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Are you familiar with the work of John Michael Greer? I would be curious as to your take on his thinking if you have read him. I do read him, Kunstler, George Mobus over at Question Everything, and you of course, among other writers on these topics. I have read Berman but he seems pretty limited in his thinking about most subjects.

It's interesting to try and put together the information that each of you writes about to try and get some sense as to what is going on and what to expect.

Bill Hicks

"AIs do not need more intelligence than humans to transform the job market. They need only enough to do the task well."

Reminds me of a George Carlin quote concerning the piss poor state of education in America. George asserted that the elites don't want educated people capable of critical thinking because it doesn't serve their interests. Instead, they wanted a cadre of obedient workers, people just smart enough to run the machinery while still being dumb enough not to feel the big red, white and blue dick being jammed up their ass every day of their lives.

Apparently, even being a useful idiot isn't good enough to satisfy the greedheads anymore.

Dave Cohen


Are you familiar with the work of John Michael Greer?

I sure am!

I love archdruids wearing ridiculous costumes!


-- Dave

Dave Cohen

@Bill Hicks

I go over to Morris Berman's blog once and a while, where I see that the subject of every post he writes is ... Morris Berman.

Quite a self-promoter, Morris.

Anyway, I've noticed that you comment a lot on his blog. And today, I brought up the obvious point that Morris has his head up his ass.

And yet, you had nothing to say today about that.

-- Dave


Read this today, which really should have been titled 'Panic! at the Disco':

Several of the attendees are questioning why they could have been so silly as to target 1.5 degrees just six months ago. What oh what were they thinking?

But there's one lady who says there are "still pathways to limiting warming to 1.5-degrees". To do so would just require "significant changes to the economies of industrialized countries and would dramatically reduce the size of the global marketplace". We just lack the political will, she says.

There's a man who was enraged by such unscientific claptrap and claimed that a "1.5-degree limit on global warming was 'impossible' without relying 'heavily on carbon capture and storage and other technologies.'"

Neither apparently considered that both approaches might be more effective in conjunction. It's gotta be either the first option (a complete fantasy, although barring all reality it would technically be the most effective approach) or the second option (which would essentially be a massive subsidy to just continue burning fossil fuels, wouldn't solve any of the other environmental problems, is questionable at best as to whether it would work, and has more than a slight chance at creating unintended consequences).

And the funny thing is - those are actually the strongest approaches to reducing carbon quickly. The IEA is promoting that a ramp-up in renewables funding and some tweaking of the economy (methane reductions here and there, reduce fossil fuel subsidies, reduce coal use) will help cause global emissions to peak by 2020 - the year the Paris agreement goes into effect.

The renewables funding info can be found here:

They propose that moving from $270 billion a year in renewables spending in 2014 to $400 billion in 2030 will do the trick. And almost certainly, they command more respect and attention at the UN climate talks in Bonn than the two nut jobs mentioned in the article.

Meanwhile, the climate negotiators have a raft of 75 other issues to solve, "including funding to help poor countries adapt to a changing climate, transparency on national emissions reduction efforts and financial issues, and capacity building". They've agreed on the rulebook implementation after several days of jostling.

So, you know, good luck!


Berman's Japan theory lacks a basic recognition of the nation's absolute fascination with technology. They're really one of the most technophilic cultures on the planet. These things don't come from the barter system, they're not created by swaps on Craigslist, nor are they hand-crafted by individuals. They are only enabled by massive pre-investment, which either requires enormous state funding (socialism/communism) or pooling capital into profit-driven and large corporations (a historically superior approach).

The only way I see the Japanese moving to an alternative (and non-capitalist or socialist) economy is by completely abandoning technology. I'd love to visit Japan some day, I've long been fascinated by their culture, but I have to wonder what the hell Berman saw over there. Does he really think the average Japanese citizen is going to give up this?:

As to Japan in the 19th century, it was only able to achieve a 'sustainable' and localized economy by really strict cultural repression and isolationism. The Amish do something similar today. It's theoretically possible, but we've opened the Pandora's Box of technological progress and material prosperity. I don't see us moving past that and into some alternative without technology and material prosperity becoming an impossibility - this requires amazing levels of cultural repression and isolationism or some absolute systemic failure that last for decades plus, followed by cultural repression and isolationism (to prevent a re-adoption of technology and to fight off influences from other cultures that have adopted technological progress - and that last threat proved the undoing of Japan's 19th century 'golden age of simplicity and honesty' in the first place).

Mike Roberts

As I was contemplating the utter foolishness of believing the Paris agreement represented any real change in the thinking of our species, following a string of actions in signatory countries (of which this fracking decision is just the latest), Dan's first comment led me to wonder what the archdruid was up to, these days. One recent post caught my eye, as it included an unpronounceable name, Cthulhu. Though most of the post was boring drivel, the point about the universe not being here for our benefit (as most people seem to believe) was well put. It's amazing how many people think that our species is somehow special and must be able to get what it wants.

BTW, he's not an archdruid any more, so maybe he'll tone down the outfits.

Alexander Ač

Hello Dave,

reading your posts is a kind od remedy from the craziness of Flatland for me (and hopefully for many others as well!). Those who are able to expose the bullshit can never run out of good material, in fact, in can only get better. Non-bullshiters can only run out of motivation.

And just when I thought it cannot get any crazier, more stupid, more flatlandish, your quote:

Does anybody still wonder why I think Homo sapiens is an utterly failed evolutionary experiment?

leaving your virtual space convinced mi again, it certainly CAN get crazier. Ok, lets talk about bad news filtering and technology bullshit again :-/

Futuristic bus that cars can drive through!

Which brings me to the guestion: "Are virtually all sane people already dead, or they were never born?"



Bill Hicks

@Dave - I didn't agree with Berman that Japan is going to fare any better than the rest of the world in the years ahead. I also didn't buy his Japan book, so I didn't feel the need to defend him.

Jon Summers

Dave, I long admire your intellectual work.
An interesting article on the Guardian "You’re witnessing the death of neoliberalism – from within"
It's a nice romp through IMF ideologic thinking. It mentions a histo-novella example of red flatlandism "Red Plenty - a magnificent novel-cum-history of the Soviet Union".
Some snippets:
Even while they censored their citizens’ very thoughts, the communists dreamed big. Leonid Kantorovich, the only Soviet ever to win a Nobel prize for economics [WTF?]. Rattling along on the Moscow metro, he fantasises about what plenty will bring to his impoverished fellow commuters:"The women’s clothes all turning to quilted silk, the military uniforms melting into tailored grey and silver: and faces, faces the length of the car, relaxing, losing the worry lines and the hungry looks and all the assorted toothmarks of necessity". But reality makes swift work of such sandcastles.

Red Plenty ends with Nikita Khrushchev pacing outside his dacha, to where he has been forcibly retired. "Paradise," he exclaims, "is a place where people want to end up, not a place they run from. What kind of socialism is that? What kind of shit is that, when you have to keep people in chains? What kind of social order? What kind of paradise?"

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