Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' Can Save Civilization from the Climate Crisis

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wookey
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

I have repeatedly said, I don't actually have a 'position', or 'side', my observations are more about the participants behaviour and the conduct of the debate.

You have repeatedly said this, yes, but I'm afraid you are deluding yourself. Your responses in this thread have made your position abundantly clear. I don't think many readers would agree with your self-assessment of 'neutrality/no-position' after reading the thread, but obviously that's just my 'religious fervour' and personal bias showing through :-)

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jdh2550_1
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

wookey wrote:

I have repeatedly said, I don't actually have a 'position', or 'side', my observations are more about the participants behaviour and the conduct of the debate.

You have repeatedly said this, yes, but I'm afraid you are deluding yourself. Your responses in this thread have made your position abundantly clear. I don't think many readers would agree with your self-assessment of 'neutrality/no-position' after reading the thread, but obviously that's just my 'religious fervour' and personal bias showing through :-)

Yup - I have to agree with Wookey on this one. You've repeatedly said it. However, you then repeatedly ignored your own stated position of preferring less fervor and more facts and your off on your own crusade...

But hey - it's always fun to debate this stuff. You'll never know what you'll learn. I'd always attributed that quote to Winston Churchill - but now I know better... Thanks!

However, you haven't persuaded me one iota that the GW debate is fatally flawed. Flawed? - yes. Fatally so? - no. I'm still more than willing to believe that 78% of scientists and 97% of climatologists who are actively publishing have enough evidence to suggest that we should change our ways...

BTW - you often imply that those climatologists are self-serving so that they get funded. But you never mention the trillions of dollars that represent the oil industry? You don't think that they're self-serving in offering a counter-argument? Of course they are. As I said before both sides have an agenda...

Tell you what - let's come back here in 50 years and see where things stand? ;-)

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strawhistle
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

I think you's guys are missing the obvius point! if we continue our life style the earth will be so poluted, humanity can't servive and there will be no oil left to fight over! LaTeR

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marcopolo
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

Mik wrote:
marcopolo wrote:

Building cities and highways, irrigating deserts, and converting forests to cropland all are human activities, and I doubt that any sane person would advocate reversing these.

That part is your, Marcopolo? The formatting is a bit difficult to comprehend.

Of course there are many supremely sane people who advocate exactly this, and for good reasons.

Redesigning cities so that most highways are superfluous, using different kinds of land for more appropriate uses, rather than irrigating deserts, and growing food forests (the most productive form of agriculture) instead of replacing forests with monocultures, is of course the future - if we have one.

But some will just never ever "get it"!

No,Mik, Those are not my words, I'm quoting part of a response posted by a contributor to the site where Mike sourced his graph. The relevance is the scientists response to the survey methodology.

Jdh wrote:

Yup - I have to agree with Wookey on this one. You've repeatedly said it. However, you then repeatedly ignored your own stated position of preferring less fervour and more facts and your off on your own crusade...

However, you haven't persuaded me one iota that the GW debate is fatally flawed. Flawed? - yes. Fatally so? - no. I'm still more than willing to believe that 78% of scientists and 97% of climatologists who are actively publishing have enough evidence to suggest that we should change our ways...

BTW - you often imply that those climatologists are self-serving so that they get funded. But you never mention the trillions of dollars that represent the oil industry? You don't think that they're self-serving in offering a counter-argument? Of course they are. As I said before both sides have an agenda...

I repeat, my interest in the climate debate is from a neutral position on the science. If you perceive bias on my part, do you think it could be simply be that I am responding only to one side of the debate? In this case there are no other contrary viewpoints for me to address! If you read my last post, I stated that both sides of the debate employed a great deal of spin doctoring. What I do not accept is that spin is evil if one side do it, but righteous for the other!

However, it seems to be impossible to isolate the GW issue from its more fervent supporters Green-left philosophy. It becomes very much a 'for' or 'agin' argument. The debate is always widened to include green left issues, many of which which I do not support.

An example of my thinking runs along these lines: I respect the civil right of Vegetarians to practise Vegetarianism.I even understand the moral decision not to kill animals to eat. This doesn't mean I accept Vegetarian evangelists attempting to impose their moral/lifestyle beliefs on the community. Epecially based on ludicrous scientific evidence that humans were designed by evolution not to eat meat, or that meat eating will destroy the planet!

I have always stated that both sides, (including vested interests), of the GW debate have spent enormous resources furthering their positions. Where we differ is that you seem to regard the GW movement as in a position of inferiority. The green left has enormous resources, including in the GW debate, the budgets of governments. Why is it biased to state this fact?

Quote:

However, you haven't persuaded me one iota that the GW debate is fatally flawed. Flawed? - yes. Fatally so? - no. I'm still more than willing to believe that 78% of scientists and 97% of climatologists who are actively publishing have enough evidence to suggest that we should change our ways...

You are probably right. But I'm cautious of Polls and Graph's! They may look impressive, but are very easily manipulated to generate results 'to order'! I note that no one can define exactly what an "earth scientist' is, but I am accused of bias if I don't accept such faulty methodology? I certainly would not accept the bizarre attempt by a US Senator to conduct his own poll, the methodology of which was just childishly inadequate.

There was a very intersting movie, made in the late '60's, about the increasing power of polls to influence opinion. 'The Rise and Rise of Micheal Rimmer' starring Peter Cook, John Cleese, Graham Chapman,Harold Pinter and Arther Lowe.

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Piers
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

I am interested in the costs situation. Is there an important point of naivity in the Media around this issue? My perspective is this - surely in the long run, tidal power generators, wind generators save a great deal of money? Certainly as Electric cars are mechanically much simpler and easier to fix they save money as well? To what extent is this statement 'the massive cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions' correct, when viewed from a long term perspective?

