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Libertarianism, Anarchism, and Society with Voluntary Self Governance

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Posts

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    Except that the myth of total collapse is just that, a myth.

    I don't see what's so imminent about it, though. Do you mean because of climate change? If anything, greater centralization and more technology is the only thing that's going to stop climate change.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    I mean, the first thing that should be said is that Davis wanted to use this manuscript as a thesis to get a PhD, but it was rejected in peer review. In otherwords, some of the information in here is being misrepresented or is outright wrong; I'm not sure what, of course - I'd have to go digging, and I don't have the time tonight.

    A note. Rejected for PHD does not imply its wrong, just implies that they didn't think it was "new enough" or whatever. There are a number of reasons why a dissertation would not be accepted without it being incorrect.

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  • BehemothBehemoth Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    None of those civilizations just up and disappeared. Egypt just continued as a part of the Roman empire. And before that, as part of the Macedonian empire. Rome just moved East. Islamic civilization fell to internal fighting and external raids. It changed form, but didn't disappear. It's technological progress slowed, but they didn't really lose anything.

    The thing you're talking about (global civilization collapsing all at once, precipitating a shift back to pre-civilization tribal societies) has never happened. Even on a smaller scale.

    iQbUbQsZXyt8I.png
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    [
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Capfalcon wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Two, what right have we to simply reengineer Nature to suit us and only us? We are not above Nature. We should stop trying to rewrite the rules and start accepting them.

    I gotta say, while I disagree with most of what you're saying, this stuck out to me.

    This is a bad argument. It has no reason other than "Things shouldn't change because things shouldn't change." Why are you opposed to genetic engineering? Really, you've probably eaten genetically engineered food already, and I guarantee you couldn't tell the difference between a dish with it and a dish without it.
    I simply don't trust our ability to create an ecosystem with the checks and balances it needs. We aren't that good at it. Genetically engineered food hasn't upset the balance too much yet. But Z0re's comment suggests a more comprehensive or at least expansive reengineering of Earth's ecosystem, and as far as science has come, I do not think we know nearly enough to reshape things on such a scale without upsetting dynamic equilibrium in unpredictable ways. Nothing can happen without affecting everything else, and we cannot exist independently of the rest of life on earth. Natural selection alters genetic code in a gradual, holistic way. Our heavy handed manipulations occur more rapidly, without taking the whole system into account.
    Z0re wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Z0re wrote: »
    Or we escape the earth, or genetically engineer the environment or ourselves to suit whatever ourselves.
    I discount these sorts of ideas for two reasons. Most importantly, it seems extremely unlikely that we are going to manage space travel in time to ameliorate the overpopulation/energy/environmental collapse issue. Two, what right have we to simply reengineer Nature to suit us and only us? We are not above Nature. We should stop trying to rewrite the rules and start accepting them.

    Have you heard of the naturalistic fallacy? Nature does not have agency and describes literally everything in existence... including modern human society/culture and things like genetic engineering. Ascribing some arbitrary 'rules' to nature, or believing that they don't change is a myopic and limited view.

    Life reshapes the Earth and has done so for its entire existence. The breathable atmosphere we have is an 'unnatural' waste byproduct of millions of years of various gas producing organisms that radically changed everything about their environment. Humans aren't even nearly on the same scale as that yet.

    What rules exist in your mind that humans should bow to instead of trying to change?
    I'm aware that vast changes have occurred in Earth's history, some greater than anything we've done and some as a direct result of life. And I agree we are a part of nature, as are our technologies and societies- in fact, that's pretty much my point. Nature does have agency, in as much as we are nature and we have agency, and we should take the rest of life into account when we do things on a great scale. We as organisms are not evolving fast enough to cope with the level of change we're inflicting on the world. In the long run, life in some form will adapt and thrive no matter what we do, but for our continued existence we need a world recognizably like the one that produced us, so I'm of the opinion that we should be cautious about changing it in drastic ways.

    Okay? I fail to see how this is an argument for going back to small, isolated populations of humans with no central authority. It's much easier to put limits on human's changes to the environment with a strong centralized authority. In fact, if we could centralize power even more these problems would be infinitely easier to deal with. Imagine if Chinese and Indian factories had to follow US environmental protection laws?

    If there were small community groups, with our level of technology, the results could be catastrophic. Any individual group would have no reason to protect the environment around any other group. Maybe they come and burn down their forests, or just dump the runoff from their mines/factories/whatever in a rival group's fields.
    I see where you're coming from. But smaller, decentralized groups of humans simply can't maintain our level of technology. The destructive behemoth that is modern industrial civilization needs centralized authority, or its infrastructure breaks down. Decentralization goes hand in hand with a reduction in dependence on technology. It's not just that Texas gets to make cars with no gas mileage standards since New England is no longer forcing environmental regulations on them. It's that there's no one driving around the country in the first place because an interstate highway system is no longer needed to connect vastly separate parts of one nation-state (and because no one has the time or money to maintain it). Yes, there would be less standardized regulation, but the processes being regulated would be on a much smaller scale and wouldn't be able to cause as much damage. Vast, energy-intensive international shipping networks only need oversight if they exist in the first place.

    Once again, I'm advocating a gradual process in place of a sudden change. I think we're headed toward decentralization with less dependence on technological infrastructure whether we like it or not. The question is, do we purposefully head in that direction and try to figure it out step by step, or do we wait until industrial collapse forces it on an unprepared populace all at once?

    I don't think it's possible to induce without industrial collapse. You're just not going to convince people to do a step-by-step conversion to a lower level of technology. Civilizations don't work that way.
    You're probably right about that. I'm not going to convince the Democratic party or the Republican party to embrace non-growth oriented policies. The inability to effect such drastic change is itself the thing that causes civilizations to collapse. But I think its still a discussion worth having, because there will probably be people around afterward, and it'd be nice if we developed a cultural mindset that prevented us from making the same mistake again.

  • Brian KrakowBrian Krakow Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    Yeah, OWS has no place in this discussion.

    OWS would be impossible in a libertarian (right-anarchist) country because everywhere in the country would be owned by someone, and protest would only be possible in a place where the property owner permitted it, i.e. nowhere. Property rights, FTW!

    In a libertarian country, OWS would likely be a straight up peasant-revolt. Wall St would be a fortified bunker by now, presuming they figured out what was happening fast enough to make it one before a bunch of angry 20-somethings set fire to the ground floor and let banking executives, secretaries, contractors and janitors choose between testing out fire-proofing and figuring out how to fly.

