What needs to be done….

15 11 2020

I have posted many times about the way ALL the things planned by the morons ruling the world are neither sustainable nor even possible to achieve; and I’m often asked what are the solutions, what, if anything can we do to alleviate the inevitable suffering the coming calamities will bring to our civilization. I wish it were as simple as deploying renewables or switching to horses for transportation as someone mentioned in a comment to the last post I put up just this afternoon. It’s not simple; it’s in fact very very complicated. Worse, nobody is talking about it; all the discussion in your favourite media is about returning to ‘normal’, whatever that means. Because there’s really no such thing as ‘normal’.

The first solution of drug addiction is the admission of the problem. and we don’t have a problem, we have a serious predicament.

The pandemic has exposed, to me at least, just how UTTERLY dependant we have become on money. I absolutely believe nothing of any worth can happen until we abandon this dependence. This is because the dependence is caused by debt fueled consumption.

The Earth is dying of consumption. Not only is consumption already dying because of limits to growth, it must end even sooner if we want to have any chance of not frying ourselves before the end of this century.

The problem is, as the pandemic quickly exposed, as soon as money stops flowing through the economy, millions of people lose their jobs, and none of them can handle the trauma. Maintaining mental health becomes a priority, domestic violence starts going stratospheric, and a solution to that problem becomes essential. I’ve said over and over on this platform that ‘jobs and growth’ have to go. I still stand by that, but we obviously need to find these newly unemployed people something to do. And we need to find ways that involves them not needing money, or at least supply them with enough of it that they can at the very least survive….

Governments all over the world have discovered that they can print enough of this folding stuff, at least temporarily. It’s a rude shock to neoliberalism which firmly believes in budget surpluses and other monetary gods…..

The problem with money is that it currently only represents debts. There are probably not enough actual bank notes and coins for people to trade, hence the current rush to plastic money. Oh and I forgot all the 1s & 0s in your bank accounts…. Therefore, debts must go. With a debt jubilee comes freedom. You no longer have to slave away to repay your mortgage, credit cards, car loans, student loans, etc etc….. The corporations that supply your water and electricity no longer need to be profitable. So the other thing we spend money on should become cheaper as demand drops.

Most of all, the whole notion that money is a marker of wealth also has to go. Money is a means of trading, and it needs to be replaced with currency. Which means billionaires and their ilk disappear. Anyone with ‘investments’ lose that too. Told you it wouldn’t be popular….

Redistributing the available currency so it’s equitably divided becomes essential now. Sorry if this sounds like communism, it’s not at all my intent. All the old isms have to go too, that’s how we got into this mess.

I’m of the opinion enough renewable energy has already been deployed, so we don’t need more. Fossil fuels energy must and will be scrapped. This means the end of growth, which is precisely what needs to be achieved. And as we don’t want any more growth, all the banks can be shut down for good. Who likes banks anyway? Apart from bankers I mean…..

The biggest problem remains food production and distribution. I didn’t buy a farm for no reason! We’re going to need lots and lots of manual workers again now we’ve given fossil fuels the flick.

If you think this is all a bit extreme, just wait ’til the pandemic’s repercussions reverberate around the world.

We’ll need cobblers and weavers. there are more than enough houses to go ’round so builders will have to do other things. Bicycle mechanics may well become in great demand too…. With all this physical activity, I expect obesity to also go away…..

You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet….. Did I tell you we live in interesting times….? Or that we have a serious lack of imagination…?



7 responses

15 11 2020
Don Owers

I suspect that a future historian while researching the decline and fall of this civilization will blame economists and the absurd idea that growth was sustainable.

15 11 2020

Absolutely right. Here in the UK only 3% of money is actual cash, the rest is just electrons in the matrix. When the electricity grid goes down, so does the money.
But yes, if we actually looked at the work that needs doing, as apposed to the work that creates wealth for elites, then there will be more than enough ‘work’ for 8 billion people. Just simple things like fixing the troughings on neighbours’ houses, repairing garden gates, clearing up litter, filling potholes, all need doing. Then going wider into a community, all the hidden jobs that need doing – caring for the sick and elderly for example. Then up a level again, making sure everyone has food to eat, some energy to keep warm and cook with, and a room or house to live in. Up a level again, tearing down borders, converting weapons to gardening tools, dismantling nuclear power plants, building urban farms, converting housing stock to passivehaus standards. And so on.

