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View Diary: Keeping the grease in the ground: a challenge (57 comments)

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  •  We once had an alternative to neoliberalism. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, Zobo the Clown

    It was called Communism. It didn't work. It turned out the cure was far worse than the disease. Like it or not we are stuck with some form of neoliberal economics. The only way to keep fossil fuels in the ground is to replace them with other energy sources.

    •  If "communism didn't work" (0+ / 0-)

      then how did the Soviet Union transform itself from a famine-ridden, war-plagued peasant nation into the world's first spacefaring super-power in four decade's time?

      Oh and btw:

      The only way to keep fossil fuels in the ground is to replace them with other energy sources.

      Just as the only way to pick your nose is by scratching your chin, right?

      "Other energy sources" are a red herring.  The way to stop consuming fossil fuels is by not producing fossil fuels to consume.

      "The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear." -- Gramsci

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:24:55 AM PDT

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      •  And (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Zobo the Clown

        the general public will really love the way in which not having fossil fuels to use will force their lifestyle back to that of people who lives 150 years ago. And by the way the Soviet Union transformed itself into a superpower by making the majority of its population slaves of the state. This isn't going to be altogether popular either.

        •  Enjoy the droughts and famine then! (nmi) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mieprowan

          "The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear." -- Gramsci

          by Cassiodorus on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 09:02:17 AM PDT

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        •  & as for "Communism" (0+ / 0-)

          Your assertion was that it "didn't work."  Then you equivocated and argued that it wasn't pleasant.  That's not at all at question, not in this thread, nor in this diary.  "Communism" under Stalin et al. wasn't pleasant, but that doesn't matter here.  What matters here is that it did, indeed, work -- right up to the point at which it was abolished by Yeltsin's decree at the end of 1991.

          The question of whether alternative systems of political economy "can work," on the other hand, is quite germane to the other question discussed in my diary, which is one of whether or not the human race can do anything about abrupt climate change.

          "The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear." -- Gramsci

          by Cassiodorus on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 10:20:41 AM PDT

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      •  You ask... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rmabelis, Zobo the Clown

        then how did the Soviet Union transform itself from a famine-ridden, war-plagued peasant nation into the world's first spacefaring super-power in four decade's time?

        At rifle point.

        And one way tickets to very unpleasant places.

        15 to 6. Pulled ahead as soon as the gate opened and never looked back....

        by BobTrips on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 09:48:15 PM PDT

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        •  Not entirely -- (0+ / 0-)

          And in fact we can argue that there are plenty of countries which have operated throughout history "at riflepoint," but which did not do even a small fraction of what the Soviets accomplished.

          "The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear." -- Gramsci

          by Cassiodorus on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 10:27:24 PM PDT

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          •  That there have been repressive, non- (0+ / 0-)

            Communist countries that didn't accomplish much does not help your argument.

            You know your history.  You know that the Soviet Union would not have functioned without force and the threat of force.

            That was a large and necessary part of the motivational system.  And then, within the framework of force, people were encouraged to work for the good of the Motherland.

            It was an easy choice for most, I imagine.  

            Get with the program or get on the train.

            The reason that the Soviet Union was able to do what it did was that the leaders wanted to achieve on an scientific, agricultural and military level.  And they forced the population to work toward their ends.

            15 to 6. Pulled ahead as soon as the gate opened and never looked back....

            by BobTrips on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 10:55:27 PM PDT

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      •  No Understanding Whatsoever...................... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zobo the Clown

        The only reason the Soviets lasted as long as they did was due to the natural resources which financed their short term utopia. The Soviet Union died a horrible (or wonderful) death. Oh, BTW which communist regime has ever actually been successful?
        Mankind is hardwired with capitalist genes. I think you should change the topic to Extremely Abrupt Climate Change; it could make all the difference.
        Isn't life wonderful??

        •  Everybody's got the mystery ALL wrapped up -- (0+ / 0-)

          all they need to do is banish those unsightly facts.

