AuthorTopic: Malthus to China Potpourri  (Read 39851 times)

alan2102

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Malthus to China Potpourri
« on: July 20, 2012, 02:59:30 PM »
Alan,
I remember having this same conversation with you on the old TAE site, and my position remains the same...

Ash, you asked: "Do you think it is likely the predatory capitalist system will disappear over the
next decade, and make room for sensible investments?"

I replied with that sensible investments -- massive ones -- are indeed being made,
(and it is indisputable that they are being made), without the disappearance of the
predatory capitalist system.

I welcome any reply you may have to our exchange, to that point.

Quote
In fact, since that time, it has become even more clear that Eastern countries such as
China and India will not only suffer from financial, energy and environmental collapse,
but it will probably hit their populations just as hard as it hits Western populations, if
not harder.

I don't see much evidence for the "energy" part of that; to the contrary, there's
plenty of energy resources. Environment: serious problems, yes, but also remediable
ones, and there's some effort (and will be much more, soon) to remedy them.  I cited
one such effort in my earlier reply: the biggest environmental remediation project of
all time.  Quite impressive.  Financial: BIG problems, here, to be sure. But finances are
just finances; they do not economy make.  They will hit financial skids along with the West,
to be sure, but they will rebound from them. The financial collapse will not, for them, result
in economic near-ruin the way it will for us, and to the extent that their economies are hit,
they will rebound much quicker.  Just wait 10-15 years; you'll see what I mean.

Quote
And I dare say that the DD Admins, and especially RE, are even more extreme in
their Doom on these issues than we are at TAE.

True enough. And they're wrong.   :)

Quote
Agelbert may be right about EROEI methodology and current developments in renewable
energy, but I doubt even he believes that it will ultimately scale up and be a feasible
alternative for global society. We don't have anywhere close to 50 years for this stuff to
get going in earnest, let alone an entire century.

We certainly DO have a century. We're not going anywhere. The earth isn't going
anywhere.  It will take as long as it takes, and there is no alternative.  There will be
big troubles, to be sure. The transition will be rocky, difficult.  Yes, there will be a dieoff.
Hell, there already IS a dieoff going on, and I'm sure it will get worse.  But none of that
4-horsemen/armageddon crap, with 6 billion deaths inside of a decade. Nope. Not nearly
that bad. 

The transition will be made.  It MUST be made, and it will, warts and all.  You'll live
long enough to see quite a bit of it.  It won't be pretty, but it will happen.

alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 03:23:12 PM »
Scalability is NOT a desired outcome but Ashvin feels it is. I've gone to great lengths to explain why it's a bad deal. Tao Jonesing, in his posting on economics also pointed out that scalable manufacturing and "economies of scale" are not necessarily a valid model for improving the overall welfare of the populace. Alan agrees also that decentralization will be important in renewables.

I'm of mixed mind on this. I think there is plenty of room for a variety of initiatives
at multiple levels. Some things should be done in decentralized fashion; other
things require rather large-scale, capital-intensive effort.  Computer chips, for
example, cannot be made in our garages (though if they COULD be, I would
welcome that).

The Catholics have a very useful concept that they refer to as "subsidiarity".
By that they mean the devolution of power and function to the lowest level
possible -- the lowest level consistent with wise overall judgement of a situation.
Instead of unilateral "decentralization", the principle of subsidiarity calls for
distribution or passing-down to whatever level is most appropriate, all things
considered.  It might be quite far-down, or it might not be, depending.  I like that.

......................................

Speaking of making things in our garages, and decentralism: Kevin Carson
has written a  GREAT book on this subject, really a scholarly (while also readable)
manifesto,  titled the Homebrew Industrial Revolution. The book is available for FREE:
http://homebrewindustrialrevolution.wordpress.com

I highly recommend it.

