First time poster, Hello everyone! This is a bit of a tangental rant and scrolling past is excused :)
I’ve been cogitating over Fast Eddy’s claims that collapse hasn’t come sooner because there are people in control who have done their darndest to prevent it. Players who determine central bank and economic policies, some kind of unelected inner sanctum banking clique, are seen as the saviours of our time (so far at least). It may seem a moot point to consider whether the course of our recent history is determined by design more than chance. It is a point worth considering though because but it does speak to sense of hope that often finds its way into the discourse here. If there are people who have been capable of stemming the effects of energy constraints is there a chance that they can do it for a longer term? Can collapse be avoided, or ameliorated if it does occur ? In this regard the benevolent communism that ArtLeads yearns for, the disappointed nihilism of Fast Eddy, and the microbial revolution of D.S. have something in common. All put the course of history in the hands of human agency.
Some would argue that we are capable of determining our lot through a reasoned modelling of the consequences arising from our actions. However our choices often are just a muddle through. We just do what seems right at the time. Our actions are usually determined by a narrow range of learned responses in answer to perceptions and models of the world that seldom escape ‘cultural velocity’ (to coin a term). If we are to expect any one in control to keep this sinking ship afloat we can’t expect them to act too much differently than what has come before. Where we go next is determined by past choices more than present ones. Believers in the power of human agency to achieve human goals also forget this; there is really no such thing as a true revolution, only a reconfiguring of the rankings of existing relationships and networks.
Humanity’s existence within the habitat of earth can be seen as a participation in a system that allows no agency and no revolution. We cannot change the constants needed for energy transfer within this system as it relates to maintaining human complexity. Such needs as a comfortable temperature range, regular food and water are baked in. The network of rules, technologies and habits we use to achieve the energy flows we need to achieve these needs we can label ‘the human economy’ (It is misleading to call this network of energy use ‘culture’ when money became our principle tool for control over the harnessing of energy. Take for example the difference between the agricultural revolution – enabled by a cultural shift to adapt to new methods of food production – and the industrial revolution – enabled by a change in money use which allowed the creation of capital intensive projects). Any change within the human economy subsystem must always bow to the demands of the larger system. This is why a set of economic rules only succeeds when it succeeds in feeding its society, or in other words, successfully achieves the required energy flows for maintaining entropy-defying higher order systems. It is this conclusion that reinforces Gail’s premise that it is the interplay of energy and economics that determines the fate of human society. Furthermore, it posits that we are members of a subsystem locked within the demands of a larger system thereby limiting our agency. - ContributorWhat an excellent contribution from Contributor! He very well outlines why it's so difficult to come up with a new system replacing the old one. Of course a big challenge even for Terje Bongard, Norway's first and best human behavioural ecologist. But I'm sure he would have outlined the necessary solutions if he just was given the 42 millions N.Kr. he needed for MEDOSS!