robertogreco + collapse   102

America Without Family, God, or Patriotism - The Atlantic
“The nuclear family, God, and national pride are a holy trinity of the American identity. What would happen if a generation gave up on all three?”



“One interpretation of this poll is that it’s mostly about the erosion of traditional Western faith. People under 30 in the U.S. account for more than one-third of this nation’s worshippers in only three major religions: Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. This reflects both the increase in non-European immigration since the 1970s and the decline of larger Christian denominations in the latter half of the 20th century. It also reflects the sheer increase in atheism: Millennials are nearly three times more likely than Boomers to say they don’t believe in God—6 percent versus 16 percent. If you think that Judeo-Christian values are an irreplaceable keystone in the moral arc of Western society, these facts will disturb you; if you don’t, they won’t.

A second interpretation of this poll is that it’s mostly about politics. Youthful disinterest in patriotism, babies, and God might be a mere proxy for young people’s distaste for traditional conservatism. For decades, the Republican Party sat high on the three-legged stool of Reaganism, which called for “traditional” family values (combining religiosity with the primacy of the nuclear family), military might (with all its conspicuous patriotism), and limited government.

Millennials and Gen Zers have turned hard against all these values; arguably, their intermittently monogamous, free-spending Republican president has, too. Young voters are far to the left of not only today’s older Americans, but also past generations of younger Americans. Based on their votes since 2012, they have the lowest support for the GOP of any group in at least half a century. So it’s possible that Millennials are simply throwing babies out with the Republican bathwater.

But it looks like something bigger is going on. Millennials and Gen Z are not only unlikely to call themselves Protestants and patriots, but also less likely to call themselves Democrats or Republicans. They seem most comfortable with unaffiliation, even anti-affiliation. They are less likely than preceding generations to identify as “environmentalists,” less likely to be loyal to specific brands, and less likely to trust authorities, or companies, or institutions. Less than one-third of them say they have “a lot of confidence” in unions, or Silicon Valley, or the federal government, or the news, or the justice system. And don’t even get them started on the banks.

This blanket distrust of institutions of authority—especially those dominated by the upper class—is reasonable, even rational, considering the economic fortunes of these groups were pinched in the Great Recession and further squeezed in the Not-So-Great Recovery. Pundits may dismiss their anxiety and rage as the by-products of college-campus coddling, but it flows from a realistic appraisal of their economic impotency. Young people today commit crimes at historically low rates and have attended college at historically high rates. They have done everything right, sprinting at full speed while staying between the white lines, and their reward for historic conscientiousness is this: less ownership, more debt, and an age of existential catastrophe. The typical Millennial awakens many mornings to discover that some new pillar of the world order, or the literal world, has crumbled overnight. And while she is afforded little power to do anything about it, society has outfitted her with a digital megaphone to amplify her mordant frustrations. Why in the name of family, God, or country would such a person lust for ancient affiliations? As the kids say, #BurnItAllDown.

But this new American skepticism doesn’t only affect the relatively young, and it isn’t confined to the overeducated yet underemployed, either.”



“he older working-class men in the paper desperately want meaning in their lives, but they lack the social structures that have historically been the surest vehicles for meaning-making. They want to be fathers without nuclear families. They want spirituality without organized religion. They want psychic empowerment from work in an economy that has reduced their economic power. They want freedom from pain and misery at a time when the pharmaceutical solutions to those maladies are addictive and deadly. They want the same pride and esteem and belonging that people have always wanted.

The ends of Millennials and Gen Z are similarly traditional. The WSJ/NBC poll found that, for all their institutional skepticism, this group was more likely than Gen Xers to value “community involvement” and more likely than all older groups to prize “tolerance for others.” This is not the picture of a generation that has fallen into hopelessness, but rather a group that is focused on building solidarity with other victims of economic and social injustice. Younger generations have been the force behind equality movements such as Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, #AbolishICE, and Medicare for All, not only because they’re liberal, and not only because they have the technological savvy to organize online, but also because their experience in this economy makes them exquisitely sensitive to institutional abuses of power, and doubly eager to correct it. What Americans young and old are abandoning is not so much the promise of family, faith, and national pride as the trust that America’s existing institutions can be relied on to provide for them.

The authors of the paper on working-class men note that, even as their subjects have suffered a shock, and even as they’re nostalgic for the lives of their fathers and grandfathers—the stable wages, the dependable pensions—there is a thin silver lining in the freedom to move beyond failed traditions. Those old manufacturing jobs were routine drudgery, those old churches failed their congregants, and traditional marriages subjugated the female half of the arrangement. “These men are showing signs of moving beyond such strictures,” the authors write. “Many will likely falter. Yet they are laying claim to a measure of autonomy and generativity in these spheres that were less often available in prior generations. We must consider both the unmaking and remaking aspects of their stories.”

And there is the brutal truth: Many will likely falter. They already are. Rising anxiety, suicide, and deaths of despair speak to a profound national disorder. But eventually, this stage of history may be recalled as a purgatory, a holding station between two eras: one of ostensibly strong, and quietly vulnerable, traditions that ultimately failed us, and something else, between the unmaking and the remaking.”
derekthompson  us  culture  society  economics  generations  change  religion  patriotism  families  2019  suicide  middleage  purpose  meaning  community  anxiety  malaise  collapse  vulnerability  traditions  marriage  parenting  millennials  geny  genx  generationy  generationx  generationz  gender  work  labor  unemployment  hope  hopelessness  activism  skepticism  power  elitism  democrats  republicans  politics  education  highered  highereducation  ronaldreagan  reaganism  belief  diversity  voting  unions  siliconvalley  socialjustice  justice  impotency  underemployment  spirituality  capitalism  neoliberalism 
september 2019 by robertogreco
The Rebel Alliance: Extinction Rebellion and a Green New Deal - YouTube
"Extinction Rebellion and AOC’s Green New Deal have made global headlines. Can their aims be aligned to prevent climate catastrophe?

Guest host Aaron Bastani will be joined by journalist and environmentalist George Monbiot and economist Ann Pettifor."
extinctionrebellion  georgemonbiot  gdp  economics  capitalism  growth  worldbank  2019  greennewdeal  humanwelfare  fossilfuels  aaronbastani  climate  climatechange  globalwarming  mainstreammedia  media  action  bbc  critique  politics  policy  currentaffairs  comedy  environment  environmentalism  journalism  change  systemschange  left  right  thinktanks  power  influence  libertarianism  taxation  taxes  ideology  gretathunberg  protest  davidattenborough  statusquo  consumerism  consumption  wants  needs  autonomy  education  health  donaldtrump  nancypelosi  us  southafrica  sovietunion  democrats  centrism  republicans  money  narrative  corruption  diannefeinstein  opposition  oppositionism  emissions  socialdemocracy  greatrecession  elitism  debt  financialcrisis  collapse  annpettifor  socialism  globalization  agriculture  local  production  nationalism  self-sufficiency  inertia  despair  doom  optimism  inequality  exploitation  imperialism  colonialism  history  costarica  uk  nihilism  china  apathy  inaction 
april 2019 by robertogreco
James Bridle on New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future - YouTube
"As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. Underlying this trend is a single idea: the belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and more data is enough to help us build a better world.

In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle surveys the history of art, technology, and information systems, and reveals the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime."
quantification  computationalthinking  systems  modeling  bigdata  data  jamesbridle  2018  technology  software  systemsthinking  bias  ai  artificialintelligent  objectivity  inequality  equality  enlightenment  science  complexity  democracy  information  unschooling  deschooling  art  computation  computing  machinelearning  internet  email  web  online  colonialism  decolonization  infrastructure  power  imperialism  deportation  migration  chemtrails  folkliterature  storytelling  conspiracytheories  narrative  populism  politics  confusion  simplification  globalization  global  process  facts  problemsolving  violence  trust  authority  control  newdarkage  darkage  understanding  thinking  howwethink  collapse 
september 2018 by robertogreco
It’s Not Climate Change — It’s Everything Change — Matter — Medium
"Two writers have recently contributed some theorizing about overall social and energy systems and the way they function that may be helpful to us in our slowly unfolding crisis. One is from art historian and energetic social thinker Barry Lord; it’s called Art and Energy (AAM Press). Briefly, Lord’s thesis is that the kind of art a society makes and values is joined at the hip with the kind of energy that society depends on to keep itself going. He traces the various forms of energy we have known as a species throughout our pre-history — our millennia spent in the Pleistocene — and in our recorded history — sexual energy, without which societies can’t continue; the energy of the body while hunting and foraging; wood for fire; slaves; wind and water; coal; oil; and “renewables” — and makes some cogent observations about their relationship to art and culture. In his Prologue, he says:
Everyone knows that all life requires energy. But we rarely consider how dependent art and culture are on the energy that is needed to produce, practice and sustain them. What we fail to see are the usually invisible sources of energy that make our art and culture(s) possible and bring with them fundamental values that we are all constrained to live with (whether we approve of them or not). Coal brought one set of values to all industrialized countries; oil brought a very different set… I may not approve of the culture of consumption that comes with oil… but I must use [it] if I want to do anything at all.

