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As mentioned earlier, is seen by some as the year that conventional supplies of oil peaked. The problem with peak oil is that when if? Furthermore, and as far as one theory goes, higher highs and higher lows will occur. And so forth. And it is because of this notion that peak oil pulled a fast one on me. Furthermore, some of the more robust and rich countries are seeing their growth wane — Japan, China, Germany, to name just a few. For what is a slowdown in Europe leads to fewer consumer purchases from China leads to less iron ore and coal bought from Australia.
For a closer look, take a look at Italy. Oil and gas consumption peaked in and has been on a decline ever since. Unfortunately, and much like the aforementioned countries, if one is looking for solid explanations about these economic collapses from mainstream news sources, then one is pretty much SOL. As Bardi then explains,. When the crisis is mentioned, different culprits periodically appear in the first pages of the newspapers: the Euro, the European Union, politicians, immigrants, government employees, bureaucracy, lazy workers, terrorism, femicide, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Silvio Berlusconi, and more.
It is a cycle that never stops, it keeps turning, every time pointing at something — new or old — that the government will target to solve the crisis once and for all. Furthermore, since fracking is capital-intensive, drillers have borrowed ridiculous amounts of money in order to acquire leases, drill wells, as well as purchase and install processing equipment and infrastructure.
And since fracked wells have both steep production increase levels and decrease levels, drillers have been forced to continually drill more and more wells to keep up the semblance of growth — and to keep the debt piling up. And not to let all the boosters off the hook, for it was once again an all-too-giddy media that kept itself busy cheering on the latest fraudulent? And as mentioned earlier, a round of offer destruction is expected to kick in after a round of demand destruction.
Published on The Slog on January 26, This is an anti-euro Party of right-wing Greek nationalists. In going for this option, Tsipras shows that — unlike most on the Left — he can unite against a common enemy. I also suspect that his advisers see this as one dimension in an overall strategy designed to calm down bank depositors and bond markets. But shrewd or not, the new Prime Minister is going to face several waves of attack from those hostile to his election — both inside and outside Greece. The first thing to set off screaming headlines will be the effect on the euro. Overnight, the single currency plunged down to 1.
We should expect to see a further weakening during the day. Here too, threats have been forthcoming from both Brussels and Frankfurt to cut off ELA emergency liquidity assistance to four big banks in Greece. Last but not least is the worryingly high poll achieved by the Greek Nazi Party, Golden Dawn — which now becomes the third largest Party in the country with 17 seats. They will, I have no doubt, use that bloc to disrupt as much Parliamentary business as possible…and plot with the hard Right to take over should things look to be spiralling out of control.
But there is also another side to this. My own hunch is that the Greek voter really did three things in the election: first, vote for a radical change of strategy; two, kick Samaras out with the biggest boot available; and three, decide to give the new generation a chance. Corruption in high places has been a Greek given forever; rooting it out would get approval from all but the fatties who support Samaras. That bullying will now, without any doubt, be stepped up. I predict it will backfire, and further unite the country. I expressed the view strongly early last year that Tspiras should never have dropped his opposition to the euro, but it now looks to have been a wise idea: without doing that, he would never have been elected with such power — and with it he can quite justifiably evade blame for its collapse…he can play the Good European.
All we need to do now is find the ball. It will spike ALL Clubmed bond prices, keep liquidity away from Europe, confirm the europhobia in Italy, and encourage the growing Left support in Spain…where they have the added problem of Sovereign fragmentation. In other areas too, the knock-on effect will have geopolitical consequences. Orban is one of the few, I think, who has not only grasped that the Brussels Bus is actually being driven by Washington, but is also prepared to talk about it openly.
In the UK, it can only spur on the UKip camp. What a profoundly pompous and patronising twerp he is. Can you just hold it right there, please? In reality a state that presidents and candidates for president never seem to visit is shaping up to be one of the worst any of us have ever seen. Welcome to The Great Recession: the Sequel. Those who are pumping oil have to keep pumping oil as long as they can.
Simply stopping production and waiting for prices to rise is not an option because they are deeply in debt and mired in contract obligations. They may be only running in place, but if they stop running they vanish. They had to drill 6, wells to do that. To put it another way, if no new wells were drilled in the Bakken in , by the end of the year its production would be about , barrels a day, or one half its current production. The Masters are still delirious, but nothing else is true. In the past, the oil companies either sold stock, issued bonds, or took out loans to stay on the drilling treadmill.
Going public, up until last year a sure-fire way to cash in big and finance whatever the hell you wanted to do, is simply not an option in Not for anybody in the fracking oil business. Previously issued bonds are trading on the secondary market for dimes on the dollar. And more than 20 US exploration and production companies have used 60 per cent of their credit lines, according to Bloomberg.
