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Khannea Suntzu (51)
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    The Collapse is Near
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    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.

    Sat, Mar 16, 2013  Permanent link

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    The United States will suffer a catastrophic collapse. This much is certain now. No ... the rest of the world won't suffer as much misery as the US will, but it will be dragged along in a protracted crisis (which will probably be worse than the 1930s crisis). A collapse of the CONUS will be about as worse for the american people as the last civil war. And when it happens it will become acutely evident primarily the US caused this global mess.

    Why will the United States suffer a catastrophic collapse?
    The problem is primarily oil consumption far outside bounds of the sustainable. The US consumes more oil than it can financially afford, and very soon the United States will be left unable to afford these oil (and as a result most other) imports. The US currently consumes 18,690,000 barrels of oil per day. That is just over 7 litres per person in the US per day, for everything ranging from industry to refrigeration to producing products, to transport to telecommunications - and in its entire energy infrastructure oil and production pyramid oil remains critical.

    I won't even get in demand for to other petrochemical products, since oil is by far the most important energy carrier for the US at 40%. Clearly the US could not function as it currently does without substantially less oil; most parts of the US would become uninhabitable in respectively summers and winters without heating, air-conditioning, massive irrigation, water consumption and pumping and (in particular) transportation. Sadly, most people in the US are completely deluded on this topic and do not seem to wish to acknowledge the simple reality that the US imports over 60% of its oil.

    There are many other problems in the US - grotesque state debts, personal debts and (even worse) largely unacknowledged unconsidered future liabilities in medicare, defense spending, veteran benefits, pensions, environmental cleanup liabilities, contractual liabilities and much much more). The US is woefully overextended in its government bonds. The entire public sector is mismanaged banana republic style. The US enjoys bizarre and unprecedented societal rifts in affluence and properties you'd more expect in the 19th century. The US has a dilapidated infrastructure... major demographic problems with non-integrated immigrant minorities... an endemic imprisonment culture... awful educational standards... an epidemic of firearms everywhere... a major epidemic of obesity that'll cost society major segments of its labour force as well as high medical expenses ... a severely degraded environment....most natural resources critically plundered and depleted... a public transportation grid that would put a third world country to shame... a political caste gridlocked and unable to respond to even the least of challenges... severely incompetent if not outright delusional politicians.... an unaffordable and dysfunctional medical system that costs more and is less effective than any other in the world ... more people in severe poverty and debt than ever before in human history, anywhere... more homeless people than ever before in the history of the continent.... less understanding or basic interest in its general population about what is at stake... a bankrupted and mostly predatorial financial sector that relies more on Vegas-style betting than actually providing a service....a sharpl;y decreasing industrial base.... really awful science, and a climate of pure hatred towards actual fact-based science. Outsourcing. Religious fundamentalism and zealot dominionism.

    And much much more.

    The problem that will trigger the immediate collapse will be a dollar devaluation. A correction of the value of the dollar is just months or a few years away, and that's precisely where the problems starts and the domino's start tipping over. The actions of the US leadership makes clear that people at the top understand this collapse causality and know they can't do much about it. It should be evident the US leadership is gearing up to major civil disturbance, and that's what you'll get when the dollar sharply devalues.

    Once that happens, the world will no longer recognize the greenback as its global trade denomination, and that will cause the dollar to devalue even more. This process has already started, as many countries have now started trading in other currencies than the dollar. Most holders of US paper realize damn well that the US can no longer service it debts by any other way than to devalue it's currency, and the moment the dollar sharply deflates, the US can't import the vast majority of its oil, or pay for the military it uses to get (steal/plunder) oil elsewhere.

    A US with a sharply declined oil import will be unable to invest much in anything, despite people in the US that seem to think oil production is increasing, and the US "has enough oil for centuries". This is not the case, evidently.

    Millions of people living in suburbs will not be able to show up at work the very day the dollar starts selling at over (give or take) 12$ a gallon. Tens of millions of people drive tens of miles a day to get to and from work. They couldn't even get there by public transportation even if they wanted to. The conclusion can only be that within weeks of a sharp increase in oil price in the US unemployment would be well over 25%, the water taps in most states would run dry, there would be widespread and endemic electricity brownouts, Internet will stop service in most regions, supermarket shelves would sit empty on an almost permanent basis. The next step would be widespread looting and the US president would have no resource than call all armed forces home to restore order as soon as possible.

