"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse Around 2040. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule.

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2021 at 1:48 pm

“Sigh. This news should be front page on every social and media network. Yet, crickets…. It’s been confirmed that this business as usual, omnicidal way of being is no longer possible. That continuing on this path of destruction will very likely lead to the end of economic growth and shortly after civilizational collapse. Why are we being assured that a return to “normal” is the best way to go? “Normal was quite obviously not working for billions of poor, working & middle class people. It still isn’t. “Normal” most certainly wasn’t and isn’t working for our Great Mother who sustains and protects us and all life within her. Our rapacious rates of consumption and waste production are not sustainable and are literally killing everything that lives. This way of being is not ok. It is is accelerating Earth’s 6th mass extinction with each passing day. We are hurtling at breakneck speed toward collapse. The changes necessary to reverse or mitigate the damage we’re doing are not being made. Sadly profit is still paramount, and it seems the only thing that will change this mindset is collapse. This crisis of civilization will only become more acute as time passes. Everything has to change drastically. It is essential for our survival that we begin to embrace ‘agrowth’ and focus on other environmentally complimentary goals and priorities. Yet, crickets… The catastrophe of estrangement continues unabated. Hence, we’re screwed. Tick, tick, tick, tick….” -Jevon

By Nafeez Ahmed

A remarkable new study by a director at one of the largest accounting firms in the world has found that a famous, decades-old warning from MIT about the risk of industrial civilization collapsing appears to be accurate based on new empirical data. 

As the world looks forward to a rebound in economic growth following the devastation wrought by the pandemic, the research raises urgent questions about the risks of attempting to simply return to the pre-pandemic ‘normal.’Advertisement

In 1972, a team of MIT scientists got together to study the risks of civilizational collapse. Their system dynamics model published by the Club of Rome identified impending ‘limits to growth’ (LtG) that meant industrial civilization was on track to collapse sometime within the 21st century, due to overexploitation of planetary resources.

The controversial MIT analysis generated heated debate, and was widely derided at the time by pundits who misrepresented its findings and methods. But the analysis has now received stunning vindication from a study written by a senior director at professional services giant KPMG, one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms as measured by global revenue.

Limits to growth

The study was published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology in November 2020 and is available on the KPMG website. It concludes that the current business-as-usual trajectory of global civilization is heading toward the terminal decline of economic growth within the coming decade—and at worst, could trigger societal collapse by around 2040.

The study represents the first time a top analyst working within a mainstream global corporate entity has taken the ‘limits to growth’ model seriously. Its author, Gaya Herrington, is Sustainability and Dynamic System Analysis Lead at KPMG in the United States. However, she decided to undertake the research as a personal project to understand how well the MIT model stood the test of time. Tech

New Report Suggests ‘High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to an End’ Starting in 2050

The study itself is not affiliated or conducted on behalf of KPMG, and does not necessarily reflect the views of KPMG. Herrington performed the research as an extension of her Masters thesis at Harvard University in her capacity as an advisor to the Club of Rome. However, she is quoted explaining her project on the KPMG website as follows: 

“Given the unappealing prospect of collapse, I was curious to see which scenarios were aligning most closely with empirical data today. After all, the book that featured this world model was a bestseller in the 70s, and by now we’d have several decades of empirical data which would make a comparison meaningful. But to my surprise I could not find recent attempts for this. So I decided to do it myself.”Advertisement

Titled ‘Update to limits to growth: Comparing the World3 model with empirical data’, the study attempts to assess how MIT’s ‘World3’ model stacks up against new empirical data. Previous studies that attempted to do this found that the model’s worst-case scenarios accurately reflected real-world developments. However, the last study of this nature was completed in 2014. 

The risk of collapse 

Herrington’s new analysis examines data across 10 key variables, namely population, fertility rates, mortality rates, industrial output, food production, services, non-renewable resources, persistent pollution, human welfare, and ecological footprint. She found that the latest data most closely aligns with two particular scenarios, ‘BAU2’ (business-as-usual) and ‘CT’ (comprehensive technology). 