A financial situation for frackers that could best be described as sour now will turn completely rancid in April at the latest. That is the month that lenders conduct one of two annual reviews of the collateral they are holding for their lines of credit. Typically, the frackers turn to lenders only after exhausting the possibilities of issuing stock and junk bonds, so by the time they get to banks they need what are politely referred to as leveraged loans, or loans to a company that has all its assets locked up and is hemorrhaging cash.
The January 22 story begins:. Oil drillers will begin collapsing under the weight of lower crude prices during the second quarter and energy explorers who employ them will shortly follow, according to Conway Mackenzie Inc. Read it and weep, here. The bounty of Permaculture: Could it be the source of life after the death of the industrial age? The second story the Bible tells us, right after recounting how God created Heaven and Earth, and set humans up in a bountiful garden, is the story of how we got kicked out of the garden. For ten millennia we have lamented the exchange of a life of ease and plenty for our hardscrabble existence marked by loss and pain.
When I contemplate the coming crash of the Industrial Age, when I visualize its massive wreckage, I have come to believe that I can see, in all the smoke and horror, a path leading back to the Garden that was once our birthright, and could be again.
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But we mostly seem to think it has something to do with disobedience, or eating an apple, or associating with serpents, or something. When we presumed to know the difference between good plants crops and evil plants weeds , between helpful animals domesticate them! On wheelers! Truck them all over the country and make tons of money! We got kicked out of Eden, God said to a friend or somebody — the quote in Genesis is intriguing lest we lay hands on the Tree of Life itself. By which I take Him to mean lest we, no longer content with the physical destruction we have wrought, start tinkering around with the ultimate mystery, our genetic code.
I have always assumed that the story of the Garden and our Fall was metaphorical, meant to be instructive and not understood as a literal description of two incompatible approaches to living on Earth. Now I am not so sure. I have become a novitiate in the study and practice of Permaculture — restorative agriculture whose goal is to grow abundant food by nurturing the web of life, instead of destroying it as industrial agriculture does.
Permaculture teaches us to contemplate our fields for a long time, before intervening gently and helpfully to husband their water, replenish their soils, assemble their plants into guilds of mutually beneficial species from subsoil fungi to lofty oak trees. One of the results of this behavior is the emergence of a food forest, a source of an abundance of fruits, nuts, berries, vegetables, herbs and mushrooms that requires no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, no petroleum-fueled tillage, no irrigation, little labor for its maintenance, and that flourishes for decades if not centuries.
Permaculture, as I am just beginning to understand it, is sustainable agriculture raised to a new level and extended into every aspect of life. For example, one of the requirements of its practice, one that is so alien to the attitude of the industrial age as to be almost incomprehensible to us, is the commitment required to a piece of land.
It is a commitment not of years but of generations, not by an individual but an entire family at least, a whole community at most. People are doing this now. People born captives of an iron industrial age, taught to exploit, destroy and move on, mercenary nomads conditioned to expect immediate gratification, are learning how to nurture slow abundance not only in beautiful and hospitable places but in desert places, in depleted and injured and tainted places.
And they are finding that as the land in their care heals, so do they and their families and their associations. In a real sense they are going back to Eden. For me, the possibility is enough to keep me from despair, and to make me want to live long enough to see the other side of the coming cataclysm.
After Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height. Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age? Most of it comes — trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated — from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. During various periods from the s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states in the Middle East region.
And what had happened to these secular, modern, educated, welfare states? In the s, the United States overthrew the Afghan government that was progressive, with full rights for women, believe it or not , leading to the creation of the Taliban and their taking power. In the s, the United States overthrew the Iraqi government, destroying not only the secular state, but the civilized state as well, leaving a failed state.
In , the United States and its NATO military machine overthrew the secular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi, leaving behind a lawless state and unleashing many hundreds of jihadists and tons of weaponry across the Middle East. And for the past few years the United States has been engaged in overthrowing the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. This, along with the US occupation of Iraq having triggered widespread Sunni-Shia warfare, led to the creation of The Islamic State with all its beheadings and other charming practices.
However, despite it all, the world was made safe for capitalism, imperialism, anti-communism, oil, Israel, and jihadists. God is Great! On January 11, Paris was the site of a March of National Unity in honor of the magazine Charlie Hebdo , whose journalists had been assassinated by terrorists.
No reference was made to the fact that the American military, in the course of its wars in recent decades in the Middle East and elsewhere, had been responsible for the deliberate deaths of dozens of journalists. They are mouthpieces of the Taliban and those harboring terrorists.
And in Yugoslavia, in , during the infamous day bombing of a country which posed no threat at all to the United States or any other country, state-owned Radio Television Serbia RTS was targeted because it was broadcasting things which the United States and NATO did not like like how much horror the bombing was causing. I present here some views on Charlie Hebdo sent to me by a friend in Paris who has long had a close familiarity with the publication and its staff:.
