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Archive for the ‘Mass-materialism and mass-consumerism’ Category

This is just a post mostly for my own future reference as well as for anyone else who might be interested in great writing and important ideas written by a group of erudite, traditional-minded Americans.  The following is the entire introduction to the book I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition published by the Twelve Southerners in 1930.

I referenced the book in a previous post on this blog, and stated that the critical issues raised in the book still loom large even now in 21st Century America (and in other nations which are currently industrializing/urbanizing in modern times).  Especially interesting is the way in which the current milieu of American socioeconomic stagnation and ennui eerily mirrors exactly what was occurring when the book was originally published at the beginning of the Great Depression in 1930.

I am reposting the introductory essay here just in case it one day disappears from the internet entirely and/or the current website containing it goes down for some reason.

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“INTRODUCTION: A STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES”
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THE authors contributing to this book are Southerners, well acquainted with one another and of similar tastes, though not necessarily living in the same physical community, and perhaps only at this moment aware of themselves as a single group of men. By conversation and exchange of letters over a number of years it had developed that they entertained many convictions in common, and it was decided to make a volume in which each one should furnish his views upon a chosen topic. This was the general background. But background and consultation as to the various topics were enough; there was to be no further collaboration. And so no single author is responsible for any view outside his own article. It was through the good fortune of some deeper agreement that the book was expected to achieve its unity. All the articles bear in the same sense upon the book’s title-subject: all tend to support a Southern way of life against what may be called the American or prevailing way; and all as much as agree that the best terms in which to represent the distinction are contained in the phrase, Agrarian versus Industrial.

But after the book was under way it seemed a pity if the contributors, limited as they were within their special subjects, should stop short of showing how close their agreements really were. On the contrary, it seemed that they ought to go on and make themselves known as a group already consolidated by a set of principles which could be stated with a good deal of particularity. This might prove useful for the sake of future reference, if they should undertake any further joint publication. It was then decided to prepare a general introduction for the book which would state briefly the common convictions of the group. This is the statement. To it every one of the contributors in this book has subscribed.

Nobody now proposes for the South, or far any other community in this country, an independent political destiny. That idea is thought to have been finished in 1805. But how far shall the South surrender its moral, social, and economic autonomy to the victorious principle of Union? That question remains open. The South is a minority section that has hitherto been jealous of its minority right to live its own kind of life. The South scarcely hopes to determine the other sections, but it does propose to determine itself, within the utmost limits of legal action. Of late, however, there is the melancholy fact that the South itself has wavered a little and shown signs of wanting to join up behind the common or American industrial ideal. It is against that tendency that this book is written. The younger Southerners, who are being converted frequently to the industrial gospel, must come back to the support of the Southern tradition. They must be persuaded to look very critically at the advantages of becoming a “new South” which will be only an undistinguished replica of the usual industrial community.

But there are many other minority communities opposed to industrialism, and wanting a much simpler economy to live by. The communities and private persons sharing the agrarian tastes are to be found widely within the Union. Proper living is a matter of the intelligence and the will, does not depend on the local climate or geography, and is capable of a definition which is general and not Southern at all. Southerners have a filial duty to discharge to their own section. But their cause is precarious and they must seek alliances with sympathetic communities everywhere. The members of the present group would be happy to be counted as members of a national agrarian movement.

Industrialism is the economic organization of the collective American society. It means the decision of society to invest its economic resources in the applied sciences. But the word science has acquired a certain sanctitude. It is out of order to quarrel with science in the abstract, or even with the applied sciences when their applications are made subject to criticism and intelligence. The capitalization of the applied sciences has now become extravagant and uncritical; it has enslaved our human energies to a degree now clearly felt to be burdensome. The apologists of industrialism do not like to meet this charge directly; so they often take refuge in saying that they are devoted simply to science! They are really devoted to the applied sciences and to practical production. Therefore it is necessary to employ a certain skepticism even at the expense of the Cult of Science, and to say, It is an Americanism, which looks innocent and disinterested, but really is not either.