(by the way even academics who are global warming ambivalent do admit that the raw data saying that we are in a warming period is correct, and they do also admit that co2 is a part of this warming, but cannot put forward plausible alternative causes for the additional warming and therefor are correctly discredited - essentially they have a non evidence based hunch.)

marcopolo
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

Piers wrote:

I am interested in the costs situation. Is there an important point of naivity in the Media around this issue? My perspective is this - surely in the long run, tidal power generators, wind generators save a great deal of money? Certainly as Electric cars are mechanically much simpler and easier to fix they save money as well? To what extent is this statement 'the massive cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions' correct, when viewed from a long term perspective?

Unfortunately the term 'saving money' can be fairly simplistic, and manipulated by advocates on both side of any public issue. Economies don't really run like household budgets. If you accept the most extreme eco-activist arguments, then attempted to implement such policies, the world economy would immediately collapse. If on the other hand, governments continue to encourage and support old uneconomic resource based industries, economies will stagnate.

The expression 'saving money', sounds good, but is very difficult to measure. 'In the long run', 'in the future', 'ultimately', these are all terms used by people who have no really feasible alternative, just a wish list for the future. Tidal power, wind farms, solar etc..are not really practical replacements for those nations without hydro-electric resources. Coal fired power generation might be undesirable, but it's still cheaper, more reliable, and, in most cases, the only practical power source for many countries.

Any form of carbon reduction program will be very expensive to the taxpayer. Those ultra-greenies who hypocritically advocate a totally different economic system, can only do so because they are the beneficiaries of the vast infrastructure afforded to them within an industrialised civilisation.It's sort of like advocating the moral virtues of a 19th century lifestyle, while visiting a 21st century dentist.

What's an acceptable cost to the taxpayer? Well that's a matter for the democratic process. The problem with a socialist approach, is that sooner or later you run out of other peoples money! Simplistic approaches rarely work. The idea that by concentrating all resources on the production of one make and model of car will lead to a superior, more economic, affordable product, does not result in Mercedes, but a Trabant!

Will EV's 'save money'? Yes and no! It is true EV's have the potential to be more efficient. But battery development and production is the weak point. Widespread EV use will necessitate an dramatic increase in electricity generation, requiring upgrading infrastructure, greater power generation costs, using more resources etc. Economically, the benefits of winding down enormous ICE subsidiary industries sound great, unless you are employed in those industries, or employed in those industries reliant on ICE industry etc etc.

The rise of the EV is inevitable, not because of global warming, or idealism, but because technology is developing to make EV's economically competitive in some applications. ICE development is also reaching it's zenith. Despite ICE engineering obtaining efficiency levels considered impossible only a decade ago, ICE is essentially doomed technology, because it's basic supporting infrastructure is becoming too expensive to remain viable.

EV's will not succeed or fail because of GW, they will succeed because EV technology can utilise the existing infrastructure more efficiently. Competitive economics always determine the future of any technology. Bunker oil for shipping will be replaced by maritime biodiesel, but will be by-passed for road transport in favour of EV technology. Bio-fuels have a huge advantage in that diesel vehicle technology is very advanced and although the delivery infrastructure can be easily adapted, the real problem is feedstock, and reliable production.

Alternatively, although EV vehicle technology is still in an early stage of development,(especially energy storage), the EV has a competitive advantage because the power source can be easily guaranteed by a simple expansion of existing resources by existing economically competitive methods. (including the expansion of nuclear facilities).

The issue of carbon dioxide reductions, is really only peripheral to EV development. The cost of reduction and the benefits of reducing human carbon contribution is a separate issue.

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jdh2550_1
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

Well done Piers and Marco - this thread is now off on another interesting tack...

marcopolo wrote:

Unfortunately the term 'saving money' can be fairly simplistic, and manipulated by advocates on both side of any public issue.

Agreed. Thus, a simplistic (and I contend sensible) solution is to look towards the middle of the two presented extremes.

Quote:

Any form of carbon reduction program will be very expensive to the taxpayer.

How so? What's the true cost of supporting our oil-based economies? Won't some of this cost go away?

Quote:

Those ultra-greenies who hypocritically advocate a totally different economic system, can only do so because they are the beneficiaries of the vast infrastructure afforded to them within an industrialised civilisation.It's sort of like advocating the moral virtues of a 19th century lifestyle, while visiting a 21st century dentist.

I think I understand what you're saying - however, why is this distasteful to you? Isn't it just evolution? Wasn't it Marx who opined that socialism should come after industrialism?

Quote:

The problem with a socialist approach, is that sooner or later you run out of other peoples money! Simplistic approaches rarely work. The idea that by concentrating all resources on the production of one make and model of car will lead to a superior, more economic, affordable product, does not result in Mercedes, but a Trabant!

Most countries that have tried communism have failed for any number of reasons. It's also simplistic to think that it's all because of the base concepts. The one that seems "obvious" to me is the isolationism that seems to go hand-in-hand with communism (or the fact that the capitalist societies ostracize them). This immediately tilts the playing field towards failure. But that's communism (and produced the Trabant) not socialism. For a successful example of modern socialism most folks hold up the Scandinavian countries. Care to comment? I think it's the Norwegians who use their oil revenue with a bent towards social projects - treating it as a shared resource not as "other people's money".

Quote:

The rise of the EV is inevitable, not because of global warming, or idealism, but because technology is developing to make EV's economically competitive in some applications. ICE development is also reaching it's zenith. Despite ICE engineering obtaining efficiency levels considered impossible only a decade ago, ICE is essentially doomed technology, because it's basic supporting infrastructure is becoming too expensive to remain viable.