Changer la langue
Remember Arseniy Yatsenuk? The Ukrainian Forces of Good, it should be kept in mind, also include several neo-Nazis in high government positions and many more partaking in the fight against Ukrainian pro-Russians in the south-east of the country. The type of rally held in Paris this month to condemn an act of terror by jihadists could as well have been held for the victims of Odessa in Ukraine last May. The same neo-Nazi types referred to above took time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Russians, Communists and Jews, and burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded … Try and find a single American mainstream media entity that has made even a slightly serious attempt to capture the horror.
Also see the Wikipedia entry on the 2 May Odessa clashes. If the American people were forced to watch, listen, and read all the stories of neo-Nazi behavior in Ukraine the past few years, I think they — yes, even the American people and their less-than-intellectual Congressional representatives — would start to wonder why their government was so closely allied with such people. The United States may even go to war with Russia on the side of such people.
Finkelstein related how he had been a Maoist in his youth and had been devastated by the exposure and downfall of the Gang of Four in in China. The people who we thought were absolutely selfless were very self-absorbed. And it was clear. The overthrow of the Gang of Four had huge popular support. Many other Maoists were torn apart by the event.
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And then overnight the whole thing was reversed. You know, when you were a communist back then, you had the inner strength to withstand McCarthyism, because it was the cause. Although I was old enough, and interested enough, to be influenced by the Chinese and Russian revolutions, I was not. I remained an admirer of capitalism and a good loyal anti-communist. I was filled with patriotic pride at our massive power to shape history.
In those villages with the strange names there were people under those falling bombs, people running in total desperation from that god-awful machine-gun strafing. This pattern took hold. The very next moment I would be struck by a wave of repulsion at the horror of it all. Eventually, the repulsion won out over the patriotic pride, never to go back to where I had been; but dooming me to experience the despair of American foreign policy again and again, decade after decade. The human brain is an amazing organ. It keeps working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year, from before you leave the womb, right up until the day you find nationalism.
And that day can come very early. It was subsequently filed with the United Nations. Since that time its fate is somewhat of a mystery. In all, 3, people were killed and an additional 2, seriously injured. The case was, in legal terms, very narrowly drawn. It was for the wrongful death of individuals, on behalf of their survivors, and for personal injuries to those who survived serious wounds, on their own behalf.
No unsuccessful American attacks were deemed relevant, and consequently there was no testimony regarding the many hundreds of unsuccessful assassination attempts against Cuban President Fidel Castro and other high officials, or even of bombings in which no one was killed or injured.
Damages to crops, livestock, or the Cuban economy in general were also excluded, so there was no testimony about the introduction into the island of swine fever or tobacco mold. In the end, people, including children, died. That only people died, out of some , who were hospitalized, was an eloquent testimony to the remarkable Cuban public health sector. The complaint describes the campaign of air and naval attacks against Cuba that commenced in October , when US president Dwight Eisenhower approved a program that included bombings of sugar mills, the burning of sugar fields, machine-gun attacks on Havana, even on passenger trains.
Another section of the complaint described the armed terrorist groups, los banditos , who ravaged the island for five years, from to , when the last group was located and defeated. These bands terrorized small farmers, torturing and killing those considered often erroneously active supporters of the Revolution; men, women, and children. Several young volunteer literacy-campaign teachers were among the victims of the bandits. There was also of course the notorious Bay of Pigs invasion, in April Although the entire incident lasted less than 72 hours, Cubans were killed and more wounded, 50 of them permanently disabled.
The complaint also described the unending campaign of major acts of sabotage and terrorism that included the bombing of ships and planes as well as stores and offices. The most horrific example of sabotage was of course the bombing of a Cubana airliner off Barbados in which all 73 people on board were killed. There were as well as the murder of Cuban diplomats and officials around the world, including one such murder on the streets of New York City in This campaign continued to the s, with the murders of Cuban policemen, soldiers, and sailors in and , and the hotel bombing campaign, which took the life of a foreigner; the bombing campaign was aimed at discouraging tourism and led to the sending of Cuban intelligence officers to the US in an attempt to put an end to the bombings; from their ranks rose the Cuban Five.
To the above can be added the many acts of financial extortion, violence and sabotage carried out by the United States and its agents in the 16 years since the lawsuit was filed. Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.
William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U. Published on Question Everything on January 24, Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner. I am on record as saying I doubted that humanity as a global population could be saved from certain destruction. I have also stated that the species, Homo sapiens is probably not salvageable in its current form. However, I have also suggested that the salvation of the genus, Homo is both feasible and desirable.
Let me briefly recount. There is at this point, in my opinion, nothing that can be done to save the vast majority of humans alive today from a catastrophic demise. I am sorry. And below I will summarize my findings. The simple truth, as I see it, is that humanity has set itself on an irreversible course of destruction that is equivalent to the impact on the Ecos that the meteor or comet that crashed into the Yucatan peninsula had on the dinosaurian Ecos 65 million years ago.
