Thursday 29th of October 2020

saving the furniture...


While there is no single accepted theory for why [civilisation] collapses happen, historians, anthropologists and others have proposed various explanations, including:

CLIMATIC CHANGE: When climatic stability changes, the results can be disastrous, resulting in crop failure, starvation and desertification. The collapse of the Anasazi, the Tiwanaku civilisation, the Akkadians, the Mayan, the Roman Empire, and many others have all coincided with abrupt climatic changes, usually droughts.

ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION: Collapse can occur when societies overshoot the carrying capacity of their environment. This ecological collapse theory, which has been the subject of bestselling books, points to excessive deforestation, water pollution, soil degradation and the loss of biodiversity as precipitating causes.

INEQUALITY AND OLIGARCHY: Wealth and political inequality can be central drivers of social disintegration, as can oligarchy and centralisation of poweramong leaders. This not only causes social distress, but handicaps a society’s ability to respond to ecological, social and economic problems.

The field of cliodynamics models how factors such as equality and demography correlate with political violence. Statistical analysis of previous societies suggests that this happens in cycles. As population increases, the supply of labour outstrips demand, workers become cheap and society becomes top-heavy. This inequality undermines collective solidarity and political turbulence follows.

COMPLEXITY: Collapse expert and historian Joseph Tainter has proposed that societies eventually collapse under the weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy. Societies are problem-solving collectives that grow in complexity in order to overcome new issues. However, the returns from complexity eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. After this point, collapse will eventually ensue.

Another measure of increasing complexity is called Energy Return on Investment (EROI). This refers to the ratio between the amount of energy produced by a resource relative to the energy needed to obtain it. Like complexity, EROI appears to have a point of diminishing returns. In his book The Upside of Down, the political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon observed that environmental degradation throughout the Roman Empire led to falling EROI from their staple energy source: crops of wheat and alfalfa. The empire fell alongside their EROI. Tainter also blames it as a chief culprit of collapse, including for the Mayan. 

EXTERNAL SHOCKS: In other words, the “four horsemen”: war, natural disasters, famine and plagues. The Aztec Empire, for example, was brought to an end by Spanish invaders. Most early agrarian states were fleeting due to deadly epidemics. The concentration of humans and cattle in walled settlements with poor hygiene made disease outbreaks unavoidable and catastrophic. Sometimes disasters combined, as was the case with the Spanish introducing salmonella to the Americas.

RANDOMNESS/BAD LUCK: Statistical analysis on empires suggests that collapse is random and independent of age. Evolutionary biologist and data scientist Indre Zliobaite and her colleagues have observed a similar pattern in the evolutionary record of species. A common explanation of this apparent randomness is the “Red Queen Effect”: if species are constantly fighting for survival in a changing environment with numerous competitors, extinction is a consistent possibility.


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What is missing in this analysis in the collapse of civilisation is the change of myths sparking a new phase of styles and ideas — and the rise of other empires that can challenge our ability to compete. See also:

images of civilisation... in the hazards of civilisations...


losing ground to the competition...

Wade Davis holds the Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. His award-winning books include “Into the Silence” and “The Wayfinders.” His new book, “Magdalena: River of Dreams,” is published by Knopf. He writes in Rolling Stone Magazine...




The Unraveling of America  

Anthropologist Wade Davis on how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era


Never in our lives have we experienced such a global phenomenon. For the first time in the history of the world, all of humanity, informed by the unprecedented reach of digital technology, has come together, focused on the same existential threat, consumed by the same fears and uncertainties, eagerly anticipating the same, as yet unrealized, promises of medical science.

In a single season, civilization has been brought low by a microscopic parasite 10,000 times smaller than a grain of salt. COVID-19 attacks our physical bodies, but also the cultural foundations of our lives, the toolbox of community and connectivity that is for the human what claws and teeth represent to the tiger.

Our interventions to date have largely focused on mitigating the rate of spread, flattening the curve of morbidity. There is no treatment at hand, and no certainty of a vaccine on the near horizon. The fastest vaccine ever developed was for mumps. It took four years. COVID-19 killed 100,000 Americans in four months. There is some evidence that natural infection may not imply immunity, leaving some to question how effective a vaccine will be, even assuming one can be found. And it must be safe. If the global population is to be immunized, lethal complications in just one person in a thousand would imply the death of millions.


This era of demise is not prevented by a blind "liberal" media still trying to oust The Donald by exposing ficticious ties to the Russians... And the demise of America HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TRUMP BEING THERE... IT STARTED A LONG TIME AGO... See "The age of deceit"...



And now to the Chinese:


WASHINGTON — When President Trump meets President Xi Jinping of China this week to discuss contentious trade issues, they will face each other in another nation that was once the United States’ main commercial rival, seen as a threat to American dominance.

But the competition between the United States and Japan, which hosts the Group of 20 summit this week for the first time, settled into a normal struggle among businesses after waves of American anxiety in the 1980s. Japan hit a decade of stagnation, and in 2010, China overtook it as the world’s second-largest economy.

There is no sign, though, that the rivalry between the United States and China will reach the same kind of equilibrium. For one thing, Japan is a democracy that has a military alliance with the United States, while China is an authoritarian nation that most likely seeks to displace American military dominance of the western Pacific. In China’s competition with the United States, a rancorous trade war has persisted for a year, and issues of national security are bleeding by the week into economic ones. Some senior American officials are pushing for “decoupling” the two economies.

[What is the G-20?]

The main elements in relations — economic and commercial ties — have become unmoored, and few agree on the future contours of the relationship or the magnitude of the conflicts.

For American officials, the stakes seem much higher now than in the race with Japan. Most economists estimate China will overtake the United States as the largest economy in 10 to 15 years. And some senior officials in Washington now view China as a steely ideological rival, where the Communist Party aims not only to subjugate citizens but to spread tools of authoritarian control globally — particularly surveillance, communications and artificial intelligence technology — and establish military footholds across oceans and mountains.

Though Mr. Trump incessantly praises Mr. Xi — he said they “will always be friends” — the idea of China as a dangerous juggernaut, more formidable than the Soviet Union, has become increasingly widespread in the administration. It was articulated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to the Netherlands, part of a weeklong trip across Europe this month in which he talked about China at each stop.


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The last thing the world needs is a major conflict... Trump is aware of this. Biden isn't, he lives alone, amongst his own brain-farts. Biden needs a solid vice-president that can see through the fog and start saving the furniture and protect the planet from the US pile of explosives... So far none of the proposed ladies has this capability. The only woman Biden should go for is Tulsi Gabbard...


She is the best at understanding the damage without being taken by the illusions of grandeur.