    In my understanding this would more or less civil war conditions, as well as widespread riotting. Quickly after any US states with a positive budget surplus would try to get the hell out of the Union as soon as possible, to avoid shouldering their burden of the civil unrest and collective debts. It should be evidently that by this time the dollar would not have a discernible purpose left and would devalue to a small percentage (well under 5%) of its current value. Once local states, banks and other power-holders would have to resort to printing their own currencies, the US as it exists today would have started to unwind in the most undignified manner possible.

    Almost certainly worse than what happened in the USSR in the early 1990s.

    When will the US collapse?
    Hard to say. A matter of years would be the simplest answer. I'd be very surprised if the collapse hadn't taken place before 2025, and regard it more likely to happen before 2018. Then again I wouldn't be surprised this would happen later this year. My guess? Between 2013 and 2015. But the collapse might also occur in "Perestrojka/Glasnost" sequence of stages.

    How bad will it get?
    The authority on "bad" is Dimitry Orlov. Dimitry is a very amusing character, just watch his vids for entertainment value. I concur with his conclusions completely.

    My armchair analysis is a major tip of the hat to Dimitry and goes roughly like this:

    The US collapse will be sudden and will happen in weeks or days. Things will be fine one day and the next monday the supermarkets are empty and the gas suppliers go literally out of business. Once the pumping station owners realize they have to put a 10$/gallon price on the boards they will just quit their job - Many gas stations will have "closed" igns, to avoid becoming the subject of intense violence - while a few gas stations will have armed security details protecting the gas (and as a result even higher prices).

    Within days local governments will stop paying all kinds of welfare and subsidies. Most pensions won't get paid or paid very late. After the bankrupcies start, all this will cause massive protests, and a very extreme flavour of collective hysteria. Imagine a few million welfare moms with several kids, their husbands nowhere to be found, having no money to buy food for their children, give them firearms and you have a start of a picture.

    Within weeks the electricity will start failing regionally and increasingly often - and in many places won't even go on for days. Internet will die down not long after or be censored severely, which will disrupting many more critical services. This decay of services will trigger increasingly organized protests that will turn violent at a spark, and as the cops start cracking down many angry locals will kill any cops on sight. At this stage the last banks will shut down indefinitely, and remaining banks will turn in to fortresses or "extended pawn shops". Panic-looting will become inescapable, and those targeted will be people of which it is known they have stocks and reserves - preppers.

    This will trigger the formation of cooperative militias, vigilantes (with retaliatory gangs) looting and raids back and forth. A lot of people risk being gunned down in crime, plunder and gang related activity. On a state level (especially the midwest) you'll see the US balkanize worse than the actual Balkans. To this date there is a quite lot of reserve capacity in the US, in terms of food and necessities, but most american people will be accustomed to a lot of consumption as well and will beaver through reserves rather quickly, unaccustomed to this level of austerity.

    After a few weeks of severe shock the US will quiet down, in large part because tens of millions of people will succumb to major depressive mindsets; note that tens of millions of people will be suddenly without their regular dose of narcotics, alcohol, antidepressants and anti-psychotics. There will be major incidents - people who can't get their meds will panic very badly as they go in withdrawal. During a collapse I wouldn't want to be a pharmacist in the US.

    Over a hundred million Americans will feel acute and incapacitating hunger for the first time and their lives, and the general mentality of the population will be grim, aggressive and extremely hateful towards politicians and authority-figures. I anticipate major anti-government violence, spurred on by severe unemployment, within 2-3 months of the initial collapse stages. But by then the second stage shock will come as the societal food (and other) reserves start irreversibly running out. You'll see very painful "okie" migrations or refugee trains cross the US. These will happen largely in overloaded and crowded buses and will mostly be directed towards the big cities. The countryside, especially the midwest, will empty out. If the crisis starts just before winter, the unrest will be less, but the human hardship will be all the worse. People will literally freeze to death in their houses in a late autumn collapse.

