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What is Going On?

September 5th, 2011 |

Thanks to Charles Hall for this article.  See  http://questioneverything.typepad.com/

August 13, 2011

George Mobus (for background on him, see http://faculty.washington.edu/gmobus/)

What is Going On?

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand you cannot help but be wondering what is going on. Or, if you are like me you may think you understand exactly what the problems are, and more importantly what is the root cause. The last two weeks have been wild WRT the global economy and social unrest. And with the kickoff of the political season for the Republicans, the entertainment value of all of this has skyrocketed.

I’ve had three or four blog topics in various stages of write up that I have been wanting to get finished and posted. But every day some new extreme event has distracted me. It has been hard enough to keep on task with my book writing with what has been going on in the world. It has been essentially impossible to give any mind time to these blog topics (more on education, judgment, and, of course, biophysical economics principles).

Most of the recent events have actually not surprised me much. They are all in one way or another tied to economics and I have been long suggesting that the net energy decline we are in will cause economic activity to contract with all sorts of consequences. So seeing some of those consequences come to pass is not what bothers me. I think what tends to cause me the greatest distress is the fact that the people who are in front of the cameras and microphones, the ones who purport to be the pundits and experts on politics and economics, have still not got a clue and don’t seem inclined to find one. They are all still trying to gen up stories about what is happening based on their conventional wisdom and so completely miss the root problem. They will probably never really understand what is happening because most of them probably never took a college-level physics course in their lives.

To read the full article, please click here: http://questioneverything.typepad.com/question_everything/2011/08/what-is-going-on.html



5 Responses to “What is Going On?”

  1. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    Are people being prevented from examining scientific evidence or else duplicitously biased against science by the mass media?

    How could the perpetration of so pervasive a silence with respect to science of human population dynamics, as well as the widely shared consensually validated broadcasts of pseudoscience, ever have been accomplished during the last four decades? What is going on? I cannot help but ask the questions. How did this willful denial of what could be real occur on our watch? How have the ubiquitous broadcasts of false hopes and promises been maintained regarding a benign, soon to occur, and somehow automatic end to human population growth by 2050? Has delusional thinking and ideological idiocy been allowed to rule the world during our lifetime because many too many experts chose to remain mute regarding evidence of human population growth or, even worse, to act as censors of the best available scientific evidence? Are powerful and influential experts colluding with “the powers that be” to deny science?

    Why would leaders and followers in a single generation choose not to speak out loudly, clearly and often in a time when a paradise is being turned into an inferno? Can malignant narcissism, pathological arrogance, extreme foolishness and outrageous avarice of a tiny dishonest and immoral minority of the human family be at least partially responsible for such an intolerable situation? How else can such a thing as a colossal human-driven extinction event occur so fast, before our eyes, with ‘the brightest and best’, “the smartest guys in the room” leading the way? Are self-proclaimed masters of the universe in possession of critical decision-making authority at the top of the global political economy leading all of us down a primrose path, come what may? Are power and greed mongers shouting everywhere “greed is good” and acting on what they have proclaimed to be their ‘inalienable rights’ to perpetrate some unimaginable sort of global ecological wreckage without a word being spoken for 40 years. Perhaps we are witnessing not only the sixth extinction event, the first such event to be precipitated by a species, but also the sight of something unthinkable: silence killing the world.

    Leaders and followers alike in the family of humanity can do better, and I trust we will soon enough awaken in a determinative critical mass of human beings with feet of clay to the need for behavior change. Support in the form of silent consent of the adamant advocacy and relentless pursuit of a morally disengaged and patently unsustainable way of life — one of endless population growth and unbridled economic expansion — simply cannot be tolerated any longer.

    It is never too late to stand up and be counted or to do the right thing, I suppose.

  2. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    On the one hand we have self-proclaimed masters of the universe owning huge mass media corporations and their absurdly enriched and overly educated ‘talking heads’ who confuse everyone in the name of being fair and balanced. On the other hand we have knowledgeable and highly influential people who choose to remain willfully blind, hysterically deaf and electively mute rather than “speak truth (as best they can see it) to power.” Both contrived arguments of sycophants and conscious silence of scientists reign. The family of humanity is being betrayed by all who collude in such dishonest and duplicitous denial, I suppose.

    At the same time human beings with feet of clay are making futile efforts to share openly and honorably an understanding of what is happening to the climate and Earth’s body as well as why damaging things are occurring in our planetary home on our watch. Sadly, despite the necessity for consensual validation of whatsoever is real, many too many leaders and experts on whom human family relies for adequate knowledge are participating in a catastrophic failure to communicate what they believe to be true. Woefully inadequate communication such as we see today was in evidence in other time-spaces throughout human history with devastating consequences for human constructions and empires. No question about that.

    We can recall the days when the “Tower of Babel” was under construction. Now that I think about that ancient colossus, we are in the process of ‘building out’ on the surface of Earth an artificially designed, certainly manmade, soon to become patently unsustainable “ECONOMIC COLOSSUS” called the global political economy. No one is speaking out loudly, clearly and often enough to be heard regarding the global predicament the human family appears to have induced, adamantly advocated and continues to relentlessly pursue, come what may for future human well being and environmental health.

  3. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    Perhaps each of us needs to keep doing exactly what we are doing now, as best we can, inasmuch we are given the ‘lights’ to see. That is to say, we keep helping people understand science regarding both the placement of the human species within the natural order of living things and whatsoever could be real about the world we inhabit. After all, we are faced with having to acknowledge the all-too-probable fact that the gigantic size and monstrous impact of the human species in our time is casting a giant shadow over the surface of Earth and can be seen recklessly extirpating global biodiversity, irreversibly degrading the enviroment and relentlessly denuding the Earth of its resources on our watch.

    The lack of intellectual honesty, moral courage and personal integrity by many too many with appropriate expertise could result in humankind inadvertently precipitating the ruination of the Earth as a fit place for human habitation. We have to stop thoughtlessly chattering in public discourse about nothing more or less than what what the owners of the mass media agree is OK to say, and start speaking “truth to power.”

  4. Mike Mangan Says:

    Hey, Steven! This article makes me think…


    I’m pretty sure no one thinks of these future demographics when they think of overpopulation.

  5. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    Dear Mike Mangan,

    Thanks for this reminder of Phil Longman’s perspective. Phil are I were participants in a Foundation for the Future workshop entitled “This Tiny Planet” in Bellevue, WA in 2004. You will readily see that many fundamental differences exist between my view of the population crisis and the one Phil provides so ably. I would like for you and others in the PMC community to take a look at the verbatim from that workshop. All thoughts regarding the ideas presented in this workshop are sure to be welcome. Without further comment at the moment, allow me to direct you and the members of the PMC community to the following link,


    Sincerely yours,


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