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#1 2018-07-11 14:43:52

Destry
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From: Haut-Rhin
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The confusing math of humanity

On one side you have the world’s richest, who have so much money they couldn’t spend it in ten lifetimes, so they invest heavily in space exploration and escaping planet Earth because they have accepted society is headed to an inevitable collapse (and it likely is), which they (and the millions they have sway over) largely contribute to. So they weasel around at secret retreats wondering how to keep their small armies of security forces loyal and foreign sanctuaries secure when money ceases to have any value and the dying hordes lay siege to their oases.1

On the other side are poor people with sensible ideas to create viable, open solutions now that can help counter society’s ills immediately while there’s still time to stave off disaster. Yet they need a moderate sum for seeing progress through to success, struggling to find what would be a drop in the lake for any one of the billionaire shitbags who have already thrown in the towel on us.2

Humanity does not make sense. I’m not sure it ever did. But one thing that does make sense? Supporting projects like OSE.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and the billionaires will rocket off to Mars early, we’ll save the Earth, and be free of the poopsacks too. \o/

__________________________________

1. Survival of the Richest
2. Open Source Ecology and its Global Village Construction Set


Fewer humans and more trees.

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#2 2018-07-11 14:58:12

colak
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Re: The confusing math of humanity

hear hear


Yiannis
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#3 2018-07-11 20:27:02

michaelkpate
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From: Avon Park, FL
Registered: 2004-02-24
Posts: 1,081
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Re: The confusing math of humanity

Destry wrote #312980:

Humanity does not make sense. I’m not sure it ever did.

The good thing is while things are not as good as they could be, they are much better than they used to be.

According to the World Bank, 1.9 billion people (or 37.1 percent of the global population) lived on less than $1.90 a day in 1990, compared to a projected 702 million (9.6 percent) in 2015. That’s a 74.1 percent decline in 25 years. – Did we really reduce extreme poverty by half in 30 years?

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#4 2018-07-12 14:43:48

Destry
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From: Haut-Rhin
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Re: The confusing math of humanity

Yes, I would hope I can get a tooth pulled with a little more than a shot of whiskey and a nail puller. That today’s quality of living is overall better than yesteryear is to be expected somewhat.

But are you really going to play the ‘$1.90/day poverty line’ card as a measure of how well the world is doing? That’s almost comical. (It is comical.)

A homeless man in Seattle makes more than that from hat coins. Easy. Does that mean the American homeless are not in poverty because they’re not in the slums of Mumbai?

People close to me have health conditions (oof, American health care system) and struggle to pay their bills month-to-month, and sometimes don’t make it, adding more stress on their already difficult lives. That’s being well off? It is according to that World Bank measure.

Even the article you share is three-quarters demonstration of what a bad metric that is. The World Bank (a name difficult to say without sneering) has been criticised for this politics-favouring litmus test for nearly as long as that study covers. And a lot longer still for many other reasons. It’s used when corporations and their political cronies want to distract from the real issues that threaten their colonial regime.

But for the benefit of doubt, let’s say you missed the point, which was to highlight and promote the admirable Open Source Ecology project while taking a good stab at the capitalist poopsacks, all wrapped up in a little storytelling for fun.

Regarding the OSE and why I find it great work… The issues are many, complex, and too interrelated to debate here, and you know that, but it goes something like this:

  1. Anthropogenic impacts increase (atmospheric carbon loading being on deleterious example), compounded by the ever-increasing human population and its demand for vital resources.
  2. Food and water availability goes down (not to mention air quality and habitat availability) because it doesn’t last long when more mouths need fed, nor does it replenish well as the biome gets hotter.
  3. Corporations deny the truth and blur the facts through fake news, false research, and strategic political alliances because truth threatens their privileged dominion of the world.

Now I’m inclined to ask what is the point of sharing that laughable measure here? That someone making $2/day (above the so-called poverty fold) can afford to contribute to the OSE project so billionaires aren’t bothered? That the OSE project is irrelevant because the house fire isn’t so bad? That there’s a problem with people wanting to live more self-sustainingly?

Don’t worry, it’s rhetorical.


Fewer humans and more trees.

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#5 2018-07-12 15:47:39

colak
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Re: The confusing math of humanity

I remember reading Douglas Coupland’s Generation X when it came out. Somewhere in there, and I am most probably paraphrasing after all these years, he said that this generation (those born between 1960-80) was the first one whose future would not be as good as that of previous generations.

It was a book that struck a chord in me then and one which I keep on thinking about when I am trying to understand today’s problems. The situation world wide is becoming unbearable and the main issue that we are facing is that we can no longer even imagine a better future. The most they allow us to hope for is that things will remain as they are. A lie we tell ourselves when we seek comfort.

McKenzie Wark, the author of The Hacker Manifesto, has described today’s problems much more eloquently than I can:

It was the best of times; it was the end of times. It was the age of information; and it was the age of too much information. It was the epoch of ideology critique; and it was the epoch of acting the same way regardless. It was the season of clarity; it was the season of magic thinking. It was the fall of hope; it was the hottest summer on record. We had everything before us; we had no future before us. Many humble peoples and innumerable species were fast ascending to heaven; a few of many means retired below ground to their private bunkers. (To The Vector The Spoils, thirdrailquarterly.org/wp-content/uploads/thirdrail_2015_Issue6_final_wark.pdf)

I like the whole text and the above is just the intro.


Yiannis
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#6 2018-07-12 16:16:40

michaelkpate
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From: Avon Park, FL
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Posts: 1,081
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Re: The confusing math of humanity

Destry wrote #312993:

But are you really going to play the ‘$1.90/day poverty line’ card as a measure of how well the world is doing? That’s almost comical. (It is comical.)

