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Documentary Club, Episode 1, Season 2: Surviving Progress


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#1 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:27 PM

Unfortunately, I can not find this free online not in subtitles as of now. I did find it earlier and now I can not. If someone does, please add. 

 

Here is the synopsis:

 

 

About

“Every time history repeats itself the price goes up.”

Surviving Progress presents the story of human advancement as awe-inspiring and double-edged. It reveals the grave risk of running the 21st century’s software — our know-how — on the ancient hardware of our primate brain which hasn’t been upgraded in 50,000 years. With rich imagery and immersive soundtrack, filmmakers Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks launch us on journey to contemplate our evolution from cave-dwellers to space explorers.

Ronald Wright, whose best-seller, “A Short History Of Progress” inspired this film, reveals how civilizations are repeatedly destroyed by “progress traps” — alluring technologies serve immediate needs, but ransom the future. With intersecting stories from a Chinese car-driving club, a Wall Street insider who exposes an out-of-control, environmentally rapacious financial elite, and eco-cops defending a scorched Amazon, the film lays stark evidence before us. In the past, we could use up a region’s resources and move on. But if today’s global civilization collapses from over-consumption, that’s it. We have no back-up planet.

Surviving Progress brings us thinkers who have probed our primate past, our brains, and our societies. Some amplify Wright’s urgent warning, while others have faith that the very progress which has put us in jeopardy is also the key to our salvation. Cosmologist Stephen Hawking looks to homes on other planets. Biologist Craig Venter, whose team decoded the human genome, designs synthetic organisms he hopes will create artificial food and fuel for all.

Distinguished Professor of Environment Vaclav Smil counters that five billion “have-nots” aspire to our affluent lifestyle and, without limits on the energy and resource-consumption of the “haves”, we face certain catastrophe. Others — including primatologist Jane Goodall, author Margaret Atwood, and activists from the Congo, Canada, and USA — place their hope in our ingenuity and moral evolution.

Surviving Progress leaves us with a challenge: To prove that making apes smarter was not an evolutionary dead-end.

 



#2 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:29 PM

It is on Netflix, so presumably other paid streaming may have it for participants. My humble apologies for no clean free version.



#3 hoagie

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:56 PM

Ill check it out tomorrow, sounds interesting

#4 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:58 PM

OK, I am trying to watch this on the above again and it is a travesty.

Maybe we should delete this and skip me.



#5 Jabadoodle

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:44 AM

I've got the Netflix and this is in my queue anyway so it's good by me.



#6 TEO

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:41 AM

Is the example with the chimp and the kid trying to setup the yellow block really proving the point?  Wouldn't you need either a chimp raised as a human child or a child raised by chimps to be certain the child is not exhibiting learned behavior in investigating why the block does not stand up?



#7 TEO

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 01:40 PM

Over population - check

 

Gluttonous use of resources - check

 

Rampant greed - check

 

Lack of debt resets - check

 

Wars - check



#8 hoagie

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:19 PM

I have netflix, will watch after my current job interview...

#9 TEO

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

Good luck with your job interview!

 

 

I viewed this last night.



#10 hoagie

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:53 PM

Is the example with the chimp and the kid trying to setup the yellow block really proving the point?  Wouldn't you need either a chimp raised as a human child or a child raised by chimps to be certain the child is not exhibiting learned behavior in investigating why the block does not stand up?

 

 

The chimps cannot ask "why", no matter how many times they attempt to balance the block.  It shows chimps and humans do think differently with regards to problem solving.

 

This was a pretty cool film, well done and entertaining.  Maybe civilization is a progress trap, seems to be the major thesis.  The example of stone age hunters becoming too successful once they figured out how to run entire mammoth herds off cliffs was really powerful and illustrates how knowlege without forethought could present irreversible consequences.



#11 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:09 PM

I enjoyed this one too, but will reserve my comments on it until last.



