As Nero Fiddles…

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, November 13th, 2010 - 72 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, climate change, Economy - Tags: ,

So we are familiar with descriptions of climate change and the likely or possible consequences of raised levels of ‘warming’ gasses. We have heard the conclusions of various scientific disciplines and heard the social/philosophical musings of the likes of Suzuki. And that’s all good, because viewing a problem through multiple lenses offers the possibility of broader, better informed understandings.

But when it comes to what can be done, possible prescriptions are limited by the singular use of an economic lens. To be clear, generally disseminated prescriptions aren’t just economic, but are predicated on retaining market or command economies as the management mechanisms for production and distribution (consumption).

Consider the centrality of the economic rationales that necessitate NZ developing a climatically destructive dairy industry and how the primacy of economic reasoning remains fundamentally unchallenged. There are no human reasons (as far as I can ascertain) for NZ to be indulging in an export orientated dairy industry (and many human reasons for desisting in the drive to encourage dairy consumption in China, Korea and elsewhere), but that non-economic reasoning is not allowed to enter into the debate.

This narrowing of focus, which is essentially a very effective and deadly smokescreen, is partly maintained by the constant referral to climate change as the principle problem. So the market mechanisms that drive our industrial production, that in turn produces the waste that drives climate change, remains beyond the bounds of scrutiny.

Worse, they (market mechanisms)  become relied on as the only source of possible solutions.

So we are fobbed off with carbon trading schemes and carbon taxes, fantasies of carbon capture and geo-engineering,  how it’s all the fault of the promiscuous poor and finally regaled with the need to be discerning consumers. The advertising industry exists, afterall to demand products of industry and not as you might have previously believed, to create consumer demand for industries products. As such, the market will be preserved and as impacted by discerning consumer demands, will see us right.

Meaning that there can  be no sensible question of entertaining such anti-market initiatives as returning ownership of the planet’s resources to the commons. Which in turn means that there can be no sensible question of bringing production and consumption under democratic control. The only sensible questions are ones surrounding the preservation and perpetuation of financial profit.

I suspect many of us might be tempted to exonerate ourselves to a degree by passively, cynically or intellectually noting that  the fox is maintaining it’s position vis a vis the hen house, or that OJ is in charge of the crime scene or that the paedophile is running the crèche.

But far too damned few of us are being honest enough to acknowledge that as Nero fiddles we are applauding appreciatively.

72 comments on “As Nero Fiddles…”

  1. M 1

    Bill, first class post.

    I think things will be viewed through the economic lens until other factors like climate change, a lack of export markets either through the unaffodability of our produce or no means of getting it to markets because the end of cheap fossil fuel. I’m always amazed that dairy is so heavily promoted in Asian markets because it’s not something that the popluations of the area have traditionally eaten in great quantities and have read that lactose intolerance can be higher than 90%.

    The overproduction of consumer items along with all the other financial jiggery-pokery that triggered the Depression you would think would lead to more moderate production and consumption, but no, the post war ramping up of production and consumption was staggering and continued on unabated apart from periodic recessions aided and abetted by advertising.

    I was educated mostly by Irish nuns whose mantra was “live simply so that others may simply live” and have carried that message with me all my life. To utter that around someone like John Key would be tantamount to heresy and you would risk burning at the stake.

    Many seem to have an innate need to pursue as much travel as possible while ignoring the people who slave away for them at overseas resorts or they’re going to die if they don’t have the latest car, TV, phone or other must-have gimcrack conveniently forgetting that some poor slave in Asia is breathing in dangerous fumes manufacturing their “essential” consumer items.

    As a first-worlder I’m complicit in this slave trade because I do buy some of these goods but would much rather have people in my own country employed making them where hopefully worker protections enshrined in law are implemented.

    There are not many ways I can exercise my dissatisfaction at the staus quo as many things are now only made in China. My vote is only as useful as the political party I vote for is willing to promote jobs be kept in this country and informing the public that less can indeed be more if we’re to have any future on this planet.

    • Bill 1.1

      “There are not many ways I can exercise my dissatisfaction at the staus quo…”

      I’m hoping that a movement based on conscientious objection is just around the corner. Some of us are already digging our heels in and getting all due opprobrium poured on our heads. The same was true of conscientious objectors during the 1914-18 and 1939-45 world wars. Now it is ‘commonplace’, even in today’s professional armies, for soldiers to refuse war postings on grounds of conscience.

      Meanwhile, I’m aware of an employment case in Britain concerning dismissal that the applicant won on the basis that his refusal to fly for his job was because he genuinely held the view that scientific evidence determined that such activity had to cease. He won his case because the court held that his views on global warming; his sincere beliefs as backed by scientific evidence, should be treated no differently to mainstream religious belief. And since it is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of religious belief, his employer was done with discrimination.

      The case didn’t receive any coverage here. None that I’m aware of anyway. Interestingly, NZ employment law also makes it unlawful to discriminate on religious grounds….

  2. Zorr 2

    –shrug–

    Working towards the eventual goal of being self-sustainable and living off the grid. It is a long haul (mostly because I am still young and without the built up equity that would allow me to immediately move forward) but it is a goal that I believe in. I don’t personally believe that I will be able to alter the discourse in NZ so I don’t intend in trying. I intend on focusing on saving me and mine and hopefully influencing those I come in to contact with.

    Sure, while Nero fiddles the world is burning. Time to do my best to get out of the city limits.

    • Bill 2.1

      But Zorr, when time lag that is built into climate collapse catches up with a future ‘present day’, whether your descendants are living in a rural or urban setting is going to be irrelevant. eg, crops don’t grow when there are no seasons.

      Meanwhile, you say you are seeking to build up equity in order to move towards self sustainability. But how do you build up equity without participating in the current economy? Your descendants are going to encounter problems that are directly attributable to the market economy of today, the same one that you intend to use in order to garner the resources (financial capital) to remove you and yours from, well…the problems that are being created by the market economy.

      It’s beyond irony.

      • Zorr 2.1.1

        So, let me get this straight. Your issue with my position is that I am saying I need resources that are going to be garnered from within the current system to break free from it? How is that remotely ridiculous? I am in the system currently, have total savings of somewhere between zero and nil (not much debt though at all which is my one saving grace) and looking to escape without putting my dependent family in hardship.

        The goal is set. The objectives along the way visualized. To immediately break free without anything behind me is an impossibility when considering my responsibilities as a breadwinner and caregiver. You may attack my position as ridiculous. I define it as pragmatic.