Agreed. Simply put - in a high percentage of real world scenarios an EV is actually better than an ICE.

Quote:

EV's will not succeed or fail because of GW, they will succeed because EV technology can utilise the existing infrastructure more efficiently. Bunker oil for shipping will be replaced by maritime biodiesel, but will be by-passed for road transport in favour of EV technology. Bio-fuels have a huge advantage in that diesel vehicle technology is very advanced and although the delivery infrastructure can be easily adapted, the real problem is feedstock, and reliable production.

Agreed.

Quote:

Competitive economics always determine the future of any technology.

Mostly agreed. Although a part of "competitive economics" includes the entrenched corporations spending vast sums to retain the status quo as long as possible. Ultimately they will either use this delaying tactic as time to adapt themselves or they'll die - but it's a real PITA that they have to slow down the whole dang process. It's just not fair (I'm stamping my feet in frustration and sticking my tongue out - that's about as effective a protest as I can mount against the Exxon's of the world).

Quote:

Alternatively, although EV vehicle technology is still in an early stage of development,(especially energy storage), the EV has a competitive advantage because the power source can be easily guaranteed by a simple expansion of existing resources by existing economically competitive methods. (including the expansion of nuclear facilities).

Agreed

Quote:

The issue of carbon dioxide reductions, is really only peripheral to EV development. The cost of reduction and the benefits of reducing human carbon contribution is a separate issue.

Agreed. However, although CO2 reduction is really only peripheral on a technological, usage or economic basis it is central to winning the "hearts and minds" of consumers. Winning those hearts and minds is important and is essential to nurture EV development.

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marcopolo
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

marcopolo wrote:

How so? What's the true cost of supporting our oil-based economies? Won't some of this cost go away?

In theory some of the costs of a carbon reduction program will dissipate over time. In practise once the sort of massive bureaucratic apparatus proposed by most governments is established, the costs Will continue to escalate and dismantling will be a Herculean effort, beyond the ability of most politicians to later dismantle.

Quote:

I think I understand what you're saying - however, why is this distasteful to you? Isn't it just evolution? Wasn't it Marx who opined that socialism should come after industrialism? The problem with a socialist approach, is that sooner or later you run out of other peoples money! Simplistic approaches rarely work. The idea that by concentrating all resources on the production of one make and model of car will lead to a superior, more economic, affordable product, does not result in Mercedes, but a Trabant!

Most countries that have tried communism have failed for any number of reasons. It's also simplistic to think that it's all because of the base concepts. The one that seems "obvious" to me is the isolationism that seems to go hand-in-hand with communism (or the fact that the capitalist societies ostracise them). This immediately tilts the playing field to wards failure. But that's communism (and produced the Trabant) not socialism. For a successful example of modern socialism most folks hold up the Scandinavian countries. Care to comment? I think it's the Norwegians who use their oil revenue with a bent to-wards social projects - treating it as a shared resource not as "other people's money".

This is the argument employed by the social democratic parties of the world. Basically, there are two economic theories or models. Socialist and capitalist, the variety in between is simply how much each model can afford to relinquish to afford a controlled society. Free enterprise Capitalism is the natural sate of all economic activity. Socialism is an attempt by human beings to adapt economics to moral or ethical theories, thereby morally engineering society by the means of state control(usually taxation or nationalisation). Communism is a complicated economic and social model, that provides a mechanism for the state enforcement of socialism. All communist societies evolve? Yes they do, from socialism to State controlled capitalism, to chaos or fascism!

The free enterprise capitalist model, regards social equality and reform, as a natural by-product of mass manufacture. It's in the interest of business to have large number of prosperous customers. For modern capitalism to prosper it must have 70-80% of the population in the middle class. Likewise the evolution of this concept applies to the world consumer population. The era of multinational enterprise demands free trade, and the continued advancement of middle class society across the world. This is the problem for the USA. The multinationals and free traders have, from US wealth, created 400 million new middle class citizens in poorer nations. This was not done from idealism, but economic necessity.

Of course the down side is the US discovered it has exported a huge proportion it own citizens lower end employment to other countries. This occurred at a time when the US government attempted social engineering, via the banking system, to extend home ownership,(through mortgages) to the very people who jobs were being exported.

And so the argument rages! The old saying, 'if you are not a socialist at 20, you have no heart! if you are still one at thirty, you have no brain!' rings true!

Most modern governments try a bit of both! I believe governments have no role in owning or controlling business activity, outside of a minimalist regulatory role. But then I also believe that governments role in society should largely be restricted to regulating public safety from external threat. The Swedish or Norwegian governments are not as functional as you imagine, (Saab closure). Switzerland is a excellent model of a free society, much hated by socialist and fascist alike, for its efficient, democratic, economic society. The concept that free citizens can manage their own affairs without interference from the busybodies of a nanny state, is a complete anathema to all they believe. But the Swiss practise minimalist government with amazing results.

But (surprisingly!) I digress. With few exceptions,(Cuba), it was not capitalist nations who isolated communist states, but the other way around. (Berlin wall. It was Nixon who went to China, not Mao to Washington. North Korea cuts it's self (and it's citizens) off from the community of nations.

John, in conclusion, (bet you thought I never would),socialism will never really work because the economic model is inefficient and self defeating. Socialism was conceived as a reaction to the early days of industrialised free enterprise, and incorporates the much older Judeo-Christian-Calvinist moral philosophy, that the 'State' can compel it people, to a virtuous society. Socialism appeals to those who believe poverty can end if the economy can produce sufficient to supply the basic needs of the population. This concept will never achieve its aim. Modern economies run on credit! Credit is essential to social stability, and progress. The world has long since past the ability to provide only the basic needs for its population. Attempts to redistribute wealth by socialist means, are always counterproductive, the wealth simply ends up destroyed.

