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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Retirement Planning for Civilization Collapse


I’m turning 50 this year, which means I have 15-20 years to retirement age -- if all goes well.

Let’s look at the news and see if things are going well. Lost airplane, Crimea, oh wait, what’s this?  Nasa-funded study: industrial civilization headed for ‘irreversible collapse’? That might impact my retirement. You have my attention.

The article says collapses are a normal part of the cycle of civilization. Rome, for example. OK, we knew that. Nothing new there.

Scientists have developed a new model that looks at population, climate, water, agriculture and energy, and how these things contribute to the risk of a collapse of a civilization. The report says when resources are stretched, and society is stratified into “economic Elites (rich) and Masses (or commoners)” a collapse usually happens.

Hmm. We have those things. Resources are stretched, and we do have a growing divide between rich and poor.  We certainly have time, and technology to solve this, right?

Technology can make things more efficient, but raises the per capita consumption, says their research. 

In their modelled scenarios, commoners typically fade faster than elites, but neither avoids collapse.

We're doomed! Oh, wait, it is not inevitable. All we have to do is follow this simple advice: "Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."

Ok. Well, that’s unlikely. We're doomed.

How much time do we have?

“Although the study is largely theoretical, a number of other more empirically-focused studies - by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance - have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a 'perfect storm' within about fifteen years. But these 'business as usual' forecasts could be very conservative.”

Ah, 15 years, conservatively, before a perfect storm for a collapse of civilization. Right about when I get to retire. Wonderful.

I knew we were heading this way but was somewhat consoled by the handy “I’ll be dead by then” justification. Fifteen years goes by quickly. Most of us are likely to be here in 15 years if civilization collapses.

Assuming these scientists are right, and assuming we do the usual and don’t do much at all, should we go to work tomorrow? Do we need to repave roads? Why bother paying to educate anyone anymore? Do we need any structures that last more than, say, 20 years? Should we all go off and see the world one last time?

It makes retirement planning very unusual. Will I get Social Security during a civilization collapse? Will I have my own cave, or will I have to share?

I'll have to go read the full submitted paper.

»

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 #

Been in the “red” a long time

In 1965, the human population at 3.5 billion reached its peak sustainability. We have been in the “red” since then.

Predicted collapses of civilizations are curious things. Rome, of course, did not collapse with doomsday rapidity…more like 700 hundred years I think, although, in those days, we didn’t possess gigantic populations, or, weapons of mass destruction.

Unless some damn fool (boob?) invents a “planet-splitter” or triggers a nuclear winter we’ll be around for awhile. (Not including meteor impact events here…)

I will submit to you that any species that employs coercive commerce that makes people pay for their food, clothing and shelter has fundamentally “blew-it” and probably should not refer to themselves as civilized, as defined by Oxford Dictionaries: to bring (a place or people) to a stage of social, cultural, and moral development considered to be more advanced: a civilized society
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/civilize

On the other hand, humans are a creative, driven and resourceful species. We’ll figure it out somehow.

Perhaps you’ll be one of those who create the much ballyhooed “new paradigm.”

 
 #

Health

I've thought about the same thing, and I've concluded there's no real hope.

No matter what happens, I doubt people our age can count on Social Security. We'll work and pay our Social Security taxes so the Baby Boomers can enjoy their last hurrah when they've blown through their pensions and 401ks that we've never been able to afford, but when it comes time for us to collect, I have no doubt that the Millenials will cut us off post haste. I don't say that because I think poorly of the Millenials, I just don't think they'll be able to afford to pay.
So even if there's no collapse, I think most of us will have to work until we die. Some will have to work more than others - but even if you own a house and have some kind savings or inheritance, you'll still have to do something to bring in a regular income.

If there's a collapse and even if it is long, slow, and relatively orderly, those of us who are not members of the elite will have no protection by investing, hoarding precious metals, or owning land. If we've learned one thing from the crash of 2008, the elite are protected from loss and it's the rest of us who must pay - whether it's through foreclosure, investment and pension theft, tax sale, or through bailouts using public money. Even in good times, our economic and government systems have become little more than an apparatus to funnel money from the bottom to the top.

So I think it comes down to health: You should either abuse your body with the intention of dying young and happy or, alternatively, take very good care of yourself so you'll still have some value to the elite as a worker in your old age.