The contribution that science can make to a labor is to render it easier by the help of a tool or a process, and to assure the laborer of his perfect economic security while he is engaged upon it. Then it can be performed with leisure and enjoyment. But the modern laborer has not exactly received this benefit under the industrial regime. His labor is hard, its tempo is fierce, and his employment is insecure. The first principle of a good labor is that it must be effective, but the second principle is that it must be enjoyed. Labor is one of the largest items in the human career; it is a modest demand to ask that it may partake of happiness.

The regular act of applied science is to introduce into labor a labor-saving device or a machine. Whether this is a benefit depends on how far it is advisable to save the labor The philosophy of applied science is generally quite sure that the saving of labor is a pure gain, and that the more of it the better. This is to assume that labor is an evil, that only the end of labor or the material product is good. On this assumption labor becomes mercenary and servile, and it is no wonder if many forms of modern labor are accepted without resentment though they are evidently brutalizing. The act of labor as one of the happy functions of human life has been in effect abandoned, and is practiced solely for its rewards.

Even the apologists of industrialism have been obliged to admit that some economic evils follow in the wake of the machines. These are such as overproduction, unemployment, and a growing inequality in the distribution of wealth. But the remedies proposed by the apologists are always homeopathic. They expect the evils to disappear when we have bigger and better machines, and more of them. Their remedial programs, therefore, look forward to more industrialism. Sometimes they see the system righting itself spontaneously and without direction: they are Optimists. Sometimes they rely on the benevolence of capital, or the militancy of labor, to bring about a fairer division of the spoils: they are Cooperationists or Socialists. And sometimes they expect to find super-engineers, in the shape of Boards of Control, who will adapt production to consumption and regulate prices and guarantee business against fluctuations: they are Sovietists. With respect to these last it must be insisted that the true Sovietists or Communists-if the term may be used here in the European sense-are the Industrialists themselves. They would have the government set up an economic super-organization, which in turn would become the government. We therefore look upon the Communist menace as a menace indeed, but not as a Red one; because it is simply according to the blind drift of our industrial development to expect in America at last much the same economic system as that imposed by violence upon Russia in 1917.

Turning to consumption, as the grand end which justifies the evil of modern labor, we find that we have been deceived. We have more time in which to consume, and many more products to be consumed. But the tempo of our labors communicates itself to our satisfactions, and these also become brutal and hurried. The constitution of the natural man probably does not permit him to shorten his labor-time and enlarge his consuming-time indefinitely. He has to pay the penalty in satiety and aimlessness. The modern man has lost his sense of vocation.

Religion can hardly expect to flourish in an industrial society. Religion is our submission to the general intention of a nature that is fairly inscrutable; it is the sense of our role as creatures within it. But nature industrialized, transformed into cities and artificial habitations, manufactured into commodities, is no longer nature but a highly simplified picture of nature. We receive the illusion of having power over nature, and lose the sense of nature as something mysterious and contingent. The God of nature under these conditions is merely an amiable expression, a superfluity, and the philosophical understanding ordinarily carried in the religious experience is not there for us to have.

Nor do the arts have a proper life under industrialism, with the general decay of sensibility which attends it. Art depends, in general, like religion, on a right attitude to nature; and in particular on a free and disinterested observation of nature that occurs only in leisure. Neither the creation nor the understanding of works of art is possible in an industrial age except by some local and unlikely suspension of the industrial drive.

The amenities of life also suffer under the curse of a strictly-business or industrial civilization. They consist in such practices as manners, conversation, hospitality, sympathy, family life, romantic love-in the social exchanges which reveal and develop sensibility in human affairs. If religion and the arts are founded on right relations of man- to-nature, these are founded on right relations of man-to- man.

Apologists of industrialism are even inclined to admit that its actual processes may have upon its victims the spiritual effects just described. But they think that all can be made right by extraordinary educational efforts, by all sorts of cultural institutions and endowments. They would cure the poverty of the contemporary spirit by hiring experts to instruct it in spite of itself in the historic culture. But salvation is hardly to be encountered on that road. The trouble with the life-pattern is to be located at its economic base, and we cannot rebuild it by pouring in soft materials from the top. The young men and women in colleges, for example, if they are already placed in a false way of life, cannot make more than an inconsequential acquaintance with the arts and humanities transmitted to them. Or else the understanding of these arts and humanities will but make them the more wretched in their own destitution.

