Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@whitebt:

At 1930s energy level, 80% of population in urban/suburban area is theoretically sustainable in regional boundary model. IOW, only 20% (10x more than currently) of population would be required for agricultural production. In 1930 30% of U.S. farmers worked an average of 100 days off the farm. Currently, more than 90% of farm households have non-farm income.

The default on this forum is boundary at the level of the individual. Other possibilities could be household, water shed, community, Earth. For instance,Jacob is conscientious, so he limits his individual CO2 dump to Earth atmosphere at fair share per global capita, but he obviously doesn’t track the flow of the molecules. OTOH, for instance, investment income will likely flow in from Global sized economy model to individual account. It is very important to keep track of what is real vs abstraction in your model for purposes of resilience. For simple instance, what you own vs what you possess.

Another boundary issue might be to what extent will you plan on sharing food or other resources with those with whom you exchange social or cultural capital? For instance, how might you help your sister who lives across the country vs whoever is your main squeeze at the moment vs your chess club buddies and vice versa. With whom would you prefer to be stuck overnight in an airport, etc?

jacob
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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by jacob »


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Alphaville
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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by Alphaville »

A nice read-- thanks!

7Wannabe5
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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@jacob:

Interesting. Since my ancestors flowed into and out of a major Rust Belt city as it near “collapsed”, I wonder how likely it would be that an affluent citizen of the Roman Empire or that affluent citizen’s descendants would still be found living in reduced circumstance 60 years later in the same now collapsed city?

I know you read “American Nations” which describes the author’s take on the 11 different regional cultures of the U.S. I believe that there is a similar smaller scaled pattern to be found around the hubs of semi-collapsed cities like Detroit. Immigrants from around the world and rural folk from the South flowed into the city during its heyday, mixed it up a bit, but as they made their flights out of the city as the central industries declined, the original incoming ethnic or cultural groups remained somewhat stuck together and this is still reflected in matters such a voting patterns as much as rural vs urban. It is also the case that the most affluent urban residents of 1960 Detroit and their descendants are most likely to have flown the greatest distance away from the city and into other still prospering, growing urban areas. For instance, my paternal grandparents were educated and reasonably affluent lifelong residents of the city. Only one of their 14 grandchildren currently lives in the city and she is a cuckoo-bananas artist type who returned there for cheap rent. Most of them live in Chicago, NYC, or San Francisco area. Although there are obvious issues with racism involved in the Detroit exodus, I have found the same story to hold true for the middle class families of African-American men I have dated.

My point being that looking at a pin on a map might not be best method for tracking the rise and fall of cultural or economic capital.

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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by jacob »

@7wb5 - Yeah, I think it holds that people who mobile capital (money and brains) tend to move much more easily than people with anchored capital (social and cultural). This is seen intranation in the BFE (read e.g. Hillbilly Elegy), in refuge streams, and even in business as usual.

For example, I came to the US because it was the "center of the empire" (there's not much room for theoretical astrophysics in the "provinces"). However, now my capital profile has changed: less brains, more money, more anchor and I'm sitting in one of the few states that's losing population internally.

However, this is to be compared to other dynamics. When people are pressured, they will (on average) turn more authoritarian looking for a leader to defend Us against Them---as we've just experienced in much of the western world. Being a newcomer and therefore one of Them in that case is not necessarily a better deal. Becoming one of Us instead of one of Them depends a lot on the prevailing culture. I hear that it takes at least a generation in New England. It's faster in big [cosmopolitan] cities. This means one has to move well in advance to stay ahead of the collapse.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

True, but I would note that for reasons that may even be species level, it is probably easier if you are female and/or young. It has been my experience that pretty much all I need to do to be mostly accepted as a member of a new or culturally different community is help with the care of children and/or preparation of food and/or form romantic/sexual/domestic partnership (in non or minimally competitive manner) with one of the men. Of course, if my behavior was against conventional gender role --> more competitive and/or more loner and/or less attractive (see history of witch persecution) then not so much.

Also, language barriers can be pretty huge. Fleeing from Detroit to San Francisco when you are 22 is one thing. Fleeing from Iraq to Chicago when you are 52 is another thing.

OTOH, possessing the ability to be accepted in different cultures does not necessarily mean that you want to live within a different culture. For instance, not a big deal fleeing from Ann Arbor to Madison or Austin because basically same culture, whereas fleeing from Ann Arbor to relatively nearby as the crow flies small rural town or gritty urban post-collapse zone would likely require more adjustment. I reached a new personal Covid-stress low yesterday when in the midst of yet another fight, I informed The Cowboy that it is likely that one of the reasons we can't get along is that his family heritage in half Hillbilly, because only Hillbillies believe it is acceptable to yell in the kitchen before 10 AM in the morning.

