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josef k.
08-03-2009, 01:54 AM
I pose the question.

Tanadan
08-03-2009, 10:33 AM
Course bruv.

Agent Nucleus
08-03-2009, 11:43 AM
:o

Mr BoShambles
08-03-2009, 12:02 PM
I pose the question.

Why? What's prompted this....?

josef k.
08-03-2009, 04:09 PM
The global situation seems bleak.

swears
08-03-2009, 04:13 PM
The global situation seems bleak.

I can't think of a time beforehand when things were exactly peachy in that regard.

craner
08-03-2009, 04:42 PM
No, it's doooomed.

Mr BoShambles
08-03-2009, 04:44 PM
Agree with swears. You must have specific things in mind josef.

josef k.
08-03-2009, 04:53 PM
I can't think of a time beforehand when things were exactly peachy in that regard.

Evil and madness and chaos and foolishness have always been there, and are probably irradicable. Radical. Irradicable. Are things especially bad today? I don't know.

craner
08-03-2009, 05:25 PM
We are about to be overwhelmed by radical superstition.

jenks
08-03-2009, 05:47 PM
We are about to be overwhelmed by radical superstition.

and bad poetry

padraig (u.s.)
08-03-2009, 07:39 PM
Evil and madness and chaos and foolishness have always been there, and are probably irradicable. Radical. Irradicable. Are things especially bad today? I don't know.

yes, but not b/c we're collectively more evil/foolish/etc. than we were 10, 100, 1000 yrs ago. the reason things are worse is cause we've constructed a system which is 1) by nature grossly unfair (not that, tbc, I have anything better to offer, at least not anything that is pragmatic & not merely idealistic) & 2) destroys the place we live at a fantastic clip. oh & which is entirely dependent on a single irreplaceable fuel supply that is rapidly (how rapidly being a topic of discussion among scientists & experts) dwindling.

I don't know about doomed tho. "doomed" to me implies that humans will die out entirely - which I think unlikely unless there's a large-scale nuclear war which is poisons the atmosphere so thorougly that it can no longer support life.

zhao
08-03-2009, 08:37 PM
doomed, yes. but dooomed might be a stretch.

poetix
08-03-2009, 08:43 PM
I believe that the way forwards is the construction of giant Buckminster Fuller-inspired eco-hemispheres in which the remnants of humanity can live in regulated artificial climates, safe from the howling methane storms, radioactive wastelands and ravening hordes of mutant wolf-pigs without.

My prognosis for the future is thus: humanity...is domed.

zhao
08-03-2009, 09:02 PM
all "physical" problems such as environmental degradation, shortage of water/food/energy, etc., can be solved. it's the system which prevents and stops the solutions from being implemented.

the power, as always, is the real problem.

Agent Nucleus
08-03-2009, 09:38 PM
i predict that humanity will get stupider and more crass with each generation, so in that sense, yes, we are absolutely doomed. but as far as stockpiling a bunker for when the global market collapses, and shit like that, i won't hold my breath.

josef k.
08-03-2009, 09:43 PM
I believe that the system is an expression of humanity, not an alien power hanging over it. If the system is suicidal and destructive, crazed and short-sighted, this is because...

Mr BoShambles
08-03-2009, 10:02 PM
all "physical" problems such as environmental degradation, shortage of water/food/energy, etc., can be solved.

I share some of your optimism zhao. Using our creative capacities for innovation and cooperation we - that is humanity as a whole - can and do address our shared problems. But it ain't that simple. Humanity rarely thinks as a whole, it is divided along many lines. Often a problem solved for one person/group is a problem created for another. Also, in solving a problem it is common to generate novel problems in the process. The cumulative effects of this mean that we undergo continual adaptation and transformation; but there is no single direction and no end-point.

This:


it's the system which prevents and stops the solutions from being implemented.

the power, as always, is the real problem.

is, IMHO, pretty meaningless. To make it meaningful you would need to be specific about what constitutes this "system" you refer to; and the nature of this "power", i.e. who holds it, where/how it is manifest etc

It's not that i don't think there is a system (cos that would be stoopid). In fact there are many systems - ecological, social, political, economic; and working at many levels - i.e. local, national, transnational, regional, global etc. They overlap of course.