To give you a flavor, here's a portion of the table of contents:

Part Two–Zion: The Renaissance of Decentralized Production

Chapter Four.  Back to the Future (pdf)
A.  Home Manufacture
B.  Relocalized Manufacturing
C.  New Possibilities for Flexible Manufacturing
Sidebar on Marxist Objections to Non-Capitalist Markets:  The Relevance of
the Decentralized Industrial Model

Chapter Five.  The Small Workshop, Desktop Manufacturing, and Household Microenterprise (pdf)
A.  Neighborhood and Backyard Industry
B.  The Desktop Revolution and Peer Production in the Immaterial Sphere
C.  The Expansion of the Desktop Revolution and Peer Production into the Physical Realm
C1.  Open-Source Design:  Removal of Proprietary Rents from the Design Stage, and Modular Design.
C2.  Reduced Transaction Costs of Aggregating Capital.
C3.  Reduced Capital Outlays for Physical Production.
D.  The Microenterprise
Appendix.  Case Studies in the Coordination of Networked Fabrication and Open Design
#1.  Open Source Ecology/Factor e Farm.
#2.  100k Garages
#3.  Assessment

Chapter Six.  Resilient Communities and Local Economies (pdf)
A.  Local Economes of Bases of Independence and Buffers Against Economic Turbulence
B.  Historical Models of the Resilient Community
C.  Resilience, Primary Social Units, and Libertarian Values
D.  LETS Systems, Barter Networks, and Community Currencies
E.  Community Bootstrapping
F.  Contemporary Ideas and Projects
*Jeff Vail’s Hamlet Economy
*Global Ecovillage Networking
*The Transition Town Movement
*Global Villages
*Venture Communism
*Decentralized Economic and Social Organization (DESO)
*The Triple Alliance


alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 03:30:21 PM »
I believe TPTB will oppose any measures that try to transform global society into a more decentralized, anarchic-socialist model, and ultimately I can't deny the fact that they have the means to make sure it doesn't happen right now. First, I believe it is likely we go in the opposite direction for some years to come, i.e. crises forcing unorganized decentralization coupled with simultaneous attempts to use those crises for further centralization of wealth/power, and then honestly I don't know WTF will happen. We may have to endure a dystopian NWO paradigm for some more years, but ultimately I don't think TPTB will be able to retain global control, once again for both practical and spiritual reasons.

You're almost right. But in some respects their grip is loosening, visibly, by the year. One could
even interpret some of their more outrageous recent moves as acts of desperation by
those who can SEE that things are spinning out of their control, and that they're likely not
going to be able to keep a cork on it all. See the work by Carson, cited immediately above,
for a detailed depiction (and a most encouraging one!) of one very important aspect of this
whole picture.

................................................

"Thing are getting better and better, and worse and worse, faster and faster".  -- Tom Atlee

Offline RE

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 04:20:58 PM »
Hey Alan, why don't you Bite the Bullett already and Register as a Diner?  You've already posted more comments than most Diners as a Guest.

Besides the Bennie that once you Register you won't have to wait for a Mod Squadder to Approve them, you ALSO get to read other Boards not visible to Guests.

If you are REALLY cool, eventually you get Promoted to the Mod Squad and get access to the BACK ROOM of the Diner, where only the Cool Rock Star Diners and their Groupies get to hang out.

RE
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Offline agelbert

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 05:23:01 PM »
Quote
Proverbs 17:1
It is better to eat a dry crust of bread in peace than to have a feast where there is quarreling.
I was recently asked here what my vision for the process by which renewables can replace poisonous energy sources practically in the light of the massive resistance from TPTB. Well, my purpose in the two recent articles and many of my comments is to define the problem and outline proposed solutions to it. It is a complex problem and the proposed solutions necessarily require a lot of boring detail, especially in the light of my firm belief that the energy grid will be mainly decentralized in order to harmonize with the biosphere and provide stable jobs for many. Furthermore, it doesn't matter whether I or anybody else thinks switching to renewables is a great idea and we just need to convince the reptiles pushing fossil and nuclear poisons onto the planet to do it or else we off them. As I have pointed out, the switch is inevitable; the more the delay, the more the pain for all life forms, including the 1% that believe they can wait out the environmental collapse in their bunkers. I certainly am trying to convince those in the catbird seat that they need to wake up and realize that cooperation must replace competition in their world view but I have no plans to recruit a mutant ninja turtles hit team to put horse heads on their pillows if they remain in denial. :icon_mrgreen:  These people are truly blinded by their greed. Their reasoning faculties have atrophied. Granted, a group of them are incorrigible due to the fact that they are psychopaths but that is a subset of TPTB that is running the show and if enough of the others can take their greed blinders off they will proceed to isolate the psychopaths in a display of truly enlightened self interest (not the cockamamie Wall Street predatory capitalist distortion of Adam Smith's' writings**) which encompasses a concern for the community to a greater degree than petty greed does. I have no control of when or how this may or may not take place. I'm just laying it out there because I haven't seen anybody try to put this thing together in a big picture format covering the last 150 years or so. I am a human being concerned with God's garden and the creatures that live in it. My analytical skills have not impaired my awareness that, being a retired air traffic controller living in a less than 1,000 sq. ft. home on rented land with no "Bill McKibben" type environmental credentials or list of degrees, I am not going to get a lot of respect in our "you are how much $$$ you have" society. That's the fake "real world" that status quo ante people cling to. I am, as many here at the Doomstead Diner and numerous blogs out there are, a voice crying in the wilderness.


