The unfinished essay, it lives in an impermanent state of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction. Not that that worries me so much, all I know is that when I’m dead I won’t be editing it anymore. More important however is the fact that I live in a world whose dynamism is, thanks to technology, far more apparent; which makes all but the most significant contributions to human knowledge redundant, in what seems like hours. Welcome to my folly.
My ‘folly’ is a response to, what strikes me as being, the ridiculous circumstance in which I live. The reasoning which led me to conclude that I am engulfed in a ‘ridiculous circumstance’ is not unfounded. Nor, as it happens are the problems we face insurmountable. By way of example lets consider just one of the many disasters which loom ahead. Climate change.
“After their 2008 review of the dangers of climate tipping points, a group of leading climate scientists wrote: ‘Society may be lulled into a false sense of security by smooth projections of global change.’68 This is typical of the cool understatement of so much climate science. The extent to which policy-makers and their advisers have been lulled into a false sense of security is apparent from the sudden emergence of ‘overshooting’ strategies, now adopted explicitly or implicitly by almost every government in the world. The rot set in about 2005 when key policy advisers seem to have decided that aiming to stabilise atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at 450ppm of CO2-e, the level associated with ‘dangerous’ warming of 2°C, would be too difficult. The capitulation was announced by the United Kingdom’s chief scientist David King, who declared that aiming for 450 ppm was ‘politically unrealistic’.69 The same conclusion was drawn by Nicholas Stern, who wrote in his 2006 report that aiming for stabilisation at 450 ppm ‘would require immediate, substantial and rapid cuts in emissions that are likely to be extremely costly’70 Instead, the world should aim to stabilise at a politically achievable 550 ppm, a target also taken up by Ross Garnaut in his 2008 report for the Australian Government. After all, the reasoning goes, we are already at 430 ppm CO2-e and stopping at 450 would meet fierce opposition from industry and voters. So we must aim instead for a concentration of 550 ppm and then bring it back down in the following decades.”
“Faith in our ability to overshoot then return t o a safer climate simply fails to understand the science—whatever we do we will be stuck with the results for a very long time. If carbon dioxide concentrations reach 550 ppm, after which emissions fell to zero, the global temperature would continue to rise for at least another century.72 Moreover, once we reach 550 ppm a number of tipping points will have been crossed and all the efforts humans then make to cut their greenhouse gas emissions may be overwhelmed by ‘natural’ sources of greenhouse gases. In that case, rather than stabilising at 550 ppm, 550 will be just another level we pass through one year on a trajectory to who knows where…”
Well fuck me, who would’a thought! If only we’d seen it coming perhaps we would’ve had time to respond…
“…Wall Street strategists view this state and local budget squeeze as a godsend. As Rahm Emanuel has put matters, a crisis is too good an opportunity to waste – and the fiscal crisis gives creditors financial leverage to push through anti-labor policies and privatization grabs. The ground is being prepared for a neoliberal “cure”: cutting back pensions and health care, defaulting on pension promises to labor, and selling off the public sector, letting the new proprietors to put up tollbooths on everything from roads to schools. The new term of the moment is “rent extraction.”
Welcome to the world of ’neofeudalism’
“Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the Latin word feodumor feudum(fief),then in use, the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the medieval period. In its classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof(1944),feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords,vassals, and fiefs.There is also a broader definition, as described byMarc Bloch(1939), that includes not only warrior nobility but all threee states of the realm: the nobility, the clerics, and the peasantry bonds of manorialism; this is sometimes referred to as a “feudal society”. Since 1974 with the publication of Elizabeth A. R. Brown‘s The Tyranny of a Construct, and Susan Reynolds‘Fiefs and Vassals(1994), there has been ongoing inconclusive discussion among medieval historians as to whether feudalism is a useful construct for understanding medieval society.” (wikipedia)
Interestingly from memory that period also includes the ‘dark ages’.
Here we go again, the ‘military’ protecting our ‘freedom’. keeping us safe and securing resources. The priests,as we are already seeing, returning to pivotal and protected status across most of the world, ready to deliver the social order, another generation of compliant and impoverished serfs ready to do the lords bidding. The nobility, replaced by elected representatives, in the ‘peoples’ house providing the veneer of fairness and legitimacy. The merchants have become corporates, an interesting absence from the definitions above, and continue doing what they have always done.
And us, starved and poor, thirsty, hungry and sick, denied access to meaningful education, left scratching our heads, again, and wondering what the fuck is going on!
- You’re not even remotely concerned enough (conservationbytes.com)
- Greenhouse gases linked to flooding (confused.com)
- Climate Change: Roman Empire increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (ionglobaltrends.com)
- How Can We Cope With Deep Climate Uncertainty? (blogs.cfr.org)
- Sea Rise Will Be Irreversible Over Next Several Thousand Years Due To Greenhouse Gas Emissions (redorbit.com)
- Human Carbon Pollution Traced to Roman Times (news.discovery.com)
- ‘Irreversible’ warming to raise sea levels (upi.com)
- Nitrous oxide and methane: the forgotten gases in the forests and climate change debate (rtcc.org)
- Study: Record Rise In Greenhouse Gases Occurred During Roman Empire (seattle.cbslocal.com)
- A case of bad economics and fundamentally flawed science (blogs.lse.ac.uk)