web analytics

The (gradual?) decline of American empire

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, October 6th, 2015 - 93 comments
Categories: colonialism, defence, Globalisation, International, kremlinology, leadership, Spying, us politics, war - Tags: , , ,

No empire lasts for more than a handful of centuries. Most, far less. Think French, Spanish, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, British.

The concept of the United States as an empire in decline is neither new nor novel. I first came across the idea via Dmitry Orlov‘s unique model of the “Five Stages” of superpower collapse, comparing the collapse of the Soviet Union to the collapse of the United States. His conclusion: that the Soviet Union and its peoples were far more prepared for collapse than the USA and its peoples are.

But what happens when the individual talking about superpower decline isn’t the ‘fringe’ voice of a former Soviet citizen and émigré like Orlov, but an establishment figure like Lawrence Wilkerson, former US Army Colonel and former Chief of Staff to then Secretary of State Colin Powell. ZeroHedge has a good write up on the presentation entitled “The Travails of Empire” that Wilkerson gave at Lone Star College. Apparently he has been delivering similar talks in countries all over the world, some of which are friends and allies of the USA, and some, less so.

Some of Wilkerson’s statements which grabbed my attention include:

– The purpose of empire is to maintain the status quo of imperial superiority. (Which puts the TPPA into an interesting light).

– The US supports countries all over the world with training, equipment and support which is sometimes used to oppress the ordinary citizens of those same countries.

– In the modern age we can see the accelerated progress and demise of empire – you might go to sleep on Monday night and everything is fine, but wake up Tuesday morning and it is all gone.

– Empires in decline prefer the use of the military instrument. The remaining resources of empire are poured into the maintenance of a massive military infrastructure and support capacity. Mercenaries and contractors become heavily used as ordinary citizens no longer fight for their own country.

– Empires in decline become financially and morally bankrupt as an elite class of financiers and bankers take over.

– Senior people are no longer held accountable to the founding laws and principles of the land.

– History tells us that the US empire is probably finished – the question is how do we pick up the pieces afterwards as a major power facing a field of equal powers.

– The United States is an empire in decline: it cannot even govern itself or look after its own people, but still decides to go involve itself in plenty of fights and distractions overseas.

– Only the Department of Defense within the US Government is taking climate change 100% seriously.

– NASA experts predict that by 2100 there will only be sufficient arable land left to feed 400M people.

– The climate stability of the last millenium has been especially conducive to the human race “but it’s going away.”

– No one in Congress, elected or professional staffer, has sufficient technical expertise to challenge or perform effective oversight on the largest defense contractors.

And remarkably:

– The rest of the world has already seen that “1) The United States is strategically inept and 2) Not the power it used to be. And the trend is to increase that.”

As well as:

We’re either going to change this country, or we are going to go down with it.

It makes you wonder what the real purpose of a Pacific trade agreement which excludes the major economies of China and Russia, is.

93 comments on “The (gradual?) decline of American empire”

  1. Bill 1

    A wee while ago I read a piece on the demise of the British Empire. (Don’t ask me exactly what it was or where I read it). Anyway, what struck me – it was a collection of contemporary writings – was that the ascendant power and its peoples (the United States) were treated with mixtures of disdain, fear and ridicule etc – and I recall as I read reflecting on current attitudes on display with regards Chinese peoples and China.

    Anyways…

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Yep – or Tony Abbott wanting to “shirtfront” Putin. Madness.

    • esoteric pineapples 1.2

      I don’t think China will end up supplanting the US as the major power as it is based on the same expansionist model that won’t be able to exist in the most likely future of the planet which will require careful maintenance and nurturing of existing resources. The alternative is rapid expansion and even more rapid collapse (possibly involving a nuclear catastrophe) The global super-power model is essentially unsustainable. Same goes for the TTPA coporate expansionist model.

      • Bill 1.2.1

        I’m inclined to agree.

