Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by CATO, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    NASA Study Concludes When Civilization Will End, And It's Not Looking Good for Us - PolicyMic

    Civilization was pretty great while it lasted, wasn't it? Too bad it's not going to for much longer. According to a new study sponsored by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, we only have a few decades left before everything we know and hold dear collapses.

    The report, written by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center along with a team of natural and social scientists, explains that modern civilization is doomed. And there's not just one particular group to blame, but the entire fundamental structure and nature of our society.

    Analyzing five risk factors for societal collapse (population, climate, water, agriculture and energy), the report says that the sudden downfall of complicated societal structures can follow when these factors converge to form two important criteria. Motesharrei's report says that all societal collapses over the past 5,000 years have involved both "the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity" and "the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or "Commoners") [poor]." This "Elite" population restricts the flow of resources accessible to the "Masses", accumulating a surplus for themselves that is high enough to strain natural resources. Eventually this situation will inevitably result in the destruction of society.

    Elite power, the report suggests, will buffer "detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners," allowing the privileged to "continue 'business as usual' despite the impending catastrophe."

    Science will surely save us, the nay-sayers may yell. But technology, argues Motesharrei, has only damned us further:

    Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.
    In other words, the benefits of technology are outweighed by how much the gains reinforce the existing, over-burdened system — making collapse even more likely.

    The worst-case scenarios predicted by Motesharrei are pretty dire, involving sudden collapse due to famine or a drawn-out breakdown of society due to the over-consumption of natural resources. The best-case scenario involves recognition of the looming catastrophe by Elites and a more equitable restructuring of society, but who really believes that is going to happen? Here's what the study recommends:

    The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth.
    These are great suggestions that will, unfortunately, almost certainly never be put into action, considering just how far down the wrong path our civilization has gone. As of last year, humans are using more resources than the Earth can replenish and the planet's distribution of resources among its terrestrial inhabitants is massively unequal. This is what happened to Rome and the Mayans, according to the report.

    ... historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).
    And that's not even counting the spectre of global climate change, which could be a looming "instant planetary emergency." According to Canadian Wildlife Service biologist Neil Dawe:

    Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology. Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. If we don't reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us ... Everything is worse and we’re still doing the same things. Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don’t exact immediate punishment on the stupid.
    In maybe the nicest way to say the end is nigh possible, Motesharrei's report concludes that "closely reflecting the reality of the world today ... we find that collapse is difficult to avoid."

    Writes Nafeez Ahmed at The Guardian:

    "Although the study is largely theoretical, a number of other more empirically-focused studies — by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance — have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a 'perfect storm' within about fifteen years. But these 'business as usual' forecasts could be very conservative."

    Well, at least zombies aren't real.
    cjsloane and Mountainman like this.
  2. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Interesting post. I will need to think on this prior to replying.

    All I can think of is carrying capacity. Which I thought we hit but some I have talked to say we are very near.
  3. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    Sounds like socialist dribble to me. You might as well say the existence of man is responsible for the inevitable collapse of man.

    Over consumption of natural resources is caused by increasing population beyond natures ability to replenish it. Population growth is caused by increasing affluence within a given society, not social stratification, unless of course you call the rich increasing the affluence of the people around them social stratification.

    Even in medieval Europe, it was the rich guy in the castle that provided the security which allowed the peasants to farm productively, so they could feed themselves and create a surplus. This resulted in population growth caused by the increased availability of food. The increase of affluence created markets for new goods, which increased trade, which made people richer. The rich people reinvested their wealth into new endeavors which in turn increased the affluence of the masses even more. Where the heck do these rocket scientists think the great cities of Europe came from social equality? No, from rich folks increasing the affluence of the people around them.

    Rich people do not "accumulating a surplus for themselves", unless they are talking gold, silver, diamonds, etc. None of which are necessary for the masses to thrive. The population explosion of the last 200 hundred years is a result of the "Elites" investing their capital (their surplus) into new technology that has done two basic things: allowed less acreage to feed more people for less money, and created a medical revolution that has radically reduced human mortality rates.