Those living within an energy system, says Lord, may disapprove of certain features, but they can’t question the system itself. Within the culture of slavery, which lasted at least 5,000 years, nobody wanted to be a slave, but nobody said slavery should be abolished, because what else could keep things going?

Coal, says Lord, produced a culture of production: think about those giant steel mills. Oil and gas, once they were up and running, fostered a culture of consumption. Lord cites “the widespread belief of the 1950s and early ’60s in the possibility of continuing indefinitely with unlimited abundance and economic growth, contrasted with the widespread agreement today that both that assumption and the world it predicts are unsustainable.” We’re in a transition phase, he says: the next culture will be a culture of “stewardship,” the energy driving it will be renewables, and the art it produces will be quite different from the art favored by production and consumption cultures.

What are the implications for the way we view both ourselves and the way we live? In brief: in the coal energy culture — a culture of workers and production — you are your job. “I am what I make.” In an oil and gas energy culture — a culture of consumption — you are your possessions. “I am what I buy.” But in a renewable energy culture, you are what you conserve. “I am what I save and protect.” We aren’t used to thinking like this, because we can’t see where the money will come from. But in a culture of renewables, money will not be the only measure of wealth. Well-being will factor as an economic positive, too.

The second book I’ll mention is by anthropologist, classical scholar, and social thinker Ian Morris, whose book, Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve, has just appeared from Princeton University Press. Like Barry Lord, Morris is interested in the link between energy-capture systems and the cultural values associated with them, though in his case it’s the moral values, not only the aesthetic ones — supposing these can be separated — that concern him. Roughly, his argument runs that each form of energy capture favors values that maximize the chance of survival for those using both that energy system and that package of moral values. Hunter-gatherers show more social egalitarianism, wealth-sharing, and more gender equality than do farmer societies, which subordinate women — men are favored, as they must do the upper-body-strength heavy lifting — tend to practice some form of slavery, and support social hierarchies, with peasants at the low end and kings, religious leaders, and army commanders at the high end. Fossil fuel societies start leveling out gender inequalities — you don’t need upper body strength to operate keyboards or push machine buttons — and also social distinctions, though they retain differences in wealth.

The second part of his argument is more pertinent to our subject, for he postulates that each form of energy capture must hit a “hard ceiling,” past which expansion is impossible; people must either die out or convert to a new system and a new set of values, often after a “great collapse” that has involved the same five factors: uncontrolled migration, state failure, food shortages, epidemic disease, and “always in the mix, though contributing in unpredictable ways–- climate change.” Thus, for hunting societies, their way of life is over once there are no longer enough large animals to sustain their numbers. For farmers, arable land is a limiting factor. The five factors of doom combine and augment one another, and people in those periods have a thoroughly miserable time of it, until new societies arise that utilize some not yet exhausted form of energy capture.

And for those who use fossil fuels as their main energy source — that would be us, now — is there also a hard ceiling? Morris says there is. We can’t keep pouring carbon into the air — nearly 40 billion tons of CO2 in 2013 alone — without the consequences being somewhere between “terrible and catastrophic.” Past collapses have been grim, he says, but the possibilities for the next big collapse are much grimmer.

We are all joined together globally in ways we have never been joined before, so if we fail, we all fail together: we have “just one chance to get it right.” This is not the way we will inevitably go, says he, though it is the way we will inevitably go unless we choose to invent and follow some less hazardous road.

But even if we sidestep the big collapse and keep on expanding at our present rate, we will become so numerous and ubiquitous and densely packed that we will transform both ourselves and our planet in ways we can’t begin to imagine. “The 21st century, he says, “shows signs of producing shifts in energy capture and social organization that dwarf anything seen since the evolution of modern humans.”"
climate  climatechange  culture  art  society  margaretatwood  2015  cli-fi  sciefi  speculativefiction  designfiction  capitalism  consumerism  consumption  energy  fossilfuels  canon  barrylord  coal  anthropology  change  changemaking  adaptation  resilience  ianmorris  future  history  industrialization  egalitarianism  collapse  humans  biodiversity  agriculture  emissions  environment  sustainability  stewardship  renewableenergy  making  production  makers  materialism  evolution  values  gender  inequality  migration  food  transitions  hunter-gatherers 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Metamodernism | Adbusters
"To be more precise, metamodernism is not a new art movement replacing the old but rather a new “structure of feeling” that “reveals” itself in different everyday and artistic practices. With the term “structure of feeling,” the authors refer to British philosopher Raymond Williams, who invented this concept in his 1977 text Marxism and Literature as an alternative to very general terms such as “worldview” or “Zeitgeist.” To Williams, a “structure of feeling,” very broadly speaking, refers to a shared set of values, notions and meanings of a culture, subculture or generation, which mainly reveals itself in the artistic practices of that culture, subculture or generation.

"Taking this into account, “metamodernism” could be considered the dominant structure of feeling of a generation born in the peak of “postmodernism,” roughly between 1960 and 1990. A generation that grew up in economic prosperity, but which, because of the financial crisis, witnessed the collapse of the neo–capitalist dream and, as a result, the evaporation of the political essence of the 1990s."
metamodernism  generations  modernism  raymondwilliams  2014  capitalism  postmodernism  collapse  worldview  zeitgeist  subcultures  nielsvanpoecke 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Bruce Sterling's The Caryatids, my pick for best book of 2009, a novel of clear-eyed hope for the future - Boing Boing
"In The Caryatids, global warming has melted practically every government in the world (except China) -- leaving behind a slurry of refugees, rising seas, and inconceivable misery. But there are two stable monoliths sticking out of the chaos, a pair of "civil society groups" that embody the two major schools of smart green thought today: the Dispensation are Al Gore green capitalists based out of California who understand that glamor and profits, properly aimed, achieve more than any amount of stern determination and chaste conservation; their rivals are the Aquis, mostly European anarcho-techno-geeks who have abandoned money in favor of technologically mediated communal life where giant, powerful, barely controlled machines are deployed to save the refugees and heal the Earth.

The titular Caryatids are the seven clone-sisters of a Balkan war criminal (who is hiding out in orbit in a junk satellite), raised as part of a terrible fin-de-siecle plan to create a cadre of superwoman generals who would lead a militarized guerrilla force after the environmental catastrophe reached scale. Now they are scattered to the winds and divided among the world's superpowers, and the only thing they hate more than their "mother" is each other.

And the story unfolds, taking us on a tour of a 2060 Earth where the worst imaginable things have happened and yet humanity has survived. Is thriving. Not a perfect utopia, but not a tormented post-apocalyptic chaos either. Sterling's future is one in which the human race's best and most important and most deadly machine -- civilization -- survives its own meltdown.

More importantly, the future of The Caryatids is one in which human beings confront the terrible reality that technology favors attackers -- favors those who would disrupt the status quo because it gives them force-multiplier power, and undermines defenders because the complexity of a technological society always creates potential fault-lines that attackers can exploit. And in that society, Sterling's civil society types -- who care about saving the planet, even though they disagree about the best way to do this -- do their damnedest to build stable technological societies. Because in Earth's future -- and in Sterling's -- there's no going back to the land for us. Not because the land is too poisoned, but because billions of charcoal-burning hunter-gatherers are far more hazardous to the planet than a neatly ordered world of cities in which technology is used to minimize our footprints by giving us smarter handprints.

Most importantly, the future of The Caryatids is one in which there is hope. Not naive, wishful thinking hope. Hard-nosed, utterly plausible hope, for a future in which the human race outthinks its worse impulses and survives despite all the odds."
climatechange  brucesterling  hope  future  2009  corydoctorow  technology  technosolutionism  environmentalism  sustainability  novels  globalwarming  disruption  society  civilization  collapse  2060 
september 2014 by robertogreco
from "Copan: Historicity Gone" by William Bronk
"At Copan [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cop%C3%A1n ], the line of history broke a short generation after the dating of the Hieroglyphic Stairway and Altar Q. No monument discovered has a date later than the year we number 800 A. D. They may have continued the reckoning of time after this without recording it in monuments. Perhaps they deserted the city; perhaps they stayed nearby. Life can continue without a reckoning of time. It has a kind of latitude, and time is one way to speak of that latitude. But when time comes to a stop as it seems to have come to a stop around Copan, the latitude remains. Perhaps the people went away. More probably they stayed and not too far from there. They stopped making monuments and may have no longer reckoned the calendar or thought consciously of the temples and sacred precincts, but remained as much or as little as they were before. The whole set of our minds is splinted so in time and history, our thinking structure fails to stand without them, and we are reluctant and uneasy, thinking of timeless man, of man without history. When we come back now to Copan, we feel at home there because, however remote or alien its terminology, we sense through all our ignorance that time and history have been here once. It seems entirely natural, too, the only human reaction, to feel regret and melancholy and bewildered protest that all these structures are empty and fallen, that something stopped here a thousand years ago. We assume of time and history that they are continuous and progressive and always were. The insistent questions that confront us here and characterize us are, "Where did these people come from?" and "Where did they go to?" We are brought to face the discontinuity of time and history, the continuance nevertheless of man, and the equivalence as answers to these questions of nowhere and here. We assume that we, too, came from somewhere, go someplace; but of ourselves also we would have to answer nowhere and here, and know that one answer said the same as the other. And, together, the answers say, insofar as we can be characterized, we are they and they are we, timeless and unhistorical. It is true that we have on either occasion invented times and histories for ourselves and, by an act of will, imposed them as long as strength lasted. We invented these the way we invented speech and buildings and costumes and the changes of modes in these; but, whatever we are, we are without them and apart from the changes in them. These things in themselves can be said to have times and histories; but they have little or nothing to do with us. We lean on inventions, though, to give us standing. We dress ourselves in inventions and house ourselves there. We give ourselves mythic identity, find something we ought to do and project rewards. We are never what our pretensions claim though at times we seem to be when our pretensions succeed for awhile, when will and self-denial and force mold us into some image we impose upon ourselves and on those around us, so that common consent gives us the role we claim for ourselves. To say we make something of ourselves is a form of praise for a person or a culture.