Fact: The World is a much better place than it was prior to the Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and the rise of Capitalism.

It isn’t even a subject that one can debate seriously. And what you are advocating for isn’t a new idea.

In the first stage, generally called ‘socialism’, there will be relative scarcity of a number of consumer goods (and services), making it necessary to measure exactly distribution based on the actual labour inputs of each individual (Marx nowhere refers to different quantities and qualities of labour; Engels explicitly rejects the idea that an architect, because he has more skill, should consume more than a manual labourer). Likewise, there will still be the need to use incentives for getting people to work in general. This will be based upon strict equality of access for all trades and professions to consumption. But as human needs are unequal, that formal equality masks the survival of real inequality. In a second phase, generally called ‘communism’, there will be plenty, i.e. output will reach a saturation point of needs covered by material goods. Under these circumstances, any form of precise measurement of consumption (distribution) will wither away. The principle of full needs satisfaction covering all different needs of different individuals will prevail. No incentive will be needed any more to induce people to work. ‘Labour’ will have transformed itself into meaningful many-fold activity, making possible all-round development of each individual’s human personality. The division of labour between manual and intellectual labour, the separation of town and countryside, will wither away. Humankind will be organised into a free federation of producers’ and consumers’ communes. – Marx and Engels on the Economy of Post-Capitalist Societies

Unfortunately, though, as we’ve learned from many failed attempts, no one seems able to do it right.

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#7 2018-07-12 16:36:22

colak
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Re: The confusing math of humanity

michaelkpate wrote #312998:

Unfortunately, though, as we’ve learned from many failed attempts, no one seems able to do it right.

Hi Michael,

I know what you mean and you are absolutely right. I actually believe that we need another system. We are all too stuck on the polarities of left-right, east-west, north-south. This of course I realise that it is a hopeless wish.

The fact that communism failed in about 10 places and flavours around the world in the past 50 years is indeed an indication that it is a utopian system far from our true nature.

How many times should we nevertheless allow capitalist systems to fail before we start imagining a better system for ourselves? This is more of an ethical rather than ideological question. One which I ponder about for 8 years now and my most honest answer would be that we are all complicit with the current situation. In the 60s there were real massive and emotional protests, today we just use emoticons.


Yiannis
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#8 2018-07-12 18:12:59

bici
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From: vancouver
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Posts: 1,248
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Re: The confusing math of humanity

today we just use emoticons.

What me Worry?


…. texted postive

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#9 2018-07-12 19:23:45

michaelkpate
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From: Avon Park, FL
Registered: 2004-02-24
Posts: 1,081
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Re: The confusing math of humanity

colak wrote #312999:

The fact that communism failed in about 10 places and flavours around the world in the past 50 years is indeed an indication that it is a utopian system far from our true nature.

You reminded me of something I read the other day.

Utopia—a term meaning both “good place” and “no place”—has a long history: It dates back to Thomas More’s book of the same name, which was published in 1516. More imagined a perfect world as a lens through which to see the current one: In order to fully appreciate the unfairness of 16th-century England, More contrasted it with a hypothetical Utopia where all men were equally prosperous. No one mistook More’s Utopia for a policy proposal. As Rutger Bregman explains in the introduction to Utopia for Realists, virtually all of humanity was living in extreme poverty in More’s day. What’s more, the same was true 200 years later. The average annual income in Italy in 1300 was roughly $1,600; by 1880, after the Renaissance and the Enlightenment and the invention of gunpowder and the steam engine and the printing press, it was still $1,600. For all those centuries, Utopia was only an ethos, no more than a provocative thought experiment. – Universal Basic Income Is Not the Solution to Poverty

How many times should we nevertheless allow capitalist systems to fail before we start imagining a better system for ourselves? This is more of an ethical rather than ideological question. One which I ponder about for 8 years now and my most honest answer would be that we are all complicit with the current situation.

Capitalism rose out of Mercantilism, a system built around the idea that there was a fixed amount of wealth in the world and therefore could only be obtained through Conquest and Imperialism. Mercantilism had replaced the earlier Feudalism, where a few people on top prospered while everyone else pretty much starved.

I am always open to new ideas, especially ones that makes things better. But as the passage I quoted above notes, Socialism actually makes things worse in the short term. And that is when it works as intended. Which is actually quite difficult to pull off.

This is, perhaps, also the point where I should briefly mention the fact that the sort of knowledge with which I have been concerned is knowledge of the kind which by its nature cannot enter into statistics and therefore cannot be conveyed to any central authority in statistical form. The statistics which such a central authority would have to use would have to be arrived at precisely by abstracting from minor differences between the things, by lumping together, as resources of one kind, items which differ as regards location, quality, and other particulars, in a way which may be very significant for the specific decision. It follows from this that central planning based on statistical information by its nature cannot take direct account of these circumstances of time and place and that the central planner will have to find some way or other in which the decisions depending on them can be left to the “man on the spot.” – Friedrich Hayek

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#10 2018-07-13 06:55:34

colak
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From: Cyprus
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Re: The confusing math of humanity

Unfortunately the disparities caused by capitalism are much larger than those by Feudalism whilst the current vectorial class (a natural evolution of capitalism) is by far the most powerful and offers the most unfair distribution of resources.

Also, I do not really believe the rhetoric that capitalism rose out of Mercantilism – although many books support this view. Capitalism to me, came out of colonialism, where resources (especially in the west) were no longer limited to what it could be produced or traded but expanded to the ones beyond the borders. This of course meant/means, draining those resources from local populations, historically from Africa, South-East Asia and South America but also the Middle and Near East which is currently tormented by wars transparently being encouraged for the control and endless appetite for fossil fuels by the west.


Yiannis
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neme.org | hblack.net | LABS | State Machines | NeMe @ github

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