 
 #

What money can't buy

Despite the grim conclusion you and Chris address, you guys both have a somewhat sanguine tone.

Interesting that two very civic-minded voices watch the decline of civilization with such detachment.

What's the trick? Teetering between engaged and appalled? Maintaining a measure of self-interest amidst knowledge the dream will end?

Or were you just being droll?

 
 #

Stop us

I was being a bit droll. In truth, I'm shocked that this isn't front page, banner-headline news on all news sites, and that we aren't doing anything at all to address any of the triggers to catastrophe. We really need to STOP so much of what we do everyday around the globe.

I take it rather seriously, but do so with some humor. And shock. Living in end times is different than joking about living in end times, and different still from imagining end times off somewhere in the distance.

Each time I check in with science, the forecasts get grimmer. It looks more and more likely that we'll live into this mess - it's no longer something we're "giving" to our children.

And heaven help those being born today. Even though I had nothing to do with you arriving on planet Earth, I'm very sorry for what we've given you. You need to stop us.

 
 #

As someone somewhere said...

You don't know what catastrophic end of times are until you have to crawl under your desks with all the other second graders and put your hands over your neck to await the “bomb.” Or line up in the school hallway on your knees practicing to kiss your ass goodbye in the 4th grade. Or sit in front of the B&W for a week and watch eyeball to eyeball play out the missile quarantine superpower war games. Or be 17 years old and watch Vietnam firefights on the new color boob-tube that send 500 young Americans home in a box – every week…and know you have about a year of freedom before being sent off to die. Or see 15 helmeted jackboots on horses charge you and your friends protesting the war. Or…oh what the hell.

Yeah, “A hard rain’s gonna fall.” A hundred years from now it’s still gonna fall. But as someone somewhere said, the more things change the more they stay the same, same tune different song.

The prime driver of our universe is random chaos. Enjoy the little bit of (random) cosmos while you can get it.

Cheers. :)

 
 #

Savoring the day

I'm sure at some point each past generation said when facing its midnight hour, "but this time is different"

Yet, with the mix of threats here, and the stakes being what they are, it does feel this time is different

 
 #

Not intentionally droll

I was trying to take an honest view of what seems to lie ahead for most of us.
I would be happily surprised if political and economic culture were to change drastically in the U.S. over the next few years, but I certainly wouldn't make any plans based on such an expectation. It seems far more likely that we'll slip further into oligarchy. Give me a soap box, and I'll rant about it; give me a few billion or trillion* and maybe I can buy enough government to change it. No amount of civic-mindedness is likely to change it.

I suppose I feel like I can afford to be somewhat detached because, as a dual citizen, I feel like I have more options than many others may have. Not options that mean a worry-free retirement, but options that may mean a much lower cost of living for a semi-retired worker.

*That's a genuine offer, by the way. If any iBratt reader would like to donate a few billion or trillion dollars to me, I promise I'll spend it trying to make the world a better place for all of us. Fair disclosure: I might also buy a couple of things for myself.

 
 #

old times new times, end times

Gee, Vidda, I remember all those silly drills primarily as interuptions of whatever was boring me solid at the moment. None of us ever took them all that seriously; chances of a bomb striking us seemed quite slim, & the notion that huddling under a desk would save us was just risible.

There were ways (not necessarily easy) to get out of being chewed up by the Vietnam war, & along with a lot of other people, I worked to make those ways known & available to those at risk.

None of this is to say that the horrors of our time were not horrors; there were a lot more, & more immediate, horrors going on as well. But I hold, with Spinoza, Chris, & Maus, that there is a qualitative difference in this time. Great changes have been deliberately, consciously made, & changes that have been triggered by willfully ignorant greed, & changes that carry consequences that were not foreseen as well. Some of this can be reversed; some cannot. The country we grew up in, with whatever freedoms, securities, & social assumptions were ours, is gone. The planet's ability to sustain most of its existing life may be doomed. If we stopped all carbon emitting activities this minute, the ocean's ability to process the stuff in a balanced way would not be restored for centuries; that could result in knocking out base levels of the food chain.

Yeah, everybody always has problems. But not all times are pivotal in the ways that this one is.

"Random cosmos" is an oxymoron, as I am sure you are well aware.

And Maus, you are well aware that not all boomers have much more than a pot to piss in. Otherwise, though, I think you're right on target, as usual.

