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Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant" 
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Post Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
This thread is for discussing Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant

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Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:52 am
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Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
On p 374, Diamond maintains that, "On the one hand, China's leaders have been able to solve problems on a scale scarcely possible for European and American leaders: for instance by mandating a one-child policy to reduce population growth..." Diamond seems to credit such success with China's unity, which he attributes in part, to China's geography. I believe he means that China is better able to mandate and enforce such laws. Do you see a need for other countries to mandate such laws governing reproduction? How would a country, such as America go about such mandates?




Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:30 am
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Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
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Do you see a need for other countries to mandate such laws governing reproduction? How would a country, such as America go about such mandates?


There is obviously no need for such a "mandate" in America, in Western Europe or in Russia. All of these nations are already at or below zero population growth, at least for native born inhabitants.

Obviously such a mandate in America would fail to be accepted both on cultural grounds and on legal grounds. There would need to be a new Constitution in order to enact any such law, and there would almost certainly be a civil war if any political group tried to impose such controls.

The much more interesting question that came to my mind regarding the ability of China to impose authoritarian controls over such a vast and populous country is whether their structure may be more successful in seeing the need for reduced consumption, a lowered national standard of living, than will be the US or Europe, where individual freedom is so much more deeply ingrained, and central to our personal beliefs.

The example of Tokugawa Japan as the largest society that has dealt successfully with fending off environmental collapse, and the most successful example of reforestation, also took place in strict authoritarian society. Same thing in the Dominican Republic, where one dictatorial ruler was able to avoid the collapse that took place across the border in Haiti.

The possibility that the only successful way for large societies to deal with a lower consumption economy is through authoritarian power is a very serious threat to Western Civilization, IMO.

On the one hand I am totally impressed with the fact that those who continued on to total and final collapse had a rigid, unchangeable society, like the Norse and the Easter Islanders.

On the other hand I am so intellectually, culturally, and emotionally committed to the values of personal freedom and democracy and to Constitutional government based upon the tenets of the Declaration of Independence, that I don't think I could/would make a change that would abandon those values in order to make needed environmental changes!! I am sounding like a Norseman!

Pretty scary thought, neh?

WW




Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:04 pm
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Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
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On the other hand I am so intellectually, culturally, and emotionally committed to the values of personal freedom and democracy and to Constitutional government based upon the tenets of the Declaration of Independence, that I don't think I could/would make a change that would abandon those values in order to make needed environmental changes!! I am sounding like a Norseman!


Is this to say that even in the face of an imminent collapse of our society, you would reject any attempts to rectify a given environmental catastrophe that would curtail any of our freedoms and/or ideals?

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper




Sun Jun 12, 2005 6:26 pm
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Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
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Obviously such a mandate in America would fail to be accepted both on cultural grounds and on legal grounds. There would need to be a new Constitution in order to enact any such law, and there would almost certainly be a civil war if any political group tried to impose such controls.


Right. And I would hope that people would be the force that controls a dangerous situation, rather than a government decree...a bottom up approach, as Diamond would see it. We, as a species, HAVE to start learning from past mistakes if we are to remain viable.

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where individual freedom is so much more deeply ingrained, and central to our personal beliefs.


Our individual freedom is a wonderful thing...but having that freedom does not, IMO, give us the right or freedom to disregard any measures that would protect out kids future. Freedom does not replace prudence or responsibility.

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The possibility that the only successful way for large societies to deal with a lower consumption economy is through authoritarian power is a very serious threat to Western Civilization, IMO.


Absolutely!

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper




Sun Jun 12, 2005 6:30 pm
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Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
I JUST read about this last night in Collapse! I love it when there is a confluence of external reality with my internal meanderings!

Red Tide

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The ocean biologist's research vessel was 15 miles off Cape Cod. He had already inspected water samples from two other spots in Massachusetts Bay and found only a few of the toxic algae cells that contaminate shellfish.



Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper




Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:14 am
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Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
Quote:
Is this to say that even in the face of an imminent collapse of our society, you would reject any attempts to rectify a given environmental catastrophe that would curtail any of our freedoms and/or ideals?


No, that is not what I am saying, at all.

What I am saying is that if the only way to successfully rectify a given environmental catastrophe in the US, or North America, is to impose a dictatorial, probably military, government, in violation of our present Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, then I don't believe that I could ever support that government, and hence, like the Norsemen, I would be inclined to stick with my commitment to democracy and freedom, even if that meant that efforts at lowering our consumption would fail.

The key to the remarkable success of our free market, capitalistic economy is an expanding marketplace.

Is it even possible that a working majority of Americans will voluntarily choose to wreck that model, and begin to shrink our consumption, instead of expanding it, and choose to make significant decreases in our standard of living, in order that we be able to stave off environmental collapse in Africa, Asia and the Pacific??