#12 china cat

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:20 PM

Tim, have you watched yet? If not Friday morning watch it together?



#13 hoagie

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:21 PM

Tim, have you watched yet? If not Friday morning watch it together?

that sounds distracting....



#14 TEO

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:24 PM

This picture seems representative of issues raised.

 

734083_516143688425284_142452218_n.jpg



#15 Tim the Beek

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:07 AM

that sounds distracting....

 

Quiet down, dude. I've been trying to get with this chick for months. :funny1:

 

Friday morning sounds great.



#16 Jabadoodle

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:40 PM

* Overall I liked this documentary a lot, both the message and presentation.

 

 

* I like the concept of “Progress Trap” to identify changes that are progress in one frame of reference but that cause problems when looked at in a larger context.

 

 

* I like the comparison between chimps to humans as an example of how humans differ. TEO is right that the experiment shown isn't conclusive. Still, from other things I’ve read (Consciousness Explained by Dennett) I do believe that the ability to make and manipulate models of reality in our minds (and now via computer) is one of the defining differences between humans and all other animals. The jury may still be out on whether that difference is progress or a progress trap.

 

 

* Much was made of economic systems and debt. While I agree that monetary systems and our concepts of debt cause many problems and that we need to work on better systems, I don’t think debt is a “progress that we can’t survive.

 

 

* Also mentioned was that our economic systems don’t value things like clean air and human rights, and assume unlimited growth in a finite world. I believe this is a crucial root-cause problem and must change. One person in the documentary notes that “nature provides services”. If these “services” could be accounted and charged for in our economic models we might be able to avoid destroying them. One reason we don’t may be because it would increase costs of everyday things to amounts that people don’t want to pay. Who complains when gas prices go up 50 cents? Who wants to buy $5 lettuce?

I’m reminded of the quote, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” If you think paying full-price for the planet’s resources is expensive, try living in a world without them. (I’d like to find a way to write that concept in a manner that is clearer and catchier.)

 


* The documentary touches on how western countries give loans to developing countries through the IMF and World Bank. The money from these loans goes mostly to western companies, allowing them to build the infrastructure to get natural resources. A portion goes to enrich/corrupt local leaders and almost none of it makes the lives of the people living there better. The book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” gives a first hand account from a person that had the job of making these loans. This is not a side effect of good intentions; they know exactly what they are doing. Not mentioned in the documentary is that if the leaders see through these “loans” and refuse them, the Economic Hit Men are withdrawn and “Jackels” are sent in to assassinate the uncooperative leaders.
 

 

* I like that it points out that what we are doing is a global experiment. Unlike with past civilizations that have failed, if we fail now it may create conditions that aren't just local and relatively temporary but global and lasting for tens of thousands of years. “Every time history repeats itself the price goes up.”

 

 

* I like that it mentions population as a critical element. No matter how much we conserve or what non-greenhouse gas energy solutions we develop, more people means more resources used. I like that they mention this as the issue that doesn’t get much attention because no one wants to be told how many children they can have.

Recently I watched a BBC documentary, “How Many People Can Live On Planet Earth” (you tube . com/watch?v=wa3ZDEZj3P8). There are just over 7 Billion people on the planet now. Depending on what new technologies, energy sources, and conservation efforts we make, the planet might sustainably support 1 to 5 Billion people (my estimate from what I’ve read) at lifestyles approximating those of Europeans or Americans.

A hopeful fact is that wherever education increases (especially among women) the birth rates fall to non-growth levels. This is why education is one of my 5 root-issues in solving our global problems.



#17 Jabadoodle

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:47 PM

* One thing I didn't notice addressed in this documentary was nuclear power and nuclear war. We no longer think about a full-scale nuclear war as people did during the cold war. The weapons are still out there. The potential to not only kill most of the humans and animals but to destroy the environment that sustains life is still out there. To survive progress this needs to be addressed.