There is a large mask on a stairway in the East Court, a wide-eyed human face with symbols beside it that show it to mean the planet Venus. It is something to say of Venus, and what else should we say? But without the label, we should never have found it out. The Mayan culture and this whole site as exemplar are mask and metaphor. So are we.

One of the strongest impressions that we have is that under the mask and metaphor something is there though it is not perhaps man that is there. There is something which is. Nothing else matters. Copan is a liberation. It is all gone, emptied away. To see it is to see ourselves gone, to see us freed from the weight of our own world and its limitations. One aspect of the roles we assume is taken as something more than whimsical self-indulgence. It is the assumption of the responsibility for our own natures and environment. It is to say that both can be bettered and that we know the direction of betterment and can work that way, and that given time enough and good will and energy, we can evolve a world subject to our reason and wisdom which are sufficient for that, and that this then will be the world, the world that is. One supposes that whoever may have lived at Copan may have thought this way and that the development of this city may have been directed toward that end; one supposes that whoever may have lived here is we. That the idea is historically absurd is only in part our own absurdity: it is the absurdity of our historicity. Whatever we are, we are not historical. The world we make and ourselves, so far as we make ourselves, ourselves in the particularities of time and place, as cultural man -- all this can be destroyed and make no matter. We are happy at Copan to witness our own destruction and how we survive it. If something may be said to happen, what happens to us is not what happens. The evident destruction of Copan is witness to this as we, in our own lives, are witness to the same things. We are delivered from our continuous failures and frustrations. Perhaps more importantly, we are delivered from our self-limited successes, the awful banalities of the good life.

Joy and desire surround us without our doing, without our understanding.

The world or what we term the world, that medium in which we find ourselves, and indeed whatever of it we set apart and term selves, is not related to what we make of it and not dependent on what we make of the world or make of ourselves. It is not in the least altered, nor is our basic nature altered, by any cosmology or culture or individual character we may devise, or by the failure or destruction of any of these, as all of them fail. If they seem for a time to succeed, they blind us as though they were real; and it is by our most drastic failures that we may perhaps catch glimpses of something real, of something which is. It merits our whole mind. The good society and the good life are more than we could imagine. To devise them or to assert and defend their devising is not the point."

[via: http://www.pseudopodium.org/search.cgi?William+Bronk
via https://twitter.com/ekstasis/status/504525256787496961

See also: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1883689325/kokoninokounty
http://www.fauxpress.com/kimball/res/bronk.htm ]
williambronk  copan  maya  civilization  culture  end  collapse  destruction  mysteries  liberation  survival  endgame  failure  society  environment  from notes
august 2014 by robertogreco
Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene - NYTimes.com
"This chorus of Jeremiahs predicts a radically transformed global climate forcing widespread upheaval — not possibly, not potentially, but inevitably. We have passed the point of no return. From the point of view of policy experts, climate scientists and national security officials, the question is no longer whether global warming exists or how we might stop it, but how we are going to deal with it."



"The challenge the Anthropocene poses is a challenge not just to national security, to food and energy markets, or to our “way of life” — though these challenges are all real, profound, and inescapable. The greatest challenge the Anthropocene poses may be to our sense of what it means to be human. Within 100 years — within three to five generations — we will face average temperatures 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today, rising seas at least three to 10 feet higher, and worldwide shifts in crop belts, growing seasons and population centers. Within a thousand years, unless we stop emitting greenhouse gases wholesale right now, humans will be living in a climate the Earth hasn’t seen since the Pliocene, three million years ago, when oceans were 75 feet higher than they are today. We face the imminent collapse of the agricultural, shipping and energy networks upon which the global economy depends, a large-scale die-off in the biosphere that’s already well on its way, and our own possible extinction. If homo sapiens (or some genetically modified variant) survives the next millenniums, it will be survival in a world unrecognizably different from the one we have inhabited."



"But the biggest problems the Anthropocene poses are precisely those that have always been at the root of humanistic and philosophical questioning: “What does it mean to be human?” and “What does it mean to live?” In the epoch of the Anthropocene, the question of individual mortality — “What does my life mean in the face of death?” — is universalized and framed in scales that boggle the imagination. What does human existence mean against 100,000 years of climate change? What does one life mean in the face of species death or the collapse of global civilization? How do we make meaningful choices in the shadow of our inevitable end?

These questions have no logical or empirical answers. They are philosophical problems par excellence. Many thinkers, including Cicero, Montaigne, Karl Jaspers, and The Stone’s own Simon Critchley, have argued that studying philosophy is learning how to die. If that’s true, then we have entered humanity’s most philosophical age — for this is precisely the problem of the Anthropocene. The rub is that now we have to learn how to die not as individuals, but as a civilization."



"I found my way forward through an 18th-century Samurai manual, Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s “Hagakure,” which commanded: “Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily.” Instead of fearing my end, I owned it. Every morning, after doing maintenance on my Humvee, I’d imagine getting blown up by an I.E.D., shot by a sniper, burned to death, run over by a tank, torn apart by dogs, captured and beheaded, and succumbing to dysentery. Then, before we rolled out through the gate, I’d tell myself that I didn’t need to worry, because I was already dead. The only thing that mattered was that I did my best to make sure everyone else came back alive. “If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead,” wrote Tsunetomo, “he gains freedom in the Way.”"



"The human psyche naturally rebels against the idea of its end. Likewise, civilizations have throughout history marched blindly toward disaster, because humans are wired to believe that tomorrow will be much like today — it is unnatural for us to think that this way of life, this present moment, this order of things is not stable and permanent. Across the world today, our actions testify to our belief that we can go on like this forever, burning oil, poisoning the seas, killing off other species, pumping carbon into the air, ignoring the ominous silence of our coal mine canaries in favor of the unending robotic tweets of our new digital imaginarium. Yet the reality of global climate change is going to keep intruding on our fantasies of perpetual growth, permanent innovation and endless energy, just as the reality of mortality shocks our casual faith in permanence.

The biggest problem climate change poses isn’t how the Department of Defense should plan for resource wars, or how we should put up sea walls to protect Alphabet City, or when we should evacuate Hoboken. It won’t be addressed by buying a Prius, signing a treaty, or turning off the air-conditioning. The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is already dead. The sooner we confront this problem, and the sooner we realize there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves, the sooner we can get down to the hard work of adapting, with mortal humility, to our new reality.

The choice is a clear one. We can continue acting as if tomorrow will be just like yesterday, growing less and less prepared for each new disaster as it comes, and more and more desperately invested in a life we can’t sustain. Or we can learn to see each day as the death of what came before, freeing ourselves to deal with whatever problems the present offers without attachment or fear.

