Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Prosperity Without Growth

Thinking the Unthinkable: Not Growing the Economy

In this article on Common Dreams, Tim Jackson dares to speak the truth about economic reality.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Scare-Ya Palin - What you see is what you get

Scare-Ya Palin Outdoes Herself | CommonDreams.org

I lived in Alaskaland for fifteen years, where I became familiar with the Palin Phenom, long before Sarah left the basketball court for politics.

In Alaska, when someone asks you if you can do something, the Official Alaska State Response is, "Sure! Why not?" Then if it turns out you can't do it, at least you know more about it than before you started. No one checks on your credentials, especially for women.

Alaska is a small town; wherever you go you run into someone you know. Anyone who wants to can become, well, Governor. Wally Hickel was George Bush, v. 0.1. Remember the Owner State, the water pipeline to Lalaland?

Sarah Palin is no mystery to Alaskans. The puzzlement has always been, "Why did she want to go Outside and play with folks in the Lesser States?"

Alaska is also the State of Unfinished Projects, due to the overwhelming negative correlation between money and brains. There's piles of money lying about to buy new projects and very little qualifications to see them through. Closets in Juneau are stuffed, Fibber McGee-like, with all sorts of paraphernalia left over from grand projects never fulfilled.

So quitting as governor in the first term is very Alaskan, in keeping with Palin's experience growing up in the Unfinished State.

I have no excuses for Republicans.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Time is money?

Time is not money.

Money is a fiction dreamed up by economists to control the minds of the people.

Time is precious. Each moment unique, each moment eternity.

Treasure each moment, live each moment to the fullest.

"All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain."

Monday, July 13, 2009

(Un)sustainable Growth

"The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, 'billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse'."

In this article in Commondreams: "The Planet's Future," Jonathan Owen clearly states the inevitability of the collapse of what we optimistically call "civilization."

Since "sustainable growth" is an oxymoron, collapse is the only possible outcome of the present course of many human societies. Whether or not this equates with a Mad Max "collapse of civilization" remains to be seen.

The State of the Future report, backed by Unesco, the World Bank, the US Army and the Rockefeller Foundation, comes to the obviously ingrown conclusion that in order for human society to continue on its present course, technologies must be developed to overcome limitations of Peak Oil and climate change so that 10 billion people can continue to live on this planet in a state of continued economic growth and consumption.

This, of course, is impossible.

The only sustainable forms of human economic activity are shrinkage followed by steady state. There are already far too many humans consuming far too much to be sustainable even on the short term of human life spans. Continued growth in a finite system is impossible and any scenario that ignores this reality is fantasy at best and destructive in the long term.

Human numbers will decline. Human economic production will decline. These declines can either be gradual and manageable, or they will be precipitous and catastrophic, for humans and many other species.

Governments and corporations have proven themselves incapable of perceiving and acting on necessary changes to forestall the destructive collapse of human economies. It remains for individual humans, acting within local communities, to lead the way to steady state economies based on local production for local consumption within natural resource limitations.

Step into the future! Grow your food at home, support your local farmers markets, turn your backs on corporations and distant central governments. Build the future right here at home where we can all keep an eye on it.

Your grandchildren will thank you for your wisdom and foresight.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Three Score Years, and Homeward Bound

On July 12, 1949, after four hours of struggle, I entered this world at 4:29 in the afternoon. The doctor proclaimed me "normal," a condition I have striven to maintain over the ensuing 60 years.

It's been an interesting ride these six decades, from the optimism of the 50s, the 60s Revolution, which I mostly missed, through the MADness of the Cold War, and the even madder madness of the Reagan Right-Wing Revulsion, a brief respite of hope, then the grinding intellectual poverty of the Bush fascist regime, still lingering despite political changes in Washington.

I feel I've grown into my aspirations of curmudgeonliness and have now fully arrived. My expectations have been realized, and despite another era of hope, not yet fulfilled, I see no meaningful change on the horizon.

If I take care of my body, I should have another twenty years or so left to appreciate the great human comedy. I fully expect to see environmental conditions deteriorate worldwide during that time, resulting in deteriorating human conditions, and, thus, increased human strife, misery and woe, and increased destruction of the natural world.

"Twas ever thus," quoth Mr. Natural. I see no reason to expect that human beings will suddenly develop intelligence and common sense, at least not in time to make any difference to climate change and Peak Oil, the twin spectres looming over all, mostly unappreciated. If we upright bipeds had any real intelligence, we'd drop this insane social system based on greed and the folly of economists, scrap private automobiles, re-create a real system of public transportation, call all our soldiers and missionaries home to rebuild, refurbish and recycle the technological dead ends lying about the place. Plenty of work for everyone, no need for anyone to stand on the dole que. Plenty of food and housing to go around, in sufficiency.

This, of course, will never happen, so we are left with the alternative, which is to charge full bore toward the abyss with our eyes closed, praying for the best outcome.

When I think of what's to come, I'm glad I was born in 1949, young enough to peer out over the edge, too old to experience the sudden, fatal stop at the bottom.