I have mixed views on nuclear energy. Some of what I’ve researched indicates it is the only non-Co2 emitting energy source that can scale to the needs we have. On the other hand, anything that has pollution that lasts 10,000+ years seems radically irresponsible to even consider. In any case, any discussion of “surviving progress” should include this topic.

 

 

* Not critical but I don’t buy the 50,000 year old brain argument. We can see from all of history, especially the last 100 years, how well our “software” (concepts and structures) can adapt to new changes. We don’t need different hardware, we need different software. Our technological change has outpaced our work on ethics and spirituality so that we can think and feel globally. This is not surprising because technological changes result in economic gain while people working on ethics and spirituality don’t get much economic reward. Again, it’s a case of our economic models not valuing what needs to be valued.

 

 

* The movie mentioned genetic modification. I wont’ say much about this and I won’t say I’m against it, but if ever there was a “progress trap”, I’m concerned that genetic modification (humans or seeds) is it.

 

 

* Steven Hawking says we need to explore the ability to live on other worlds. I’m 100% down with that, but it’s not a solution that will be viable in any time-frame that will help us survive as a species.

 

 

* This documentary and others harp on big corporations and banks. These may be the instruments that create and perpetuate the problems, but don’t we all enjoy and tacitly contribute to these problems via our life-styles?

 

 

Root-Cause Solutions:

* New economic models that better reflect and value the realities of the planet.

* Education & spiritual growth that helps people think globally and reduces population growth.

* Removing money’s excess influence from politics so human actions are in support of people not money.

* Development of sustainable energy sources.

* Elimination of nuclear weapons. Possibly of nuclear power, but I’m not sure.



#18 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:55 PM

Root-Cause Solutions:

* New economic models that better reflect and value the realities of the planet.

* Education & spiritual growth that helps people think globally and reduces population growth.

* Removing money’s excess influence from politics so human actions are in support of people not money.

* Development of sustainable energy sources.

* Elimination of nuclear weapons. Possibly of nuclear power, but I’m not sure.

 

 

 You nailed what I've been waiting to touch on with this one. I'll hold off until the rest of the group has commented, but this is exactly what I got from it too. Although, most likely from a different angle than others. And why this is in bold and cant be undone is beyond me.

 

Good write up, Jab.

  
 



#19 TEO

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:10 PM

 

* Steven Hawking says we need to explore the ability to live on other worlds. I’m 100% down with that, but it’s not a solution that will be viable in any time-frame that will help us survive as a species.

 

My first thought after viewing that segment was, "what the hell is wrong with Steven Hawking?"  "Why does he think the solution is to just pack up and move to another planet until we ruin that one, rinse repeat?"  Perhaps there is more to his solution than that?  Perhaps he thinks we are beyond salvation here?



#20 Jabadoodle

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:31 PM

 

 

 You nailed what I've been waiting to touch on with this one. I'll hold off until the rest of the group has commented, but this is exactly what I got from it too. Although, most likely from a different angle than others. And why this is in bold and cant be undone is beyond me.

 

Good write up, Jab.

  
 

 

Thanks, Dave.



#21 hoagie

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:24 PM

My first thought after viewing that segment was, "what the hell is wrong with Steven Hawking?" "Why does he think the solution is to just pack up and move to another planet until we ruin that one, rinse repeat?" Perhaps there is more to his solution than that? Perhaps he thinks we are beyond salvation here?

I believe you nailed it...

#22 Jabadoodle

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:46 PM

There's some interesting online courses on these subjects...

https://www.coursera...ourse/energy101

 

https://www.coursera.../course/sustain



#23 china cat

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:47 PM

Good doc, TASB. Tim and I finished watching yesterday.

 

Will add some quick thoughts soon.



#24 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:17 AM

Alright. Since we're starting another doc for tomorrow (Jab's choice), I'll lay down my thoughts on this one. Starting with Jabs conclusion:

 

Root-Cause Solutions:

* New economic models that better reflect and value the realities of the planet.