It seems to me that we can see a decentralization of power taking place in the world as a result of - amongst other things - the effects of successive technological revolutions, the privatisation and deregulation of state functions and national economies, and the proliferation of increasingly influential non-state actors. Therefore the number of nodes of influence/authority/power in the overall "social" system of humanity are increasing. We live in a messy age.

Agent Nucleus
08-03-2009, 10:03 PM
but doesn't the system (whatever that means) have a kind of life of its own, totally exterior to the subjects that produce it? or rather, doesn't the system produce the subject, and not the other way around? ie we are a reflection of it.

josef k.
08-03-2009, 10:05 PM
I think it is inside... not exterior.

Mr BoShambles
08-03-2009, 10:07 PM
but doesn't the system (whatever that means) have a kind of life of its own, totally exterior to the subjects that produce it? or rather, doesn't the system produce the subject, and not the other way around? ie we are a reflection of it.

agency -- structure.

mutually constitutive i reckon.

Agent Nucleus
08-03-2009, 10:12 PM
i don't believe in an 'interior.' even thought is exterior, as it's confined to the prearranged molds of ideology, language, history, etc. now those systems are likely entropic, spiralling toward an inevitable failure/disaster, so maybe we're doomed after all.

Agent Nucleus
08-03-2009, 10:13 PM
actually i don't believe in exteriority either. when in doubt, invoke the Klein Bottle:

http://www.lancs.ac.uk/depts/spc/ugAdmissions/images/klein_bottle.jpg

josef k.
08-03-2009, 10:24 PM
So, where are we left?

Agent Nucleus
08-03-2009, 10:27 PM
in William S. Burroughs territory, who, btw, definitely thought humanity was doomed ;)

by Burroughs territory I mean a universe that is topological, holographic, psychedelic, evil, incomprehensible, etc.

josef k.
08-03-2009, 10:53 PM
I recognize this.

See also:

"If human beings were shown what they're really like, they'd either kill one another as vermin, or hang themselves."
Aldous Huxley

padraig (u.s.)
08-03-2009, 11:35 PM
I'd like to be optimistic, of course, but this:


Humanity rarely thinks as a whole, it is divided along many lines. Often a problem solved for one person/group is a problem created for another. Also, in solving a problem it is common to generate novel problems in the process.

in tandem with this:


I believe that the system is an expression of humanity, not an alien power hanging over it. If the system is suicidal and destructive, crazed and short-sighted, this is because...

doesn't exactly get my hopes up.

tho perhaps per Mr. BoShambles' comments it would be best to change "system" to something like "the sum total of what humans have done, for better or (mostly) worse, is an expression of humanity & not an alien power hanging over it".

padraig (u.s.)
08-03-2009, 11:49 PM
but as far as stockpiling a bunker for when the global market collapses, and shit like that, i won't hold my breath.

it's one of those things which will always seem utterly crazy & laughable until it isn't. a "collapse" of that kind is unlikely anyway - as I said imo really only a nuclear war (or I guess an outbreak of some kind of plague - tho I'm not an epidemiologist, I dunno how likely this is or how it would look) could break about that kind of immediate collapse.

the people I know who are doing stuff like this aren't operating under delusions - exactly the opposite, they're mostly worried about, y'know, learning how to grow food & getting off the grid, very practical things.

josef k.
08-03-2009, 11:51 PM
Getting off the grid... maybe a good idea. Flee from the doom.

padraig (u.s.)
09-03-2009, 12:36 AM
Getting off the grid... maybe a good idea. Flee from the doom.

unfortunately it's really only open to ppl with access to a certain level of resources - as conscious choice at least, of course there are many many people around thw world living "off the grid" by default or cos there is no grid where they live. plus it's a passive course of action - you've accepted that ultimately no solution(s) (as opposed to quick fixes) can be found so you're going to look after you & yours. which is how I feel tho I'd very much like not to.

plus it's a subcultural scene.

plus in terms you might like more if everyone fled from the doom then no one would be fleeing. also if you could flee from it then it wouldn't be doom, which is all-encompassing. I think fortifying yourself against the doom would be more accurate.

josef k.
09-03-2009, 12:47 AM
Of course, various subcultures are one way in which people try to flee from doom. Actually, I think a lot of humanity is about fleeing the doom. Joining the army, for instance, and submitting to discipline. Which of course leads to yet further doom.

padraig (u.s.)
09-03-2009, 01:47 AM
I meant literally fortifying yourself tho.

