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Old 07-13-2010, 12:39 PM   #81
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But if something truly catastrophic happened to society or there were some fundamental change to the economy, everything would change, and we would have to change our plans too. The good news is that, as intelligent humans, we will be able to do that. So much journalism is based on the idea of "OMG, if nothing is done, trend X will kill us all", which is fine except that something will always get done - it may take longer than we'd like, but humanity never just sits there while the floodwaters rise (provided only that we can see them rising).

Except for global thermonuclear war.... or some kind of N1H1 virus that kills half the population... I don't see anything that would change the face of things where there are no supermarkets and society breaks down to chaos...


You can see it over and over again... people adjust like you say... now, we may not be able to afford the food or we will struggle, but that black swan that you are talking about just will never be in my plans...

All the other changes that seem to be talked about are usually going to change things over time... and we can adjust...

I am not planning on the sun blowing up.... if it does.. well, I will be in a heap of trouble... until then I am happy as a clam at high tide...
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:30 PM   #82
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So much journalism is based on the idea of "OMG, if nothing is done, trend X will kill us all", which is fine except that something will always get done - it may take longer than we'd like, but humanity never just sits there while the floodwaters rise (provided only that we can see them rising).
I think I know what you are saying, but if this were literally true the Hittites would still be running the world. But since them there have been many consolidating regimes, all of which except the US are defunct. We had the Pax Romana, the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages, Large Colonial powers such as France, Spain, Netherlands, the Pax Britannica, and now many are conceding that the Pax Americana might well be in its final times. And this doesn't even mention all the major regional empires Nazi Germany, USSR, China of many periods, the Ottoman Empire, etc.etc.

And with respect to ecological disasters, we really don't know enough, or understand enough of the factors and all their interactions to make dismissive statements from knowledge.

I think that humans characteristically wait until the last minute to act- that is why the bible, nursery rhymes and other repositories of culture are filled with parables about planning ahead. Where we are flying blind is that we cannot know if the greater speed and power of today's human disturbances in the environment might not create crises which are different in essence, not just scale, from earlier human experience.

Everybody knows this and that, but much of what they know always turns out to be false. Therefore I believe that conservatism is a good stance.

Economic and historical and natural disasters happen with disturbing frequency, and will continue to happen. Infrequent events can be very meaningful for an entire society. And increasingly, what affects one area will affect others too.

From my POV, an intellectually and morally valid stance is to admit that we are flying blind, that almost anything might happen, but to persist in living life optimistically and seeking pleasure and goodness as we are living life.

Ha
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:12 PM   #83
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Just an interesting comment about 'rising water'... and if we want to discuss we should move to another thread...

I was watching something on the history channel about the various ice ages... and they showed that Florida was three times wider than it is now during the last major ice age... and that NYC would have been under 1 mile of ice... now, it will probably continue... but at such a slow pace that it does not affect me...

And that is my point.. all of the empires HaHa mentioned did decline.. most did it in a slow way... but guess what... all are still occupied with us pesky humans... all with probably more people than back when...
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