Free Enterprise requires constant increase of the size of the pie, not worrying about how to cut it up fairly, the free market will do that bit without regulation. The argument that the world has finite resources, it also banal. Vast new industries have been created requiring little expenditure of resource, (Internet) are the fruits of free enterprise innovation.

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Mik
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

marcopolo wrote:

...
...
...

Free Enterprise requires constant increase of the size of the pie, not worrying about how to cut it up fairly, the free market will do that bit without regulation. The argument that the world has finite resources, it also banal. Vast new industries have been created requiring little expenditure of resource, (Internet) are the fruits of free enterprise innovation.

It's baffling how grown, well educated and intelligent men can continue to believe such obviously wrong concepts! Brainwashed?

It's so obvious that the pie cannot continue to grow indefinitely; that unrestricted growth of any organism or colony of organisms will lead to collapse of the colony, shortly after a massive growth spurt which uses up the vast mojority of available resources.

Whatever population of organisms (including us) tries this "growing the pie" trick on a planet is bound to fail, like all before, unless the organism manages to survive for long enough to leave the planet and colonize others. One can debate if that could be seen as a positive move, of course! This is much bigger than the bit of human history you refer to!

The life forms on planet earth have an annoying habit of population explosions, rapid exhaustion of available resources as a result of it, plus accumulation of waste products in the biosphere which ultimately poison the organism that caused it.

Oxygen is an example for this.

During and after such events, the biosphere goes through a rapid and radical change process and the "free enterprise", also known as evolution or survival of the fittest, gives a different bunch of organisms a go, for example those that can live in an atmosphere "poisoned" by oxygen. Each time something like this happens, things seem to get better and better, for a while at least. It's just the next bubble in the global free evolution market.

How we will fare depends on our ability to understand this and act accordingly.

We might however be just another step in the evolution of life on earth, destined to be wiped out, so the next, better step can occur.

Maybe the various "pollutants" which we are accumulating in each part of the planet will be the required food or fuel for the next step in evolution?

After all, despite the superficial differences between life forms on earth, we share the same genetic alphabet! It seems to me that it is really just one organism that lives on this revolving rock; and it keeps changing in response to changing conditions. This global organism is extremely resourceful - it will just try something else if we humans "stuff it up"! It might take a few million years, but it will bounce back, probably again better and more colourful than before.

The argument about the internet which you put forth, Marcopolo, shows how hopelessly blindfolded you are in regards to some of the obvious facts!

The "little expenditure of resources" you claim for the internet is in fact growing hyper-exponentially and is already causing massive electricity usage for the server banks popping up everywhere, and of course the PC's themselves! There are literal mountains of discarded PCs with considerably toxic components in them, growing fast of course.

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marcopolo
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

Mik wrote:

It's baffling how grown, well educated and intelligent men can continue to believe such obviously wrong concepts! Brainwashed?It's so obvious that the pie cannot continue to grow indefinitely; that unrestricted growth of any organism or colony of organisms will lead to collapse of the colony, shortly after a massive growth spurt which uses up the vast majority of available resources

Whatever population of organisms (including us) tries this "growing the pie" trick on a planet is bound to fail, like all before, unless the organism manages to survive for long enough to leave the planet and colonize others. One can debate if that could be seen as a positive move, of course! This is much bigger than the bit of human history you refer to!.

Welcome Mik! Always a pleasure to hear from you! Oh,you would be amazed at what stupid concepts we can believe!
But, the analogy you have drawn is much longer term that I was comparing. My comparison was restricted to the two dominant political/economic movements of the 19,20 th century.

You are envisaging a much longer term scenario involving the future of mankind survival on the planet. In that case, niether of these old economic models is relevant. Certainly socialism contains no answers!
You believe that this scenario is closer that we think, I believe that we are still at least 150 years away from having to contemplate this problem. Hopefully by then, a combination of technology, greater social maturity, and political enlightenment will provide the answers. (either that or a really devastating war! a' la Randy Newman!)However,no matter the timing, your basic premise is undeniable! Unlimited expansion on a finite planet is not tenable.

Kinda, like the idea of colonising other planets. The problem I see is we have uniquely evolved to live on Earth, replicating the Earth or adapting to other condition may prove insumountabley difficult.

Quote:

The life forms on planet earth have an annoying habit of population explosions, rapid exhaustion of available resources as a result of it, plus accumulation of waste products in the biosphere which ultimately poison the organism that caused it. Oxygen is an example for this.

During and after such events, the biosphere goes through a rapid and radical change process and the "free enterprise", also known as evolution or survival of the fittest, gives a different bunch of organisms a go, for example those that can live in an atmosphere "poisoned" by oxygen. Each time something like this happens, things seem to get better and better, for a while at least. It's just the next bubble in the global free evolution market.

How we will fare depends on our ability to understand this and act accordingly.

We might however be just another step in the evolution of life on earth, destined to be wiped out, so the next, better step can occur.

Maybe the various "pollutants" which we are accumulating in each part of the planet will be the required food or fuel for the next step in evolution?

After all, despite the superficial differences between life forms on earth, we share the same genetic alphabet! It seems to me that it is really just one organism that lives on this revolving rock; and it keeps changing in response to changing conditions. This global organism is extremely resourceful - it will just try something else if we humans "stuff it up"! It might take a few million years, but it will bounce back, probably again better and more colourful than before.

An interesting viewpoint. Undoubtedly logical and valid. However, I wouldn't write the human species off that easily. We're a tenacious lot!