Still tho I think that doom is something you can't flee from. You can try I guess. But I mean, that's what the essence of being "doomed" is, something which is inescapable. Really the only way is to meet it head on - trying to figure out what's wrong, before you're doomed, and attempting to preempt it by making changes.

Once you've decided you're doomed what is the point of anything? Everything is equally meaningless.

zhao
09-03-2009, 06:41 AM
I believe that the system is an expression of humanity, not an alien power hanging over it. If the system is suicidal and destructive, crazed and short-sighted, this is because...

this is the center of everything i have been saying:

the way we live today, and the systems and powers which govern it, is a very, very recent phenomenon in the history of humanity: a blink of an eye.

saying that it is "human nature", is like saying how you are groggy and in a bad mood when you get the flu is the true essence (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=5543&highlight=human+nature) of your personality.

it is hard to remember or imagine for us, but before this stupid fuck-up (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=6684&highlight=worst+mistake), life and its organization was very different.

and i'm not saying we should return to a pre-mistake way of life (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=7121&highlight=worst+mistake+made), (well maybe, in ways different than the obvious ridiculous ones), but it is important to realize that we are at least CAPABLE of living in an egalitarian way. and it won't hurt to learn from the way our ancesters have survived for hundreds of thousands and millions of years -- actually it might be the only way forward, by studying the past.

zhao
09-03-2009, 08:42 AM
To make it meaningful you would need to be specific about what constitutes this "system" you refer to; and the nature of this "power", i.e. who holds it, where/how it is manifest etc

sure that would make it meaningful. but i think most people know what i'm talking about when i say "the system(s) which prevent change or solutions being implemented" -- the one(s) that murdered the electric car, the one(s) that destroyed the metro subway in Los Angeles, the one(s) that uses resources to fight wars instead of co-operate toward solving problems...

zhao
09-03-2009, 09:10 AM
Humanity rarely thinks as a whole, it is divided along many lines. Often a problem solved for one person/group is a problem created for another.

true. we have lived with arbitrary lines and the separation of illusion for so long we don't remember our commonality. and to erase those bullshit borders... is where my east meets west mashup albums come in. :D


Also, in solving a problem it is common to generate novel problems in the process. The cumulative effects of this mean that we undergo continual adaptation and transformation; but there is no single direction and no end-point.

well we have to just get better at problem solving -- solar panels across the sahara should take care of energy for every house hold on earth. eco-friendly farm land across much of Africa or South America give enough food for everyone. massive restoration and regenerative efforts turn back global warming within a decade or 3, and with it, clean water.

also don't forget that when a smoker stops smoking, his lungs immediately go to work to repair the damage: tissue grows, toxic waste expelled: that's why you cough more in the days right after quiting -- the earth itself will be helping us to get back to equilibrium.

but none of this is going to happen. instead, what we have to look forward to is war, natural disasters, famine and plague and more war.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 10:50 AM
Er, how exactly is life worse than it was in the past? Our prospects? We seem to have gone from is humanity doomed to why humanity is doomed a bit too easily.

craner
09-03-2009, 10:57 AM
Aformentioned waves of radical superstition.

The ecological stuff is all untrue, obviously.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 11:30 AM
Maybe a more interesting question is, why does humanity think it is doomed, and think it so consistently?

craner
09-03-2009, 12:27 PM
Because it is!

zhao
09-03-2009, 12:34 PM
Maybe a more interesting question is, why does humanity think it is doomed, and think it so consistently?