That is, by our activities we have brought about a geologically recognizable age called the Anthropocene in which we are the agents of the extinction of vast numbers of species, including, possibly, our own. Whenever such die-off events have happened in the past the Ecos shifted its characteristics and dynamics such that the extant species either went extinct or gave rise to new species of the same genus that were better adapted to the new Ecos.
I fully expect the same kind of thing to happen in the future.
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In any case the populations of critters and plants were decimated or severely reduced in number and that is what I suspect will happen to our populations. Homo sapiens must, of necessity, go extinct simply because the future environment will be extraordinarily hostile to human life. The real question is whether the genus might give rise to a new species that is better fit for the new Ecos before the very last member of the tribe extinguishes.
We are in the process of killing ourselves by engaging in an economic model based on ideas that just about everybody accepts as valid and good. What irony. The model that has been held responsible for producing abundant wealth for humankind is also responsible for destroying the life support systems upon which we depend. The problem is one of scale.
When there were relatively few humans on the planet their economic activities were not as damaging. They could harvest slowly renewing resources like trees without threatening the forests. They could dump their sewage into rivers that would quickly dilute the toxins to low enough levels that they would not threaten other living things. It was a good model to establish a level of comfort in living that would not do more harm as long as the population numbers did not get out of hand. The problem is that those numbers did get out of hand.
The improvements in living standards due to technological innovation made it seem feasible that more and more people could live on the land, but in truth, the extraction rates and pollution rates were accelerating beyond the capacity of the land to sustain us. So now, what was once the source of human success has become the cause of human demise.
And very many people do not want to believe that because they have enjoyed benefits from BAU and want to continue to do so. See what I mean by irony? What I want to do here is summarize the systemic relations that I see as causal factors relevant to the near future dynamics of human existence. These are presented in a way that suggests what might actually be done to maximize the salvation of our kind.
But I have no illusions at this point that any of the actions suggested here will be undertaken. As I have written repeatedly and will be presenting more definitively in an upcoming book my firm belief is that humanity is not sufficiently sapient that is the average of sapience is not sufficient to change its behavior and set of beliefs such that it would actually adopt any of these prescriptions.
One never knows. I certainly would not claim to know. Maybe something like a miracle will happen! The vast majority of people will have to stop having children. The population cannot grow when the wealth production rate goes to zero and must decline when the rate goes negative, as it must. The operative variable is a measure of wealth per capita. Assuming a fair distribution such that each person possesses exactly their per capita share of wealth, then the number of people on the planet is limited to the amount of wealth that can be produced.
Claim: Wealth is produced by physical work and requires energy flow free energy to accomplish. The amount of wealth produced is proportional to the amount of energy available to do useful work and the amount of raw resources available for extraction. The total wealth of the world is based on the accumulated wealth produced over the history of the work done less the drain on wealth due to consumption active degradation of physical objects and entropic decay passive degradation over the same time frame. Growth in wealth is defined as the positive increase in wealth or net wealth of production less degradation per unit of time.
In order to maintain a steady state condition the amount of wealth growth must be exactly what is needed to accommodate the population growth over the same time frame. Wealth derives from work done on natural resources, converting them to usable objects, including food.
Among the mix of natural resources used there are those that are finite in availability. Fossil fuels are special cases of energy resources. They are finite in quantity and obey the same diminishing return laws such that the net energy available for work declines as the resource is depleted. That is, it takes more energy per unit of energy extracted and the net energy return declines over time.
Thus the growth of wealth is limited by the marginal cost of extracting resources and the marginal net energy available for extraction and conversion to human use. For example the extraction of iron ore and its conversion to steel is limited by both the depletion of ore and of fossil fuels usually coal.
There is an upper bound on the total wealth that can ever be produced but no bound on the degradation of wealth. Since the production of wealth will ultimately decline growth will go to zero due to the depletion limits a point will be reached when no new wealth can be produced and only degradation will take place. If the population continues to grow  then it is clear that the wealth per capita must decline and do so precipitously when wealth production rates fall below degradation rates.
The current evidence strongly supports the claim that wealth production is now in decline, yet population growth continues. The global economic situation today is a symptom of this decline. It is true that the decline is unevenly distributed throughout the world, giving rise to the illusion that, for example, isolated pockets such as the US economy, are on the mend from the longest and deepest global recession in history.
Aside from the fact that most of this illusion is produced by erroneous economic models and government statistics that are biased, the US economy is temporarily seeming to be regaining strength that is starting to grow! ERGO: The wealth per capita is also in decline and that needed to sustain the adequate level of life support for every individual is already below its lower bound. This dynamic explains the vast numbers of poor people in the world. Even if we were to redistribute the existing wealth of the world a Robin Hood action there would not be enough to support the adequate level of living or we could redefine adequate to be closer to and approaching subsistence rather than providing some level of comfort and joy.
If the population were to continue to grow as projected, say, by the UN demographers, leading to some nine billion individuals by the end of this century, and no energy miracle emerged to compensate for the reduction in fossil fuel availability, then the per capita wealth would likely fall below subsistence. Since distribution is unequal this translates into billions of people starving to death or dying of rampant diseases not even considering natural disasters.
