We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Post-Industrial Society = Beyond Idiocy

Reindustrialization is the best way to repair damage to earth. Terraforming deserts, building new ecosystems, MagLev trains, redesigned cities, nuclear and space based power. Not neofeudalist deindustrialization

Early 21st century was supposed to have been one of high speed trains zipping between continents, hypersonic air travel, 3 hour workdays or 2 workday weeks, increasingly colonized space, completely reimagined cities, mechanized infrastructure, and large scale terraforming of the planet to turn deserts into farmland (as well as creating new ecosystems where they weren't previously by building new desalination water infrastructure). All of this would be supported by first the increasingly more advanced fission reactors and then fusion reactors complimented by a large network of satellites beaming energy down to earth.

So what happened? Why do people actually believe the corporate media (when they stopped believing it in many other areas) in that the only way forward is for educated people to shovel mule manure, compost food, live in sustainable shacks with solar panels on them, ride in bicycles made from recycled garbage, and to devolve back to 19th century living while actually advocating that poorest people of the earth never even experience the 20th? Was it THAT easy for rich people to fill the meaningless nihilistic existence of educated westerners by replacing Jesus Christ with mother earth (environment) as their object of dedication?

Middle classes always pick up on cues from the ruling oligarchy on what to think, how to behave, and what obsessions to have. There is little regard to the fact of some of these cues often being propaganda of control. Eventually the propaganda trickles down to the poorest sectors of society through community role model emulation.

This appears to be the case with the concepts of "conservation", "post-growth economy", and "post-industrial world" (where most of 7 billion homo sapiens are all magically white collar innovator businessmen [!] living on a decentralized renewable power grid). The world's people are now supposed to make all necessary personal sacrifices and live in balance with nature as a punishment for their rulers having wiped out and poisoned large swaths of the biosphere.

It is now western oligarchy's barely concealed desire for the proletariat (anybody living paycheck to paycheck rather than from capital gains, roughly 99% of planetary population) to devolve to use of slower transport and more provincial community living. They would love nothing more than for people to return to horse and carriage (or its bicycle equivalent) and to spend a large chunk of the day and their caloric energy "conserving", recycling/reusing trash, making their own organic food, self-flagellation for sins against the planet, and creating pottery/trinkets to sell to each other. The rich themselves would of course live on large gated estates spread around the world, fly on advanced personal vehicles, have increasingly stronger healthier bodies through genetic engineering/cybernetics, etc. Globalization would homogenize the world's poor into an interchangeable mass just as it does the same with their neofeudal lords.

This is not an exaggeration. Post-growth and post-industrial means exactly that when rich man's stooges like Gordon Brown mention it: arrested development of heavy industry (such as creation of new comfortable futuristic cities and supporting large scale infrastructure). Most of the human herd is to enter an "equilibrium" and see an end to major annual increases in quality of life. The world is to enter a period of gradually declining population with younger poor people worshiping and sacrificing for mother earth while living in "harmony" with it. They would all do demeaning service sector jobs like being each others bartender, taking care of the elderly that outvote them, and grooming the large playground (planet earth) for the enjoyment of the concealed oligarchy.

Such a scheme is so absurd that it will probably collapse before being internalized as a value by most educated westerners and their children. The reason for that is that all the key problems of the world require exponential increase in heavy industry to be solved. Western world can  most definitely outsource all its industry abroad but the planet itself can never be post-industrial in that by definition that would mean large famines and vengeful outbursts of violence. Only more industry can create the energy necessary to feed all, provide comfortable housing for all, and to otherwise fulfill United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The collapse of the Copenhagen conference on stifling industrial growth in the poorest region of the world showed complete rejection of Western neofeudalism by Asia, South America, and Africa. These people want to live and they want to live well. Chinese and Russian leaderships completely understand the malice of post-industrial concepts since their own societies only got off their knees through rapid expansion of heavy industry, high tech, assembly plants, and construction of powerful new power sources. Since Beijing and Moscow understand how real economy works, they will increasingly take global leadership from the weakening, hypocritical, moralizing, incompetent and malicious hands of Westerners (whose only solutions to Africans for instance seem to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable slums). Chinese have done more for Africa in recent years than all the western money poured into the black holes of corrupt officials ever did. That is, they built new infrastructure in exchange for commodities rather than distributing drugs and food.