        The market based economics that the British and US empires have been built on have kind of hit the wall. Coming decades are going to see any vestiges of such an economic model well and truly trashed by the impacts of climate change…or completely abandoned in an effort to avoid the impacts of climate change. (Any ratification of the TTPA would be suggestive of the former scenario playing out.)

        Maybe China’s possible or probable ascendancy might better be seen as the last puff of air going into a balloon that’s already burst?

        • marty mars 1.2.1.1

          “The market based economics that the British and US empires have been built on have kind of hit the wall.”

          yep and that approach has had the benefit of using up most of the cheap findable fossil fuels, any future ascendant civilisation will not have that luxury.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.2

        I don’t think China will end up supplanting the US as the major power as it is based on the same expansionist model that won’t be able to exist in the most likely future of the planet which will require careful maintenance and nurturing of existing resources.

        China existed as a single sovereign state for a thousand years before the widespread use of fossil fuels (and market capitalism). Which suggests that after fossil fuels/market capitalism, they might be able to do it again.

        • McFlock 1.2.2.1

          Indeed. Much of that time locked firmly within its own borders as the world changed around them. If you can be largely self-sufficient within your own borders, that lowers the incentive to consider “supplanting the US as the major power”.

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.2.1.1

            interestingly, I think that both China and Russia are generally quite happy to let the US carry most of the burden of being the “world’s policeman.” Except in instances where their own regional and resource security is at stake, that is…

            • McFlock 1.2.2.1.1.1

              yep.

              I’m honestly not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s certainly a canny thing.

            • lurgee 1.2.2.1.1.2

              interestingly, I think that both China and Russia are generally quite happy to let the US carry most of the burden of being the “world’s policeman.” Except in instances where their own regional and resource security is at stake, that is…

              Obviously, that will change as they put more investment capital outside their borders. The USA used to be somewhat isolationist, you’ll recall. Expecting the Chinese and Russians to maintain a disinterested attitude when their money is at stake is the height of naivety.

              • Colonial Viper

                did you not read the bit about

                “Except in instances where their own regional and resource security is at stake”?

                • lurgee

                  Did you not read the bit about “as they put more investment capital outside their borders”?

                  As that happens more and more (and it will have to as capital demands return and it can’t be sated domestically) then the Russians and Chinese will become more and more policemany.

                  Have you managed to find the source of the “arable land to support just 400 million” claim yet?

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    NASA experts predict that by 2100 there will only be sufficient arable land left to feed 400M people.

    To clarify that:

    He says that the worst cases scenario projected by scientists is that the world will have enough arable land to support 400 million people.

    We presently have 7 billion people on the world. In other words, under the worst case scenario by the end of this century we’ll be able to support ~5% of our present population. And we’re probably on the path to that worst case scenario.

    That’s just climate change, we also have land degradation to consider.

    The rest of the world has already seen that “1) The United States is strategically inept and 2) Not the power it used to be. And the trend is to increase that.”

    It’s not so much that the US isn’t the power that it used to be, it actually is, it’s more that the rest of the world has realised that the US isn’t as powerful as they or the US thought. The world is learning that, even with it’s massive military budget, the US can’t project power around the world.

    It makes you wonder what the real purpose of a Pacific trade agreement which excludes the major economies of China and Russia, is.

    That was always obvious from the time that the US joined the TPP negotiations – it’s to try and keep the US as the top dog and receiving tribute from the rest of the world.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      It’s not so much that the US isn’t the power that it used to be, it actually is,

      Really?

      Based on what?

      The US has destroyed/offshored most of its own industrial base, the very same industrial base which allowed it to come back and win WWII against Japan. Then they’ve replaced it with “industries” and “innovations” centred on manipulating financial digits.

      Further, they’ve let what in the 1950s was arguably the world’s best infrastructure and education system run down into the ground.

      They aren’t the power that they used to be.

      • maui 2.1.1

        Orlov said this in a recent podcast on America offshoring jobs:

        Because you’re basically killing your own consumer. You’re destroying your base of operations, you may have some money but it’s now denominated by a country that is now defunct economically. So it’s like making a million shrinking dollars instead of making 100 dollars that hold their value. In the end it doesn’t really make sense at all.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        Based on what?