    Worst case scenario for a US collapse will be a millions of deaths per year - though probably not very visibly. Most these people will die of not having access top essential medications, especially the very old and very poor. Pension homes will turn to abbatoirs as the very old will suffer severe neglect. There will be situations where people will be found dead (quite often of suicide) in their houses months after they died. We already see the same trend in Greece, and the US will suffer far worse conditions than Greece currently experiences.

    Note that very quickly after this collapse many banks/landlords will stop evicting renters that do not pay mortgages or rent - people will kill to keep their houses, even if there isn't a job for them within tens of kilometres - living on the street will be regarded as terrifying in such an economic climate (as well as the general US climate). But what's even worse - many people will be terrified of their next door neighbour being evicted - suburban neighbourhoods are extremely sensitive to deterioration if just a few people leave. Suburbia's will become very tightly knit, almost cult-like enclosed (fenced off) environments that will self-organize in to forced labour details, their own punishment regimes and militia's. The end result - where you know that very quickly the US union disintegrates in to several "smaller unions" be when you'll have the development of fiefdoms and literally warlords (criminal or not). This will be more prevalent in Mid-west states with very variable climatic conditions, such as Dakota and Nevada. People who stay there will be very stubborn and (after a year of collapse) very hateful towards the rest of the world. They will be blaming everyone but themselves for years.

    The odds for state repression and an "aggravated state of emergence"
    A lot of rich investors should realize by now what they have to lose if all of this happens, or even a part of this happens. States will nationalize in all sorts of rushed and ramshackle emergency laws. Hundreds of millions will default on any debt payments, and will shoot with live ammo if anyone comes to collect. Or the debts become worthless, as the dollar itself becomes worthless. (you come for my the mortgage? Sure! ... take some from those bags of dollars in the garage...). Right now anyone really rich in the US should be just about terrified of not just massive debt write-offs, but also considerable anger. The best way to get rid of a debtor is to kill one, right?

    The only sensible conclusion is that current trends in US domestic and law enforcement policies (which increasingly range towards "Byzantine", "Draconian", "Fascist" and "Rather over the top") is a preparation for an authoritarian government. I wish them good luck with this, because once the collapse starts the best bet for anyone really rich would be to flee (=emigrate) or run a sharply increased risk of being poisoned by their waiter, or their houses fire-bombed - right after being looted. Many Americans have been in love with flagrant and disproportional affluence, and this love affair will quickly turn around in to militant and purgative hatred very quickly.

    Food aid
    There are many opportunities for Europeans and other non-american entities to rebuild a collapsed US, and reinvest in it - after we cleaned our own mess, and after the worst unrest blows over. I suggest the EU (if it still exists) supports those elements of the US it wants to see survive and ignore the other bits. For instance I strongly suggest not supporting parts in the US that voted republican or dominionist, and making a selection will be inescapable. The world should not reward those elements in the US that acted towards a fascist world government.

    This may seem overly ruthless. I guarantee you this is nothing but fair, given the bigger picture.

    What can the collapse of the USSR teach us about the imminent US collapse?
    It took the former East Bloc fifteen years to claw back to some measure of civil order. Even now the birth rate in Russia is very low compared to what was before, and one can typify much of the former soviet population still as in a high degree shell-shocked and cynical. I happen to know a few people there and who emigrated early, and they positively (and in some cases irrationally) hate the state system of before 1990. I expect to see the same hatred of capitalism in the US after a collapse. There will be a lot of blame to go around (and I full expect to see the charred, tortured corpses of corporate executives, bankers, soldiers and politicians to end up hanging from lamp post on TV). The US ideology is currently "out of its natural equilibrium" and will correct itself convulsively. Many Americans will become sharply more fundamentalist christians (at least until they discover it doesn't help much in the long run), and the majority of Americans will have distinctly "AlexJonesian" delusions for decades to come after the collapse.