The “Humanists” are too abstract. Humanism, properly speaking, is not an abstract system, but a culture, the whole way in which we live, act, think, and feel. It is a kind of imaginatively balanced life lived out in a definite social tradition. And, in the concrete, we believe that this, the genuine humanism, was rooted in the agrarian life of the older South and of other parts of the country that shared in such a tradition. It was not an abstract moral “check” derived from the classics-it was not soft material poured in from the top. It was deeply founded in the way of life itself-in its tables, chairs, portraits, festivals, laws, marriage customs. We cannot recover our native humanism by adopting some standard of taste that is critical enough to question the contemporary arts but not critical enough to question the social and economic life which is their ground.

The tempo of the industrial life is fast, but that is not the worst of it; it is accelerating. The ideal is not merely some set form of industrialism, with so many stable industries, but industrial progress, or an incessant extension of industrialization. It never proposes a specific goal; it initiates the infinite series. We have not merely capitalized certain industries; we have capitalized the laboratories and inventors, and undertaken to employ all the labor-saving devices that come out of them. But a fresh labor-saving device introduced into an industry does not emancipate the laborers in that industry so much as it evicts them. Applied at the expense of agriculture, for example, the new processes have reduced the part of the population supporting itself upon the soil to a smaller and smaller fraction. Of course no single labor-saving process is fatal; it brings on a period of unemployed labor and unemployed capital, but soon a new industry is devised which will put them both to work again, and a new commodity is thrown upon the market. The laborers were sufficiently embarrassed in the meantime, but, according to the theory, they will eventually be taken care of. It is now the public which is embarrassed; it feels obligated to purchase a commodity for which it had expressed no desire, but it is invited to make its budget equal to the strain. All might yet be well, and stability and comfort might again obtain, but for this: partly because of industrial ambitions and partly because the repressed creative impulse must break out somewhere, there will be a stream of further labor-saving devices in all industries, and the cycle will have to be repeated over and over. The result is an increasing disadjustment and instability.

It is an inevitable consequence of industrial progress that production greatly outruns the rate of natural consumption. To overcome the disparity, the producers, disguised as the pure idealists of progress, must coerce and wheedle the public into being loyal and steady consumers, in order to keep the machines running. So the rise of modern advertising-along with its twin, personal salesmanship-is the most significant development of our industrialism. Advertising means to persuade the consumers to want exactly what the applied sciences are able to furnish them. It consults the happiness of the consumer no more than it consulted the happiness of the laborer. It is the great effort of a false economy of life to approve itself. But its task grows more difficult even day.

It is strange, of course, that a majority of men anywhere could ever as with one mind become enamored of industrialism: a system that has so little regard for individual wants. There is evidently a kind of thinking that rejoices in setting up a social objective which has no relation to the individual. Men are prepared to sacrifice their private dignity and happiness to an abstract social ideal, and without asking whether the social ideal produces the welfare of any individual man whatsoever. But this is absurd. The responsibility of men is for their own welfare and that of their neighbors; not for the hypothetical welfare of some fabulous creature called society.

Opposed to the industrial society is the agrarian, which does not stand in particular need of definition. An agrarian society is hardly one that has no use at all for industries, for professional vocations, for scholars and artists, and for the life of cities. Technically, perhaps, an agrarian society is one in which agriculture is the leading vocation, whether for wealth, for pleasure, or for prestige-a form of labor that is pursued with intelligence and leisure, and that becomes the model to which the other forms approach as well as they may. But an agrarian regime will be secured readily enough where the superfluous industries are not allowed to rise against it. The theory of agrarianism is that the culture of the soil is the best and most sensitive of vocations, and that therefore it should have the economic preference and enlist the maximum number of workers.