        It’s military capability – it still researches, develops and produces it’s own weapons. Sure, it tried to shift to a full financial model but that has left them weaker as you say but it’s the overt military capability that has been rammed home to the world over the last two decades.

        • Bastables 2.1.2.1

          It’s ability to develop and produce it’s own weapons competently can be called into question with the advent of cost overruns/incompetence in the F35’s and Zumwalt Destroyers.

          Even basic infantry weapons such as the assault rifle has seen units/corps variously selecting Beligian https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FN_SCAR and German https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_HK416 takes on the M4 carbine allied with existentialist fears that they need to return to 7,62mm rounds resulting in marksman rifles and return to FN GMPG (70s). All while handwringing that they’re still using the same basic (abit shortened) rifle from the 1960s and struggling to find a replacement.

          The structural failures in finding replacements for planes, ships and even assault rifles is evident in the similar stories of cost overruns limited deployment and eventual regression to older known weapons such as Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to the venerable M4.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.1.1

            It’s ability to develop and produce it’s own weapons competently can be called into question with the advent of cost overruns/incompetence in the F35’s and Zumwalt Destroyers.

            That’s a good point. Crony Capitalism strikes again.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.1.1.1

              As Sprey, one of the co-designers of the venerable F-16 said, the main mission of the F-35 is to transfer money from the Pentagon to defense contractors.

              • McFlock

                yeah – there have also been a couple of quiet scandals where generals and contractors used public funds and their offices to lobby the public to lobby legislators to support the F35.

          • McFlock 2.1.2.1.2

            GAO’s also laid into the management of the construction of their latest CVN the Gerald Ford.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.2

          Huh?

          Where does almost half of the titanium the US requires for its advanced aerospace needs come from? Yep – Russia.

          How about where many major components of military systems are made? Yep – China. The new F-35 couldn’t fly without Chinese made parts.

          http://www.cnbc.com/2014/01/03/us-put-china-made-parts-in-f-35-fighter-program.html

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.2.1

            Where does almost half of the titanium the US requires for its advanced aerospace needs come from? Yep – Russia.

            And 95% of the Rare Earth Elements come from China. This despite the fact that all of them used to come from the US itself. The REE haven’t disappeared from the US – it just became ‘cheaper’ to import from China.

            How about where many major components of military systems are made?

            That’s amusing.

            The fact is that the US can make them from their present industrial capability.

            • marty mars 2.1.2.2.1.1

              I find this interesting because everytime anyone says to you draco – “what about xyz” You say it could be done – without apparently understanding the time and complexities of being able to and actually doing it.

              If it takes abc amount of time to rebuild industries, technologies, expertise as well as the will and political ability to do it – shouldn’t that be foremost in the response rather than just ‘could’.

              For instance we could mine asteroids

              it may take us 50, 75, 100 years to be able to based upon the stuff mentioned in my second paragraph – and that’s not really mentioned the big one – resources and money.

              • weka

                +1 marty. There’s lots of things we could potentially do but in all likelihood won’t be able to because of time, natural limits, and the paradigms that most humans are working within.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Yep there is a huge gulf between what could possibly be, and what likely will be. Looking at the trends in human society over the last couple of decades, I think we should definitely be tempering our optimism…

              • Draco T Bastard

                You say it could be done – without apparently understanding the time and complexities of being able to and actually doing it.

                I addressed the time factor – you seem to have missed it. The political will would most likely exist simply because the US politicians couldn’t possibly imagine that they wouldn’t have their high tech war toys.

                For instance we could mine asteroids

                it may take us 50, 75, 100 years to be able to based upon the stuff mentioned in my second paragraph – and that’s not really mentioned the big one – resources and money.

