Second Renaissance (from csy2k)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
(posted this on c.s.y2k but thought you guys would be interested too. If you've seen it on csy2k, don't bother going further.)
Look at the Depression. It caused WW2. Which caused the fifties and the technological boom we've been enjoying for the last few years.
This is going to be bigger than the Depression. It will be a massive upheaval. Millions will probably die, maybe more than in WW2. But the people who lead us out of it, will be GOOD people. The people who lead us out of this will be LEADERS. They will be capitalists of the first order, and their way of thinking -that A is A and there's no such thing as a free lunch- will become the mindset of a nation saved by it.
We can sit down and think about how bad things are going to be, which is nice theoretical discussion, and we can talk about how we can survive ourselves, which is sensible practical stuff, but we need to have visionaries. We need to have people thinking about the future BEYOND the immediate future, and I'm not talking Mad Max here. We are going to go through a very tough time, but it will be like the fire that turns iron into steel or steel into Rearden Metal. It will burn away the scumbags, the losers, the whole "gimme gimme gimme" mentality that has prevailed along with Big Mother for the last thirty or forty years.
The people who will lead us out of this will not be politicans. They will be successful people. They will be capitalists. They will be visionaries, above all. They will be leaders, not cowardly populist followers. They will drive a new trail, a better trail of capitalism, through the world. And the mentality that follows from it will bring us into a Second Renaissance of wealth, of science, of morality, of achievement.
Dispute me. I believe completely that this will happen. More to the point, I have evidence that it WILL happen, and I intend to MAKE it happen if I have to. I'm not the only one. The people here. The smart people. The leaders, the achievers. We're going down briefly, but that's only the furnace fires. Twenty years from now, a Rearden Metal world will be looking through the history books at the late 20th Century, a world of wood, copper, and maybe a little iron at best.
-- Leo (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 21, 1998
"They will be capitalists."
SSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHH we were trying to hide that from Milne;)
-- Rick Tansun (email@example.com), December 21, 1998.
Leo, what is the big difference between this idea and Christian Reconstructionism. The scenario is, go through some dark-ages and after struggling through it, get reborn on the other side into a new enlightenment, stronger and wiser for the experience. Reminds me of the concept from ancient Greece "Through suffering comes wisdom." So what system of faith do you have in your scenario, and how can capitalism be supported in a subsistence economy.
You write: It will burn away the scumbags, the losers, the whole "gimme gimme gimme" mentality that has prevailed along with Big Mother for the last thirty or forty years.
What make's you think there will be no more losers, or that they have prevailed only the last 30 or 40 years. Not only has there always been (and likely always will be) some percentage of people who qualify for this category, but capitalism guarantees, even requires it.
Isn't 'the whole "gimme gimme gimme" mentality' the prime mover behind capitalism?
And if Big Mother is the womb of Big Brother (fear and paranoia?), haven't they both always been around (and likely always will be)?
-- Jon (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 21, 1998.
Why on earth do you think I'm talking about subsistence?
The crash isn't going to last forever. We're going to come back better than EVER before!!
-- Leo (email@example.com), December 21, 1998.
Feel free to elaborate, and to present the evidence that you refer to.
Note, this doesn't count as evidence:
"Look at the Depression. It caused WW2. Which caused the fifties and the technological boom we've been enjoying for the last few years."
This is like saying "the past causes the future" and the other idea is "we are better off now than 100 years ago, so in another 100 years we will be even more better off." Can you be more specific. I think the questions to ask are 1. how bad is y2k to be, 2. how fast do we get over it.
-- Jon (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 21, 1998.
The depression did not cause WWII.
At one level, WWII was the consequence of millions of human beings taking wrong decisions. The Depression was an influence not a cause.
At another, the seeds were sown in the peace settlement at the end of WWI, which bankrupted Germany (via hyperinflation) within a couple of years. Germany was trying to recover from this disaster when the depression struck. The fact that there had been financial disaster twice within a decade was the difference between Germany and the rest of the world. Also the fact that the first disaster was the consequence of a deliberate act of vengeance (the WWI peace treaty); the second was presented the same way by a persuasive madman with a moustache ...
