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Commons and households in a small farm future

Commons and households in a small farm future

As I mentioned in my previous post, The Land Magazine recently published a lengthy article from me, ‘Commons and households in a small farm future’. In this post I’m simply going to reproduce the article. The version here is my original draft which is slightly, but not very, different from the one in the magazine. The magazine version is available here. If you download it, you’ll get some nice pictures and a smarter typeface.

Over the next few posts here I’m going to go through various issues raised in the article in a bit more detail. So I’ll be interested in any comments I might receive here regarding specific aspects of the article, but it may be that I respond to them in more detail as I grapple with the relevant aspects in subsequent posts. Since these blog posts are often reproduced on some other websites, let me just reiterate that your best bet for getting a response from me is to comment directly at www.smallfarmfuture.org.uk.

In many ways the article in The Land scopes out the territory of Parts III and IV of my book A Small Farm Future – Part III being ‘Small Farm Society’ and Part IV being ‘Towards A Small Farm Future’, in other words, the politics of how a small farm transition may occur. So hopefully it’s a useful preamble to the various posts to come that will focus on these parts of the book.

And so, the article:

It seems likely that the numerous and growing global problems caused by modernization and globalization will devolve into lower energy, less carbon intensive, more labour intensive, more rural and more agrarian ways of life than the ones to which we’re accustomed in the wealthy countries today…

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

Donald Trump: The Sacrifice of the Sacred King

Donald Trump: The Sacrifice of the Sacred King


“In antiquity this sylvan landscape was the scene of a strange and recurring tragedy. On the northern shore of the lake, right under the precipitous cliffs on which the modern village of Nemi is perched, stood the sacred grove and sanctuary of Diana Nemorensis, or Diana of the Wood. ..  In this sacred grove there grew a certain tree round which at any time of the day, and probably far into the night, a grim figure might be seen to prowl. In his hand he carried a drawn sword, and he kept peering warily about him as if at every instant he expected to be set upon by an enemy. He was a priest and a murderer; and the man for whom he looked was sooner or later to murder him and hold the priesthood in his stead. Such was the rule of the sanctuary. A candidate for the priesthood could only succeed to office by slaying the priest, and having slain him, he retained office till he was himself slain by a stronger or a craftier.”
-From “The Golden Bough” – by James G. Frazer

You once asked, what was the meaning of Trump, it crossed my mind that without anybody’s planning or intentions, Trump became an immense collective scapegoating ritual where all the sins and impurities of the tribe are placed upon the king, who is then ceremonially driven out to purify the tribe. Since the 1960s this seems to have increasingly become the function of the American Presidency superseding its previous role which it has held since the days of George Washington, that of a near omnipotent God-Emperor who incarnates American collective power. It’s certainly corresponds to the sacred geometry of Washington DC, enclosed by its pomerium, the sacred regalias on display, the Temples to the Divine Emperors, the Axis Mundi rising through the centre of the Capitol’s rotunda…

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

Instability

Instability

In every century the same thing happens at one point or another. Society loses the plot and gets caught up in a mania, a grandiose exercise in self delusion. It can be political, it can be religious, and yes it can be economic. Sometimes these manias are confined to regions or small groups of people, sometimes they are vast in reach and impact and have global consequences. We can all think of examples. Religious? How about witch burnings? Politics? How about Nazism? Economics? How about all the manias that had fervent believers and adherents that with the hindsight of time were completely insane? The South Sea Bubble, the Tulip mania, the 1929 mania, etc. All of these bringing about vast social instability versus the previous status quo with often disastrous consequences.

And whatever we got going here is now approaching a similar frantic delusion that appears to infect everyone.

All of these manic periods have something in common: Believing in something absolutely even though it is either completely wrong or unrealistic. Seeing reality becoming untethered.

I’ve long argued that central banks aiming to be a stabilizing force are actually bringing about societal instability. Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the storming of the Capitol, angry Trump voters, angry Democrat voters and yes even Gamestop reddit buyers may all have different causes and triggers and motivations, but they actually have one thing in common: They are angry, angry at a system that has screwed them over, a sense of deep pervasive injustice and inequality, a fissure that keeps widening with every central bank intervention program.