Claim: This model requires continual growth of wealth production over time. The attempt to try to maintain the model under current conditions of depleted resources will cause a cataclysmic collapse of global civilization. It is possible that if only one or two were so flawed that the others might contribute to a new economic model that would work. But all of them are flawed and demonstration of this supports proposition 2.
Neoliberal ideology. Only human satisfaction counts on this planet and that should be maximized. However, not all humans are created equal. Only the worthy elite are entitled to aggregate larger proportions of wealth as long as the working masses have adequate wealth to sustain their lesser lives. Worthiness is based on attributes such as cleverness, ambition, and drive, which are ingredients in producing wealth.
Those that are responsible for wealth production are entitled to a larger share of the rewards. These sentiments favor individualism and ignore contributions from groups or collectivism the sentiment that the group is the unit of interest. Science, particularly evolutionary psychology and sociology now tell us this is not correct at all. Group selection played a major role in making humans what we are and group efforts and collective decisions are known to be superior to individual efforts and judgments.
We do so in groups not as individuals. The objectives of neoliberalism based on these sentiments are just plain wrong. However, we should note that humans are not yet evolved to perfect eusociality. Each individual, remaining a biological agent, retains remnants of individualism when pressed and under stress. Capacities for selfishness and even narcissistic tendencies are still part of the human psyche. Amplified by the culture of greed that neoliberal objectives entail, it is possible for observers of human behavior in economic matters to wrongly conclude that these qualities are dominant.
Indeed some have argued from a misreading of evolution theory that these qualities are what made us successful e. Since greed and selfishness play into the neoliberal agenda and became a self-fulfilling prophesy of success in wealth production the narrative of NL-FM-PD-C has become generally accepted and is all too believable for naive minds. Yet it is counter to what science shows us is true for human evolution and the success of human enterprise. It is a myth that is self-reinforcing because it suggests to those who believe it that they have the right and by implication the prospects to become rich by virtue of their cleverness and efforts .
Free-market assumptions. Core to the idea of market-based economies is the dictum of laissez faire economic activities, or non-intervention by a higher authority governments in economic affairs. Thus there is no need for governments to regulate those activities. The neoliberal extension holds that if governments do intervene it will distort market information and create biases that will interfere with maximizing wealth.
It should be granted that in historical and contemporary cases where governments have interfered with market mechanisms they have a mixed record of success at best, and too often abject failures. The failures of the communist planned economies are cited by nearly everyone as examples of government ineptitude in meddling in economic activities. And the criticisms are valid up to a point.
Those particular experiments in collectivism were based on ignorance and bad judgement.
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What you cannot conclude from their failures, however, is that markets are totally capable of self-regulation. It simply does not follow from the failures that the NL-FM-PD-C model is therefore the best and as some claim the only one for the economy. In fact I have already delved into the question of whether free markets are really that efficacious in solving all economic problems as is touted by neoclassical economics and neoliberal fundamentalists.
There are too many flaws in the conception of free markets to cover here please read the above post , but basically it comes down to a few basic principles. First exchange markets depend on veridical information in order to balance true costs with prices. Nothing like that exists in the neoliberal version of markets.
Their version depends on competition and, therefore, proprietary knowledge that obfuscates true costs. Prices do not necessarily reflect costs see my comments below re: profits and therefore the equations of wealth are never balanced realistically. In neoclassical economics trading decisions are made by rational self-interested agents. Once again science has demonstrated that this assumption is simply not met in the real world . The models of markets foisted by neoclassical economists and that includes the so-called liberal economists like Paul Krugman are invalid even before other assumptions are included.
Finally, and as I covered in my blog post linked to above, markets deteriorate with scales of distance and time. They degrade with complexity. Information is supposedly conveyed through prices established by the decisions of buyers and sellers. When these agents are non-rational, non-privileged regarding true cost information, and are at great distances from nodes that are relevant to the value of the good being bought or sold, there is no way that the market can perform magic and get everything right.
These theoretical considerations should be sufficient to put neoliberal, neoclassical thoughts about free markets to rest once and for all. Of course we now know that science will never trump religious beliefs among low sapient individuals, which is what these ideologies are. But what about the actual experience, the evidence from daily life?
How could such things happen if markets were truly capable of solving economic problems? Even with these humble pie crumbs still on his lips, he still persists in asserting that the free market is the solution to all problems. Religious beliefs are very hard to nullify even with clear evidence of contrary reality. Profits, in natural systems, are the episodic accumulation of product in excess of production costs that occur because of unusually favorable conditions that do not represent the norm. For example when a wheat farmer has a bumper crop he can readily store the excess over his use against a time when crop production is sub-par.
