Downsize or Modify? A Conversation with Noam Chomsky

While Noam Chomsky surely needs no introduction, as they say, that doesn’t mean interviewing him has to follow a blueprint. So, after seeing him in a video called Are We Running Out of Oil? I decided to initiate a conversation about the future…or perhaps lack thereof.

What will happen if activists don’t kick things up a few thousands notches and provoke massive changes in the way humans currently live? Chomsky and I, of course, agree it’d be best to create such change and learn the answer to that question. On a few other points, we didn’t agree.

Our discussion went something like this…

Mickey Z.: I recently watched a video on climate change in which you were one of the featured interviewees. You talked quite somberly about the recent elections being a “death knell” for humanity and us “kissing our species goodbye.” I’ve read your work for decades but can’t seem to recall you using such language in this context. In your view, have we humans waited too long to take action? Do you believe we can/should downsize our industrial culture before it downsizes itself?

Noam Chomsky: If I said the elections are a death knell, I went too far. But I think it’s fair to say that they do threaten that outcome. Even the business press is concerned. Bloomberg Business Week reported that the elections brought into office dozens of climate change deniers, swelling support for Senator James Inhofe, who has declared global warming to be the “greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people” and feels “vindicated” by the election. He probably is also celebrating the ascendance of representative John Shimkus who assures us that God would prevent dire effects of climate change; analogues would be hard to find in other societies. And probably is also celebrating the fact that according to recent polls, barely a third of Americans now believe that human activities are a factor in climate change – very likely the result of a major corporate propaganda offensive, openly announced, to achieve this result. It’s important to bear in mind that those who orchestrate the campaigns know as well as the rest of us that the “hoax” is real and ominous, but they are pursuing their institutional role: maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities,” in this case the fate of the species. Modifying the core institutions of the society is no small challenge. This confluence of factors should serve as a grim warning. If the US continues to drag its feet on addressing these grave problems, the rest of the world will have even less incentive to proceed with serious measures. I don’t think that entails downsizing industrial culture. Rather, converting it to sustainable form to serve human needs, not private profit. For example high speed rail and solar technology do not downsize industrial culture.

MZ: When I say “downsizing industrial culture,” I’m suggesting that any lifestyle based on relentless resource extraction is by definition, un-sustainable. So, I would counter that “serving human needs” is partly what got us in this mess in the first place. Considering that 80% of the forests have been destroyed and 90% of large fish in the ocean are already gone, maybe we need a more holistic perspective on “needs”?

NC: I’d still give the same answer. Human needs are served by a sustainable lifestyle, almost by definition, if humans include coming generations. And a shift to such technologies as high-speed rail instead of maximizing fossil fuel use, and solar energy, is not “relentless resource extraction.”

MZ: I guess what I mean is what about non-human needs? We can’t survive without a functioning eco-system and most of the accepted suggestions—recycled goods, CFL bulbs, etc.—are way too little, way too late. As someone who has surveyed the shifting tides of human culture, can you foresee Americans stepping up to make the kind of changes and sacrifices required to ensure “coming generations”?

NC: I’m not sure what you mean by “non-human needs.” A functioning eco-system is a human need. Are you thinking of the needs of non-human animals? Say beetles? They’ll probably survive whatever we do to the eco-system. I quite agree that the standard suggestions are too little. If they are too late, then it follows, logically, that we really can kiss each other goodbye. But I think that’s too grim a forecast. On whether Americans can step up, it’s hard to be optimistic. Certainly current trends are in the opposite direction, as I mentioned.

MZ: So, if you’re not optimistic about Americans stepping up, what it is that keeps you from maintaining as “grim” a forecast as I?

NC: Because not being optimistic falls a long way short of predicting that all is finished. There are still options. If you really think the game is over, what’s the point of even discussing these topics?

MZ: The only game I feel is over is the widespread belief that minor tweaks and changes can make enough of a difference. What I’m sincerely wondering is what, as you see it, are the options that remain?

NC: I think we agree on that. The options that remain are much more dramatic and far-reaching initiatives, and the sooner the better.

MZ: Which brings me back to my initial point about downsizing. High-speed rail requires unsustainable and toxic practices like mining, etc. Solar energy is obviously better than fossil fuels but isn’t truly sustainable if it’s solely used to replace fossil fuels in the name of supporting an unsustainable industrial/technological culture. As for those beetles you mentioned earlier, surely you know that valuable insects like bees are being wiped out by this same human culture. So what I’m asking is for a clearer idea of what you see as the dramatic and far-reaching initiatives we need.

