Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

I often see "comunist" countries pointed to as examples of why big government is bad, but really they're examples of why big business is bad. Comunist countries generally don't excercise tight controls over their companies. Sure there are lots of rules, but no-one ever enforces them. So companies can have child labour, massive pollution, whatever they like to make a buck and get the goods out the door. (and they have to report production regularly).

Jason, truly 'communist' countries, strictly specking don't actually have companies as such, since every thing is State owned! Of course in such a fundamentally flawed economic system, the communist concept is rapidly replaced by a highly corrupt and inefficient system of State capitalism. Since nearly all such systems have disappeared,(even the PRC is rapidly dismantling it's State owned industries and has completely abandoned the communist economic model, your left with just North Korea! Hardly a thriving economic miracle!

However tightly controlled (business being tightly controlled) socialist countries have good standards of living, extended education, early retirement, full employment, happy populations and clean healthy environments for the people to live in. Those are the sort of countries that have strong forward planning and they're also the countries we see investing heavily in energy independence.

Could you name those happy nations? I suspect you would cite Denmark or Sweden, maybe Cuba? Actually, a much better argument for an economic model would be, educated, free enterprise, Switzerland.

Of course both, capitalist and socialist alike, would argue that small nations don't have the dynamic pressures to which larger nations are subject, and to a certain extent that's true.

But the concept of the Nation State has largely disappeared in economic terms. Multi-national corporations, and world trade factors are beyond the control of even such super economies as the USA. Environmental issues involve the entire planet, many major river and ecosystems, cross several borders. The planet must start thinking globally, especially in environmental and economic terms. The role of the Nation State, will steadily be reduced to providing competitive regulatory systems, on a cooperative basis.


safe's picture
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Austerity and the Socialist Tendencies of Greece

Here's the problem...

When a country begins the process of overspending by using a form of credit card it "feels good" to the population as the credit is plentiful. The Greeks enjoyed decades of good times as they were digging themselves into a hole. Now that the debt has piled up so high that no one is willing to buy into it anymore they are faced with Austerity as the only way to move forward.

Socialism works "best" if there is a situation where the money is coming in from an external source. Examples of success are Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Russia who are able to prevent debt because they have big incomes from oil sales.

Let's remember...

The original communist theory as presented by Karl Marx was that Socialism was just the way to DESTROY capitalism. It was never meant as a permanent state to remain in. The technique of deficit spending is simply a tool to bring down a prosperous capitalist system and open the path for eventual dictatorship of a communist elite.

So if we are honest about debt and see what it's real objective is then as "ordinary people" that like being free we should be wise enough to see that the debt creating socialist objectives are the opposite of what "ordinary people" are going to want.

The only people that really benefit from "the process" are those people that see themselves as part of the small ruling elite in the future.

Austerity is something that is painful... but wise.

The challenge in the alternative energy arena is to find ways to increase usage of alternative energies without incurring any additional debt upon the people.

If "Going Green" subtracts from the "Green in Your Wallet" then it's not a path worth taking.

Last seen: 12 years 4 months ago
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

I'm not really a political guru, but I understand why it might not be wise to fork out extra green dollars. If it goes to effective solutions to both GW and PO, then yes. If it goes to silly solutions like "modernizing federal buildings", then that's a waste. Sure, even {that} will save money in the long run (yes I did some rough math), but the little bit of money saved over the LONG LONG run is not worth the HUGE amount of money spent now. Now, if we had unlimited money, then maybe.

Those billions should have instead been used to further battery, ultracapacitor, solar PV and solar dish development (which is twice as efficient as PV). Just like the railroads and the highways, industry alone would not have done it. Therefore, it might be wise to collectively pitch in a few dollars ONLY if these (or better) results can be attained. We need to first make some kind of initiative that guarantees it is not spent on conservation, silly little bio gas projects (as biofuels are quite limited on the scales of population we are talking about) and other detriments.

Ok, somewhat off track for a moment... Cree leds now achieve 139 lumens per watt (over twice that of CFL) and the newest ones can do that at much higher currents!

I do believe that industry ALONE can "do" efficiency, just not the total "fix GW and PO" thing. Also, I would rather spend a few bucks extra for clean energy (but can't afford that electric car).

Unlimited clean energy = freedom

safe's picture
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Fear and Greed

Business is mostly fearful. Only when all the fears are lowered far enough so that greed for profit can emerge does business reach out to change anything that is their current habit.

The free market can be brutal... so the fear and memory of recent pain tends to linger for a while.

Government on the other hand...

Government is mostly disconnected from reality and operates in a kind of bubble world. Within the bubble world of the government people can imagine all kinds of fanciful worlds that can never become real.


Research and development is difficult to "force" if the business does not see a potential for a long term future. You always see people suggesting that short term "tax breaks" to "get things started" as an idea but the very basis of such thinking doesn't refect the long term view. Why would a business start some venture based on a short term tax break knowing that in the long run their business will likely fail?


What is needed is for people to "Cool It" with the force fed ideas where government spends billions to cram stuff down our throats and to instead seek out rationally viable options that create genuine efficiency.

Efficiency means PROFITS !!!

But if you try to gain "faux efficiency" the wrong way and profit does not eventually come then pain will follow.

Fear drives wisdom... excessive greed drives foolishness...

Greed is Good, but Fear must always restrain Greed

safe's picture
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Don't Feel So Blue...

It's understandable that those who were the most complete "true believers" in a vast change in just about "everything" (overnight) are going to be disillusioned with recent events.

For those of us that never really felt the "high" of rapid and incomprehensible "change" we probably will never fully feel the pain that you others are feeling now.

But I'd say not to feel too bad. Remember that underneath the drive for EV's is the practical necessity to find ways to get off the dependency of foreign oil.


The German Example

A lot of people like to point to the Germans as the prototype for "Going Green" as they have been involved in the idea longer than just about anyone. But the real driving force for the Germans is the fact that they HATE the idea of the Russians holding complete domination over them.

For Germany there is a sense that if they are going to be free of the Russian natural gas supply they have to find ways to supply energy without them. Germany has limited resources.


Again... hopefully things have calmed down enough to get back to thinking clearly again.

We can win with Electric Vehicles... but it won't be under the philosophical framework that propped up recently. The future is one of efficiency, austerity and wisdom rather than dreams of sudden change.

As hard as it is for some to come to terms with this it's really the world we live in now:


(the cartoon is honest about present facts)

davew's picture
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

This thread has more than run it's course. I'm turning off further comments. Feel free to start new threads for any topic in here you feel hasn't been beaten to death, stomped on, and had a grave marker the size of an asteroid dropped on it from orbit.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"


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