Global Economic meltdown imminent?

The Long Emergency meme is spreading fast.

Deconsumption recent posted a story about “New Zealand TV News Takes the Global Economic Meltdown Mainstream

Comments in that post lead to James Lovelock’s apocalyptic warnings in the Independent: “The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years…Each nation must find the best use of its resources to sustain civilisation for as long as they can…”

Even US Military magazines are predicting a financial crisis soon.

From the January 2006 National Defence Magazine editorial:

For years, dire warnings have sounded about an impending defense budget “train wreck” that would inevitably result from mounting Pentagon financial commitments against a backdrop of spending cuts.

The looming train wreck has not yet happened, but pundits, legislative leaders and analysts are beginning to talk about it.

Substantial growth in defense spending after 9/11 gave the Pentagon’s budget a reprieve. The day of financial reckoning, however, may fast be approaching if the current state of the nation’s balance sheet offers any clues

Today, the United States is saddled by a large national debt and a rising deficit. Even if increases to military spending were to end immediately, an explosion in the growth of entitlement programs — especially Social Security and Medicare — will be very difficult to manage with 78 million baby boomers slated to retire in the coming decades.

Without fundamental reforms, the nation is headed for economic collapse, cautioned David Walker, the U.S. comptroller general. “We could be doing nothing more than paying interest on federal debt in 2040,” he told lawmakers.

Just this month, outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan expressed concern that failure to deal with the exploding budget deficit would not only affect the United States but also the global economy.

There you have it folks. Even the military are worried.

Expatriate bliss

From swissmiss: global soul:

“Expats lead liberated lives,” he pronounced later. “I certainly believe that being an expat can make a person more aware of one’s blessings.” He also believes people can do magnificent things with the new global reality. “We just have to think about global living in a more soulful way which means having a global conscience and sense of responsibility.”

The Five Stages of Grief

From Wikipedia article on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief:

The Kübler-Ross model describes, in five discrete stages, the process by which people deal with grief and tragedy. Terminally ill patients are said to experience these stages. The model was introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. The stages have become well known, and are called the Five Stages of Grief.

  1. Denial and isolation: “This is not happening to me.”
  2. Anger: “How dare God do this to me.”
  3. Bargaining: “Just let me live to see my son graduate.”
  4. Depression: “I can’t bear to face going through this, putting my family through this.”
  5. Acceptance: “I’m ready, I don’t want to struggle anymore.”

I was reminded of this by a new post over at CanOworms.info where Jason equates the four stages of Culture Shock (honeymoon, shock, negotiate & acceptance) with the four stages of team formation (form, storm, norm & perform):

Honeymoon stage = Form
Shock = Storm
Negotiate = Norm
Acceptance = Perform

Always great material from Jason and I am glad to see he is back from him blogging hiatus.

The Hikikomori Phenomenon

From Wikipedia

Hikikomori (lit. “pulling away, being confined,” i.e., “acute social withdrawal”) is a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive adolescents and young adults who have chosen to withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement due to various personal and social factors in their lives.

The term “hikikomori” refers to both the sociological phenomenon in general, as in the hikikomori issue, as well as those individuals who display behaviors considered within the boundaries of the social label as in Hiroshi is a hikikomori. As the word hikikomori is taken directly from the Japanese language, it is often used for both the singular and plural form in English without modification: a hikikomori, those hikikomori, the hikikomori phenomenon. Via MindHacks.

The New York Times did a story on the phenomenon last week:

Shutting Themselves In By MAGGIE JONES

One morning when he was 15, Takeshi shut the door to his bedroom, and for the next four years he did not come out. He didn’t go to school. He didn’t have a job. He didn’t have friends. Month after month, he spent 23 hours a day in a room no bigger than a king-size mattress, where he ate dumplings, rice and other leftovers that his mother had cooked, watched TV game shows and listened to Radiohead and Nirvana. “Anything,” he said, “that was dark and sounded desperate.”

Our enemies and the Geneva Convention

For those who bleat about the putative barbarity of the US forces in Iraq, they ought to keep in mind the cunning and ruthless disregard for all wartime conventions that their enemies display. From Al Jazeera:

U.S. helicopters in Iraq face new threat –

…Iraqi fighters are using another new tactic which is harder to counter; they are targeting medical evacuation helicopters. The new ambush tactic exploits an already tested formula. Fighters first attack a U.S. patrol with a roadside bomb. When American forces call helicopters to evacuate the casualties, further devices explode on helicopter landing sites. According to Defense News, which first reported on the new aerial bomb threat, the U.S. army lost “more than one” helicopter to this new tactic.

