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inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #76 of 177: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Tue 6 Jan 09 11:47
    
#74 Best post yet, Mr. Sterling.  You sound more like an
entrepreneurial we-can-change-the-world hippie than a derisive
cyberpunkster! 

<When everything is "green," nothing is green.>  This gets back to how
we frame the debate, e.g. The "green" Cadillac Escalade Hybrid.  Yet,
global environmental degradation is a fact on the planet. So, whether
we call the solutions "green", "sustainable," or "appropriate",  The
technological apes, collectively, need to behave better, or the earthly
Gaian Mind is not going to survive its eco-cancer of the brain.

<But we steal the Left's clothes on the all-important energy issue --
because they're congenitally unable to build or sell a damn thing.">

Yeah baby!  This is where the idealistic hippies of yore do need to
grow up.  This is where the pragmatics of what they got right with
"the-last-whole-earth" ethos needs to hit the ground with market
realities.  This is where we begin to break out of the old
socialist/capitalist paradigm and be part of a new pragmatic synthesis.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #77 of 177: (jacob) Tue 6 Jan 09 12:19
    <hidden>
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #78 of 177: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Tue 6 Jan 09 12:30
    
Interesting. Thanks, <jacob>.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #79 of 177: (jacob) Tue 6 Jan 09 12:36
    
#77 is a side note on the silliness of complaining about the Escalade
Hybrid.

Environmentalists (among which I count myself) should be looking at
incremental engineering solutions.  For instance the substitution of
natural gas for coal greatly reduces CO2 emissions, but because gas is
still a CO2-producing fossil fuel, there hasn't been much green enthusiasm
for that change.  Even though I am guessing (too lazy to look up the
numbers) that it has done more to reduce CO2 output than all the renewables
currently online.  And that tends to enhance the suspicions of others that
the climate change issue is a stalking horse for a blanket opposition to
resource extraction.  That's a dangerous belief for people to have, because
most people see resource extraction as a necessary part of our current
technological civilization, and so you start talking about ending
extractive industries and they start thinking about how they don't want to
live in a yurt.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #80 of 177: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Tue 6 Jan 09 12:37
    
OK, Jacob, perhaps the Cadillac Escalade is not the perfect example,
but don't miss the point. The big three American automakers have done a
piss poor job of addressing where we need to go, mainly because there
have been too many consumers willing to buy gas guzzlers, and too
little pressure from government forcing them to meet fuel efficiency
standards.  

As 'green' becomes chic and watered down, we think we are being
environmentally sensitive when we have so far to go.  On the other
hand, at least the new popularity of "green" allows for a level of true
"green" activism from within the system.  I sense that this is what
Bruce is recommending in #74.  This "greening" is an opportunity that
didn't exist a few years ago.  
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #81 of 177: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 6 Jan 09 15:44
    
When the Southeast Asian Tsunami struck, there was no tsunami warning
system for the Indian Ocean. Over a quarter million people died, over a
million were displaced. Scientists understood the potential danger but
nobody'd acted on that knowledge. Tilly Smith, a ten-year-old British
girl on vacation with her parents, studied tsunamis in school, knew the
warning signs, and saved a beachload of people. Where are the Tilly
Smiths for global warming? We need a whole army.

Emily's right, many adopt reusable bags and are diligent about
recycling, and think that's enough. And Scott has a good point about a
green that's diluted, not enough "when we have so far to go." Even the
most dedicated green activists often haven't reduced their footprint to
one earth or less. I don't think we know how to do it, most of us. We
need the Tillys, or a bright green version of the Boy Scouts/Girl
Scouts/Junior Woodchucks, to earn their merit badges by showing us the
way to zero energy, zero waste, low carbon output.

Bruce, you didn't say much about the new novel. Sounds like it's
closer to pure science fiction than the last couple. What were your
sources of inspiration for thie one?
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #82 of 177: Lisa Harris (lrph) Tue 6 Jan 09 18:18
    
from Terry Walker

Do you see any evidence that intelligentsia in any 1st-world nation are
finally realizing that any economy based on an exponential model (money
loaned-with-interest into existence, for example) must fail by definition?
Do you expect a non-exponential economic system to become a world player in
the next decade, or are we doomed to repeat the last century using the same
model that's designed to fail?