I recommend this book (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=7540&highlight=COLLAPSE). a study of past civilizations which have destroyed themselves, often with the entire population dead.

the problem is not that we are too paranoid, but quite the opposite: we are too proud and think similar fates can not befall us. (dissensus is NOT a reflection of societies at large)

vimothy
09-03-2009, 12:38 PM
And yet here we are.

zhao
09-03-2009, 12:53 PM
And yet here we are.

and there the vikings were, living happily on greenland seemingly successfully after hundreds of years, not taking their problems seriously, and not knowing that soon they would all freeze and starve to death.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 12:55 PM
With respect, the question is, is humanity doomed, not are the vikings doomed.

Tentative Andy
09-03-2009, 12:58 PM
Heat death of the sun, etc etc.

zhao
09-03-2009, 01:08 PM
With respect, the question is, is humanity doomed, not are the vikings doomed.

with respect, the fate of different ethnic groups are much more connected today than they were before.

with respect, how past peoples have met their doom has everything to do with humanity in 2009: the same problems, the same choices to ignore or solve them.

craner
09-03-2009, 01:09 PM
Don't forget the dinosaurs.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 01:31 PM
Let me put it another way: civilisations have collapsed before, but humanity survived. Two assumptions then are necessary to say that humanity is doomed. The first assumption is that "our civilisation", meaning the inter-linked global state system, is doomed. The second assumption is that the collapse of this system will destroy humanity.

Ultimately, if it happens, I believe that it will be because of ruptures in the intertemporal fabric of the hardcore continuum, caused by Simon Reynold's article about wonky and ketamine.

zhao
09-03-2009, 01:31 PM
Don't forget the dinosaurs.

except they didn't cause soil erosion through over farming, and deplete marine life from over fishing, polute the atmosphere with wanton industry, etc., and causing their own destruction through short sighted practices did they?

did you recently hit your head craner? your posts lately have been really stupid.

to save time, allow me to reply for you:


we don't know that do we?

zhao
09-03-2009, 01:33 PM
Let me put it another way: civilisations have collapsed before, but humanity survived. Two assumptions then are necessary to say that humanity is doomed. The first assumption is that "our civilisation", meaning the inter-linked global state system, is doomed. The second assumption is that the collapse of this system will destroy humanity.



the fate of different ethnic groups are much more connected today than they were before.

also, the level of destruction is unprecedented: 80% of all large fish in the ocean gone. hockey stick graphs of temperature rise. etc. etc. etc. etc.

thus the stakes are higher than they were before: eco collapse will not be regional like before, and catastrophe will affect humanity globally.

poetix
09-03-2009, 01:39 PM
I blame the forgetting of Being. Also: phonologophallocentrism, obscure and reactive subjectivities, the reduction of the Face of the Other to a mere sense datum, biopower, sex negativity, vampiric capital, arborescent conceptual schematisation, grand narratives, the Spectacle and the blocking of flows.

If we could just get rid of all those things, our immortality would be assured - we'd probably just, like, sublime into beings of pure orgone energy or something like that.

zhao
09-03-2009, 01:49 PM
I blame the forgetting of Being. Also: phonologophallocentrism, obscure and reactive subjectivities, the reduction of the Face of the Other to a mere sense datum, biopower, sex negativity, vampiric capital, arborescent conceptual schematisation, grand narratives, the Spectacle and the blocking of flows.

you forgot pretentiousness.

poetix
09-03-2009, 01:53 PM
Quite so. We shall sublime into beings of pure pretentiousness.

zhao
09-03-2009, 01:59 PM
i've never heard sublime used as a verb before... sounds ok but wonder how sound it is.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 02:01 PM
Does pretentionality require a vanguard?

poetix
09-03-2009, 02:02 PM
It is most unsound.

poetix
09-03-2009, 02:04 PM
A self-appointed vanguard, no less. Only such a vanguard can accomplish the crystallisation of the pre-tensor into a present-tensor, a scintillating vector of pre-tension.

poetix
09-03-2009, 02:17 PM
A self-appointed vanguard, no less. Only such a vanguard can accomplish the crystallisation of the pre-tensor into a present-tensor, a scintillating vector* of pre-tension.