    If rich people are responsible for the destruction of society it is only because they created it to begin with.
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  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    @bfayer, you were more eloquent than I. First thought I had was road apples.
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  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Seems we are paying some folks at NASA, way to much money for the RETURN. They give us, on that investment... I say Cut this type of BS Spending, and let us go back to the Moon.... My Opinion.... YMMV....
    Mike, oldawg, Yard Dart and 3 others like this.
  6. Amish Heart

    Amish Heart Monkey

    When I first read this, it sounded like a study promoting communism/socialism (the redistribution part), but they were trying to make capitalism sound like only the very wealthy have opportunity. Question is why is NASA being paid to write this? Are they using this report to seek govt funding for some new project?
    Mike likes this.
  7. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    I would like to address these three comments from the article (it says "two" but talks about three).

    The article states:

    "The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth."

    How exactly do the authors intend to accomplish these?

    If you do the first one (reduce economic inequality), population will actually increase because you will temporarily increase the affluence of the masses beyond what they could do on their own. As population increases, the need for additional resources goes up proportionally. As Prime Minister Thatcher once said ""The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money". Once that happens society crashes very quickly unless you do the second, which is essentially rationing of resources. Of course someone has to decide what is distributed to the masses and what is not. This leads to the development of an Oligarchy.

    Now here is the problem in a nut shell: Human beings by nature are egocentric, ethnocentric, lemmings.

    Egocentric: Me First
    Ethnocentric: Those like me second (not necessarily ethnicity, could be religion, political party, etc.)
    Lemmings: Humans are social heard animals by nature and will follow each other off cliff if given a chance.

    This is why socialistic oligarchies do not work. All it takes is one greedy person (which we all are by nature) to take more than their fair share. Since resources are controlled by the oligarchy, that means someone else has to take less. This eventually results in the poor getting poorer and the those in control of the oligarchy getting richer. However, since there is no individual motivation to produce or innovate, investment in new technology comes to a virtual standstill. The ruling political class lives well and the masses stand in lines to get a loaf of bread and shoes that don't fit. Eventually resources run out and we move on to the third point.

    Population control. There are only two ways to control population. the first is the North Korean model, just don't give anyone any food and population takes care of itself (the most often used solution). The other is by controlling reproductive behavior (Margaret Sanger would be proud). The Oligarchy would get to pick and choose who gets to have kids and who does not. Since humans are by nature ethnocentric the oligarchy will always pick people like themselves to reproduce and in turn control the reproduction of the "undesirables" (Eugenics ).

    The moral of the story is that because all resources are limited, all society will eventually collapse, it's just a fact. However the society that creates the most innovation will last the longest. Since humans are egocentric, innovation only happens when there is "something in it for me". The one type of economic system that meets that need is Free Market Capitalism. You can't change human nature, you can only work within it. Socialists want to ignore human nature and replace it with their idealistic view of what human nature should be, that works great on paper, but not in real life.

    Sorry for the extended rant.
  8. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    I think when you break out the gov speak you get a basic life cycle applied to man. To many bunnies more coyotes, more coyotes eat the bunnies then starve.
    Yard Dart, Mike, oldawg and 2 others like this.
  9. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    Exactly. So the question is "how do you extend the inevitable"? My thesis is that socialism always speeds up the process, while capitalism slows it down.

    The first rule of economics is all resources are limited (scarcity). Eventually all our resources will be expended, and we as a species will go away, but not today, and not tomorrow if we continue to innovate. Socialism stifles innovation. Really it's not rocket science :)
  10. JLRhiner

    JLRhiner Stranger in the Modern World

    But, but, but,........they're from NASA!
    Mike likes this.
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Actually @bfayer You statement above doesn't hold water....
    Resources on this planet, are basically the same as when "Man first walked upright".... They may be in different form, but the "Total Quantity" (Mass) of EVERYTHING hasn't changed. (Only exceptions, would be the Stuff we have launched into Space since 1960) What the REAL Issue here is, If we do NOT come up with a "Renewable" or basic "UnLimited" source of Energy, the sources we use NOW will tend to be Depleted, in the future.... HOWEVER, if this world can finally make Fusion Generated Electrical Power a Reality, than 99% of the Issues, these NASA Yahoos are whining about, will be solvable, and History... It is ALL about ENERGY... If you got it, your Good, if you don't got it, you and yours are going to be GONE.... It is REALLY, as SIMPLE, as that...... .....
  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    that's right, space cadets.
  13. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    My use of "resources" means resources useable by man (economic, not scientific definition). But, your point is well taken and supports my thesis that without motivation to innovate our species will die out sooner. Ego-centrism drives innovation, however if we establish a society that does not reward individuals for hard work and innovation, we will use our available resources much quicker because no one will take the time or money to invent that fusion generator.