                2020s or somewhat later

                The resources and money are available – if the politicians tell the corporations to fuck off. Unfortunately, this probably won’t happen.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Did you not see in my link…”the time factor” is exactly what led to Chinese components going into the F-35.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    A read of the article indicates that it was a mistake in the purchase of $2 magnets and a few other cheap and trivial items that could have been provided by US companies.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      a lot of trouble to go get a congressional vote for.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      It did break the law even though unintentionally according to the investigation and $10.8 million price tag to retrofit the existing magnets so the waiver was the cheaper option with the magnets being sourced in the US for the ones to be produced after the first batch.

                  • McFlock

                    heh – only fair. F-35 schematics might have gone into one or two Chinese 5gen aircraft 🙂

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yep the Chinese are pricks when it comes to military espionage. That’s how they got their MIRV nuclear warhead designs…

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Well, the rumours floating about are that Russian 5th gen planes are better anyway. And, of course, China reverse engineered Russia’s.

                    • McFlock

                      lol that depends on whose rumours you listen to.
                      F35 has significant issues at the moment, but the F22 seems pretty solid.

      • Smilin 2.1.3

        Blame the American Dream propaganda the decline started in the Vietnam war

      • savenz 2.1.4

        I agree. In the US under Charter schools, excessive testing at the expense of creativity, poor nutrition and inaccessible health care, universities more about money and donations than brilliance and research, corrupt government that is paid for by lobbyists, it has made their population stupid and not able to adapt.

        The US have made stupid decisions. They are now trying to make a buck over these poor decisions by exporting the ideology to countries like NZ, where Dimwits like our current government are lapping it up. If you want the best educational outcomes look to the best countries like Finland, or indeed what we used to do in education in NZ.

        If you only care about money and not about the next generation of citizens – you will be in decline. Everything is about ‘short term’ gain.

        The sad thing, is that many politicians in the US recognise it, but can’t
        do anything about it as the obstacles as above are immense.

        Just watch their country wither (or expand into obesity) and decline. No wonder they now have to try to use technology and drones to fight, their own soldiers are to fat to fight and too stupid to actually hit the right targets. And too lazy to correct their mistakes like the continual rise of ‘friendly fire’ and now have to be careful they don’t end up in the Hague for war crimes. (of which many should be there now).

        • Lloyd 2.1.4.1

          Actually if you look at long term profitability and long term corporate existence the neo-liberal model doesn’t work. So it is “if you only if you care about making a quick buck and not the next generation of citizens or shareholders”. If you care about money as something for fair exchange, you will reject the basis of the neo-liberal ideology.

    • weka 2.2

      “We presently have 7 billion people on the world. In other words, under the worst case scenario by the end of this century we’ll be able to support ~5% of our present population. And we’re probably on the path to that worst case scenario.”

      Presumably the figures in CV’s quote are based on industrial agriculture. Regenerative and sustainable agricultures will probably be able to increase land fertility, including repairing land we have damaged.

      But yeah, population is still an issue.

      • maui 2.2.1

        Orlov again on future agriculture in hour long interview:

        The energy inputs might be missing, that happened in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union a lot, is that they grew bumper crops but they didn’t have the fuel to harvest them. So a lot of the harvest rotted out in the field. That may happen. And then the basic problem is without all this energy, growing food becomes a non-mechanical proposition, which means people have to do it largely by hand, with animal assistance from horses and mules. And there has to be people who will actually do it. Mexican migrants are not going to do it. So, lots and lots of Americans will be out there growing their own food, that’s the only thing that can plausibly happen.

        • weka 2.2.1.1

          which is why we’re lucky in NZ. It’s only been one generation since most people grew some of their own food, and there is a huge resurgence in younger people wanting to learn.

          Cuba is a good example as well. When oil imports stopped, people moved to localised food production. Half of all food eaten in Havana is grown in the city kind of thing.

          It’s about getting people to stop seeing mass fields of wheat and seeing small scale polyculture gardens (home and market). Not that we will stop monocrop grain production completely, but the more food we can grow in polyculture and locally the more resilient we will be in food.