NC: Bees are being wiped out, but beetles aren’t. The choice today is not between eliminating transportation and wasting fossil fuels, but between more and less wasteful forms of transportation. Same with regard to solar energy. There’s no point discussing options that haven’t even a remote chance of being implemented, and would be massively destructive if they were. What has to be done today is (1) large-scale conversion (weatherizing, etc.), (2) sharp change in transportation to greater efficiency, like high-speed rail, (3) serious efforts to move to sustainable energy, probably solar in the somewhat longer term, (4) other adjustments that are feasible. If done effectively, that might be enough to stave off disaster. If not, then we can give up the ghost, because there are no alternatives in this world, at least none that I’ve seen suggested.

Also, I do not see how we can rationally oppose high speed rail because of the environmental and other costs without considering the social and human consequences of the radical elimination of transportation that this entails.

MZ: I do so because I feel the “environmental and other costs” are virtually indistinguishable from the “social and human consequences.” Preserving the unsustainable system that has put all life on earth at risk, to me, carries far worse potential consequences than beginning the process of dismantling that system. Neither option is even remotely appetizing but only one option accepts the inherent destructive nature of the industrial infrastructure as it stands now.

NC: Your reply illustrates exactly the problem I see constantly. You are certainly entitled to this opinion, but merely asserted it cannot carry any conviction. I’m sorry that you don’t see that your comment does not address the issue.

MZ: I’m sorry that you can’t see how it does.

NC: Then we agree.

MZ: Although we continued talking at that point, this marked the end of our official interview. However, I feel I would be remiss if I did not voice my fervent disagreement that there are “no alternatives in this world” to the four options Chomsky lists above.

We all know there’s much, much more everyone of us could be doing—right now—and the only reason so many believe these tactics don’t have “even a remote chance of being implemented” is that so few activists can see past (non-indigenous) “human needs” and/or have the stomach for drastic change. To me, the option that’s most “massively destructive” (to use Chomsky’s words) is the option of maintaining the structure that currently threatens all life on earth.

Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook. Read other articles by Mickey.

38 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on January 19th, 2011 at 7:40am #

    It’s important to bear in mind that those who orchestrate the campaigns know as well as the rest of us that the “hoax” is real and ominous, but they are pursuing their institutional role: maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities,” in this case the fate of the species. Noam Chomsky

    He did get that part correct and Mickey you are a tuff one but will take a lot of us. It does appear Chomsky thinks inside the box although seems to be trying to break free in some way’s there are a few people around his age who can and do think outside the box and it’s to bad we never see or hear them unless we with relentless pursuit travel the zero’s and one’s. It’s a tuff one an enormous effort and nothing easy about it well maybe slowing down and need not want. That was an amazing interview.

  2. Luis Cayetano said on January 19th, 2011 at 8:17am #

    I think that Chomsky’s suggestions are fine, and we should be working towards fulfilling them, but only if they are taken in the context of a broader anti-capitalist struggle that seeks to do away with the accumulation dynamics of the system, which are really at the heart of the environmental catastrophe that is engulfing us.

    Here’s an interesting article from Monthly Review: http://www.monthlyreview.org/101101foster-clark-york.php

  3. Don Hawkins said on January 19th, 2011 at 8:51am #

    Luis just read that in the Monthly and the truth it was.

    In Jevons’s eyes, the “momentous choice” raised by a continuation of business as usual was simply “between brief but true [national] greatness and longer continued mediocrity.” He opted for the former—the maximum energy flux. A century and a half later, in our much bigger, more global—but no less expansive—economy, it is no longer simply national supremacy that is at stake, but the fate of the planet itself. To be sure, there are those who maintain that we should “live high now and let the future take care of itself.” To choose this course, though, is to court planetary disaster. The only real answer for humanity (including future generations) and the earth as a whole is to alter the social relations of production, to create a system in which efficiency is no longer a curse—a higher system in which equality, human development, community, and sustainability are the explicit goals. John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York

    There are those who maintain that we should “live high now and let the future take care of itself.” To choose this course, though, is to court planetary disaster. The next year should tell us on the live high now and let the future take care of itself although living high is somewhat a play on words.