    Where's the fire department you might ask?

    You're all missing the point about OWS being brought up; a proven failure of direct democracy. The way the camps were run is much the same as RayofAsh would havve communities run and it led to dithering and nothing happened. No one is saying that OWS is full of libertarians, that'd be stupid, but their system of leaderless consensus is basically how a libertarian imagines government should be run and it's crap.

    OWS was never about doing anything beyond protesting economic inequality and related issues. People who complain about its "directionless" nature remind me of people who complain about the UN's inability to impose world peace: you're missing the point and expecting the impossible.

    Direct democracy is fine for relatively small, likeminded groups.

    And OWS was mired in trying to find "consensus" because even with their small size, they were full of varied interests.

    That was the point.

    Once you get above like 20 people, direct democracy doesn't really work, this is why we invented representational democracy.

    My point is that calling them a failure of direct democracy is inaccurate. Their goal was to get as many people as possible to protest the broad issue of economic inequality (and manage supplies for them). They were by and large successful in this.

  • QuidQuid The Fifth Horseman Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    No previous civilization matches the current one. Also not every civilization failed. They instead grew or merged with others to become something different.

    Edit: Boy howdy was I beat on this.

    Quid on
    PSN: allenquid
  • TrameTrame Registered User
    KAPUTA you seem pretty confident that your terrifying visions of the future will come to pass, even though lots of scientists, academics, or really just anyone who in general that some (obviously stupid) people might consider smarter than you disagree, and furthermore think attempting to predict the future in this manner is kind of a bad idea in general

    Sorry if this seems blasphemous or something I aint ever been one for confrontation but... trying to work out why I should believe you over everyone else. You obviously must have incredible powers of deduction to have worked this all out at such a young age, but I'm wondering if you have any official qualifications other than having attended a liberal arts program in an undergraduate school or having taken lots (LOTS) of drugs

    I mean because it would be pretty silly if you were this sure and that's all there was, right? I'm guessing you've at least run some simulations on this or something to have proof to show the non-believers, even if the worlds most powerful supercomputers pale in comparison to the vast computational might of your brain. Or would using computers for this purpose be defeating the point since technology is bad, I got kind of lost on what we're talking about doing here, is it okay for me to be using this computer or should I just set it on fire (is it safe to set a computer on fire)

  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    None of those civilizations just up and disappeared. Egypt just continued as a part of the Roman empire. And before that, as part of the Macedonian empire. Rome just moved East. Islamic civilization fell to internal fighting and external raids. It changed form, but didn't disappear. It's technological progress slowed, but they didn't really lose anything.

    The thing you're talking about (global civilization collapsing all at once, precipitating a shift back to pre-civilization tribal societies) has never happened. Even on a smaller scale.
    You're right that it's never happened before. But we've also never had a globalized economy before. Rome can collapse with little affect on China when their economies have little to do with each other. But we have a global civilization in a way that we never have, and it's also simply a much larger civilization than any which preceded it. Can one part of the global economy collapse without bringing down the whole thing? I figure that answer leans closer to "no" every day, as globalization continues its inexorable march forward.
    Trame wrote: »
    KAPUTA you seem pretty confident that your terrifying visions of the future will come to pass, even though lots of scientists, academics, or really just anyone who in general that some (obviously stupid) people might consider smarter than you disagree, and furthermore think attempting to predict the future in this manner is kind of a bad idea in general

    Sorry if this seems blasphemous or something I aint ever been one for confrontation but... trying to work out why I should believe you over everyone else. You obviously must have incredible powers of deduction to have worked this all out at such a young age, but I'm wondering if you have any official qualifications other than having attended a liberal arts program in an undergraduate school or having taken lots (LOTS) of drugs
    Obviously I do not have official qualifications of any sort, though I appreciate the ad hominem. I'm just trying to have a discussion here. Do you believe that our civilization is somehow immune to the same cycle that has befallen civilizations before us? I don't think we're qualitatively different, just much bigger, and that only means we have farther to fall.

    Abstractly, there are three options: rise, fall, or stasis. Which do you think is most likely, in our case? Continued rise without limit? I don't see how that's possible short of an implausibly rapid increase in space travel capabilities.

    Stasis, then? I guess that's a possibility which would prove me wrong if it came to pass. But can our economic model even exist in a static form, without growth, for very long? And is a static population sustainable at 7 to 10 billion, even if it stops growing?

    Also, do you believe that we're moving toward renewable energy fast enough to avoid an energy crisis, or an ecological collapse as a result of anthropogenic global warming? I don't. Emissions grow every year. Last year they were well beyond the worst case predictions of our DoE, and I haven't heard anything that suggests oil use is going to decrease any time soon. Even if we don't fuck the environment hard enough to make human life unsupportable, there's the danger that we won't have developed alternative energy sources to an adequate extent by the time oil is no longer an economically viable energy source.

    I agree that predicting the future accurately can be a fool's game, since anything could happen at any time that could completely change everything. But I don't think its pointless or out of line to look at current trends and try to follow them to their conclusion. And I also don't see anywhere in your post where you take issue with anything I've said, rather than with me as a person.

    Kaputa on
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    Except that the myth of total collapse is just that, a myth.

    I don't see what's so imminent about it, though. Do you mean because of climate change? If anything, greater centralization and more technology is the only thing that's going to stop climate change.
    I don't know why you'd list technology and centralized society, both of which seem to have had a direct correlation with environmental devastation since the dawn of history, as the solutions to our problem of environmental devastation. And I'm not sure whether climate change or the economics of energy will hit us first, but it doesn't seem like we're adequately preparing for either.

    Kaputa on
  • BehemothBehemoth Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    None of those civilizations just up and disappeared. Egypt just continued as a part of the Roman empire. And before that, as part of the Macedonian empire. Rome just moved East. Islamic civilization fell to internal fighting and external raids. It changed form, but didn't disappear. It's technological progress slowed, but they didn't really lose anything.

    The thing you're talking about (global civilization collapsing all at once, precipitating a shift back to pre-civilization tribal societies) has never happened. Even on a smaller scale.
    You're right that it's never happened before. But we've also never had a globalized economy before. Rome can collapse with little affect on China when their economies have little to do with each other. But we have a global civilization in a way that we never have, and it's also simply a much larger civilization than any which preceded it. Can one part of the global economy collapse without bringing down the whole thing? I figure that answer leans closer to "no" every day, as globalization continues its inexorable march forward.