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

Virus 1 – Media 0


Salvador Dalí Mi esposa desnuda 1945
Over the past 5 years I’ve addressed this numerous times, and it just goes on. When the MSM, WaPo, NYT, CNN, MSNBC, started to feel a real threat to their existence and survival from social media, they changed course radically. They no longer attempted to inform people, they began to shape their readers’ and watchers’ opinions. And it worked.

That change appears to bear fruit. The WaPo announced the other day they’re hiring 150 more “reporters”. Who are not really reporters, in the new setting they’re more like narrators. They’re servants to the narratives favored by editors and owners, the ones they expect -and know- to generate the most clickbaits.

Superficially, the media landscape sort of still looks the same, same logos, same slogans, but below the surface everything has changed. What’s important is no longer News, but the favored interpretation of it. It seems to work miracles for the MSM, but it’s dangerous for the nation. Because: where are you going to get your news, on the basis of which you can form your own opinion?

And if you can’t get news that doesn’t already have an inbuilt opinion, how are you supposed to have a opinion of your own? At the end of the day, you will be left with a nation that is poorly informed and has no opinions of its own. Everyone just regurgitates opinions forced upon them 24/7.

The main difference with 5 years ago is probably that social media have joined the MSM in their strategy. They now all force-shape opinions for clickbait. And nobody puts a loophole in their way:

Facebook Joins Twitter In Reverting To Pre-Election News Feed Algorithms

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

Could China’s Overlapping Crises Spiral Out of Control?

Could China’s Overlapping Crises Spiral Out of Control?

Threats, propaganda and the Orwellian dissolution of social trust cannot stop a withdrawal from the status quo. 

Longtime readers know I’ve had an active interest in what differentiates empires/nations that survive crises and those that collapse. There is a lively academic literature on this topic, and it boils down to three general views:

1. Collapse is typically triggered by an external crisis that overwhelms the empire’s ability to handle it. Absent the external shock, the empire could have continued on for decades or even centuries.

2. Crises that could have been handled in the “Spring” of rapid expansion are fatal in “Winter” when the costs of maintaining complex systems exceeds the empire’s resources.

3. Civilization is cyclical and as population and consumption outstrip resources, the empire becomes increasingly vulnerable to external shocks.

External shocks include prolonged severe drought, pandemics and invasion. In many cases, the empire is beset by all three: some change in weather that reduces grain harvests, a pandemic introduced by trade or military adventure and/or invasion by forces from far-off lands with novel diseases and/or military technologies and tactics.

More controversial are claims that political structures become sclerotic and top-heavy after long periods of success, and these bloated, brittle hierarchies lose the flexibility and boldness needed to deal with multiple novel challenges hitting at the same time.

We lack internal-political records for most empires that have collapsed, but those records that have survived for the Western and Eastern Roman Empires suggest that eras of stability breed political sclerosis which manifests as a bloated, parasitic bureaucracy or as ruthless competition between elites that were once united in the expansive “Spring” phase.

By the “Winter” phase, the elite hierarchy is willing to sacrifice the unity needed to survive for its own short-term advantage.

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

We Can Only Choose One: Our National Economy or Globalization

We Can Only Choose One: Our National Economy or Globalization

The servitude of society to a globalized economy is generating extremes of insecurity, powerlessness and inequality. 

Does our economy serve our society, or does our society serve our economy, and by extension, those few who extract most of the economic benefits? It’s a question worth asking, as beneath the political churn around the globe, the issues raised by this question are driving the frustration and anger that’s manifesting in social and political disorder.

A recent essay examines these issues in light of Brexit, which the author sees as a manifestation of dramatic but poorly understood changes in Britain’s economy over the past 60 years:

How Britain was sold: Why we need to rethink the case for a national capitalism in the age of uncertainty.

“One of the reasons Brexit has become unstuck is that the changing nature of the British economy since the 1970s and 1980s has made it hard to identify what the economic interests of the nation really are.

If nothing else, Brexit has been a long overdue education in the realities of Britain’s economy.

While both liberals and Marxists argue that the nationality of capitalism does not matter, there is a need to rethink the case for a national capitalism in this age of economic inequality, political fracture and geopolitical uncertainty. If nothing else, by embedding the economy more deeply into the nation and the daily lives of its citizens, and by directing itself towards national purposes and having a greater stake in developing national skills and innovations, a national capitalism would underline and reinforce that lost idea of the common good.”

It’s shocking to recall that Britain had a large and vibrant domestically owned auto industry in the 1960s, and remained a major industrial power / exporter.