Profits can be used in this manner to smooth out the rough spots in the long run in what is otherwise a steady-state dynamic . Up until recently the primary drive for continual profit increases came from business expansion due to the growth of populations and increasing market sizes. More recently that growth has been replaced by the so-called globalization phenomenon that replaces expansion within a region with expansion to other continents; made possible by the use of transportation and fossil fuels. But the real source of profit has always been the increase in energy availability.
Human cultural evolution included the discovery of various energy flow enhancing means, either new sources of more powerful fuels or new tool technologies that increased the efficiency of both energy extraction e. With these advantages the production of profits seemed to be perpetual. We humans seemed to have transcended the laws of nature and could generally count of making more wealth than we used up or fell apart. Thus we came to believe that profits are always feasible and became a normal part of economic theory.
Unfortunately this was a misconception about how nature works. It depended entirely on the growth of energy flow, most recently from fossil fuel sources, to sustain. And energy flows, up until now, were generally always increasing. We humans came to believe deeply that profit making was the normal mode of living and something to be pursued. After all, this is how one gets rich! But now those pesky laws of nature, in particular the first and second laws of thermodynamics, are demonstrating to us that in the very long run, it all balances out.
Profit making is always temporary even if the time scale runs over many generations. We have plenty of historical evidence that is now being more correctly interpreted regarding the collapse of past societies . Namely civilizations, particularly empires, collapsed because they ran out of energy.
They could no longer make profits but the momentum of continued expansion and population growth required that they did so. All such societies eventually turned to debt-based financing, that is borrowing against future profits when none were going to be made. Essentially they consumed their previously accumulated wealth and the people in the working classes in a desperate attempt to keep the society going. It was always a futile attempt. Capitalism started out innocently enough. Suppose an enterprising individual say in the Bronze age saw a way to possibly make a profit from some new endeavor.
There are any number of ways to get others who have saved some of their prior profits to invest or loan the resources needed with the promise that there will be a profit return. They will make more wealth from such a venture than they could have done with any other use of that wealth.
In other words, in order to attract capital the entrepreneur had to promise superior profits. But as our energy resources now begin to shrink and the pollution of our dumping is overwhelming us it should be clear that the idea of capitalism based on making superior profits was just plain ignorant. It was literally too good to be true.
There is one more assumption that is often closely associated with the whole model and that is that technology will always come to our rescue. Fundamentally this seems true on the face of it. We have always managed to invent our way out of binds in the past, so naturally we assume that we shall be able to do so in the future. The impetus to believe that these technologies are ramping up and are capable of providing sufficient power to society such that it might get along as before as promulgated in the popular media is generated by several factors.
One is that, as I stated, throughout history we have witnessed inventions transforming our world so have come to expect that will continue to be the case. That is, we imagine a technology that will allow us to generate abundant low-cost energy high power that will lead to a brighter future. Right now the focus is on solar and wind. Another factor driving our belief is that most of us simply cannot imagine the contrapositive. We cannot believe that all of this magic is going to come to an end. Many of us actually most of us are polyannish optimists and absolutely NEED to believe a solution will be found.
But the ability to hold onto such beliefs stems from a basic lack of knowledge regarding, mostly, thermodynamics the physics of energy and a deeper understanding of the history of technology and invention. They may provide a small fraction of power to buy us a bit of time. But eventually when the carbon-sources are no longer viable these technologies will have to be self-sustaining, that is they will have to provide all of the power to rebuild and repair themselves. Not all the data is in, but to date that likelihood is slim. Even if they could, they would still have to produce an excess of power that would be used by the economy for other work.
The current belief that efficiencies for example will be improving to a point where one day these technologies will provide the power fail to notice the trends in technological innovations, particularly with respect to energy. Most of our past successes have been with increasing efficiencies because the starting points for our machines were so low. Over the past few decades many technologies have been experiencing decreasing rates of improvement. We are approaching the limits of efficiency increases and even where such increases are happening it is with the inclusion of materials that are rare or expensive to make.
And that is because it takes significant energy to make or extract them. Profit desires drove us to increase efficiencies or productivity the human equivalent and now profit desire persists even when the possibility of increasing these is declining. But the reality is that they will not. There will be no great increase in the flow of high-power energy in the future due to technological innovation. There will be no magical increases in efficiencies that defy the laws of physics. Wishes do not make reality.
Only nature does that. ERGO: Profit making will have to go, and with it the notion of free-market capitalism. This is especially the case for rentier profits and investment profits, i. But all enterprise must convert to non-profit operations. Companies that make useful things or provide necessary services will need to be taken over by employee collectives. Such an economy is inconceivable to most people but in truth that is because they have never known any other way and the myth of profit-motivated self-interest has been the societal norm for so long it is hard for anyone to imagine that it could be different.
But a non-profit based society is the evolutionary norm for Homo sapiens and under declining energy flows it will be absolutely essential. There is no profit possible other than under conditions of short-term energy surpluses. With those a thing of the past, only non-profit activities can be sustained.