- Terry Walker
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #83 of 177: (dana) Tue 6 Jan 09 21:45
    
Frank writes:

I'm thoroughly enjoying this, to the point where I thought I'd de-lurk
and post a couple of notes.
Background: I'm one of those practitioners of the "sorta" science of
ecology, and I'd pitch in a quote and a few observations that might be
relevant.

The non-verbatim quote is from Rackham and Grove's Nature of
Mediterranean Europe:An Ecological History, which really should be read
by more non-ecologists.  Their comment was to the effect that making a
farm sustainable was easy.  All you have to do is tell the family that
owns their farm that they and all their descendants have to make their
living off the land, and that they would not be able to sell it or buy
more land.

This statement might be meant in irony, but it's true.  There have been
a number of sustainable societies in the past.  They had to be
sustainable.  The alternative was starvation, and since often the
children died before their parents, there was a strong incentive for the
adults to do the right thing.

This applies to discussions about making a sustainable society.  Aside
from (possibly) Tokugawa Japan, I'm unaware of a society that performed
a top-down reorganization along sustainable lines.  For those who think
they can design a sustainable society, I'd suggest that they need to
find examples of societies that have designed themselves into
sustainability without the specter of starvation driving them to do it.
If such societies exist, we need to learn how they did it.  It might not
be pretty, either.

There are a bunch of other points to be learned from Rackham and Grove.
One tidbit I'd throw out is that, in the Mediterranean, there seems to
be a roughly 300-year cycle of people coming together in tight cities
(often for mutual protection), followed by spreading out into the
countryside (to be nearer their farms in expanding populations, and to
farm more marginal land).  I wonder if such a cycle shows up elsewhere?
It would certainly make urban planning easier.  It's also worth pointing
out that the northern Mediterranean was more populous 100 years ago than
it is now, and there are a lot of marginal farmland under brush in the
hills of Cypress and elsewhere.  The great thing about this book is that
it provides a truly long-term perspective on how civilization interacts
with nature, and that's something that seems to be missing from
discussions right now.

Another thing I'd pitch in is an "intro to ecology" exercise that I've
been lucky to teach.  It's basically about the logistic equation,
otherwise known as exponential growth to carrying capacity.  The
exercise is letting the students tinker with the parameters of the
equation to see what happens.  And yes, most of them do get bored.
However, there is a neat point.  Usually, this is a model of population
growth.  If the population grows too fast, it overshoots its carrying
capacity, then falls well below its carrying capacity.  If the
oscillation is too violent the population goes extinct, and usually a
violent oscillation is caused by too-rapid growth.

While extrapolation between fields is dangerous, I keep thinking about
that classroom exercise when I read about economic bubbles.  See, it's
really, really hard to determine carrying capacity in advance, at least
in ecological systems, and I suspect that's also true in financial
systems.  Assuming you don't know what the limits are, the sane solution
is to *slow down growth rates* because when you hit a limit, the
overshoot and crash isn't so severe.  Sound like a good idea for
financial markets?

As I recall, we had a bunch of New Deal-era regulation in place that did
just that, and over the last two decades, this legislation has been
systematically dismantled.  Perhaps this is something we need to think
about in our designs for a new society?  There's a good reason to keep
growth rates fairly low.

Comments?

I'm really enjoying this, and it's been inspiring to read both the
comments and the literature cited.  Thanks!
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #84 of 177: Hugh Watkins (hughw1936uk) Wed 7 Jan 09 02:05
    
Bruce
a 300 year cycle?
in that period there could be mini ice ages, plagues, famines and
political transformations 

"All you have to do is tell the family . .  ."  in other words a
command economy like USSR with internal passports  . . . 

which is a proven route to disaster.

The chaos of capitalism and the value of bankrupcy as a feed back self
regulating mechanism should not be underrated.

The fossils of the Burgess Shale suggested to me that the post
darwinian theory of evolution is a reduction of diversity, which could
also applied to ecology.