While on the subject of mistaken history, Infomagic talks about the "collapse of the Roman Empire" as if it happened in a day or a lifetime. In fact, it was a process that had started (arguably) with Julius Caesar and continued for tens of generations. By the time Rome fell, the empire had voluntarily split itself up. The eastern empire did not fall until many centuries later, ironically first to the descendants of the barbarians who had sacked Rome, then to the "infidels" who those barbarians claimed to be fighting! And of course, in this fall lie the seeds of the Renaissance and our own civilisation)
Historians sort through a tangled net with the benefit of hindsight. Our powers of prediction are slight, least of all when confronted with an unknown. And Y2K is completely without precedent.
-- Nigel Arnot (email@example.com), December 21, 1998.
I wonder how much history Leo has digested. Capitalism, which he sees as our eventual savior, is hardly an enticing prospect.
Unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism produced the grim and poverty-stricken mill towns of England and America, introduced child labor in the factories, twelve hour work days, treated its work force like peons, and made a few people enormously rich. Charles Dickens wasn't writing science fiction. His novels described the conditions of the time.
Given the scenario Leo seems to consider most probable, with government and its regulations only a memory, the re-establishment of that regime can hardly be expected to proceed differently.
-- Tom Carey (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 21, 1998.
There are no guarantees of the future. It will likely be differner in many ways we have not imagined. What was your view of '98 from say '95?
-- curtis schalek (email@example.com), December 21, 1998.
Leo, Atlas Shrugged was a work of fiction. The people in it were idealized caricatures, and the capitalism in it was an idealized capitalism, its author an idealistic thinker. The real world does not work that way.
Did you by chance see the interview with George Soros on 60 Minutes? A few words from a man like him, and markets and currencies can crash, and countries can be negatively affected. Countries in which REAL PEOPLE live. He does these things knowingly and to enrich himself. (Sometimes he loses his bet, sometimes he gives money away)
Listen to what Jon says about the "gimme gimme gimme" mentality, and delve more into history. And please, choose your heroes carefully...
(--as an aside-- unfortunately, the trolls have put into question the credibility of posts on this forum. The orginal post in this thread SEEMS like Leo, but it also SEEMS too stupid to be Leo. He's certainly said things along these lines in the past, but he usually is more articulate than this. Somehow, when I read this post I had to wonder if was really him, or someone pretending to be him. Sad...)
-- pshannon (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 21, 1998.
"Look at the Depression. It caused WW2. Which caused the fifties and the technological boom we've been enjoying for the last few years." I'm with Nigel, the use of the word "caused" is somewhat loose, at best.
Who knows what is on "the other side"? I don't know why so many people think that, after it is finally "over" and something "new" is in place, that it is going to be better. It could be worse, a lot worse!!!!
-- Jack (email@example.com), December 21, 1998.
Oh, I forgot to say something;
IF TSHTF, and we need to remake civilization, do we really need to use the same models? Isn't there possibly an approach that rewards achievement AND is also fair? I don't hear people talk about anything except Capitalism and Socialism as if they are the only ways to run a society. Isn't it possible that there's another "ism" out there waiting to be born? Let's attempt to "Think outside the box" as it were...
-- pshannon (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 21, 1998.
You're talking about a return of the work ethic. It's true: society tends to lose it in prosperous times, and it returns when times are rough.
The problem is, if we can put society back together again by 2005 or 2010 like it was in 1998, then we'll get fat and lazy again...maybe not right away, but eventually.
It all reminds me of one explanation I've heard for why there's a depression every 60 or 70 years. It takes that long for prudent, thrifty people to retire or die off, leaving people with no memory of the last depression who want to make a quick buck in the stock market or some place else.
-- Kevin (email@example.com), December 21, 1998.
Leo, you talk like a cross between Tony Robbins on speed and a raving nazi-istic ideologist. I think you like to talk big to try and impress people. You seem to enjoy classifying people as scumbags etc.
Nature has a way of teaching lessons to those that are hard of heart.
