Is western civilisation in terminal decline?

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AutomaticEarth
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Is western civilisation in terminal decline?

Post by AutomaticEarth »

A reasonable article from the Guardian:-

http://www.theguardian.com/business/201 ... al-decline

Sometimes, seeing people go about their daily business does make me feel like things are not getting any better for a lot of people, especially for the young, but we know why don't we?

Mods - if there is another thread similar to this feel free to move this post there.
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

No mention of resource limits , or the growing social inequality caused by global free capital and corrupt financial system. Absolutely no mention of unsustainable global population.

Some good comments, but also some reactionary ones get good ratings.
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Post by snow hope »

A good article, although I almost laughed at this paragraph, "But a more compelling reason (for decline), which has seeped into the public’s understanding, is the west’s failure, following the fall of the Soviet Union, to establish a secure international environment for the perpetuation of its values and way of life."

In my opinion this hasn't been a failure, rather it seems an intentional goal of the west over the last couple of decades. :shock: :cry:

As a result of this, and factors that Ralph has highlighted, we really are up a creek without a paddle. It is really hard for me to see how we might even begin to turn this round..... it makes me very sad for the younger generation following behind us oldies (I am in my fifties) :?

My username sums up my feelings I suppose (and that was chosen 15 years ago).
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Post by jonny2mad »

Cultural marxism multiculturalism we are being murdered and also many of us are commiting suicide, but mainly its being murdered.
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kenneal - lagger
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

I was watching a program on ITV last night about how the rich live and they were introducing people from the Top 100 Billionaire list. It made me wonder how much each of us had contributed to a £1b for each of those 100 billionaires and it works out at £1666 for every man, woman and child in the country. Think how much better the economy would run if every family had about £7000 to spend.

If this trend of the rich getting richer and paying less in taxation and the poor poorer and paying more in taxation continues the west will decline rapidly into another wave of revolutions.
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Although it is nice to think what we could do if we only spent X% of the top 1%er's wealth on healthcare, renewable energy, house insulation, etc. etc.,
in reality if we tried to do this we would discover that most of the money was virtual. A billion sitting in a bank account is a distribution of electrons. It enables rich people to direct as much physical and human resources as they like towards personal consumption, and miss-direct investment towards whatever pet projects their personal prejudices prefer, but even the most profligate billionaire can consume only so many resources on vanity projects.

That is why quantitative easing has had so little effect on restarting the economy - all it has done is allow the bankers to cover their losses in the face of unpayable debts, at the expense of the 99%. If the money had been given to the real economic keystones like Kenneal, it would have produced a huge surge in economic activity followed by resource constrained hyper inflation and economic dislocation.

We are in a predicament. The government's response has been to protect the 1%'s wealth. It is immoral, but it is not the primary problem.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

I wouldn't be in favour of giving that money to individuals as a lump but if it was in the form of taxation spent on capital projects it wouldn't be inflationary. If some of it was in the form of a much higher minimum wage it would be spent mainly on essentials and, again, wouldn't be inflationary. One of the billionaires was the owner of a string of bargain basement stores and I bet all his employees, the ones that he couldn't make his billions without, were all on minimum wage subsidised by us taxpayers!
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

kenneal - lagger wrote:One of the billionaires was the owner of a string of bargain basement stores and I bet all his employees, the ones that he couldn't make his billions without, were all on minimum wage subsidised by us taxpayers!
That sums up the economy rather well.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

There's also:

Image
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Post by johnhemming2 »

To assess the question:

>Is western civilisation in terminal decline?

You need a mechanism whereby you can measure whether civilisation is in decline or making progress.

You also need to work out whether if there is decline it is terminal. What is meant by terminal?

Much that it is human nature to believe that things are declining, in fact there are many examples of progress being made.

Obviously at some stage the Sun will turn into a red giant which won't be much help for civilisation, but I don't think we should worry to much about that at the moment.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

The Babylonians, the Romans, the Mayas and many other previous civilisations probably also thought the same.

Unless we can replace the energy source which powers our civilisation at a similar cost to the fossil fuels to which we are now addicted or we can use our technological expertise in the next few years to reduce substantially our energy requirements our civilisation will go the same way as other civilisations before and decline then disappear.

Another reason for decline would be the loss of our food supply, in our case, due to climate change weakening or even destroying current agriculture. Without sufficient food and/or energy our current very complex and brittle society will break down. Because we have risen so high the fall could be even greater because we are further away from our roots as growers and farmers

Unlike civilisations previously we won't have somewhere untouched by human hand where we can migrate to which would have untouched soils and untouched energy and mineral resources to quickly support the growth of a new civilisation.
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Post by johnhemming2 »

Yes, but we should try to agree a system of measurement. Otherwise there is no debate that can be had.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Economic activity would be one and that is in trouble, worldwide.
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Post by johnhemming2 »

I don't myself think that is the best measurement. It is a measurement. We should all agree that substantial growth is in the long term unsustainable.

Hence we need to look for improvements in the human condition that don't necessarily mean massive economic growth.
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Post by clv101 »

kenneal - lagger wrote:Economic activity would be one and that is in trouble, worldwide.
Surely you'd be amongst the first to point out how hopeless measurements of economic activity are? I think John's question is good - how does one define 'decline' and what is meant my terminal?

I don't have good answers to either.
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