When I was explaining to my son when he was 10 years old, why buildings are left to rot, or burnt out cars left on the streets for years, and so on, he then asked why don’t they just abolish money then?

So if a ten year old can work it out, why can’t 7.7999 billion other humans?

The classic failure of neo-liberalism is, for example, that it can’t find £2 million to renovate the grade 2 listed Victorian school house round the corner from me, but it can find £200 billion to build the monstrosity that is HS2. Or that councils can’t keep up with filling the potholes in the roads (now estimated to cost £4 billion if it was all done) but central government can raise billions to build new roads. It’s all the signs of collapse.
The funny thing about neo-liberalism is that it wouldn’t be able to build the Great Wall of China again, but the Chinese could with a world population of 500 million and very little money (okay, and a lot of coercion).

But in the interim, a UBI plus a debt amnesty would free up people from bullshit jobs, and they can focus more on working less and doing more.

I like to differentiate between working and doing, because cheer leaders for neo-liberalism (and most of the other -isms) scoff at the notion of not-working.
Before the enclosure of the commons, it is estimated most people only worked 28 hours a week on average. Obviously that varied, at harvesting and planting times for example, but they didn’t clock in and out for their 40 hour job every week.

The reality is, a lot, and I mean a lot, of people are going to have to be involved in food growing somehow. But the more that do, the less each will have to work. Then we can spend more time doing (art, socialising, whatever), or even just doing nothing and not be made to feel ashamed of it.

15 11 2020

The massively unpopular thing that must go is population growth. If the population doesn’t get radically smaller then growing enough food to feed everyone without oil is impossible.

16 11 2020

Indeed…… We’re on the cusp of population collapse one way or the other. My gut feeling is that a lot of people will suicide when their toys go away. A lot of men in particular did this in the collapse of the USSR with vodka.


15 11 2020
16 11 2020
Anthony William O'brien

“We have a serious lack of imagination” Completely and utterly and combined with a bad case of “but we are different” itis. Civilizations collapse after reaching a peak of an essential input; we are facing peak everything, even sand for concrete, but we are different. No dominant species has survived a mass extinction event, we are in a mass extinction event, “but we are different”. Last time CO2 was at 400 ppm the world was much hotter and sea levels were much higher, but if we can keep CO2 under 420ppm we can keep things at Eemian levels (which topped out at about 300ppm) because now is different.

The rich think they can have it all, and it all will still have increasing value. That you can pay starvation wages, but the workers will still be buying McMansions and new cars. The earing ability of companies is falling, but the stock market keeps going up. Investor art keeps going up, but the art on my walls would be hard to sell at any price including originals from listed artists.

Wilful blindness is everywhere, cognitive dissonance too.

16 11 2020

You are offering a solution to a problem but the question is; is there a problem ?
You say the earth is dying but your definition of the dying earth is a mass extinction event which happens to be a normal procedure for the earth.
You worry about humans but thinking humans learn that no species lasts forever, and still life goes on.
You say it hurts to know we humans are our own extinction force but the Cyanobacteria billions of years ago felt the death pain of their toxic oxygen waste excreta.
And still life went on.

You want humans to live sustainably on the earth forever but the sun is getting older & hotter & will soonish (< billion years) cook to death all carbon based life on the earth.
You want to stop change & shizzle feckery for a bit so we can think about it all but change never stops and what never changes goes extinct.

You enjoyed a period of social stability for most of your lifetime in the western world but you didn't look closely at history to realize that it never lasts.
If you were a thinking lifeform more than a human lifeform then you would appreciate the good life you have enjoyed and accept the decline into a new chaos.
But that's so sad. No it's not. It's wonderful that life will evolve onto a different base element so that in the far flung future biodiverse life will thrive throughout the solar system.
And right now humans can feel cool about being the dumb arse agents that caused the next round of change and chaos to happen.

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