Sunday, August 07, 2011

Against Stupidity the Gods Themselves Contend in Vain

The obvious explanation for Obama and the part of the capitalist class he represents is -- they don't really think global warming will happen. Or if it happens, it won't be bad. Or it will happen after they die, and their children don't matter.

The last actually sounds the most likely to me.

But I do have another explanation: they think it will happen and be bad, but they will survive. My current idea is, they will retreat into armored enclaves, guarded by private armies, and live comfortably while most of the rest of us die.

Imagine arcologies in the far north or far south, full of the rich and their servants: doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, plumbers, hair stylists, gourmet chefs... Around these settlements are military emplacements...

Now, the questions I have are the following: could these enclaves survive in the absence of a world-wide industrial civilization? Could they produce their own capital equipment and consumer goods? Could they do their own maintenance and repair?

Second, in the absence of national governments -- which would vanish in the collapse of human civilization, how could the rich maintain power? Why wouldn't their security forces simply turn on them?

Forests would be gone, except for what the archologies grew. The oceans would be mostly dead. There might be some agriculture left outside, but it would likely be subsistence, carried on by the few people who survived. If the rich needed metal they would have to send out armed expeditions to mine. Plastic would require petroleum. Maybe they could get bacteria to make it... If not, they would have to try drilling for it in depleted fields, while dust storms whirled around.

Law and government, if they existed, would exist only within the arcologies. Outside, there would be places like Somalia and Afghanistan, if that much remained.

Capitalism has survived and grown by exploiting natural resources and with the help of governments that protected and encouraged it. Could it continue to exist as isolated settlements?


Blogger Tallgeese said...

All this at a time when SF and gamers want to tarry with post-apocalyptic scenarios. No thanks. Watching a hegemon decline swiftly is a little too painful for me, thank you!

It also pains me to see that the arcology has accommodated itself all too well with a role as either the rich's urban enclave surrounded by megaslums, or as the Bear Path gated community equivalent.

Poor Paolo Soleri never intended them as a way for the wealthy to take refuge from the surrounding urban environment, or as something that would help isolate the wealthy from the contradictions caused by a devastated global environment, but as a living utopia for the masses which would preserve the environment.

7:40 PM  

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