    Another painful lesson will be about sustainability. The US has very different sustainability problems than the USSR ever had, but the problems are comparable. What both empires share in nature is the simple "one nation can not exist in splendid isolation from the rest of the world, from reality and from it's own resource constraints". I see great opportunities for new styles of management. In particular the somewhat oddball naive "Zeitgeist movement" will be likely to be regarded as "correct" and consequently quite popular. That is a sharp change towards the left of the spectrum for the US, and also a sharp move towards a diet of enforced realism, a la venus Project. A similar alternative is the even more oddball (and potentially fascist) US Technocracy movement, which will offer very seductive as well as acutely authoritarian solutions to the woes of the US after a collapse. If any of these three groups get any traction anywhere in the US, expect massive (and badly contemplated) nationalizations, re-education camps and "emergency dicates" from hastily assembled "emergency councils".

    What will no doubt go is Washington DC. A decade after the collapse I do not anticipate DC to be a major city. It will have been looted, most buildings will have been burned down, and most people will have moved away. There will not be a senate or a house of congress, and the "democratic" and "republican" parties will be regarded with intense and burning hatred for generations to come.

    The range of severities in a US Collapse
    It isn't enough to say "it will either be bad or very bad". We need signposts that make sense in the parlance and collective gut feelings of 2012. So how do I measure the relative severity of a US collapse in terms of likelyhood and

    * Unlikely; no collapse or a minor crisis

    Symptoms: A crisis similar to the 1970s oil shock, the Argentinian bank burnout, the PIGS crisis, the dotcom crisis and the 2008 banking collapse combined, times two. I regard this scenario as not likely as all major indicators suggest we are pretty much beyond this point now. So what I am suggesting is that the US will suffer a major crisis within the next months to years, with little or no doubt, and it will be worse than all of the above, and far worse than it already is right now.

    * Likely/Median; major USSR style collapse

    Symptoms: 10+ million "stealth" deaths, i.e. natural attrition from decreased service, decreased welfare, disruptions in medical care, riotting, famine, epidemics. An excrutiatingly severe crisis, in many measures worse than the collapse of the USSR. Emdenic poverty for 15+ years, and a generation to recover. The US becomes about as "poor" as Mexico is now, but with significantly more state repression, regional secession. A gradual and staggered brakeup in to a new union. Several midwest and northern states become considerably more centralized and urbanized, and there will be radical increase of seasonal labour migrations starting months after the initial collapse. Within a year tens of Americans will be living in a combination of trailers and encampments - about ten times as much indigents (or "okies") as is happening already. Considerable to incapacitating sisruption of state services, including water supply, medical care, food services, transportation and electricity. Severe environmental worsening and natural desasters. A return of the midwest Dust bowl. Forced labour programs. One or more states may try secede and/or to join with Canada. Coastal and Southern states may opt to negotiate total secession. Major crime. Major incidents of corruption and the regional formation of "overlord" governance.

    * Unlikely; massive die-off, famines, total collapse, Civil war.

    Symptoms: 25+ million deaths between the onset of the crisis and the gradual end. A crisis lasting 25+ years. Conditions as bad as during the US conquest, looting of Iraq. Major regional conflicts between regional seceded states. Civil war. Several cities completely or mostly laid to waste. Major depopulation of northern states or midwest states. Unemployment rates over 35%, economy takes half a century to get back to "rich nation" status. US acts as a second world country, comparable to current Brazil, for a generation.

    * Very Unlikely; Worst case scenario

    Supporting democratic forces in the US after the collapse of the US
    Let me make a prediction. I predict that if we'll see a collapse, and if Bradley Manning survives (his sanity intact) after the collapse Bradley Manning may see a similar political trajectory as Nelson Mandela.

    All those guns
    The United States is saturated with firearms. While stocks of ammunition run short quickly in civil unrest, this would stay a problem for a long time. In periods of comparable peace widespread availability of guns has a slight tempering effect on crime. Sadly, in times of civil unrest the reverse is true, and if everyone and his slightly nutty nephew owns a revolver or shotgun, once people feel hunger these will be used. A major concern in this is that the US is not technically a nation. The US has an extremely low level of cohesion. The US is only cohesive if there's enough food and entertainment - for the rest the younger generations of Americans born after the 1970s don't give a damn about societal cohesion or their neighbours. The US is a pervasively antisocial "dog-eat-dog" society, a legacy of a colonial beginning.

    As a result a collapse in the US, with all the guns around, will be deadlier than it would be anywhere else. My expectation is that the firearms would ratchet up violence, make societally less easily controlled by law and proper justice. I anticipate racial and gang violence to become especially "southamerican" very quickly.