These principles do not intend to be very specific in proposing any practical measures. How may the little agrarian community resist the Chamber of Commerce of its county seat, which is always trying to import some foreign industry that cannot be assimilated to the life-pattern of the community? Just what must the Southern leaders do to defend the traditional Southern life ? How may the Southern and the Western agrarians unite for effective action? Should the agrarian forces try to capture the Democratic party, which historically is so closely affiliated with the defense of individualism, the small community, the state, the South ? Or must the agrarians-even the Southern ones-abandon the Democratic party to its fate and try a new one? What legislation could most profitably be championed by the powerful agrarians in the Senate of the United States? What anti-industrial measures might promise to stop the advances of industrialism, or even undo some of them, with the least harm to those concerned? What policy should be pursued by the educators who have a tradition at heart? These and many other questions are of the greatest importance, but they cannot be answered here.

For, in conclusion, this much is clear: If a community, or a section, or a race, or an age, is groaning under industrialism, and well aware that it is an evil dispensation, it must find the way to throw it off. To think that this cannot be done is pusillanimous. And if the whole community, section, race, or age thinks it cannot be done, then it has simply lost its political genius and doomed itself to impotence. (1930)

+ SOURCE = http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA01/White/anthology/agrarian.html

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The best hope for the future of job growth in the modern post-industrial USA are so-called ‘green-collar jobs.’

The fact is that all economically prosperous nations suffer from a major and unavoidable overproduction and oversupply of goods and services as we in the USA are now experiencing — this is a natural outcome in all advanced post-industrial economies, and this means there are less available jobs for people to do because all necessary human needs have already been met and all economic niches have been filled. There are less people needed for factories because one machine can now quickly do the work of many people; similarly, there is less demand for various goods because most people already have all that they need and thus do not need to buy more and more stuff…same with very many services. We can only consume so much, and overconsumption is very bad for the environment anyhow.

We are in a major period ’stagnation’ or economic leveling-off because of all the economic successes of the past; much of Western/Northern Europe has been in this leveling-off stage for at least two decades now. Economies and countries cannot grow forever because the human population is limited due to the fact that necessary resources and space are also limited on this finite planet.

The best hope for the future is the growth of various ‘green-collar jobs’ which will help to undo some of the environmental damage which has happened since the advent of mass-industrialism in the last 100+ years. Instead of training even more near-worthless MBAs, accountants, lawyers, bureaucrats, tax collectors, bankers, and other mostly parasitic paper-pushers, why not train more people to be ‘green-collar’ workers who get good and environmentally-beneficial things done in the real-world, workers like on-the-ground eco-conservationists, soil scientists/anti-erosion workers, forestry experts, small/medium-sized farmers and master gardeners, solar panel technicians, animal husbandry experts/livestock veterinarians, water protection officials, wind-turbine constructors, recycling experts, botanists, ecologists, green-energy scientists, and other similar jobs?  We should also encourage more people to be nutritionists, physical fitness trainers, and so on in order to whip more people back in to decent shape after years of degenerating behind desks.  Four-year Bachelor degrees or Master/PhD degrees which cost tens of thousands of dollars to acquire and thus saddle students with large debts are not required for many of these jobs or careers — local community colleges should be expanded and/or retrofitted to begin training large numbers of people in these types of fields, as 2-3 year technical or Associate degree programs can thoroughly prepare people for many of the aforementioned jobs.  What we need now are more societal SUSTAINERS because we are an advanced nation and thus nearly everything that we need is already built; the idea of ‘perma-growth’ is a fraud, as is the paper-shuffling banking/restaurant/retail/entertainment and outright gambling economy that the USA is (unsuccessfully) trying to sustain itself upon.

In the USA and elsewhere, the primary problem with the housing industry, the auto industry, the retail industry, the restaurant industry, and even many of the service-sector industries such as law, medicine, banking, and so on in the USA and elsewhere is massive overproduction, oversupply, and overcapacity.  However, the general public remains woefully ignorant about this very crucial fact. Even many mainstream economists are unaware of this or worse yet they try to hide this fact with their incessant obscurantism and useless theorizing.

