Coming Ecological Collapse: Failing Ecosystems the Mother of All Bubbles
Dr. Glen Barry, 04/12/08
The converging mortgage, financial, food, fuel and climate crises are all symptoms of a massive global ecological bubble...
Ecological overshoot whereby humanity exceeds the Earth's carrying capacity is the mother of all "bubbles". Within the current sub-prime mortgage and financial bubbles, and food and energy price increases, we are witnessing the logical and inevitable economic consequences of over-population, resource scarcity, inequitable and unreasonable consumption, and unsustainable economic growth. Growth and livelihoods based upon unreasonable presumptions of continued resource outputs from dwindling ecosystems is a dangerous, unprecedented "ecological bubble" that threatens civilization and mass apocalyptic death.
The global growth machine is seizing up because it is hitting ecological limits, and as a result of its own greed. Clearly the addition of a billion more people every decade and a half, physical limits upon arable land and fossil fuels -- as well as exceeding the atmosphere's waste absorption capacity and minimum amount of intact terrestrial ecosystems necessary to power the biosphere -- are together severely negatively impacting economies and individual's well-being.
The economic slowdown is painful for many families. I personally share economic anxieties associated with the mortgage bubble popping. We are all finding it harder to pay the mortgage, buy food and fuel, and enjoy some special luxuries. Yet all bubbles burst -- be they historically for tulips in Holland or property in Japan -- and you deal with the underlying causes or you suffer further. I believe strongly that there should be no bailout of high flying bankers, home flippers, or people that took out mortgages they cannot afford. Wall Street fat cats that created the mortgage backed security Ponzi scheme should go to jail.
Endless Growth Impossible in a Finite World
Yet this economic cooling may also offer a welcome respite to reconsider the growth at any cost madness devouring the Earth's life giving ecosystems, and which threatens to impoverish and kill many or all of us. It is essential that we look at the far deeper ecological roots to this economic crisis, and their foretelling of related environmental bubbles. The ongoing biofuel scam, using first food and soon trees as fuel to supposedly avert climate change, shows the potential for ill-conceived climate change responses to increase land pressures, food prices and negatively impact economies. These sorts of macro ecological/economic connections are examined further here.
Humans seem to always want more, even when there is none, or achieving it diminishes the future. A colleague recently pointed out to me that there may be a genetic component, expressed sub-consciously, to humanity's expansionist bent that constantly seeks more, bigger and better human works. And that there are societal memes that foster and promote this myth that endless growth and expansion in population, consumption and resource use at the expense of ecological habitats is possible. For a few hundred years the western economic model of markets and growth that builds upon these human proclivities has created wealth while wreaking havoc upon peoples, societies and ecosystems.
Growth in economies, human populations and resources accessed by destroying ecosystems is a disease upon the living Earth. The malignant growth machine turns ecosystems into resources and then into financial investment papers and consumption. A year later the consumer products are in the landfill, the paper wealth may be further over-priced or just scrap paper, and there are both fewer resources and ecosystems -- but always more people. The ability to live well based upon long-term steady-state interdependence with intact, healthy ecosystems and their natural capital is lost forever.
The Mortgage Bubble: Destroying Our Habitat to Build Homes
The mortgage bubble is a case is point. In America and many other over-developed countries the size of new homes grew and amenities seemed to know few limits. Each had to have restaurant quality kitchens, hardwood floors, multi-car garages, track lighting, and other seemingly endless conspicuous consumption to denote social class. Each represents the unsustainable consumption of resources from ecosystems, and requires continued intensive inputs to maintain. Most such development requires extensive automobile travel, sprawl into native ecosystems, and energy that will not be there in the future.
These extravagant McMansions are the epitome of everything wrong with "modern" society, industrial capitalism, and demonstrates our detachment from Earth, whose habitats are our true home. This more at any expense economy that knows no limits and has no concept of enough is responsible for our current economic downturn and is literally killing our future economic and ecological prospects. Can those that believe in markets and capitalism not entertain any limits upon the size and resource use intensity of our homes? Does anyone see the connection between more people using more resources to build large homes, leading to less farmland and overuse of limited energy, resulting in food and energy price hikes?