 
 #

Boomers

I am aware, and probably shouldn't be caught generalizing using pop culture terms like that. I'm sorry if anyone felt personally insulted.

But, to generalize a little less generally, there are a lot of people my age and older who have had a good run and have developed an incredible sense of entitlement.

Younger people are looking at a very different reality than I was when I was starting out, and that reality is going to have an impact on people my age as we reach retirement age.

And I agree, I always thought ducking under my desk was hilarious - even in grade school I knew no desk was going to protect me from nuclear war.

 
 #

1

Hey Maus, I wasn't offended.

I look around and see the same stuff you do. It IS disturbing to see that all the best laid plans (401ks, homes, retirement, etc.) were foolish to begin with. And I got caught up in it, too. Not so much setting plans in concrete, but getting married to my own thoughts of how things should/would transpire.

I think the lesson is, the Wheel of Time does not honor our projections and plans. Doesn't mean we shouldn't make mini-plans as we dance with it, but that there is a bigger plan unfolding. Not a forced destiny (Calvin the minor idiot) but rather an infinite series of New Equilibriums.

Call it the Good News. That once a stone is liberated, it cannot return to sitting placidly at the bottom of the River but must go with the flow. For me, I'd rather be disturbed a bit and keep moving, than find a (dark) cavern to sit in forever. The cavern is safe. But no growth. Or in my case, no slaps, pinches, or pokes.

What is occurring now, is a new equilibrium. And I do not know how it will unfold. But it will achieve balance, for awhile. Until it is time to do something different, feel something different, enjoy something different, again.

 
 #

More like a push down, pop up effect

Most media were reporting that a controversial Russian television anchor has warned his viewers that "Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.”

I’m not expecting the button-pushers in the Kremlin to take him seriously, but put putting my trust in national leaders is not high on my list.

Great changes or pivotal problems are in the context of their time and place.

I will say that I do not predict a “collapse” in the next fifteen years.

I didn’t read into what Spinoza, Chris, & Maus wrote, “that there is a qualitative difference in this time.” Maybe more like a quantitative difference, but none of it matters. That new species of corporate people are and will remain in control.

I agree with the more current sentiment that It’s too late.

If there’s anything that I learned post 9/11 and post OWS is that the masses can march, riot and protest all they want. It's more like a push down, pop up effect.

Those governing "corporate people" can and will make their plans around or through them.

 
 #

It's the end of the world as we know it

and I feel fine.......

I think REM pretty much nailed it with that song. If you look at everything that's messed up, it really does seem insurmountable. When you factor in that the government seems committed to more of the same for as long as possible (else why all this fracking and drilling and pipelining and maneuvering over Ukraine?) then it seems that much harder. When you realize that a lot of people right here in our democracy don't really want things to change either (including me, if I'm honest) then there does seem to be some wisdom to the eat, drink, and be merry approach.

Spinoza wonders why people aren't more alarmed. I would argue that it's not sanguinity, it's gallows humor that you're hearing. For people who aren't in denial, it really is a question of what the hell to do? What to do? Lightbulbs, sure. Conservation, yes. But somehow, I don't think that's going to be enough.

Meanwhile, Maus is right. Our nonexistent retirement plans aren't in question, if those plans are work until you die. LOL.

Did I mention I feel fine?

 
 #

Time...

Collapse is a funny thing. Well, not really for complex organisms/systems. If you look around, the stone structures are doing fairly well. Even the Parthenon is still (mostly) standing. The Sun is unaffected. The mountains yawn. And the volcanoes are still fuming from their last great wake-up.

Much of our upright-walking system is based on promise/faith. That which is tied to these things will not do well, I think, because it is based on fantasy destined to awake--at some point or another. A dream cannot create.

I know that health is important (as I enjoy a cigarette and glass of wine) but I think Humor is the best companion. Having been through Hell more than five or six times, myself, enough to recognize toasted bread crumbs from the previous visit, I find that Humor is my best friend. He/She is certainly more pleasant than the other night-creatures that try to tag along.

I also think that how we deal with minor disturbances of the day is just a small reflection of how we will reckon with our own final day. Personally, I'd like to approach it with a smile. A dog-like wonder of what is going on. And the moment that occurs five minutes after two lovers meet--and they know full well what is going to transpire... (eh, guy stuff. but it is kinda' funny)

 
 #

Collapse within 15 years ??