But suppose I received a visit from Representatives of all the top zip codes in the USA (for starters - the other heavily industrialized country elite would need to be on board) and they said to me they just figured out that the NBC (nuclear biological chemical) filters on their 40 year food supply bunkers are only good for 20 years and their scientists have estimated no environmental rebound from collapse for at least 30 years. IOW, the bunkers will turn into coffins. Due to this newfound knowledge, the elite have suddenly decided it is in their best interests to embrace (teeth fully gritted  ;D ) egalitarian socialism and put game theory in the circular file. So now, inflated with pride from all this reptilian elite attention and entranced in illusions of grandeur  :icon_mrgreen:, I proceed to outline the steps for the big switch in my Boris Karloff voice:

My vision:

1) Immediately implement the Energy infrastructure detailed in Table 1* of the "Renewables, why they work and fossil and nuclear fuels never did" article.

2) Convert all nuclear power plants into geothermal power plants. Use the steam turbines from fossil fuel power plants in new geothermal installations through a crash program similar to the U.S. WWII industry switch from making cars to tanks, ships and planes.

3) Divert all fossil and nuclear industry subsidy money to micro-renewable energy systems at the town, factory, and residential home level making absolutely any ordinance requiring permits or imposing restrictions on the freedom to install renewable energy systems to be null and void as well as lawn requirement ordinance elimination. When both "1)" and "3)" are globally implemented, a proper mix of renewable energy extraction sources will be in place.

4) Eliminate all ordinances limiting cottage industries in residential homes.

5) Create progressive property taxes so what people pay is directly proportional to their carbon footprint.

6) Funnel 90% of all military and gestapo wannabe security as well as intelligence (a truly Orwellian term) agency budgets worldwide to renewable technology R&D.

7) Teach steady state economics in all universities and stop the "growth is good" lies.

8)  Clean up the mess starting with everything that is radioactive (nuclear scientist hangings unnecessary - we need them to man the duckweed ponds in prison yards  :icon_mrgreen:). Find a high, dry location where the aquifer is a mile or more below the surface, dig a 2,000 to 3,000 ft cylindrical hole with a football field size diameter, line it with laminated (to avoid cracking from expansion and contraction) reinforced concrete about 30 feet thick (when all the layers are in place) and store ALL the nuclear poison, reactors and all the nuke bombs there and seal it with tons and tons of concrete.
 
When they begin to stutter and sputter at all this, I'll add that all the above are positive motivations. I haven't gotten into the punitive measures yet. :evil4: :exp-evil:  8):icon_mrgreen:
When they insist on some compromise or a more  "practical", "real world" incrementalist implementation of the whole renewable energy enchilada, I will calmly explain that the future of this planet is, at present, fixed. There are no alternate doors they can walk though where the massive environmental collapse followed by multispecies extinction "TIGER"  isn't waiting to eat them alive. I will further add that THEY are the ones who built this car we are all in hurtling towards the environmental collapse cliff. THEY built the car so that people, like myself, who aren't part of the movers and shakers, have no access to the steering wheel or the brakes. THEY are the only ones that can put the brakes on while they turn the car away from the cliff and towards a renewable, sustainable future. The ball is in THEIR court. The rest of us are screaming our heads off trying to get THEIR attention; so far to no avail. The planet earth is talking to THEM in many ways. The EARTH, in Dirty Harry fashion, is telling them, "GO AHEAD MAKE MY DAY!".
The planet will survive human greed but humans won't. This is the core message. Humans, get over your egocentric ways or die. That's the way the cookie crumbles in the REAL WORLD.