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

Surveying archaeologists across the globe reveals deeper and more widespread roots of the human age, the Anthropocene

Surveying archaeologists across the globe reveals deeper and more widespread roots of the human age, the Anthropocene

Examples of how human societies are changing the planet abound – from building roads and houses, clearing forests for agriculture and digging train tunnels, to shrinking the ozone layer, driving species extinct, changing the climate and acidifying the oceans. Human impacts are everywhere. Our societies have changed Earth so much that it’s impossible to reverse many of these effects

Nuclear bomb testing left its mark in the geologic record. National Nuclear Security Administration/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY

Some researchers believe these changes are so big that they mark the beginning of a new “human age” of Earth history, the Anthropocene epoch. A committee of geologists has now proposed to mark the start of the Anthropocene in the mid-20th century, based on a striking indicator: the widely scattered radioactive dust from nuclear bomb tests in the early 1950s.

But this is not the final word.

Not everyone is sure that today’s industrialized, globalized societies will be around long enough to define a new geological epoch. Perhaps we are just a flash in the pan – an event – rather than a long, enduring epoch. 

Others debate the utility of picking a single thin line in Earth’s geological record to mark the start of human impacts in the geological record. Maybe the Anthropocene began at different times in different parts of the world. For example, the first instances of agriculture emerged at different places at different times, and resulted in huge impacts on the environment, through land clearing, habitat losses, extinctions, erosion and carbon emissions, forever changing the global climate.

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

The Lessons of Rome: Our Neofeudal Oligarchy

The Lessons of Rome: Our Neofeudal Oligarchy

Our society has a legal structure of self-rule and ownership of capital, but in reality it is a Neofeudal Oligarchy.

The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000 is not an easy, breezy read; its length and detail are daunting.

The effort is well worth it, as the book helps us understand how the power structures of societies change over time in ways that may be largely invisible to those living through the changes.

The Inheritance of Rome focuses on the lasting influence of Rome’s centralized social and political structures even as centralized economic power and trade routes dissolved.

This legacy of centralized power and loyalty to a central authority manifested 324 years after the end of the Western Roman Empire circa 476 A.D. in Charlemagne, who united much of western Europe as the head of the Holy Roman Empire. (Recall that the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire endured another 1,000 years until 1453 A.D.)

But thereafter, the social and political strands tying far-flung villages and fiefdoms to a central authority frayed and were replaced by a decentralized feudalism in which peasants were largely stripped of the right to own land and became the chattel of independent nobles.

In this disintegrative phase, the central authority invested in the monarchy of kings and queens was weak to non-existent.In the long sweep of history, it took several hundred years beyond 1000 A.D. for central authority to re-assert itself in the form of monarchy, and several hundred additional years for the rights of commoners to be established.

Indeed, it can be argued that it was not until the 1600s and 1700s–and only in the northern European strongholds of commoners’ rights, The Netherlands and England–that the rights of ownership and political influence enjoyed by commoners in the Roman Empire were matched.

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

An Examination Of The Leftist Cult And Their Religion

An Examination Of The Leftist Cult And Their Religion

There is a common misconception among newer activists in the liberty movement that the idea of the “false left/right paradigm” means that there is no political spectrum; that the entire notion of left vs right is a fabrication. This is not exactly the case. When we talk about false paradigms in regards to politics (or geopolitics), what we are actually referring to is the elitist class, otherwise known as globalists, and the fact that they have no left or right political orientation. They do not care about Democrats or Republicans, they have no loyalty to either party. Their loyalty is to their own agenda, and they will exploit BOTH sides to get what they want whenever possible.

Beyond the globalists, average people do indeed fall on a political spectrum that could be broken down and simplified to a set of basic ideals or ideologies. On the left side of the spectrum we find the collectivists and socialists, who believe that society (the group) is vastly more important than the individual and that the actions of individuals must be strictly monitored and governed to prevent negative effects on the group.

The core argument of the leftists is: “We are all a part of society and must act in harmony with society so that the system continues to function. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…”

On the right side of the spectrum we find the individualists, sovereignty activists and true conservatives. People who, in varying degrees, believe that society should be restricted from dictating the life of the individual and that group participation should be voluntary. Where leftists seek to centralize, people on the right seek to decentralize.