Major attempts at designing a new society from the top have all ended
in tears, it is far better to muddle through.

As the sea rises we shall all adopt dutch technology of enclosures and
dykes - with motorways running along the tops of the sea walls.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #85 of 177: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 7 Jan 09 06:36
    
So much of history describes a world without an Internet, or if you've
read Teilhard et al, you might say a world without a noosphere. We're
connected in ways we couldn't connect before, and while the state and
degree of connection doesn't necessarily change human nature, the
social infrastructure or ecology is so transformed that I think it's
hard to generalize from past behaviors of relatively isolated
individuals and communities.

My colleagues and I have been discussing the relationship of social
media to sustainability. David Armistead notes that, in the industrial
economy, we made money by extracting resources and applying labor to
materials. We assumed the resources were abundant. In a cradle to
cradle sustainability economy, we'll make money by applying knowledge,
engineering solutions that get maximum performance and maximum
efficiency from any resource. So a sustainability economy depends on
knowledge and innovation, and the value of knowledge is enhanced by
interaction... the role of social media. (It's never just that simple,
but that's a high-level view of what we've been thinking.)

What happens when Frank's farm family, or those folks in the
Mediterranean, are wired - globally connected, with many feedback
channels, and many opportunities to gain and share knowledge within
their community, but also globally?

(I haven't read _Hot, Flat, and Crowded_, but I think Friedman is on
this track.)
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #86 of 177: Teneo, Ergo Dubito (robertflink) Wed 7 Jan 09 08:53
    
If hubris has a role in human affairs, do we expect it to increase or
decrease in 2009?  The financial meltdown would suggest that hubris has
been somewhat of a problem recently.  Would a bit of humility help or
hurt us in the future?  Will any achievement(?) of general humility be
done in by the next boom? 

Perhaps we can brazen it through. ;-)
 
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #87 of 177: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 7 Jan 09 11:05
    
"This applies to discussions about making a sustainable society. 
Aside
from (possibly) Tokugawa Japan, I'm unaware of a society that
performed
a top-down reorganization along sustainable lines."

*A look at Jared Diamond's COLLAPSE might help here.  One
dares to hope for a nifty sequel called UNCOLLAPSEABLE.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #88 of 177: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Wed 7 Jan 09 11:16
    
"Do you see any evidence that intelligentsia in any 1st-world nation
are finally realizing that any economy based on an exponential model
(money loaned-with-interest into existence, for example) must fail by
definition?
"Do you expect a non-exponential economic system to become a world
player in the next decade, or are we doomed to repeat the last century
using the same model that's designed to fail?"


*Well, I'm not an enthusiast for economic systems designed from first
principles by first-world intelligentsia.  I mean, let 'em design
something small and harmless first -- like a decent faculty lounge, run
by intelligentsia.

*As for global-scale players, yeah -- I don't want to hammer away at
this, but "commons-based peer production" (we could wish for a shorter
term) is global.  It also kinda works in a local-barnraising regional
way, but I suspect it works best in the framework of what some people
(cue Jamais Cascio) call a "translocal community."  

Also, if you knock off work when your software project forks, the code
just sits there.  Whereas if you try that with an Amish barn the cows
will freeze.  Clearly is nice when the "commons" being constructed is
abstract and sitting around in the dusty corners of a bunch of servers
somewhere.  Or when it can fit in your pocket.  

*It is a new means of industrial production and potentially a
different economic order; maybe there's less to it than meets the eye,
but it's new, so, as a futurist, I'm necessarily interested.  If I were
a guy who was in earnest about "fighting market capitalism," I don't
think I'd throw any bricks at the cops. I think I'd be devoting my
efforts to removing the market price from goods and services, and the
commons offers methods for that.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #89 of 177: Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Wed 7 Jan 09 11:35
    

Starting with you.   So: leave journalism. Stop preaching to the green
choir.  Be brave. Suffer.  Leave your big green groups.  Go into big
business  or big governance.

----

Funny -- Last year a a good-works oriented friend bought me lunch and
picked my brain on getting a job in the clean power sector.  I suggested
she go work for GE for 2 or 3 or 5 years; not only would she be able to
sock money away against lean years later on with a venture-funded start-up,
but she'd get experience that such a company might really value enough to
hire someone who has it.