Here are some threads, that I have not really woven all the way together.

Civilizations collapse. They do so suddenly. Ours could, for a host of reasons. That has always been true, and may be more true now.

People obsess on their collapse. They do so religiously, ( even non religious people.)

Religions that have made predictions as the exact date of the collapse, have typically lost adherents, for awhile.

These previews for the film 2012, seems to weave together the first two threads.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFXGrTng0gQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce0N3TEcFw0

'Social scientists" were listed as being authors on the report. "Social Scientists" are not scientists. Economists are about as close to being scientists as that ilk gets, and the best definition I ever heard for an economist is, "Someone who tells you what will happen with the economy, and then will explain why that didn't happen"

The future is almost entirely unwritten, as enthralling as apocalypse predictions are. A "Solar Power breakthrough of 2017", if it were to happen, could change literally everything. But the point is, we have literally no idea what will happen, only some ideas about what could happen.

However, all this being said, I am grateful that I have Masters degree related to agriculture, and please remember to swing by my place, and bring me along when you plan your migration at least 150 miles from the abandoned nuclear reactor.

Finally, this is what the Red Cross says we all should have as a minimum. Worrying about civilization collapse without taking action, is silly, and borders on a shared religious experience.

It might be better to start with these recommendations and build on them. Really, there is no reason not to have these basics.

"Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your
food supply for two weeks, consider maintaining a supply that will
last that long.

You may not need to go out and buy foods to prepare an emergency
food supply. You can use the canned goods, dry mixes, and other
staples on your cupboard shelves. Be sure to check expiration dates
and follow the practice of first-in, first-out.

PreParing an emergency Food SuPPly
As you stock food, take into account your family’s unique needs
and tastes. Familiar foods are important. They lift morale and give
a feeling of security in times of stress. Try to include foods that they
will enjoy and that are also high in calories and nutrition. Foods
that require no refrigeration, water, special preparation, or cooking
are best.

2Individuals with special diets and allergies will need particular
attention, as will babies, toddlers, and the elderly. Nursing mothers
may need liquid formula, in case they are unable to nurse. Canned
dietetic foods, juices, and soups may be helpful for ill or elderly
people.
Make sure you have a manual can opener and disposable utensils.
Don’t forget non-perishable foods for your pets.
Storage tiPS
w Keep food in a dry, cool spot—a dark area if possible.
w Open food boxes and other resealable containers carefully
so that you can close them tightly after each use.
w Wrap perishable foods, such as cookies and crackers, in
plastic bags and keep them in sealed containers.
w Empty open packages of sugar, dried fruits, and nuts into
screw-top jars or air-tight canisters for protection from pests.
w Inspect all food for signs of spoilage before use.
w Throw out canned goods that become swollen, dented, or
corroded.
w Use foods before they go bad, and replace them with fresh
supplies, dated with ink or marker. Place new items at the
back of the storage area and older ones in front.
3ShelF liFe oF FoodS For Storage
The following provides some general guidelines for replacement of
common emergency foods.
Use within six months:
w Powdered milk — boxed
w Dried fruit
w Dry, crisp crackers
w Potatoes
Use within one year, or before the date indicated on the label:
w Canned condensed meat and vegetable soups
w Canned fruits, fruit juices, and vegetables
w Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals
w Peanut butter
w Jelly
w Hard candy and canned nuts
w Vitamins
May be stored indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions):
w Wheat
w Vegetable oils
w Dried corn
w Baking powder
w Soybeans
w Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa
w Salt
w Noncarbonated soft drinks
w White rice
w Bouillon products
w Dry pasta
w Powdered milk — in nitrogen-packed cans

 
 #

Civilization was nice

Look a little more closely at the report before you dismiss it.

And don't get confused by my writing… the study didn't say 15 years, the story about it mentioned other similar studies that said 15 years.

This one points to the causes of collapse and shows how various triggers would work to cause things to become unstable. The big point takeaway is that the elites are buffered slightly but not saved in any modeled scenarios, and we commoners face trouble first. Also that all triggers are present and pumping away, with no signs of the massive change required to alter the models.

Having two weeks of food for the civilization collapse will be handy, though.