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

The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self

The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self

In what is arguably one of the most craven opportunistic moves by a business/media group to increase its circulation/profitability, on 10 April the New York Times (NYT) embarked on what it describes as its Privacy ProjectA day later on 11 April, no doubt with the NYT’s foreknowledge of what was to come thanks to an unofficial US government tip, Ecuador revoked Julian Assange’s (Wikileaks founder) asylum in its UK Embassy and fed him to the British Police dogs eagerly awaiting to arrest him and dump him in jail.

In May 2017 I wrote that Assange was doomed from the get-go to be arrested and handed over to the US Government and that it would only be a matter of time before Edward Snowden befell a similar fate.

Chelsea Manning’s leaked information made WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, a household name. It also made them permanent enemies of the US State. In 2010, Assange released a video that he called Collateral Murder. The video shows an airstrike in which Iraqi journalists are killed. Other releases based on Manning’s leak were known as the Afghan Diary and Iraq War Logs. The diplomatic cables exposed some of the silly machinations of the US State Department and the over classification of documents.

Meanwhile, mainstream media (MSM) outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post feasted on the leaks and gave them prominent coverage daily, even as they excoriated Assange and his merry band of leakers. The MSM believes that WikiLeaks is not “real” journalism even as they used the classified material Assange provided to bolster their subscription numbers. Aren’t they accessories to Assange’s crime? Apparently they are not.

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

The One True Thing

wikimedia 

The One True Thing

Until you understand it, it will rule your life.

Until you see clearly how the rules of society work, you will be trapped within a system of control.

What you mistake for reality is instead a fabricated simulation, designed to keep you trapped right where the system wants you.

Your social conditioning, education, and family structures program you with a set of beliefs, values and norms — often unexamined — that “properly” align you in such a way that you focus your life and labor on keeping the existing social hierarchy in place and that you never deeply question this arrangement.

Put visually, your culture is in the shape of a pyramid. And what keeps you pinned to your particular layer is your belief system. 

Every civilization has its own defining narratives that, while beautifully diverse, all generate exactly the same structure: a pyramid consisting of many more people at the bottom than at the top.

Every civilization throughout history had One True Thing that determined each person’s position on that pyramid.

In some past eras, it was royal bloodline. In ancient Egyptian culture, it stemmed from being a direct descendent of the Sun god Ra. And today, it’s a function of how much money you have.

No matter the marker, the pecking order is held in place because everyone accepts the rules.  They’re fully understood by the citizenry, and are only rarely questioned (usually at great personal risk). 

But even though accepted as “100% true” by the participants of one culture, social markers often don’t translate when applied to another.

For instance, if you traveled back in time to the height of the Aztec empire with $1 billion in cash, your paper bills wouldn’t have any accepted value.  You’d probably have trouble acquiring even a single tortilla with them.

Your modern currency just wouldn’t be money to that ancient culture.

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

Will Globalists Sacrifice The Dollar To Get Their ‘New World Order’?

Will Globalists Sacrifice The Dollar To Get Their ‘New World Order’?

Trade is a fundamental element of human survival. No one person can produce every single product or service necessary for a comfortable life, no matter how Spartan their attitude. Unless your goal is to desperately scratch an existence from your local terrain with no chance of progress in the future, you are going to need a network of other producers. For most of the history of human civilization, production was the basis for economy. All other elements were secondary.

At some point, as trade grows and thrives, a society is going to start looking for a store of value; something that represents the man-hours and effort and ingenuity a person put into their day. Something that is universally accepted within barter networks, something highly prized, that is tangible, that can be held in our hands and is impossible to replicate artificially. Enter precious metals.

Thus, the concept of “money” was born, and for the most part it functioned quite well for thousands of years. Unfortunately, there are people in our world that see economy as a tool for control rather than a vital process that should be left alone to develop naturally.

The idea of “fiat money”, money which has no tangibility and that can be created on a whim by a central source or authority, is rather new in the grand scheme of things. It is a bastardization of the original and much more stable money system that existed before that was anchored in hard commodities. While it claims to offer a more “liquid” store of value, the truth is that it is no store of value at all.

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

Society As Platform — A New Frontier in Complexity Science

Society As Platform — A New Frontier in Complexity Science

Cities are profoundly complex incarnations of cultural evolution. Image Credit: Vincent Laforet

Humanity is now confronted with new challenges unlike anything we have experienced before. Our evolved history as a species has not prepared us for what is happening now. It is time to start seeing culture as a complex system that evolves according to Darwinian principles.