I have personally been supporting a more conservative, and less consumptive lifestyle for the past 30 years, but I find that I very seldom vote in the majority in national or statewide elections, and almost never in local elections.

US democracy is not supporting environmental conservation, not politically, and not economically.

Are you willing to support a military dictatorship in order to avoid environmental collapse??

Or, like the Norse and their commitment to Christianity and their caste system, will you insist on democracy and freedom until the collapse actually happens??

Or, do you see some practical plan whereby a majority of Americans will volunteer to cut their standard of living by half or more over the next couple of generations??

Sorry I was so unclear in my first post on this topic. I was beginning to think that discussion of the book had stopped completely.::75

WW




Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:28 am


Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
Quote:
a bottom up approach, as Diamond would see it. We, as a species, HAVE to start learning from past mistakes if we are to remain viable.


Obviously that same imperative was true for the people of Easter Island, for Henderson, for the Anasazi, and for the Maya, in much smaller, much easier to understand and observe environments, but they never were able to make the changes that could have saved them, at least not before the damage had gone too far.

What evidence do you see that we are doing any better??

We as a people have just elected Gee Dumbya to two terms during which we are getting further away from the needed changes, not closer.

There has been some popular support for limited environmental controls, but nothing that would even approach a significant decline in our level of consumption, and our standard of living.

We currently consume 32 times as much resource per capita, compared to the consumption level in the Third World. In order for all of us to survive on this little island in space, we will have to cut our consumption in half, or more, during the next century.

Do you seriously think that any democratically elected leader can do that??

Presently the current administration, and the multi-national corporations, are actively denying that global warming is factual, or that it is within human capability to control or reverse global warming.

What can possibly change that perception by the power wielders before the collapse has passed the point of no return??::74

WW




Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:47 am
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Professor

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Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
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What evidence do you see that we are doing any better??


None, unfortunately.

Quote:
We as a people have just elected Gee Dumbya to two terms during which we are getting further away from the needed changes, not closer.


I agree. George #2 (pun intended) was the worst choice we could have made, even though it was less a choice than a political usurpation. One thing you have to hand the Republicans, they had a plan and a good PR arm; they have convinced us that the world has changed, when in fact we only had our eyes opened to the reality of terrorism because we got hit so close.

Quote:
Do you seriously think that any democratically elected leader can do that??


Yes. All it takes is one person in power to make things happen. We can see that now on the more detrimental side. But it is not only the President that makes change. IMO, the President is one small cog in the machine. OUR system is more prone to prevent drastic change, for good or ill, due to the checks and balances, although it HAS served well over all. I do not want authoritarian rule, but it is what we have now so... ;)

So will one leader be able to make the necessary changes? No. But one leader with a good heart and a brain to match will go a long way in the most important aspect we need in a leader: The ability to unite our people and to allow us to focus on what really matters, and that is protecting our environment, making opportunity available to all, even those who do not necessarily have the means that someone like GWB had, and educating our children. Education needs to be accessible to all. Increasing the national average intelligence will go a long way in bringing our species to the next level. IMO.

Quote:
Presently the current administration, and the multi-national corporations, are actively denying that global warming is factual, or that it is within human capability to control or reverse global warming.


I have heard this frequently and it is something that ANNOYS me!!! :smokin

Quote:
What can possibly change that perception by the power wielders before the collapse has passed the point of no return??


Has it already passed that point? Due to my nature, I feel it has.

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper




Mon Jun 13, 2005 1:45 pm
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Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
Mr.P, you are not very encouraging!

I am inveterate optimist, and I think we definitely have a ways to go before we pass the point of no return on world environmental collapse.

What worries me is that some of tghe most highly educated and high tech societies, like the US, are still moving away from the solution, rather than getting into high gear to move toward a solution.

I have great faith in the ability of the earth to absorb our bad behavior, and then to recover. I'm less optimistic about how many humans will survive to take part in that revival, but I do feel pretty sure that it will be a lot less than currently occupy the earth.

I fervently hope that I am not around to see that activity, and I have some hope that my children won't be either, but pretty sure my grandchildren will be here for at least the beginning of the fireworks.

That will be an interesting, and very cruel, time in world history, IMO.

And I'll bet we have a whole crop of new gods when it is over!! If there are any human survivors, I mean.

WW




Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:52 pm


Post Re: Restored: "Ch. 12 - China, Lurching Giant"
I've heard it said that Americans say that they care about the environment, but don't vote on the environment. So unfortunately we may not ever a democratically elected government which supports environmental initiatives.

Personally, I like the bottom up approach. Hopefully, I can come up with a few approaches to implement in my own life.




Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:26 pm
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