So what can people of conscience but without decision making authority do? Well, along with practicing all the skills learned in blogs like the Doomstead Diner to reduce our carbon footprint and live sustainably, we must educate, communicate and warn. We must expose Hill & Knowlton type propaganda lies and distortions that claim wind generators "cause increased ground temperatures" or "contribute to global warming" and other spurious half truths like geothermal installations "increase radon caused cancer risk" (radon is easily vented). Every time the Wall Street Journal or Fox News comes out with some slick "scientific study", find out who the spokesperson is and who they really work for and WRITE ABOUT IT in your blog. For those who say, "Hey, there are a lot of environmental blogs out there and our beat is economics and monetary systems and we swim in this peer group", I say, stop with the Pontius Pilate imitation. Go review Maslow's hierarchy and you will find that peer group acceptance is quite a bit lower in priority than eating and breathing. Finally, don't for one second believe that the elite don't read this stuff. If anyone has high tech data mining access to anything that challenges their paradigm, it's the 1%. We peons need to keep planting well fertilized (with reasoning and logic) seeds in the rocky soil of elite greed with the view of getting those among them who are not totally blinded by greed to understand that that homo sapiens is a sap to willfully commit suicide through environmental degradation as well as wake the brainwashed among the 99%. Anyone who understands the gravity of this situation should stop the procrastination and get to WORK! To give up in the face of overwhelming odds is cowardice as well as hypocrisy from those who claim to let Truth be their guide, wherever the chips may fall. Those that don't WALK the TALK are empty suits. For the rest of us, we must recognize the high probability of failure due to entrenched elite stupidity and evil. SO WHAT!!? We have to give it the old college try because it's the right thing to do! And if it doesn't work out, I bring you the words of RE, "SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE!".
Quote
Romans 2:3
Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?

1 John 2:9
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

James 2:14-17   
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Quote


*This is a table of the proposed Energy infrastructure:
Quote
Table 1
Energy production mix proposed
TypePower fraction (%)  Capacity factor    Rated power (MW)       Units
  Wind turbines         47.5–51        0.31        4.66–5        3,837,000 
  Stirling plants/air cooled CSP         28        0.25        300        50,460
  Parabolic stations, 12 h storage         12         0.4–0.75        300        9800 
  Hydroelectricity        9        0.88        1300         900
  Attenuators        0–3.5         0.4         0.75         0–1,123,000 


*
Quote
"Adam Smith didn’t say that pursuit of maximum profits and growth by large, corporate organizations would result in the greatest benefit to society as a whole. The economy of Smith’s day was quite different from today. In the late 1700s, most economic enterprises were small, family operations. For such operations, land, labor, capital, and management often resided in essentially the same entity, and farming was still the dominant occupation.
http://web.missouri.edu/ikerdj/papers/Rethinking.html
« Last Edit: July 22, 2012, 03:05:16 PM by agelbert »
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2012, 05:35:26 PM »
I replied with that sensible investments -- massive ones -- are indeed being made,
(and it is indisputable that they are being made), without the disappearance of the
predatory capitalist system.

I welcome any reply you may have to our exchange, to that point.

Do these sensible investors rely on functioning credit markets and stable currencies to make their investments and realize returns on their investments? What happens to these investors and their invested capital if suppressing domestic insurrections and/or launching an international war effort becomes much more important to the Chinese government? How many of these investments are simply on paper and have not been followed through yet to any significant degree? What level of foreign capital and imported inputs do these renewable energy investments rely on?

I find that when anyone makes arguments such as yours, they are relying on a million and one assumptions about the global economic, financial and [geo]political situation that are not true or are not likely to remain true over the next few decades. The predatory capitalist framework will never lead to sensible investments on a large scale, because it is... predatory and capitalist. And if you think the GLOBAL nature of these economic and sociopolitical crises are being exaggerated, then perhaps you can take a look at the following articles and point out how the research is wrong. They all specifically address China:

http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/christchurch-china-and-peak-oil.html

http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/the-global-liquidity-peak.html

http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/china-is-missing-its-own-targets.html

http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/hubris-before-the-storm.html

http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/meet-chinas-new-leader-pon-zi.html

http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/goodness-gracious-great-walls-on-fire.html

http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/china-or-how-to-live-in-interesting-times.html


Quote
We certainly DO have a century. We're not going anywhere. The earth isn't going
anywhere.  It will take as long as it takes, and there is no alternative.  There will be
big troubles, to be sure. The transition will be rocky, difficult.  Yes, there will be a dieoff.
Hell, there already IS a dieoff going on, and I'm sure it will get worse.  But none of that
4-horsemen/armageddon crap, with 6 billion deaths inside of a decade. Nope. Not nearly
that bad. 