What do international terrorism, human-caused climate change, and the rise of speculative bubbles in finance have in common? At their heart, each is fundamentally a cultural phenomenon that is often confused with its more superficial elements associated with religion, politics, technology, or economics. There are hidden “governing dynamics” that arise as ideologies and worldviews, diverse modes of social organization with associated norms and practices, and the foundational ontologies and epistemologies that define what is real and knowable for a given society.

Humanity has gone from subsistence living where our daily survival was a struggle to weave healthy relationships with the natural ecosystems around us to one of living within social niches of our own creation. Long ago, it was rocks carved into spear tips that determined our ability to acquire food. Now it is the use of fossil fuels extracted by large machines, which are then sent to refineries for modification and redistribution, eventually finding their way into chemical fertilizers used to extract nutrients from the soil.

All of this arose through the processes of cultural evolution.

Every major challenge in the world today is deeply and profoundly cultural — and cultural systems are always complex. They are comprised of many interacting parts with critical interdependencies that are not reducible to usefully meaningful modular parts. There are threshold effects, phase transitions, chaotic attractors, various kinds of self-organization, and all are deeply dynamic and emergent as evolutionary processes at the intersection of culture and the environment.

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

The Real Difference Between Left & Right

 

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; You have worked with politicians worldwide and both sides. What is your opinion of the politics that has emerged post-Great Depression?

LM

ANSWER: The major difference between the socialism supported by the Democrats/Labour in Western Society is that to them the individual has no value, it is the collective society, which they then elevate themselves to rule. Conservatives believe in the individual has rights and value and that the state is to serve the people. In the eyes of socialism, it is not the individual but the collective society which is the value and they are qualified to rule from above. The socialist always seeks to control others and in so doing, the individual is always sacrificed for the collective state. It is not what your country can do for you personally, it is the teaching that you as the individual are to be sacrificed for the greater good of the whole which is controlled by the politicians – i.e. former the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, the socialist always pretend that they are on your side. They have flipping everything upside down. Your personal well being is only possible by surrendering your individuality to the state. It is what they have done with Death Insurance. The insurance companies could not sell Death Insurance, so the reversed it and called it Life Insurance. Like fire insurance protects against fire, life insurance does not protect you from living forever. They reversed the label to make you feel proud how much Death Insurance you own. Socialist did the exact same thing. They get people to surrender their individuality to the state and always blame the rich when your quality of life declines.

Keep in mind that career politicians even on the right also support the government against the individual. Thomas Paine in Common Sense took the position.

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

Our Economy Is Failing Our Society

Our Economy Is Failing Our Society

If we want to extend the opportunities for positive social roles to everyone, we have to change the way money is created and distributed in our economy.

One of the most unrecognized dynamics of our era is the structural dependence of our society on our economy. One set of pundits, politicos and academics wring their hands over the fragmenting of civil society (the rise of disintegrative, divisive forces and the decay of integrative forces) and decry the rising inequality that is our economy’s dominant feature, while another set of pundits and academics celebrate the economy’s remarkable adaptability or focus solely on reading financial tea leaves (interest rates, Fed policy tweaks, unemployment rates, etc.)

Those few analysts who escape their respective silos/academic ghettos rarely get past generalities such as the erosion of social mobility, a dynamic that is clearly economic and social. But the precise mechanisms behind the secular erosion of social mobility are lost in platitudes about how A.I. and robots will free us all to be poets or consumers of a vast and endlessly enjoyable leisure.

The key understanding that’s lacking is that economic structures organize and limit the social structures underpinning civil society. To understand why civil society is disintegrating on so many fronts (public health, civil discourse, etc.), we must understand how our economy has failed to support the social structures required for an integrative, inclusive civil society.

Our economy is transforming/adapting as a result of powerful secular trends:the 4th Industrial Revolution (a.k.a. the digital-networked-AI-Big-Data revolution), globalization, the commoditization of ordinary capital and labor, the financial and political dominance of quasi-monopolies and cartels, and perhaps the most unrecognized dynamic, the devaluation of ordinary capital and labor in favor of scarce and often rarified forms of capital and labor in the fields of technology, entrepreneurship and finance.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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