        The main point in your post I felt was that, to a large degree, the moderate greenies/lefties/scientists amongst us are “comfortable” with action against climate change being modeled on the current failing system and just, essentially, donating to the cause. I am working to do much more than just donate but yet you attack me as being “beyond irony”. Thanks for being so understanding…

        • freedom 2.1.1.1

          Zorr,
          don’t let the blinkers worn by so many cast shadows over your ambition.

          Groups of people sharing what little we have, is all there will be

          As with many selfless acts, the first response is ridicule and fear.
          Ridicule of the person and fear of the reality

        • Bill 2.1.1.2

          I wasn’t attacking you Zorr.

          But don’t you see the irony (perhaps even folly?) of relying on the root cause of a problem to provide a solution the problems it is creating?

          • Zorr 2.1.1.2.1

            To state it simply Bill because it appears you have some wires crossed here. Where in my stated goals is there a reliance on the modern market economy? I state that the road I am going to travel requires me to have some finances behind me in order to “buy in” to the solution that I believe in. Land, simple building materials, renewable energy sources (just to name a few) require funds in order to be able to invest in them. With aiming to be self sufficient I am looking to be moving so far away from the “global market economy” that I would be anathema to the Jonkeys of this world.

            However this talking point has come up previously when RWNJs try to state that one can simply opt out of capitalism. Short answer, you can’t. Long answer, you can but it takes significant effort and sacrifice.

            Just in case all the stuff I just said doesn’t answer you simply enough, here it is in list form.
            1) I am a wage-slave
            2) I don’t want to be a wage-slave all my life
            3) I don’t even want to be “working”
            4) I want to invest in the future that I believe in
            5) Most of this investment is in time and energy but there is still a financial component
            6) Hence the need for some money
            If you are willing to give me the money in order to help speed up my exit from the market economy, feel free. If you are just going to sit back and criticize me for the fact that I am desperately trying to pull myself out of the hole that society has dug for me with the only tools available, then you are just as much of a detriment to the advancement of an actual answer as any of the climate change denying RWNJs out there.

            • Bill 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Can you bear in mind that what follows is said in the full acknowledgement that the market economy dominates terms of trade and most aspects of current societies as well as having ‘all’ resources more or less tied up?

              In other words, I’m agreeing that it can’t just ‘be walked away’ from and will continue to have an influence on attempts to create alternatives.

              If I had a whole pile of cash, I’d already have loaned it at 0% interest to people utilising an Act such as The Industrial and Provident Societies Act ‘ (1908).

              Any loan made would have been contingent upon purchased land being under the common ownership of the people occupying it as well as all structures on the land being under common ownership.

              Income generation would have to be through communal efforts (ie no individual income per se, or where that happened, income sharing mechanisms developed) and be predicated on a form of a worker collective conducive with the Act. ie nominal and non-transferable shares held by participants that revert back to the collective should they disengage from the collective. There would have to be a commitment to skill sharing as well as income sharing.

              Philosophically or politically, the collective would have to be committed to developing structures that embody and promote substantive expressions of democracy.

              Acknowledging that people may change their minds and wish to leave the collective, any assets a person had prior to joining the collective would be ‘frozen’ or realised as cash which would then be ‘frozen’. That is, their assets would remain theirs but they could not normally be able to use or access them while they were members of the collective. (This is more to do with internal dynamics of inequity …think of kid’s birthdays and so on…or private car ownership, or a home owner seeking to rent out their home in Auckland or wherever while being a part of the collective etc.) The collective could request that they loan to the collective at zero or low interest rates.

              And if all that had happened, I’d be living there and would invite you along to see if the set-up was to your liking.

    • g says 2.2

      zorr, more power (scuse the pun) to your arm. i assume the equity you speak of is not limited to $.
      there is the social equity (survival is a local issue) building the networks that will be far more valuable than a stack o cash.
      the knowledge of how to do various things (medicine, building, growing food etc) stockpile them books. especially the know how that is pre colonial times (eg our brown brothers)

      also remember when the trucks stop coming to the supermarkets keep a seat at your table free for those who may need feeding

      in terms of power probably better to scale things back there as almost all of the technology is based on cheap oil.

      i too would rather live in a rural aspect when the faeces slowly starts to hit the fan.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Although I agree with what you’re doing I don’t agree with solely focussing on you and yours. We need to move the entirety of society and we can’t do that if you work alone and don’t don’t try to teach others why you’re doing what you’re doing.

      • Zorr 2.3.1

        “hopefully influencing those I come in to contact with”

        I hope to help those I come in to contact with and can influence in their decisions and hopefully share the lessons that I will learn in the journey. I just don’t intend to aim outside my monkeysphere is all because I ultimately believe that leading from the front is the best form of leadership.

        Just thought of this though because it is one thing I keep bringing up when in discussions with the naysayers and devils advocates in my life. Tomorrow is always a new day for new beginnings. I have chosen to start my journey here and now but it is impossible to state that doing X thing by Y date is the correct action. Who knows what the future will bring for me and maybe I will have a larger role to play – just not willing to overextend myself as just looking after my family is more than enough of a stress atm!

      • g says 2.3.2

        dtb, people need to know that it is possible to be self-sustainable and the best way for that to happen is to see and experience what others have done.
        when you and yours are o.k. then you are in a far stronger place to help others.

        how about councils and local authorities plant fruit trees and vegetable plants rather than the ornamentals with a view that the loacals can eat them?

        you all are welcome to help us build the next cob (clay, sand and straw) oven we make.
        we are in the manawatu area.

      • Bill 2.3.3

        I can’t see what it is that people see in self sufficiency.

        Self sufficiency is essentially anti-social. (And impossible!) Self sufficiency would require growing all of your own food (cereals, vegetables etc) as well as building your own shelter from materials you manufacture yourself from raw materials that you can access with tools you have manufactured from resources that you can access. It would mean supplying yourself with drinking water, irrigation water and sewerage systems. It would mean using only that technology that you could develop yourself. And so on and so on.

        That’s why we form societies. Societies ( ie any conglomeration of people sharing common purposes) are greater than the sum total of their constituent parts.

        And we all benefit from that.

        • g says 2.3.3.1

          as in so many things the theory is an ideal while the practical does make compromises within those ideals.
          i dont buy the idea that suffiency is anti social. i would argue that the current nuclear family is a far more isolated set-up.
          when you are raising your own shelter you need your neighbours. nature abounds with materials for building shelters (clay, straw, wood, wool) without getting into recycling materials (amish-ish without the religious overtones).
          again with food, sure you dont grow all of your food for your family, this is done along co-operative lines.
          appropriate tools have been made for centuries, no need to start manufacturing them yaself.
          water, check.
          compost ya 1s ands 2s.

          this is a way to build society that is inclusive and equitable, connected to the creation and doable.
          in the meantime i will have a read up on parecon

        • RedLogix 2.3.3.2

          Self sufficiency is essentially anti-social.