          • Aaron 2.2.1.1.1

            The difference in Cuba was they had strong central control and were able to distribute food equally while the change over to organic happened. Everyone lost weight for a while there but they got through it.

            I’ll leave it to you to figure out how our current ‘leaders’ would handle such a situation…

            • maui 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Yeah that’s true, it looks like the Cuban Government was open minded at looking at genuine solutions to solve the food crisis, like offering citizens free land as long as they used it for food production. In NZ’s case we can look at how our Government has handled Christchurch if we want evidence of how they react during crisis. In other words, large top-down control, the rejection of innovative ideas and community decision making – looks a lot like a communist country doesn’t it, lol.

              • weka

                Our leaders might think differently if its their own children going hungry. Chch was a consequence of being a city under pressure while the rest of the country was well fed. It wasn’t a collapse or decline situation (although it may well lead the way in NZ once we’re all in that boat).

                • maui

                  I don’t see our leaders thinking of the common man or woman anytime soon. Those in power will also have the privilege of having the best access to fuel/money left in the system too. I see Christchurch as localised collapse with the Government able to throw more resources at it than if the whole country was in trouble. I can see the existing system being desperately held onto, we can’t just have people growing food anywhere for instance. I think it would be safer to be in Cuba during such a time.

                  • weka

                    Neither NZ nor Chch were in the situation that Cuba was though. Chch existing within a country that was still functioning according to capitalist norms. So it was ripe for disaster capitalism. If the people in Wgtn has been having to think about their own dinner plates, the situation might have been different.

                    It also depends on what you mean by leaders. In the context of the coming crises, the Green Party are leaders. The various people dotted around NZ that have been developping localised food systems without anyone’s permission are leaders. Likewise those developping sustainable agriculture. Likewise those working on systems of organising that are fair and resilient.

                    Key and his mates aren’t leaders, they’re power mongers. There’s a difference 😉 For sure if National were in power during a collapse it would be much harder. But I still think NZ is close enough to its cultural roots (Maori and Pakeha and other tau iwi) to be able to transition when it has to.

                    “Those in power will also have the privilege of having the best access to fuel/money left in the system too.”

                    True, and there are so many potential scenarios it’s hard to argue them out. I think money will be less of an issue than fuel, which is why we should be building resiliency around not having free and cheap access to oil/petrol. Not only because of the price, but because of who controls it.

                    For instance, if my neighbourhood grows most of its own food, we don’t need petrol to ship it to us. We can also have systems that use a higher level of tech than that, but we should lessen reliance on them as much as we can and build resiliency around the basics.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    +1

              • Draco T Bastard

                In other words, large top-down control, the rejection of innovative ideas and community decision making – looks a lot like a communist country doesn’t it, lol.

                Nope, it looks like a capitalist country. Top down, dictatorial control is always from a capitalist mindset.

            • weka 2.2.1.1.1.2

              The difference in Cuba was they had strong central control and were able to distribute food equally while the change over to organic happened. Everyone lost weight for a while there but they got through it.

              I’ll leave it to you to figure out how our current ‘leaders’ would handle such a situation…

              Fair points, although I tend to think that NZers would just get on with it and start growing food sustainably anyway (granted that depends on quick a decline we go through).

          • savenz 2.2.1.1.2

            +1 Weka.

    • Anne 2.3

      It makes you wonder what the real purpose of a Pacific trade agreement which excludes the major economies of China and Russia, is.

      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  3. Imperialism is a zero sum game. US decline is Russia and China’s rise.
    The TPPA won’t rescue the US but it will make sure that its “partners” carry most of the cost of this decline.
    Geopolitics is about bosses using workers to fight their battles.
    We have our own battle to fight and we need a united proletarian army including US, Russian and Chinese workers.
    Lets fight the Third World War as a class war and turn our guns on our bosses.

    http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2014/12/usa-and-china-do-pacific-pivot.html

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      The TPPA won’t rescue the US but it will make sure that its “partners” carry most of the cost of this decline.