If we want to learn to live in the Anthropocene, we must first learn how to die."
environment  royscranton  2014  anthropocene  disturbance  climatechange  iraq  collapse  civilization  hurricanesandy  hurricanekatrina  neworleans  weather  disasters  globalwarming  climate  death  fear  life  living  nola 
march 2014 by robertogreco
About A Crisis of Enclosure
"The title of the site comes from a short essay by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, the English translation of which was published in the journal October shortly before his death. This piece offers a prescient description of how technologies, networks, and media savvy have all contributed to the changing spatiality of power due to the collapse of more traditional “enclosed” institutions. He writes:

Deleuze, G. 1992. “Postscript on the Societies of Control,” October. Vol 59 (Winter); p. 3-7.
We are in a generalized crisis in relation to all the environments of enclosure--prison, hospital, factory, school, family. The family is an "interior," in crisis like all other interiors-- scholarly, professional, etc. The administrations in charge never cease announcing supposedly necessary reforms: to reform schools, to reform industries, hospitals, the armed forces, prisons. But everyone knows that these institutions are finished, whatever the length of their expiration periods. It's only a matter of administering their last rites and of keeping people employed until the installation of the new forces knocking at the door. These are the societies of control… (p.3-4)

We are all-too familiar with this collapse. With increasing regularity, public schools announce budget deficits, academic performance shortfalls, and bureaucratic chaos. Hospitals are often dangerously overcrowded, lacking in necessary funding, and have a number of practices politicized and services cut. Even the most well funded interior institutions—state militaries—have in the last twenty years seen the influx of private contractors and corporate service-providers: the military industrial complex run roughshod over the limits of the war machine. Deleuze points out that these changes increased dramatically in frequency following World War II. As rigid structures began their descent into perpetual reformation, a new mode of control—a society of control—began to take their place. Control, as a diagram of power, is decentralized, lightweight and mobile. If institutional enclosures are solid molds, Deleuze argues, than controls are modulations, self-deforming casts that can change to fulfill the needs of power.

In the context of my work, this shift has produced a distinct set of spatial practices that challenge the prevailing logics of detention, placing an emphasis on mobile and open performances of detainment rather than a fixed institutional isolation. Ultimately, post-Cold War detention practices have endured a substantial reorientation, today representing not only the successful completion of counterinsurgency strategy, but increasingly emerging as a vital means of contemporary security practice. Detention is no longer spatially or temporally fixed. Successful detention is not only a question of designing and constructing a secure edifice, but something much more complex. The crisis of enclosure points towards an understanding of how institutional power has leaked out of its interior and is veering towards the total decentralization and free-floating dynamism of control."
enclosure  collapse  institutions  2010  richardnisa  decentralization  organizations  schools  gillesdeleuze  detention  mobile  mobility  open  openness  military  society  control  agility  agile  enclosures  power  anarchism  administration  management  change  hierarchy  hierarchies  societiesofcontrol  deleuze 
march 2013 by robertogreco
David Graeber, On Bureaucratic Technologies & the Future as Dream-Time [at SVA]
"The twentieth century produced a very clear sense of what the future was to be, but we now seem unable to imagine any sort of redemptive future. Anthropologist and writer David Graeber asks, "How did this happen?" One reason is the replacement of what might be called poetic technologies with bureaucratic ones. Another is the terminal perturbations of capitalism, which is increasingly unable to envision any future at all. Presented by the MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department."
occupywallstreet  ows  anarchism  davidgraeber  alvintoffler  timothyleary  futurism  situationist  capitalism  collapse  economics  anthropology  robots  robotfactories  future  labor  efficiency  sva  self-governance  paperwork  decentralization  scifi  sciencefiction  humanrights  corruption  politics  policy  organization  2012  startrek  automation  technology  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Rex Sorgatz: LA is the future (kill me now) » Nieman Journalism Lab
"When the collapse hits, capital will rush out of the traditional entertainment industry faster than you can say “Lehman Brothers.” And, as in New York, talented young people with industry awareness will be there to grab that capital & create new businesses. That’s when things will get interesting. Just as New York—against all odds—became the locus of traditional business being disrupted by technology, Los Angeles will erupt with creativity around the collision of technology & entertainment. New forms of content—programming that isn’t bound by 13 episodes that are 22 minutes long!—will appear overnight. The disruption will be challenging at first, but a Video Renaissance will emerge.

And as the production & distribution costs plummet (just as they have for written media), innovation will start to appear in related industries: social sharing technology, revenue models, aggregation, and distribution. Suddenly, coders in SF will consider LA as another option for employment. Crazy talk!"
disruption  mediaproduction  technology  business  economics  entertainment  media  video  creativity  rebirth  collapse  rexsorgatz  2012  losangeles  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
This economic collapse is a 'crisis of bigness' | Paul Kingsnorth | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Kohr's claim was that society's problems were not caused by particular forms of social or economic organisation, but by their size. Socialism, anarchism, capitalism, democracy, monarchy – all could work well on what he called "the human scale": a scale at which people could play a part in the systems that governed their lives. But once scaled up to the level of modern states, all systems became oppressors. Changing the system, or the ideology that it claimed inspiration from, would not prevent that oppression – as any number of revolutions have shown – because "the problem is not the thing that is big, but bigness itself"."
economics  scale  2011  paulkingsnorth  leopoldkohr  size  collapse  capitalism  human  humanscale  slow  growth  society  power  greed  small 
september 2011 by robertogreco
California and Bust | Business | Vanity Fair
"The smart money says the U.S. economy will splinter, with some states thriving, some states not, and all eyes are on California as the nightmare scenario. After a hair-raising visit with former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who explains why the Golden State has cratered, Michael Lewis goes where the buck literally stops—the local level, where the likes of San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and Vallejo fire chief Paige Meyer are trying to avert even worse catastrophes and rethink what it means to be a society."
california  2011  finance  michaellewis  debt  money  government  crisis  collapse 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The Call of the Feral | HiLobrow
"Like weeds, we grow in disturbed soil, subsiding between progress and collapse. And yet the very qualities of the feral, qualities that condition our thriving — anonymity, wariness, curiosity — have a way of shading imperceptibly into liabilities.…In London’s Wild we find much that is glowering and judgmental —a gospel of the strong — an exaltation of the primordial qualities of the Law.

The feral, by contrast, is the quality of having no qualities…

we should presume that the feral will only gain in importance in years to come. For as power evades the work of politics, infiltrating the circuits that connect consciousness to consciousness; as the planet urbanizes, filling up with walls to hem us in; as the climate tilts inexorably under the deranging influence of that preeminent domesticated species, Homo sapiens; all creatures must learn to cultivate the feral qualities."

[See also: http://hilobrow.com/tag/feral-muse/ ]
matthewbattles  feral  anarchism  anarchy  literature  jacklondon  animals  deschooling  consciousness  zizek  anonymity  4chan  wariness  curiosity  callofthewild  tovejansson  dhlawrence  zygmuntbauman  jeanstafford  refugees  liquidtimes  thetruedeiver  themountainlion  thefox  progress  collapse  wilderness  wild  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
BBC News - A Point of View: The revolution of capitalism
"Karl Marx may have been wrong about communism but he was right about much of capitalism, John Gray writes."

"Whatever politicians may tell us about the need to curb the deficit, debts on the scale that have been run up can't be repaid. Almost certainly they will be inflated away - a process that is bound to be painful and impoverishing for many.

The result can only be further upheaval, on an even bigger scale. But it won't be the end of the world, or even of capitalism. Whatever happens, we're still going to have to learn to live with the mercurial energy that the market has released.

Capitalism has led to a revolution but not the one that Marx expected. The fiery German thinker hated the bourgeois life and looked to communism to destroy it. And just as he predicted, the bourgeois world has been destroyed.

But it wasn't communism that did the deed. It's capitalism that has killed off the bourgeoisie."
economics  history  politics  capitalism  karlmarx  philosophy  marketing  collapse  2011  johngray 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The Great Splintering - Umair Haque - Harvard Business Review
"a social contract's been torn up…bedrock of an enlightened social contract is, crudely, that rent-seeking is punished, & creating enduring, lasting, shared wealth is rewarded & that those who seek to profit by extraction are chastened rather than lauded. Today's world of bailouts, golden parachutes, sky-high financial-sector salaries — while middle incomes stagnate — seems to be exactly the reverse…The eye of this perfect storm is extreme income inequality that makes the Glided Age look Leninist…rule of law is visibly, easily flouted by the rich, it usually ends up being seen as laughable by the poor. London's become a city where many young people feel they're finished before they start…social upheaval's spreading…Our institutions are failing…We're going to have to build shelter: more resilient, less dysfunctional institutions that can deliver on the promise of real human prosperity that matters, lasts, and multiplies."
society  economics  uk  world  capitalism  eudaemonia  umairhaque  2011  inequality  wealthdistrubution  socialcontract  change  collapse  looting  riots  london  greatsplintering  wealthdistribution  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Iceland's On-Going Revolution | Mostly Water
"…refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum…

…93% voted against repayment of the debt. The IMF immediately froze its loan. But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated…launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis…

Icelanders didn't stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money…

To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet."
iceland  collapse  debt  finance  2008  2010  2011  constitution  citizenry  power  capitalism  corporatism  politics  policy  history  sovereignty  collaboration  banking  justice  via:bettyannsloan  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
JOURNAL: Central Planning and The Fall of the US Empire - Global Guerrillas
"…extreme concentration of wealth at the center of our market economy has led to a form of central planning. The concentration of wealth is now in so few hands and is so extreme in degree, that the combined liquid financial power of all of those not in this small group is inconsequential to determining the direction of the economy. As a result, we now have the equivalent of centralized planning in global marketplaces. A few thousand extremely wealthy people making decisions on the allocation of our collective wealth…

The result of central planning in the US has finally hit the wall. The list of problems is endless…misallocations range from the dangerous $600 trillion derivatives market to the destruction of US middle class (by exporting jobs & substitution of income with debt).