          Mankind is hardwired with capitalist genes.

          Then why is capitalism only three hundred years old, as opposed to the 100,000 year old human race?

          And what about womankind?  

          "The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear." -- Gramsci

          by Cassiodorus on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 10:29:18 PM PDT

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          •  300 years old? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Zobo the Clown

            Owning, borrowing, and paying a little sweetener to get the loan goes back forever.

            Lots of our oldest written records are about trade and ownership.

            The only way "300 years" comes into play is that was when things started to get organized in the modern way.

            15 to 6. Pulled ahead as soon as the gate opened and never looked back....

            by BobTrips on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 11:39:06 PM PDT

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            •  time frames, cultures, beliefs, possibilities (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassiodorus, C Barr

              Cassiodorus, it's actually 200,000 years. :)

              As I recall, our oldest written records cover less than 5% of that 200,000 year period.

              Anthropologists who study indigenous cultures have observed other ways that humans can interact and other ways that humans can accomplish shared goals.

              It's that last part that inspires me to think about what might be possible, regardless of the constraints our hyper-industrial culture trains us to believe.

              Cheers

      •  Just ckeckin'... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rmabelis, Zobo the Clown

        "Other energy sources" are a red herring.  The way to stop consuming fossil fuels is by not producing fossil fuels to consume.

        You do realize that we are increasing our rates of installing those red herrings, aren't you?

        This last May we set a new mark of producing 13% of our electricity from renewable red herrings.  That's up from 9.4% in 2006.  

        And coal dropped from 50% to 46%.

        Wind red herrings are now 2% of our grid mix and we should hit 3% in the next 12-18 months.  

        15 to 6. Pulled ahead as soon as the gate opened and never looked back....

        by BobTrips on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 11:45:06 PM PDT

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      •  They were industrializing already (0+ / 0-)

        before the revolution... Post revolution purges and suppression held them back quite a bit... they probably would have still been a world power without Lenin and Stalin and their political experiments... the population and resources Russia would have guaranteed that. Modernization was happening there just like everywhere... they had more medieval baggage to outgrow than most...

        But anyway Russian Communism succeeded in modernization because of the total control they had over all resources and manpower. The state decided on what it wanted and the focus on the goals and the successes it attained overlooks the excessive strain on most people's quality of life. Slave labor camps, lack of choice, limited freedom of movement, choice of careers. The lives of the average person improved compared to what it would have been before so internally on its own terms it was a success... but compared to other places... not so much.

        Military Hardware, large dams and large scale infrastructure projects, successful space program, world-class scientific community and discoveries are massive accomplishments but they were goals decided entirely at the top and the human cost paid to achieve them was horrific and stains all of these results. (similar things can be found in capitalist societies but not on the same scale and the self correcting processes there seem to work better generally but not without inherent defects as well). The real surprise is not how much they accomplished as much as what they did not accomplish very well if at all and why. The Soviet Union was run and organized like a Gigantic unresponsive monopolistic corporation with rigged shareholder participation and the same insiders cabal running things according to their own preconceived notions and goals but with a captive market and faulty or entirely absent consumer feedback.

        Many of the the things they ordained to happen in the 5 year plans failed for reasons related to the fundamental basis of the society and how people related to it. They could always point to the showcase projects that they had more total control over and gloss over the other shortcomings... Soviet spin... If anything, being "Communist" held them back at least as much as it helped them...

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 02:43:12 AM PDT

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        •  Peter The Great had done something similar (0+ / 0-)

          back in the early 18th century. He dragged Russia kicking and screaming into what was then the modern world, by main brute force (and, occasionally, constructive use of the tax laws, as in the "beard tax" to permit conservative Russian men to keep their "anachronistic" long beards).

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 08:09:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I really hate this form of self-defeatism... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus

      really, if everyone before every great social justice movement had just said, "We're stuck with it", like you...there would be no positive change. Thank goodness there are some who don't think like you.

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