      This is my reckoning as well.

      The western 0.1% have just ensured that the rest of us cushion life nicely for them over the next couple of decades.

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        + 1 yep it is a straight fend to the face to create space for the elite to continue their selfish exploitative ways for a bit longer – if it works, it won’t work well – there is a reckoning coming…

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    Kim Davis and Donald Trump certainly seem to think so.

  5. McFlock 5

    Collapse is defintely one way it could go, but also the US has had a relatively long period of supremacy (rather than just superiority). Long enough that many of its geopolitical mandarins have forgotten how to play with others, rather than dictate terms.

    The British Empire approached naval supremacy in the Jackie Fisher period, but great swathes of the globe were under the protection/rule (clients vs colonies) of other powers. What really fucked GB was war debt to the US. Now the US is indebted to China, while China and Russia are refocusing on expanding their spheres of influence (the former probably due to weakness in the US and the problems of AGW, the latter mostly for the sake of internal stability is my bet).

    The major problem for the US is that its investment in high-tech but obscenely expensive weapons systems (as a result of its own internal politics) will fail in the face of plentiful, cheapish and reasonably effective opposing systems. The Germans had a similar problem in WW2. And that’s if the F35 doesn’t turn into an expensive lemon.

    If China can maintain internal stability, then the best the US can hope for is to go back to 1930s-era great power game-playing. Worst case for the US is total economic and governmental collapse.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      That outcome necessarily requires <2° of warming. Much more than that, well, "world power ain't what it used to be".

      • McFlock 5.1.1

        Why do you think China’s buying up farmland across the globe?

        • shorts 5.1.1.1

          if things get real bad ownership is only as good as your power to enforce said ownership

          cue guns

          • McFlock 5.1.1.1.1

            That was largely Gwynne Dyer’s assessment, as well, only he seemed to bat more for the local rebels. I suppose the “winning” hit for the locals would be a scorched earth policy to make it unprofitable for the invader to stay and maintain their losses.

            edit: fuck – haven’t read his site in ages. I must play catchup.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.2

            On that point, some reckon China might have 3 aircraft carriers in the next 10 years…

            I see the things as highly sinkable boondoggles though.

            And China just leased 115,000 hectares of farmland from Russia…the Russians being more clever than us, we would just have sold it off…

            http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2015-07/09/content_21229700.htm

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1.2.1

              With an annual operating cost of $2-4 bn, no wonder they’re drowning in debt. Why sink them when you can just wait for the fire sale?

              • Colonial Viper

                and that’s how exactly the Chinese got their first aircraft carrier from the former USSR!!!

            • McFlock 5.1.1.1.2.2

              Funnily enough, they can still be a bit hard to find.

              But yeah they’ve just gotten one online and are looking at two more in ten years (although the heat might be off what with the Indian carrier programme being dogs balls). And they’ve got a nice new plane to go on the carriers, too.

              • Colonial Viper

                One interesting detail is that the Chinese are still well behind on jet engine tech for their military planes – still having to rely on Russian engines for the best performance.

                Scary thing is, even commercial observation satellites these days have a potential optical resolution of 25cm or less. Of course, at that kind of resolution you can only see a window of approx 10km2.

                But set at a 10m resolution – more than enough to pick up a carrier or an escorting destroyer – a modern satellite can potentially survey tens of thousands of square kilometres of ocean in moments, day or night, in all weather conditions.

                • McFlock

                  Well, yes and no – constant tracking requires ubiquitous surveillance, and there’s a distance factor between geostationary and the LEO most “spy” satellites operate at (that’s how they manage small resolution). So you’ve got a more complicated version of the old game of “peekaboo – quick duck to the right” in a decent-sized area.

                  Then there’s the difference between approximate and exact locations, so you might have a general area but tactically an attack is more difficult to finalise than against a fixed land target like a runway, especially after transit time by the attack platforms.

                  Anyway, offline for a couple of hours

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yep good points, and the moment the carrier group is aware an attack is underway they can engage in some pretty high speed evasive maneuvers.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.2

          To try and catch up, probably. The West had a head start after all.