Mass-industrialism and advanced technology always tends toward a huge oversupply of goods and services — which is exactly what we are ‘suffering’ from now in the current economic malaise.  Far from being tapped out, the American economy is full to the point of bursting.  There is no ‘shortage’ of anything, not cars or housing or food or or clothing or electronics or medical care or educations whatever — in fact, there is a massive oversupply of all those things plus more. The manipulative money-masters are, as always, trying to fool the ever-nervous masses with the ILLUSION OF SCARCITY. But there is no scarcity of anything, and there never was. As I said before, we here in the USA and in all other economically advanced nations are ’suffering’ from our own economic success, basically. We have thoroughly solved the problem of PRODUCTION, and now we must solve the problem of DISTRIBUTION. This is the great challenge which now faces us.

Overproduction is the ‘dirty little secret’ of modern society that the international bankers, fat-cat plutocrats, the lying mass-media, and other assorted rip-off artists want to keep hidden from the public because if people really knew the superabundance amongst which we live there would be riots in the streets and the everyday workers would begin to demand the goods and services which they themselves produce and provide for much cheaper.

There is no shortage of anything except decent, well-paying jobs in which people are not forced to become heavily indebted neo-serfs because they are being paid near-starvation wages.  And as already I stated there is only a shortage of jobs because of the mass-mechanization of labor which has been occurring in the last 100-150 years since the Industrial Revolution which has resulted in the gross oversupply/glut of goods like cars, houses, food, clothing, and all of the various services such as medicine, law, banking, education, etc.  Nearly all technologically-advanced/industrialized nations have high unemployment because of the incredibly efficient overproduction/oversupply of goods and services which they produce via the use of advanced technology and the efficient utilization of labor…that is the natural outcome of the mass-automation and mass-mechanization of labor. In other words…”the machines took our jobs!

I will say it again: ‘green-collar jobs’ are the only hope we have in reviving the American economy any time soon.  We must begin to consciously build societies and nations which are much more environmentally and ecologically sustainable in the very long-term.  These ‘green-collar jobs’ should serve to clean-up and repair the massive environmental damage and mess which we have created in the last 100+ years of feverishly disorganized and reckless mass-industrialization/mechanization, urbanization/suburbanization, and over-technologicalization.

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If we do not begin to change course within the coming decades and start taking better care of our Earth, we might face problems which may eventually become insurmountable and or even fatal to our species. Some areas or regions could be forced to confront a full or partial environmental/ecological collapse, which may trigger even more widespread chaos outside of the affected area(s) as people flee the desolation they have wrought in search of new habitats.

Resource depletion/exhaustion is another distinct possibility, with humanity eventually running out of resources with which to ‘keep the motors of civilization running’ so to speak. This would surely cause human culture as we have come to know it to grind mostly to a halt as we find ourselves mostly stranded or marooned in our local areas which may not provide all that is needed to maintain life. Rising nationalistic and/or ethnic-racial tensions will likely reach a fever-pitch as different groups fight non-stop for the scraps of a gradually more resource-scarce planet. Regional, continental, or even worldwide wars over scant resources could also break out, leading to further interruptions of human civilization.

In the worst of all scenarios, a major population crash could occur, causing the death of untold millions or billions of humans and thus the utter decimation of our evolutionary success as an advanced species on Earth. Even the near-total extinction of humanity might result from this catastrophic chain-of-events, meaning all of what we humans worked so hard for in the last few hundred thousand years of evolution might all come to naught. This is clearly unacceptable and must be prevented. Therefore, as stated, we must start now in order to build a more secure and sustainable future for humanity on planet Earth.

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Though the discussion of overpopulation is taboo in many quarters, understanding the pivotal role that population and demographics plays in relation to the advancement (or contraction) of human civilization is essential.  To be frank, it is clear that many parts of the world are overpopulated to a frightening extent and as such we must begin to take various steps that will eventually lead to the stabilization and normalization of population levels.

The best step we can currently take is to make birth-control options more easily available for everyone, i.e. either very inexpensive or even entirely free of cost.  We also must start to educate and inform every single person on the extreme importance of maintaining healthy, sustainable, and stable population levels in relation to their local environment as well as in the world at large.

These are sensitive issues to many people – despite that, humanity can no longer afford to continue to brush them aside as too controversial because the very future of Earth’s environment hinges on humanity reaching stable and sustainable population levels.  The most reasonable opinion is likely that everyone has the right to replace themselves (replacement level fertility), but everyone does not have the right to have a large number of children they cannot take care of and thus must rely on governmental assistance or other means of support.