The end result is that our economic & political system has become very fragile. All it will take is is one extremely bad decision and the cascade of failure that follows will catch everyone off guard."

[UPDATE: Conversation here too: https://plus.google.com/107033731246200681024/posts/D6SwChze4Vd ]
johnrobb  us  collapse  incomegap  disparity  wealth  2011  centralplanning  government  corruption  decisionmaking  policy  politics  economics  class  markets  fragility  finance  globalization  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Miiu.org: The Resilient Community Wiki
"MiiU is a collection of all the objects, products, and places that make personal, family, and community resilience possible."

[A John Robb production, I think.]
community  johnrobb  resilience  collapse  resilientcommunity  objects  products  reference  howto  diy  collapsonomics  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
oftwominds: Complexity and Collapse
"The most obvious features of recent political and financial "solutions" are their staggering complexity and their failure to fix what's broken. The first leads to the second…

The healthcare reform fixes nothing, while further burdening the nation with useless complexity and cost…

Here is the "problem" which complexity "solves": it protects Savior State fiefdoms and private-sector cartels from losses.  State fiefdoms and cartels have one goal: self-preservation…

Complexity works beautifully as self-preservation, because it actually expands the bureaucratic power of fiefdoms and widens the moat protecting cartels…

Put another way: in the competition with the private sector for scarce capital, the State and corruption always win…

Real solutions require radically simplifying ossified, top-heavy, costly systems…

The single goal is preserving the revenue and reach of concentrated power centers…

But complexity does have an eventual cost: collapse."
complexity  policy  statusquo  via:kazys  politics  corruption  collapse  power  wealth  cartels  bureaucracy  specialinterests  fiefdoms  systems  restart  inefficiency  health  healthcare  finance  self-reliance  dependence  privatesector  corporatewelfare  2011  charleshughsmith  self-preservation  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race
"Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history. In contrast, we're still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it's unclear whether we can solve it. Suppose that an archaeologist who had visited from outer space were trying to explain human history to his fellow spacelings. He might illustrate the results of his digs by a 24-hour clock on which one hour represents 100,000 years of real past time. If the history of the human race began at midnight, then we would now be almost at the end of our first day. We lived as hunter-gatherers for nearly the whole of that day, from midnight through dawn, noon, and sunset. Finally, at 11:54 p. m. we adopted agriculture. As our second midnight approaches, will the plight of famine-stricken peasants gradually spread to engulf us all? Or will we somehow achieve those seductive blessings that we imagine behind agriculture's glittering facade, and that have so far eluded us?"
jareddiamond  classideas  civilization  humanrace  humans  sustainability  agriculture  culture  history  science  economics  hunter-gatherer  collapse  via:preoccupations  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Bucky-Gandhi Design Institution › The Summary – an introduction to #TheBigDeal
"I’ve recently written four essays, The Big Deal (#thebigdeal) which combine to paint a new picture of the current state of the world and a future picture showing how grass roots political power can achieve what current models of governance, including government, cannot do alone. This work is partly a critique and expansion on the British government’s Big Society concept, but it also draws heavily on my own experience in futures, complexity science and engineering for the bottom billion. It is an attempt to model the world in a new way; a way which reveals otherwise hidden paths to achieve change."
collapse  vinaygupta  thebigdeal  change  progress  government  uk  future  democracy  2011  gamechanging  the2837university  agitpropproject  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
Utopia - Charlie's Diary
“…we badly need more utopian speculation. The consensus future we read about in the media and that we’re driving towards is a roiling, turbulent fogbank beset by half-glimpsed demons: climate change, resource depletion, peak oil, mass extinction, collapse of the oceanic food chain, overpopulation, terrorism, foreigners who want to come here and steal our <strike>women</strike> jobs. It’s not a nice place to be; if the past is another country, the consensus view of the future currently looks like a favela with raw sewage running in the streets. Conservativism — standing on the brake pedal — is a natural reaction to this vision; but it’s a maladaptive one, because it makes it harder to respond effectively to new and unprecedented problems. We can’t stop, we can only go forward; so it is up to us to choose a direction.”

[via: http://magicalnihilism.com/2010/12/05/work-as-if-you-lived-in-the-early-days-of-a-better-nation/ ]
future  utopia  scifi  politics  design  sciencefiction  conservatism  optimism  speculativedesign  speculation  futures  peakoil  collapse  climatechange  overpopulation  terrorism  economics  doomandgloom  pessimism  progress  designfiction  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
ClubOrlov: America—The Grim Truth [A bit over the top, but there are some major truths in here, especially about the worry that results from the financial precariousness we feel as part of our system, lack of social safety net]
"Americans, I have some bad news for you:

You have the worst quality of life in the developed world—by a wide margin.

If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you’d be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home.

I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread.

Consider this…"
politics  collapse  us  economics  health  healthcare  expats  2010  via:mathowie  finance  well-being  qualityoflife  food  pharmaceuticals  work  balance  australia  fragmentation  teaparty  immigration  emmigration  canada  newzealand  japan  europe  comparison  middleeast  guns  safety  society  fear  dystopia  unemployment  decline  oil  peakoil  grimfutures  change  policy  freedom  germany  finland  italy  france  scandinavia  singlepayerhealthsystem  government  socialsafetynet  bankruptcy  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Cities - Radiolab
"In this hour of Radiolab, we take to the street to ask what makes cities tick.

There's no scientific metric for measuring a city's personality. But step out on the sidewalk, and you can see and feel it. Two physicists explain one tidy mathematical formula that they believe holds the key to what drives a city. Yet math can't explain most of the human-scale details that make urban life unique. So we head out in search of what the numbers miss, and meet a reluctant city dweller, a man who's walked 700 feet below Manhattan, and a once-thriving community that's slipping away."
cities  radiolab  2010  math  physics  nyc  collapse  urban  urbanism  jonahlehrer  size  footfall  comparison  statistics  data  measurement  tolisten  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad Blueprint for a Post-Literate Future - Science and Tech - The Atlantic
"The slowness of books, the habits of mind they build, Shteyngart suggests, may be a key to knowing what it's like to be inside oneself, not part of the crowd or the audience or Twitterverse. "Reading is difficult," Lenny says to Eunice. "People just aren't meant to read anymore. We're in a post-literate age. You know, a visual age."…

We all have a million reasons for why we don't use the gadget & stream for what they are good for, and then put them away sometimes to take a walk or read a book. Instead we reload, reload, reload. Refresh!…

"This is all happening too fast. I can't adjust as a human being to what's required of me digitally. The analog part of me is like grains of sand: it's all slipping away."

Gary the man is perhaps the best argument for his book. He is hilarious and true, but he can't deliver us something that transcends our moment in real-time. The Gary Shteyngart Show might be shticky or interesting or smart, but it would not be Super Sad True Love Story."
books  culture  future  literature  psychology  technology  iphone  alexismadrigal  garyshteyngart  supersadtruelovestory  collapse  post-literacy  slow  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Joe Bageant: Live from Planet Norte [I agree with a lot of what Bageant write. In this case though, he leans too heavily on steryotype. What he says doesn't just describe Americans.]
"uniformity on Planet Norte is striking. Each person is unit, installed in life support boxes in suburbs/cities; all fed, clothed by same closed-loop corporate industrial system. Everywhere you look, inhabitants are plugged in at brainstem to screens downloading state approved daily consciousness updates. iPods, Blackberries, laptops, monitors in cubicles, & ubiquitous TV screens in lobbies, bars, waiting rooms, even in taxicabs, mentally knead public brain & condition its reactions to non-Americaness. Which may be defined as anything that does not come from of Washington, DC, Microsoft or Wal-Mart.

For such a big country, "American experience" is extremely narrow & provincial, leaving its people w/ approximately same comprehension of outside world as an oyster bed. Yet there is that relentless busyness of Nortenians...constant movement that indicates all parties are busy-busy-busy, but offers no clue as to just what...We can be sure however, that it has to do w/ consuming."
joebageant  collapse  consumerism  stereotypes  cultureshock  via:cburell  airports  homogeneity  provinciality  busyness  consumption  us  mexico 
july 2010 by robertogreco
O’DonnellWeb » Newsflash: Higher Ed ain’t what it used to be
"It’s good to know I’m not a helicopter parent :) I hope the work world gets the message soon. The reality is that the reason so many people end up so far in debt to go to college is that employers demand a college degree to even get a foot in the door, even though most of the jobs absolutely do not require any specialized knowledge that you may have picked up at school.
colleges  universities  collapse  markets  money  employment  debt  learning  education  highereducation  highered  economics  sethgodin  decline  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling 
may 2010 by robertogreco
The Collapse of Complex Business Models « Clay Shirky
"When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. It’s easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old. But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future."
simplicity  complexity  bureaucracy  business  businessmodels  change  civilization  clayshirky  collapse  economics  future  history  innovation  internet  journalism  video  strategy  society  culture 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Keynote: Bruce Sterling (us) on Atemporality | transmediale
"If progress is to go beyond the banal indulgences that give rise to a never-ending array of car shell designs then we need to analyse our present time with regard to its aesthetics and its media. The second conference session is being introduced with Bruce Sterling's Keynote on Atemporality."