-- Leo2 (LeoSeer@LeoSayer.com), December 21, 1998.
Capitalism vs. Socialism, Competition vs. Cooperation, Survival of the Fittest vs. Symbiosis.
Will capitalism work as a post-y2k economic model? It seems that the rise of capitalism over the past 100 years parallels the rise of industrialization, the immigration of opportunity-seekers from the Old World to New World, and the technological exploitation of then- seemingly unlimited natural resources, fueled by the oil, electricity, and banking industries and developed at the expense of ecological well-being. The post-y2k world is starting from a different place. This technology infrastructure is what is most at risk for y2k problems.
The economic model will depend on the prevailing belief systems and available resources. I wonder if a form of decentralized communalism (not socialism or communism) is more likely to work post- y2k than the greedy robber barons and industrial tycoons (who are still at it, oblivious to y2k) fighting for market dominance.
Relevant to this discussion is the following link to info on
1. Material Scientism - Science as Religion,
2. The Development of the Current Paradigm,
3. The Development of the Coming Paradigm.
For an alternative to the Scientism/Darwinism/Malthusian capitalist paradigm:
The Suppressed Ideas of Kropotkin on Evolution
A good analysis of the biological evidence is presented in the book, The New Biology, by Robert Augros and George Stanciu, summarized in their paper, "The Biology of Aggression and Cooperation" (Noetic Sciences Review, Winter 1989). Augros and Stanciu begin their analysis by observing that Darwin relied on eighteenth-century reductionist methodology, which tries to understand the whole through analysis of its parts. "He split nature into all its separate parts, individual plants and animals, and saw that everything was trying to reproduce itself as much as it could . . . Then when he put all those isolated organisms back together, he thought it was clear that such reproduction would lead to a shortage of space, of food, and other necessities of life. There was going to be severe competition, and therefore all of nature was going to be at war." The inevitable conclusion of reductionist methodology is that nature must be ruled by conflict.
The reductionist premise is a core assumption of the Western intellectual paradigm. But this premise has come under sustained attack by a diversity of scientific disciplines, including biology (increasingly influenced by ecology, which focuses on the interactive processes in living systems). Biologists dissatisfied with reductionism are attempting to articulate a new biology, one which looks at wholes, at systems, and at synergisms (as well as at the functioning of parts). From this new biology we find, as Augros and Stanciu report, that "nature uses extraordinarily ingenious techniques to avoid conflict and competition, and that cooperation is extraordinarily widespread throughout all of nature."
Nature avoids competition in various ways: by separating species geographically into differing habitats; by sorting species into unique niches within habits; by spatial division according to gradations of environmental factors, such as oxygen content at different levels of a body of water; by territorial demarcations, as when cats mark out with their scent the space which is theirs; and by establishing dominance hierarchies within social groupings of animals.
Cooperation is fostered through a wide array of symbiotic arrangements. Many plants produce tasty fruits, which animals eat, later depositing the undigested seeds. The intestinal bacteria of grazing animals makes possible the breakdown of cellulose fibers into digestible fatty acids. Egyptian plovers get their food by cleaning parasites off the bodies of rhinoceroses. And clown fish are given protection by anemone, while serving as bait for the fish that the anemone eat. These are only examples of inter- species cooperation-- intra-species cooperation is even more commonplace.
At the time Kropotkin challenged British Darwinism, the scientific study of human behavior was in its infancy: Wilhelm Wundt had just begun the first psychology laboratory in Leipzig. In the debate as to whether competition or cooperation is more characteristic of human nature, the young field of psychology was mute. Today, however, there is a vast body of social psychology literature on this question.
Alfie Kohn, author of No Contest: The Case Against Competition, spent seven years reviewing more than 400 research studies dealing with competition and cooperation. Prior to his investigation, he believed that "competition can be natural and appropriate and healthy." After reviewing research findings, he radically revised this opinion, concluding that, "The ideal amount of competition . . . in any environment, the classroom, the workplace, the family, the playing field, is none . . . . [Competition] is always destructive" (Noetic Sciences Review, Spring 1990).