Funny, she didn't seem to like this advice.

(Journalist, heal thyself.)
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #90 of 177: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 7 Jan 09 11:40
    
I'm also seeing more modest businesses targeting other modest
businesses, people more committed to doing something cool than making a
million bucks. And instead of investing in hard infrastructure, more
new companies are showing up in coworking spaces, where they rub
shoulders with other coworking adherents and create new creative
synergies in a context that's already a new way of doing things. A
bunch of guys in Austin decided there should be a coworking company, so
they rented a big house on East 7th, set it up with a wifi network and
plenty of caffeine, plus whatever else you might need for your
business to incubate. They call it Conjunctured, and it's part of a
network of coworking facilities, as well as looser coworking groups
that meet in coffeeshops, that are popping up across the U.S. I know
more and more people how never hire anybody, they just build a team of
dependable contractors and get to work. And they all want to figure out
how to make money, but they're not thinking about funding houses in
the suburbs and multicar families. The world our parents knew, and we
knew, is fading, and they can see that. And they'd rather have freedom
than stuff.

(Emily slipped in. Emily, I've been hanging around clean tech industry
types, and I'm thinking they're just oilmen with computers instead of
drills.)
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #91 of 177: (jacob) Wed 7 Jan 09 12:17
    
Hmm, I'm all for coworking and new ways of getting things done, but I sure
want a house in the suburbs and a multicar family.  Well, I already have
those things, so what I really mean is that I'd like to continue to have
them.  Living in the city center is great when you can live in a couple of
hundred sq ft, when you're young and single, but if you want a
garage-workshop and >1000 sq ft, you really need to be a millionaire to do
that in San Francisco.  That's the problem with fantasies of new creative
urbanism - it attracts business types like flies, and those people do tend
to be very motivated by money, which means they can outbid the
non-money-motivated types for housing.  Eventually this process kills the
golden goose, at least for a while - San Francisco I think just went
through one of those cycles.  Anyway, I'm not a millionaire, so I live in
the suburbs.

But I actually think the older streetcar suburbs are well-suited to this
pattern of work too, being dense enough to make commutes very short and
public transit practical, with plenty of commercial space available at much
lower rents than the city centers.  There's a reason why HP, Microsoft and
Apple started in suburban garages rather than city center lofts.  I think
it's good to look at cities as a continuum of densities rather than making
a sharp urban/suburban split.  That whole "we're urban! we hate the
suburbs!" thing isn't very useful.  Cities provide lots of services to
suburbs: financial concentration, high-end retail, major hospitals, urban
universities - but the suburbs play a part too: sprawling university
campuses, garbage transfer stations, warehouses and transhipment
facilities, and modern manufacturing industries, not to mention massive
amounts of housing.  Cities need both to survive.  Denser suburbs are an
important part of the metropolitan ecology, not least for relieving the
pressure on housing prices.

And even some of the newer subdivisions look like they could be adapted to
a more livable pattern. We may mock the identical boxes crammed in close to
one another, but at least they're dense.  There's potential there.

Now, exurbs, McMansions, 1/4 acre lots, those I'm not such a fan of.  The
motivation for buying those is almost always conspicuous consumption, which
isn't even fun for the person doing it.  The urge to show off through
overconsumption is a pathological drive.  But I do agree that it's less
present in the younger generation, though hardly absent.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #92 of 177: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 7 Jan 09 12:58
    
Yes, I get it - affordable hip urbanism might mean living somewhere
other than San Francisco (or NYC or LA). Austin's explosive creativity
of the moment will probably go gray as the cost of living spirals
upward.

Choosing not to live in a suburban house with a few cars and kids !=
"we hate the suburbs," necessarily, it's just a different choice. I'm a
greybeard who did the suburban multicar thing, and it wasn't a bad
life, though it wasn't very energy efficient. Part of the argument for
a "new urbanism" is that it's supposedly more sustainable.