[transcript here: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2010/02/atemporality-for-the-creative-artist/ ]
atemporality  brucesterling  future  history  culture  art  technology  design  philosophy  time  creativity  theory  research  2010  media  community  sciencefiction  scifi  roleplaying  favelachic  informationvisualization  williamgibson  humanities  databases  literature  collaboration  multitemporal  analog  digital  gothichightech  futuritynow  collectiveintelligence  networks  networkculture  postmodernism  failedstates  collapse  narrative  resilience  decay  failure 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Colorado Springs cuts into services considered basic by many - The Denver Post
"tax-averse city is about to learn what it looks & feels like when budget cuts slash services most Americans consider part of urban fabric. More than 1/3 of streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday...police helicopters are for sale on Internet...city is dumping firefighting jobs, vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops...parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them w/ signs urging users to pack out litter. Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once per 2 weeks...Water cutbacks mean most parks will be dead, brown turf by July; flower & fertilizer budget is zero. City rec centers, indoor & outdoor pools & handful of museums will close for good March 31 unless they find private funding...Buses no longer run on evenings/weekends...city won't pay for any street paving, relying instead on regional authority that can meet only about 10% of need."
infrastructure  collapse  taxes  peakoil  states  gop  colorado  politics  urban  news  coloradosprings  services  cities 
february 2010 by robertogreco
David Galbraith’s Blog » Blog Archive » The top 10 things that defined ‘the noughties’, by category.
"The next decade is going to suck, but it might produce some great art.

Goodbye to cupcakes, and X-factor and Paris Hilton and Dubai tower blocks, and all that."
davidgalbraith  lists  culture  2000s  art  society  architecture  design  tv  television  film  music  food  cupcakes  celebrity  books  reading  stevejobs  flickr  vimeo  internet  web  thewire  errolmorris  thefogofwar  damienhirst  globalwarming  collapse  finance  sustainability  growth  via:blackbeltjones 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Complexity and Contradiction in Infrastructure | varnelis.net
"As societies mature, Tainter observes, they become more complex, especially in terms of communication. A highly advanced society is highly differentiated and highly linked. That means that just to manage my affairs, I have to wrangle a trillion bureaucratic agents such as university finance personnel, bank managers, insurance auditors, credit card representatives, accountants, real estate agents, Apple store "geniuses," airline agents, delivery services, outsourced script-reading hardware support personnel, and lawyers in combination with non-human actors like my iPhone, Mac OS 10.6, my car, the train, and so on."