In the mortgage bubble, we are seeing the first signs of many wholly ecological bubbles to come. The world is not only at peak oil, but well past peak water, land, climate, oceans, food and energy in general. Rising food prices are the front edge of the food bubble -- a result of over-population, climate change, water shortages and land scarcity. The climate bubble has already begun to burst -- it is too late to return to the relatively stable set of climate patterns with which we evolved -- but failure to stabilize emissions as early as possible will bring far worse. And perhaps most ominously, and by extension of the food and climate bubbles, we are facing a deadly water bubble that is already disrupting societies and may prove insurmountable.
Ecological Bubbles and a New Global Dream
These ecological bubbles are partly responsible for the current economic downturn, and unless addressed now, they are certainly going to soon fully burst with calamitous impacts in their own right upon societal and individual well-being. The American dream which has been embraced by the world -- based upon a sub-conscious urge to expand our dominance over nature and always, forever have more of everything, with constant societal pressure to do so -- will have to give way to a more organic, ecologically-cognizant reality of living simply but well within ecological limits. Sadly for many, but a blessing for the Earth System and the not super rich, the whole world cannot live an over-consumptive super-sized lifestyle without destroying being.
It is time for a new global dream. The new dream would include aspiring that all have their basic needs met, even as individuals are free to pursue their passions and fortunes, as long as they do not undermine common ecological systems. Such a dream seeks to avert apocalyptic ecological and societal collapse through promotion of a sense of personal enoughness, voluntary simplicity and a whole range of necessary fundamental changes in society such as ending the use of coal and logging of ancient forests.
One thing is clear -- more unbridled growth based upon unsustainable resource use will not solve the global ecological problems associated with unbridled growth and unsustainable resource use. The human enterprise and each global citizen's consumption aspirations must be downsized to a scale appropriate to ecosystem limits. Or the Earth herself -- as it turns out, with the assistance of the human created economic system -- will do so brutally.
The industrial resource and illusory financial binge must end if we are to reverse the destruction, and begin the restoration, of the biosphere, its component ecosystems, and their ability to provide natural capital upon which to base a steady-state economy. It is time to get back to making honest, good livings from actually making or doing something of societal value, by making a living with the land and Earth, and that does not depend upon liquidating ecological being and financial speculation.
As the economic bubble deflates we might as well get on with finding a way to live simply, sustainably, equitably and justly with the Earth and each other. Because when the water, food and climate bubbles fully burst -- we are going to need each other, and to be ready.
Why I Care
Steve Van Dyke
You'd think that the output of all our work and technology should've improved the quality of our lives more than it has. Why do we pursue ever-increasing amounts of wealth even after our basic needs have been met rather than simply enjoying the money that we have? How is it possible that each laborer is more productive in the history of the world, yet two parents can work full time and still not have enough money to pay for their children’s day care and rent? Why are we becoming ever more isolated from our communities? Why do we have less free time instead of more? Shouldn’t the opposite be happening as we continue to become more efficient and produce more? Something is wrong.
The answer lies in the nature of money itself. Not the physical money that we touch, but the monetary system. Our money system, including the way money is issued and removed from our economy, is a stronger force than even religion in the way that it influences our behavior. Think about it. How many people do you know act more in align with their moral convictions than with the culture that surrounding the way we earn and spend money? Money must be a powerful influence to compete with notions of eternal life or ecstatic bliss. Money drives us to act the way we do towards each other and how we interact with the world around us. It even defines the nature of our interactions with each other and shapes our attitudes. It defines who we are and provides us with a measure of success relative to our neighbors.
Problems with Money
Sadly, our monetary system is poorly designed to bring about the type of world that most of us want. It has evolved to meet the needs of another time and just isn't designed to create the highest quality of life for those who use it. We haven’t figured out what we want from our monetary system. We haven’t analyzed the nature of our transactions and the consequences that they bring. We’ve accepted repercussions of our own invention as if it were a fundamental law of nature. We haven’t stopped to think if there could be a better way. We’ve enslaved ourselves with our own system.
One of the major problems with our monetary system is that it creates an artificially scarce money supply. Money is created when we get a loan from a bank. By the very nature of money, there isn’t enough money in circulation to cover the debt that created it. IF you wonder why we don't have enough--it's because we made it that way!
The cycle of debt feeds on itself. A person who pays their debt in payments plus interest is doing so with money that has been created through more debt. As the money supply grows, the debt that needs to be paid grows even more—regardless of how efficiently or how much we produce, regardless of our needs, regardless of our desires. There will always be more debt than money to pay for it.
