Imminent economical collapse yes or not?

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someone_else
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Imminent economical collapse yes or not?

Postby someone_else » 2011-07-25 08:00am

I'm debating with a guy... that told me this:

This could be gotten around, with time and funding. Lots of each. We don't have that. We're nudging the edges of the Malthusian limit as is (and have a theoretical 2 billion more people we can add), and if you think you can so blithely wave away the amassed international debt, well, you really have no concept of how much has been generated in the last ~130 years. Everyone is leveraged beyond the hilt, and they just won't stop spending. Previous experience says they'll start to just run the presses flat out in about 2-3 years.

Civilization bouncing back to the current levels in a mere 50 years? Not in even the most optimistic historical models. Try 200 for the least developed places on the planet. First world countries are extinct due to our dependence on the soon to be gone technology. All of this assuming most of the knowledge of how to make the machines stays put. More likely, that and most of the scientific data we've accumulated in the last few centuries will perish.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The single most precious resource is time. And we just keep pissing it away.


Now, I know that shit will hit the fan soon.
But I think he is a bit too pessimistic.
Can you help me? (by proving who of us is right)
:mrgreen:

Edit: no, he isn't Alyrium. At least I think he isn't. :wtf:
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madd0ct0r
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Re: Imminent economical collapse yes or not?

Postby madd0ct0r » 2011-10-14 03:52am

Record what he said, print it, get him to sign it and keep it in a box.

in three years time, when we're still struggling on, but nothing has actually gone whoopsie on this kind of scale, pull it out and laugh at him.
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Spoonist
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Re: Imminent economical collapse yes or not?

Postby Spoonist » 2011-10-14 05:07am

Do you know what exactly it is that you are debating. Because in his post he is mixing in a lot of different topics so it would seem that he is ranting off into obscurity. Also you cannot prove people wrong about the future today, you could show that their logic/base is flawed and thus so unlikely that it approaches infinity, but you cannot prove them wrong until that predicted future has passed. Like was said above, print it save it cherish it.
Malthusian limit
A dude 150 years ago knew everything there is to know about technological advances in the modern era? Yea right. Back in his day we did not have the legacy of Norman Borlaug et al. so regarding pop he is completely waaaay off line. If the ranter has never heard of the green revolution then give him the wiki links and remind him that that was just the start of what we are capable today.
If this refers to peak oil its redundant, oil is a cheap energy source, but we have plenty of others. It just means that tech will focus on other fields than cheap plastics.

(and have a theoretical 2 billion more people we can add),
This is a logical problem that most privileged don't grasp. We could easily sustain 10x the pop of today, as long as we treat most of them like shit. Which is exactly what we do today so no difference in world policy there. Pop is only an issue if you expect everyone to have the same high level of living. That is obviously not the case throughout history, that is not the case today and it will not be the case tomorrow. Some will be rich most will be poor.
Heck we could probably support 100x with current tech and a microsoft budget and just a fraction of the unused land in the northern hemisphere. Their life qulaity compared to ours would be dismal but they would live.
Why is that so important to point out? Because we are not talking about a bomb going of but of gradual changes, if such a resource limit exists (which it doesn't, just look at pop per area and see that we are not close world wide) our economy will make amends for it. The multitudes of poor will be worse of, some of the middle will get less, but the rich and the powerful will enjoy better levels as well as better tech.
and if you think you can so blithely wave away the amassed international debt
We had the worst economic crisis in a century recently and we did not see the horrors of the 1920s. We simply have too good infrastructre in place for disasters to hit us as badly as they used to. Even the shittiest places on earth handle natural disasters better today than we did just a few centuries ago. Mass unemployment is bad, but its not a catastrophe, especially if you have some redistribution of assets like a governernement in place.
If a complete economic meltdown would hit (which it wont barring a nuclear war type of event) then we have too much infrastructure etc in place for us to go completely broke. Any half decent dictator could easily with some draconian measures turn a first worl nation completely self reliant in a year. So we are not looking at a complete survivalist wet dream here. Any probable worst case scenario predicts reduced living levels, that's it, no more two car households, no tv in every room, etc
Wow what a great loss...
you really have no concept of how much has been generated in the last ~130 years
and you do? Ignorance. Only by taking the assets of the richest 2% we could easily pay any first, second and third world debt.
Look at euro history, during 14-17th cen warfare most nations went inte debts multitude levels of worse, did they collapse? No. Do they still exist? Yes. Why? Because the nation is not the gov only, its all of the people and all of their possessions. The accumulation of resources does not stop at raw materials only, but also through science and services. We wouldn't have tripled the average life expectance in most of the world if we relied on raw materials only
Previous experience says they'll start to just run the presses flat out in about 2-3 years.
What previous experience? That is soo ignorant on too many levels.
Civilization bouncing back to the current levels in a mere 50 years? Not in even the most optimistic historical models.
Even post WW1 germany which actually did just run the presses did not collapse into a Malthusian catastrophe regardless of what scaremongers back then predicted. Instead they beat the shit out of most of their neighbours another 20-30 years down the line. Because they had the pop to do it. Its the same all over the world.
Try 200 for the least developed places on the planet.
BS the least developed wouldn't drop as far so would not have as far to climb. Do you think africa really needs coca-cola and iPods?
First world countries are extinct due to our dependence on the soon to be gone technology.
Where would the tech go? Sure the cutting edge would be dulled from an catastrophe but the tech know how remains. There are too many organisations in place too keep intranational govs in place. Even during the "dark ages" what really kicked the shit out of people was the plagues and the loss of cohesive governement.
Why would any decent oligark or warlord not pursue existing tech, facilities and people? Just look at the collapse of the USSR.
More likely, that and most of the scientific data we've accumulated in the last few centuries will perish.
How? Are we talking about a stellar collision or an instant ice age or what? Nope, an economic disaster is not the end of tech.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The single most precious resource is time. And we just keep pissing it away.
The irony of the only true thing said being this and it being said sincerely in an internet debate is just too sweet.