Also, just to be clear, this is civilization collapse. Civil society. We're all still here after such an event. It's just that we could rapidly lose things like language.

 
 #

Pennies from heavenly heights

Hello Chris,

In my humble opinion,

Unless this type of thinking, prognosticating, leads to concrete steps, even tiny ones, it is actually contributing in its own minor way, to the predicted collapse. The potential for disaster is not worth considering unless the point is to avert it. Disaster does frequently make for entertainment, but I'm not sure its any more healthy than watching people die in the coliseum.

Shared despair, is like pennies tossed off the top of a skyscraper. None of them might hit anyone, its true. But it might be better to simple put out pennies on the street.

Gloom and doom is a powerful drug, especially when linked to supposed science. It either leads to action, or it suppresses it.

Two weeks of food, is simply something everyone should have. Its better than words, and better than nothing. Civilisation exists at the town level. Whole towns have died for want of two weeks worth of food.

http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/Edible_Plants_Ramer_Silver_Weizmann...

 
 #

The models show a way out,

The models show a way out, too - the concrete steps are to distribute wealth more equitably and reign in our use of resources. Can we do that? I see no evidence of it, but it is within the realm of possibility.

If you don't want to look at the research and models, that's fine. You can dismiss them. Let's just put some odds on, say, switching everyone in town to renewable energy in the next year or so. I'll say there is about a 1% chance of it happening, and that seems very generous.

Two weeks of food is pretty luxurious for many people in this day and age. I bet many readers have enough for a few days to a week, or less.

This isn't despair, either. It's a genuine question about how does one plan for a future that, very realistically, could either be somewhat like now, or utter disaster. I take it you don't see a possibility that any of this could happen. I wish I could be so optimistic.

So, I point this out hoping that we will distribute wealth more equitably and limit our resource use. I think this should have an impact on our planning, too. Planning for the status quo could be foolish.

 
 #

Black Swans

Two things. Well three things.

First, conversations of this sort are extremely hard in this format, in part because it is impossible to read tone, etc. One person makes a joke, the other reads snide, comment, or stupidity.

Second, the problem with supposed mathematical "models" about the future of society are that no one can compute "Black Swans".

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

So, instead of calculating them in, they are simply left out. So not only are they full of assumptions, understood or not, they are devoid of any power because they lack major components of the future.

Third, the models are not needed if the goal is an awareness that civilization as we know it could collapse at any time.

For example, according to NASA, we almost had a catastrophic solar flare, that could have basically shut down the whole show. We missed it by a mere 9 days movement of the earth. Phew, that was close.

http://rt.com/usa/solar-blast-devastated-earth-2012-161/

Civilizations collapse, and they do for a myriad reasons. Financial inequality is apparently one of them. Due to this, Ravi Batra is also among those saying the end is probably coming, soon. http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Golden-Age-Revolution/dp/B0068EO7AQ It's a great read, but so is Wuthering Heights.

(He also has specific suggestions on more equitable systems of redistribution of wealth. )

Again, in my opinion, he has written a really a good story. But capitalism, on the national level, is probably not going to be turned around. It might mean a collapse of civilization, or maybe not. Clairvoyants, aren't clairvoyant, and all peering into the future requires so many assumptions and guesses and leave out "Black Swans" that they put a bad name to the term modelling. Bottom line, yes the whole thing could collapse, today, tomorrow, 20 years from now, whatever. Spending time and effort contemplating ways or trying to fix capitalism, to me seems an enormously futile enterprise.

But, who knows? The future is unwritten.

Still it seems far more valuable to focus on concrete steps one can take to promote local longevity, than either merely contemplating the end, or trying to reform capitalism.

Here is another good book.

http://www.amazon.com/Stalking-Wild-Asparagus-Euell-Gibbons/dp/0911469036

 
 #

The future isn't set in stone, but

I think it is important for people first to be educated about the possibilities, so that those concrete steps will be smart ones. Knowing the problem is the first step in solving it.

We still have people denying climate change entirely. We have others thinking this will impact polar bears 100 years from now, but we're fine.

News of a more urgent deadline is, in my book, worth sharing.

Local longevity is important, but means nothing if NYC collapses.

As for models, this one is based on the longstanding predator-prey model, but they added to it. They know it is incomplete, but are adding more to it and taking it further. These are their early observations and results.