And then only if the activity produces something that contributes to productive lives. Claim: There is a more viable alternative to the current model of socio-economics based on selfishness and self-interest-based decisions. The new model is actually the old model for humans. It is based on cooperation, empathy, and sharing resources and wealth. It is the kind of economy that existed for many millennia before the advent of agriculture. The model depends on tribes that are fairly local and limited in spatial scope, and therefore manageable. That is they are localized and essentially self-sufficient within their locales.
This will be a necessary model. Scale Considerations. Transportation will be limited in both rate and distance due to the declining availability of long-range fossil fuel vehicles. Machinery power will also be limited. Local production of power most likely from hydroelectric or alternative energies if they can be shown to be self-sustaining and limited storage capacities will necessarily limit transportation of goods. Therefore economies localized to regions, defined by the limits of transportation, will need to be crafted. The basics of life, food, shelter, water, etc.
Clothing, furniture, and other such personal belongings will need to be constructed from locally grown plants and trees. Manufacturing and service providing companies will have to be employee-owned and run collectives as above. All markets will be local. Value Assessment Considerations. A new kind of accounting or actually a very old kind that measures value added based on energy used plus a factor for skill  would be the basis for setting prices.
In such a market buyers and sellers will have adequate knowledge and be able to agree prices more readily. Cooperativity Considerations. Human beings, when not stressed by over population density stresses are more open and empathetic than when they feel they must compete to make ends meet. Cooperation and agreements are much more viable under a localized economic system. However, that economy must be capable of meeting all of the needs of the members. This means settlements, villages, or other living arrangements will need to be situated in habitable locations.
Food production must be possible and climate cannot be too severe. It is very likely that there will be very limited choices of locations in the near future. In keeping with the idea that population size will start to shrink, and rapidly, it may be possible to find enough of these locations to satisfy supporting a breeding population in a steady-state condition. That will take permaculture engineering  to work out the requirements and design the systems.
Ecos Damage Considerations. The quest for profits drive all manner of chemical pollution and soil deterioration. This alone should condemn the model. Those same minds have gained influence over the governance system so as to prevent any rational response to this situation.
Moreover, the evidence that we have reached and possibly already exceeded the limits beyond which permanent damage is done has mounted. By some reckoning we have at best a few years to completely reverse our course or drive our planet into another regime, one completely hostile to our existence . That better way restores the more ancient human traits that emerged when we became sapiens and allows us to live in a cooperative, small scale community.
Living in small local communities does not necessarily mean we have to live like cave dwellers with only stone axes and animal skins. It does mean that we will abandon much of the current high-tech material wealth that many consider essential, like iPhones TM. Our societies may be able to retain some forms of technology that are essential to supporting life, such as water-driven generators for limited electricity. But I suspect when the choice between TV and food is to be made most of us will choose correctly. Wise choices about what technology to maintain and what to give up will need to be made.
Claim: The only way a new old socio-economic system can work is to walk away from the current NL-FM-PD-C one that depends on constant and increasing consumption. What is produced and used should contribute to sustaining the steady-state tribal economy. The alternative is to radically reduce our consumption for those who are consuming as well as stop growing our population.
We will have to give up producing worthless goods or providing worthless services. With a declining population there will be no need for new building construction. More work will be put to repairing existing housing or converting some formerly commercial properties into housing for workers. Clearly this is a bleak picture compared with the ordinary vision we have of a bright tomorrow where we have even more stuff.
- Léo, lautre fils (French Edition).
- The Conversation?
- Location-Based Services Handbook: Applications, Technologies, and Security.
- The Foul Line.
- Texas Gulag: The Chain Gang Years 1875-1925;
- 10 Best Brooklyn s images in | Brooklyn, s, Brooklyn nyc.
Basically it probably exceeds your worst dystopian nightmares. Governance will need to be autocratic and organized along the hierarchical control theoretic lines. One would hope that those taking decision-making roles would be wise, but given the likelihood of finding such people is very low, it is more likely they will be despotic. At least one might hope they would have the objective of saving the genus in mind.
That would mean they would recognize the need to reduce the population and consumption with emphasis on the use of energy to produce useful goods food, clothing, tools, etc. Bear in mind, however, we are talking not about some monolithic state or government. The only practical way that humans will live in the future is in those localized and limited scale tribes. My speculation is that resources will become so scarce and energy to extract any that might still exist so unavailable that no one group will be able to gain any particular advantage over others. No basic seed resources, no capacity to wage war and take over others who are, themselves, living in subsistence conditions.
This leads to a further speculation that there will be a few of these tribes that are fortunate enough to be led by truly wise individuals. Those few may enjoy higher than average cooperativity internally and thus be more fit as a group to survive the changes that will be in store. Perhaps for the next several hundred thousand years these tribal humans will be tested by a whole new Ecos. They will live low tech, though not necessarily stone-age, lives. As long as we pay careful attention to how the Ecos is changing. Claim: Dramatic, possibly catastrophic, climate change is now baked into the cake and will impact every region to one degree or another.