The transition will be made.  It MUST be made, and it will, warts and all.  You'll live
long enough to see quite a bit of it.  It won't be pretty, but it will happen.

No one I know claims we will have 6 billion deaths inside of a decade, or anything close to that...

But arguing this extreme won't happen doesn't mean YOUR extreme will happen. And what you are arguing, in light of present conditions and trends, is almost as extreme as extinction within 50 years. You said that China will wean itself off of coal after a century. Do you really think that a country with the population and energy needs of China will have access that amount of coal for another 50-100 years? Do you think peak oil is a myth, or do you believe Yergin's myth that its effects won't be felt for a long time? How do you reconcile the MASSIVE consequences of global warming that may have already reached a tipping point with your vision for the future that you apparently believe is 100% certain? Like I said, a million and one assumptions, and just a few of them being wrong could throw a huge spanner into the works for your predictions.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 05:42:46 PM by Ashvin »

alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2012, 05:44:25 PM »
Hey Alan, why don't you Bite the Bullett already and Register as a Diner?  You've already posted more comments than most Diners as a Guest.
Besides the Bennie that once you Register you won't have to wait for a Mod Squadder to Approve them, you ALSO get to read other Boards not visible to Guests.
If you are REALLY cool, eventually you get Promoted to the Mod Squad and get access to the BACK ROOM of the Diner, where only the Cool Rock Star Diners and their Groupies get to hang out.

I'm too nerdy to hang with stars and groupies.  But I WOULD like to be able to
edit posts.  There is invariably an annoying typo or other error, which remains
invisible until after hitting the "post" button.

Offline agelbert

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2012, 05:46:35 PM »
Alan,
Quote
The Catholics have a very useful concept that they refer to as "subsidiarity".
By that they mean the devolution of power and function to the lowest level
possible -- the lowest level consistent with wise overall judgement of a situation.
Instead of unilateral "decentralization", the principle of subsidiarity calls for
distribution or passing-down to whatever level is most appropriate, all things
considered.  It might be quite far-down, or it might not be, depending.  I like that.

......................................

Speaking of making things in our garages, and decentralism: Kevin Carson
has written a  GREAT book on this subject, really a scholarly (while also readable)
manifesto,  titled the Homebrew Industrial Revolution. The book is available for FREE:
http://homebrewindustrialrevolution.wordpress.com

I highly recommend it.

Subsidiarity sounds great and the Kevin Carson book too! Thanks for the info. :icon_sunny:
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline RE

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 06:00:29 PM »

No one I know claims we will have 6 billion deaths inside of a decade, or anything close to that...

Well, Guy McPherson comes pretty close predicting an Extinction Level Event by around 2050.

Currently I doubt 6B go to the Great Beyond in the next Decade, but with the droughts and all the rest of the shit going down I could see 3B in the poorest countries getting their First Class Ticket to the Great Beyond.

Quote
But arguing this extreme won't happen doesn't mean YOUR extreme will happen. And what you are arguing, in light of present conditions and trends, is almost as extreme as extinction within 50 years. You said that China will wean itself off of coal after a century. Do you really think that a country with the population and energy needs of China will have access that amount of coal for another 50-100 years? Do you think peak oil is a myth, or do you believe Yergin's myth that its effects won't be felt for a long time? How do you reconcile the MASSIVE consequences of global warming that may have already reached a tipping point with your vision for the future that you apparently believe is 100% certain? Like I said, a million and one assumptions, and just a few of them being wrong could throw a huge spanner into the works for your predictions.

Alan is clearly a Cornucopian. The Techno Cavalry will ride in over the Hill to Save China in the NICK of time here with Cold Fusion and Zero Point Energy.

Right after that, Unicorns will Shit Skittles and Pigs will Fly.


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alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2012, 08:47:12 PM »
I replied with that sensible investments -- massive ones -- are indeed being made,
(and it is indisputable that they are being made), without the disappearance of the
predatory capitalist system.

I welcome any reply you may have to our exchange, to that point.

Do these sensible investors rely on functioning credit markets and stable currencies to
make their investments and realize returns on their investments?