“BAU2 and CT scenarios show a halt in growth within a decade or so from now,” the study concludes. “Both scenarios thus indicate that continuing business as usual, that is, pursuing continuous growth, is not possible. Even when paired with unprecedented technological development and adoption, business as usual as modelled by LtG would inevitably lead to declines in industrial capital, agricultural output, and welfare levels within this century.”

Study author Gaya Herrington told Motherboard that in the MIT World3 models, collapse “does not mean that humanity will cease to exist,” but rather that “economic and industrial growth will stop, and then decline, which will hurt food production and standards of living… In terms of timing, the BAU2 scenario shows a steep decline to set in around 2040.”

The end of growth? 

In the comprehensive technology (CT) scenario, economic decline still sets in around this date with a range of possible negative consequences, but this does not lead to societal collapse.

Unfortunately, the scenario which was the least closest fit to the latest empirical data happens to be the most optimistic pathway known as ‘SW’ (stabilized world), in which civilization follows a sustainable path and experiences the smallest declines in economic growth—based on a combination of technological innovation and widespread investment in public health and education.

Although both the business-as-usual and comprehensive technology scenarios point to the coming end of economic growth in around 10 years, only the BAU2 scenario “shows a clear collapse pattern, whereas CT suggests the possibility of future declines being relatively soft landings, at least for humanity in general.” 

Both scenarios currently “seem to align quite closely not just with observed data,” Herrington concludes in her study, indicating that the future is open.   

A window of opportunity 

While focusing on the pursuit of continued economic growth for its own sake will be futile, the study finds that technological progress and increased investments in public services could not just avoid the risk of collapse, but lead to a new stable and prosperous civilization operating safely within planetary boundaries. But we really have only the next decade to change course. 

“At this point therefore, the data most aligns with the CT and BAU2 scenarios which indicate a slowdown and eventual halt in growth within the next decade or so, but World3 leaves open whether the subsequent decline will constitute a collapse,” the study concludes. Although the ‘stabilized world’ scenario “tracks least closely, a deliberate trajectory change brought about by society turning toward another goal than growth is still possible. The LtG work implies that this window of opportunity is closing fast.” Advertisement

In a presentation at the World Economic Forum in 2020 delivered in her capacity as a KPMG director, Herrington argued for ‘agrowth’—an agnostic approach to growth which focuses on other economic goals and priorities.  

“Changing our societal priorities hardly needs to be a capitulation to grim necessity,” she said. “Human activity can be regenerative and our productive capacities can be transformed. In fact, we are seeing examples of that happening right now. Expanding those efforts now creates a world full of opportunity that is also sustainable.” 

She noted how the rapid development and deployment of vaccines at unprecedented rates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that we are capable of responding rapidly and constructively to global challenges if we choose to act. We need exactly such a determined approach to the environmental crisis.

“The necessary changes will not be easy and pose transition challenges but a sustainable and inclusive future is still possible,” said Herrington. 

The best available data suggests that what we decide over the next 10 years will determine the long-term fate of human civilization. Although the odds are on a knife-edge, Herrington pointed to a “rapid rise” in environmental, social and good governance priorities as a basis for optimism, signalling the change in thinking taking place in both governments and businesses. She told me that perhaps the most important implication of her research is that it’s not too late to create a truly sustainable civilization that works for all.

Apocalypse Now & The Inner Revolution

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2021 at 3:51 pm
Francisco Goya – Untitled, known as Saturn Devouring His Son, Devoration or Saturn Eats His Child, 1819-1823. Oil on canvas, 146 × 83 cm (57½ × 32½ in). Museo del Prado Collection

Greetings. My name is Jevon and I’m a spiritual narcissist.