J_
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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by J_ »

jacob wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 6:36 pm
Enjoy!
I did!
In your last post you say: "This means one has to move well in advance to stay ahead of the collapse". Any plans?
The best I can is to think a lot about (personal) adaptation. Still a good guide is Lean Logic.

Qazwer
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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by Qazwer »

Two thoughts that I am having when thinking about Collapsology - which I would appreciate any corrections on or directions on how I might be wrong

And a third - which is a question that I do not know how to start to answer

1. How much is due to increased communication technology
Most of the world did not know about the last palm tree being cut down on Easter Island in real time. Societies always go up and down. More people live better now in more parts of the world than even a few decades ago. Yes, there will be collapses. But there will possibly be less starving people in the world - more people will have acces to greater than a dollar a day income and have improved infant mortality - basically ‘Factfullness’ Those countries and people (me included) living the factor of 32 more consumption may have a decrease but that may or may not lower the average

2. How to escape a given collapse or just truly world ending awful
Using one of the worst examples I can think of

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16133.The_Warburgs

Rich people can often buy their way out of a bad location even if they convince others to stay

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_(book)

Yes, if you are stuck in a collapsed location then having skills can be useful

But it is far better to have enough resources to get out

3. Is the future collapses different than the past ones? Will they be truly global and uniform?

Diamond’s argument of more people with more technology and globalization making local issues possibly impacting more of the world

AxelHeyst
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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by AxelHeyst »

I'm working on concise answers to this topic. Let's see how I do.

1-The current global agricultural system that has pulled off the amazing feat of feeding a lot of humans is built on a massive and intricate fossil fuel infrastructure. This infrastructure (among other modern advances) has allowed the population to increase, which required more advances in agriculture to feed the population, which allowed the population to increase, et cetera. As long as the intricate fossil fuel infrastructure (fertilizer, distribution, trade, peace on the oceans) remains intact, hunger probably won't get a lot worse. So your view on whether or not hunger is going to be an issue in the future depends on your view on the stability and longevity of the intricate fossil fuel infrastructure.

But to examine your question - how much of *what* is due to increased communication technology? The ability to watch collapse unfold in real time? I think the qualitative difference between previous society collapse and global society collapse is that we're potentially looking at the first *global* civilizational collapse, which is a thing that's never happened before. We've also never watched a society collapse that was leveraged up to its eyeballs in the mindbogglingly high energy leverage of fossil fuels. I'd have to look around, it might be the McConnel Economics textbooks ~ch27, that said at the beginning of the industrial revolution the average difference in standard of living between the richest humans and the poorest humans was 2x, 3x, no more than 5x. Now, the difference in standard of living between richest in poorest is, I don't know, three digits x? The primary reason is the leverage of super energy dense, very cheap, fossil fuels. What I'm getting at here is that no society in human history has had so far to fall as ours.

2-A distinction needs to be made between local crises, regional collapse, and this notion of "global collapse". Local and regional issues might be escapable, although Jacob already spoke to the tricky nature of "leaving" and becoming a Them in wherever you escape to.

3-I already mentioned how future collapses might be different than previous ones (truly global vs. local empire, and much further to fall). Will collapse be uniform? I don't think so. "The post-apocalypse is already here, it just isn't evenly distributed yet." (to misquote william gibson, I'm pretty sure). That Mother Jones article Jacob linked is a good read on how long collapse "feels" - with the caveat that we've never done fossil-fuel leveraged collapse before with possible climate tipping points thrown in for fun.

A way of thinking about it that I've recently started wrapping my head around, is that beyond any local crises, global collapse is going to look like basically everyone becoming poorer every year for years and years, like hundreds of years maybe. And infrastructure just getting brokener and brokener.

--Hm. I didn't do so great on conciseness.

Qazwer
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Re: Collapsology- What's Your Intuition?

Post by Qazwer »

Interesting thoughts - thank you

Jared Diamond quotes the factor of consumption difference as a factor of 32 between rich and poor countries.
https://www.pottstowncitizens.org/2019% ... iamond.pdf

That was a few years ago and I think it has expanded. So even with collapse that is worldwide and petrochemical based, this version of collapse might be the most unequal in history. In previous local wars/genocides, having capital resources has been a matter of survival. It is not easy to move society and only those few with high levels of resources can. Those resources have been in the form of international networks and liquid assets. The past year has reinforced the importance of both. The current meritocracy is increasingly international and increasingly winner takes all.
This is different than the Aztecs where resources where harder to obtain. I am blanking on the source but I think the ratio of farmers to those not required to do so was on the order of thousands to one. The modern farming boom has been amazing. It may be worldwide fragile. I think I am techno- agnostic (not optimistic or pessimistic) and can imagine deus ex machine new improvement.
But even if there is not, then inequality may simply increase. Simple skills may help you locally. Internationally valued skills (whatever that might mean) and liquid capital might help you to a larger extent. This collapse will be Televised ...
At least that is one argument I am working through.

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