  4. bozh said on January 19th, 2011 at 12:03pm #

    but, but, my dears, we still have on moral level a monopoly [or duopoly, if u so desire]: the god-devil or devil-god one.

    and it’l come for u. and when god [if u'r duopolic, id est] finishes with, say, obama, devil takes over. or they take turns at him and eternally!

    obama has wmd, army, planet in his hands [well, much of it] but he no rule the monopolic powers. tnx

  5. Deadbeat said on January 19th, 2011 at 12:26pm #

    What the hell does Chomsky know about the oil industry other than to use it a shield for Zionism. To say that Chomsky needs no introduction is incorrect. He needs to be “introduced” as the Zionist (racist) sympathizer that he is. The fact that Mickey Z CONCEALS this fact is revealing about Zed’s desire to hide this fact. If he was interviewing David Duke he certainly would identify Duke former KKK ties.

    This “peak oil” is being used as a political tool against developing countries. Countries that Zionism hasn’t firmly embedded itself or directly challenges it. Here’s a link to an article that confirms what I’ve been writing about Venezuela’s abundant reserves …

    [http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/14/4060/Business/Markets--Companies/Venezuela-Oil-reserves-surpasses-Saudi-Arabias.aspx]

  6. hayate said on January 19th, 2011 at 1:26pm #

    Neither, z, nor chomsky seem to be able to view the whole picture here, and their argument is pointless. Chomsky doesn’t seem to understand the concept the non-human life has value in it’s own right, irrespective of human view about it – the old Judeo-Christian human centredness prejudice. And z doesn’t seem to have any depth of understanding about technology and how it can be used in a positive way to both save the environment and provide humans with better lives.

    Obvious, neither is willing to address the way an adherence zionism is preventing positive change in the things they discussed. Having people talk circles around each other like this is what zionists strive for in people working to effect positive change. It prevents anything meaningful being accomplished and maintains the oligarch capitalist status quo.

  7. Don Hawkins said on January 19th, 2011 at 2:26pm #

    That assumption is dubious, given the huge climate change that will occur under BAU scenarios, which have a positive (warming) climate forcing that is increasing at a rate dwarfing any known natural forcing.

    Ice sheet mass loss may slow in response to this cooling, but, as described qualitatively by Hansen (2009), it will be no consolation to humans. Stronger storms driven by increased latitudinal temperature gradients, combined with multi-meter sea level rise, will produce global havoc.

    BAU scenarios result in global warming of the order of 3-6°C. It is this scenario for which we assert that multi-meter sea level rise on the century time scale are not only possible, but almost dead certain. Such a huge rapidly increasing climate forcing dwarfs anything in the peleoclimate record. Antarctic ice shelves would disappear and the lower reaches of the Antarctic ice sheets would experience summer melt comparable to that on Greenland today. Hansen

    Drill baby drill the tar sands well that’s a nobrainer as it’s the economy stupid and Capitalism is the best path to; I forget the best path to what. Ok c-span time and see how the House is coming along.

  8. Don Hawkins said on January 19th, 2011 at 4:03pm #

    Just watched the House of Representatives and it makes perfectly good sense to me pass a health care bill and now repeal it and we thought all the great minds were gone. I guess this is called business as usual although they seem to be having a hard time with even that. Ok a theory a new one. Maybe we are all living in a parallel Universe some of us live on Earth and some think they are on Earth but oh no another World just look’s the same but on somewhat of a different frequency. This is only a theory hasn’t been proven yet the math is still out on this as what we are trying to do is add two and two and get four so far no cigar. The people who think they are on Earth but not seem to use another form of math not in all cases the best we can figure it is about 97% no cigar 3% or 5% and sometimes 10% the math work’s and the strange part seems to depend on how the stock market is doing. We have run this through a supercomputer in China and we keep getting nice game of checkers red or black who goes first. Well we then ran it through a supercomputer in the States same answer. Will make this work.

  9. Deadbeat said on January 19th, 2011 at 5:37pm #

    Don writes ….

    That assumption is dubious, given the huge climate change that will occur under BAU scenarios, which have a positive (warming) climate forcing that is increasing at a rate dwarfing any known natural forcing.

    No one is suggesting that BAU (business-as-usual) continue. The issue is the POLITICS of “climate change/global warming/peak oil”. Criticism of the oil companies by the pseudo-Left is especially design to:

    [1] Assign blame to a “difficult to defend” group as a diversionary tactic.
    [2] Assist U.S. imperialism confront challenges from developing nations.