[annotated by Bruce Sterling: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2009/12/california-in-ruins-i-blame-the-dominant-ideology-of-the-whole-earth-catalog/ ]
architecture  urban  cities  space  transportation  losangeles  complexity  infrastructure  kazysvarnelis  california  history  future  stewartbrand  proposition13  jareddiamond  josephtainter  2009  reynerbanham  robertventuri  collapse  society  bureaucracy  education  universities  californianideology  economics 
december 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Crash State
"Yet, for the time being, water stills flows from California's taps, the traffic signals still work, and rural towns still have electricity—but what might happen if California really did "collapse"? What would it look like if the state actually did declare bankruptcy, defaulting on billions of dollars in public debt?"
california  infrastructure  urbanism  society  future  collapse  crisis  economics  finance  bankruptcy  2009  bldgblog 
december 2009 by robertogreco
6 Involuntary Parks | Quiet Babylon
When he was still running the Viridian Movement, Bruce Sterling introduced the idea of involuntary parks. Spaces in the world that have become so polluted or otherwise unusable by humans, that they’ve been left to nature (or, at least, savagery).
korea  brucesterling  detroit  centralia  chernobyl  brittany  ecology  landscape  nature  urbanism  environment  bldgblog  parks  ruins  collapse  urbanprairie  urbanreclamation 
november 2009 by robertogreco
‘We still have the same disease' - The Globe and Mail
"Central bankers have no clue...financial crisis was not a black swan...They ignored the phenomenal buildup in leverage since 1980...After finishing The Black Swan, I realized there was a cancer...huge buildup of risk-taking based on lack of understanding of reality...second problem is hidden risk w/ new financial products...third is interdependence among financial institutions...we still have same amount of debt, but it belongs to governments. Normally debt would get destroyed & turn to air...Are you saying the U.S. shouldn't have done all those bailouts? What was alternative? Blood, sweat & tears. A lot of growth of past few years was fake growth from debt. So swallow losses, be dignified & move on. Suck it up. I gather you're not too impressed with the folks in Washington who are handling this crisis. Ben Bernanke saved nothing! He shouldn't be allowed in Washington...The first thing I would tell Chinese officials is, how can you buy U.S. bonds as long as Larry Summers is there?"
nassimtaleb  culture  finance  banking  collapse  blackswans  crisis  government  bailouts  debt  capitalism  economics 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Architecture - Parrish Museum - When Creativity Diminishes Along With Cash - NYTimes.com
"The new design, budgeted at less than a third of the original $80 million, will be a perfectly nice place to view art — or host a party. Its handsome profile — a long, narrow bar under a corrugated metal roof — has a serene, low-key quality that is a far cry from the ostentatious mansions that defined the Hamptons of the last decade. Yet the design is also a major step down in architectural ambition. And it suggests the possibility of a worrying new development in our time of financial insecurity. It is a creeping conservatism — and aversion to risk — that leaves little room for creative invention. ... It makes you wonder if the cultural consequences of the financial collapse will be as liberating as some have predicted. I’ll be as gleeful as anyone if the excesses and vulgarities of the past decade really do turn out to be over. But it will be a shame if the atmosphere of creative experimentation that coincided with them is over too."
nicolaiouroussoff  design  risk  creativity  architecture  collapse  finance  crisis  budget  money  fear  risktaking  conservatism 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: Your Pension Awaits...
"Don't plan on retiring, even if it is only a few years away. Take these last few years you have of something like secure employment and develop some marketable skills. Learn programming. Learn carpentry. Auto repair. Something."
retirement  work  socialsecurity  pensions  stephendownes  economics  finance  collapse 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Angkor — National Geographic Magazine
"Angkor is the scene of one of the greatest vanishing acts of all time...lasted from the ninth to 15th centuries & at its height dominated a wide swath of Southeast Asia, from Myanmar in the west to Vietnam in the east. As many as 750,000 people lived in Angkor...which sprawled across an area the size of New York City's five boroughs, making it the most extensive urban complex of the preindustrial world. By the late 16th century, when Portuguese missionaries came upon the lotus-shaped towers of Angkor Wat—the most elaborate of the city's temples and the world's largest religious monument—the once resplendent capital of the empire was in its death throes... long list of suspected causes...Recent excavations...of the infrastructure...are converging on a new answer...doomed by the very ingenuity that transformed a collection of minor fiefdoms into an empire...tame[d] Southeast Asia's seasonal deluges, then faded as its control of water, the most vital of resources, slipped away."
ankor  civilization  history  collapse  resources  water  drought 
july 2009 by robertogreco
The Great American Bubble Machine : Rolling Stone
"Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression"
matttaibbi  goldmansachs  finance  history  democrats  banking  markets  fraud  billclinton  glass-steagall  merrilllynch  collapse  politics  business  economics  depression  crisis  2009 
july 2009 by robertogreco
The Great American Bubble Machine : Rolling Stone
"Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression"
matttaibbi  goldmansachs  finance  history  democrats  banking  markets  fraud  billclinton  glass-steagall  merrilllynch  collapse  politics  business  economics  depression  crisis  2009 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Rich Harvard, Poor Harvard: Vanity Fair | Vanity Fair
"For years, administrators at Harvard University could throw money at anything that tickled their fancy. A new medical school building for $260 million? Sure. A massive, Robert A.M. Stern—designed addition to Harvard Law School? No problem. One of the most sweeping financial aid initiatives ever undertaken? Consider it done.
harvard  money  endowment  fundraising  colleges  universities  collapse  crisis  economics 
july 2009 by robertogreco
On the Death of the Suburbs | varnelis.net
"For all the talk about suburbs as "urban parasites," scholars have demonstrated that suburbs and city cores are now inextricably linked. If anything, such infrastructural collapse would lead to further growth in the distant suburbs and in exurbia (I, for one, would think about bugging out to Vermont before everyone else does). It's very much in the interest of urban and suburban leaders to work together to find solutions."
kazysvarnelis  suburbs  urban  infrastructure  collapse  suburbia 
june 2009 by robertogreco
TimesOnline - Joseph Cassano: the man with the trillion-dollar price on his head
"Starting in 1952, two generations of economists worked to show that people are like molecules, whose behaviour can be predicted in ways that are stable over time. Science then infected everything, from how much capital banks need to protect themselves against insolvency, to the risk in credit-default swaps. But there was a flaw: the City’s faux physicists never go back far enough in their analysis, because the data on the Bloomberg terminal cover a tiny period of history. “Real scientists tend to be much more sceptical about their data and their models,” says William Janeway, an MD of the private-equity firm Warburg Pincus and a Cambridge University lecturer. “They had all of the maths, but none of the instincts of good scientists.” There is also the 4x4 effect: if you give people a safer car (read, a safer world through financial innovation), they tend to drive faster. But we are getting ahead of ourselves."
aig  finance  capitalism  banking  business  collapse  2009  crisis  economics  analysis  history  math  science  research  modeling 
may 2009 by robertogreco
YouTube - The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class
"Distinguished law scholar Elizabeth Warren teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School. She is an outspoken critic of America's credit economy, which she has linked to the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class."
elizabethwarren  economics  middleclass  bankruptcy  collapse  statistics  health  money  finance  credit  debt  families  crisis  history  politics  culture  society  us  income  class 
may 2009 by robertogreco
10 ways the new economy will look different | csmonitor.com
"1 Value as the new virtue 2 Return of the tightwad 3 Ebay America 4 Money in the mattresses 5 The new big three 6 The movable résumé 7 'Green New Deal' 8 Stodgy is chic 9 D.I.Y. Investing 10 Bust of the Boomtowns” -- It's getting crowded in here.
crisis  2009  collapse  finance  frugality  prudence  whatsoldisnew  autoindustry  banking  life  simplicity  slow  cv  value  diy  making  make  money  us  green  energy  bust 
april 2009 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Benjamin H. Bratton (Postopolis! LA)
"now we have...no choice but to focus attention on the conception of the Pre-. We are now...Pre-other things & some of the things we do now will scale into epochal institutions... Stamen will make maps for Olympic committees but their real interest is in how informationally-enabled modes of a cognitive urbanism can make space more permanently adventurous not just more transparent. They are card carrying Situationists...Their project is a new city. Their mandate is of the Pre, not so much the Post...Because design was a symbol of the bubble it is also a symbol of the bubble’s collapse. ... many ways of doing things, of designing things, of consuming things, of consuming design are ... zombie ideas. ... the opportunity is potentially at hand to redesign many of the fundamental social, cultural, economic institutions that govern our lives, and not just design the content that would fill these forms ... design model to which we should pay more attention is not productive, but subtractive."
benjaminbratton  danhill  cityofsound  sustainability  postopolis  cities  urban  politics  architecture  design  urbanism  stamendesign  situationist  postarchitectural  crisis  2009  theory  oma  remkoolhaas  collapse  economics  gamechanging  ucsd  losangeles 
april 2009 by robertogreco
The Big Nothing | varnelis.net
"As the economy tanks, there's no money for firms with questionable business models like Technorati and the server bills have to be paid before little things like functionality are addressed. ... In other words, I'm suggesting that what we are seeing is not so much the replacement of old media by new, but the annihilation of both. Marxists have long predicted that capital's contradictions would undo it and, although I'm hardly optimistic about the prospects of a Red future, it seems like we're getting a taste of this now."
kazysvarnelis  marxism  capitalism  recession  economics  technorati  business  internet  online  web  media  oldmedia  newmedia  collapse 
april 2009 by robertogreco
The dark side of Dubai - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
"Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging." ... ""The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems," Karen says at last. "Nothing. This isn't a city, it's a con-job. They lure you in telling you it's one thing – a modern kind of place – but beneath the surface it's a medieval dictatorship.""
dubai  economics  history  globalization  middleeast  capitalism  society  culture  collapse  uae  slavery  finance  business 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Comparing the U.S. to Russia and Argentina - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
"So our political class cheers on treasury-draining wars, allows financial elites to rob and pillage, witnesses huge transfers of wealth to the richest, and then when the whole thing explodes, the "real fiscal answer" is for ordinary Americans to have their Medicare benefits "slashed" and Social Security benefits reduced."
glenngreenwald  oligarchies  us  argentina  russia  finance  government  policy  corruption  collapse  bailouts  2009  barackobama  crisis  imf  politics  economics  banking 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Desmond Lachman -- Welcome to America, the World's Scariest Emerging Market - washingtonpost.com
"Like Argentina in its worst moments, we never seem to question whether it is reasonable to expect foreigners to keep financing our extravagance, and we forget the bad things that happen to the Argentinas or Hungarys of the world when foreigners stop financing their excesses. So instead of laying out a realistic plan for increasing our national savings, we choose not to face up to the Social Security and Medicare crises that lie ahead, embarking instead on massive spending programs that -- whatever their long-run merits might be -- we simply cannot afford."
us  argentina  finance  economics  meltdown  debt  collapse  crisis  politics  russia  imf  government  2009 
march 2009 by robertogreco
LET IT DIE: Rushkoff on the economy | ARTHUR MAGAZINE - WE FOUND THE OTHERS
"With any luck, the economy will never recover...This is the sound of the other shoe dropping; it’s what happens when the chickens come home to roost; it’s justice, equilibrium reasserting itself & ultimately a good thing...The thing that is dying—the corporatized model of commerce—has not, nor has ever been, supportive of the real economy. It wasn’t meant to be...We do not live in an economy, we live in a Ponzi scheme...Using future tax dollars to give banks more money to lend out at interest is robbing from the poor to pay the rich to rob from the poor...Deprived of centralized banks & corporations, we’ll be forced to do things again...we’ll find out that these institutions were not our benefactors at all...never meant to be. They were invented to mediate transactions between people & extract the value that would have passed between us. Far from making commerce or industry more efficient, they served to turn the real world into a set of speculative assets & real people into debtors."