          • McFlock 5.1.1.2.1

            You don’t spend millions or billions just to “catch up” for the hell of it.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.2.1.1

              What makes you think a large country like the US or China will be viable enough to be a “power”? They’ll have enough problems maintaining their own infrastructure let alone ours.

              • shorts

                pretty much explains why China has never had a policy of expansion (outside of its sphere of influence), until recently one could argue they have enough on their hands maintaining what they have

              • McFlock

                Sorry, yeah, for a moment I forgot we’re all doomed. /sarc

                Funny thing about people – we managed to fight a war over nutmeg on the other side of the planet when all we had were wood boats and scurvy. The nature of the scraps might change, but the fight over them will last as long as people.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yes, I’m sure there’ll be fighting, more’s the pity. However, remote interests won’t so much be “doomed” as “marooned”.

  6. Thanks cv

    of course JMG has also been writing of the collapse/gradual decline for many moons

    The decline and fall of a civilization isn’t a single event, or even a single linear process; it’s a complex fractal reality composed of many different events on many different scales in space and time. If it takes one to three centuries, as usual, those centuries are going to be taken up by an uneven drumbeat of wars, crises, natural disasters, and assorted breakdowns on a variety of time frames with an assortment of local, regional, national, or global effects. The collapse of US global hegemony is one of those events; the unraveling of the economic and technological framework that currently provides most Americans with electricity and running water is another, but neither of those is anything like the whole picture.

    …There are, very generally speaking, five broad phases in the decline and fall of a civilization. I know it’s customary in historical literature to find nice dull labels for such things, but I’m in a contrary mood as I write this, so I’ll give them unfashionably colorful names: the eras of pretense, impact, response, breakdown, and dissolution. Each of these is complex enough that it’ll need a discussion of its own; this week, we’ll talk about the era of pretense, which is the one we’re in right now.

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.nz/2015/05/the-era-of-pretense.html

    The series of essays he has written are worth a read.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Cheers for pointing to the great material at the archdruid report, MM!

      Of course, one of JMG’s most insightful points is that being an imperial vassal state has its costs – but also its benefits. NZ continues to get many benefits from being closely tied to the US block, but of course those benefits are disproportionately weighted towards the elite.

  7. RedLogix 7

    Great Post CV. Good to see you in the fray again.

    Personally I think we are at Peak Empire. In historic times an Empire might last a minimum of several hundred years and might well last several thousand with luck. But the last handful, the Spanish, French, British and American (being Eurocentric I accept) have all reached their peak and decline in notably shorter intervals.

    And while I think the Chinese will attain a real dominance – I doubt they will ever be seen as an uncontested unilateral power the way the Americans were. For no other reason than the fact that the world can longer support or tolerate empire in the conventional sense of the word.

    It’s reasonable to argue that we may well see the break up of the larger power blocs such as the USA, Russia and even China in the longer run. The world may well see more smaller nations of more comparable size and stature than at present.

    All this is consistent with my standing assertion that we are in the middle of a dramatic transition, away from the supremacy of dominant nation states and towards a federalised global governance. Combine this argument, with the simple facts that nuclear weapons render military hegemony virtually unsustainable and the exhaustion of free resources to plunder – and I argue that Empire is a dead letter.

    History may well ascribe something entirely unexpected to the notion of ‘American exceptionalism’ – they were the only Empire in history that was not overtaken by yet another. That in fact they gave way to something wholly new.

  8. Ad 8

    I have always enjoyed the Shell Scenarios because they seek to take a mix of energy, politics, internationalist dynamics, environment, social order, and other stuff into account, rather than say just climate change or just one country.

    They have being doing this kind of thinking for well over two decades now. I think they make a reasonable effort not to be normative, and have reasonable resource applied to this thinking rather than one author.