          I can see where you are coming from. An authentic, mature ‘self-sufficiency’ would never be anything like the atomistic, isolationist scenario you describe.

          But for the small minority who want to re-purpose their lives outside the capitalist paradigm, they necessarily find themselves more or less having to ‘go it alone’, or at best part of a fringe community of ‘beardie-weirdie, tree-huggers’. It’s only understandable that their priorities lay with achieving self-sufficiency for themselves … it was what lay within reach.

          But times are changing. Lot’s of folk understand that the wheels are falling off the existing system and are looking about for a Plan B for when their day jobs come to an end. Interest in gardening, organics, permaculture, beekeeping etc has risen dramatically within the last few years. While the Green movement was born in the hearts of dreamers and idealists, the baton is being gradually picked up by pragmatists who’ve realised that change is in their own best interests.

          The real goal is sustainability, at every level. Personal sustainability is only possible in the context of a locality that supports it. Equally no one nation alone can survive in a world faced with challenges, such as AGW and biodiversity loss, that can only be solved globally.

          And ultimately of course the entire planet has no choice but to be self-sufficient.

  3. A 3

    “Which in turn means that there can be no sensible question of bringing production and consumption under democratic control.”

    A truly horrible idea, since people would inevitably vote to maintain high levels of consumption. If you don’t believe that, then you must be living on another planet.

    I also don’t get why this should not be treated as an economic issue, assuming you mean economic in a sufficiently expansive sense. Insofar as economics includes determining the limitations of the market mechanism and responses to those limitations, it would seem to be relevant. If you want to rule out command economies or heavily regulated mixed economies, then there is no solution, because those are the only ones that we know how to do. The decentralised decisions of market actors don’t properly value the environment. We all know that. Democratic control of the environment would simply replace one market with another, because votes are a form of currency and elections are iterative markets where this currency is spent (on whichever policy brand the voter wishes).

    Of course, environmentalism would be much more effective if so many environmentalists didn’t spend a lot of the time indulging in countercultural fantasies of eco-anarchism (not that this is what is going on here, but it goes on all the time).

    • Bill 3.1

      A.

      Having experienced a workplace located within the wider context of a market economy that was under direct worker control, I can assure you that people do not ‘vote’ to work their arses off for the sake of enjoying ever higher consumption. Rather, people ‘vote’ for undertaking enough productive activity to live reasonably ( a subjective measure, for sure) and then use the enormous amount of time that is freed up to live a far higher quality of life…one not predicated on or solely focussed on consumption.

      You say “I also don’t get why this should not be treated as an economic issue, assuming you mean economic in a sufficiently expansive sense.”

      To reiterate the post “To be clear, generally disseminated prescriptions aren’t just economic, but are predicated on retaining market or command economies as the management mechanisms for production and distribution (consumption).”

      And that is that self same narrow economic focus (either market economy or command economy or a mix of the two) you then go on to claim as encompassing some expansive concept of economics. In the same way that there are a (how many?) ways to ‘skin a cat’, so it is with respect to the number of different economies that can be imagined and developed.

      My preference would be for a participatory economic model (parecon). I can provide the link to extensive literature on it if you’re interested. (Parecon is neither a market economy nor a command economy. Neither is it a mix of the two.) It is highly democratic, disavows private ownership of resources etc and treats production as a means to satisfy human and social needs and wants rather then profit or political power.

      • g says 3.1.1

        bill, is what you are describing similar to a resource based economy? i have read a little about that http://www.tzmnz.com and sounds a lot fairer and equitable than the current system.

        which ever happens next it needs to start from the people/community and grow up.

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          Wow. No, I don’t think so. The Zeitgeist Movements, on a quick first pass, smacks of vacuous spiritualism. ie it’s a ‘shopping list’ of alternative meanings for broad concepts such as psychology etc sprinkled throughout with fine sounding platitude and wishful thinking. There is no concrete analysis of our current economic or political situation and no serious attempt to map a trajectory of change that would lead us towards desirable end points.

          Parecon is much more pragmatic

      • A 3.1.2

        “I can assure you that people do not ‘vote’ to work their arses off for the sake of enjoying ever higher consumption.”

        And this is what makes me despair of the environmental movement. What you really mean is that people like you and me would not vote to do so, because we would be happy with a modestly prosperous living. Sadly, not everyone is like us. There are a great many people who have the pleonectic social dominator mentality of someone like Cactus Kate, and who just have to have more than other people. There are an awful lot of them, mostly not as obnoxious as the CK’s of this world, but similarly motivated. It’s not about consumption, but about status competition. Of course leftish people will be happy with egalitarianism, but the right wing social dominators will not be, and will do whatever they can (and they can be pretty evil when they do not get their own way) to reintroduce status competition (communism was authoritarian for a reason). What are you going to do about them?

        You say:

        “…treats production as a means to satisfy human and social needs and wants rather then profit or political power.”

        Profit and political power happen to human and social needs for a sector of the community. You can’t just wish these people and their wants out of existence.

        As for parecon, I’m somewhat familiar with the idea and it fairly reeks of bongwater. It faces the same problem I noted in my reply to Draco’s post. There seems no conceivable way of implementing it without requiring such authoritarian measures against dissenters as would destroy its integrity (I wouldn’t mind this, personally). Otherwise, people who wish to restore a system of social dominance and hierarchy will simply form coalitions aimed at subverting the system you propose.

        But this sort of democratic-anarchist solution ignores the fact that democratic decision making is simply another form of market, and so brings with it some of the failures of market based systems.

        So in summary, it will require massive authoritarian intervention and powers both to implement and sustain it, and a large section of the population will never accept it except at the barrel of a gun. Yet it proposes an anti-authoritarian society based on somewhat anarchist and egalitarian principles. It’s just a non-starter, given the materials you have to work with.

        There’s a much more practical way of solving the environmental crisis, which is to secure control of the centres of authority in our society, and use that power to impose the appropriate environmental controls on the economic behaviour of the population. This is consistent, practical and may actually work – three vices that automatically disqualify any measure in left wing circles.