douglasrushkoff  economics  banking  capitalism  globalization  recession  collapse  crisis  finance  alternative  money  politics  credit  commerce  gamechanging  corporatism  corporations 
march 2009 by robertogreco
FT.com / Weekend / Reportage - The travails of Detroit
"Instead, Michiganders, despite being self-deprecating to a fault, make a point their countrymen won’t want to hear: Detroit is no longer the nation’s worst-case scenario, but on its leading edge, the proverbial canary in the coal mine. “It’s like the rest of the country is getting to where Detroit has been,” said Peter De Lorenzo, who writes the acerbic and very funny Autoextremist.com blog. That means that smug mock-horror is no longer the appropriate reaction to the frozen corpse. Instead, get ready for a shock of recognition."
detroit  urban  urbanplanning  decay  politics  economics  cities  health  crisis  collapse  us  future  dystopia  autoindustry 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Wall Street on the Tundra | vanityfair.com
"Iceland’s de facto bankruptcy—its currency (the krona) is kaput, its debt is 850 percent of G.D.P., its people are hoarding food and cash and blowing up their new Range Rovers for the insurance—resulted from a stunning collective madness. What led a tiny fishing nation, population 300,000, to decide, around 2003, to re-invent itself as a global financial power? In Reykjavík, where men are men, and the women seem to have completely given up on them, the author follows the peculiarly Icelandic logic behind the meltdown. "
michaellewis  iceland  crisis  2009  employment  creditcrunch  banking  economics  recession  collapse  culture 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: The Monkeysphere Ideology
"Our falure is not a failure of business, which performed as intended (at least for those who made off with the wealth). It is a failure of the humanities, a failure of humanity, the study of which has been in notable decline throughout these last few decades, having, if you will, no measurable worth, no valuation, it being nothing more than a pastime and a recreation."
stephendownes  humanism  humanity  crisis  2009  compassion  society  change  reform  community  dunbar  collapse 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Colby Cosh: Watching boomers in turmoil is worth a recession - Full Comment
"For the children of the Baby Boomers, there is a special delight in watching the world economy shake itself to pieces like a two-dollar pram at this particular moment. Our elders, who bought prosperity and nice pensions at our expense and pulled the ripcords on their “Freedom 55” parachutes without leaving any behind in the passenger cabin, are getting it in the neck just when they thought a secure old age, with money for travel and expensive pastimes, was a safe bet. I’m willing to watch my meagre savings suffer from market turmoil in exchange for contemplating the dilemma of those who are now between 55 and 65."
babyboomers  generations  generationx  genx  crisis  collapse  frugality  spending  millennials  geny  generationy  canada  retirement  recession  culture  society  boomers 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Jim Kunstler : The Abyss Stares Back
"In the folder marked "unsustainable" you can file most of the artifacts, usufructs, habits, and expectations of recent American life: suburban living, credit-card spending, Happy Motoring, vacations in Las Vegas, college education for the masses, and cheap food among them. All these things are over."
jameshowardkunstler  collapse  local  colleges  universities  education  learning  schools  schooling  peakoil  crisis  2009  suburbs  suburbia  us  credit 
february 2009 by robertogreco
How are you coping with collapse-anxiety? - Boing Boing
"Like everyone, I'm starting to freak out a little about the state of the economy. Many of my good friends are out of work -- and some of them have been out of work for a longer period than I would have thought possible. It seems like every day, I pass another closed store or cafe on my way to the office. And of course, the suggestion file here at Boing Boing is full of stories of the collapsing property bubble in Dubai, the implosion of the South Chinese manufacturing cities, and a million indicators, large and small, of a crisis that is global, deep and worsening.
2009  economics  collapse  crisis  dystopia  banking  finance  corydoctorow  discussion  boingboing  fear  anxiety  society  optimism  pessimism 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Goodbye Dubai | Smashing Telly - A hand picked TV channel
"Short of opening a Radio Shack in an Amish town, Dubai is the world’s worst business idea, and there isn’t even any oil. Imagine proposing to build Vegas in a place where sex and drugs and rock and roll are an anathema. This is effectively the proposition that created Dubai - it was a stupid idea before the crash, and now it is dangerous.
via:kottke  dubai  collapse  crisis  economics  realestate  architecture  culture  design  cities  planning  debt  bubbles 
february 2009 by robertogreco
On the Reshaping of America | varnelis.net
"Hipsters have managed the illusion of living without any means of financial sustenance for a while. Now we get to see them do it for real."
hipsters  economics  richardflorida  creativeclass  collapse  crisis  wealth  employment  kazysvarnelis  culture  cities  capitalism  future  2009 
february 2009 by robertogreco
The Ruins of the Future - Strangeharvest :: Architecture / Design / Culture
"Tomorrows visitors to todays (or yesterdays) iconic buildings will feel the swoosh of volumes, the cranked out impossibility of structure, the lightheadedness of refection and translucencies. They will marvel at buildings that hardly touch the ground, which swoop into the air as though drawn up by the jet stream. They will feel stretched by elongated angles that seem sucked into vanishing points that confound perspective, and will be seduced by curves of such overblown sensuality. And in this litany of affects they will find the most permanent record of the heady liquid state of mind of millennial abstract-boom economics. We might rechristen these freakish sites as museums of late capitalist experience, monuments to a never to be repeated faith in the global market."
society  culture  architecture  recession  ruins  future  latecapitalism  boom  lostopportunities  design  collapse  economics  bubbles 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Last One Out Turn Out the Lights | varnelis.net
"Soon Dubai will abandoned to sink back into the sands. I think it'll be much more interesting that way, with feral animals running wild, Chernobyl-style, in the ruins. As for the Times, at a symposium last Saturday at Columbia someone said "What if the Times closed, they have dozens of reporters in the Baghdad bureau… How could bloggers replace them?" Yochai Benkler stated "But they are responsible for the war! Remember Judith Miller?" He is so right. What if our news from Baghdad came from actual Iraqs, people who understand the context and speak the language? Oh tired, old Grey Lady, maybe it's time to shut the doors on the Foster building and call it a day? The face-lift didn't work, it just made things worse. Your structural function as an enabler for the growth machine has been a non-stop embarrassment for all involved and now its time to pay the price."
kazysvarnelis  dubai  bubble  economics  growth  nytimes  cities  architecture  dept  finance  capitalism  journalism  collapse  oma  remkoolhaas  china  iraq  war  cheerleading  realestate  2009 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Seed: 2009 Will Be a Year of Panic: From the fevered mind of Bruce Sterling and his alter-ego, Bruno Argento, a consideration of things ahead.
"So 2009 will be a squalid year, a planetary hostage situation surpassing any mere financial crisis, where the invisible hand of the market, a good servant turned a homicidal master, periodically wanders through a miserable set of hand-tied, blindfolded, feebly struggling institutions, corporations, bureaucracies, professions, and academies, and briskly blows one's brains out for no sane reason."
brucesterling  brunoargento  future  2009  currency  disaster  predictions  business  environment  world  seed  panic  climate  copyright  futurism  economics  politics  money  collapse  crisis  insurance  science  intellectualproperty  culture 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Detroit Wildlife on Vimeo
"Detroit Wildlife is a taster video to find a production in France. I shot it this summer 2008. Detroit was known to be the city of car industry, with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler : Motorcity, the city of the Big Three...
detroit  collapse  urbandecay  urbanprairie  documentary  film  wildlife  landscape  cities 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Archinect : Views : Victory Gardens, or the Impact of the Financial Crisis on Architecture
"It will stop soon since cities are about to have their turn. Get ready for the great urban collapse of 2009-2010. Cities are massively overbuilt and, with the financial collapse, just as massively underfunded. ... I wager that architects will expand the discipline again by using their incredible synthetic knowledge to go into other fields. The Eameses’ venture into media design is a great illustration of this. Charles and Ray turned to media because it allowed them to get their concepts across to people much more rapidly and efficiently than architecture could. Or take Archinect for example. It’s vastly more important than any of the buildings made in the last decade. That’s why it’s no accident that I teach at Columbia: Dean Wigley’s has set out Columbia’s program as being to create “the expanded architect.” That’s exactly what we should be doing."
kazysvarnelis  architecture  future  recession  meltdown  infrastructure  design  collapse  2009  predictions  urban  urbanism  everyware  adamgreenfield  archinect  eames  unbuilt 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Iceland: frozen assets - Times Online
"These testaments to excess are now the most tasteless things to be seen in. They call the puttering Range Rovers “Game-Overs”. ... "because they have so little foreign currency, imports are graded into three categories: essential, necessary and luxury. Exotic fruit is a luxury, but then in Iceland a tree is an oddity. If you want fruit, eat fish liver or a puffin." ... "Icelanders react to bad news the way they always...same way they react to good news: they get hammered. Properly Valhallaed." ... "A very direct woman in a bar said: “All that money, all the things and the stuff, it’s very un-Icelandic. The wanting, the conspicuous consumption, the avarice and ambition, the pathetic jealousy, that isn’t us. A great weight has been lifted now the money and the desires are gone. We can get back to being who we are.”" ... "There is something invigorating about Iceland at this moment — like being with people waking from a dream. It’s exciting and instructive."
iceland  collapse  crisis  finance  politics  recession  2008 
december 2008 by robertogreco
The Financialization of Capital and the Crisis - Monthly Review [see also: http://links.org.au/node/794]
"radically different economic view...suggests normal path of mature capitalist economies...US, major Western European countries & Japan, is one of stagnation rather than rapid growth. In this perspective, today’s periodic crises...point to serious & growing long-term constraints on capital accumulation." ... "The hard truth of the matter is that the regime of monopoly-finance capital is designed to benefit a tiny group of oligopolists who dominate both production and finance. A relatively small number of individuals and corporations control huge pools of capital and find no other way to continue to make money on the required scale than through a heavy reliance on finance and speculation. This is a deep-seated contradiction intrinsic to the development of capitalism itself. If the goal is to advance the needs of humanity as a whole, the world will sooner or later have to embrace an alternative system. There is no other way."
via:javierarbona  capitalism  corporations  investment  financialization  johnbellamyfoster  banking  finance  crisis  economics  collapse  debt  leverage  capital  class  us  bubbles  greatdepression 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: Activists
"When we seek to improve ourselves, to enhance our moments of happiness, to stay healthy and build a more secure future, we are doing this not in spite of the ultimate failure of all our endeavours, but rather, because of it. We rage against death, not because such rage will ever be effective, but because to acquiesce is to die immediately."
stephendownes  activism  meaning  life  civilization  society  learning  knowledge  death  collapse 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Remember the Present « Continental Drift
"This is an inquiry into the representations of crisis and the enactments of counter-memory in Argentina. The aim is to provide a discursive frame for some of the most impressive experiments in political art to have emerged around the turn of the millennium."

[via: http://kashklash.dreamhosters.com/currency-evolution-and-crisis/ ]
argentina  crisis  2001  finance  art  history  economics  politics  protest  imf  buenosaires  collapse  mapping  money  society  activism 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Ex Argentina: mapping the visual and political in Argentina
"La Normalidad (normalisation) was the theme for the third exhibition component of the Ex Argentina project which opened in Buenos Aries at the Palais de Glace on February 14th 2006. Ex Argentina was initiated by Andreas Siekmann and Alice Creischer after the dramatic economic collapse in Argentina in December 2001. They travelled to Buenos Aries in November 2002 to begin an investigation, through artistic methods, of the global and local power relations which precipitated this collapse and its aftermath. Through the exhibition program, and its associated discussions and publications, they hoped to create a geneology of the crisis in Argentina which would help foster a minoritarian and local critique capable of challenging the production of global knowledge on the collapse in Argentina, situating this within a global context."
argentina  crisis  2001  finance  art  history  economics  politics  protest  imf  buenosaires  collapse  mapping  money  society  activism 
december 2008 by robertogreco
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