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Portugal

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, October 27th, 2015 - 38 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, climate change, democracy under attack, Economy, Environment, Globalisation, International, political education, Politics, science, vision - Tags: , , , ,

As initially pointed out by Draco T Bastard a few days ago in ‘open mike’, Portugal might be on the cusp of something.

The President has endorsed the formation of a minority pro-austerity government. The fact that the President is a former leader of a party the new Prime Minister was also a member of is, of course, inconsequential.

Also unimportant is the fact that Germany’s Angela Merkel has been reported as saying that a government reflecting the will of the electorate would be “very negative”.

So, Greece given a kicking. Italy’s electorate having unelected technocrats imposed upon them a few years ago.

This apparent crystalising of undemocratic governance in Europe, plus climate change, plus austerity, plus ‘free trade’ deals that concentrate political power in unelected and unaccountable international hands – these things don’t appear to be disconnected or entirely accidental.

The dots?

Briefly, it seems not unreasonable to suggest, and the suggestion has been made by eminent scientists, that economists have ‘informed’ climate modellers to allow for no more than 5% CO2 yearly reductions in their models. (No model factors in reductions beyond 5%). That’s had huge consequences for assumptions and parameters built into those models …ie, false peak emission dates, lower than actual rates of CO2 increases, reliance on non-existent technology to provide a guaranteed future fix etc. And it produces a rosy ‘do-able’ set of scenarios for avoiding 2 degrees C that entails nothing beyond a bit of tinkering around the edges of what we currently do and of how we currently live. Meanwhile, the ‘straight down the line’ science points to a need for 10% reductions. Not so rosy.

The contention made then, is that the only way the market economy and the power bases it sustains can survive in the face of climate change, is through a period of ‘controlled’ retraction.

Interesting times…

38 comments on “Portugal”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    NZ is small enough and with enough resources that we could stop the use of fossil fuels in 10 to 20 years without affecting our society too badly (Chances are we’d probably become quite a bit better off). After that we should be looking at actively removing GHGs from the atmosphere by such ways as using atmospheric carbon to produce products.

    • maui 1.1

      Instead we’ve burned through most of the cheap oil and wasted it on unsustainable car transportation and massive buildings and structures that will slowly degrade as we can’t get the resources to fix them. We could have rationed fuels and set ourselves up for a permanent affluent way of living, but we wasted it and will have to revert to a simpler lifestyle.

      No way will we be able to control the descent of our oil use, we haven’t been able to yet. Market forces will decide this, supply and demand.

      The right leaning folks will be looked on with more derision as the four lane motorways lie empty without the oil to populate the roads. What a gross waste.

  2. Kevin 2

    New World Order. QED.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Yes. I’ve often said that is inevitable.

      Now exactly what sort of Order do we want?

      • Bill 2.1.1

        A democratic one. A non-centralised one. One that doesn’t create and maintain huge power imbalances.

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.1

          I’d expect the anarchist in you Bill to say nothing less.

          Nonetheless all functioning examples of human governance express hierarchy in some form or another. Governance at any level is dependent on authority, without which it becomes an impotent letter. And a global federation of any conceivable kind must have an identifiable centre.

          Given that an effective global governance of any practical sort will have these features of authority and hierarchy – then I’d suggest it’s really worthwhile to think about how we might achieve the ideal implicit in your third sentence.

          Because until you can demonstrate your vision of a ‘de-centralised, self-organising, self-regulating’ governance working anywhere in the real world – allow me to remain skeptical. As skeptical as we have learned to be of the much same idea when called the ‘invisible hand of the market’.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1

            Governance at any level is dependent on authority, without which it becomes an impotent letter.

            It depends upon where that authority is derived. The present move to global governance is not derived from the consent of the governed but from the rich and powerful who show all the signs of psychopathic in their pursuit of power and wealth.

            And a global federation of any conceivable kind must have an identifiable centre.

            Not necessarily. What it must have is an agreed set of rules. These rules can be arrived at from the bottom up rather than from the top down.

            There’s a reason why Anarchy is described as the most orderly of societies.

            Because until you can demonstrate your vision of a ‘de-centralised, self-organising, self-regulating’ governance working anywhere in the real world – allow me to remain skeptical.

            Try 40,000 years of Australian Aboriginal history as such an example. The tribes did have contact with each other and they had rules regarding that contact but they didn’t have a central hierarchy.

          • Bill 2.1.1.1.2

            You’ll have to remain skeptical then, in much the same way as those skeptical skeptics were when no evidence of a moon landing could be pointed to at the time when people were talking of going to the moon. 😉

            Nothing wrong with temporary, transient or shifting hierarchies and authority btw.

            Somewhat banally – the glazier is the recognised authority and coordinates the whole ‘putting in of the windows’ process, but occupies an entirely different space when it comes to the whole ‘prep, planting, harvest and storage of the potatoes’ process.

            As for the ‘scaling up’, well I can only reiterate my contention, based on fairly simple observations from all around, that complexity arises from simple initial conditions and that, contrary to our received cultural wisdom, any attempt to impose order, as can be readily observed, unintentionally creates various measures of conflict and chaos.

          • Jones 2.1.1.1.3

            I think what Bill is describing is a heterarchical model – centralised governance but with decentralised decision-making.

            A real-life working model of that structure are special forces within a military hierarchy.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    And on the aspect of climate change and GHG emission reductions:

    Tens of thousands of hectares of forest have been alight for more than two months as a result of slash and burn – the fastest and quickest way to clear land for new plantations.

    Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil and fires are frequently intentionally lit to clear the land with the resulting haze an annual headache.

    Burning down forests adds to GHGs and those ones have now been labelled a “crime against humanity” but the politicians still don’t want to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    • Sacha 3.1

      “the politicians still don’t want to bring the perpetrators to justice”

      Indonesia’s large military and long-time support by its US armourers may help explain that.

  4. savenz 4

    +100 – I think the connection needs to be made.

    The west is reducing democracy ‘for the peoples own good’ but bizarrely trying as hard as possible to keep corporations able to pollute and harm as long as possible to maximise their corporate profits.

    • Bill 4.1

      Was in my mind while doing the post, but got forgotten, so I’ll add it here. Market share is far more important than market size. The ISDSs in the TTIP and TPPA facilitate a growing market share for fewer players in a world where the size of individual markets is contracting.

      I think that is at least as important – probably more so – than riding roughshod over any potential environment legislation.

      • savenz 4.1.1

        Defiantly if you look at a corporation like Serco – it is taking over smaller companies or government roles, that could be providing services and then using it’s might to take over contracts. It has no ‘core’ business expertise but more relies on it’s might and size in the tender process to cut costs in any way possible while providing the same or lower level of service. i.e. get the tender, lay off as many staff as possible and use the money that used to pay the laid off staff to itself as profit.

        Meanwhile with less and more unqualified staff most services start suffering.

        Result job loss, lower wages, more money going to executives and share holders. Further inequality and the public are having to pay out to the unemployment from this process and more costs going to the company. The obvious happens governments will need more money from tax payers to keep this rort going and will be giving less in welfare. It is perpetuating inequality.

        It makes no sense from a business point of view or from a social point of view as they are just adding a large layer to cream off money. The only advantage is for lazy ideological bureaucrats, corrupt officials and for the owners and executive managers of these massive organisations.

        From Wikipedia – Serco Group plc is a British outsourcing company based in Hook, Hampshire.[3] It operates public and private transport and traffic control, aviation, military weapons, detention centres, prisons and schools on behalf of its customers. There has been a history of problems, failures, fatal errors and overcharging.

        It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Serco operates in Continental Europe, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific region and North America, but the majority of its turnover comes from the UK.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          It makes no sense from a business point of view or from a social point of view as they are just adding a large layer to cream off money.

          Exactly. Privatisation is an increase in bludging while decreasing services and innovation at the expense of the society/community.

          • ropata 4.1.1.1.1

            The purpose of most corporations is upward wealth transfer and downward cost transfer.

            Their business model is anti democracy and anti society.

    • Anne 4.2

      The dots have been slowly coming together for some time now and I’m starting to make sense of the bizarre way our government and their senior bureaucrats are operating.

      The west is reducing democracy ‘for the peoples own good’…

      I was reflecting only the other day that… that the powers that be are kidding themselves they are really doing it for our own good.

      The mind boggles but the voters are too dumbed down to see what is being done to them.

      • Bill 4.2.1

        Generally speaking, politicians are idiots. I’m willing to accept they genuinely believe they are ‘doing the right thing’.

        Thing is, they can only see problems from a perspective informed by the institutions and traditions that they very much form a part of. And so there’s capture and inertia and so on.

        It’s like every problem can only be seen as a variation on ‘nail’ and so their sweep of solutions can only ever involve a variation on ‘hammer’.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          Thing is, they can only see problems from a perspective informed by the institutions and traditions that they very much form a part of. And so there’s capture and inertia and so on.

          Which is why we need revolutions every now and then – to clean out the deadwood.

      • Anne 4.2.2

        Sorry, badly worded. Too late to edit.

      • Sacha 4.2.3

        “the powers that be are kidding themselves they are really doing it for our own good”

        The real powerbrokers know exactly what they are doing. Some of their ‘elected’ vassals, less so.

      • Jones 4.2.4

        The people are proverbial frogs boiling away in the pot.

  5. Tory 5

    Given so many commentators on this site are supporters of Communism, Marxism or Socialism, I would have thought the idea of a ‘one party state’ would literally have you salivating…

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      How many more of your feeble masturbatory perceptions aren’t connected to reality? 100%? 95%?

      [ Don’t. One idiotic comment is easily scanned past. Compounding it with another containing nothing bar personal nonsensical abuse isn’t helpful.] – Bill

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      No, only authoritarian types such as Tories salivate over one party dictatorships. It’s why they always get taken in by National’s lies about instability in left-wing coalitions.

    • ropata 5.3

      Whereas “Tory” would have us all worshiping at the altar of the Divine Jong Kee personality cult…

  6. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    Reactionary right wing extremists have been doing their best to subvert democratic elections since year dot. It’s their response to everything, so if it’s also their response to the Greenhouse Effect at least they’re being consistent.

  7. seeker 7

    The International Democratic Union Executive headed by our own john key meets in Marrakesh from October 25 -27 2015. I wonder what they will be discussing and if my tax dollars will pay for key’s visit there in between his All Blacks nauseating photo ops. (never mind the fact that the All Blacks are in Britain to play Rugby).

  8. Ad 8

    Absolutely spectacular drone filming of Greenland ice sheet melting away, from big US greenhouse study.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/27/world/greenland-is-melting-away.html?_r=1

  9. Bizdb 9

    The situation in Europe is getting harder and harder. And on top of it we have a migrant crisis. And we are no closer to any reasonable solution here. Europe is not prepared for floods of migrants coming everyday.

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