        • Bill 3.1.2.1

          If people really did choose to work harder and longer than others, then sure, reward them. But consider the difference in the factors determining reward as they pertain to participatory economies and a market economies.

          In a parecon remuneration is for effort and sacrifice expended in socially valued labours. Your income depends on how long you work, how hard you work, and on any hardships that are associated with your work. However, in a parecon jobs are balanced for empowerment and quality of life. Thus, save for minor variations, your job, my job, and everyone else’s job are similar regarding sacrifice. Our incomes therefore differ due to working longer or less long, or harder or less hard.

          In capitalism the first basis for remuneration is property ownership….The second basis for remuneration is power…How much your work produces often impacts your bargaining power, in turn impacting your income. But additional factors in this equation include your organizational power (such as unions or professional organizations), laws (minimum wage, property rights, etc.), social ascriptions (gender, race), your access to monopolies of information or skill or decision making access which in turn afford power, the relative power of the capitalist you are negotiating with, and so on.

          Can you see how what you term as ‘status competition’ is flattened in a parecon when compared to a market economy? There are no avenues to accrue power for the sake of ‘social domination’. I get what you are implying…that competition and inequity etc could be re-established at the point of a gun. But that applies as much to current social democracies located in a market economy as it would to a parpolity located in a parecon…maybe more so, since current orthodoxies underscore, encourage and reward the same mentalities and end goals that are a part and parcel of any armed coup (drives to achieve a position of power located in hierarchies; domination).

          You say that “democratic decision making is simply another form of market”. I disagree. Market decisions are predicated on power and competition. Democratic decision making (not our current social democratic system of competing to ‘represent’) is predicated on co-operation and arriving at decisions that are shaped by the input of all affected parties to a degree that the decision will impact upon them.

          Finally, the ‘materials we have to work with’ are ourselves. I’m not naive and have no doubt that were we to take over our workplaces and communities and begin to develop empowering participatory structures of governance that the state, in defence of the market, would bring all types of pressures to bear. Including, if required, armed oppression.

          So I guess where you see authoritarianism as being required to instigate systems of participation, I see the authoritarianism coming from reactionary quarters. Meanwhile, participatory workplaces and participatory communities already exist. Their presence is scattered and fragmentary…ie, they do not constitute a threat to the status quo.

          But their presence offers the possibility for their example being picked up and copied/developed by others. And as more examples of participatory workplaces come into being, so the profile of such organisational possibilities rises. And with an increasingly visible profile, more people will become aware of a functional alternative to their current situation…

          Parecon is not an economy that can ever become implemented in any imposing way (eg at the point of a gun) and remain in any way meaningful . An overarching parecon ( and an accompanying participatory polity) will only ever eventuate when enough workplaces have adopted or developed pareconish structures and are numerous enough that parecon achieves a position of ‘natural’ or evolutionary ascendency over the market economy. For some time to come, parecon workplaces are going to have to accommodate to a greater or lesser degree, the reality of a dominant market economy. The existing examples of workplaces using parecon principles already do this.

          • just saying 3.1.2.1.1

            Quote:”There are no avenues to accrue power for the sake of ‘social domination’.

            See that’s the kind of statement where parecon fails to convince me. In setting up such a system, I don’t believe there is a way the above can be achieved. I believe humans are well capable of overcoming such undesirable legacies of genetics +culture, we can (and often do) change ourselves by changing the ways we live, but in order to successfully set parecon up, we need people to have already “become” the changes it hopes to achieve.

            • Bill 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Just saying, if you think that such avenues exist in a parecon, then in fairness you need to point out where they are and how a person or people would or could utilise them to their advantage.

              • just saying

                Does a parecon exist?

                • just saying

                  What I’m getting at is, if there was a parecon, I believe I could spend less than 24 hours in it and tell you not just how people are “accruing power for the purposes of social domination”, but which people are actually doing so.
                  Inevitably so, for the reasons I’ve stated IMO.

                  • Bill

                    C’mon pal. Our existence is at stake. Not yours. Not mine. We die, but this: Our specific (species specific) expression of life. And you want to play games? Score points?

                    Read the parecon literature. Find the glitches and come back to me on it. Don’t make unsubstantiated assertions. They’re pointless.

                • Bill

                  A market economy, not a participatory economy, exists.

                  • just saying

                    “Play games, Score points?”

                    Not guilty Bill.

                    “…but in order to successfully set parecon up, we need people to have already “become” the changes it hopes to achieve.

                    How does parecon address this?

                    • Bill

                      ffs! Go look! There are parecon workplaces here there and everywhere! I was a part of one before the concept was even articulated…late 80’s early90’s.

                      But a parecon, as an overarching economic paradigm, will only come to fruition with mass participation. Meanwhile, isolated instances of workplaces running on participatory principles persist. Your “people to have already “become” the changes it hopes to achieve.” is already here and has existed for (as far as I know) 20 fucking years or more.

                      Why is that not common knowledge? Well, it’s not so difficult to go figure.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      A truly horrible idea, since people would inevitably vote to maintain high levels of consumption.

      That’s the problem with the free-market that we have ATM. People just aren’t informed that such high levels of consumption can’t be maintained and so continue to make irrational decisions.

      So, what we need to do is set up processes so that they know what the renewable resource base is and then let them vote as to how that is used but in such a way so that they can’t vote to use more than what’s available.

      If you want to rule out command economies or heavily regulated mixed economies, then there is no solution, because those are the only ones that we know how to do.

      Then we need to start thinking outside of the square.

      • A 3.2.1

        “So, what we need to do is set up processes so that they know what the renewable resource base is and then let them vote as to how that is used but in such a way so that they can’t vote to use more than what’s available.”

        In other words, “we” (who this “we” is, I cannot guess) need to set up the voting system so that people who have false beliefs about the environment cannot vote in favour of policies based on those false beliefs.

        This looks like it will mean a highly managed “democracy” in which voters have limited choices imposed on them by the authorities on the word of environmental scientists. People who attempt to set up political movements to challenge those limitations (and that is going to include a great many political conservatives and some others, even on the left) will have to be “persuaded” to back down, and if they will not, will have to be suppressed by force to maintain the environmental integrity of the system.

        It’s unlikely that enough people will be persuaded to accept the truth if they are presented with sufficient evidence. To assume that they will is to assume the Enlightenment view that sufficient education will turn everyone into a rational, scientifically minded citizen. Anyone who still believes that should be in an asylum, if they aren’t already.

        How would you propose that this system be established? People won’t vote for it until the world is actually frying in front of them, no matter what the experts say. Thus, it will have to be imposed by force (by whom, I do not know).