This is the biggest problem that I see. Our current expanding monetary policies of the world have finally out paced the planets resource. "Money" is now growing faster than we can keep up with. This leads to expanding demands, expanding population and an artificial pace of destruction of the natural resources we have. Having a money system built strictly into resources, such as precious metals, is absolutely essential to any kind of balance. ( I know. It's broken record shit. But since we can not change everyone's mind collectively, it's the best we can to to be more mindful of production and ability limited by earth's resources. Progress traps are a lot less likely to occur when capital resources are completely constrained by production/labor (mining precious metal and modest inflations, minus fractional lending)

* Education & spiritual growth that helps people think globally and reduces population growth.

Without any doubt. We must re-evaluate the extent and HOW we educate our children, and ways to keep learning passed formal schooling.  

* Removing money’s excess influence from politics so human actions are in support of people not money.

This goes back to what I was saying about excess "money" artificially created and who it benefits.

* Development of sustainable energy sources.

We have them. I think a re-evaluation of patent laws would go more directly to the source of our energy progress trap.

* Elimination of nuclear weapons. Possibly of nuclear power, but I’m not sure.

I don't think this is possible. It has to be a voluntary measure. If more of some of the above was common, we might see new and improved ways to deal with some of our most pervasive problems.

 

Over all, I think this was a good documentary and the idea of progress traps and what progress is, is an excellent discussion.



#25 hoagie

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:13 PM

Progress is definitely subjective.

#26 china cat

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:32 PM

Initial thoughts (I'm being intellectually lazy in my response)

 

Colin Beaven came to speak at my school last year. His book No Impact Man was the freshman reading selection. Anyway..

 

Progress seems to be a term co-opted by those who who fail to consider the interdependence of earthlings and prioritizes technological advancement and convenience over planetary sustainability. 

 

Other nations are now using alternative methods (such as the Genuine Progress Index) to calculate their nation's progress. The GPI  includes social and environmental capital in its assessment of progress. The U.S. needs radical new leadership (who are willing to invite and explore new cabinet members and policies more in line with the GPI's assessment of progress - and an Obama administration is not it. His team is made of of banksters and status quo economists who are furthering the destruction of our economy, well-being, and environment...). Environmental activism must confront economic policy. 

 

We need the planet, it doesn't need us--the arrogance of our utilitarian attitude toward it, is leading us down a perilous road

 

The information about the IMF is infuriating. I knew of this already, but it incites anger to hear of it again. The documentary South of the Border (Oliver Stone interviews many of the Central American leaders, who speak about their fight against the IMF--it sheds like on their disdain for U.S.)

 

Population control: My question: are population control and personal liberty antithetical? I am very cautious when I hear arguments about population control (draconian measures by environmental extremists, who might consider sterilizations, policies advocating limits of family size, etc, eugenics, etc...).  I always believed education coupled with access to birth control would be the answer. Though, it's occurred to me: more educated people with less children may create a new set of problems: education may lead to higher standard of living, which may lead to higher levels of consumption, which leads to continued need for resources, which brings us back to environmental destruction.  Really, who does more damage to the planet, the struggling family of 6 in Uganda or the American family with 2.1 children? So population seems less an issue than consumption habits of the population? Distribution and greed must be addressed along side population control measures (the phrase "population control" measures makes me very uncomfortable)

 

There is another piece of the documentary that really caught my attention (and I'm still mulling it over)... Humans, unlike other species think. We seem to be the only species with this ability. Other earthlings seem to exist and react in and to the sensory world. They live in the realm of motion, movement of sights, smells, sounds, biological processes therefore are incapable of forethought. Humans, because of our symbolic capacities learn to think conceptually, which includes ideas of right and wrong, the concept of time (past present future), we develop value systems, codes of morality... 