Quote:

The argument about the internet which you put forth, Marcopolo, shows how hopelessly blindfolded you are in regards to some of the obvious facts! The "little expenditure of resources" you claim for the internet is in fact growing hyper-exponentially and is already causing massive electricity usage for the server banks popping up everywhere, and of course the PC's themselves! There are literal mountains of discarded PCs with considerably toxic components in them, growing fast of course.

The example of the internet was never intended to be used in such a context. I intended to draw a comparison between those business, who exist on the internet, as opposed to 19th century resource businesses. The comparison I wanted to draw, was probably between J.Paul Getty with oil, and Craig Winkler with MYOB. This comparison was to show how service and information businesses are growing faster and richer than the old fashioned 'MILL". It was intended to draw a comparison of the flexible ability of free enterprise to create new technology and services, rather than a system which struggles to feed it's citizens. All of this was in the context of the existing economic models.

Of course you would argue, that from a long term environmental viewpoint, is it not desirable, or even sustainable, for everyone to have 3 giant plasma TV's etc... Although this is a valid viewpoint, it's an expansion of the original terms of reference that John and I were employing, (although a very welcome expansion) and requires a separate answer.

You are correct, the challenges of the future are not easily met by existing political and economic models.

In dramatically changed circumstances, what sort of economies will emerge? I believe, on no better authority my own instinct, the human species will continue to expand aggressively, gambling on greed and technology, to either crash into extinction, or triumph beyond our wildest comprehension. As I say, I favour the later, but I admit I have no logical basis for this belief.

I do not believe that as a species we will all join together in harmony, singing Kumbya, and eat only lentils! (maybe eat each other, but not lentils!).

But who knows? Hopefully you are right! I certainly hope so!

The model of Switzerland is more than valid. The way we organise our society, in an increasingly crowded world, is going to be very important. Greater pressure than ever to remove the freedoms and rights of the individual. In a world where individual right are being stolen away, Switzerland is to be commended for it's steadfast increase of liberty and tolerance in society.

Happy new year to you.

P/s The problem of the planets toxic waste is easily solved, right there in your native land of Australia. All it takes is political will, determination and a felxable mindset. It would also create a huge new industry for an unwanted and neglected backwater.

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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

marcopolo wrote:

This is the argument employed by the social democratic parties of the world. Basically, there are two economic theories or models. Socialist and capitalist, the variety in between is simply how much each model can afford to relinquish to afford a controlled society. Free enterprise Capitalism is the natural sate of all economic activity. Socialism is an attempt by human beings to adapt economics to moral or ethical theories, thereby morally engineering society by the means of state control(usually taxation or nationalisation). Communism is a complicated economic and social model, that provides a mechanism for the state enforcement of socialism. All communist societies evolve? Yes they do, from socialism to State controlled capitalism, to chaos or fascism!

"Nay, nay and thrice nay!" (I think that's Shakespeare? Midsummer Night's Dream or Macbeth?)

I agree that there are two extremes of economic models - socialist and capitalist. However, it's a continuous scale - not a binary one. Fully socialist would be no private property and all resources centrally managed for the "good of the whole". Fully capitalist would be "every man for himself" with no regulation at all. I put forth that no society has ever managed to pull off pure socialism - nor do I think it would work. Pure capitalism has been much more close to existing in most industrial nations - as shown by various fiefdoms that existed and the extraordinarily wide poverty gaps that existed. The rise of modern politics has lead to the erosion of "pure capitalism" (also known as "pure greed").

So, the economic model we're searching for is the spot on the scale that balances socialist and capitalist drivers. BOTH models provide valid pros and valid cons. I propose that the "ideal economic model" is a hybrid of both. It's not socialism vs. capitalism, it's capitalism enhanced by socialism (or socialism enhanced by capitalism if you prefer).

As usual your arguments are about as balanced as a one legged man carrying a bag of gold (capitalistic) or a hod of bricks (socialistic). ;-)

Quote:

The free enterprise capitalist model, regards social equality and reform, as a natural by-product of mass manufacture. It's in the interest of business to have large number of prosperous customers. For modern capitalism to prosper it must have 70-80% of the population in the middle class. Likewise the evolution of this concept applies to the world consumer population. The era of multinational enterprise demands free trade, and the continued advancement of middle class society across the world. This is the problem for the USA. The multinationals and free traders have, from US wealth, created 400 million new middle class citizens in poorer nations. This was not done from idealism, but economic necessity.

See, you're already agreeing with me. I'm such a persuasive fellow!

You've already shown that "pure capitalism" has been watered down to something you call "free enterprise capitalism" or "modern capitalism". I'd argue that you've moved from a "winner takes all" system to a system that tries to share the wealth. It just shares the wealth between the top 5% instead of the top 0.5%. However, in the "good old days" there were far fewer but far richer folks (they used to call them kings and earls etc.

Also, your argument that "modern capitalism to prosper it must have 70-80% of the population in the middle class" is spot on. It also shows how socialism can enhance capitalism. Look at the US health system. It's the number one cause of personal bankruptcy. Personal bankruptcy isn't good for business. High health care costs aren't good for business (unless you're involved in that particular sub-section of the economy). Thus, "socialized health care" is not some Machiavellian first step on a slippery slope to people's worst nightmares of communist Russia - instead it's a shrewd capitalist move to free up the middle class's cash so they can buy more SUVs (or whatever else).

Should everything be "socialized" - car production, TV, Internet etc.? No. However, health INSURANCE should. Insurance is about the pooling of risk. You can't blame the insurance companies from trying to make a profit - and that means futzing with the risk pool. The biggest pool one could have would be the entire society. I put forward that a single payer system and a privately and competitively run provider side is the best solution for health care. Yet another example of blending socialism and capitalism.

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And so the argument rages! The old saying, 'if you are not a socialist at 20, you have no heart! if you are still one at thirty, you have no brain!' rings true!