        I actually agree that this would work, provided it could be implemented, and provided that enemies of the system could be suitably discouraged from forming political movements to overthrow it. It will however, be highly authoritarian compared to our present system of government.

        To be honest, I think this will eventually happen, as political elites realize that there is no longer an alternative, and so simply agree to force the solution on the rest of us (in the same way that neoliberalism was forced on us). The problem is it will likely be too late.

        • Bill 3.2.1.1

          What if we were empowered members of worker councils and consumer councils?

          As a member of a consumer council, I’d be formulating consumer demand. As a member of a worker council I’d be formulating industrial capacity. ( We’d all be members of worker and consumer councils)

          And if the consumer council demands exceed worker council industrial capacity, then the consumer council demands get modified to take that into account. And if the industrial capacity can satisfy the consumer demand, but the industrial capacity outstrips the possible supply of raw materials, then estimates of industrial capacity would have to be revised as well as consumer demands.

          Through to-ing and fro-ing of information between various worker councils and consumer councils related to inputs, desired inputs and outputs, a balance would eventuate that would inform the final possible extractive, productive and consumption levels.

          No authoritarianism necessary.

          Here’s a useful page of Q&A on participatory planning if you’re interested.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.2

          We = Society. I thought that was fairly obvious.

          This looks like it will mean a highly managed “democracy” in which voters have limited choices imposed on them by the authorities on the word of environmental scientists.

          Limited choices imposed by the limited environment that we live in. Would you prefer the word of the scientists who have done the research (which can be challenged by further research) or the politicians who just think they know best (and who can also be bought by the corporations)?

          How would you propose that this system be established?

          Still working on it but here’s part 1. The important part is having people able to access the information.

          It will however, be highly authoritarian compared to our present system of government.

          No it won’t. It’ll be an informed democracy.

  4. just saying 4

    Hi Bill,

    Are you already a part of a collective of the kind you describe?
    What, other than not being a part of the problem, are you (plural?) doing exactly?
    I’ve been to znet, even found an unlikely uncle of mine to be a member, but couldn’t find groups working together, not in NZ anyway.

    Somehow this reads to me like a call to action and not just a call to stop doing….

    But what?
    Where?

    • Bill 4.1

      “Are you already a part of a collective of the kind you describe?”

      I was a part of such a collective during the late 80’s early 90’s. But not in NZ.

      “What, (…) are you (plural?) doing exactly?”

      Nothing to ‘write home about’.

      So what to do? Many possibilities, but it’s a numbers game. I can’t find any reasonable expressions of what I’d advocate anywhere in NZ. And believe me, I hunted! All examples I found that might have claimed to be exploring workable alternatives to living under the sway of the market were enmeshed in hippy nonsense or had degenerated to a point of being nothing more than intentional suburbs in the sticks or convenient cheap housing for clueless and ageing middle class ‘has beens’ from the late 60’s/early 70’s.

      Nowhere committed to income sharing and only one place held land and buildings in common ownership. I did come across instances where some form or other of worker collectives had existed. But they didn’t exist any more.

      Maybe a part of the problem is the difficulty of achieving a critical mass from a small population base. Like I say, it’s a numbers game.

      If I heard of a genuine workers collective with the structures I identified in place, I’d be there boots ‘n all. If I heard of a workers collective that encompassed the reality of a housing collective, you’d be pressed to keep me away. Such things can happen ‘anywhere’…my personal preference would be for somewhere rural but not isolated, ie within striking distance of one of the main centres of population.

  5. nzfp 5

    Bill,
    Good post. Some food for thought…

    Bill, Zorr, g
    I don’t agree with this comment

    … But when it comes to what can be done, possible prescriptions are limited by the singular use of an economic lens …

    Because the problem is entirely economic.

    The economic system we labour under requires continual over production and consequent consumption – growth – to pay the impossible debts. Excess production has created entire industries dedicated to creating “pull” to consume the products – such as to “encourage dairy consumption in China” – we call this marketing, advertising and selling.

    We accept that the vast majority of disposal consumption is unnecessary and wasteful and environmentally harmful, the “export orientated dairy industry” is a case in point.

    However what is not acknowledged are the reasons why, and consequently what can be done about it.

    Why is easy, Michael Rowbotham – author of “The grip of death : a study of modern money, debt slavery, and destructive economics” explains it best. The economic system forces companies and individuals to behave the way they do. The economic system defines the rules and the teams. Change the rules and you change the game.

    How we change it is much more difficult – but to start with it requires a change in the political system and an understanding that voting for political parties that do not promote a change in the economic system – i.e. the Greens (who don’t – see my comment about the greens on open mike 22 October 2010 at 1:10 pm for detail), Labour, National, Act – will achieve nothing.

    These parties and the rest like them need to be forced to change, or be changed for parties that will.

    We need real economic change such as those advocated by social credit and others:

    • Make the Reserve Bank the sole provider of new money.
    • Abolish GST and replace it with a Financial Transactions Tax which would mean the currency speculating “financial sharks” would pay their fair share of tax.
    • Make the Reserve Bank responsible for seeing that foreign debt is repaid, and overseas transactions are in balance.
    • Establish a social credit economy where people will be able to use the country’s resources without mortgaging their own or their children’s future.
    • Replace local body and D.H.B. debt with interest-free community credit.
    • Recover effective control of New Zealand’s economic affairs and establish greater political independence.
    • Ensure a property-owning democracy, in which the ownership of assets is spread as widely as possible amongst individuals.

    Until we get it, nothing will change.

    the problem is economic and the solution is economic.

    Captcha:lacked – the current National/Act/Maori Party government as well as the former Labour and National led governments lacked the balls to make the change.

    • Bill 5.1

      Way I see it, Social Credit is probably the best market capitalism possible. Far better than the Scandinavian models. But still wedded to, and therefore subvertable by, market dynamics.

      • Joachim's 5.1.1

        Compensate for this weakness by using a mix of highly free market areas for most products and general services, with highly regulated marketplaces @ public provision for special areas. Anything with a monopoly or critical utility type characteristic gets highly regulated or nationalised.

        If uneven market dynamics or profiteering were to still occur in say, the market for candles or landscape gardening, who cares. But it should never be allowed to happen in basic banking services, electricity or telecomms.