    [..]

    Obviously I do not have official qualifications of any sort, though I appreciate the ad hominem. I'm just trying to have a discussion here. Do you believe that our civilization is somehow immune to the same cycle that has befallen civilizations before us? I don't think we're qualitatively different, just much bigger, and that only means we have farther to fall.

    Pfftahahahahahaha

    Seriously dude, quit it with the "cycles of civilization" talk. It's nonsense. You admit that it's nonsense. Just stop it. We face different problems and pointing to past and saying "See! This has happened!" isn't doing you any favors.

    iQbUbQsZXyt8I.png
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    Except that the myth of total collapse is just that, a myth.

    I don't see what's so imminent about it, though. Do you mean because of climate change? If anything, greater centralization and more technology is the only thing that's going to stop climate change.
    I don't know why you'd list technology and centralized society, both of which seem to have had a direct correlation with environmental devastation since the dawn of history, as the solutions to our problem of environmental devastation. And I'm not sure whether climate change or the economics of energy will hit us first, but it doesn't seem like we're adequately preparing for either.

    Because a force which, unchecked, causes devastation may also be used constructively.

    For your thesis to be correct, we'd have to be at an equal level to every civilization that came before. Instead, each civilization builds off of the previous one.

    Reality and history aren't agreeing with you.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I agree that civilizations build off each other. I'm not sure I understand why we'd have to be at an equal level to preceding civilizations for my idea to be on the ball.
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    None of those civilizations just up and disappeared. Egypt just continued as a part of the Roman empire. And before that, as part of the Macedonian empire. Rome just moved East. Islamic civilization fell to internal fighting and external raids. It changed form, but didn't disappear. It's technological progress slowed, but they didn't really lose anything.

    The thing you're talking about (global civilization collapsing all at once, precipitating a shift back to pre-civilization tribal societies) has never happened. Even on a smaller scale.
    You're right that it's never happened before. But we've also never had a globalized economy before. Rome can collapse with little affect on China when their economies have little to do with each other. But we have a global civilization in a way that we never have, and it's also simply a much larger civilization than any which preceded it. Can one part of the global economy collapse without bringing down the whole thing? I figure that answer leans closer to "no" every day, as globalization continues its inexorable march forward.

    [..]

    Obviously I do not have official qualifications of any sort, though I appreciate the ad hominem. I'm just trying to have a discussion here. Do you believe that our civilization is somehow immune to the same cycle that has befallen civilizations before us? I don't think we're qualitatively different, just much bigger, and that only means we have farther to fall.

    Pfftahahahahahaha

    Seriously dude, quit it with the "cycles of civilization" talk. It's nonsense. You admit that it's nonsense. Just stop it. We face different problems and pointing to past and saying "See! This has happened!" isn't doing you any favors.
    I meant that, while collapse has happened plenty of times before, it's never been on a global scale, because we have never had a global economy of this nature before. History is still relevant to modern events!

    We do face different problems, which necessitate different solutions than anything we've tried before.

    Kaputa on
  • BehemothBehemoth Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    None of those civilizations just up and disappeared. Egypt just continued as a part of the Roman empire. And before that, as part of the Macedonian empire. Rome just moved East. Islamic civilization fell to internal fighting and external raids. It changed form, but didn't disappear. It's technological progress slowed, but they didn't really lose anything.

    The thing you're talking about (global civilization collapsing all at once, precipitating a shift back to pre-civilization tribal societies) has never happened. Even on a smaller scale.
    You're right that it's never happened before. But we've also never had a globalized economy before. Rome can collapse with little affect on China when their economies have little to do with each other. But we have a global civilization in a way that we never have, and it's also simply a much larger civilization than any which preceded it. Can one part of the global economy collapse without bringing down the whole thing? I figure that answer leans closer to "no" every day, as globalization continues its inexorable march forward.

    [..]

    Obviously I do not have official qualifications of any sort, though I appreciate the ad hominem. I'm just trying to have a discussion here. Do you believe that our civilization is somehow immune to the same cycle that has befallen civilizations before us? I don't think we're qualitatively different, just much bigger, and that only means we have farther to fall.

    Pfftahahahahahaha

    Seriously dude, quit it with the "cycles of civilization" talk. It's nonsense. You admit that it's nonsense. Just stop it. We face different problems and pointing to past and saying "See! This has happened!" isn't doing you any favors.
    I meant that, while collapse has happened plenty of times before, it's never been on a global scale, because we have never had a global economy of this nature before. History is still relevant to modern events!

    We do face different problems, which necessitate different solutions than anything we've tried before.

    Oh it has happened? Where? When? Because the examples you gave on the last page weren't actually examples of collapses.

    iQbUbQsZXyt8I.png
  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    None of those civilizations just up and disappeared. Egypt just continued as a part of the Roman empire. And before that, as part of the Macedonian empire. Rome just moved East. Islamic civilization fell to internal fighting and external raids. It changed form, but didn't disappear. It's technological progress slowed, but they didn't really lose anything.

    The thing you're talking about (global civilization collapsing all at once, precipitating a shift back to pre-civilization tribal societies) has never happened. Even on a smaller scale.
    You're right that it's never happened before. But we've also never had a globalized economy before. Rome can collapse with little affect on China when their economies have little to do with each other. But we have a global civilization in a way that we never have, and it's also simply a much larger civilization than any which preceded it. Can one part of the global economy collapse without bringing down the whole thing? I figure that answer leans closer to "no" every day, as globalization continues its inexorable march forward.

    [..]

    Obviously I do not have official qualifications of any sort, though I appreciate the ad hominem. I'm just trying to have a discussion here. Do you believe that our civilization is somehow immune to the same cycle that has befallen civilizations before us? I don't think we're qualitatively different, just much bigger, and that only means we have farther to fall.

    Pfftahahahahahaha

    Seriously dude, quit it with the "cycles of civilization" talk. It's nonsense. You admit that it's nonsense. Just stop it. We face different problems and pointing to past and saying "See! This has happened!" isn't doing you any favors.
    I meant that, while collapse has happened plenty of times before, it's never been on a global scale, because we have never had a global economy of this nature before. History is still relevant to modern events!

