create the enormous waste streams in the process. Indirectly they enable those that do (including all of us peons and serfs). Governments are also bound by their parliaments and constitutions, which are specifically designed to promote trade, and therefore growth, and therefore exploitation and therefore pollution and waste and you know the rest, endless destruction all in the name of profits. They cannot even maintain the present population if they don’t chase after this diminishing dream.
Government is the legalized arm of enablers, but the profit-makers are the real culprits. Other then creating money, governments protect business activity and produce nothing much themselves. They don’t regulate industry effectively and if absent (which is what Trump tried to do) industry would run amok making environmental collapse even worse.
The genie is out of the bottle now, corporations have become too big and too powerful to be restrained by mere government. International agreements and restrictions can still be ignored lacking effective enforcement. But government would never consider actually restraining industry much or even itself, these entities are now completely self-serving and offer only a pretense and shadow of being ‘essential and necessary’ for the benefit and welfare of the people.
We too are polluted and poisoned in our minds about their roles and services, not understanding that they have long since ceased serving the people that elected them. Private / public corporations however are not directly accountable to the people and government officials don’t effectively respond to the desire of the people, even when there are egregious violations.
In effect, we’re saddled with an economic / governmental / industrial system that serves itself, and that process is specifically designed to exploit every possible resource for maximum profits. It’s a system of death and destruction ultimately, while enriching a few in the time between the beginning of profits and the exhaustion / pollution of resources and the environment collapse. It’s a incredibly stupid system based on short-sighted greed.