The heated debate surrounding overpopulation as well as human population issues in general will of course continue to rage on, but we must realize that the debate cannot continue forever lest we fail to take some kind of definitive measures sooner rather than later.  If we wait too long we might be forced to take severe or drastic actions that could have been averted had we acted earlier.

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The best way to move toward more sustainable modes of living would be to utilize our advanced organizational skills to begin constructing environmentally-friendly ‘ecovillages,’ ‘ecotowns,’ and ‘ecocities.’  Actually, we wouldn’t have to construct much of anything because much of the needed infrastructure is already in place for such development – more retrofitting and intelligent planning rather than raw construction would be in order.  In doing this, we could all live much more locally, and thus more cleanly and sustainably.  We could easily relearn many very useful and practical skills which have mostly been lost in the confusing industrial shuffle of the past century.  This would necessitate ending the ‘division of labor’ and extreme economic specialization, thus allowing people the time and freedom to learn how to do many different things satisfactorily.

We should all get closer to food production (as much food as possible should be locally-produced), building construction and maintenance, making clothing, repairing machinery, and so on.  All of this would allow the natural development of people who are much more well-rounded in terms of their knowledge and skill-sets rather than forcing people in to becoming non-thinking, quasi-robotic automatons completely dependent on their particular socio-economic niche to survive.

We desperately need to return to simpler and slower (but still technologically-connected) lifestyles with an emphasis on long-term sustainability. There should never be too much population density in one area (dense overcrowding) or anonymous urban living.  We also need to be in much more contact with nature (especially our local environments) in order to cultivate and inculcate a sense of environmental responsibility within ourselves. We here in the United States could possibly consult the Amish and other related groups in this regard and learn much from them in terms of how to bring back some of the ‘old ways’ – however, we would of course still retain the cleanest and most useful labor-saving technology which they shun.

We’ll of course still need many factories to produce the basic and easily mass-manufactured consumer goods needed for sustaining large human populations, as well as weapons/munitions for local and national defense.  However, industrial manufacturing should be de-centralized as much as possible to avoid concentrating environmental degradation in certain areas; it needs to be spread it out thinly in order to more lightly distribute the bad environmental impact of heavy-industry. This also applies to human population levels which have become unsustainably large in too many urban areas – as such, a certain amount of de-urbanization is likely going to be needed to bring those population numbers back down to sustainable levels.

We must promote and return to more local forms of agriculture, local livestock raising, local hunting/gathering, local fishing, and so forth.  We should start to use the landscape and its precious resources more intelligently and sustainably, including shared greenspace, gardenspace/farmland/orchards, pastureland, and fishing/hunting areas.  Every home should have adequate space to plant a garden or gardens if they so choose.  This would all need to be planned very well, researched exhaustively, and ruthlessly revised or improved when needed.

The concepts of ‘New Urbanism’ as well as ‘ecodensity’ should be tested and widely implemented if they prove successful.  We must also examine the so-called ‘Blue Zones’ found in select spots around the world where people have lives that are so often a great deal better than average and attempt to replicate their success if possible.

In the future, we will clearly need to have totally oil-free societies, civilizations which are as sustainable, clean, and free of pollution as humanly possible.  They should be run entirely on various forms of cleaner/greener alternative energy (this is still dependent on future technological breakthroughs). All of these ecovillages/ecotowns/ecocities will need to be intensively connected with environmentally-friendly mass-transit, and very clean ‘greencars’ should be cheap to buy or rent for basic traveling; ideally, much of the everyday local work, travel, or recreation would be done on foot or via small vehicles in your local area within a few of the surrounding square miles.  Pollution-free forms of transportation for traveling long-distances should be made available to everyone so that they can travel anywhere needed at any time.

Also, these ecovillages/ecotowns/ecocities would have to be connected to the internet and other modern forms of communication technology in order to promote cooperation, trade, and commerce between them, but even then they should remain mostly self-sufficient in terms of food production and the other basic necessities as much as is possible.