You look at things with Western eyes, just as most of us (here) tend to do. In the West,
the world of finance has become the tail wagging the economic, social and political dog.
This is much less true in the East.  There, national organization and collective purpose
play a much larger and indeed primary role in things, superceding finance.  Finance is
employed to serve national and collective ends, rather than the nation, and all of
society, being employed to serve finance capital's ends (as is the case here). In short:
It is a totally different ballgame.

Quote
What happens to  these investors and their invested capital if suppressing domestic
insurrections and/or launching an international war effort becomes much more
important to the Chinese government?
Domestic insurrection? Possible. Not real likely, but possible. If it happens, it
will have a beginning and an end. China will not collapse into chaos and ruin,
or into a state of permanent civil war, because of it.  China might emerge stronger
for it.

Launching an international war effort?  Very unlikely. China does not have nearly
sufficient military for that, and will not for a couple more decades, at least.

Quote
How many of these investments are simply on paper and have not been followed
through yet to any significant degree? What level of foreign capital and imported
inputs do these renewable energy investments rely on?
Perhaps you have not noticed, Ash, but China is an enormous global CREDITOR,
not debtor!  Just because we here in the U.S. are accustomed to living on massive
borrowing does not mean everyone else is.  (You knew that, didn't you?)

As for "how many of these investments are simply on paper":  here again, I sense
that you look at things through Western eyes, and in this case your eyes have
become accustomed to seeing fraud and lies instead of substance. You see grand
claims and you immediately think --  justifiably -- "oh boy, here comes more
blustery propaganda!"   Your reactions are justifiable because that IS indeed how
things have been coming down here for decades.  Our whole system is riven with
fraud, corruption, criminality, psychopathy, pathological lying,  etc., etc. But  that
does not mean that it is the same way everywhere. The reality with respect to
development of renewable energy, infrastructure investment, etc., in China, is
approximately as stated, as you will learn if you investigate.  They are not "simply
on paper",  but are very much in progress and in (completed) actuality.

Naturally, some things ARE more plan than actuality at this moment. How else could
it be? Do you expect such massive undertakings to be completed overnight?  The
Eurasian land bridge that I mentioned is still largely a plan, not an actuality.  (Though
the portions of it in China proper are well underway, or completed.)  The Great
Green Wall is a CENTURY-LONG project, of which only about 15 years have
elapsed, so it is still very much a work in progress. China's advances on other
fronts is of course a mix of "on paper" and on-the-ground actuality.

There are other ways in which your use of the phrase "simply on paper" is
interesting, and revealing. First of all, the very putting of things "on paper",
which is to say the research and development of detailed, definite plans --
especially plans of  such huge national and continental significance --  is an
act of great import,  not to be disparaged. A great deal of thought and
planning goes in to drafting such "papers", and you should note very
carefully that such thought and planning is NOT occurring on our side of the
pond.  Century-long environmental restoration projects? We're lucky to get
environmental programs funded for 6 months!

Secondly, to dismiss their progress as "simply on paper" discloses your
ignorance. No one who has spent even a moderate amount of time investigating
these things would make such a remark.

Quote
I find that when anyone makes arguments such as yours, they are relying on
a million and one assumptions about the global economic, financial and
[geo]political situation that are not true or are not likely to remain true over
the next few decades.
Well, perhaps you could name one or two key ones, rather than alluding
to "a million and one".

Quote
The predatory capitalist framework will never lead to sensible investments on
a large scale, because it is... predatory and capitalist.
I guess that means that China is not part of the predatory capitalist
framework, because numerous very sensible and indeed wise and visionary
investments on a VERY large scale are being made there all the time. Either
that, or China IS a part of the predatory capitalist system, and their claims
for progress in the areas in question are a pack of lies.  But then, that would
be like us trying to fake the existence of the interstate highway system, or
like us trying to make it LOOK like the city of New York exists, when it really
doesn't.

Quote
And if you think the GLOBAL nature of these economic and sociopolitical crises
are being exaggerated, then perhaps you can take a look at the following
articles and point out how the research is wrong. They all specifically address China:
I've read some of TAE's stuff about China, and it is unimpressive. It is mostly
re-warmed/re-hashed China-bear bullshit -- stuff that we've been hearing for the last
15 years. Funny thing, though: China repeatedly, consistently, PROVES THE CHINA
BEARS WRONG.