And if you reach 40 you start to see things as less black and white!

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Most modern governments try a bit of both!

Yes, so there is hope. There is always hope!

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I believe governments have no role in owning or controlling business activity, outside of a minimalist regulatory role. But then I also believe that governments role in society should largely be restricted to regulating public safety from external threat.

Agreed. Of course the devil is in the details. Define "minimalist". Define "external threat". That's rhetorical - because I think it's safe to say we'd define them differently.

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The Swedish or Norwegian governments are not as functional as you imagine, (Saab closure). Switzerland is a excellent model of a free society, much hated by socialist and fascist alike, for its efficient, democratic, economic society. The concept that free citizens can manage their own affairs without interference from the busybodies of a nanny state, is a complete anathema to all they believe. But the Swiss practise minimalist government with amazing results.

Oh c'mon! How can you try and put forth Saab closure as a demonstration of a non-functional economy? GM went tits up too (it's just that dang socialist US government got into bail out mode - (btw, 'twas Bush not Obama that started that unfortunate little incident). Oh, and GM owned Saab. So, Saab is about the WORST example you could have proffered.

I don't want a nanny state. I agree there are far too many laws on the books. I don't know much about the Swiss socio-economic make up. I hear they have good chocolate and secretive banks (sorry if that sounds colloquial - just meant to be funny and to confess I really know precious little about the various governing models of the world).

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But (surprisingly!) I digress. With few exceptions,(Cuba), it was not capitalist nations who isolated communist states, but the other way around. (Berlin wall. It was Nixon who went to China, not Mao to Washington. North Korea cuts it's self (and it's citizens) off from the community of nations.

But that's got nothing to do with the economic models. So I got it wrong on who ostracized whom - you got me there. However, the point is that the two should co-exist. Or, ideally, be blended into one Nirvana like place.

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John, in conclusion, (bet you thought I never would),socialism will never really work because the economic model is inefficient and self defeating. Socialism was conceived as a reaction to the early days of industrialised free enterprise, and incorporates the much older Judeo-Christian-Calvinist moral philosophy, that the 'State' can compel it people, to a virtuous society. Socialism appeals to those who believe poverty can end if the economy can produce sufficient to supply the basic needs of the population. This concept will never achieve its aim. Modern economies run on credit! Credit is essential to social stability, and progress. The world has long since past the ability to provide only the basic needs for its population. Attempts to redistribute wealth by socialist means, are always counterproductive, the wealth simply ends up destroyed.

Free Enterprise requires constant increase of the size of the pie, not worrying about how to cut it up fairly, the free market will do that bit without regulation. The argument that the world has finite resources, it also banal. Vast new industries have been created requiring little expenditure of resource, (Internet) are the fruits of free enterprise innovation.

Marcopolo - stop seeing things as black and white. Look at the spectrum and help us find the ideal.

"Free enterprise" as practiced in the US today is not the ideal - it's too close to the "pure capitalism" end of the spectrum. Not sure about other places - I don't live there.

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marcopolo
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Points: 837
Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

marcopolo wrote:

This is the argument employed by the social democratic parties of the world. Basically, there are two economic theories or models. Socialist and capitalist, the variety in between is simply how much each model can afford to relinquish to afford a controlled society. Free enterprise Capitalism is the natural sate of all economic activity. Socialism is an attempt by human beings to adapt economics to moral or ethical theories, thereby morally engineering society by the means of state control(usually taxation or nationalisation). Communism is a complicated economic and social model, that provides a mechanism for the state enforcement of socialism. All communist societies evolve? Yes they do, from socialism to State controlled capitalism, to chaos or fascism!

"Nay, nay and thrice nay!" (I think that's Shakespeare? Midsummer Night's Dream or Macbeth?)

Or a horse?

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I agree that there are two extremes of economic models - socialist and capitalist. However, it's a continuous scale - not a binary one. Fully socialist would be no private property and all resources centrally managed for the "good of the whole". Fully capitalist would be "every man for himself" with no regulation at all. I put forth that no society has ever managed to pull off pure socialism - nor do I think it would work. Pure capitalism has been much more close to existing in most industrial nations - as shown by various fiefdoms that existed and the extraordinarily wide poverty gaps that existed. The rise of modern politics has lead to the erosion of "pure capitalism" (also known as "pure greed").

So, the economic model we're searching for is the spot on the scale that balances socialist and capitalist drivers. BOTH models provide valid pros and valid cons. I propose that the "ideal economic model" is a hybrid of both. It's not socialism vs. capitalism, it's capitalism enhanced by socialism (or socialism enhanced by capitalism if you prefer).

As usual your arguments are about as balanced as a one legged man carrying a bag of gold (capitalistic) or a hod of bricks (socialistic).

To equate capitalism with 'pure greed' is indicative of the ideological propaganda of the left. Because of our judeo-Christian moral heritage, this misconception is now widely accepted. Capitalism, is just an economic phenomenon. It has no ideology. It's much like ecology. Or better yet the weather! Idealists invent ideological Utopian systems to subject capitalism to human control. Marx is credited with 'inventing' organised socialism or at lest formulating it;s purist form as a revolutionary rigid, Utopian vision. In contrast, Adam Smith simply wrote "an Observation on the Wealth of Nations."

Incidentally, although the concept of industrialised economies requiring a large middle class, and democratic government was first argued in 'Wealth of nations', it was popularised by the socialist author George Orwell in a series of war time essays.

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You've already shown that "pure capitalism" has been watered down to something you call "free enterprise capitalism" or "modern capitalism". I'd argue that you've moved from a "winner takes all" system to a system that tries to share the wealth. It just shares the wealth between the top 5% instead of the top 0.5%. However, in the "good old days" there were far fewer but far richer folks (they used to call them kings and earls etc.