According to Kohn, there are three principle consequences of competition. First, it has a negative effect on productivity and excellence. This is due to increased anxiety, inefficiency (as compared to cooperative sharing of resources and knowledge), and the undermining of inner motivation. Competition shifts the focus to victory over others, and away from intrinsic motivators such as curiosity, interest, excellence, and social interaction. Studies show that cooperative behaviour, by contrast, consistantly predicts good performance--a finding which holds true under a wide range of subject variables. Interestingly, the positive benefits of cooperation become more significant as tasks become more complex, or where greater creativity and problem-solving ability is required.
The second effect of competition is that it lowers self-esteem and hampers the development of sound, self-directed individuals. A strong sense of self is difficult to attain when self-evaluation is dependent on seeing how we measure up to others. On the other hand, those whose identity is formed in relation to how they contribute to group efforts generally possess greater self- confidence and higher self-esteem.
Finally, competition undermines human relationships. Humans are social beings; we best express our humanness in interaction with others. By creating winners and losers, competition is destructive to human unity and prevents close social feeling. In the competitive mode, people work at cross purposes, or for personal gain. Some come out ahead, some behind; some win, some lose. It becomes impossible for people to move together, as is necessary for a harmonious human society.
Biology and social psychology are not the only disciplines which support cooperation as the natural basis
----end of (partial) quote----
-- Jon (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 21, 1998.
Interesting ideas, Jon. Unfortunatly, the "competitors" will call you a commie pinko faggot for even suggesting such things. These are as often as not the same people who will smash you over the head with their Jesus clubs. Such a mass of contradictions, we little human animals!
-- a (email@example.com), December 21, 1998.
"Shamed, dishonored, wading in blood and dripping with filth, thus capitalist society stands. Not as we usually see it, playing the roles of peace and righteousness, of order, of philosophy, of ethics--as a roaring beast, as an orgy of anarchy, as a pestilential breath, devastating culture and humanity--so it appears in all its hideous nakedness."---Rosa Luxemburg
I guess everyone has an opinion, eh?
"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."--- H.L. Mencken
-- Hallyx (Hallyx@aol.com), December 21, 1998.
"Did you by chance see the interview with George Soros on 60 Minutes? A few words from a man like him, and markets and currencies can crash, and countries can be negatively affected. Countries in which REAL PEOPLE live. He does these things knowingly and to enrich himself. (Sometimes he loses his bet, sometimes he gives money away)."
This weeks Sunday Express has an article about Soros in which he is threatening to break the Bank Of England (he did a pretty good job back in the eighties) in January '99 because England has refused to join the Euro currency.
Sir Richard of Dale, use your pounds to buy some gold sovereigns, pronto!
-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), December 22, 1998.
Yes, but what you don't realise is the LITTLE capitalists. The people with bright ideas and small businesses, the people who don't make seven figures but might make six, who might employ ten or twenty but probably not a thousand employees.
Maybe they grow. I know of one case here, a guy called Jim who used to mow our lawn. We thought he did a pretty good job at it (he was on his own; he had a truck with a lawnmower and pruners and so on in it). Well, Jim -who probably wasn't educated and didn't look like he knew how to shave very well- now has at least a dozen people working for him under 'Jim's Mowing', doing all kinds of horticultural services. And I'd venture to say that uneducated Jimmy, who did a good job mowing a lot of lawns, is probably raking in a six-figure income by now (and he may even have learned to shave!)
Capitalists are not all rich profiteering bastards.
-- Leo (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 22, 1998.
If I could ask, do you have any kind of business on your own right now? What sort of small business experience do you have?
-- Leo (email@example.com), December 22, 1998.
Looks like I'm up again too late tonight. I posted the last message, not Leo.
-- Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 22, 1998.
Leo: "Capitalists are not all rich profiteering bastards."
So? No one here has claimed that they were, or are.
All it takes is a few who are to muck up the future.
Gresham's Law applies in sociology as well as economics: "Bad money drives out good."
-- Tom Carey (email@example.com), December 23, 1998.