    However, no matter what we do, eventually we will expend all our usable resources. Sooner or latter we will either run out of space or convert every drop of water on the planet into energy and then we are gone unless we find a new source of usable resources on another planet Even then, the universe is still not unlimited in it's mass, so although it may take hundreds of millions or more years, we will still parish as a species.

    The fact is nature does not allow for perpetual self licking lollypops.
  14. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    Obviously you've never watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and seen the "everlasting gobstopper"...[sarca]
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  15. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    Point, set, and match :)
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  16. Mike

    Mike Ol' Army Sergeant Monkey

    Same reason they were tasked to find good things to say about the Arabic creation of some mathematics used today. NASA is no longer involved with space exploration, they are now involved in creating pro-government propaganda to back up our 'Dear Leader's" platform and justify his actions
    Yard Dart and CATO like this.
  17. Amish Heart

    Amish Heart Monkey

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  18. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    I actually think I would prefer the first dear leader to be in charge. At least most people know he's nuts
  19. natshare

    natshare Monkey+++

    You'll always find people of little monetary worth who are willing to listen to this kind of propaganda. Just as the peasants of Russia were stirred up by men like Marx and Lenin, to the point of revolution, the Socialists of today try to stir up the poor of this country to revolt against the rich 1-percenters. Western society hasn't been immune to these concepts, either, which explains part of the popularity of Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor.

    I wonder if a big part of the "technology puts a bigger strain on natural resources" isn't due to people believing that they NEED that technology, rather than WANT it? Let's face it, how many people with smart phones today really need them? They're a form of entertainment, much more so than a necessity for work (let's face it, more people game and surf with them, than actually do anything work related!). However, how much of this is perpetuated by the large corporations who depend upon sales for increased profit, and use advertisements to convince people that they need the latest, greatest technology?? Are we feeding the problem, and making it bigger?

    Then introduce the fact that many "2nd world" and "3rd world" countries are feeding their technological growth with the dirty fossil fuels that the 1st world countries are eschewing, in favor of renewable energy. Does anyone who believes we need to be "green" really believe that the companies that own the coal mines will just suddenly stop mining coal, just because the EPA makes it impossible to burn it and comply with air quality standards? I'd be willing to bet that the exports of coal are hitting record highs, especially with our present "green" president in office!

    How fair is it, then, that we who already pushed through our early technological revolution burning fossil fuels, try to tell anyone else that they're wrong for doing so? So we continue to pump crap into the atmosphere, while simultaneously working to clean it up. Meanwhile, we preach to our own citizens to "go green", which increases manufacturing costs, and helps drive more business overseas, where they don't have to worry about these bothersome environmental laws. As we have lost more of our manufacturing capability overseas, we have also gained service-related jobs.....and they usually pay less. So we can see the effect of the middle class getting poorer, while the company owners (i.e.- "the rich") stay the same......but effectively, become "richer".

    We've already seen the effect of the "one percenter" protests, a couple years ago. I wonder how much longer the economy can be so crappy, which gives the "peasants" of the western nations more of an excuse to protest, possibly even revolt? How much of this recession is "natural", and how much is "man made" (or planned)?? If the wealthier segment of society sees what's coming, what makes anyone believe they will be forced to "share the wealth"?? All they'll have to do is hire sufficient numbers of security types, and promise to pay them well enough to keep them and their families from slipping into the lower income brackets, where the protesters exist. Eventually, the protesters might win out, but this will delay things for quite some time, if managed correctly.

    Meanwhile, the humans continue to reproduce, cure diseases, and repress war and famine.....all the things that used to occasionally cull the population numbers......and segments of society who have become used to the concept of high reproduction rates (necessary to combat high mortality rates of their children) are seeing the highest growth of population. But hey, who are we to tell them they can't?? Or shouldn't??

    Gah!! It's frustrating, sometimes, to see so many of these problems, but be limited on the answers you can utilize, due to the rules of society! Personally, I think it's going to be a race, between war, famine & pestilence, to see which one reduces the size of the human "herd" first!

    Never mind me.....I'm rambling! :p
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  20. Mike

    Mike Ol' Army Sergeant Monkey

    Not to worry. We are quickly becoming immune to antibiotics and will soon suffer a plague of a magnitude yet seen. Large urban areas will cease to have a viable community. Mother nature is taking care of things. Just give it time.
    Yard Dart and tulianr like this.
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