Actually, feudalism is a good example of early socialism gone bad. The great liberator of society remains the growth of industrialised,(mass manufacture)free enterprise. But the liberation and astonishing distribution of wealth is simply an accidental by-product. In any society the citizens must decide how much of ourmoney we want to spend on providing social programs and cushioning from natural economic storms.

The example of Saab is relevant, GM offered the Saab back to the Swedish government, or any other purchaser! The truth is that without Swedish government support, Saab could never have survived as long as it did. GM, well we can argue the causes and complexities of GM's demise. However the Union and Government insisted than US car manufacturers carry their workers health and retirement needs. These costs were ultimately paid by US customers. The decision to allow competition from foreign competitors whose health and pension costs are spread through the entire community, was a major contributing factor to GM's inability to compete.

Of course, you would argue that this is a strong argument for socialised medicine and pension. Maybe your right, but a government entrusted with citizens funds must decide how much to pay for such a system. I believe the best approach is for the government to decide on funding, and then enter the market place as a customer seeking the best deal. Let Free Enterprise design and operate the product, governments should set the requirements and monitor the results. This is the proper function of Government. This is not socialism, this is the citizens through their government purchasing products for the commonweal.

In the post cold war era, the old ideologies are becoming increasingly irrelevant. The most alarming trend is totalitarian capitalist states are acquiring acceptance and respectability as a result of the economic rise of the PRC. This is a very dangerous trend.

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Agreed. Of course the devil is in the details. Define "minimalist". Define "external threat". That's rhetorical - because I think it's safe to say we'd define them differently..

Well, 'minimalist' doesn't apply to the security forces, secret police agencies, or Military! ("Don't worry, we here to help you..we'ed just like to know a little something for our files...if you have done nothing wrong.. why you have nothing to worry about!)hmmm?.

Yeah right! By 'minimalist', I mean just that! Government should exist to serve only those functions that can not be provided by free enterprise, to regulate and monitor the expenditure of monies collected for commonweal, to regulate public safety and ensure independent regulation of society.
It's the last one thats all ways hard to define! I would define external threat as everything from belligerent foreign powers, to violent individuals.

However, as you say, the devil is in the detail! Each of the above can be used to justify the most appalling government intrusions into personal liberty. Public safety, which most people would define as protection from violent criminals, has been misused to raise huge and oppressive police bureaucracies. These Agencies largely exist to police moral restrictions. Prohibition,anti-homosexual, drug laws, etc.. these are examples of governments abusing coercive power to wage war on certain sections of the populace because other sections have a moral prejudice against their personal choices of life style.

Switzerland has the highest per capita income in the industrialised world. Switzerland enjoys full employment. Strong currency, lack of poverty, lowest rate of personal tax, lowest crime rate etc etc..

The Swiss have very interesting approach to law. The rights of individual citizens are more important than then state. In the Swiss system, there are no criminals, only citizens who commit crime. The Swiss don't have the rest of the worlds mad concept of social engineering through income tax. When the Swiss found the Drug Laws counterproductive to public safety and personal freedom, the removed drug policy from law enforcement and handed the problem to the Health Department. Result? 76% drop in crime, 80% drop in the use of drugs. (interesting statistic, 14% of Swiss drug addicts moved to countries where drugs remained remained illegal', complaining that legalised drugs had made the "drug scene' disappear!).

The Swiss are not an ideological nation, so the tax laws make sense. Every western nation, well every other nation, has massive anti-tax avoidance law enforcement agencies armed with frighteningly draconian powers. Naturally this gives rise to huge tax based legal and accounting industries.

All this insanity, to do what? Not to raise revenue for the government to provide facilities for it citizens. The huge tax machine exists primarily as a socialist model to socially engineer equality. It's defenders argue that everyone should pay their fair share! But the result is everyone pays far more than their fair share! ( you don't help the poor in New Mexico by employing 10,000 more civil servants in Washington!

Imagine if you ran a bar, (always a nice thought) on the same basis as the tax system.
The first customer enters and is asked by the barman, I need to know how much you earn to determine the price of your drink. The customer replies $200,000 pa, Ok, says the barman, that will be $30 dollars for a beer! Second customer, declares $50,000, and is charged $5, but with a second drink allowance of $3 dollars! Third customer is on welfare, so he gets his drink free and $7 cash back! Now while all this is going on the bar is filling up, so you need to employ 20 more bar staff, plus 25 accountants, a human resource manger, security staff, administrators to administrate the administrators, and in the corner a fully staffed dispute settlement office. Obviously your bar cannot accommodate all this administration, so you will need to take over the rest of the 27 story building, just to house the administration. At this point you discover that some people are not complying so you had better start recruiting overseas and domestic law enforcmen..

Well, you get my point! My problem with socialism is it never stays minimal! Since it's inherently bureaucratic, it adopts a life of its own and ends up inefficient and oppressive. That's why I provided my little example of bureaucratic environmentalism. (cat v bird). I could have quoted Mao's mistake's or the environmental disasters of the socialist states that make Exxon look like boy scouts.

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Or, ideally, be blended into one Nirvana like place. Marcopolo - stop seeing things as black and white. Look at the spectrum and help us find the ideal.

Ah, I'm so glad you asked! Are you really seeking enlightenment? Do you really want to be on of the chosen few who will survive to see Nivana? Are you ready for this precious gift that will transform you and your family's lives. YES, we here at the Church of Promiscuous Preachings, can answer these and all other mysteries! But only for the truly initiated and deserving! Is that You? Find out! Send a self address envelop and $69.99, to this here radio station, and you will receive along with your introductions CD, an invitation to reserve your seat at the next C of PP touring Mission, coming soon to your home town.(discount if you bring some hot babes).