This enemy shells hospitals; mass murders civilians; it targets ambulances, medics and medical helicopters; it tortures and murders captives.

Why should the US Army obey the Geneva Conventions when in the Iraqi theatre that convention does not exist and where is the outrage in the Western press about these violations?

A million column inches devoted to the use the white phospherous (shown to be complete propaganda bunk) and not a whisper about Iraq “Freedom Fighters” deliberately killing doctors and medics?

The lunacy Israel faces

Hamas rallies to ‘martyr’ mother – Sunday Times

Hamas has been the deadliest of the Palestinian militant groups. It has always stood for the obliteration of the Jewish state and was responsible for suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of Israelis over the past five years.

…The mother regards her candidacy for the Palestinian Legislative Council as a logical extension of the armed struggle she encouraged her sons to die for. She denies that Hamas‚Äôs decision to join mainstream Palestinian political life contradicts its military goals.

“The jihadist project completes the political one and the political project cannot be completed without jihad,” she says. “The resistance needs the political project to support it through the legislative council.”

…Farhat‚Äôs candidacy is seen as an indication that, while embracing a political role, it remains the same unreconstructed terrorist organisation that sent suicide bombers into Israeli cafes and onto buses.

The Israelis are right. Those Hamas “democrats” are using democracy as just one facet of larger strategy in their stated goal of annihilating Israel and the Jews.

It is an absurd situation. It is like watching the Nazi party do well in elections knowing they intend to establish a dictatorship as soon as power is transferred.

Precessional Effect

“Scientist, inventor, and philosopher Buckminster Fuller talked about the precessional effects that issue from just getting started in the service of humanity.

Fuller explained precession by pointing out that the honeybee’s seemingly primary objective is to obtain nectar to make honey, but while going after the nectar, the honeybee is unwittingly involved in a much bigger purpose.

As it flies from flower to flower in search of more nectar, it picks up pollen on its wings and thus ends up cross-pollinating all the rooted botanicals in the world. It’s an unintended by-product of the bee’s nectar-seeking activity.

Think of yourself as a speedboat moving through the water. To the sides of you and behind you is awake of activity caused by the sheer force of your forward motion.

Life is like that, too. As long as you are actively in motion in the pursuit of your goals, you will create precessional effects that will turn out to be far more important than you initially were capable of understanding or intending. You just begin, and the path of opportunities just keeps unfolding in front of and to the side of you.” Jack Canfield, “The Success Principles

This idea comes from his 1983 book “Critical Path”

“At the 1927 outset of project “Guinea Pig B” I assumed that humanity was designed to perform an important function in Universe, a function it would discover only after an initially innocent by-trial-and-error-discovered phase of capability development.

During the initial phase humans, always born naked, helpless and ignorant but with hunger, thirst and curiosity to drive them, have been chromosomically programmed to operate successfully only by means of the general biological inadvertencies of bumbling “honeyseeking.” Therefore, what humans call the side effects of their conscious drives in fact produced the main ecological effects of generalised technological regeneration. I therefore assumed that what humanity rated as “side effects” are nature’s main effects. I adopted the precessional “side
effects” as my prime objective.” [Found this quotation here].

Simon Mitchel, writing in the Gaias-cafe mailing list quoted Fuller above and said

Fuller reports that in prioritising ‘nature’s main effects’ over his (and his large family’s) income that as long as he served ‘nature’s main effects’ he was financially cared for, often unexpectedly and invariably at the last minute.

Does anyone in the network have experience of working like this?

…If we just ‘bite the bullet’ and dedicate ourselves to serving ‘nature’s main effects’, does it care for us? Is there any way that we can predict what these ‘effects’ might be?

I think the answer is a resounding “yes”. This concept is a central tenet of the Perennial Philosophy. You can find it articulated in works as diverse as Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic classic “Meditations” and Haruki Murakami’s “Dance Dance Dance” as well as thousands of spiritual works in every culture.

For more on Buckminster Fuller see Disinfo’s Buckminster Fuller dossier and Wikipedia.