    We do face different problems, which necessitate different solutions than anything we've tried before.

    Oh it has happened? Where? When? Because the examples you gave on the last page weren't actually examples of collapses.
    Egypt's first intermediate period was characterized by a collapse of the national economy, followed by decentralization of authority to provincial lords and competition between them.

    Saying that Rome 'moved east' doesn't seem like an adequate refutation of the example to me, but I'm not knowledgeable enough on the decline of their empire to say it's a good example.

    Here. I admit I haven't read about every example there, but is this enough to show that collapse is a significant aspect of the history of civilization?

    Kaputa on
  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    I would think that, if any modern nation/civilization fell, it's property and populace would quickly be divvied up among the neighboring nations and any powerful enough blocs within the failed state.

    For anything truly apocalyptic to happen, you'd have to have the whole of civilized society fall at once, with no buffer between them. But as it is right now, society has those buffers so that if a portion falls, the failed state will eventually just be adapted into something new by forces both from outside and from inside itself.

    SEGATA SANSHIRO! LIVE AGAIN!
    Lanz.gif
  • JurgJurg In a TeacupRegistered User regular
    Kaputa, I don't think anyone in this thread is arguing that we should continue our current practices unchanged. I, for one, think that we most assuredly need to adopt a long term plan, but that a strong central government would be key to that campaign.

    The are various reasons we continue onward. Mostly because a lot of people live in shitty situations and want a job so the legitimate government provides for economic growth. If people are starving and the government says, "But, the environment..." that government will not be legitimate for very long. However, once people have a decent enough standard of living, then the birth rate will drop to or below replacement rates. Most of the new births in the world are in developing countries with shit living situations, many of whom do not have adequate access to birth control (and of course, we have people trying to destroy that access in the US.)

    Raising the standards of living for all while adopting long-term oriented policies is a massive fucking undertaking, and even though the government is somewhat responsible for a lot of the damage (the Republican campaign strategy stresses that many people think the reality of global warming is contested), it is also our best tool for changing things.

    sig.gif
  • BehemothBehemoth Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    None of those civilizations just up and disappeared. Egypt just continued as a part of the Roman empire. And before that, as part of the Macedonian empire. Rome just moved East. Islamic civilization fell to internal fighting and external raids. It changed form, but didn't disappear. It's technological progress slowed, but they didn't really lose anything.

    The thing you're talking about (global civilization collapsing all at once, precipitating a shift back to pre-civilization tribal societies) has never happened. Even on a smaller scale.
    You're right that it's never happened before. But we've also never had a globalized economy before. Rome can collapse with little affect on China when their economies have little to do with each other. But we have a global civilization in a way that we never have, and it's also simply a much larger civilization than any which preceded it. Can one part of the global economy collapse without bringing down the whole thing? I figure that answer leans closer to "no" every day, as globalization continues its inexorable march forward.

    [..]

    Obviously I do not have official qualifications of any sort, though I appreciate the ad hominem. I'm just trying to have a discussion here. Do you believe that our civilization is somehow immune to the same cycle that has befallen civilizations before us? I don't think we're qualitatively different, just much bigger, and that only means we have farther to fall.

    Pfftahahahahahaha

    Seriously dude, quit it with the "cycles of civilization" talk. It's nonsense. You admit that it's nonsense. Just stop it. We face different problems and pointing to past and saying "See! This has happened!" isn't doing you any favors.
    I meant that, while collapse has happened plenty of times before, it's never been on a global scale, because we have never had a global economy of this nature before. History is still relevant to modern events!

    We do face different problems, which necessitate different solutions than anything we've tried before.

    Oh it has happened? Where? When? Because the examples you gave on the last page weren't actually examples of collapses.
    Egypt's first intermediate period was characterized by a collapse of the national economy, followed by decentralization of authority to provincial lords and competition between them.

    Saying that Rome 'moved east' doesn't seem like an adequate refutation of the example to me, but I'm not knowledgeable enough on the decline of their empire to say it's a good example.

    Here. I admit I haven't read about every example there, but is this enough to show that collapse is a significant aspect of the history of civilization?

    Hm, that's interesting.

    Is this enough to show that collapse happens sometimes? Yes. Is it enough to show that it's a significant aspect of the history of civilization? Absolutely not. That's a pretty short list, and none of the civilizations there are anywhere near as complex as the one we have. The big ones, like the Western Roman empire, collapsed due to outside influences as well as internal structural problems, not environmental problems. And people only go back to tribal culture for a while. Egypt got unified under another king and became a civilization again. South America is a harsh area where it is difficult for large civilizations to survive, but they keep happening anyway.

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  • Squidget0Squidget0 Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Abstractly, there are three options: rise, fall, or stasis. Which do you think is most likely, in our case? Continued rise without limit? I don't see how that's possible short of an implausibly rapid increase in space travel capabilities.

    Then you absolutely want to see society centralize and develop, not relapse into a tribal state. Societies that develop are able to centralize their education systems, and there is a direct correlation between educated countries and countries with low fertility rates. Once people become educated and gain the actual (instead of imagined) liberty only a centralized government can provide, their population stabilizes. Meanwhile, tribal populations zoom out of control unchecked and consume every resource they can, because there's no one who'll bother to educate women and no centralized control over 'common' lands.

    In other words, the only thing we need to do to stabilize our population growth is to bring other countries through the same stages of development as we've seen in America and Europe. This has the side-effect of creating a better live for literally billions of people, people who would otherwise be uneducated, starving, and constantly at risk of victimization. After that it's a matter of adapting our resource use to our stabilized population, which is not an impossible task given our scientific advances in the last few years.

    Is any of this easy? No. There are many problems that will have to be solved, but they're economic and technological, not conceptual. We already have a model for a population-sustained society that we know works, it's just a matter of applying that model worldwide and finding a way to support it. It represents a much more likely path to societal sustainability than reverting to some romanticized tribal state, a state which risks doing unimaginable environmental damage as soon as one of these tribes stumbles across an abandoned military base.

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  • KiplingKipling Registered User regular
    Lanz wrote: »
    I would think that, if any modern nation/civilization fell, it's property and populace would quickly be divvied up among the neighboring nations and any powerful enough blocs within the failed state.