    Nuclear proliferation
    Actually, the reason I wrote this article is specifically weapons of mass destruction - proliferation. The US is soaked with WMD's, and there is a severe risk some psychopaths in the US upper echelons (and I am thinking specifically of vindictive Neocons with a penchant of "Dolchstoss"-delusions) will throw them on the open international market ("let it all burn!") for pennies a pound. I urge the European Union, Russia, China, Japan and the Commonwealth to start thinking on scenario's to halt any US WMB proliferation in case a severe collapse does in fact occur.

    The convenience of a global pandemic
    In a collapse scenario those in power have certain well-entrenched interests and concerns. Some of these 'elites' are also known to be quite powerful and ruthless. There is a way to stave off major economic collapse states - by spreading a cocktail of engineering diseases abroad as well as domestically. Current globalist capitalism depends in large part on variants of creative destruction, as well as competitive sabotage. I'd go as far as speculate that some in power would have a compelling interest in playing this card - and surgically causing world wide deaths in the order of a few tens of millions. This would allow the elites to engineer widespread compliance, fear, quite docile and impressionable civilians, people staying mostly indoors and a more or less controlled transition to a more manageable economic state.

    There is a problem with this scenario - if I can think of it, so can countries such as Russia, China, the EU. And if one side (say - the NeoCon-inclined military think tanks, who have done worse by now) executes this scenario in the international theatre, I bet it'll be days or weeks before another cocktail of pretty awful diseases would hit the more affluent communities around wall street, signed SVR. Retaliation in biological warfare tends to be quick and rather unpleasant, and generally entails variants of diseases such as Ebola, that burn through anyone infected and won't bounce back unless someone wants it to bounce back again and again and again. My estimate for such a pandemic scenario is "very probable", causing some few ten million deaths in the third world and a few tens to hundreds of thousands of deaths in most other "developed" nations.

    Then again - there might also be non-lethal, "incapacitating" diseases that make crowds more manageable, such as virulent but non-lethal strains of influenza. Many such variants trigger clinical depression, anxiety disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome. That might just be what the butcher ordered.

    Many people in the world hate the United States. Many people in the world are inclined to want to avenge themselves on the US, for a range of reasons real or imagined. This is a painful but quite relevant reality for a collapsing United States. There are people in the world that would just love to kick the US deeper in to the gutter once it's down. I can envision several possible avenues, for which in sequence of impact I see (*) an EMP strike in a very small area destroying critical electronic infrastructure; (*) spreading alien rodents, insects, fungi, pest plants, pest animals in key agricultural areas; (*) a small dirty radiological bomb in a major remaining centre of commerce, transportation or infrastructural hub or other critical spot; (*) spreading not one but several engineered diseases; (*) a sequence of chemical warfare attacks on small critically exposed bits of transportation hubs, or densely populated refugee zones; (*) targeting oil infrastructure or storage tanks with drones or suicide bombers - or a combination of these. In these horrific acts of terror the US will be hard pressed to maintain a credible border defence during a collapse, and it will be acutely easy to foster widespread conspiracy thinking - "the government is behind it". Just make sure just before the attack some faked G-man with mirror shades stand looking in plain view of some media cameras observing the zone of attack and you have major riots on your hand.

    Such attacks would be bad, but I can't other than conclude they'd become a statistical probability at some stage.

    Yes - once this starts Canada as well as Mexico will close their borders. Yes, US Americans will not be welcome in Australia, the UK, Europe or Asia, unless they already have major assets parked there. Frankly, if I were an american with money right now, I'd buy one or two small apartments with basic survival amenities somewhere else. In fact, I can imagine making a lot of money being a broker to aspiring US refugees wanting to secure such housing (including basic furniture and some stocked reserves) outside the US.

    Final Conclusions
    A collapse is the last thing anyone would want. I rather prefer living my sedate lower class subsidized life, but wanting a thing and getting it are two different things. The painful reality is the United States is the weak link in the current geopolitical Big Brother game, and may very well be the first to tip over hard. Accepting this reality is something scary but it may be necessary.