You have a great point - we don't have to build surburban
neighborhoods inefficiently, new patterns can and should evolve. Better
mass transit would help. When I was living in Boulder, you could hop a
bus to Denver - mass transit in that part of the world is Amazing,
compared to the Austin area, where buses are empty and bus routes are
extremely, even laughably, inconvenient. (We do have wifi on some
buses, at least).

Collaborative urban planning here has give us some pretty interesting
neighborhoods; I expect to see significant change in local urban design
over the next decade.

The urge to show of through overconsumption may dwindle when it's more
of a struggle to put bread on the table. Let's see how the economy
plays out. Remember Ernest Callenbach's _Living Poor with Style_? Is
that possible today.

(If I had more time, I would add another paragraph or two about
Buddhist Economics and Voluntary Simplicity...)

Bruce, what's life like in Torino?
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #93 of 177: (dana) Wed 7 Jan 09 14:38
    
It would be nice if Obama would give William McDonough Detroit, New
Orleans, and a bucket of cash and let him demonstrate his C2C
principles in those blighted US cities.

I'd also like to see that sort of thing in some of the burbs around
California, and likely other states as well. 
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #94 of 177: (dana) Wed 7 Jan 09 14:38
    
Yannis S. writes:

re: hubris
Check this little essay on hubris's scary dark twin (by Brian Eno, of
all
people -- not usually one to turn to for previsions of calamity):
 
http://www.edge.org/q2009/q09_10.html#eno
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #95 of 177: (dana) Wed 7 Jan 09 14:40
    
George Mokray writes:

Back in the day, my Clamshell Alliance affinity group had a meeting  
with the John Birch Society.  We thought that since they were all  
about states rights and local control that they might be amenable to  
opposing the Federal push for nuclear power in NH and other places.   
Wasn't a productive meeting.

However, I have your right-wing infiltration slogan right here:

Solar IS Civil Defense

I even have stickers and buttons if anyone's interested.  By civil  
defense, I mean flashlight, radio, cell phone, and an extra set of  
batteries all solar powered with a possible hand crank or bike pedaled
dynamo for back up.  That's a reliable source of low voltage DC
electricity day or night by sunlight or muscle power.

In fact, we've distributed close to one million solar/dynamo am/fm/sw
radios in Afghanistan since before the invasion.  Each one could be  
modified to charge AA and other dry cell batteries to provide  
auxiliary battery power.  Been trying for the last couple of years to
interest somebody in NATO, the Pentagon, or my Congresscritters in the
idea.  They don't seem to understand it.  Too small I guess. Solar as
an anti-terror or at least anti-Taliban tactic, that could be pretty
cool.

More at
http://solarray.blogspot.com/2008/05/solar-is-civil-defense-illustrated.html
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #96 of 177: la brujaja (zorca) Wed 7 Jan 09 16:41
    
the trick, for me at least, is not getting discouraged. which can sometimes
be a challenge.

i worry that with the worsening economy, incentives for greening are going
to wither. obama will be hard-pressed to tax fuels or police emissions, at
least for the first couple of years. u.s. auto makers are unlikely to retool
to greener vehicles with whatever bailout monies they manage to win. add to
this lower gas prices and middle-class tax rebates and you have consumer
demand for the same old gas guzzlers. meanwhile, the history channel
launches the new year with a week-long 'countdown to armageddon' fear fest
that's bound to leave many with a 'why bother' aftertaste. it's all well and
good to use recycled bags, but meanwhile, hell:handbasket.

so i'm glad bruce comes here once a year. i always walk away amused,
enthused, and oddly recharged. thanks, bruce. can't wait to read the new
novel.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #97 of 177: Lisa Harris (lrph) Wed 7 Jan 09 17:43
    
From Frank, again....

@Bruce: Yes, I actually got the Tokugawa example from Jared Diamond's
Collapse, thanks.

What I find fascinating is that what I wrote got taken completely out of
context, in some fascinating ways.  One basic point is that with the one
exception, I don't know of anyone who went sustainable without facing the
threat of starvation.  The thing about starvation is that it happens slowly
enough that it's a great motivator, especially if you have hungry kids who
are begging you to feed them.  Unfortunately, starvation also weeds out
everyone who gets it wrong.

