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jorge
21-03-2013, 05:35 PM
just been reading 'Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism' by Stephen Graham and 'The Mad Max Phase of Globalization' by Lieven de Cauter for a course on the global city and its problems at Uni.

Dunno if anyone here has read them but Graham's text is basically about how the urban environment has become the battleground of our time and while it is mainly perceived to be in faraway lands at the moment, it is becoming much more present in cities in Europe and America. The use of drones, gated communities, greater gap in income between the rich and poor, everyone becoming a suspect in the increasingly large and encompassing urban landscape.

The Cauter text is mainly about the impact of climate change on society and the rise of disaster capitalism in which events such as 9/11 and Hurricane katrina are used in order to privatise, deregulate and wage wars. Instead of market forces having to innovate to stop climate change they actually profit from the fallout of such disasters.

The prospect of a Mad Max style cyberpunk future seems pretty likely and possible to happen in my life time, considering our consumption of resources is still accelerating and the developing world is still yet to flourish industrially and economically.

Im sure most of this isn't news to many of you but I hadn't really had all of the facts presented to me in this way before and its pretty scary to be honest, but at the same time pretty easy to forget about in day to day life.

How do you feel about this? How do we react to this impending collapse? start growing opium and get stoned into oblivion or get tooled up and prepare for a mad max style free-for all? (other options very welcome)

Leo
21-03-2013, 06:45 PM
The prospect of a Mad Max style cyberpunk future seems pretty likely and possible to happen in my life time...

it's a very different world today, but i think this sentiment is a bit exaggerated, i don't think we'll all end up dressing in leather bondage gear (unless you are into that sort of thing) and hoarding the precious juice.

seriously, many of the things you mention are certainly issues. there are many urban areas here in the states, however, that are actually much safer than they were decades ago, and have been repopulated by families who in generations past would have looked for the first opportunity to escape to the suburbs. an unfortunate side effect, though, as you mention, can be displacement of residents in formerly less desirable urban neighborhoods and the growing gap between rich and poor.

anything is possible, and anything can play out in a worst-case scenario. no one knows or can say for sure, but the perfect storm of events you describe strikes me as more hollywood screenplay (or a good angle for selling a book) than a probable reality.

jorge
21-03-2013, 08:49 PM
Lol yeah the leather will be optional, by cyberpunk the writer was referring to a kind of neo-medieval science fiction type thing, in that there will be very advanced technology but most of the world will be reduced to basics. As in bladerunner where there is incredibly advanced technology but the masses live in squalor in slums on the ground.

While my post may have been slightly sensational do you not think there is quite a possibility of some kind of societal implosion? the exponential rate of growth has to stop somewhere . At the moment our use of resources is accelerating and the most we can hope for is a lesser rate of acceleration. When climate change really starts having an impact it is going to cost huge amounts of wealth to deal with the problems and as the poor get poorer and the welfare state is dismantled, things don't seem that promising for the masses, especially considering the military force that can be used against protests and uprisings. Apparently the Netherlands have already started to use drones domestically.

mistersloane
23-03-2013, 06:57 PM
I was a counterculture teenager in the 80s so was reading stuff like Crisis

http://www.toonhound.com/crisis.htm

and hanging out in squats

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutoid_Waste_Company

where people WERE actually living a Mad Max type lifestyle, so those futures were very much realities to me and I think alot of people then - see also these pictures now :

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2210747/21st-century-Gypsies-New-Age-Travellers-adopt-horse-drawn-caravans-love-Facebook-long-solar-powered.html