* actually a tensor. Or possibly a twistor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twistor_theory).

josef k.
09-03-2009, 02:26 PM
Okay, so....

1) Is Western Civilization doomed?

2) Will humanity survive the collapse of Western Civilization?

3) If so, how...

zhao
09-03-2009, 02:37 PM
disagree with distinction between "western" and... eastern? civilization because i believe the separation of the 2 are exaggerated or completely fictional.

i would say civilization as we know it, this particular form of social organization, is doomed. but whether it will kill us all no one knows.

john eden
09-03-2009, 02:51 PM
Okay, so....

1) Is Western Civilization doomed?

Yes

2) Will humanity survive the collapse of Western Civilization?

Yes

3) If so, how...

by coming up with something else

crackerjack
09-03-2009, 02:56 PM
Okay, so....

1) Is Western Civilization doomed?

Yes

elaboration please

Because all civilisations are ultimately doomed?
Because of the current fiscal crisis?
Because liberal democracy is a sham?
Or because capitalism is a ravenous beast that eats its young and will ultimately be destroyed by its own contradictions?

poetix
09-03-2009, 03:06 PM
My chief concerns, and I appreciate this is a little self-centred, are that my children should not starve, that my wife should not be gang-raped by soldiers, and that I myself should not be bayonetted in the stomach and left to die in a ditch.

If the process of reinventing civilisation might be accomplished without my incurring these inconveniences, that would be great thx.

john eden
09-03-2009, 03:16 PM
Because all civilisations are ultimately doomed?
Or because capitalism is a ravenous beast that eats its young and will ultimately be destroyed by its own contradictions?

Those

vimothy
09-03-2009, 03:16 PM
How long do you give us?

john eden
09-03-2009, 03:17 PM
How long do you give us?

Just a few hundred years, I'm afraid. Give or take.

crackerjack
09-03-2009, 03:19 PM
Those

Yeah, they'd be my picks too.

A few hundred years comes as quite a relief at the moment.

john eden
09-03-2009, 03:20 PM
A few hundred years comes as quite a relief at the moment.

Well that depends on what follows, and the nature of the transition.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 03:22 PM
I bet you lot are a right laugh at parties.

crackerjack
09-03-2009, 03:22 PM
Well that depends on what follows, and the nature of the transition.

Yup, fair point.

john eden
09-03-2009, 03:22 PM
I bet you lot are a right laugh at parties.

says the man with an equation in as his subhead. :)

crackerjack
09-03-2009, 03:23 PM
I bet you lot are a right laugh at parties.

says

/d/ = (HMLT * HTML) + HCC
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

vimothy
09-03-2009, 03:24 PM
The baby Jesus cries when you say mathematics is not ontology.

josef k.
09-03-2009, 03:25 PM
The film 2001 suggests that humanity will survive the collapse of western civilization (henceforth, CWC). Something like a space baby will follow it.

The SF writer Stapleton is quite good on this as well. He has successively rising and falling civilization, proceeding on down the ages for the next several million years. Eventually, humanity is destroyed, though. By the death of the sun.

john eden
09-03-2009, 03:26 PM
The film 2001 suggests that humanity will survive the collapse of western civilization (henceforth, CWC). Something like a space baby will follow it.

The SF writer Stapleton is quite good on this as well. He has successively rising and falling civilization, proceeding on down the ages for the next several million years. Eventually, humanity is destroyed, though. By the death of the sun.

works for me!

vimothy
09-03-2009, 03:27 PM
Actually, I think my mathematical description of meta-Dissensus is hilarious, but I suppose that proves your point.

john eden
09-03-2009, 03:32 PM
Actually, I think my mathematical description of meta-Dissensus is hilarious, but I suppose that proves your point.

chicks always love hilarious equations which describe in-jokes on internet discussion forums.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 03:34 PM
Obviously we are going to the same sorts of parties: this is very reassuring.

john eden
09-03-2009, 03:38 PM
Obviously we are going to the same sorts of parties: this is very reassuring.