The cycle of collective debt creates feelings that we never have enough. It’s true, as a society we can never have enough because we always have more debt than money. Always. It’s no wonder than that we work longer and longer hours and turn to the extraction of earth’s natural resources to try to make more and more money.
Exacerbating the problem even further, we feel a need to collect as much money as we can in order to protect ourselves from the scarcity that we feel. Besides, if we have money, there are always people out there desperate to get it. It takes money to make money. So we hoard our money so that it can earn interest and protect ourselves.
But the need to collect money in order to make more money sets up investment decisions that are counter-productive to our collective well-being and to common sense.
Take, for example, the question of how much money to spend on a new car. I could buy a quality automobile that would last 20 years. Instead, it makes more sense to simply dispose of the car after ten years and buy a new one. My investments will double in 10 years and I should be able to afford a new car from my “savings”.. Yet the consequence of this action result in my old car in a landfill and a culture that values cheap disposable items rather than high quality, long lasting ones. Only our blind acceptance of the rules of artificial scarcity could make us accept that this would be more “economical”.
Similar examples can be found in the way we relate to our environment.
Under our current system it makes sense to cut down trees and put the money in the bank; the money in the bank will grow faster than trees. It makes sense to "save" money by building poorly insulated houses because the discounted cost of the extra energy over the lifetime of the house is cheaper than insulating.
We’ll continue to extract our natural resources until we’ve extrapolated all of our possible resources and maximized our human capital. Our laws, social organizations, and protests will not change this very basic fact. As long as our money is created through debt, then we will become victims of our own invention.
Our monetary system is deeply embedded in our collective psychology. By continuing to operate under the principles of our established monetary system, we unconsciously reinforce the unsustainable practices and values of an antiquated system.
Ironically, the path out of our cycle of debt and scarcity doesn’t require sacrifice. Change won’t come from protests, wars or conflict. Change will come simply from a realization that there are alternatives and our desire to act in the interest of our communities and ourselves.
It is possible to unleash a virus into the system. It is possible to show that a few people can bring about a new age of positive social values and increased wealth. A heightened awareness about the role of money in our society has the potential to fundamentally change the world that we live in.
It is possible that a new age of increased prosperity for all, greater trust and cooperation, respect for all people, and the appreciation of our environment can be collectively realized. We only need to see it.
The only important news: There are no news!
Duric Aljosa, 13.04.2008
Everything smells on big changes.
Most people call them a new monetary revolution.
Well, the only important news is that there is nothing new:
everything is the same for centuries.
The new revolution has already been stolen.
Central Banking- Why Fix What Does Not Work?
Economics is not rocket science. Today's use of mathematical formulae to explain economics performs the same function as did the use of Latin during the Dark Ages for the Catholic Church.
You don't need mathematics to explain economics - Professor Antal E. Fekete
To understand modern economics, however, it is necessary to understand credit. Now, however, credit and its cancerous twin, debt, are the very foundation of all modern economies.
The relationship between credit and modern economies is similar to that between steroids and athletic performance.
While credit enhances economic expansion much as steroids enhance athletic performance, just like steroids, the enhancement is artificial and unless continued, is temporary. But, if continued, credit enhanced expansion will damage the economy just as continued steroid usage damages the physical body.
The world's experiment with credit-based “money” and central banking—and their bastard offspring, capital markets, is almost over; and, for those not in denial, the handwriting is clearly on the wall.
CHOKING ON CREDIT DROWNING IN DEBT
Capital is credit, not money, and although modern economists blur the distinction, that does not make it so. In the belief, however, lies the consequence. We have acted as if credit is money and have, as a consequence, become collectively indebted into perpetuity. Why this has happened is obvious.
Who profits from debt?
Who runs our economies?
It is through the device of central banking that governments have been able to indebt their citizenry into infinite debt. By allowing central banks to debase currencies and issue debt as money, governments have been able to indebt future generations and spend their revenues today, revenues that don't really exist except through the “miracle” of central banking.
THE GAME IS OVER
MORE CREDIT WON'T WORK WHEN THE PROBLEM IS DEBT
For this sorry state of affairs, we can thank our elected representatives and our respective governments. The blame, however, must be reserved for ourselves.
There is a bug in our values measurement model-standard.
Currency doesn't matter at all!