    For anything truly apocalyptic to happen, you'd have to have the whole of civilized society fall at once, with no buffer between them. But as it is right now, society has those buffers so that if a portion falls, the failed state will eventually just be adapted into something new by forces both from outside and from inside itself.

    You would have to have the idea of representational government collapse. The other side continually gets an opportunity to be power, which means neither side agitates for the entire system to be destroyed. Bush still left office, and people know that no matter how bad the hysterics over Obama is, they know there is 1 year or 5 years left before he is out of office for good.

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  • Wandering IdiotWandering Idiot Registered User regular
    I just wanted to say, after reading most of this thread, I think it's had the opposite effect rayofash intended. I'm actually less sympathetic to libertarian ideals than I was before, since the proponents' best arguments seem to amount to semantic games and fairy dust.

    Unless rayofash is secretly an agent provocateur for the authoritarian status quo, in which case well done! I think I'm ready for a single world government now!

  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    Squidget0 wrote: »
    There are many problems that will have to be solved, but they're economic and technological, not conceptual. We already have a model for a population-sustained society that we know works, it's just a matter of applying that model worldwide and finding a way to support it.
    Are you sure? I'm guessing you're referring to industrially developed nations like Japan, Russia, and much of Europe, where the population has stabilized. I agree that other nations will surely follow the same path and eventually stabilize their populations. But we're not at the finish line yet and there are already 7 billion. Even if the population caps at, say, 10 billion people, is that a sustainable amount in any sense of the word? And economically, can capitalism handle a situation like you describe? It seems like a growth based economy wouldn't work in a planet with stable population, unless you assume that productivity per person will continue to increase without fail.

  • AstaerethAstaereth Registered User regular
    Kaputa, read this, please.

    An excerpt for everyone else:
    Stephen Pacala, director of the Princeton Environment Institute, calculates that the world’s richest half-billion people — that’s about 7 percent of the global population — are responsible for 50 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Meanwhile the poorest 50 percent are responsible for just 7 percent of emissions.

    ...

    Of course, economic activity is not the same as ecological impact. So let’s go back to carbon dioxide emissions. Virtually all of the extra 2 billion or so people expected on this planet in the coming 40 years will be in the poor half of the world. They will raise the population of the poor world from approaching 3.5 billion to about 5.5 billion, making them the poor two-thirds.

    Sounds nasty, but based on Pacala’s calculations — and if we assume for the purposes of the argument that per-capita emissions in every country stay roughly the same as today — those extra two billion people would raise the share of emissions contributed by the poor world from 7 percent to 11 percent.

    Look at it another way. Just five countries are likely to produce most of the world’s population growth in the coming decades: India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. The carbon emissions of one American today are equivalent to those of around four Chinese, 20 Indians, 30 Pakistanis, 40 Nigerians, or 250 Ethiopians.

    Even if we could today achieve zero population growth, that would barely touch the climate problem — where we need to cut emissions by 50 to 80 percent by mid-century. Given existing income inequalities, it is inescapable that overconsumption by the rich few is the key problem, rather than overpopulation of the poor many.

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  • tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    Except that the myth of total collapse is just that, a myth.

    I don't see what's so imminent about it, though. Do you mean because of climate change? If anything, greater centralization and more technology is the only thing that's going to stop climate change.

    And certainly in Romes case the collapse came when an insufficiently strong central government failed to make rules to prevent the concentration of all power and wealth in a tiny fraction of society, leading to a vast and furious underclass which was being held in check by huge expenditures on internal policing while corruption amongst the wealthy was rampant. It had nothing to do with too much government power and everything to do with rampant capitalism destroying itself by preventing the efficient motion of capitol through the economy.

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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    With a little help from vandals and visigoths, of course. You seem to have neglected those. :P

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  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    I have only read up to page 17, so I might have missed all the fun, but I note that once again we're largely dealing with a clash of meta-ethics.

    The arguments on the "statist" sides are manifestly consequentialist - the arguments revolve around minimizing harm, maximising utility and so forth. The anarchy-libertarian side is arguing from a more deontological stance - these things are wrong, so what should we do from here?

    So that's an unfortunate difficulty - it's the same problem we see when abortion debates occur, the very arguments are incommensurate.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    I have only read up to page 17, so I might have missed all the fun, but I note that once again we're largely dealing with a clash of meta-ethics.

    The arguments on the "statist" sides are manifestly consequentialist - the arguments revolve around minimizing harm, maximising utility and so forth. The anarchy-libertarian side is arguing from a more deontological stance - these things are wrong, so what should we do from here?

    So that's an unfortunate difficulty - it's the same problem we see when abortion debates occur, the very arguments are incommensurate.

    Except that we're also arguing that no, they're not wrong either. The problem is that we don't buy the base principles of the anarcho-libertarian side, and they've done little to defend their base stances.

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  • Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    I have only read up to page 17, so I might have missed all the fun, but I note that once again we're largely dealing with a clash of meta-ethics.

    The arguments on the "statist" sides are manifestly consequentialist - the arguments revolve around minimizing harm, maximising utility and so forth. The anarchy-libertarian side is arguing from a more deontological stance - these things are wrong, so what should we do from here?

    So that's an unfortunate difficulty - it's the same problem we see when abortion debates occur, the very arguments are incommensurate.

    The anarchy-libertarian side has failed to properly think things through enough to answer questions or arguments that poke holes in their theories which would occur in practice. They ignore far to much of the criticisms which I'm inclined to believe they never thought about. Which is a major blind spot for their beliefs if they succeeded in creating their utopia's in the real world. Not to mention Ray referencing an event about a libertarian commune that is actually a warning about how bad things can get which he used for a good example. o_O

    Harry Dresden on
  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    I have only read up to page 17, so I might have missed all the fun, but I note that once again we're largely dealing with a clash of meta-ethics.

    The arguments on the "statist" sides are manifestly consequentialist - the arguments revolve around minimizing harm, maximising utility and so forth. The anarchy-libertarian side is arguing from a more deontological stance - these things are wrong, so what should we do from here?

    So that's an unfortunate difficulty - it's the same problem we see when abortion debates occur, the very arguments are incommensurate.

    Except that we're also arguing that no, they're not wrong either. The problem is that we don't buy the base principles of the anarcho-libertarian side, and they've done little to defend their base stances.