Some areas, like the higher latitudes, will be affected more than others in terms of extreme conditions. But all will suffer climate shifts that lead to more severe storms and changes in rainfall patterns. Humans are going to need every bit of adaptive capability to live under these conditions. Above all else future humans will need to continually adapt to changing and possibly violent climates.
Not unlike the impact of the glaciation periods followed by receding glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere, climate changes are going to significantly stress the biosphere. More so than the Ice Ages, the climate changes our progeny will experience will come more rapidly and be more extreme than our ancestors experienced. Surviving and thriving under these conditions will take every ounce of wisdom that tribes can muster. They are likely to have to be semi-nomadic as growing conditions in an area change.
They will have to be super observant of plant characteristics that enable them to grow under otherwise stressful conditions and select those that can be relied upon for food for planting.
Bible Quotes with Caller ID
Most paleoanthropologists now believe that climate changes due to the Ice Ages were responsible for driving the evolution of hominins in Africa, by changing the local conditions over thousands of years. What now appears to be a large speciation of a number of hominins, especially those events that led to the emergence of our genus, Homo was, to a large degree, driven by these climate impacts. It is conceivable that future climate changes will once again drive the evolution of the genus.
However, I think it is possible to observe the major transition patterns that have occurred in prior evolutionary trajectories and make reasonable suppositions about what might come about in the future . Those transitions demonstrate that biology has always found ways for cooperation to emerge and trump mere competition. Our very bodies, as multicellular organisms, are the result of such a transition. Group selection is now favored as an explanation for the evolution of human sociality and I also add to that the evolution of sapience the two phenomenon are tightly linked, in my view.
Tribes were evolving toward stronger eusociality hyper-sociality prior to the advent of agriculture and the requisite need for more top-down command and control style management systems with emphasis on logistical and tactical management and less on strategic management which is the basis of sapient cooperativity.
We traded off selection for greater wisdom capacity for food security. It was a reasonable trade off given the state of scientific ignorance we lived in. But it did dampen our potential increase in sapience over the last ten millennia or so. If it was climate adaptation that drove hominin evolution to the point of producing this emergent new psyche based on sapience, then it might be reasonable to expect that selection based on climate change could once again drive that in the direction of a new transition — human societies based on hyper-social individuals cooperating in an economic system that is not based on profit, competition, etc.
Of course none of us will ever know what will play out. We will all be dead by the time the trends are more evident. My reason for considering these issues is that part of wisdom is using our knowledge, both tacit and explicit, to shape our world as best we can given the circumstances. That is what we have always done with our quest for more energy and our inventiveness.
But what we did before we did in ignorance of the consequences. Now we see what those consequences of unfettered growth and profit-taking are. If a few surviving tribes are wise enough they might use that knowledge to reshape our social structures so as to avoid the mistakes we have made along the pathway to our current condition. It is still possible that the changes in climate will be so severe that no humans will survive and our species and genus, the whole Hominini experiment will fail.
We will suffer extinction as a whole tribe. Indeed the likelihood of survival of any of the still extant hominin, the great apes, is negligible, so that the planet may end up with no very smart primates at all. But I hope that is not going to be the case. The reason that no sentient beings are flitting about Earth in flying saucers is that all such beings reach a point in technological development where their wisdom is insufficient to squelch the advent of the NL-FM-PD-C economic paradigm!
The latter takes hold of the minds like memes and dooms the species to extinction. They can then never get outside their own star systems to explore their galaxies. If we had to extrapolate from our own experience that certainly looks to be a likely scenario. A more likely scenario is that all such beings simply exploit their energy reserves before they achieve interstellar propulsion capabilities assuming such is even possible. It might be because of the NL-FM-PD-C meme taking over or it could be that it simply takes almost all energy just to get to the technological point of getting off the planet and further technological advancement becomes too expensive .
Regardless, I think it is extremely likely that our genus, if it manages to survive the next ten thousand years, will be a long time getting back to a technological level close to what we have today. We will be taking a giant leap backwards, resetting our evolutionary progression. And it will be quite a while before a wiser, perhaps smarter, species derived from Homo sapiens will be looking into leaving Earth again. The resource consumption rate is dependent on this factor which takes into account things like demographic distribution of ages.
Yet if you read the biographies of so-called self-made people mostly white males you cannot help but note the significance of being in the right place at the right time and meeting the right people had on so many stories. Granted being prepared to take advantage of luck was important, but the luck itself was far more significant than the neoliberal narrative lets on. In Congressional testimony on October 23, , Greenspan finally conceded error on regulation. Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending.
Greenspan refused to accept blame for the crisis but acknowledged that his belief in deregulation had been shaken. This would have been the case for the earliest human tribes whether hunter-gatherers or early farmers. Though I have only just started investigating this concept it appears to be mostly about food production whereas permaculture addresses more holistic community living.
She has done her homework.