  6. Doug 6

    The CCX was the topic of thousands of MSM articles over the years, but not a single article reported their recent demise. Hmmm.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUS83245215220101108?pageNumber=1

    Biofuel facing problems.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6A62QN20101107?pageNumber=1

  7. jcuknz 7

    The past fifty or sixty years has seen such an explosion of population that I do not believe that we can hope to be self sustainable until we reduce world population to preWWII levels or less. We are in a contradictory situation that to progress we need population, but to survive we need fewer people.
    There are so many people living so close together that to return to self sufficiency is simply not possible with the limited productive area on earth and endangered, in hopefully the short term, by global warming etc. At least at a level that would be acceptable to those living in ‘the west’

    • Joachim's 7.1

      “We are in a contradictory situation that to progress we need population”

      Nope. That kind of ‘progress’ you define is what the capitalists see is needed to fuel their greed – year on year exponential growth in resource use and economic expansion. In fact that is not ‘progress’ at all, it is a road with a resource limited brick wall at the end of it.

      The only sustainable way ahead is significant reductions in energy and material consumption, combined with a more equal sharing of financial capital amongst people, within the boundaries of a relatively static state economy.

    • nzfp 7.2

      I do not believe that we can hope to be self sustainable until we reduce world population to preWWII levels or less

      Rubbish… You sound like the failed political economist and British toff nosed Elite – Malthus. However, since you suggested it – who do you think we should start the population reduction with? You? Your family? Your neighbours children?

      It’s not a population problem – its an economic problem.

      preWWII levels

      Any scientific reasoning for this figure – or did you hear some elite Malthusian pull it out of their backside? Seriously! This sort of talk gets continents of human beings holocausted – just ask the Bangladeshi's, Native Americans, Ukranians, Tasmanian Aborigines, Maori, etc… etc…

      Captcha:harms – Malthusian thinking harms children.

      • KJT 7.2.1

        If you want to reduce population there is an easy answer. The higher a women’s standard of living and status the less children she has.
        Increase equality and women’s rights and there will be less children

      • Zorr 7.2.2

        The stupid it burns…

        To turn it back on you though because it is more than just an economic problem and it cannot be solved by such a simplistic viewpoint. Who are you to tell people that because the West, in our greatness, have used up the majority of the planets resources and now everyone needs to be rationed?

        At the end of the day there is only so much population that is able to be sustained within any ecological system. We have, so far, been sustaining life far beyond its limits in our one as we have been using oil as a source of cheap energy to sustain ourselves in too many ways to count – pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, transport, plastics… To be clear here, we are reaching peak oil when that energy will no be cheap. What happens then? Do you have an economic solution that doesn’t involve the world tightening it’s belt a few notches and waiting to see what happens in the best scenario?

        “Tightening my belt one loop so that I don’t feel hunger pains, and your sister and mother will have to do likewise”

        • nzfp 7.2.2.1

          Stupid my ass – ad hominem bullshit! Or by stupid, maybe you meant this …
          “Flashback: UNICEF Nigerian Polio Vaccine Contaminated with Sterilizing Agents Scientist Finds” Thu, 11 Mar 2004 20:01 CST

          A UNICEF campaign to vaccinate Nigeria’s youth against polio may have been a front for sterilizing the nation. Dr. Haruna Kaita, a pharmaceutical scientist and Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, took samples of the vaccine to labs in India for analysis.

          Using WHO-recommended technologies like Gas Chromatography (GC) and Radio-Immuno assay, Dr. Kaita, upon analysis, found evidence of serious contamination. “Some of the things we discovered in the vaccines are harmful, toxic; some have direct effects on the human reproductive system,” he said in an interview with Kaduna’s Weekly Trust. “I and some other professional colleagues who are Indians who were in the Lab could not believe the discovery,” he said

          … (more)

          … Like I said, that sort of talk gets continents holocausted! But seriously, start with yourselves before wishing “population reduction” on anybody else.

          As for an economic solution that doesn’t involve tightening the belt – absolutely and I linked to it in my original post – you may care to follow it and read it. Along with the book I mentioned that details the behaviour of our corporations in our current economic system.

          Like I said, the excessive growth – production and consumption – is a factor of our debt based economy. Change the economy and you fundamentally change society. However until you change the economic system – absolutely nothing you propose will work – consequently you are pissing into the wind.

          Like I said originally – find out which politicians and political parties are endorsing / promoting economic change and support them. If none of them are in your area – get off your ass and do it yourself!

          By the way – sex is more fun then dying.

          Captcha:responsibility – says it all really.

          • Zorr 7.2.2.1.1

            Simple question there nzfp – that link and that quote don’t match. Would love to see the actual article that the quote comes from so I can put it in to context.

            • nzfp 7.2.2.1.1.1

              My apologies Zorr and others…
              I had two links open at the same time and I copied the wrong one. I knew about this scandal and googled it and found a couple of links – in this case I linked the page to the wrong headline. You can google the title itself – but the link is below.

              I sourced it from sott.net which is down at the time of writing this. However you can find it on many sites (google search results).

              While you are looking at that you may be interested in reading Nobel Peace Prize winner – Henry Kissinger’s 1974 document (reported on Tehran Times in 2008) “National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests” which concluded that:

              … the United States was threatened by population growth in the former colonial sector. It paid special attention to 13 “key countries” in which the United States had a “special political and strategic interest”: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. It claimed that population growth in those states was especially worrisome, since it would quickly increase their relative political, economic, and military strength.

              For example, Nigeria: “Already the most populous country on the continent, with an estimated 55 million people in 1970, Nigeria’s population by the end of this century is projected to number 135 million. This suggests a growing political and strategic role for Nigeria, at least in Africa.” Or Brazil: “Brazil clearly dominated the continent demographically.” The study warned of a “growing power status for Brazil in Latin America and on the world scene over the next 25 years.

              Nigeria, polio vaccines … Bangladesh, holocausts …

              • Joachim's

                In the meantime the Americans conducted a financial firestorm on their own populace. Forget the failure of subprime mortgage securities, prime mortgage defaults are where the damage is going to come from next.

          • NickS 7.2.2.1.2

            Unfortunately for you, the contamination is just as dodgy as claims of vaccines causing autism, on top of sott.net setting off crank heuristics trained off years of dealing with cranks of all types and political views. Only it’s going to take me time I don’t have and recovering 4hrs of sleep debt before I’m going to delve into the data mines. Suffice to say though, the same contamination was not reported in any other lab, and the fertility impacts of estrogen are short term, i.e. unless a child has long term exposure, any effects will be short term, even in childhood, irrespective of dosage. As generally all steroid hormones break down in weeks.