    The problem is that the anarho-libertarians see the fundamental good as Private Property. That the only just way in which someone can live is with respect to Private Property. Now the only argument that has been given for that not being the fundamental good is a consequentialist argument. That respecting Private Property leads to all manner of bad things. Which I agree with. I don't think that Libertarians are right. However, it's not obvious as to why they are wrong.

    Perhaps a great way to investigate this is to ask the following. What determines whether there has been a just exchange between two people? How is it that people come to "deserve" what they have? What is the nature of ownership, and how do we determine who owns what?

    The Libertarian seems to argue that at it's most basic, we own ourselves. We come to own new things when either someone else who owns something agrees to let us have it, or we create it ourselves. Consent then becomes very important, as consent is the only just way in which anyone deservedly transfers ownership.

    Has anyone read Anarchy, State and Utopia? I figure people have, but Nozick (though wrong) does a fairly eloquent job of defending this kind of position. I admit that I only know it a bit. And it's not a position I agree with, so I haven't really investigated it as thoroughly as something that I would have if it was something I really dug.

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  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Registered User regular
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    I have only read up to page 17, so I might have missed all the fun, but I note that once again we're largely dealing with a clash of meta-ethics.

    The arguments on the "statist" sides are manifestly consequentialist - the arguments revolve around minimizing harm, maximising utility and so forth. The anarchy-libertarian side is arguing from a more deontological stance - these things are wrong, so what should we do from here?

    So that's an unfortunate difficulty - it's the same problem we see when abortion debates occur, the very arguments are incommensurate.

    Except that we're also arguing that no, they're not wrong either. The problem is that we don't buy the base principles of the anarcho-libertarian side, and they've done little to defend their base stances.
    Well, that's part of the difficulty, the arguments against the deontological assumptions still aren't penetrable via consequentialism. They're still deontological!

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  • Wandering IdiotWandering Idiot Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    I have only read up to page 17, so I might have missed all the fun, but I note that once again we're largely dealing with a clash of meta-ethics.

    The arguments on the "statist" sides are manifestly consequentialist - the arguments revolve around minimizing harm, maximising utility and so forth. The anarchy-libertarian side is arguing from a more deontological stance - these things are wrong, so what should we do from here?

    So that's an unfortunate difficulty - it's the same problem we see when abortion debates occur, the very arguments are incommensurate.

    Consequentialist libertarianism is explicitly a thing, though. I feel like that's more the tack rayofash and some of the arguments he linked to took, even though their underlying motivations may be more deontological in nature. That division seems a bit too strict, anyway. In practice most people advocating from a deontological/natural rights perspective also believe that following those principles will lead to better consequences overall than any of the alternatives, even if it's in a quasi-mystical "rewarded by the universe" sense, or an explicitly supernatural theologically-based one.

    (I was going to make an argument that the min/maxing of harm/happiness by the opposing side seem like a priori deontological stances to me as well, then I thought about it and went a bit cross-eyed, and decided it was too early in the morning to be going around in semantic circles. Maybe someone else can make the point coherently.)

    Wandering Idiot on
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Squidget0 wrote: »
    There are many problems that will have to be solved, but they're economic and technological, not conceptual. We already have a model for a population-sustained society that we know works, it's just a matter of applying that model worldwide and finding a way to support it.
    Are you sure? I'm guessing you're referring to industrially developed nations like Japan, Russia, and much of Europe, where the population has stabilized. I agree that other nations will surely follow the same path and eventually stabilize their populations. But we're not at the finish line yet and there are already 7 billion. Even if the population caps at, say, 10 billion people, is that a sustainable amount in any sense of
    the word?

    Sure, why not? First world nations produce way more than they actually use, and there's no reason to believe that technical advancements in energy production and GMO-supported farming couldn't produce enough to sustain the world population. People aren't starving because there isn't enough food in the world; they're starving because there isn't enough food where they are (or their government is keeping it from them). Which leads to...

    Kaputa wrote: »
    And economically, can capitalism handle a situation like you describe? It seems like a growth based economy wouldn't work in a planet with stable population, unless you assume that productivity per person will continue to increase without fail.

    Probably not. Which is why most governments are moving further and further along the path toward a capitalist-socialist hybrid economy with basic needs provided for the populace. Having decentralized power with local lordlings and no ability to transports goods between regions leaves you with places like Somolia and Kenya and so forth. Maintaining the planet with a large, stable population will require more centralization. If our population is relatively stable and we have the capability to produce enough food and energy for them all, the limiting factors are our ability to distribute the needed goods and our willingness to make sure everyone has enough. Neither of those are supported by government decentralization.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    And economically, can capitalism handle a situation like you describe? It seems like a growth based economy wouldn't work in a planet with stable population, unless you assume that productivity per person will continue to increase without fail.

    Probably not. Which is why most governments are moving further and further along the path toward a capitalist-socialist hybrid economy with basic needs provided for the populace. Having decentralized power with local lordlings and no ability to transports goods between regions leaves you with places like Somolia and Kenya and so forth. Maintaining the planet with a large, stable population will require more centralization. If our population is relatively stable and we have the capability to produce enough food and energy for them all, the limiting factors are our ability to distribute the needed goods and our willingness to make sure everyone has enough. Neither of those are supported by government decentralization.

    Also a frequently ignored point: those extra few billion people aren't going to be born into, nor are likely to be able to, immigrate to the first world. We should look after them, but we're not going to. So yes, we can easily support them - because we're not going to invest any effort in doing so.

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    And economically, can capitalism handle a situation like you describe? It seems like a growth based economy wouldn't work in a planet with stable population, unless you assume that productivity per person will continue to increase without fail.

    Probably not. Which is why most governments are moving further and further along the path toward a capitalist-socialist hybrid economy with basic needs provided for the populace. Having decentralized power with local lordlings and no ability to transports goods between regions leaves you with places like Somolia and Kenya and so forth. Maintaining the planet with a large, stable population will require more centralization. If our population is relatively stable and we have the capability to produce enough food and energy for them all, the limiting factors are our ability to distribute the needed goods and our willingness to make sure everyone has enough. Neither of those are supported by government decentralization.

    Also a frequently ignored point: those extra few billion people aren't going to be born into, nor are likely to be able to, immigrate to the first world. We should look after them, but we're not going to. So yes, we can easily support them - because we're not going to invest any effort in doing so.

