The Concept of Reserves .
Andre Willers an email dated 26/4/2008
What reserves buy is time .
Time to fix the problems .
Of course civilizations reach breakpoints . The last century had three major breakpoints : W W I (the destruction of aristocracies) , W W II (the destruction of fascism , which can be seen as nascent aristocracies forming in the vacuum left by WWI) and the Collapse of Communism (W W III) . Another viewpoint is that fascism and communism were both fall-back positions to earlier paradigms , but could not compete against capitalism .
The present world position might appear superficially as a victory for the capitalist camp , but in real fact the two major power blocks (EU , China) are an amalgam of socialist and capitalist systems . Even the US has major socialist elements , and is having serious problems with its unregulated capitalist components .(Cf Enron)
Complicating things are the JIT (Just In Time) camp .
"Time is Money" is a concept not in the ancient lexicons . There were no time-and-motion studies on building Stonehenge or the Pyramids . The very question is meaningless .It took as long as it took .
"Time is Money" derives from the circular velocity of money . Institutions takes a cut everytime a buck passes . In ancient societies the buck only passed once . It then vanished into a value sink (the Royal Coffers usually , or simply buried) . They were well aware of the dangers of a middle class .Note previous posts on treasure burial (not meant to be recovered) in Ancient Egypt . China allowed merchants only on the class slightly above warriors .The currency was very tightly controlled .The idea was not to maximise the slice of each transaction , but to stabilise the society .
The price was stagnation of innovation .
The aristocracy's major function was to regulate long-term things (hence Senate or House of Lords) . The loss of aristocracy must be the most deletrious effect of W W I . Short term gain then gets control of societies assets . Populists and liars have a heyday .
Historically this has happened over and over . The systems have learned to a certain extent . Organised religions are systems regulating long-term things . (Nothing gets longer term than death) Hence the influence of the Roman Catholic Church , Islam , Buddhism ,etc . These systems have evolved to carry over civilization after a catastrophic collapse .
What has this to do with today?
Short-term concentration on profits has led to a massive run-down of society's reserves . Food reserves , maintenance of infrastructure (which a form of wealth) , zero-sum hedging (which is plundering future wealth) , bubbles here and bubbles there .Like a bunch of children playing in a soap-bath and crying to adults to fix it when the water dries out .
Will populations decrease drastically ?
Almost certainly yes . Probability 85%
It is happening as we speak . The food riots have been long predicted . These are not from systemic problems . The world has simply run out of enough food to supply everybody , especially those making no effort to control their numbers or to do even subsistence farming .
The children have been fed only on sweets , and now is stomach ache time .
You see, if there are sufficient reserves , when if the system breaks down due to over-complexification , there is sufficient time to reconfigure the system . Humans are very good at emergency systems if they can survive long enough .
What is happening now is a perfect storm scenario . Nations that export food (like Vietnam to Filipines) are putting panic export bans in place . They are not sure of getting paid , because of the global credit limitations caused by futures market activities .
This is reminiscent of the Great Depression , when exports came to halt for the same reason . If trade ceases , millions will starve . Literally . I have discussed this ad nauseam before . The overpopulation belts (Africa , Middle East , India , Indonesia , Filipines , Mexico , South America - mostly Roman Catholic or Islamic countries which have not made the least effort to curb their population growth .)
Pockets of survivors form in various countries .
Why do I rate the probabilty of drastic population decrease as only 85% ? The Club of Rome and other interested organizations would rate it at 99.9% .
Because the horse might learn to sing .
Because of the unsung heroes who keep the civilization going . The guys at NSA who prevented nuclear war in 1991 . The teachers and healers . The best of the species , who are actually the majority . Things could be much , much worse . You would not believe the time-lines that hive off after 1815 .
But , mainly because humans are lucky . Lucky to survive the leopards . Lucky to survive the other homonins . Lucky to survive Toba . Lucky to survive the various plagues . Especially lucky with the 1918 flu epidemic , a real show-stopper . By rights , it should have exterminated humans . A cynic might say that God is looking after them.
That's the good news . The bad news is 90% extermination levels are acceptable . But , hey , remember , the human mortality rate is 100 % . 6 billion alive now , 6 billion dead in a few years . What counts is the gene and meme transmissions to give the illusion of meaning to the flickering lives .
Humans are social animals , defining themselves by the herd .Hence solitary confinement is considered a harsh punishment . But many humans (hermits , mountainmen ) fancy a lonely life . Yet the knowledge of the species outside remains . How many could maintain their sang-freud if they were the last and only of the species ? This question has been answered on a large scale : This is the Norse religion , where Gotterdammerung awaits and everybody ceases to exist .
In one of those delicious human ironies , one would expect them to be extremely short-term in outlook . But in real life , they thought in terms of lineages and dynasties . The conservation of game and forests in England was due to this outlook , compared to the Roman exploitation in Gaul . If this was the only real life , your influence can only be felt through your descendants . A Christian or Buddhist would try to buy his way into heaven by actions . A Norman only hoped to give his descendants an easier life . They had no salvation . No wonder the Christians won . But they kept the conservation principles .
Would you keep on fighting , even knowing for certain that you will lose ? Keep on when there is no hope ?
Even if you are the last of your species in some alien zoo ? and no belief in afterlife?
Can humans have a balanced ecology ?
We know this because it has been done very successfully on at least three occasions:
1.Egypt .For about 3 000 years the narrow strip around the Nile has nurtured a civilization that gave us the alfabet and the compund bow , plus other goodies . Hi-tech.
2.Holland : Population remained stable during collapse of the Western Roman Empire . Nobody messed with them either (the Huns steered well south .) Masters of the Knights and Castles defence . Even 1000 years later the super-power of the time (Spain) , powered by literally thousands of tons of gold and silver , could not reduce them .
3. Let us not forget China . They have been farming the same strips for at least 3 000 years . Even an immediate collapse will still leave some survivors . That is if the major rivers are not poisened by radioactive pollution .
Others like Papua-NewGuinea and some obscure islands have been nominated . But they survived by contraction , not what we would call a worthhile existence .
Females and fat : the generally accepted range for healthy female aged 20-59 is 21%-34% . The reason is that woman are at the choke point of human reproduction . Human males of the same age are 8%-22% . But of course , males are throw-away . The evolutionary choke-point are the females . And every extra erg helps .
Zaftig wins as far as reproduction goes .
An interesting note here is the "giow" of an expectant mother . This is actually a symptom of sulfur deficiency . The body extracts sulfur from the skin and hair to construct the cells of the foetus . The skin gets thinner and seems to be translucent(glowing) . The same effect is seen in TB , to construct lung tissue coughed up . All that material does not come from nowhere , you know . If somneone has TB , pump in large amounts biologically active sulfur compounds . The body can usually repair itself if it has the raw materials . else it deserves to die .
There is a double whammy if the female then is exposed to UVB (sunlight) . The skin is too thin to prevent folic acid breakdown . The result is spontaneous abortion as foetus abnormalities trigger rejection mechanisms. The answer is to stay out of the sun . Even taking MSM or Folic Acid supplements are not sufficient .
Why ? Because even minor fluctuations of folic acid below the right level results in in spontaneous abortions . Hence all the kappies . For women without artificial protection (read native blacks) , the skin pigmentation gave some protection but it was still part of the eco-system's protection mechanism preventing runaway population growth of a too-successful organism .
Bah . Sometimes evolution can be quite depressing .