How Western Civilisation Could Collapse

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by Soren Dreier
Author: Rachel Nuwer

The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society – democracy, individual liberties, social tolerance and more – would begin to teeter. Our world would become an increasingly ugly place, one defined by a scramble over limited resources and a rejection of anyone outside of our immediate group. Should we find no way to get the wheels back in motion, we’d eventually face total societal collapse.

Such collapses have occurred many times in human history, and no civilisation, no matter how seemingly great, is immune to the vulnerabilities that may lead a society to its end. Regardless of how well things are going in the present moment, the situation can always change. Putting aside species-ending events like an asteroid strike, nuclear winter or deadly pandemic, history tells us that it’s usually a plethora of factors that contribute to collapse. What are they, and which, if any, have already begun to surface? It should come as no surprise that humanity is currently on an unsustainable and uncertain path – but just how close are we to reaching the point of no return?

While it’s impossible to predict the future with certainty, mathematics, science and history can provide hints about the prospects of Western societies for long-term continuation.

Safa Motesharrei, a systems scientist at the University of Maryland, uses computer models to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that can lead to local or global sustainability or collapse. According to findings that Motesharrei and his colleagues published in 2014, there are two factors that matter: ecological strain and economic stratification. The ecological category is the more widely understood and recognised path to potential doom, especially in terms of depletion of natural resources such as groundwater, soil, fisheries and forests – all of which could be worsened by climate change.

That economic stratification may lead to collapse on its own, on the other hand, came as more of a surprise to Motesharrei and his colleagues. Under this scenario, elites push society toward instability and eventual collapse by hoarding huge quantities of wealth and resources, and leaving little or none for commoners who vastly outnumber them yet support them with labour. Eventually, the working population crashes because the portion of wealth allocated to them is not enough, followed by collapse of the elites due to the absence of labour. The inequalities we see today both within and between countries already point to such disparities. For example, the top 10% of global income earners are responsible for almost as much total greenhouse gas emissions as the bottom 90% combined. Similarly, about half the world’s population lives on less than $3 per day.

For both scenarios, the models define a carrying capacity – a total population level that a given environment’s resources can sustain over the long term. If the carrying capacity is overshot by too much, collapse becomes inevitable. That fate is avoidable, however. “If we make rational choices to reduce factors such as inequality, explosive population growth, the rate at which we deplete natural resources and the rate of pollution – all perfectly doable things – then we can avoid collapse and stabilise onto a sustainable trajectory,” Motesharrei said. “But we cannot wait forever to make those decisions.”…

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http://sorendreier.com/how-western-civilisation-could-collapse/

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“Making America Great Again” by Reducing the World to Ashes?

“In the event of a nuclear war, there will be no chances, there will be no survivors – all will be obliterated… nuclear devastation is not science fiction – it is a matter of fact. The world now stands on the brink of the final abyss. Let us all resolve to take all possible practical steps to ensure that we do not, through our own folly, go over the edge.” Former First Sea Lord, Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900-1979) Strasbourg, 11 May 1979.”

As US threats ratchet up towards North Korea, the latest hinging on the accusation that the country attempted a further ballistic missile test on the annual Day of the Sun, the annual national holiday holiday commemorating the birth of the country’s founder and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung.

Without the slightest proof produced by the US that such a test was attempted, yet alone a nuclear one, Donald Trump’s language and that of his fiefdom have been on the level of a bar room brawl rather than statesmanlike. The sabre rattling, intemperate recklessness in threatening to do “whatever it takes” with serially verbally challenged spokesman, Sean Spicer calling the invisible test “an unsuccessful military attack”, is sending shivers down governmental and national spines across the globe.

“All our options are on the table”, said National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

The Presidency being a family affair, Trump’s son Eric chipped in on Fox and Friends with:

“And you saw that quite frankly in Syria and you saw that in Afghanistan. And he will take action if he needs to take action.”

“You have to have massive backbone when it comes to dealing with awful, awful dictators who don’t like us, don’t like our way of life.”

Straight out of the George W. Bush handbook:

“They hate our way of life.” Wait for: “You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

But again, why no proof of North Korea’s much vaunted threatening action? The US has: “an existing armada of spy planes and drones on and around the Korean Peninsula.”

Moreover:

“The Pentagon’s Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) employs multiple types of satellites and sensors to address some of these issues and provide greater coverage. According to defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the constellation can watch for the heat signature of enemy missile launches and track them in flight, gather details about those weapons and their capabilities …

 “Closer to earth, spy planes and drones are almost constantly zipping around North Korea. The Air Force and the Army have spy planes and unmanned reconnaissance aircraft permanently deployed in the region …

“Satellite data links, known as Senior Span and Senior Spur, mean the spy planes can send back some of this information back to base while still in flight so analyst can begin picking it apart. The Air Force has the 694th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Osan in part to help ‘exploit’ this kind of data.”

There is also:

“ … the U.S. Navy’s Task Force 72, the unit overseeing the U.S. Seventh Fleet’s aerial patrol and reconnaissance forces. P-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft and EP-3E Aries II spy planes rotate through deployments to the unit’s bases at Naval Air Stations Atsugi and Misawa Air Base in Japan. From there, they make routine trips to South Korea proper for training exercises. The EP-3E Aries IIs are dedicated intelligence gathers, but all three types could help monitor North Korean developments.”

Further:

“The RC-135S Cobra Ball and RC-135U Combat Sent have very different missions. The Air Force’s three Cobra Balls have specialized gear to track ballistic missile launches … The two Combat Sents have equipment to detect and analyze electronic emissions from sites on the ground.” The astonishing array of surveillance is comprehensively presented at (1.)

