Clark rule #2:
To prophesize accurately of future technological, social, evolutionary or cataclysmic events or eventualities one must exceed the probable, or even the possible and delve into the impossible. Prophets do not see what is 20 or 40 years from now, prophets see what cannot be seen, prophets see what appears to be impossible today but will be possible tomorrow.
A prophecy must seem outlandish. Crazy. Absurd.
Is anyone else noticing the increasing frequency of “Earth ailment documentaries”? It seems like almost every Nat Geo, or Discovery documentary these days deals with some new insidious emanation of planetary illness. Chesapeake Bay stripers’ bacterial infection, albatross chick bellies full of plastic (mistaken for fish by the parents), an Exxon Valdez worth of oil leaking from cars in the world — every 8 months! The list is growing, diverse and often strange. Years ago there were mostly documentaries on new technological, biological or astronomical discoveries. These days it’s nothing but problem after problem.
And it’s not like these shows are repetitive or obscure. The incidents and evidence generally shown is convincing and for the most part, alarming. Alarming as the areas affected, the ecosystems are vast. Am I just tuned more acutely to the planet’s problems these days or are we simply entering into a phase of escalating biome degradation that may simply never stop?
For instance, I recently read that the World Health Organization has claimed that the advanced evolution of crippling bacteria may soon shadow the AIDs epidemic. That the lack of new and effective antibiotics, and the dearth of pharmaceutical companies willing to forgo profits for the sake of humanity, are going to allow simple infections, a scrape or a cut, to kill us.
Bisphenol.A, a plastic chemical, leaches from many plastics and emulates estrogen in vertebrate animals. Plastic is a compound built to last nearly forever, yet most plastic we use owe use for only minutes and then we dispose of it. You’d think we should find better purposes for such compounds.
Massive algae blooms caused by fertilizer and sewage outflows creating deadzones of oxygen depleted water.
Huge schools of massive jellyfish eating everything it their path.
And the McCutcheon ruling, what of it? Individual campaign contributions should be gated, but how? If you are politically active what might you contribute to the candidate of your choice? What about what the average U.S Citizen can earn in a day? Yeah, a day’s wage perhaps. That seems reasonable. So what is a day’s wage? What is the average American’s daily wage? Well, let’s go find out.
The Keeling oscillation of ~7ppm CO2 every six months seems to indicate that there is a considerable variation of the uptake ability of the Northern Hemisphere to capture (and release) CO2. If humanity could simulate 10%-20% of this uptake using the similar mechanisms that the top half of the planet uses – but in the bottom half we could help alleviate some of the inevitable rise to 450ppm.
So the question is, how to simulate the affects of the Northern Hemisphere? How to simulate the taiga and boreal forests in the oceans below 30 degrees south? Simulate but with a mind toward sequestration. Grow huge swaths of kelp that would die and sink every May. Design buoyant mangrove forests that could float across the southern India and Pacific oceans. Imagine building huge rafts of unrecyclable Styrofoam, and plastics, of wood refuse, and whatever else could be cobbled together and floated down and anchored in the South Pacific. Then start growing floating forests there. Imagine the fishery that would spawn (ha) from such an endeavor. Imagine a human made floating forest island the size of Greenland. Gaea’s island – GaeaLand.
The inherent problem with capitalism is what I call the Inner Circle Syndrome.
Take a resource, it could be a gold mine, a wheat field, an exclusive piece of real estate, a market exchange or, in a recent bizarre SCOTUS twist, a politician, but regardless what this resource is it has a set amount of “space”, if you will, around it to allow interaction. With a geo-physical entity this space doesn’t necessarily have to be actual spacial space, it can be more like financial access space; only a certain number of people can access such a resource and therefore only those with the biggest bank accounts are generally granted this access. Let’s look at two resources that better illustrate this inner circle syndrome.
A person, any person, has only so much room around them, whether physical or emotional or sociological. We can only deal with so many people at a time. Once we’ve saturated our inner circle we just can’t take on any additional friends, associates or compatriots. Now imagine if access to this inner circle, this circle of yours or mine closest associates, was gated by money. The more you paid me the higher the probability that I would let you in and kick someone else, someone who paid me less, out of my inner circle, an odd proposition I’ll admit.
Now imagine you are a US Congressperson… now this strange application of money to control inner circle access – doesn’t sound so strange.
[And with the recent (April 2014) ruling by the Supreme Court such financial gating is even more apropos.]
With little stretch to the imagination one can easily see how a Congress member can eventually have their inner circle primarily populated by the highest bidders.
Other financially gated inner circles are those around stock market exchanges. These are, to a large extent, actual physical inner circles; there is only so much physical space around the building that hosts an exchange. And so, as the inner circle syndrome goes, this ring around an exchange is populated by those brokers, funds, and banks that can pay the highest rents. It’s these inner circle exchange participants who then benefit from the fastest access to market data. This phenomena exists; is part of the various exchanges’ and the brokers’ plans.
Capitalism supports, condones even, this eventuality, those with the most money get access to limited resources.
There is only so much space around an entity. Whether that space is actual square footage, cubic area, social or network connections, or just a fixed list of party invitations, school slot vacancy or any of hundreds of other limited access resources the rule still applies; capitalism will see that those with the greatest wealth will always gain the inner circle. This is the inherent issue with capitalism. Eventually all systems where success is measured by wealth evolve into a plutocracy.
The Inner Circle Syndrome guarantees it.