    Wed, Feb 22, 2012  Permanent link

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    Wed, Feb 22, 2012  Permanent link

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    In a few years humanity will have to enter space with industrial and permanent structures. There are several reasons to do so and I will touch on them briefly.

    First a presence in space will allow us to develop an industrial presence for harvesting asteroids and the moon (as well as doing general research), and such a presence is profitable. Second, a presence of human infrastructure in space will allow us to win energy from converting sunlight in to beamed energy, which can be sent to Earth and further converted into useful electricity. This is again, quite profitable in the middle to long run (and mostly inescapable in the long run).

    But most of all, (even if either arguments of either developing industrial infrastructure for development, mining or construction, respectively building energy harvesting infrastructure fail because they aren't deemed "short term profitable" enough) there are more immediate arguments of security. Very soon private parties will be able to place 'legally unaccountable' satellites in orbit. Right now "hackers" plan to place a satellite in space with the intent purpose of freedom of communication, thereby bypassing terrestrial IP laws. If these private parties can afford to place objects in permanent orbits, then the security demands of allready clearly provitable investments in space dictate a quickly escalating investment in law enforcement investments in space, as well as the usual escalation of military investments.

    This gets hairy very quickly after that point.

    A kinetic kill weapon in an orbit around the Earth-Moon system signifies a weapon that can threaten every single state entity on the surface of the planet. In other words; if one day an unaccountable private agency, investor, state or corporation would place several dozen "kinetic kill weapons" in such an orbit, these devices would allow such parties to dictate terms to any nation on Earth (including the United States) without much counter-argument. A fast accelerated brick of stainless steel weighing less than a fridge would, if accelerated in to Earth on a very energetic high speed trajectory, impact a very specific (and small) target area with a burst comparable to a nuclear detonation.

    Ten of those would end the United States as a modern country.

    From this follows, incontrovertibly, that no Earth surface political entity can afford any other political entity to have potentially offensive (and unaccountable) space-based infrastructures. These are to easily hijacked in to "orbital kill weapons". We can't even let private parties decide to put a few dozen "surprise Chinese boxes" in an orbit, because any such party could pretend to be working for another unknown investor and make surface retalliation rather pointless. You can't retaliate if you don't know who your enemy is. In other words; a private foundation that says it is funded by chinese donations might be funded by enemies of the same Chinese. You can't have "plausible retaliatory security" under those circumstances.

    Imminent Space Investments.
    The logical consequence is that very soon, in just a few years after this article, a rush in to investments in space infrastructure is inescapable. I mean - there are mountains of money sloshing around the terrestrial surface eager to find a proper target for investment, we might as well pick space, right?

    Likewise treaties to enforce safety when someone places structures in space will be necessary - yet largely pointless. It will be inceasingly possible to create launch facilities in unaccountable countries and to do so in stealth. Payloads can be launched rather suddenly, say from North Korea, China, some south-American banana republic. The local leaders wouldn't even be fully aware or able to understand what might be launched from their jurisdiction, or what the long term consequences of a few dozen large launches might be.

    From this follows that very soon the United States, China, The European Union, Russia - and several other parties - will be looking to place security measures in space. They must.

    The Amygdala in Space
    The human brain is not a rational decissionmaking tool. Individual human judgement can no longer be fully trusted to make the right decissions. This has been long known; fear is a miserable councillor. I would add a large number of other emotions in to the mix as well, but by and large the root of many flawed decissions, including decissions made at the highest executive levels of government, was based on fear. This entire article itself is an argument to highlight the dangers of an escalatory cycle based on precisely such fear, and to argue for an alternative.

    The best device to defend against fear is Peer Review. In other words - when someone of eminent power makes decissions, someone else (or several other people) must be able to look over the shoulder of the most eminent 'decider in charge', to make sure the person making the decissions makes somewhat sensible decissions, not overly swayed by primitive constituents in the human neurology. We cannot have people in charge consistently make the wrong decissions, wait too long in making decissions, or lie about the process. We can not have diagnosed sociopaths, or senile or apocalyptic extremist or amphetamine addicted leaders with the hands on the red button.

    As we now know we had a few of all of these, in recent history, at the same time. Not very smart.

