Bcc: contributors. ============================================================================ From: Paul Isaacs <•••@••.•••> To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••> Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001 02:57:03 -0500 Subject: Re: rkm> A new economics & politics: starting with the community Richard, My feeling is that sustainable and harmonious with the world around us implies 2-3 billion people if you want to use renewable energy sources. We live in rural Ontario and I have considered - many times - ways of going "off-grid". There are, however, problems: - to get power on-demand requires an energy storage system. Very expensive and not very long-lived ( about 8 years for batteries - if you don't draw them down too often ) - to get power at the level that we currently use ( hot water, refrigerator, electric stove ) requires a huge capital investment. The best dollar/watt is currently wind. There are lots of people like me who would jump at the chance to be self-sufficient - but it means a drastic change of life-style made at significant expense. The back-to-the-landers of the sixties all gave up. With reason; it was far too spartan. It is possible, the Mennonites live a very low energy lifestyle. I have been an engineer for 35 years and I just don't know of any way to have a lifestye that is more "advanced" than 1800 with renewables. Our entire transportation infrastructure has to go back to rail and horse. We can't have refrigerators, electric stoves or hot water. The biggest problem that I see is that at least 1/3 of the world's people are dependent on oil energy to keep them fed. The green revolution is not possible without feretilizer and fertilizer is not possible without oil for feedstock and process energy. I just don't see how it is possible to get where you want to go and have a planetary population of 6 billion too. In addition, I don't see how it is possible to use energy at anything near our current consumption levels by utilizing renewable sources. Politically, I don't see any willingness to even admit that there are - or even could be - serious problems afoot. Most people are at least aware of pollution and climate change problems but virtually no one is willing to make any significant concessions to solve those problems. The thought of being without a cold beer and a hot shower is totally out of the question. So... I don't see how it is possible to make the physical transition that you envision - even in the very unlikely event that a collective willingness condenses to do so. In the end, energy supply will determine what happens. No amount of human willpower is going to overcome the laws of physics and the laws of physics are clear in telling us that "modern society" has energy demands that exceed the practically available renewable sources. Renewables are low density sources and the size of the structures that would be needed to gather a renewable energy supply equal to that of oil are beyond the material capabilities of the planet and beyond out engineering capacity to build them. I suspect that a low energy future awaits, that it will be here soon and that we will be completely unprepared. The transition is going to be ugly and I anticipate that capitalism will not survive it. Neither, unfortunately, will several billion people. Your optimism is sadly matched by my pessimism. I see no real point in being a continuing prophet of doom but silence does not seem to be morally acceptable either. Regards, Paul Isaacs ============ Dear Paul, Thanks for your message. I actually think our viewpoints are not that far apart, although we choose to emphasize different aspects. > My feeling is that sustainable and harmonious with the world around us implies 2-3 billion people if you want to use renewable energy sources. Yes, we need to find a humane way to reduce our population levels. And if we don't move to renewable energy sources then we are not sustainable, regardless of how many of us there are. > There are lots of people like me who would jump at the chance to be self-sufficient - but it means a drastic change of life-style made at significant expense. As your arguments show, sustainability is not something that can be achieved by individuals or small groups. Our whole system is set up to prevent that, by our tax structures, debt-based money systems, building codes, etc. etc. Sustainability can only be achieved by a total transformation of societies globally. > The biggest problem that I see is that at least 1/3 of the world's people are dependent on oil energy to keep them fed. The green revolution is not possible without feretilizer and fertilizer is not possible without oil for feedstock and process energy. You seem to have bought into the myth that the green revolution has been a good thing. Rather than reducing starvation, it has actually been the cause of widespread famine, depletion of water tables, excessive energy use, and environmental pollution. You might want to take a look at an excellent little book, "World Hunger, Twelve Myths', by Frances Moore Lappé & Joseph Collins. > In addition, I don't see how it is possible to use energy at anything near our current consumption levels by utilizing renewable sources. We must utilize renewable sources, and we cannot continue to use our current levels of energy. No disagreement here. > I have been an engineer for 35 years and I just don't know of any way to have a lifestye that is more "advanced" than 1800 with renewables. Our entire transportation infrastructure has to go back to rail and horse. We can't have refrigerators, electric stoves or hot water. Basically you're right, about the need for a major change to our infrastructures, but why do you assume I would disagree? But your detailed assessment is entirely too pessimistic. I don't agree we can't have hot water, which can be supplied directly by solar heating, nor that we can't have refrigerators, which can be many times more efficient than our current ones - which distribute heat upward from the condensers, which is incredibly wasteful. Electric stoves certainly need to go, but that doesn't mean we won't be able to cook. Rail and horse? Hooray! Can't wait! Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Not many cars there, and it works great. > Politically, I don't see any willingness to even admit that there are - or even could be - serious problems afoot. I can't agree with this. Practically everyone I talk to, of every walk of life, agrees that we are headed for serious trouble. They may not understand very well why, and they many not have many ideas about what to do, but they are concerned. There are hundreds of thousands of organizations around the world actively seeking to promote fundamental change in various ways. And even more important, there is a growing spirit of seeking to collaborate in a larger movement. > I suspect that a low energy future awaits, that it will be here soon and that we will be completely unprepared. You've made your point. Now why don't you think about how we can 'get prepared'? all the best, rkm ============================================================================ From: "Marc Bombois" <•••@••.•••> To: <•••@••.•••> Cc: <•••@••.•••> Subject: root causes Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001 19:45:54 -0800 Dear Richard, I greatly appreciate and enjoy your messages. I agree with John Bunzl's comments "The key to success, I think, will be greater understanding" and "We need to move on to root causes..." In response to this I'd like to point out a root cause, one of the nuts-and-bolts variety. No doubt there are many others, and in the psychological and spiritual realms as well. The source of elite power resides in the banking system. Very simply, virtually all money (say 95%) is supplied as debt i.e. principal plus interest, but only the principal is created/printed/supplied. No provision is made for the payment of interest. It is extremely important to grasp this concept. Because interest is an extra debt obligation that is unfunded, there is vastly more debt than there is money in existence. For example, in the U.S. official Federal Reserve figures clearly show that there is about 2.5 times more debt than money, and this situation is comparable around the world with a few exceptions like the Channel Islands. Since virtually all money is supplied as debt, these additions to the money supply also add to total debt, but interest charges only add to total debt without any corresponding increase in the money supply. The implications of this situation, once grasped, are breathtaking. And unacceptable. Yet, it is accepted because of lack of awareness. We see in our world today the result of this method of supplying money via the banking system. Structurally and systematically, wealth is transferred from the many to the money creators: the financial elite. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Debt-plus-interest is the mechanism. I hope this helps. Sincerely, Marc Bombois ============= Dear Mark, Thanks for joining in. You say the banking system is the problem. John St. John insists it's 'the corporation as machine-out-of-control'. Others say it is the corporate-dominated media. Others say it is the corrupt political system. Others refuse to discuss anything but the population problem, while Marxists say it's capitalism. What purpose is served by these kinds of debates? Isn't it clear that all of these things are part of a single system? Don't we need to change the whole system? Do you want to change only banking, and leave the rest alone? puzzled, rkm ============================================================================ From: "Dave Silver" <•••@••.•••> To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••> Subject: RE: rkm> Empowering the movement: unity through harmonization Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 16:17:43 -0500 Brother Moore- I note the abscence of the words class or socialism?? Dave Silver =========== Dear Dave, That is very intentional. What is socialism? If you interpret it broadly - roughly equivalent to 'a democratically established economy' - then the word 'socialism' has nothing to offer. We might as well say we want to democratically restructure the economy and leave it at that. On the other hand, if you give any concrete meaning to socialism, such as 'centralized state planning', or 'abolition of private property', then it's not something I would endorse. There is certainly a great deal to be learned from thinkers who have called themselves socialists, but that does not mean we need to buy into socialism as an ideology. And 'class' is a concept that no longer has any relevance. We no longer have a well-ordered, semi-stable ladder of social privilege. Instead, we have everyone being exploited, at an accelerating rate, by a tiny elite. Under these circumstances it makes more sense to talk about a _universal uprising against rule by this tiny elite. It is a strategic error to focus on a 'revolutionary class', whether it be 'workers', 'proletariat', or even 'cultural creatives'. That kind of thinking is divisive, and the regime is very adapt at exploiting that to our disadvantage. Instead of 'Workers of the world unite!', I suggest 'We are all in this together!'. solidarity, rkm -- ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• URL: http://cyberjournal.org A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. - Frantz Fanon "One cannot separate economics, political science, and history. Politics is the control of the economy. History, when accurately and fully recorded, is that story. In most textbooks and classrooms, not only are these three fields of study separated, but they are further compartmentalized into separate subfields, obscuring the close interconnections between them" -- J.W. Smith, The World's Wasted Wealth 2, (Institute for Economic Democracy, 1994), p. 22. 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