It is also worth quoting former UN weapons Inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter back in 2002, seven months before the illegal invasion and destruction of Iraq (ongoing) describing sophistication of monitoring, with warning words on how politics can cause irreversible disaster:

“And we had in place means to monitor – both from vehicles and from the air – the gamma rays that accompany attempts to enrich uranium or plutonium. We never found anything. We can say unequivocally that the industrial infrastructure needed by Iraq to produce nuclear weapons had been eliminated.”

Further: “We eliminated the nuclear programme, and for Iraq to have reconstituted it would require undertaking activities eminently detectable by intelligence services.” Equally certain is that North Korea’s activities are equally detectible.

 “It is not just heat”, states Ritter, “centrifuge facilities emit gamma radiation, as well as many other frequencies. It is detectable. Iraq could not get around this.”

 “Our radar detects the tests, we know what the characteristics are, and we know there’s nothing to be worried about.” (2)

In 2015, Scott Ritter wrote a further detailed article with facts which surely apply to North Korea (3.) Arriving in Iraq their ground vehicles were accompanied above by: “… sensor-laden helicopters and U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft above and high-resolution spy satellites providing further imagery … satellite imagery detected a still existing covert missile force …”…

more…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/making-america-great-again-by-reducing-the-world-to-ashes/5585675

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Caste lives on, and on

Resultado de imagem para A Dalit woman carrying water in Orissa, India.

image edited by Web Investigator

Indian society deludes itself that caste discrimination is a thing of the past, yet it suffuses the nation, top to bottom

by Prayaag Akbar is a writer and journalist. He is the former deputy editor of Scroll.in, and his first novel Leila (2017) is out in India. He lives in Mumbai. 

In October 2016, a young man walked into a flour mill in Uttarakhand, a state of northern India where the mist-wrapped mountains of the outer Himalayas begin. He was Dalit (Sanskrit for broken, scattered, downtrodden), a relatively recent collective identity claimed by communities across the nation that are considered untouchable in the caste system. Present in the mill was a Brahmin schoolteacher – Brahmins are the caste elite – who accused the Dalit man of having defiled all the flour produced there that day, merely by his entry: notions of purity and pollution are integral to caste. After the Dalit man objected to the insult, the schoolteacher took out a blade and slit the Dalit’s throat, killing him instantly.

The incident caused uproar in the national press. Dalit groups in Uttarakhand staged a series of protests. The Brahmin schoolteacher was arrested, along with his brother and father, who had threatened the murdered man’s family if they went to the police; booked for murder and criminal intimidation, the men were also charged under the ‘Prevention of Atrocities’ act – a vital part of the Indian Penal Code that prohibits a range of violent and non-violent action against members of the lowest castes and tribes.

After the initial flurry of limited upper-class angst – followed by self-congratulation (at the foresight of the lawmakers for how the state machinery kicked into gear to protect the lower-castes) – the violence was then safely imagined as belonging to a distant, retrograde realm, where things would soon change. Silence followed, then forgetting. There was no discussion of the deep-seated convictions and codes that enabled this gruesome act, or how each Indian life was linked to it: the key to living in a caste society is to distance yourself from its most horrifying manifestations.

The American documentary Meet the Patels (2014) illustrates yet another dimension of caste that Indian society has trained itself to ignore. Made by an Indian-American brother and sister team, Geeta and Ravi Patel, it relates how ‘Ravi’, on approaching 30, decides to leave his Caucasian girlfriend and marry a girl of the Patel caste to fulfil a lifelong demand made by his parents. Endearing and witty, the film shows in granular detail Ravi’s painful quest to find a suitable wife, and thereby silence his parents (who are no ogres, I might add, but a hardworking couple of distinctively Indian humour and charm).

Most striking is that at no point do the Patels realise that they are making a film about the endogamous (same-social or same-ethnic) strictures vital to caste. Ravi is a seemingly assimilated Indian American. In speech, bearing, even ambition (he is a comedian and actor), he transcends the bounds of traditional Indian society; still, a lifetime of conditioning ensures that he feels the pressure of endogamy so deeply that he will overturn his life to search for a Patel mate. He travels to huge conventions where young men and women can meet Patel members of the opposite sex. He allows his parents to set up a string of dates. He visits astrologers: and he does all this out of filial duty, never interrogating why his parents demand this of him. Endogamy is shown as a trait of Indian society, not caste society. Yet the documentary stands as a revelatory exposition of how caste exercises control between generations; how, without a whisper of violence or even punishment – simply, the fear of disappointing your parents – caste ensures its own survival, even in lands and cultures distant from its place of genesis.

It is unsurprising that the Patel siblings are unaware that they are, in effect, making a film about caste. Many Indians watching this movie would experience the same blindness. As caste has been globally castigated as a social evil, upper-caste Indian society has found numerous ways to refer to caste without explicitly mentioning it. In everyday language, media and advertising, proxies include ‘community’ and ‘family background’. Endogamous pressure is condoned as vital to Indian society because it preserves the community (few modern Indians would admit to wanting to preserve the caste group). Another linguistic proxy for lower-caste groups is ‘different’. These proxies carry the full range of meanings that caste categorisations do, and are used in a variety of situations, from school and job interviews to a landlord meeting prospective tenants.

This sleight of hand lets Indian society permit itself the feel-good release of loudly castigating brute incidents of caste violence, even as it perpetuates a self-serving mythology about the nature and limits of caste. As we will see, caste is both varna(hierarchy) and jati (endogamous groups). The failure to break caste stems in part from India’s unwillingness to examine how just how jati feeds into varna

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/how-india-deludes-itself-that-caste-discrimination-is-dead

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