We obviously need to stop (and then reverse) mass ecological destruction and to decrease the use of carbon based fuels. The solution is not to succumb to luddite anti-human and anti-progress drivel by brainwashed millionaires with finance or law degrees. The only solution is terraforming the lifeless regions of the globe through dramatic increases in nuclear power production and corresponding high tech heavy industry:

1) Utilization of the newly available power (solar and geothermal have their places to complement the atomics) for expansion of the biosphere (alongside conservation) through bringing water to hundreds of thousands of square miles of all the world's desert. We can make endless lifeforms live where they weren't able to before. There are ways of introducing certain fungi breeds which create soil which in turn allows new ecosystems to be created. For the price of one month of occupation in Afghanistan or Iraq, brand new forests can be created where they haven't been able to live before. Working via collaborative central planning with Chinese, Russians, and Indians, Westerners can systematically eliminate deserts, restore and enrich topsoils, desalinate water for entire regions, and allow small and medium sized animals to thrive in the new territories.

2) Systematic destruction and recycling of abandoned urban sprawls and suburban areas to create building materials for more compact medium sized cities of the future (these new cities would most likely utilize modular design for rapid replacement of their neighborhoods every certain number of years). Hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of earth for ecosystems can be opened up this way. Former highways and roads can be hiking trails once they are ripped out.

3) Implementation of mass high speed MagLev train lines between the new cities to make cars, buses, and airplanes seem like a wasteful way to travel.

4) Opening up lunar colonization for helium 3 mining to feed earth based fusion reactors.

Humanity currently has the technologies already available to make all of these things happen. If any of this sounds too fantastical then the oligarchy has already won. Some terraforming has been possible and done as early as 1930s. In his amazing inauguration speech, FDR mentioned that without a vision, the people perish. Devolving back to a simpler 19th century life on an organic plantation run by
"eco friendly" corporations is not a vision. It is surrender and invitation for control and mass global suffering at the hands of the same people who damaged the ecosystem to begin with. Only grand new 21st century assembly lines churning out powerful new machines can help restore what the older industrial methods have helped to destroy. We can't repair the damage with a plow in hand and a wind farm here and there. Seven billion people are asking for more.

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  1. Ahh! You are a voice of rationality and humanity in the jungle- someone who understands that both the supporters of Old Tech with its waste and sprawl on one hand: and the neo-luddites promoting the return to the brutality and filth of the pre-industrial past, have it all wrong.

  2. Unfortunately I missed the part about dealing with overpopulation and finite resources beyond helium. Maybe concern for exponential growth hitting limits is some sort of reactionary hangover. Throw out a few more passee notions like gravity and I guess the sky's the limit.

  3. "Overpopulation" is rich man's propaganda and we have agricultural technology to sustain 50 billion people easily. Oligarchs have always been concerned with "these overbreeding peasant vermin". Both population numbers and resources are dependent on levels of technology available. Asteroid belt/metals deeper in the earth's crust and terraformed deserts provide for everything we need. All you need is more electrical power as the article mentioned.

  4. Yikes. Okay, so let's assume that making a more expansive machine (civilization) is a good solution to the problems we're confronting right now. The present moderately-biggish machine contributes to the splintering of social relationships and an obsessive fixation on material garbage as the solution to loneliness, isolation, and meaninglessness. We need better polymers, and more of them damnit!

    You have so many lovely things to say about China. Have you read about the recent scandal there involving fake-rice? It's a great new product they're peddling to the empowered workers living in their super-clean and nice-smelling cities. Presumably, eating a bowl of this stuff has the nutritional equivalence of eating a plastic grocery bag. I am not a cog in that fucked up future machine you're spinning. However, if you're interested in restoring wild-lands, I'll be glad to go join the "...neo-luddites promoting the return to the brutality and filth of the pre-industrial past." At least then I won't feel like a goddamn object anymore.

  5. In reply to the last post: working up to your knees in a rice paddy and growing organic vegetables wont make you any less of an object and wont bring you a lifelong escape from loneliness, isolation, and meaninglessness either. Try doing it for a few years. The real meaning you're after is being part of a grand project of planetary renewal that creates a new civilization that totally takes advantage of humans being masters of earth via geoengineering. Our goal should be to make a new garden of Eden.