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Catabolic collapse

by cagatacos Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:21:03 AM EST

Today the bus operator for the city of Lisbon (Carris) has put forward another round of "service alterations". "Service alterations" could mean a lot of things but recently for Carris it means only one thing: service cutting. Cutting on the weekend. Cutting on the hours. Cutting on the number of buses per hour. Cutting the length. Cutting a line completely. Sorry, I lie, there is one thing that increased: prices. Average of 15% on the 1st of August. Courtesy of the Troika agreement (made with a so-called labour government - now changed to hard-conservative).

It also seems that the Troika (EU/ECB/IMF) agreement includes provisions to cut the railways in around 800 KM. Which is massive for this small country. In fact it is akin to the Thatcher-like cuts in the 80/90s (at that time made in the name of "progress" and private transportation). [Part of the railway service is also going to be privatised, but that is not my point here].

The only way to replace the rail cuts will be either by bus or car.

The bus cuts can be replaced by biking or by car. Anyway I suspect that part of it will be replaced by something else: unemployment making some of the travelling void. In practice it will probably be less travelling + more car.

These measures will most probably increase the reliance on private transportation.

Now... in terms of economic and energetic efficiency, what do you think it will be the outcome of going from bus/rail to car based transportation?

This is akin of cutting the muscle to treat morbid obesity.

This kind of neo-liberal austerity (cutting on everything "public", "common") will accelerate the road to abyss.

Side comment 1

This is not (just) to bicker on the externally imposed conditions. Indeed we brought this predicament to ourselves. Collapse is assured by the sum of external pressure, political stupidity, neo-liberal ideology and a populace with unrealistic (self-centered, hedonistic, selfish) expectations.

Side comment 2

Part of the objectives of the neo-liberal elite (e.g. there will be a cut of 10% on next year's NHS expense) is, by destroying public provision to "convince" people that private is better. This will backfire stupendously as unemployed/bankrupt people cannot pay for private services at all. This will not lead to the growth of the private sector, it will lead to simple demand destruction. This is already happening: lots of kids on private (for pay) schools are changing to public schools because the parents are becoming unemployed or have pay cuts.

This is not evilness. This is not stupidity. This is both combined.


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by cagatacos on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:23:35 AM EST
Don't let's forget he ended broken and defeated ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 10:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, but it was a close run thing.

It would, however, be a shame if the forces of good cannot defeat forces of evil who are both evil and stupid.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 11:32:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you assuming that the forces of "good" are smarter? Good luck buddy.
by cagatacos on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 02:17:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's part of what would make it a shame.

Of course, there is smart and there is smart. The forces of evil may be blinded by their own ideology about the actual consequence of their actions, including adverse impacts on themselves ... but their can afford to buy the best tactical political advantages that money can buy, including very clever people to run their propaganda operations.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 03:06:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So instead of moving 35 people at one time, at one cost, the system will have 35 people moving 35 times at 35 costs.

whatever


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 11:51:44 AM EST
Yay! GDP growth!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 12:02:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except not 35 times as many vehicles, because the import leakages imply less employment overall so fewer people to move around.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 03:07:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make it up in the more people have to move around to make a living?

There's Ph.d. in there calculating the "velocity of unemployment."

:-)


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 03:48:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And then there's the employed homeless, who if they can find a place to shower close enough to work can bike to work to save on gas, plus avoid people working out they are sleeping in their car by looking at the car in the parking lot.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 11:58:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The cycle of collapse: at first, it's a privilege. Then it becomes a public good. It is turned into a business. And then it degenerates into a racket. Until it becomes a privilege again.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 01:40:26 PM EST
What's the point of kicking, biting, back-stabbing, and otherwise clawing your way to the top if you can't then turn around to sneer and lord it over those you've kicked, bit, back-stabbed, and clawed?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 02:10:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As is written in many places in the I Ching: "It is good to have someplace to go."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 03:40:40 PM EST
I Ching reading for the Velocity of Unemployment:

The present is embodied in Hexagram 1 - Ch'ien (The Creative): That which is great and originating, penetrating, advantageous, correct and firm.

In the second line, undivided, we see the dragon appearing in the field. It will be advantageous to meet with the great man.

In the third line, undivided, we see the superior man active and vigilant all the day, and in the evening still careful and apprehensive. The position is dangerous, but there will be no mistake.

The situation is shifting, and Yin (the passive feminine force) is gaining ground.

The future is embodied in Hexagram 25 - Wu Wang (The Unexpected): Great progress and success is indicated, while there will be advantage in being firm and correct. If he or his action be not correct, he will fall into errors, and it will not be advantageous for him to move in any direction.

The things most apparent, those above and in front, are embodied by the upper trigram Chi'en (Heaven), which represents strength and creativity.

The things least apparent, those below and behind, are embodied by the lower trigram Chi'en (Heaven), which is transforming into Chen (Thunder). As part of this process, strength and creativity are giving way to movement, initiative, and action.

So there you have it.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 03:51:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 08:03:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just a beginning...It's a future that we all will experience pretty soon.
Just watch this place...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Sep 2nd, 2011 at 11:49:19 PM EST
Why this is a catabolic collapse? Compared with John Michael Greer's definition, the described occurrence is not something forced by pressures of limited resources. Greer's catabolic largely means utilizing still present infrastructure to its bones as nothing could be renewed or developed. The cited "service alterations" is something opposite: deliberately neglecting and shrinking still workable infrastructure.
by das monde on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:06:11 AM EST
Not suggesting that my definition is the same as the druid. When I think about catabolic I think about "catabolic state" which many times is used as related to protein catabolism (certainly in fitness, but also in science pubs. Just google for catabolic state and also in some cases in google scholar).

While catabolism is obviously more general, I kinda like the implications of the use related to catabolic state: cut in protein (cut in what is important). I think we are going to see this kind of societal options in the future: due to lack of resources, people cut the "retrograde" (e.g. trains), but arguably more fit for a future with less energy.

There is indeed an "impedance" between highly individualistic ideologies (e.g. car good, train bad) and an energy constrained future. Thus many decisions that cut on the muscle and maintain the fat.

by cagatacos on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 12:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is quite possible that certain elites are no dumbheads and foresee an inevitable collapse of the current global developments. So they (presumably) take the matter of selecting and implementing catabolisms into their own hands. If so, their plan and resolution are impressive, well concealed, with plenty of approximate reasons of ideological follies and individual rationalities.

In this particular case, catabolising on trains and public service does not immediately seems to release "needed" resources, even if only for the elites. It looks more like that the broad elites decided that some 60-80 years of enhanced public infrastructure was an optionally shared privilege, and that they have all sovereignty to end that. They seem to enjoy denying more and more service to those unable to keep up with rent charges. And with little doubt, that's were the elite consideration broadly ends. But the consistent direction towards intense overshoot and sharp social differentiation makes the problem of intelligent design recognition no laughing matter.

by das monde on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 01:52:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Designs and goals may be too lofty a concern here. Consider financial coprorations and institutions run by sociopaths. They are looking at trying to, (gasp!), maintain and regain capital instead of making returns on investment. Their behavior seems based more on identifying anything that costs money to run and cutting back on it on the theory that this will provide more money to pay themselves back. They likely are not and will not be concerned with the second and third order effects until and unless they are hit in the face by them.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 08:34:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The power of sociopath selection! Why it naturally looks stronger than ever before?
by das monde on Tue Sep 6th, 2011 at 07:07:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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