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Re: Imminent economical collapse yes or not?

Postby Samuel » 2011-10-14 01:08pm

BS the least developed wouldn't drop as far so would not have as far to climb. Do you think africa really needs coca-cola and iPods?


I should note Africa does have cell-phones and other high tech equipment- they need the first world for other goods like medicine as well. While they might be able to produce anti-malarial drugs, anti-AIDs drugs are too difficult to make (since the disease keeps changing). Even though they are poor, the standard of living has improved there (although it is mostly through medicine and increasing life expectancy, not GDP). In fact, three countries in sub-Saharan Africa are richer than the world average, which puts them above Ukraine, Peru and China.

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Re: Imminent economical collapse yes or not?

Postby Starglider » 2011-10-14 02:56pm

The long term debt problem boils down to pension funds. Massive debt destruction via inflation or bankrupcies will cause huge and painful economic disruption, but ultimately the productive infrastructure will still be there, it will be refinanced, trade flows will adjust, standards of living will equalise, new currencies will replace any hyperinflated ones etc etc. The debt interest revenue stream is not going to savers anyway - savings account interest rates are negligible across much of the first world - and a good chunk of the financial sector dying off would be a plus in the long run. In short a lot of bond holders could lose all their capital and it wouldn't be a serious problem; rich investors can take the loss, new banks can replace bankrupt ones etc. Pension funds however hold a huge amount of debt and wiping them out will cause real misery for a large fraction of the population. Expanding state pensions to replace any significant fraction of this income shortfall would be extremely difficult considering the declining dependency ratio and resistance to further tax rises in the middle of a global depression. Advances in medical science that allow people to work even longer could help, but it's quite possible that further escalation in healthcare costs will more than wipe out the gains. Even still, this is hardly a civilisation-ender, it just means a lot of pensioners suffer and die many years before they otherwise would have, and everyone else has to put up with less wealth and security than they expected.

The malthusian collapse scenario, from peak oil / global warming / population bomb / etc is fairly distinct from the economic (debt overhang / trade imbalance / loss of first-world manufacturing) issues. A global depression does make it harder to invest in new energy and resource extraction techniques, but also slows the rate of consumption and increases interest in economising. I am much more optimistic about avoiding this than financial collapse, as the timescales are longer and there is more scope for technological advances to dig us out.
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Re: Imminent economical collapse yes or not?

Postby HMS Conqueror » 2012-03-24 02:13am

What does indebtedness have to do with food/energy shortages or whatever it is he thinks will make us hit a "Malthusian limits"? There doesn't seem to be much of an argument ehre.


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