Now that's tax planning!

But to drag this thing back on topic. The Australian Government has just been forced to reveal a portion of its travel costs to attend the Copenhagen talk fest. $Aus 3 million! Among the government staffers were included a photographer and his assistant. Evidence that the serious aspects of GW science debate, (there were no sceptics) has long since been forgotten in the posturing of politicians and bureaucrats, jockeying to create enormous power bases. Vast expenditure, no result! Bureaucrats and prevaricators, but I repeat myself!

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marcopolo

marcopolo
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Points: 837
Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

I recently had the privilege of meeting Boris Johnson. I was interested to hear his views on the accuracy of the story attributed to him by the London media.Boris Johnson is one of the UK's most important conservative/social progressives. His administration of London has seen a great many 'green' initiatives effectively adopted with out the usual GW/environ fanaticism or inappropriate ideology.

As a politician of the Tory party such initiative are certainly refreshing. Boris Johnson has in the past expressed interest in the work of the such GW sceptic researchers like the Canadian Fraser Institute, and Professor Henrik Svensmark. Prof Svensmark work has recently gained a great deal of credibility from the increasingly controversial studies in Antarctic ice shelves.

So it's interesting to hear why Boris Johnson, while remaining open-minded can still see practical benefits in advancing clean, green technology.

Enclosed is the Telegraph article;

Copenhagen climate conference: Boris Johnson calls on the world to 'stop overdosing on gloom'
Boris Johnson has said the Copenhagen climate conference is in danger of failing if environmentalists continue to “overdose” on gloom.

Boris Johnson wants to open up Government data. Photo: REUTERS The Mayor of London, who is in the Danish capital to speak on greening cities, called for a positive message instead to encourage world leaders to take action against climate change.

He said London will lead the way by making sure no Londoner is more than a mile from a charging point for an electric car by 2015. "We need to stop overdosing on gloom and start conveying a message of optimism to people they can improve their lives and cut their CO2,” he said.

"We're never going to beat consumerism, we need to harness it, we need a new green consumerism," he said.

He said cities were responsible for more than three quarters of emissions and it was "up to us" to make the changes to urban lifestyles, which help people save money, be greener and become healthier - such as cycling.

"I think cities can break the logjam and show national governments the way to pick up the pace,” he added.

London, where the mayor hopes electric cars will become a feature of everyday life, is leading a coalition of major cities which are using their collective clout to boost green car production through joint procurement commitments.

Under the charging point scheme, there will be 22,500 charge points at workplaces, with 500 on street and 2,000 in public car parks by 2015, and faster charge points installed at key locations on the roads and at motorway service stations.

And there will be a one-stop website for electric vehicle drivers from 2010 which will have information and payment options for charge points.

Mr Johnson said the London authority would pay for one third of the £60 million electric car scheme that will see a bollard-sized charging point within a mile of every Londoner by 2015.

“A golden era of clean, green electric motoring is upon us and London is well ahead of cities around the globe in preparing the right conditions for this,” he added.

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Mik
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Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

Mik wrote:
marcopolo wrote:

...
...
...

Free Enterprise requires constant increase of the size of the pie, not worrying about how to cut it up fairly, the free market will do that bit without regulation. The argument that the world has finite resources, it also banal. Vast new industries have been created requiring little expenditure of resource, (Internet) are the fruits of free enterprise innovation.

It's baffling how grown, well educated and intelligent men can continue to believe such obviously wrong concepts! Brainwashed?

It's so obvious that the pie cannot continue to grow indefinitely; that unrestricted growth of any organism or colony of organisms will lead to collapse of the colony, shortly after a massive growth spurt which uses up the vast mojority of available resources.
...
...

Just to revive an old thread with a worthy contribution that shows the root problem: The inability of most people to understand exponential functions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

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marcopolo
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Joined: 05/10/2009
Points: 837
Re: Copenhagen Won't Be Enough -- Only a 'Human Movement' ...

Mik wrote:

Just to revive an old thread with a worthy contribution that shows the root problem: The inability of most people to understand exponential functions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

Hi Mik, I have only three observations, my goodness, wasn't this a great old waffling thread? Secondly, where can I get one of the ties worn by the professor?

Thirdly,the concept of exponential growth does back several thousand years. What's new? This is evidence existence of a mathematical table, with question carefully calculated to reflect a desired answer, has little value. Such simplistic theoretical equations, fail to incorporate a great many factors, that occur in the real world.The dynamics of the real world, don't operate like a theoretical equation. This explains why famous think tanks like the 'Club of Rome''s Olympian prediction were inevitably inaccurate. The most famous of these predictions was that 1977 would be the 'Year the Stork passed the Plow', and the planet would experience world-wide famine and economic collapse.

In reality, 1977 will be remembered as the year of an enormous food glut! All this alarm ism about population growth, is, as His Eminence, Dr George Pell pointed out, largely sensationalist hyperbole. The first question is how and with what consequences would anyone propose to reduce the human population? Secondly, rapid expansion of technology has reduced the need for population control.

'Resources' are a constantly shifting target. You might cry panic! Oil is being rapidly depleted! Coal is unacceptable! Solar is too sunny, wind too unreliable, alas and alack.. dooms is upon us, woe to mankind!
(well, you might, if you were a 2nd rate thespian)

However, just suppose the guys at Padua University, are for real, and have actually cracked the secret of cold fusion (doubtful, but not impossible)The resulting unlimited cheap energy would usher in a whole new dynamic for the economic progress of mankind, even beyond the confines of our small planet.

Of what value is your doomsday equation at that point?

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marcopolo

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