    Prior to 9/11 one of their scenarios proposed a strengthening global cohesion and strongly managed economic stability. After 9/11 that went out the window. At the moment they consider two kinds of scenario; go to the link for the more detailed analyses of current trends and their likely trajectories.

    The scenarios also highlight areas of public policy likely to have the greatest influence on the development of cleaner fuels, improvements in energy efficiency and on moderating greenhouse gas emissions.

    1. MOUNTAINS

    The first scenario sees a strong role for government and the introduction of firm and far-reaching policy measures. These help to develop more compact cities and transform the global transport network. New policies unlock plentiful natural gas resources – making it the largest global energy source by the 2030s – and accelerate carbon capture and storage technology, supporting a cleaner energy system.

    2. OCEANS

    The second scenario describes a more prosperous and volatile world. Energy demand surges, due to strong economic growth. Power is more widely distributed and governments take longer to agree major decisions. Market forces rather than policies shape the energy system: oil and coal remain part of the energy mix but renewable energy also grows. By the 2070s solar becomes the world’s largest energy source.

    http://www.shell.com/global/future-energy/scenarios/new-lens-scenarios.html

    In this context it’s useful to contrast the successful TPPA (across I think 12 nations), with the upcoming Paris Climate Change talks. TPPA will be viewed in hindsight as either a building block to increased international cohesion that the global GATT couldn’t cope with …
    …or, if Paris fails, TPPA will be seen as a hyper-commercialised limit to international law-making which was only possible with massive commercial force applied.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      New policies unlock plentiful natural gas resources – making it the largest global energy source by the 2030s – and accelerate carbon capture and storage technology, supporting a cleaner energy system.

      We can’t afford to burn those gas supplies and we probably don’t have the energy available to run carbon capture. By the 2030s the entire world needs to be off fossil fuels.

      Reads like the wishlist of a hydrocarbon selling company.

      • marty mars 8.1.1

        yep – at least they’ve fucked off from the arctic for the time being.

      • Ad 8.1.2

        Have a look at the full thing. Take a moment.

        If someone wants to stretch their legs on the decline of the state, of the idea of policy, and the rise of the interests of the corporation, they will see why thinking through the interests of a top 10 corporation makes as much sense as looking through the lens of the interests of the USA.

  9. joe90 9

    The perils of the concentrated wealth and power of elites – and intolerant Christians.

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/02/mary-beard-why-ancient-rome-matters

  10. Smilin 10

    The interest in colonizing Mars is a reference in stupidity as it represents the demise of this planet that will come so long as fuckwits (kiwifruits according to Google) like Key run the country
    the article is a very sane view of reality, that you would have to be a moron not to accept it which is what we are getting from this Key dick and his edicts
    The land of milk and honey will be no more as we accept these corporat (Google cant change that one) stooges replacing our democracy and sanity with their bs
    Get a brain Kiwis this is a totalitarian regime run by corporations, that plunder the shit out of every place on this earth and leave them stripped of their sustainability and resources, it is the height of this hypocrisy and stupidity that runs this country and its what weve signed up to with this TPPA

  11. lurgee 11

    NASA experts predict that by 2100 there will only be sufficient arable land left to feed 400M people.

    Is this a real thing that real NASA experts have said or is it made up?

    It smells suspiciously like the latter. At best, I’m betting it is a wild exaggeration of a Most Extreme Worst Case Scenario.

  12. It’s always fun to see wishful thinking developed into such an elaborate construct.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Murphy’s Law plus serendipity make a stopped clock tell the time: be careful what you wish for.

    • cogito 12.2

      Seems to me that this post is really just a thinly veiled promo for China.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2.1

        If this is the best promo China can muster there’s a chasm in the market.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    1 hour ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    2 hours ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 hours ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    12 hours ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    14 hours ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    14 hours ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    15 hours ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    18 hours ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    19 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    20 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    20 hours ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    20 hours ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 day ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 day ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    2 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs 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 blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    2 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    3 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    3 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    4 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    6 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    6 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    7 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    7 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    2 weeks ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago

  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago