End of the World, Long Live the World

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Sydde, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #1
    What is the difference between pessimism and realism?

    (Note: this author is not a scientist, sociologist or financial expert, he is a novelist, but his analysis seems very spot on to me)
    greatly reduced in length
    History is taking us in a certain direction and we don't want to hear about it. We've got our hands clapped over our ears and we're shouting "Kittens and puppies! Kittens and puppies!" Here are some of the things that we're confused about:

    • We tell ourselves we're in an economic recovery ... Fuggeddabowdit... We've entered a contraction that will seem permanent until we reach an economic re-set point that comports with what the planet can actually provide for us... lower than we would like to imagine.
    • The housing sector will never come back to what it was ... We built too many houses in the wrong places ... We're done building suburbia, and after while, when we can no longer stand the dysfunction and inconvenience, we'll be done living in the stuff that's already there... As the suburban dynamic increasingly fails, disappointment may turn to fury. It will be the result of leaders not telling the public the truth for many many years.
    • More higher education is not going bring back the turbo-charged consumer economy. We will not need more office gerbils... That's going in the opposite direction too... The center of economic life in America will be food production and other agricultural activities... We will need more farmers .. and more human laborers working in the fields ...
    • We're not going to "tech" our way through the array of mega-problems we face, in particular the energy predicament. The American mind-space today is clogged with cargo-cult fantasies about electric cars, nano-manufacturing, and "information" technology that would allow the trajectory of progress to continue just as we have known and loved it. This too, like the end of suburbia, will lead to vast disappointment...
    ...
    It would be nice if we could correct the disorders in the collective conversion that we call "politics," but we are probably going to see ever greater divergence with reality. For the moment, all leadership in America has drunk too much Kool-aid, all of it lacks conviction and competence, none of it wants to enter the actual future.

    J. H. Kunstler's Rose Colored Glasses

    So what do you think? Can we climb out of the mess we are in and get back to like it was in the 60s or even the 90s, or is the free ride over for us? At what point do we need to start dragging our culture around to face the wall that we may have already run up against? Was Walt Kelly's opossum right about who the enemy is?
     
  2. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #2
    I think it's a silly notion to look at past times and expect to emulate them.
     
  3. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #3
    In terms of economic goals, that is exactly what we are being told we ought to do.
     
  4. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #4
    right and that's just not going to happen, so it's silly.
     
  5. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #5
    I'm not sure. The bubble that came about after WWII was one that probably can't be replicated. I do believe that until the leadership passes to the millennial generation, there probably won't be much real change. The boomers have invested too heavily in auto dependent suburbia and what's politically even worse, anti government exurbia.

    One of the greatest failures of this country is to realize that we've changed from a frontier nation of the 1800s to a highly urban nation where co-dependence is critical to our survival. It's no surprise that the most vibrant, happy, creative, well-educated, secular, and wealthy areas of the country are urban like San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Washington DC and that some of the most miserable places are rural. It also seems that the greater the misery index, the more likely people are to vote against their own best interests in hopes that society will return to that mythical post WWII golden era.
     
  6. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #6
    any links on the happiness levels in the US? Would be interested in seeing them.
     
  7. Liquorpuki, Mar 5, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012

    Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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  8. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #8
    Atlantic

    That's just one but it doesn't take a lot of work to find other links that support the fact that happiness is a matter of accomplishment, not one of fear and hatred.
     
  9. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #9
    I'm not sure simply being a college town guarantees "happiness". Going as far back as 1200 a.d. or so I can think of examples where town vs gown angst has been quite severe.
     
  10. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #10
    During the Middle Ages, happiness was directly proportional to the distance between you and the nearest beer-brewing abbey.
     
  11. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #11
    Wisconsin is a college town, but there is a tavern on every corner. Not sure how that works out. The people there never really seemed more or less happy than anyone else I have met.
     
  12. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #12
    Well you stated that the most happy places were urban, and the most unhappy with rural. That link doesn't demonstrate that.

    And it's also worthy of note that college towns are heavily subsidized by the government through the university.

    What odes this have to do with anything?
     
  13. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #13
    This isn't the Middle Ages... in most places anyways.
     
  14. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #14
    Yes, of course Pogo was right. (Who else is there to blame other than ourselves?)

    Our current lifestyle is one that "destroys the essential to produce the superfluous". Unless we current patterns of consumption change, our children and their children will likely consider us to have been total and complete idiots...



    Home (2009) is a depiction of how the Earth's problems are all interlinked.
     
  15. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #15
    You can speak from the comfort of the continent's tuque, in US the perspective differs somewhat.
     
  16. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #16
    C'est bien ici, mon frère.
     
  17. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #17
    • No question we won't have much gasoline to burn per capita in the future. No question. But, that doesn't mean a real economic recovery can't occur that will put young people to work.

    • No question cities, and some small towns, will be the place to be, suburbs less desirable, especially for employed young adults, and exurbia, once for the well-to-do, will be for the unemployed and aged. That doesn't mean the housing sector won't come back in cities.

    • If only! So, the author doesn't like office work, and likes outdoor agricultural work. For much of the time during the last 2500 years, there have been too many farmers-- too many people who wanted to be farmers, foresters, fisherman, hunters. And not nearly enough such jobs to satisfy them. During the Middle Ages, many of the surplus were consigned to monasteries and convents. Nowadays, they work in insurance companies. Outdoor work will, sadly, never again employ a large fraction of the population.


    • Electric cars are almost within reach-- but, parking is expensive in dense cities. Information technology, on the other hand, is already here. Lots of people telecommute from home already. As the cost of driving continues to rise, there will be more and more people working in information technology in various ways at or near their dwellings in cities and small towns.

    If you think suburbia/exurbia of the 60's was paradise, you weren't there. People will gradually settle back in to the cities. The only question is at what density. Will there be enough parks for soccer, basketball, and baseball? Will people have the option of living in a place with a small flower garden and vegetable patch? I'm guessing the average core city will settle in at about 100,000 people per square mile. The entire planet of 10 Billion people could fit in a total area of 300x300 miles, with the rest being farms, forests, and parks.

    The author seems torn between suburbia and nihilism. Strong, vibrant cities are the antidote.
     
  18. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #18
    Bad news for "techno optimists"...

    [​IMG]

    Paul Gilding: The Earth is full (video) @ TED Talks

    Paul Gilding, an author and activist, began the conversation with his profoundly disturbing talk “The Earth is full.” Gilding argued that our focus on growth at any cost has put the planet in peril. He said technology drives efficiency and economic growth – and powers breakneck consumption that the planet cannot endure. He made a case for how our lust for the latest gadgets is distracting people from acting to stop global disasters like climate change.

    “The world is full. It is full of us. It is full of our stuff, full of our waste, and full of our demands,” Gilding said. “We have created too much stuff. This is not a philosophical statement, this is just science. Our approach is simply unsustainable.” Mr. Gilding is the former director of Greenpeace International. “Thanks to those pesky laws of physics, it will stop. The system will break.”
     
  19. likemyorbs macrumors 68000

    likemyorbs

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    #19
    I'm sick of people trying to predict the future and coming up with all these bad situations that we will find ourselves in. Why don't these people get jobs, spend some time with their families, and make the best of their day to day life instead of predicting horrible things that will happen in the future?
     
  20. Sydde thread starter macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #20
    Well, I am sick of people telling us how great things will be in the future, once we get past this little bad patch. Optimism is fine, as long as it is realistic, most of what I hear is unrealistic. Yes, this author does go to extremes, but I think it is wise to consider what he has to say. As I see it, the "apocalypse" will not happen in short order (one day things are great, the next day the survivors are digging out) but will take years to play out.

    I did see some of suburbia in the 60s, though we lived on the inside edge of a sizable city. I kind of used that time period as a sort of metaphor, when the only really bad thing was the cold war (and Viet Nam by extension).

    Really, I doubt the author is expressing his preferences for the future, just his outlook on the kinds of changes we can expect. In summary, he is saying things will change a lot because they will have to, and I think his analysis is pretty good. If we continue on the path we are on, the clichéd piper will be a rich man.
     
  21. localoid, Mar 7, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012

    localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #21
    Perhaps you're right... Maybe we should just let the G.O.P. take the country back to 1950 and stop worrying about the future.

     
  22. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #22
    I commented on the narrative point-by-point because I think it is important to understand that giving up the gasoline-driven lifestyle is not the end of the world. It really isn't. What I'm challenging is the notion that because we will be giving up cheap gasoline (no matter what Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich think), that we can't have a vibrant economy and civilized city life. Just the opposite, in fact- cities will be much better without fossil fuel. Eventually, once we have all adjusted to expensive, limited liquid fuels, most people will realize that things are generally better. The main economic problem we have to solve is figuring out how to do sustainable agriculture without fossil fuel.


    Sadly, more like 1850, for the more extreme. No 14th amendment, limit women's rights and access to contraception, "state's rights".
     

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