The General Education Board (GEB), established by John D. Rockefeller, Sr., was chartered in 1902. And in Raymond Fosdick's memorial history of the Board, he indicated it was part of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s effort toward the "goal of social control." The GEB was established the year after SOCIAL CONTROL (1901) was written by Edward Alsworth Ross - Father of American Sociology.
1919. With funding from the Commonwealth Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation, Clifford Beers "formed the predecessor of WFMH [World Federation for Mental Health], the International Committee for Mental Hygiene.
1925. A Rockefeller Foundation's grant gives birth to the International Bureau of Education.
1943: The Rockefeller Foundation helped fund the Allen Memorial Institute at McGill University in Montreal. Working with the Canadian military and the Office of Strategic Services (The OSS became the CIA in 1947), Dr. Cameron conducted torturous experiments on human guinea pigs in order to perfect the various mind control techniques. These brainwashing tactics included coercive interrogation, psychosurgery, drugs, hypnosis and "between 30 to 60 electroshocks over a short period" along with powerful tranquilizers to control anxiety.
At the end of the Second World War, the Rockefeller Foundation's medical director, Alan Gregg, began to fund the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) to undertake the kind of social psychiatry that had been developed by the army during wartime and see if it could be relevant for civilian society.
Further promoting "world citizenship" was Dr. Ewen Cameron who, on May 5 of the year after PATHS TO BETTER SCHOOLS was published, delivered a speech titled "The Building of the Coming World Order" in which he pronounced: "What we call morals, are simply the customs, prohibitions and rules which a society maintains at any given time....The United Nations Organization deserves the support of all who are concerned with the building of a New World Order....There can be only one education anywhere on the earth and that is education for world citizenship.
Seven years later, Dr. Cameron would become president of the American Psychiatric Association, and in that same year (1953), Fabian Socialist Bertrand Russell's THE IMPACT OF SCIENCE UPON SOCIETY was published, in which he explained: "I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology....Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen....Educational propaganda, with government help, could achieve this result in a generation.
In the late 1950s, the National Mental Health Institute commenced a program to have public schools administer Ritalin to children classified as "dull" or "emotionally disturbed."
In Zbigniew Brzezinski's BETWEEN TWO AGES: AMERICA'S ROLE IN THE TECHNETRONIC ERA (1970), he referred to "the increasing availability of biochemical means of human control," and said "human beings become increasingly manipulable and malleable." After reading this book, David Rockefeller named Brzezinski as the first director of the Trilateral Commission, which was established in 1973.
In a 1973 memo on the Trilateral Policy Program, then-director Brzezinski recommended the study of 'Control Over Man's Development and Behavior' as a theme for later consideration. More specifically such a task force would undertake to study 'the social-education implications of the availability, especially in advanced societies, of new means of social control.'...Trilateralism is the current attempt by ruling elites to manage both dependence and democracy---at home and abroad....Economic gain and social control are inseparable goals of trilateralism.
2008 : Clueless in America
The nation’s future may depend on how well we educate the current and future generations, but (like the renovation of the nation’s infrastructure, or a serious search for better sources of energy) that can wait. At the moment, no one seems to have the will to engage any of the most serious challenges facing the U.S.
An American kid drops out of high school every 26 seconds. That’s more than a million every year, a sign of big trouble for these largely clueless youngsters in an era in which a college education is crucial to maintaining a middle-class quality of life — and for the country as a whole in a world that is becoming more hotly competitive every day.
Ignorance in the United States is not just bliss, it’s widespread. A recent survey of teenagers by the education advocacy group Common Core found that a quarter could not identify Adolf Hitler, a third did not know that the Bill of Rights guaranteed freedom of speech and religion, and fewer than half knew that the Civil War took place between 1850 and 1900.
Roughly a third of all American high school students drop out. Another third graduate but are not prepared for the next stage of life — either productive work or some form of post-secondary education.
When two-thirds of all teenagers old enough to graduate from high school are incapable of mastering college-level work, the nation is doing something awfully wrong.
Everything around us has a price.
It's strange, but human life has no price.
Even more strange, American life has a bigger price then Nigerian life.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem, so make your choice:
Our lives are our highest values.
Time is the only money.
The value of our lives - Time of our lives - Every minute of every day.
One hour has 60 minutes, in America, Germany, Nigeria and Venezuela,
France and China, Croatia and Iraq, Italy and Israel, Palestina and Russia.