Energy – Life – Economy
By Lionel Anet
26 March, 2014
We should start thinking about replacing civilisation, which is working for the few dominant people so they can control us, before irreparable damage is done to the biosphere and humanity. This is my thought on the subject following that posting.
‘Collapse' Of Modern Civilization A Real Possibility: Study
By Nafeez Ahmed
A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center
The history of economics is the evolution of life, it's the way species access and use energy that maintains and spread itself to uses and fill all available niches. There's a tendency of life to self-regulate and to stabilise the chemistry of the biosphere within narrow limits that suit its needs. Mass extinctions were the effect of external causes; on the other hand many local failures can be attributed to an out of control specie.
Humans, since early civilisation have tried to bypass the constraints of nature, first, by using agriculture to appropriate a larger share of nature from the available renewable energy. This produced economic growth and a competitive setting; it also tends to produce population growth, which nature limits with starvation, and at times it leads to local collapses due to degrade land.
Nature, specifically plants, uses the sun radiative energy to produce almost all the food and maintained a fairly constant but unstable atmosphere due to its necessary oxygen. The excess carbon and hydrocarbon ended up in the ground and those that were left there hundred or so millions years ago, is now capitalism's main source of energy. That is, we are using millions of years of sunlight in a few centuries. No wonder capitalism can support over 7 billion people and many of them in extreme wasteful luxury. It's not only unsustainable in resources, but it's destroying the biosphere. This is probably sciences greatest failure. It's largely due to its disinterest in economics that has allowed the business sector's need to grow the economy for its own sake, which is now forsaking future lives.
Oil is the prime energy source we use to produce all other energies, which includes our food, it's also the energy that's essential for air transport, mining of coal and minerals, building industries, timber, wood chip, fishing, whaling, and warfare . Without cheap oil those activities would collapse, except wars. The present affluence in capitalism started with cheap oil and is ending with it.
To maintain the flow of oil, companies have to extract it from more difficult places that require increasing amount of energy. Therefore oil price are now determent by how much the world economy can afford , and that's a question of how much energy the world economy can use to get the oil to the petrol pump. It's hard to imagine global capitalism without cheap oil, as it will end up being uneconomical, even to mine coal. No matter how good our banks are at conjuring money out of nothing, that trick can only appear to work if there are substantial resources and the energy to extract them.
What we need to do. We must stop using oil because; there's not enough cheap oil to maintain us in a state we are accustom to under capitalism, however, if we attempt to use unconventional oil, there will be enough of it to make the planet uninhabitable.
It's obvious that if people realised how impossible the future will be in only a few decades, if we persist with business as usual, we would change our attitude. This is especially so the better off one is, but it's more difficult for them to see what they are facing when they see the future by looking at the past growth and extrapolating the future from it. The answer is very different when one observes the growing detrimental changes to the biosphere and “our” finite resources diminishing.
It's clear we are burning too much carbon, so tax it instead of subsidising it, and likewise we are consuming too much so instead of advertising being a tax deduction we need to tax it. Without that pressure, people will buy less. As well, we can top up wages by removing charges from vital needs as they should be rationed. To eliminate unemployment we have to reduce the cost to employers of using people by removing taxes and charges on employing labour.
We all do our best at all times. This is so, regardless of how good or bad we think our action is. All our decisions are based on the information we get, seen with the experience we retain, within our genetic disposition, and with whatever ability we have to process it, and then there's the circumstances we find ourselves in. There are many things that contribute to our attitude, our past experience and genetic makeup is only the base we work from, but too difficult to change. Therefore the information we get and the circumstance we make our decision under directs the way we operate and this can and must be change.
Consequently, if we can have accurate and appropriate information within congenial circumstances we will be able to put our shoulder to the wheel to ensure our children will have the best possible life with what is left.
Lionel Anet is a member of Sydney U3A University of the Third Age, of 20 years standing and now a life member
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