            Also, I can’t find anything on what other contaminates Kaita supposedly found, which makes me somewhat sceptical about the results he’s claimed. Then there’s the metion of Beta-HCG containing vaccines, which are still in the works due to a lack of actual clinical success in terms of actually limiting fertility and avoiding immunological response to other proteins in the same family. Making any claims of it being an anti-fertility agent when included in vaccines firmly on the “did not do the fucking research side”.

            And given your previous bullshit over climate change, I’m understandably sceptical about anything you make claims about.

            Meh, need shower, sleep and more sleep.

            • nzfp 7.2.2.1.2.1

              Meh…

              Your comment is ad hominem and nothing else and can be disregarded. Here is another wee gem for people who believe in population reduction – or in your case deny that it exists…
              “Health officials in Israel are subjecting many female Ethiopian immigrants to a controversial long-term birth control drug in what Israeli womens groups allege is a racist policy to reduce the number of black babies.”

              Captcha:fix – fix those blacks and other useless eaters so they stop consuming precious resources, oh hang on – my skin might be described as black by some people – maybe you Nick.

              As for climate change – don’t change the subject Nick – you advocate Human Caused Global Warming fool – anthropogenic global warming, not climate change. Big difference – you misframe the debate – which in itself is also a fallacy – which is a lie – meaning you use lies to construct your debate making you irrelevant.

            • nzfp 7.2.2.1.2.2

              Unfortunately for you, the contamination is just as dodgy as claims of vaccines causing autism

              “Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court – Now What?” February 25, 2008 12:42 PM

              Do you know how to use a search engine Nick?

              After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.

              The unprecedented concession was filed on November 9, and sealed to protect the plaintiff’s identify. It was obtained through individuals unrelated to the case.

              The claim, one of 4,900 autism cases currently pending in Federal “Vaccine Court,” was conceded by US Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and other Justice Department officials, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, the “defendant” in all Vaccine Court cases.

              […]

              The doctors conceded that the child was healthy and developing normally until her 18-month well-baby visit, when she received vaccinations against nine different diseases all at once (two contained thimerosal).

              Days later, the girl began spiraling downward into a cascade of illnesses and setbacks that, within months, presented as symptoms of autism, including: No response to verbal direction; loss of language skills; no eye contact; loss of “relatedness;” insomnia; incessant screaming; arching; and “watching the florescent lights repeatedly during examination.”

              […]

              In its written concession, the government said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was “aggravated” by her shots, and which ultimately resulted in an ASD diagnosis.

              “The vaccinations received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder,” the concession says, “which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of ASD.”

              […]

              Mitochondrial disorders are now thought to be the most common disease associated with ASD. Some journal articles and other analyses have estimated that 10% to 20% of all autism cases may involve mitochondrial disorders, which would make them one thousand times more common among people with ASD than the general population.

              The doctors know more then you Nick S, does that mean everything else you’ve ever said on these forums is bullshit too – that’s what you just said to me.

              Seriously!

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.3

        Any scientific reasoning for this figure

        Quite a lot actually. The original Limits to Growth and it’s updates have addressed it and so have numerous others. It seems that the maximum population while maintaining a high standard of living is between 1 and 2 billion people. Quite a bit less than the present 7 billion.

        • nzfp 7.2.3.1

          I hate quoting Wikipedia:

          The book echoes some of the concerns and predictions of the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus in An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)

          In 2010, Professors Peet, Nørgård, and Ragnarsdóttir called the book a “pioneering report”, but said that, “unfortunately the report has been largely dismissed by critics as a doomsday prophecy that has not held up to scrutiny.”

          Come on Draco – you know as well as I do that Malthus was an elite who’s economic theories have been proven completely wrong – considering we have 7 Billion people which is a bit more then 500 million slaves to an elite class of toff nosed British aristocracy.

          If the club of rome want to promote population reduction – lets start with Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan, Lloyds, Barclays, etc… and all their employees.

          You also know as well as I, that a change in the economic system allows our Government as well as others around the world to create the capital needed to research new energy systems.

          What the others responding to my post don’t understand is that a non debt based society will promote sustainable and local economies – drastically reducing the requirement for oil – hence pushing out the effects of peak everything until
          far into the future – giving our government – with unlimited research capital – to research solutions to the problems life presents us.

          However, I agree with KJT above – we can achieve a stable population and/or population reduction via a voluntarily low birthrate, by simply raising the level of the quality of life for everybody.

          How do we do this – simple, we change the economic system!

          • Draco T Bastard 7.2.3.1.1

            http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5330

            According to Hall and Day, “The values predicted by the limits-to-growth model and actual data for 2008 are very close.”

            If you don’t like using Wikipedia then don’t.

            considering we have 7 Billion people

            Yes, we presently have 7 billion people supported by one resource which has just hit peak.

            You also know as well as I, that a change in the economic system allows our Government as well as others around the world to create the capital needed to research new energy systems.

            Incorrect. What printing of interest free money by the government allows is the distribution of the real resources to support such research. No amount of printing money though can actually create the resources needed for an infinite expansion of humanity. And it’s not just energy that’s the issue but also land and water availability, the ability of the ecology to maintain a living environment and other resources needed to maintain a society with a high standard of living. All of these are limited and we need to live within those limits and there is nothing, quite literally nothing, we can do to change those limits.

            However, I agree with KJT above – we can achieve a stable population and/or population reduction via a voluntarily low birthrate, by simply raising the level of the quality of life for everybody.

            That is the best way to achieve it but we should have started doing so about 60 years ago. We didn’t though, we went for the exponential growth/beggar thy neighbour model that’s put us on a path of ecological collapse and mass death.

            • Joachim's 7.2.3.1.1.1

              “he exponential growth/beggar thy neighbour model that’s put us on a path of ecological collapse and mass death.”

              You are a bundle of laughs, aren’t you? You make an important point though: money is NOT a natural resource (in fact it has become far too disconnected from natural resources) and people should stop treating it as if it is.

            • nzfp 7.2.3.1.1.2

              Hey Draco

              No amount of printing money though can actually create the resources needed for an infinite expansion of humanity

              Which is not what I’m talking about – as I’m sure you can tell from every other comment I’ve ever made here. The point I’m making is that without economic democracy we are unable to redistribute any resources towards researching the solutions to the current problems. Without economic and political freedom we will get nowhere at all.