It's good that we can still feel a connection, a common humanity, in the face of all this apocalyptic fretting.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 03:42 PM
Let's face it, the immanent death of humanity is one thing, but it's not nearly as important as impressing girls at parties.

reeltoreel
09-03-2009, 03:48 PM
When the revolution comes, will there be a party?

crackerjack
09-03-2009, 03:50 PM
When the revolution comes, will there be a party?

Depends who wins, surely.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 03:53 PM
We could have a wake!

crackerjack
09-03-2009, 03:54 PM
We could have a wake!

Would that be a neoliberal/libertarian wake? That would be cool - means the rest of us could turn up and steal your booze.

STN
09-03-2009, 03:54 PM
Let's face it, the immanent death of humanity is one thing, but it's not nearly as important as impressing girls at parties.

you can combine the two, simply by purchasing a bottle of Buckfast.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 04:02 PM
Doesn't sound like "socialise the losses" to me.

josef k.
09-03-2009, 04:12 PM
Just so long as the party has blackjack and hookers.

josef k.
09-03-2009, 04:13 PM
Actually, scratch the blackjack.

martin
09-03-2009, 05:00 PM
When the revolution comes, will there be a party?

Yeah - a big fucking party full of pimply students, telling you what to do.

john eden
09-03-2009, 05:06 PM
Yeah - a big fucking party full of pimply students, telling you what to do.

Will they be condescending and yet painfully earnest?

STN
09-03-2009, 05:12 PM
will there be snacks? i think i'd like some foxes party rings, if i'm invited.

martin
09-03-2009, 05:13 PM
Will they be condescending and yet painfully earnest?

Well, put it this way - it ain't gonna be like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxa2yxdW6UM

josef k.
09-03-2009, 05:13 PM
I will provide a meat dish of my own devising. Partly rugose, partly squamous.

martin
09-03-2009, 05:16 PM
It'll be more like listening to this bloke forever

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_ZbbRLUeoo

STN
09-03-2009, 05:19 PM
In that case can I register myself as an enemy of the people now? I'd like my last meal before I'm dragged through the streets from the back of John Eden's car to consist of Buckfast and Foxes Party Rings.

josef k.
09-03-2009, 05:22 PM
Isn't that the video that people watch in the "Ring" films?

martin
09-03-2009, 05:27 PM
Yeah, the very same. Best bit's when he stands up on a box to 'reach the mic', then remembers he's a midget anyway.

zhao
09-03-2009, 05:44 PM
if only after 1 week anyone who watches it turns into a die-hard anarcho syndicalist.

vimothy
09-03-2009, 05:51 PM
They'll fit right in at the student party.

zhao
09-03-2009, 05:59 PM
but Mathew Herbert will be DJing, after Diamonda Galas sings.

pimples or not, the party will be more like this:

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/hkb3r9filcM&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/hkb3r9filcM&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

vimothy
09-03-2009, 06:05 PM
At the risk of straying from the truly important subjects (girls; in-jokes; booze; why students are knobs), Martin Wolf's recent column (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c6c5bd36-0c0c-11de-b87d-0000779fd2ac.html) in the FT seems closer to the mark, re where we are headed:


Another ideological god has failed. The assumptions that ruled policy and politics over three decades suddenly look as outdated as revolutionary socialism.

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Thus quipped Ronald Reagan, hero of US conservatism. The remark seems ancient history now that governments are pouring trillions of dollars, euros and pounds into financial systems.

“Governments bad; deregulated markets good”: how can this faith escape unscathed after Alan Greenspan, pupil of Ayn Rand and predominant central banker of the era, described himself, in congressional testimony last October, as being “in a state of shocked disbelief” over the failure of the “self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity”?

In the west, the pro-market ideology of the past three decades was a reaction to the perceived failure of the mixed-economy, Keynesian model of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The move to the market was associated with the election of Reagan as US president in 1980 and the ascent to the British prime ministership of Margaret Thatcher the year before. Little less important was the role of Paul Volcker, then chairman of the Federal Reserve, in crushing inflation.

