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A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis

A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis

Art by Willy Stöwer | CC BY 2.0

You’re a passenger on the Titanic on its fateful maiden voyage in 1912. As it draws away from the dock at Southampton you get a premonition that things are going to go severely pear-shaped, and that the ship is never going to make it to New York. Maybe you’re an engineer and your spidey senses are telling you that the captain and crew are far too cocky for their own good considering that the ship can only sustain damage to four of the 12 bulkheads. Maybe it’s not anywhere near as unsinkable as the White Star Line are making out in the name of PR hype…

But you don’t say anything because you know what people are like when you try to tell them things they don’t want to hear—they get defensive and shoot the messenger. Why are you being so negative on such a joyous occasion, who pissed in your bucket such that now you have to go and piss in everyone else’s? Maybe you should get some professional help. You know how it goes. So after briefly considering making a fuss and demanding the boat be turned around, or just jumping over the side and swimming back to shore, you sit back and say to yourself, fuck it, I’m in first class, if something happens I’ll get priority for getting off the boat…

But here’s the rub, because what you don’t know is that the White Star Line skimped on the lifeboats because they took up room, and they detracted from the claims about the ship being unsinkable anyway. So, when the ship eventually hits the iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland, you get a nasty shock in discovering just how shit out of luck you really are.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Quantifying our Faustian bargain with fossil fuels 

Quantifying our Faustian bargain with fossil fuels 

Our Faustian bargain: the byproduct of burning dirty
fossil fuels are short-lived atmospheric aerosols
which provide temporary cooling

The climate system will heat well past 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C) and perhaps up to 2°C without any further fossil fuel emissions. That’s the conclusion to be drawn from new research which should also help demystify the rhetoric from the 2015 Paris climate talks of keeping warming to below 1.5°C .

It’s not that 1.5°C isn’t dangerous: in fact, at just 1–1.1°C of warming to date, climate change is already dangerous. A safe climate would be well below the present level of warming, unless you think it is OK to destroy the Arctic ecosystem, tip West West Antarctic glaciers into a self-accelerating melt, and lose the world’s coral reefs, just for starters.

The new research quantifies the effect of losing the very temporary planetary cooling provided by atmospheric aerosols.
Aerosols (including black-carbon soot, organic carbon, sulphates and nitrates and dust) are very short-lived particles in the atmosphere that have a cooling impact that lasts around a week. Most of these aerosols are anthropogenic, that is produced by human activity, and most of the anthropogenic aerosols are a byproduct of the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. Perhaps best known are the polluting sulphates and nitrates from coal-fired power stations, that combine with water molecules in the atmosphere to produce what is popularly known as “acid rain”.

The problem is our “Faustian bargain”: these aerosols are keeping the planet cooler than it would otherwise be, but are coming from burning fossil fuels that pour carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, heating the planet for centuries to come. The absolutely essential moves to eliminate fossil fuel emissions will also cut the cooling aerosol impact; the net effect will push the planet towards very dangerous warming conditions.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

All Bad at 0%

All Bad at 0%

We call on central banks to abolish their zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) framework before more harm is done. In our assessment, ZIRP is bad for all stakeholders and may even lead to war.

ZIRP: Bad for Business?
At first blush, it may appear great for business to have access to cheap financing. But what may be good for any one business is not necessarily good for the economy. When interest rates are artificially depressed, it can subsidize struggling enterprises that might otherwise be driven out of business. As a result, productive capital can be locked into zombie enterprises. If ailing businesses were allowed to fail, those laid off would need to look for new jobs at firms that have a better chance of succeeding. As such, the core tenant of capitalism: creative destruction, may be undermined through ZIRP. In our assessment, the result is that an economy grows at substantially below its potential.

ZIRP: Bad for Investors?
Investors may have enjoyed the rush of rising asset prices as a result of ZIRP. However, this may well have been a Faustian bargain as the Federal Reserve (Fed) and other central banks have masked, but not eliminated, the risks that come with investing. Complacency has been rampant, as asset prices rose on the backdrop of low volatility. When volatility is low (more broadly speaking, we refer to “compressed risk premia”), rational investors tend to allocate more money to historically risky assets. While that may be exactly what central banks want – at least for the real economy – investors may bail out when volatility spikes, as they realize they didn’t sign up for this (“I didn’t know the markets were risky!”).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Wrong with Our Monetary System and How to Fix It

What’s Wrong with Our Monetary System and How to Fix It

Something’s profoundly wrong with our global financial system. Pope Francis is only the latest to raise the alarm:

“Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.”

What the Pope calls “an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules” is widely evident. What is not so clear is how we got into this situation, and what to do about it.

Most people take our monetary system for granted, and are shocked to learn that the government doesn’t issue our money. Almost all of it is created by loans made “out of thin air” as bookkeeping entries by private banks. For this sleight-of-hand, they charge interest, making a tidy profit for doing essentially nothing. The currency printed by the government – coins and bills – is a negligible amount by comparison.

The idea of giving private banks a monopoly over money creation goes back to seventeenth century England. The British government, in a Faustian bargain, agreed to allow a group of private bankers to assume the national debt as collateral for the issuance of loans, confident that the state would be able to service the debt on the backs of taxpayers.

And so it has been ever since. Alexander Hamilton much admired this scheme, which he called “the English system,” and he and his successors were finally able to establish it in the United States, and subsequently most of the world.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

The New World Order—A Faustian Bargain

The New World Order—A Faustian Bargain

Faustian bargain: An agreement in which a person abandons his or her spiritual values or moral principles in order to obtain wealth or other benefits. A deal with the devil.

The argument over the existence of an Elite, who plan to control the entire world under a New World Order like some great yo-yo, has been around for a long time. Not surprisingly, events created by world leaders of all stripes in recent years give rise to an increasing belief in the likelihood of the existence of such an effort.

There are two great dangers in attempting to describe this perceived secret endeavour, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum: a) being so naive as to assume that no collusion exists amongst various groups of leaders to further their respective ends, and b) over-simplifying such alliances to suggest that there is an Elite Master Plan that all members implicitly agree upon and follow in every respect.

Assumption A

In any country, the citizenry are accustomed to such acts of collusion as all the petrol suppliers raising the price by the same amount, overnight. Few individuals would doubt that the two companies get together well in advance to agree on the price hike.

The same sort of collusion can be expected between banks and governments, etc. However, most people in any given country seem to believe that the political parties that rule them do not collude in their own collective interest and against the best interests of their respective constituents.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

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