Yes, I think that the "GLOBAL nature" of these economic and sociopolitical crises
is being exaggerated.  Some problems are, of course, global, but they have a way
of being spun-out to form a picture in which ALL of our big problems are global.
That is the picture that rootless capital spins, and wants you to believe. That is
the picture that deracinated people living in incoherent "nations", in the thrall of
capital and unchecked greed, want to believe and DO believe.  But it is false.

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No one I know claims we will have 6 billion deaths inside of a decade, or anything
close to that...
Well, OK, two decades then. Or three. You know what I'm talking about. Mass
dieoff, a la dieoff.com

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what you are arguing, in light of present conditions and trends, is almost as extreme
as extinction within 50 years.
If you really believe that, then you need to get out more. You've been steeped for
too long in a very lopsided view of things.  I can relate! I used to be there, too.

You know, Ash, I find that when anyone makes sweeping assertions such as yours, they
are relying on  a million and one assumptions about  global and national economic,
financial and political situations that are not true or are not likely to remain true over
the next few decades.

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You said that China will wean itself off of coal after a century. Do you really think that
a country with the population and energy needs of China will have access that amount
of coal for another 50-100 years?
Ash, have you spent even 10 minutes investigating this issue?  China has vast coal
reserves, among the largest in the world, and until recent years was a large coal
exporter.  China's reserves will power things handily for at least 50 years, possibly
100, at current rates of consumption; that's not to mention the increasing role of
coal imports from Australia and Vietnam.

But the important thing is not coal reserves or imports; the important thing is that
the Chinese are smart enough to be making moves away from coal, and toward
natural gas (of which there are fabulous quantities on the Eurasian land mass)
and renewables.  They will be powering themselves with renewables probably
decades before the coal is exhausted.  Unlike us, they think ahead, and
they are capable of setting national priorities and acting on them, persistently,
with the requisite commitment of resources.

BTW, to forestall misundertanding:  in no way should my words be taken to mean that I
think China to be some kind of paradise, or faultless, or a model in every respect.  No, not
at all. The Chinese have their own problems with corruption, very serious ones, plus a
very nasty class system, terrible human rights problems, and so on.  In some respects
it is an ugly place. But at the same time, they are making fabulous progress on many
fronts. So it is a big mixed bag.

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Do you think peak oil is a myth, or do you believe Yergin's myth that its effects
won't be felt for a long time?
Peak oil is not quite a "myth", but... have you kept up with literature on this subject?
Are you aware of the sea change that is taking place, over the last 5 years, in
oil and gas reserves estimates?  Are you aware of the way in which higher oil prices
are stimulating discoveries?  Are you aware of the way in which horizontal drilling and
fracking are changing the picture, dramatically?  Yes, I know, fracking sucks for other
reasons, and I know that having more oil than we might have thought is bad from
other standpoints (global warming); but you were asking about the ENERGY picture.

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How do you reconcile the MASSIVE consequences of global warming that may
have already reached a tipping point with your vision for the future that you
apparently believe is 100% certain?
Ash, I don't believe that ANYTHING is 100% certain. Never have.

As for the MASSIVE consequences of global warming:  Yes. True. There are
massive consequences. We'll have to live with them. It won't be easy. Many,
many people will die before their time.  There will be much suffering, hunger,
disease, want, and strife.  There will be wars and rumors of wars.  But let
not your heart be troubled. 

alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2012, 08:58:52 PM »
Alan is clearly a Cornucopian.
Ah yes! I LOVE that one!

Quote
The Techno Cavalry will ride in over the Hill to Save China in the NICK of
time here with Cold Fusion and Zero Point Energy.
Right after that, Unicorns will Shit Skittles and Pigs will Fly.

LAY IT ON THICK, BABY!

You might also accuse me of believing in the tooth fairy.

Hey, why not? Epithets are great,  when you have no substantive reply,
or don't want to take time to compose one.  I really mean that. They
ARE great.  I like to hurl them.  I love to just yell "you're an idiot!", and
leave it at that.  I'm often unwilling to bother composing detailed
missives; epithets are a lot easier, and more fun.

But, for the record: No, RE, no "cornucopian", but rather one who has
awoken from the strange and tortured sleep of vulgar malthusian
doomerism.