Yet bigger events shaped this epoch: the shift of China from the plan to the market under Deng Xiaoping, the collapse of Soviet communism between 1989 and 1991 and the end of India’s inward-looking economic policies after 1991. The death of central planning, the end of the cold war and, above all, the entry of billions of new participants into the rapidly globalising world economy were the high points of this era.

Today, with a huge global financial crisis and a synchronised slump in economic activity, the world is changing again. The financial system is the brain of the market economy. If it needs so expensive a rescue, what is left of Reagan’s dismissal of governments? If the financial system has failed, what remains of confidence in markets?...

swears
09-03-2009, 06:19 PM
I really wouldn't be suprised if after a new wave of Keynesian economics and tighter financial regulation, leaders again decide (in 30 years or so) that everything needs to be deregulated and privatised to give the economy a shot in the arm, and the cycle begins again.

craner
09-03-2009, 06:23 PM
Switch!

craner
09-03-2009, 06:24 PM
Alan Greenspan wasn't, technically, a "pupil" of Ayn Rand.

padraig (u.s.)
09-03-2009, 08:24 PM
elaboration please

Because all civilisations are ultimately doomed?
Or because capitalism is a ravenous beast that eats its young and will ultimately be destroyed by its own contradictions?

as john said mainly these. nothing lasts forever.

the big point to me anyway isn't that this particular strain of civilization will end, as they all do, but how much damage will be done in the meantime.

tho craner's told us:

The ecological stuff is all untrue, obviously.
oh never mind what's even the point.


Just a few hundred years, I'm afraid. Give or take.

I dunno man, sooner than this I'd think, oil certainly isn't going to last another few hundred yrs for one. tho I guess you're counting the "transition" to (something?). the fall of the Roman Empire lasted f***king forever, after all, drawn out over several centuries.

craner
09-03-2009, 10:50 PM
Switch. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WcmqT2XpdY)

vimothy
09-03-2009, 11:36 PM
"If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." But maybe looking at it in terms of "Western Civilisation" is not that helpful.

craner
10-03-2009, 12:13 AM
I love this freestyle doom thread; it chimes with my life.

john eden
10-03-2009, 12:17 AM
I love this freestyle doom thread; it chimes with my life.

it's only doom if you assume what follows will be worse. :)

craner
10-03-2009, 12:35 AM
Oh, man, that's my assumption. To be fair, one of my earliest memories is Protect & Survive drills in junior school. Not helpful, especially because my mother kept watching Woody Allen films throughout my childhood. It was like a perfect storm of doom and neurosis.

swears
10-03-2009, 01:18 PM
I think a lot of the doom talk in the media is tied into baby-boomer narcissism in the face of their fast-approaching old-age and death. I mean, how does civilisation survive without Hilary Clinton?!

Sick Boy
10-03-2009, 01:31 PM
I agree with the point upthread about how we will continue to get stupider with each generation. I think there is an inverse relationship between access to information and humanity's general intelligence.

empty mirror
10-03-2009, 08:20 PM
so yeah, out of a lack of anything to contribute to this thread other than a vague sense of impending etc, i looked up the etymology of "doom" and it looks like it has an OE origin----meaning law, judgment and condemnation.

so no, there will be no doom, as there is no judge...
or is there?!!!
dramatic mammal

vimothy
15-03-2009, 01:00 PM
http://economistsview.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451b33869e2011168f36b76970c-450wi (http://blogs.nyu.edu/fas/dri/aidwatch/2009/03/when_will_there_be_good_news_d_1.html)

josef k.
15-03-2009, 01:27 PM
When you say "developing world"...

vimothy
15-03-2009, 01:33 PM
Everywhere except Japan, Canada, USA, Australia, NZ and Europe.

josef k.
15-03-2009, 01:35 PM
So what happens to these statistics when you take China & India out of the equation?

vimothy
15-03-2009, 01:45 PM
Well, that's a third of the world's population, though obviously those two states are key drivers. And it's true that if you take out everyone except sub-Saharan Africa it looks pretty bad.

vimothy
15-03-2009, 02:33 PM
Historical income growth: http://www.visualizingeconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/world_gdp_pop_v2.jpg

josef k.
15-03-2009, 02:39 PM
But is GDP growth not potentially misleading as an index of human progress? If the air became so toxic that it became required to buy bottled air, this would register as an increase in GDP as companies were set-up to profit...