    Yeah. It's not like we're currently feeding the world and at some point we'll reach the tipping point of the supply scales, after which -- oh no! -- we can't feed everyone anymore, leading to some massive die-off. We're not feeding everyone now, and the majority of the world's population-expansionists are living in over-populated, under-fed, environmentally-ravaged conditions as-is. And it's not that we can't feed all of those people, necessarily, or that we can't clean up their land and water supplies...we just don't because, hey, they're poor, so fuck them.

    I find it somewhat more likely that the massively over-populated nations of the world will succumb to famine and environmental poisoning, collapse, and (eventually) have their ravaged territories claimed by their population-stabilized neighbors.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • VanguardVanguard the champion of i-don't-give-a-fuck what tremendously unlikableRegistered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2012
    Finally, a conversation worth having. The notion that we can't support more people is ludicrous. I don't have the numbers on hand, but if you look at the Green Revolution, which was billed as the way we would feed the world's poor, you'll notice something interesting. While we were able to feed more people, percentage-wise, more people are going hungry.

    We could, without any doubt, feed the entire world's population right now without blinking an eye. The reality is, a lot of that food is sitting in warehouses right now, waiting to be shipped and sold in the supermarkets of the first world.

    Vanguard on
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Consequentialist libertarianism is explicitly a thing, though.

    Not really. Or "Yes, but those people are stupid".

    Consequentialist libertarianism, if you actually look at its assumptions. Requires deontological libertarianism as a basis. This is because there is no support, neither theoretical nor empirical that suggest that the best outcomes in terms of prosperity and happiness are a result of the free market.

    The only way you can get there is if you assume that coercion is necessarily a negative that outweighs all the positives which may be associated with socialism or mixed market structure.

    The long and short of it is that there will exist situations where we can make everyone better off without making others worse off unless the people who we are saving have "dead and not coerced into paying taxes" as preferred to "alive and coerced into paying taxes"*.

    Without such an assumption, consequentialist libertarianism fails when presented with relatively rudimentary mainstream microeconomics*.

    *on the extreme end of the spectrum, whereas we actually would have varying levels depending on the amount of support and "better offness" each person was as a result of policy. It is reasonable to believe that even if we can make people materially better off[I.E. they have more resources for which to either consume goods or be leisurely] they way wish to be worse off and not coerced rather than better off and coerced. But, like any other good[or bad manipulated to be a good] we would find that there would exist an efficient level of coercion for all preference sets which do not have "no coercion at all" as a corner solution. And a preference set can only have "no coercion at all" as a corner solution if their utility function with respect to coercion is not well behaved**. And that means that the marginal value of coercion at zero must be negative infinity. Which means you must get infinite utility from not being coerced[and finite utility from being coerced only a small bit].

    And that assumption is fucking ridiculous.

    *We define "not coerced" to be our good and so as not coerced goes to infinity, coerced would to go zero. A well behaved utility function implies that the limit of the marginal value of a good as it goes to infinity is zero and as it goes to zero is negative infinity. [this ensures we do not get zero of the good and do not purchase the good with all of our resources]. When we modify this so that we are talking about coercion rather than not coercion we can simply invert the conditions and have equivalence. Which is why we say that zero coercion must give you infinite utility.

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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Vanguard wrote: »
    Finally, a conversation worth having. The notion that we can't support more people is ludicrous. I don't have the numbers on hand, but if you look at the Green Revolution, which was billed as the way we would feed the world's poor, you'll notice something interesting. While we were able to feed more people, percentage-wise, more people are going hungry.

    We could, without any doubt, feed the entire world's population right now without blinking an eye. The reality is, a lot of that food is sitting in warehouses right now, waiting to be shipped and sold in the supermarkets of the first world.

    Or being thrown away by said supermarkets because it didn't sell in time. If, instead of having tribalist microgovernments, we had a single, monolithic world government that gave a shit about its citizens we could be putting that spare food in the mouths of starving kids all over the world. But the first world can't even feed its own starving populations due to administrative costs and a lack of enough people giving a shit, which is both a shame and direct (I'd think) proof that all of the "people are basically good! they'll be caring and compassionate if Government gets out of the way and lets them!" hand-waving at the start of this thread was BS.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • AstaerethAstaereth Registered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    The long and short of it is that there will exist situations where we can make everyone better off without making others worse off unless the people who we are saving have "dead and not coerced into paying taxes" as preferred to "alive and coerced into paying taxes".

    Which is why most libertarian thought is founded on "they're dead and I'm not coerced into paying taxes" as preferred to "they're alive and I'm coerced into paying taxes".

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  • CptKemzikCptKemzik Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Behemoth wrote: »
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Why would you think we're headed toward decentralization and less dependence on technology when every indicator in the world is the opposite?
    Because that's what happens when a civilization falls. Egypt, Rome, Islamic civilization, and probably countless others are decent examples. Every form of civilization rises, peaks, and falls; ours is no different and will not escape the fate of its predecessors. I see this fall as inevitable and as imminent enough that we should take it into account in setting our social and economic policies.

    None of those civilizations just up and disappeared. Egypt just continued as a part of the Roman empire. And before that, as part of the Macedonian empire. Rome just moved East. Islamic civilization fell to internal fighting and external raids. It changed form, but didn't disappear. It's technological progress slowed, but they didn't really lose anything.

    The thing you're talking about (global civilization collapsing all at once, precipitating a shift back to pre-civilization tribal societies) has never happened. Even on a smaller scale.
    You're right that it's never happened before. But we've also never had a globalized economy before. Rome can collapse with little affect on China when their economies have little to do with each other. But we have a global civilization in a way that we never have, and it's also simply a much larger civilization than any which preceded it. Can one part of the global economy collapse without bringing down the whole thing? I figure that answer leans closer to "no" every day, as globalization continues its inexorable march forward.

    [..]

    Obviously I do not have official qualifications of any sort, though I appreciate the ad hominem. I'm just trying to have a discussion here. Do you believe that our civilization is somehow immune to the same cycle that has befallen civilizations before us? I don't think we're qualitatively different, just much bigger, and that only means we have farther to fall.

    Pfftahahahahahaha

    Seriously dude, quit it with the "cycles of civilization" talk. It's nonsense. You admit that it's nonsense. Just stop it. We face different problems and pointing to past and saying "See! This has happened!" isn't doing you any favors.
    I meant that, while collapse has happened plenty of times before, it's never been on a global scale, because we have never had a global economy of this nature before. History is still relevant to modern events!