In order to facilitate information-sharing and the formulating of solutions to various problems, all books, articles, newspapers, and other material that has ever been written, as well as all other forms of human knowledge, should be digitized and subsequently loaded on to the internet, totally free for anyone to browse, read, and learn from.  This totally comprehensive internet should forever remain completely open and uncensored in terms of use, research, and discussion; internet servers must be decentralized in order to prevent the possible monopolization or censorship of the internet by various interest groups who might grow too powerful.

Banking and monetary policy should also be de-centralized as well in order to prevent the overconcentration of wealth, power, and influence in certain areas at the expense of all others.  The media should be decentralized too, but it could still nationally aggregative.  Also, the laws and rights of states must always trump national/federal ones, with local (town/city/county) laws and rights even more important than state ones.

We must work to end the insecurity of ‘economic nomadism’ and forced economic rootlessness by encouraging people to work more in the immediate local area(s) in which they have been born or raised.  People can only begin to care about their local area or community if they are intimately and deeply connected to it, and the constant shuffling around of people via immigration in search of economic opportunities is not at all conducive or favorable to sustainable/stable economic or environmental policies – in fact, it is entirely inimical to it.

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As discussed in the previous section, the soil responsible for feeding much of the world is already severely damaged and facing even more severe problems in the coming decades.  In a related sense, the world food supply is all the time growing more unstable, unhinged, and unable to keep up with the growing demand.  Too many around the world depend on food grown in far-off lands just for their basic sustenance, and if this food was withdrawn widespread food shortages, famines, and even mass die-offs would likely be the result.

The absurdity of constantly shipping, flying, and/or trucking food around the globe and then around the specific continents will no doubt become even more unsustainable and precarious in the future as energy supplies become gradually more strained and unstable.  We moronically continue to waste non-renewable forms of energy and create huge amounts of pollution in this constant worldwide flow of goods.

Industrial agriculture as well as factory-farming is unsustainable in the long-term as well as morally reprehensible in its present incarnation.  The widespread loss-of-knowledge regarding food production is now very widespread in the most ‘advanced’ countries, turning the people located there in to permanent dependents/ neo-serfs of various businesses, organizations, and corporations who seem to care first and foremost about their short-term profitability instead of the well-being of individuals as well as the overall health of our irreplaceable planet.

Also, overdependence on automation and machinery in the food production process has introduced yet another precarious layer in to the already wobbly food chain.  The general artificiality and over-processing of various foodstuffs is causing an increasing number of people great worry about where their food is coming from and how healthy it is.  It is also apparent that the general health of the overall population of many countries has been on the downslide ever since the industrialized food-system has become common-place.

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There is no doubt among astute observers of the current human situation, especially those of a realistic, rationalistic, and forward-looking mindset, that humanity is spiraling out of control on many levels simultaneously, especially in terms of our critical inter-relationship with the environment here on Earth.  This is not limited to just one country or even a few, though the current social and environmental dissolution we are obviously living through is certainly more evident in some countries or areas than others.

Even though humankind currently finds itself in a rather difficult position on a multitude of levels, it is not desirable or acceptable for people to adopt foolishly fatalistic attitudes of pessimistic resignation regarding the eventual destiny of humanity, to become raving prophets of ‘doom-and-gloom’ or Jeremiah-esque figures bemoaning the imminent collapse of humankind.  Humans have obviously proven to be an extremely intelligent, adaptable, and forward-thinking species, and we can work through the current crisis just as we have worked through and resolved many others in the past.  In fact, as evolution has clearly proven, the difficulties and obstacles we constantly encounter and overcome will, in the long-run, make us a smarter, stronger, and more flexible species, one more willing and able to confront the deepening socio-environmental problems which plague us and thus work toward solving them once and for all.

However, the current socio-environmental threat that is increasingly making itself apparent should in no sense be minimized and/or underestimated.  Human civilization as we have come to know it since the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration, the Enlightenment Era, and the most recently the Industrial Revolution is currently in a great deal of trouble, and many (likely radical) steps are going to have to be taken if we are going to be able to protect, preserve, and improve upon the incredible advancements which the human species has made in the last 250-500 years.

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