 

But we are also the human animal with a biological, instinctual nature. Are these two at odds? Is the ability to consider the future consequences of our actions inhibited by our animal instincts? I'd venture to say this is not accurate, as someone in the film theorized. Animal self and thinking self may be at odds but I believe the higher thinking self has the ability to override the lower animal self. We see this happen, so it is possible. Cultural inculcation has a lot to do with which self will win. We live in an advertisement saturated culture, a competitive culture, and individualistic culture, a scarcity based culture. I believe the consumption, fear-based self is what's fed and maintained; we've been brainwashed. 

 

maybe I'll add more, these are initial ramblings. Gonna go read everyone else's comments :)



#27 hoagie

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:19 PM

"There is another piece of the documentary that really caught my attention (and I'm still mulling it over)... Humans, unlike other species, think. We seem to be the only species with this ability. Other earthlings seem to exist and react in and to the sensory world. They live in the realm of motion, movement of sights, smells, sounds, biological processes therefore are incapable of forethought. Humans, because of our symbolic capacities learn to think conceptually, which includes ideas of right and wrong, the concept of time (past present future), we develop value systems, codes of morality... "

 

So, maybe this is the "progress trap" itself.



#28 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:23 PM

Only if our "thinking" is cyclical and circular. Which it appears to be, since we often repeat history rather than learn from past mistakes.



#29 Tim the Beek

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:32 PM

So, maybe this is the "progress trap" itself.

 

Perhaps, though ironically it's also the hope we have of avoiding it.



#30 Tim the Beek

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:37 PM

Very much enjoyed the documentary. Don't think I have much of substance to say which wasn't written already above.

 

If we can't get our cultural mindset to shift away from the idea of infinite growth, we're cooked.

 

There's solace in the notion that if we cook ourselves, after a period of adjustment, most of the rest of life on earth will likely end up ok.



#31 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:42 PM

Very much enjoyed the documentary. Don't think I have much of substance to say which wasn't written already above.

 

If we can't get our cultural mindset to shift away from the idea of infinite growth, we're cooked.

 

There's solace in the notion that if we cook ourselves, after a period of adjustment, most of the rest of life on earth will likely end up ok.

 

I'm of the opinion that we will cook ourselves to a point. At which time we will head back to a certain part of the drawing board and start again. Unless something such as an asteroid happens. In which case none of any of it really matters. Not even from the perspective of life continuing on without humans.



#32 hoagie

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:00 PM

Perhaps, though ironically it's also the hope we have of avoiding it.

 

 

Why couldn't it be sort of like the hunters killing mammoth herds analogy....the way we think makes us do certain things that we will eventually be unable to save ourselves from, all because we are so "smart". Runaway evolution that doesn't serve us in the end.



#33 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:16 PM

I think that's what Tim means. It might be in our best interest to recognize we're not nearly as "smart" as we think we are. Thinking isn't going away. Responsible thinking however, seems to be.



#34 hoagie

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

What if "responsible thinking" is not really possible?  Why should we assume it is, when all of history shows that civilizations eventually fall into ruin, and populations have always consumed until an area is used up, then moved on?  Shouldn't we assume that we are doomed, as our ancestors all have been?  Maybe we are already dead, but need to live our way into that reality?



#35 Jabadoodle

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:46 PM

Alright. Since we're starting another doc for tomorrow (Jab's choice), I'll lay down my thoughts on this one. Starting with Jabs conclusion:

 

Root-Cause Solutions:

* New economic models that better reflect and value the realities of the planet.

This is the biggest problem that I see. Our current expanding monetary policies of the world have finally out paced the planets resource. "Money" is now growing faster than we can keep up with. This leads to expanding demands, expanding population and an artificial pace of destruction of the natural resources we have. Having a money system built strictly into resources, such as precious metals, is absolutely essential to any kind of balance. ( I know. It's broken record shit. But since we can not change everyone's mind collectively, it's the best we can to to be more mindful of production and ability limited by earth's resources. Progress traps are a lot less likely to occur when capital resources are completely constrained by production/labor (mining precious metal and modest inflations, minus fractional lending)

* Education & spiritual growth that helps people think globally and reduces population growth.