    We have seen a tsunami of examples in recent history where flawed arrogant and conceited decision-making dumped in crisis after crisis and this must end. We need tools of "enhanced peer review" (a hyper-wikileaks if you will) to make sure we don't end up with potentially horrific and irreversible results, especially when it comes to all of the above. Weaponization of space is based on Amygdala-derived irrationality. Everyone in their sound mind knows that a world where no assets are wasted on weapons would be a more productive world. Everyone with a good grasp of humam nature also must realize that this is not going to happen, since people are irrational decissionmaking agencies, and will remain such for the foreseeable future.

    Enhanced Peer Review
    I postulate the statement that under no circumstances can we afford an escalation of weaponization in space (even if cloaked in the soft 'excuse silks' of law enforcement or national security concerns). That basicly means that we can not allow people in power to decide that we need these weapons, so that later people of power might become locked in the horrific dilemma of having to use them.

    Don't give a box of razors to babies.

    In other words - once someone has these weapons, everyone must have them. And once everyone has them, there will eventually a situation when their use is inescapable.

    Under no circumstance can war with space-based weapons ever be acceptable. If you don't allready see this, try and envision an automated factory creating a few thousand several ton ballistic kill projectiles (years after the creator of the factory has been killed by law enforcement) and these projectiles raining down at hyper-accelerated velocities on the Earth's surface. This scenario is not merely thinkable - this is as statistical inescapable as it is utterly unacceptable. An ultra rich sociopath several decades from now can create an automated factory and enact the ultimate revenge on Humanity, and in the span of just a few years rain down a deluge of fast moving impactors on Earth that will eradicate all of humanity left on the planetary surface, as well as make the Earth mostly uninhabitable. Seed these impactors with highly active key isotopes and the act kill off most surface lifeforms. And realize that the total mass required for such an ultimate terror would probably fit in a decent sized hangar on the earth's surface.

    Such a scenario may be 'exciting' from a detached gamer perspective but in the real world it would be very tragic and unpleasant. Such would be the worst case plausible "moonraker" scenario. It is what will eventually happen, if we let it happen. And it only need happens once to usher in at the very least centuries of new planetary barbarism.

    Proactive Peer Review is a principle where all are constantly concerned for all. I advocate this principle, insofar I can actually fully define it, since logically we don't have an alternative. With space based technologies we are entering an era with tools incompatible with the function of the primate human Amygdala. This means that we must implement the most gentle tyranny of meddlesome care, to avoid coming in to a situation of "inescapable mutually assured extinction".

    The principle would be classified by any detractors as "space socialism on steroids" and that's basicly what it is. The principles would entail -

    All factional space industry and investment allows considerable accumulation of affluence. This growth in affluence may never lead to any group overextending to a point it is effectively forced to predation on other groups. In other words - any investment in space, or growth of populace in space can not implicitly lead to the populace or the descendants of the populace to be led in to a state of desperation. Anyone making decissions can not risk desperation in the long run, in his own descendants or in any of his strategic competitors.

    Clearly I do not advocate premature retailliation against any other party making investments in space that "might" cause the heirs to go hungry one day. Instead I call on all to implement a consistent policy of mutual support to create absolute certainty -

    - Your populace and it's consumption needs will never be unsustainable, and as a consequences be led to do desperate things
    - You will support anyone else to the best of your ability to make damn sure they don't turn in desperate one day.

    This is a very simple principle; know your limits, and have the decency to not exceed your limits so other people suffer the consequences of your short-sightedness.

    It would be a nice principle on a planetary surface as well, but in space it should be regarded as critical.
    Fri, Jan 6, 2012  Permanent link

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    We will see a paradigm shift, possibly a world wide revolutionary change this year. Hand me pepper and salt to eat my shoe if it'll be 2012. It will be a very painful collapse, and we'll see the dollar and the euro become a wholly new currency.

    I am afraid, because I am vulnerable, but at the end of the day we all are. And while it will be bad everywhere I think the Netherlands are a safe place to be. At least it won't be the US right?

    The bright light at the end of the tunnel is that many people will be looking for answers. This will create opportunities for proactive visionary commentators.

    Let's meet up and have a nice party at the other end of the tunnel ok?
    Fri, Jul 8, 2011  Permanent link

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