Offline agelbert

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2012, 11:28:47 PM »
Quote
6 Ways We’re Already Geoengineering Earth


Quote
   From diverting a third of Earth’s available fresh water to planting and grazing two-fifths of its land surface, humankind has fiddled with the knobs of the Holocene, that 10,000-year period of climate stability that birthed civilization.
The consequences of our interventions into Earth’s geophysical processes are yet to be determined, but scientists say they’re so fundamental that the Holocene no longer exists. We now live in the Anthropocene, a geological age of mankind’s making.
“Homo sapiens has emerged as a force of nature rivaling climatic and geologic forces,” wrote Earth scientists Erle Ellis and Navin Ramankutty in a 2008 Frontiers in Ecology paper, which featured their redrawn map of the human-influenced world. “Human forces may now outweigh these across most of Earth’s land surface today.”

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   Of all the fresh water accessible in lakes, rivers and aquifers — what scientists call “blue water” — humankind uses about one-third every year. A fourth of Earth’s river basins run dry before they reach the sea.

Quote
   ... , fertilizers used in farming have injected vast amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus into regional environments. About 120 million tons of nitrogen are removed from the atmosphere each year and converted into fertilizer-friendly “reactive” forms, while 20 million tons of phosphorus are mined from the ground. In both cases, that’s far more than would enter the biosphere naturally, and most of it is carried by streams and rivers to the sea, where it fuels rapidly growing marine dead zones

Quote
   There have been five planetary extinction events in the last half-billion years. The sixth is happening now.

Quote
   Human industry has led to the invention of chemicals that were unknown in Earth’s history, and can remain active in the environment for thousands of years. These include compounds used in pesticides, and especially in plastic, some 60 billion tons of which are produced every year.
At high doses, these chemicals can disrupt animal endocrine systems, cause cancer and alter reproduction. At low doses, their effects aren’t known, but may involve subtle and widespread stresses that ultimately change the composition of ecosystems.

Quote
  With atmospheric levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide higher than at any time in the last 15 million years, global weather patterns are changing and average temperatures rising. Some of this carbon dioxide is absorbed by ocean water, altering the proportion of hydrogen and carbonate ions, and making the water more acidic. Corals, plankton and shellfish may literally dissolve.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/03/geoengineering-gallery/?rm

« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 12:28:15 PM by agelbert »
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2012, 07:54:00 AM »
There are other ways in which your use of the phrase "simply on paper" is
interesting, and revealing. First of all, the very putting of things "on paper",
which is to say the research and development of detailed, definite plans --
especially plans of  such huge national and continental significance --  is an
act of great import,  not to be disparaged. A great deal of thought and
planning goes in to drafting such "papers", and you should note very
carefully that such thought and planning is NOT occurring on our side of the
pond.

One more thing, that I neglected:  this disparaging use of the phrase
"just on paper" reflects an embarrassing, dunderheaded anti-intellectualism
that has always prevailed in America.  "Just on paper" is spat out as an
insult; it goes with "too much theory, not enough ACTION!"  While, paradoxically,
one of the worst problems for America is the precise opposite: too much
action, not enough theory!  Americans are big for ACTION, and sometimes, it
seems, the more impulsive, brainless, violent and stupid, the better.  But it is
not like that everywhere. Some cultures value thought, quiet contemplation,
intellection, planning -- and the elaboration of detailed grand plans "on paper".
And they are succeeding, rather brilliantly.

Offline WHD

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2012, 08:53:11 AM »
Quote
one who has
awoken from the strange and tortured sleep of vulgar malthusian
doomerism.

Alan said this. There's all this talk about renewables, etc. I don't know wit about Malthus, but would someone here please explain to me, if there is a global liquidity freeze, and supply chains break down, how we are going to keep those 400 nuclear facilities running, or those tens of thousands of off-shore oil wells?

alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2012, 09:27:54 AM »
I don't know wit about Malthus,
Then t'would be a good idea to brief yourself, to at least some extent. Malthus
is the spiritual father of much of what is said here, and on TAE, and elsewhere in
this general area.

Quote
but would someone here please explain to me, if there is a global liquidity freeze,
and supply chains break down, how we are going to keep those 400 nuclear facilities
running, or those tens of thousands of off-shore oil wells?

Do you think, if there is a global liquidity freeze and breakdown of supply chains,
that these situations will persist indefinitely,  forever?  If so, then we are all doomed
to a catastrophic end, soon, just as RE and others posit. But just one thing you might
ask yourself: WHY would these things persist forever?  Will everyone simply give up,
refuse to participate any further, and calmly accept a miserable end?