    We do face different problems, which necessitate different solutions than anything we've tried before.

    Oh it has happened? Where? When? Because the examples you gave on the last page weren't actually examples of collapses.
    Egypt's first intermediate period was characterized by a collapse of the national economy, followed by decentralization of authority to provincial lords and competition between them.

    Saying that Rome 'moved east' doesn't seem like an adequate refutation of the example to me, but I'm not knowledgeable enough on the decline of their empire to say it's a good example.

    Here. I admit I haven't read about every example there, but is this enough to show that collapse is a significant aspect of the history of civilization?

    To clear up some things on Rome being used as an example of civilization that "collapsed"

    Rome's image of homogeneous central government, and mobility, was mostly just that - an image. It became as "vast" as it did because all of the tribal in-fighting in the Italian peninsula produced an enduring military tradition that was eventually codified into something approaching a single professional army that the upper classes in Rome and throughout Italy were able to use to their advantage in conquest. The higher ups, and military, also rarely had any problems with killing off large swathes of populations that didn't want to pay money to people miles and miles away in Italy. Unfettered capitalism, as mentioned above, also helped them manipulate the flow of currency to their advantage, since economics weren't something Italian cultures were traditionally apt with handling. A lot of commerce and "global" trading (for example, Rome/the Mediterranean would export glass to China and import their silk with Central Asian valley settlements and the Iranians serving as the middle-men, hence the "silk road") was mostly made possible by already extant merchant cultures, like the Greeks, Phoenicians, Jews, Iranians etc. who had trade routes and posts dotted throughout the known world; there just happened to be a Roman "governor" now along with the obligatory urban planning projects at major population centers throughout its domain.

    Remember, after the Julio-Claudian dynasty, the majority of "Roman" emperors came from the provinces (most notably Iberia/Spain, The Balkans, and Syria), and most were either directly a part of, or affiliated in some way, with the military - again Rome's sole reason for its widespread existence. This same military also relied more and more on auxiliaries for fighting and guarding frontiers (i/e the people Rome had conquered), and the proper citizens who served as legionnaires largely began to serve as officers, engineers, administrators, and anything else that kept the military machines going while throwing auxiliaries/provincials into whatever front lines they found themselves in (one of the reasons everyone living in Roman administered areas were eventually given "full citizenship" toward the end of its "centralized" existence is so they had something, other than money, to keep provincials serving since they had no other motivation or loyalty). Basically all those "barbarian" tribes you read about in the 101 history textbooks were extant, but not necessarily to the capacity of raiding and pillaging that popular belief suggests. A large amount of these "barbarians," were already living in Roman territory, serving in its military, or trading across its frontiers, for centuries. Most of the "invading hordes," were migrant peoples partially fleeing from steppe cultures like the Huns, and partially to try and make a new living elsewhere. Groups like the Goths and Vandals raided areas largely because they were forced between a rock and a hard place between the advancing Huns, and the "Romans" (who really weren't much different than them by that point), or were already living in the territory and took advantage of the increasingly visible corruption, and lacking presence, of Roman "authority."

    We read about these people as "invading barbarians," because we're reading from sources that were still the upper class of Roman society in the namesake city, who viewed (most) anyone outside its boundaries as "barbarians." The formation of the feudal European kingdoms I think is less of a shaking up and collapse of civilization, and more a magnification of the diverse groups of peoples the old Roman government and military happened to force themselves onto. This isn't even touching on the formation of the Roman Catholic Church, which really was just the declining Roman upper class latching onto Christianity rather than military to exert its influence, or the consolidation of "Byzantium," which had become the new center of the empire for a while even before the western provinces "collapsed." Since this eastern region rightly focused on capitalizing with the various merchant cultures of the Mediterranean, it had the money to keep its network together, which continued using the names and traditions of Roman government and law up till the mid 15th century (although barely), until it became assimilated into what we know as the Ottoman Empire, who were simply the new group at the top in the eastern Mediterranean.

    Taking into account all the advancements in historiography towards Rome, its "collapse" is due to a multitude of demographic, cultural, economic, and migrant phenomena to the point that people can now rightfully question if there ever really was a "fall," rather than simply a changing/shifting of hands holding the power. This isn't even considering that a dominant Grecco-Roman culture of some sort had existed for thousands of years, and the idea of "Rome," never held one particular form or system for too long (relatively speaking a the big picture view and the benefit of hindsight). So, no. Rome is not really a good example to use for your "organized society is going to up and collapse in a flash," unless you're approaching its history through the now incredibly antiquated lens of Gibbon. I did not study as much with Egypt or the medieval Islamic societies, but they should also be considered in a similar light. There is certainly still value in looking back on the past, and the problems people faced then (because frankly a fair number of our problems aren't that different despite what people may try to hype them as otherwise), but trying to tie together general narratives of civilization as "rise, peak, fall, rinse, repeat," is a very reductive approach and doesn't shed light on anything.

    CptKemzik on
  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    Kemzik that was fascinating and now where do I sign up for your Newsletter :o

    SEGATA SANSHIRO! LIVE AGAIN!
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  • Wandering IdiotWandering Idiot Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    That's really interesting.

    This means I don't need to read Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire now, right? It's always been on my back burner as something to get around to since it seemed vaguely relevant to the current situation of the US, but if you say Gibbon's been mostly superseded, I suppose that lets me off the hook...

    It does seem like all of the old empires "collapsed" in that sense of power becoming more decentralized due largely to the difficulties of maintaining control of large geographical areas in an age before electricity. I suppose the cycle then would be one of orienting a large portion of a society's resources towards conquest-driven expansion, and continuing on that path until the logistical problems due to technological and economic limitations become unmanageable, and power goes back to being more regional.

    The US seems like the most successful version of a widespread empire in modern times, presumably because we're less heavy-handed about it. We have military assets in areas all around the world (the ability to project force on short notice essentially anywhere on the globe is open doctrine), but maintain direct control, in the old sense, of very few of them. Which is probably less because we're so nice than because modern communications and economic tools make it unnecessary, and doing it the old way is extremely resource-intensive (just look at how much trouble trying to conquer and put in place friendly governments in relatively minor countries like Iraq and Afghanistan has been). Our status as a former imperial colony probably does provide some additional ideological antipathy for outright conquest as well.

    Wandering Idiot on
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