And then there is the small matter of climate change.

vimothy
15-03-2009, 02:46 PM
It's true that GDP is only one indicator, but it remains a useful proxy because so many things are associated with it. Not sure, in your example, if declining air quality really would, on net, increase GDP, though obviously some individual companies could profit from it. And, of course, there is also climate change. But the trends are not unambiguously bad.

Tentative Andy
15-03-2009, 06:51 PM
It seems to me that there have been predictions of humanity being doomed for almost as long as humanity itself has existed. (Religion has historically been a big factor in this). Sure, it's certainly crap right now, but for better or worse, I wouldn't say it's out-of-the-ordinary crap. There have certainly been more difficult times for humanity in general. Also, of course, the fact that we are able to identify our current situation as bad and complain about it implies that we have some grasp on the conception of a good human life, even if it only exists as an ideal.

vimothy
15-03-2009, 07:08 PM
Is it even crap right now? I mean -- compared to what? I think the trend is positive...

vimothy
15-03-2009, 07:15 PM
Let me restate my question in a slightly different way: is there any indicator that might support the hypothesis that humanity is doomed?

padraig (u.s.)
15-03-2009, 09:56 PM
Is there any indicator that might support the hypothesis that humanity is doomed?

I think "doomed" is a bit of a red herring, implying as it does an existential threat to the human race. I would change it to something like: what we have now isn't sustainable.


Not sure, in your example, if declining air quality really would, on net, increase GDP, though obviously some individual companies could profit from it...But the trends are not unambiguously bad.

But that's a massive problem isn't it? That companies which have the primary goal of delivering profits to their shareholders don't/wouldn't take into account and/or wouldn't foresee the larger consequences of their business practices? Or that they might value short term profit & growth over, y'know, horrendous environmental destruction/hideous labor practices/etc etc. Not that it's malicious even (well, most of the time it's not) which is what's so devastating, that it's just business as usual.

& no, it's not all bad (tho terms like "bad" & "good" become kind of nebulous here). surely nothing is ever unambiguously bad or good. unless you're Ayn Rand :).

vimothy
15-03-2009, 10:05 PM
But is that actually what's happening?

I think another problem with the question is that it could mean so many things. "Humanity" might be capitalism, this level of technological development, the west, everyone, our level of fossil fuel consumption, etc.

padraig (u.s.)
15-03-2009, 10:28 PM
But is that actually what's happening?

well certainly it's not the only thing happening, nor is it happening all the time. tbc I didn't mean to suggest that we're "doomed" b/c of it either - just that it does happen & is a serious problem. I mean I'm aware here - you have to balance things out surely - & also there's no way I would say that ppl in the "developing world" having a better standard of living is a negative thing - just that, you know, bringing up GDP etc is only one side of the coin, as in what are the costs?


I think another problem with the question is that it could mean so many things. "Humanity" might be capitalism, this level of technological development, the west, everyone, our level of fossil fuel consumption, etc.

this is very true. I reckon Josef originally meant it in a more abstract, philosophical way (correct me if I'm wrong).

again I think a better question would be - Is what we have sustainable? "What we have" being all the things you mentioned including the etc. - maybe we could boil down to how we gather resources & make/transport/consume goods, which IMO includes all that other stuff. The bit about "the West" (which confusingly includes Japan) is esp. misleading - as surely the West could fall out of power without humanity on the whole or even the West itself being "doomed".

vimothy
16-03-2009, 12:06 AM
On one level the constraint is having a given, finite set of resources to exploit, but on another level the constraint is knowing how to exploit that set of resources, knowing what constitutes a resource. Which is a different problem.

padraig (u.s.)
16-03-2009, 12:31 AM
surely the those problems are closely related & dependent on one another?

vimothy
16-03-2009, 12:45 AM
The second problem is a problem of knowledge, it's not binding. The set of resources in the first problem is finite, in real terms it's shrinking all the time, but the set of knowledge is growing.