2020. Ooof. Crazy fuckin year huh? I would say it was quite the apocalyptic year. Not apocalyptic in the commonly used biblically associated present sense, but in it’s original Greek sense, apokálypsis, meaning “uncovering, disclosure, revelation.” In 2020, we were treated to a radical uncovering, disclosure and revelation of the veritable galaxy sized oceans of bullshit we’ve been treading water in for some time now, personally and as a species. Much of the artifice of “normal” life we wise apes had fashioned for ourselves here on “Spaceship Earth” fell away. Many died. Many became gravely ill. Many of the jobs and activities that consumed our lives and commanded our attention went bye bye. Many relationships ended. Pachamana in Her infinite wisdom had found a way to compel us to slow the fuck down, be present with what is, and really take a good whiff of the giant shit sandwich we’d all have to take a bite of. I’m not convinced it’s changed much however. As the invisible hand marketeers and billions of secondary sociopaths still incapacitated by terminal cases of wetiko (an Algonquin word for a cannibalistic spirit that is driven by greed, excess, and selfish consumption, in Ojibwa it is windigo, wintiko in Powhatan. It deludes its host into believing that cannibalizing the life-force of others; others in the broad sense, including animals and other forms of Gaian life is a logical and morally upright way to live.) seem to have used the calamity of this global pandemic, to usher in a “Great Reset” and a “4th Industrial Revolution“. SMDH… The folly and hubris of humanity continues unabated, as Great Mother burns around us. Many of us were forced to reexamine our lives on a fundamental level. To notice all the maladaptive patterns and ways of being that have gone largely unnoticed and/or medicated away in our lives moving at warp speed, inundated in blizzards of mostly meaningless content and consumer goods we don’t really need. Many noticed, shrugged and quickly reverted to those same patterns and ways of being as conditions allegedly improved. I would even argue that the rate at which we’ve cannibalized the life-force of others has exponentially increased via an ever expanding universe of digital disimagination machines, behaviour modification engines and panopticons that have efficiently, skillfully and quite profitably eroded our powers of discernment, critique and original thought. Soma abounds.

2020 gave me the space to engage in a good deal of self-reflection and inner work. It’s clear to me that I’ve been far from the best version of myself during this traumatic and transformational time. Through this process I’ve uncovered some unpleasant truths about myself and my relationships with others, not the least of which my penchant for indulging in spiritual narcissism. I’ve used my consumption and assimilation of knowledge and various spiritual practices to avoid cognitive dissonance, confirm my personal biases and see myself as better than and more enlightened that others. I’ve used pithy philosophical quotes and excerpts of various texts to engage in performative wokeness, self-deception and as displays of my “intelligence”. I’ve been careless, thoughtless and disregarded the thoughts feelings, needs and perspectives of others to maintain my spiritually narcissistic, self-deceptive “good, equanamous, zen guy” self image. I say all that to say. It’s all bullshit. I’m full of shit. I don’t really know shit. And I’m over it. It is my intention to make every effort from this point forward to rid myself of as much bullshit as I can. I am committed to not being drawn into the quicksands of reactivity, listening deeply, heart opened, without judgement, and cultivating compassion, curiosity & connectedness with all I encounter. I will work to release making decisions from a place of fear of loss and being disliked by others. I will ruthlessly seek out and question egocentricity, inflexibility, self-doubt, self-deception, anxiety, disbelief in myself and honor and attend to my intuition. I will be present with my feelings and emotions and recognize that they come and go like waves on the ocean of consciousness. I accept that it is ok to hurt and feel pain, that pleasure and pain are one and the same, and I’ll be ok. I will eschew counterproductive and harmful toxic positivity. I vow to be nothing less than my complete, total, unvarnished and authentic self. If any of this resonates with you, I encourage you to join me and embark on your own journey to awareness and unconditional love. Ashe!

J.

“Revolution begins with the self, in the self…We’d better take the time to fashion revolutionary selves, revolutionary lives, revolutionary relationships.” – Toni Cade Bambara

Thanksgiving Is A National Day Of Mourning To Remember America’s Oppressive Past And Present

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2018 at 1:54 pm

1

Oldspeak: “For several groups of Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a day to mourn. Every Thanksgiving since 1970, the United American Indians of New England and their allies have gathered in Plymouth, Mass., to mark a National Day of Mourning. For them, Thanksgiving did not mark the birth of a new nation. It marked the crippling of an old nation.

Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture,” says a statement on the organization’s website. “Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.”  –Solomon Jones
“Amidst the latest state-sponsored orgy of hyper consumption, take a few moments to mourn for the victims and survivors of this imperialist colonial slave state. To mourn the loss of untold rich and ancient cultures based on living in balance with our Great Mother. And send a few prayers out for the Native Americans still here and still subjected to relentless state-sanctioned racism, oppression and violence. Ashe.” -Jevon
Written By Solomon Jones @ The Philadelphia Inquirer:

As a nation, we have much for which to be thankful, even as racial strife continues to rile our politics, our day-to-day lives, and our interactions with those who don’t look like us.

I’m thankful that even after this week’s mass shootings in Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, and beyond, doctors have the good sense to stand against a gun lobby determined to downplay the danger of firearms. I’m thankful that after voter suppression reared its ugly head in the Georgia governor’s race, we’re still free to call out corruption for what it is.  I’m thankful that as nepotism has enabled Ivanka Trump to mishandle government emails, we’re freely able to contemplate whether “Lock her up!” is an appropriate response.

I’m thankful, most of all, that as Thanksgiving arrives in the midst of the most bizarre atmosphere I’ve ever experienced as an American, we’re free to view the holiday through the lens of our various racial and ethnic backgrounds. And then, after experiencing the holiday through our own cultural lenses, we can do the much harder thing. We can see it through the eyes of others.

If Thanksgiving is the holiday we’ve been told about, it is a shared meal symbolizing an alliance between good-hearted Pilgrims who braved the horrific journey to the New World, and Native Americans who generously helped them to survive their first brutal winter on these shores.

Flip the lens, however, and view it from the perspective of Native Americans, and we see a holiday that is celebrated by some, and despised by others. In fact, for several groups of Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a day to mourn.

Every Thanksgiving since 1970, the United American Indians of New England and their allies have gathered in Plymouth, Mass., to mark a National Day of Mourning. For them, Thanksgiving did not mark the birth of a new nation. It marked the crippling of an old nation.

“Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture,” says a statement on the organization’s website. “Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.”

For those who claim that Native Americans are overstating their case in calling out continued racism and oppression, I invite you to examine the Dakota Access pipeline protests.  In 2016, thousands demonstrated against the oil pipeline, which flows through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

The protests centered on the Native American argument that the pipeline would threaten their water supply, violate treaties, and soil sacred lands. But after construction on the pipeline was halted under the Obama administration, Donald Trump, in one of his first acts as president, signed an executive order that resumed the project.

The oppression doesn’t stop there. Native Americans were targeted in a North Dakota voter suppression scheme that required Voter ID for the recent midterm elections. Voters were required to present IDs that include a physical address rather than a P.O.  box. That requirement effectively disenfranchised Native Americans who lived on reservations, because on many reservations, there are no physical addresses — only P.O. boxes.

That kind of ongoing discrimination mirrors the racism that African Americans and Latinos experience. Yet when race is discussed in America, Native Americans are often excluded from the conversation. In essence, the group that was here before all of us is often rendered invisible.

Perhaps this Thanksgiving, as we gather around tables to celebrate, we can go beyond giving thanks for all the things that make America. Maybe we can also give thanks for all the people who make America.

Doing so would require acknowledging the humanity of Native Americans. It would require seeing them as people who not only cry and mourn, but also as people who laugh and rejoice. It would require looking beyond caricatures.

Because in truth, there are some in the Native American community who will join hands this Thanksgiving and acknowledge that they’ve survived despite persecution. Some will raise their voices to give thanks for their success in spite of racism.

Maybe this Thanksgiving, after so many years of telling a one-sided version of the Thanksgiving tale, America should recognize the people on the other side of the table, and give thanks that they are still here.

Solomon Jones is the author of 10 books. Listen to him weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon on Praise 107.9 FM. sj@solomonjones.com@solomonjones1