Models are just models, but they do provide powerful clues. Models say it will be cold and possible snowy this week. We could ignore that and say models are inaccurate and the future is unknown, but I bet most people aren't making plans for picnics mid-week.

 
 #

Chris, to me, the funny thing is

that I've been emotionally preparing to become fifty for several months now, and it's still just a bit over a year away.

While people are recommending books, an easy one for me is Nate Silver's The Signal and The Noise. Although it does not live up the ambition laid out in the initial stage of the book, and it consistently refers to "Bayes's Theorem" rather than the-almost-40-times-more-used "Bayes' Theorem", it is an excellent way for the numerate to enhance their numeracy. Some great stories, such as the gambler who makes a million bucks in a bad year as well as his own online poker career ("it wasn't fun losing two-thirds of my career winnings").

Since I need time to comprehend well-fleshed thoughts on page, when it came out in November 2012 it was constantly on hold at Brooks, so I (or maybe mom) bought the book and took my time. Every word was worth it.

It's relevant to your concerns as catastrophic events such as earthquakes or man-made planetary warming each have a chapter.

I also love it as it manages to maintain a popular-science tone while providing well over 200 footnotes.

As for The End--"beautiful friend"--I say pòg mo thòn.

 
 #

New Equilibrium...

That is ALL it is.

The river of Life flows. It is not held captive by the Liberal/Conservative/Sustainability/Voting-booth. Or, our designs on how it should go. It flows, and any attempt to grab a tree on the shore results in the full force of the current battering those that hold.

If you do a thought experiment and find the perfect "camp" along the shore, it is only a matter of time before one is totally bored out of their mind. Throw a stick at one of the tenants and a war begins.

We made a camp. Learned a few things. And now it's time to move on. To a place we do not entirely know. The nice thing is, we have many travel companions.

On distributing wealth... the problem is, the "achievement" that came with the wealth is not distributed equally. Knowledge can be gained from a book. But wisdom is the product of time, experience, failure, and getting back up. So to be fair, we need to distribute failure, as well.

 
 #

Risk

From the AP today comes a report of a new study being released that looks at the impacts of climate change. They say the effect will be much more sudden and local than previously expected.

The key message from leaked drafts and interviews with the authors and other scientists: The big risks and overall effects of global warming are far more immediate and local than scientists once thought. It's not just about melting ice, threatened animals and plants. It's about the human problems of hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war, becoming worse.

It says we are not prepared for the risk we are facing. Such as:

- Increased violence as a result of destabilized systems

- food costs may rise 3-84% in the next 30 or so years. Hostpots of hunger may appear in cities.

- less water will be available

- more health problems from heat, fires, and food and water diseases

- the poor will get poorer

 

So, to lay out the steps necessary to manage these risks: We need a local supply of food and water that is impervious to climate change and violence, and we need to make everyone more wealthy. We also need to invest in making sure everyone has the best possible health and won't come in contact with those who do not. We'll need to protect ourselves from those who don't prepare. We need start to do this immediately, while using NO fossil fuels at all.

(While we probably should have spent $14 million on a community farm/greenhouse or renewable energy production, I guess having a new jail is a good investment, long-term. It might need to be much bigger, though.)

 
 #

Here is a relevant related article

"Can New England Source Half Its Food Locally by 2060?"

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/04/04/can-new-england-source-half-i...

 
 #

Hmm

The article seems to say, not likely without serious changes in state and national policies, and mentions that arable land is both expensive and disappearing.

It's good that they have a plan and are working on it, though.

 
 #

Yeah

That's what I liked about it.

Despite the obstacles, they are working on solutions.

My guess is, in a collapse, New England is too large.

Ancient Ur or Athens, that's more like the right size.

Ur was supposedly between 30 and 60 acres, though I am not sure that includes land set aside as arable land.

By the way, after the collapse, if I get to be "First Citizen" we won't be feeding any of the beans or corn to animals. We will be needing to eat the beans ourselves, and won't be able to waste any on feed.

Despite my grumblings and nay saying about untested models, I appreciate your original pst. Thanks for taking the time to write it and post it.

 
 #

Tasty, even after a collapse of one's socitey

There are many weeds that not only taste great, but supply vital nutrients.

http://www.eattheweeds.com/purslane-omega-3-fatty-weed/

 
 #

Catastrophic Celente

Gerald Celente is a “Trends Researcher” who makes his living trying to predict events. He’s hit a few right on the head. Missed a few, too.
His forecasts since 1993 have included predictions about terrorism, economic collapses and war. More recent forecasts involve fascism in the United States, food riots and tax revolts. Celente has long predicted global anti-Americanism, a failing economy and immigration woes in the U.S. In December 2007 Celente wrote, "Failing banks, busted brokerages, toppled corporate giants, bankrupt cities, states in default, foreign creditors cashing out of US securities ... whatever the spark, the stage is set for panic in the streets" and "Just as the Twin Towers collapsed from the top down, so too will the U.S. economy ... when the giant firms fall, they’ll crush the man on the street."
He’s quite entertaining as he rants about these things. When he really gets riled up, there’s a vein in his forehead that starts to throb.
Here’s a few of his latest.
Gerald Celente: Total Economic Collapse in Q1 2014 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNWbt5snq2c
Gerald Celente Predicts Collapse in 2014 - SGTreport http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkzyeUJZgMI
Gerald Celente: 2014 Global Collapse and the Next War http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_436778375&feature=...

 
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Celente, not so caliente.

Celente is the lowest form of money making "modeler"

From http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gerald_Celente

"As with most prognosticators, Celente seems to have found the benefits of making extremely numerous yet vague predictions and keeping his own tally. Very few of his past predictions are available - while he posts "trend summaries," they are his summaries of what happened the previous year."

"If you want to call yourself a "trend forecaster," make audacious claims of predictive prowess, and use that to bolster your credibility, you would do well to sticking to extremely generalized statements about negative things probably happening at some point. Negative things tend to happen, and the less specific you are, the more credit you can take. Then, more people will probably buy your book and newsletter. Just be sure to keep your Wikipedia page as whitewashed as you can."

 
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Salt and modelling

Hello Chris,

The number of grains of salt that need to be taken with models that predict the weather is a lot less than the numbers of grains needed when social scientists and economists try to predict the likelihood of historical events within a give time. One is empirical science, tested literally millions of times in the real world, the other is interesting conjecture.

But if it leads to people taking concrete steps, what ever they are, you are entirely correct, raising the whole topic is a service, and thanks for doing exactly that.

As for NYC, ecologically, it cannot exist without sucking in enormous amounts of food and materials from the surrounding countryside.

When Rome as a nation and as a great city fell, not all the small towns of Italy collapsed. Still I bet that if we experienced collapse, the first place that many people would think of as green and verdant and safe would be southern Vermont, somewhere near 91.

Whether or not we would be (or could be given the size of the populations) "civilized" in our reception to our fellow americans in such a scenario is a question. Without some strong sense of compassion and moral beliefs I shudder to think about what our local civilization would look like.

You can't have a civilization without food. But if all you care about is food, you don't have a civilization. Still, step one in any post collapse, or apocalyptic fantasy / scenario is, secure food.

Cities are the bane of the planet. Recently I was at the Springfield museums. They had an exhibit on Native Americans. They pointed out that they had large scale food storage systems, and trade was so prevalent that items from the midwest of the continent were available in the pioneer valley. Civilized life, after thousands of years of trying to survive here after the glaciers, was possible, indeed flourishing, ( before English diseases and conquest wiped it out.)

Still, civilization was flourishing, and stable populations were growing, along with trade and art.

Here is another interesting site. Watch it now while you can. . . : )

http://www.robertcomptonpottery.com/Method%20of-Pit-Firing-Pottery.htm

 
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Solutions

The author Nafeez Ahmed, writing for the Guardian, wrote about this report, which NASA is now saying they had nothing to do with. Apologies for my laziness for the copy and paste:

"Any vision for ‘another world’, if it is to overcome the deep-rooted structural failures of our current business-as-usual model, will need to explore how we can develop new social, political and economic structures which encourage the following:

1) Widespread distribution of ownership of productive resources so that all members of society have a stake in agricultural, industrial and commercial productive enterprises, rather than a tiny minority monopolising resources for their own interests.

2) More decentralised politico-economic participation through self-managerial producer and consumer councils to facilitate participatory decision-making in economic enterprises.

3) Re-defining the meaning of economic growth to focus less on materially-focused GDP, and more on the capacity to deliver values such as health, education, well-being, longevity, political and cultural freedom.