Given our track record, I think it's unlikely that we will make a
sustainable society without dealing with mass global starvation.  The one
ray of light is the Tokugawa, who used a command and control approach
(ahem!) to make Japan sustainable for a few centuries.

If this doesn't scare you, just think about it: starvation and dictatorship
seem to be the only proven ways to make people go sustainable.

I hope there's a third way.  Fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh ways would be
nice too, just in case.  I'd suggest that we spend some time looking to see
if other people have found other ways.  It's nice to have models to work
from.

As for my Mediterranean farmers, this is a great example of  mutual
incomprehension.  Basically, I'm quoting an ecologist who says that, when
something forces people to make a living off of a plot of land forever, they
quickly learn to manage it sustainably.  This has nothing to do with
politics, old-style economics, or the historical lack of the internet. This
was an observation by a really good ecologist (better than I am), about what
it takes to force people to live sustainably.  Moreover, it is no more and
no less than the state that the human species finds itself in.  We have to
make a living off of planet Earth, forever.  We are that Mediterranean farm
family, and we can't avoid the problem by changing our political system, nor
by getting work blogging on the InterStellarNet to get food from friends at
Tau Ceti C.

I'd also point out to Mr. Watkins (#84), that, unfortunately for all
political theorists, we live in something very much like a command and
control universe.  The commands are the laws of physics, and the controls
are the amounts of energy and elements we get to play with on our planet.
While human representation of physical laws is imperfect, no sane person
denies them.  You simply can't break the law of gravity.  Similarly, there's
only so much fresh water in the world, and while you can make water potable,
that costs energy and materials, both of which are limited.  The basic point
is that to be sustainable, you have to be able to work within the limits to
make a living, whatever sets those limits.  I understand that the example of
a Mediterranean farmer sounds very much like something a stupid feudal lord
would do (and oddly enough, that is what happened in some places), but
nature pulls the same trick on all of us in the absence of stupid overlords.

Anyway, this is pulling the discussion away from interesting questions about
designing a society.  I thought I'd better clear this up.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #98 of 177: Jamais Cascio (cascio) Wed 7 Jan 09 21:15
    

>*As for global-scale players, yeah -- I don't want to hammer away at
 this, but "commons-based peer production" (we could wish for a shorter
 term) is global.  It also kinda works in a local-barnraising regional
 way, but I suspect it works best in the framework of what some people
 (cue Jamais Cascio) call a "translocal community."<

"Think locally, act globally."

Intelligentsia-designed political structures don't seem to manifest in ways
that would be recognizable to the designers. Novel political and political-
economic structures tend instead to be emergent, then described later.
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #99 of 177: Hugh Watkins (hughw1936uk) Thu 8 Jan 09 00:13
    
My whole point is  designing a society is as hopeless a task as
designing the english language by a self appointed academy

The "laws of physics" are like the descriptions of "God", a wonderful
human invention notnecessarily true in detail.

If you remember the  great breakthrough in the history of the
invention of the radio amplifiern was "Negative feedback counteracts
the positive feedback in valve circuits. " (Wiki)

in an effective mixed economy - partly capitalist and partly socialist
- bankrupcy and politics have that effect

Rising tides will inspire solutions, but when eg Bangledesh is
submerged where will the refugees go?
  
inkwell.vue.343 : Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2009
permalink #100 of 177: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Thu 8 Jan 09 01:34
    
re: "And instead of investing in hard infrastructure, more
new companies are showing up in coworking spaces, where they rub
shoulders with other coworking adherents and create new creative
synergies in a context that's already a new way of doing things. A
bunch of guys in Austin decided there should be a coworking company,
so
they rented a big house [...]"

But the hard infrastructure is still there; someone's the landlord for
that house.  And if you meet in coffee shops, that means more coffee
shops and the people who run them, not to mention electricity and
laptops and cell phones and cell phone towers.

It's more fun and probably more efficient, but someone still has to
keep the infrastructure going, and they still get paid.  So you get a
different division of labor with small networked capitalism running in
an environment maintained by someone else, with a lot of routine
transactions acting as the glue.
  

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