Without any doubt. We must re-evaluate the extent and HOW we educate our children, and ways to keep learning passed formal schooling.  

* Removing money’s excess influence from politics so human actions are in support of people not money.

This goes back to what I was saying about excess "money" artificially created and who it benefits.

* Development of sustainable energy sources.

We have them. I think a re-evaluation of patent laws would go more directly to the source of our energy progress trap.

* Elimination of nuclear weapons. Possibly of nuclear power, but I’m not sure.

I don't think this is possible. It has to be a voluntary measure. If more of some of the above was common, we might see new and improved ways to deal with some of our most pervasive problems.

 

Over all, I think this was a good documentary and the idea of progress traps and what progress is, is an excellent discussion.

 

Economic Models:

I'm still not on board with a precious metal based currency. I believe that "value" can and does expand and contract. Having the amount of currency available be tied to a real but still arbitrary amount of, say, gold would constrain real and important opportunity. It would also reintroduce other problems.

When I speak of the need for different economic models, I was not referencing the currency base. Rather, I was talking about what we value and how we value it. For example, whether we are on gold standard or a fiat currency, we currently recognize property rights, copyrights, patents, etc. Regardless of the currency base, we need to build into economic models values for clear air, human rights, etc. 

But you said you'd probably be coming at things "most likely from a different angle than others." Makes for good discussion.

 

Development of Sustainable Energy Sources:

I don't think we are there yet. We have leads on possibilities. We have things that work but that can't scale yet to the amounts we need. We have pieces of the puzzle but other pieces (grid and storage) are not there yet. I'd like to see huge goverment investtment and incentives for development of these technologies. I'd like to see people marching in the streets and demanding of their politicians that this be an issue that gets at least as much attention as anything else. Currently it gets very little.

You mention changes in patent laws. I'm not familiar with how that may be stifling things. Care to expand on that? 

 



#36 Jabadoodle

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

Other nations are now using alternative methods (such as the Genuine Progress Index) to calculate their nation's progress. The GPI  includes social and environmental capital in its assessment of progress. The U.S. needs radical new leadership (who are willing to invite and explore new cabinet members and policies more in line with the GPI's assessment of progress - and an Obama administration is not it. His team is made of of banksters and status quo economists who are furthering the destruction of our economy, well-being, and environment...). Environmental activism must confront economic policy. 


I had heard of things like the GPI but don't know much about how it works. I think this is exactly the direction we need. ~ Absolutely we need radically different leadership. But this is a change that isn't going to happen from the top down. I see Obama as not so much the "lesser of evils" but something like the "best we could do in this paradigm." I guess now that I type it out...no change in leadership will do it. They will still be leading the wrong system. We need a radical change to the systems.
 

We need the planet, it doesn't need us--

 

That's a powerful way to say it. Nice.

 

The documentary South of the Border (Oliver Stone interviews many of the Central American leaders, who speak about their fight against the IMF--it sheds like on their disdain for U.S.)


Seen that around but never watched. Queued. Not so much because I need to be convinced or infuriated, but might be good to recommend to a few people I know.

 

Population control: My question: are population control and personal liberty antithetical? I am very cautious when I hear arguments about population control (draconian measures by environmental extremists, who might consider sterilizations, policies advocating limits of family size, etc, eugenics, etc...).  I always believed education coupled with access to birth control would be the answer. Though, it's occurred to me: more educated people with less children may create a new set of problems: education may lead to higher standard of living, which may lead to higher levels of consumption, which leads to continued need for resources, which brings us back to environmental destruction.  Really, who does more damage to the planet, the struggling family of 6 in Uganda or the American family with 2.1 children? So population seems less an issue than consumption habits of the population? Distribution and greed must be addressed along side population control measures (the phrase "population control" measures makes me very uncomfortable)

 

Your point about resources used per person rather than pure population numbers is a good one. Guess I figure that over time...1) People that are currently using less will be coming up to using as much as others....2) When large differences exist for lots of people, that leads eventually to distrust, frustration, feelings of injustice, fighting, feelings of US vs Them, etc. ~ Because of that I see population as a problem. But yeah, it's really resources used per person.
 