4) Fostering a new, distributed renewable energy infrastructure based on successful models such as that of the borough of Woking in Surrey, UK.

5) Structural reform of the monetary, banking and financial system including abolition of interest, in particular the cessation of money-creation through government borrowing on compound interest.

6) Elimination of unrestricted lending system based on faulty quantitative risk-assessment models, with mechanisms to facilitate greater regulation of lending practices by bank depositors themselves.

7) Development of parallel grassroots participatory political structures that are both transnational and community-oriented, by which to facilitate community governance as well as greater popular involvement in mainstream political institutions.

8) Development of parallel grassroots participatory economic institutions that are both transnational and community-oriented, to facilitate emergence of alternative equitable media of exchange and loans between North and South.

9) Emergence of a ‘post-materialist’ scientific paradigm and worldview which recognizes that the cutting-edge insights of physics and biology undermine traditional, mechanistic conceptions of the natural order, pointing to a more holistic understanding of life and nature.

10) Emergence of a ‘post-materialist’ ethic recognizing that progressive values and ideals such as justice, compassion, and generosity are more conducive to the survival of the human species, and thus more in harmony with the natural order, than the conventional ‘materialistic’ behaviours associated with neoliberal consumerism."

Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development in London.

His latest book is A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization (Pluto, 2010).

 
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2

Am gonna' get in trouble on this thread...

I admire all the well-thought out plans from people who really want to make a better world for all of us. I do. But it remains, as long as sheep are dressed as wolves, it won't matter what system gets implemented. Or government. Or sharing resources.

Human nature has to evolve on an individual level. Which is hard work. Disturbing. Not fun. But is the only way for the outer to follow the inner and peace won. As long as babies are born into the world, the struggle will be here. Making a nicer playroom won't accomplish the task.

Reminds me of the movie, Serenity. Where they introduced a drug to rid the population of agression. It worked. Many quit striving to live. The few that remained were wild beasts and terrorized the others. We cannot fix something that requires a higher level of understanding/compassion. Fixing the outer construct is not the same as changing the elemental spirit.

Gosh you guys. I'm getting hungry.

 
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Largely I agree, but

then again, some cultures have whipped their members into hellish states of existence.

It's not like all cultures are equally benign.

The warlike Assyrian culture seems to have been pretty brutal to its own members, at least it appears that way from outside and thousands of years removed.

 
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3

Not directed at you, Rolf. Just the board in general.

If you look at history, I don't see one statist representation that has lasted longterm. Eventually, the state/construct put in place to guarantee rights/privileges has collapsed. Am not saying we should not put things in place, but rather, whatever we put in place does not have the juice/spirit to go forever.

Change is the name of the game. And equilibrium. And more change.

So, with that in mind, certainly we want to minimize damage along the way, but to hold on to one paradigm as the ideal... just doesn't prove out in history.

We do have the story from Ancients who were wiser than anyone I can think of today, and they focused on internal change rather than building a concrete paradise. Or Heaven run from solar panels and organic chromosomes.

Am not saying we sit back and reflect on our navels, but the bigger picture has to be understood. Otherwise, any small/large effort along the way is a tomato plant instead of an oak. I suspect that there were many small communities that made the transition, but since they weren't conquerors themselves, the record of such is mostly lost. But also, if you had something really good going on (community wise) I'd think you'd be reluctant to share it to prevent marauding hordes from taking it. Even Brattleboro doesn't want a million Goths from NYC invading their peaceful town.

Much of our history is non-stop war with intermittent periods of peace to re-arm. Except for a Few who evolved internally, shared the message, and that message is still around. These guys/gals wore bathrobes and drank from clay pots. And yet--they were wiser than any education program we produce. Think about it, when's the last time you saw a Plato with a degree going to the Post Office.

On prepping, it is normal for a lowly farmer to do so because they understand that success is not guaranteed. So they had root cellars but more importantly a network of friends to help out. Today, even having a root cellar or 2-wks supply of food is seen as an extra-ordinary preparation. But this was normal for much of life.

But back to my main point, if people don't evolve internally it won't matter how green or fair we think we are. A thousand years from now we will still be smart-apes. But perhaps with a good system to prevent apes from beating each other up. Or going hungry.

 

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