              We need to frame the debate in a manner that allows us to devise a strategy to solve the problems – merely whining about the planet being over-run by too many useless eaters is pointless. Hence my assertion that the problem is economic. Once we have full economic democracy we can assign the resources we need where they are needed. Not only that, the change in our economic system will immediately lower our reliance on precious resources giving us more time to solve the problem.

              we should have started doing so about 60 years ago

              And so we should have – tough – we should have stopped WW1 and WW2 too, we should have done many things 60 years ago but we weren’t here to do that. We are here now, we need to change the system now.

              there is nothing, quite literally nothing, we can do to change those limits

              And I’m not attempting to change those. What I am proposing is a shift in thinking, changing the economic system changes the way we consume the resources we have. It changes the way we live and interact with our environment. A fair economic system makes it advantageous and economically viable to live in a sustainable manner – individually as well as nationally and ultimately globally.

              The point I keep making is that we will achieve nothing without changing the economic system first – everything else is pissing in the wind. Consequently unless a political party or politician is promoting or advocating the necessary changes they are part of the problem. The Green party have no such economic policies – consequently they are part of the problem – as are Labour, National, Act and many other parties. It is up to us individually and collectively to drive the necessary change in these parties and politicians to make the economic situation the paramount topic of debate.

              We can continue to cry on about oil shocks while the Hegelian dialectic controlled debate gives us the thesis (human caused global warming / peak oil etc…), the antithesis (CO2 trading, drastic population reduction, austerity) and the synthesis (saviour of mankind and mother Earth GAIA), with all sides controlled by the same Big Money, Big Energy, Corporate Media interest distracting us from the real debate (economics) and the real solution (synthesis – economic democracy) … or … we can get on with the solution – which I assert starts with economic democracy.

              Draco have you read Rowbothams book “The grip of death : a study of modern money, debt slavery, and destructive economics” ? If you can find it I would be interested in your opinion.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The point I keep making is that we will achieve nothing without changing the economic system first – everything else is pissing in the wind.

                I agree, we really do need to change our socio-economic system but knowing what to change it to also requires knowing the limits that it needs to fit within.

                And I’m not attempting to change those.

                And yet you denied those limits “Any scientific reasoning for this figure”.
                Research has been done and the carrying capacity of Earth is between 1 and 2 billion humans. More research needs to be done to narrow it down from that.

                It doesn’t have to be like this …

                It didn’t have to be like that 60 years ago when the population was still below 2 billion and the extinction rate wasn’t a thousand times higher than normal. Now? yeah, we’re fucked.

                Draco have you read Rowbothams book…

                I’ve put it on my to do list – I’ll get round to it at some point.

                • Joachim's

                  “I agree, we really do need to change our socio-economic system but knowing what to change it to also requires knowing the limits that it needs to fit within.”

                  You won’t be able to accurately plan the end state even 10 years in advance. You just need to start making significant changes in approximately the right direction and take it from there.

                  Anything which lowers resource and energy consumption, evens out the distribution of financial capital and increases community resilience can be considered in “the right direction”.

                  • Bill

                    Go here for potential inspiration, joachim’s.

                    • Joachim's

                      Thank you Bill.

                    • Bill

                      Your welcome. The video presentation at the top of the middle column is worth the viewing for an overview/intro.

                    • just saying

                      Replying down here cos there’s no reply button up there yet.

                      quote: “I was a part of one before the concept was even articulated”

                      So was I Bill, as I’ve said before. It didn’t last because of power struggles. How long have the co-ops you speak of been going? In my experience they have a kind of built-in obsolescence because hierarchical thinking/acting (with socialisation on top of an evolutionary tendency) can’t be structurally precluded. Even with external rewards for such behaviour structurally minimised, the way we are as a species now, it’s an end in itself.

                      quote; “You just need to start making significant changes in approximately the right direction and take it from there.”

                      Imo that’s what we need to be doing. In our own communities, right here, right now. Taking those necessary intermediate steps (and inevitable missteps), Parecon needs to evolve from somewhere. It’s not going to successfully emerge fully formed anywhere without them.

                    • Bill

                      Hierarchy can be structurally precluded. It’s not so difficult to do. The collective I alluded to continues to this day (under different auspices to those which I experienced), and was formed in the early to mid 70’s.

                      Common ownership of land and structures plus a commitment to income sharing and skill sharing precluded any devolution to a state of hierarchies and those tenets basically eradicated the potential the formation of power bases.

                      That’s not to say there won’t be power based social conflict predicated on personalities. And the minimisation of that depends on ‘institutional memory’, ie people conversant with conflict resolution strategies (which are developed over time and through experience) bringing their experience to bear on any emerging personality based conflict.

                      Your lead on from your second quote(which wasn’t mine)…I agree. And for the parecon angle, I have never said it is anything other than a process of evolutionary growth that will (hopefully) someday supplant the current market economy.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    You won’t be able to accurately plan the end state even 10 years in advance.

                    I don’t expect to but knowing that we need to exist within resource limits helps to show the path and we already know that resource limits are over-stretched with human population above 2 billion.

                    • KJT

                      It depends how consumerist a society is. The estimates I have seen from credible researchers are in the order of 2.5 earths to live like Northern Europeans. 7 Earths to live like North Americans.
                      If you consider income distribution in Northern Europe. 1 Earth may well be close to being able to support 7 Billion at median Northern European standards given a major increase in sustainable energy sources.
                      If global warming reaches runaway forcing though, earth may support no humans.

                • nzfp

                  Now? yeah, we’re fucked.

                  Bro – we are not fucked – the Dinosaurs that died in the mass extinctions – they were fucked – but we ‘re not in the same boat as them – ironic really because we are spinning around the same sun, on the same planet, in the same corner of the same galaxy in the same universe as they were.

                  So lets start solving the problem. I’ve already written the Maori party, Social Credit, Labour and the Greens. It would be good to see some letters to the editor popping up in the major corporate News Papers covering the economic issues – especially considering the state of the G20.

                  we could get some real play in the papers and bring the meme of economic change to our fellow citizens.

                  I look forward to reading your letters (whether I know it’s you or not) in the papers.

                  Anyone else care to join in? Any other ideas – I’m open to some ideas.

                • nzfp

                  Need some inspiration to promote economic and political change? How about some good fine New Zealand music:

                  Shapeshifter – Bring Change (Official Music Video, Youtube)

                  A great fan video of the song – highlighting everything we need to change, right here…

                  Shapeshifter- Bring Change (fan video, Youtube)

            • nzfp 7.2.3.1.1.3

              ecological collapse and mass death

              It doesn’t have to be like this …

  8. Jeremy Harris 8

    We must defeat ManBearPig…

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    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    3 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    3 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    4 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    4 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    5 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    6 days ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    6 days ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    6 days ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    1 week ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago

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