There is another piece of the documentary that really caught my attention (and I'm still mulling it over)... Humans, unlike other species think. We seem to be the only species with this ability. Other earthlings seem to exist and react in and to the sensory world. They live in the realm of motion, movement of sights, smells, sounds, biological processes therefore are incapable of forethought. Humans, because of our symbolic capacities learn to think conceptually, which includes ideas of right and wrong, the concept of time (past present future), we develop value systems, codes of morality... 

 

In brief, I see it as animals, plants, even single cell organisims have some level of thinking. Many of these "model" reality internally and respond not only to immediate stimuli but expected situations. Humans are just waaaaaaaaaay more advanced at it. 

 

But we are also the human animal with a biological, instinctual nature. Are these two at odds? Is the ability to consider the future consequences of our actions inhibited by our animal instincts? I'd venture to say this is not accurate, as someone in the film theorized. Animal self and thinking self may be at odds but I believe the higher thinking self has the ability to override the lower animal self. We see this happen, so it is possible. Cultural inculcation has a lot to do with which self will win. We live in an advertisement saturated culture, a competitive culture, and individualistic culture, a scarcity based culture. I believe the consumption, fear-based self is what's fed and maintained; we've been brainwashed. 


Great and interesting question/topic. Have to think more on that.
 



#37 china cat

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:40 PM

love this quote from  animal, environmental, and spiritual activist, Andrew Harvey:

 

Andrew is often asked if he is “optimistic” or “pessimistic” about the future. His reply, “…both optimism and pessimism are now luxuries we can ill afford. Optimism is crazy given the facts….Yet pessimism is also crazy; it just conspires with catastrophe by imagining it to be inevitable. (It) may be likely, but it is never inevitable….The only response that I find honorable in this potentially terminal situation is that of dedicated love. Whatever happens, whatever horror or destruction unfurls upon the world, however terrible the suffering of human beings and nature becomes, such a response keeps the heart open and keeps alive courage and compassion.” (34-35)

 

His quote helps me to remember to hang on when the shit hits the fan, gravitate toward love.



#38 china cat

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:40 PM

Jab, thanks for responding :)



#39 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:29 PM

Economic Models:

I'm still not on board with a precious metal based currency. I believe that "value" can and does expand and contract. Having the amount of currency available be tied to a real but still arbitrary amount of, say, gold would constrain real and important opportunity. It would also reintroduce other problems.

And those "opportunities" tend to benefit a few at the expense of both others and the planet. Which is why I find it extremely important. Value does change, but when value is fixed for purposes of trade/production, it tends to benefit the best ideas and most efficient ways over those that may see "opportunity" and exploit it in levels that do not benefit anyone in the long run. As we are now seeing.



#40 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:38 PM

You mention changes in patent laws. I'm not familiar with how that may be stifling things. Care to expand on that? 

 

Patent laws tend to restrict opportunity for improvement. For instance, if I may a widget and patent it, by law, I can make extremely difficult for someone else to expand on or make this widget more efficient, with better materials, etc...

 

It creates, lets call it, a "demand trap". Where a specific product that may become important to increased standard of living is fixed into a specific based off the patent instead of the best idea. If you create a widget and sell it to me. I should be able to take your widget, rip it apart and create a better widget of the same use without the law impeding this process. Which it currently does. At least for a fixed period. I see this as a large part of our current progress trap. Other widgets are built upon that patent idea and then it becomes extremely difficult to build and innovate around it. Fossil fuels and combustion engines being a prime example.