    This is how the pseudo-Left can maintain a “radical” facade while disguising their service to Western capital AND Zionist interests. The pseudo-Left can simultaneous get paid and pretend to be “Leftists”. As Francis Fox Piven inferred on Democracy Now! while the pay is better on the Right the pay ain’t all that bad on the “Left”.

    This is why the pseudo-Left and its “alternative media” has DROPPED concerns about pollution in favor of “climate change/global warming/peak oil”. Challenging pollution directly confronts Capitalism but this “climate change/global warming/peak oil” canard is mired in contentious science. You’ve essentially got know-nothings pseudo-Leftists trying to talk up areas that they have ABSOLUTELY no training and requires a deep knowledge of climatology, physics, biology, chemistry, etc.

    There is NO WAY possible that anyone can make a convincing argument without deeply understanding the science. It just becomes a game of who do you believe and the pseudo-Left uses the ad hominem that industry scientists are taint by “corporate” money. But we know that supposed “independent” scientists are tainted by “foundation” money as well. Thus the only way to solve “climate change/global warming/peak oil” is to confront both Zionism and Capitalism. Which is exactly what the pseudo-Left does not want.

  10. Deadbeat said on January 19th, 2011 at 5:40pm #

    hayate writes …

    And z doesn’t seem to have any depth of understanding about technology and how it can be used in a positive way to both save the environment and provide humans with better lives.

    This anti-technology coming from the pseudo-Left is galling as they themselves are among the biggest users of technology. Their weapon of choice is word processing software running on computers to scrawl out their pseudo-intellectual duplicity and bullshit.

  11. Don Hawkins said on January 19th, 2011 at 6:08pm #

    I’ll bet the left or pseudo-Left don’t know what they need. It’s only words and many of the words come from the haves the haves that have way to much time on the hands to control others. Ask almost anybody are you right or left maybe middle and could get what’s it to you. No more left, right, middle an illusion like me am I left right middle I think not a great big prison for the mind. Now if I worked at say Goldman Sach’s I’ll bet no thought is needed probably comes in the form of a memo. DB did you read Hansen’s new stuff and forget political it’s science and he is fighting the best way he knows how some very powerful forces with the truth and knowledge they just use money and I’ll bet they would like to put him on house arrest this next year will not be boring. What James Hansen posted today was human race ending event’s and sometimes it’s the small stuff that can get us. If you can call Australia about one third of the Country flooded.

  12. Deadbeat said on January 20th, 2011 at 12:16am #

    DB did you read Hansen’s new stuff and forget political it’s science and he is fighting the best way he knows how some very powerful forces with the truth and knowledge they just use money and I’ll bet they would like to put him on house arrest this next year will not be boring

    I didn’t read Hansen stuff Don but the problem is that you can’t dismiss politics. These political designations are just that Don — designation and descriptors. They are just short hand that makes it easier to communicate these ideologies. They are tremendous factors in how people are persuaded. It would be easier if it call came down to reason and science but that is not how the world works and if you want to save the world you must be political.

  13. Don Hawkins said on January 20th, 2011 at 3:13am #

    Again, it’s important to bear in mind that those who orchestrate the campaigns know as well as the rest of us that the “hoax” is real and ominous, but they are pursuing their institutional role: maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities,” in this case the fate of the species. Noam Chomsky

    Then he say’s;

    NC: Bees are being wiped out, but beetles aren’t. The choice today is not between eliminating transportation and wasting fossil fuels, but between more and less wasteful forms of transportation. Same with regard to solar energy. There’s no point discussing options that haven’t even a remote chance of being implemented, and would be massively destructive if they were. What has to be done today is (1) large-scale conversion (weatherizing, etc.), (2) sharp change in transportation to greater efficiency, like high-speed rail, (3) serious efforts to move to sustainable energy, probably solar in the somewhat longer term, (4) other adjustments that are feasible. If done effectively, that might be enough to stave off disaster. If not, then we can give up the ghost, because there are no alternatives in this world, at least none that I’ve seen suggested. Chomshy

    Aha there’s that darn parallel Universe again coming up. So in one thought it’s the fate of the species and kind of forgot about the frogs then he goes into the other Universe, because there are no alternatives in this world, at least none that I’ve seen suggested. Just who is doing the suggesting oh that’s right the people who maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities. So we just except this evil, evil to strong a word ok madness. I’ll bet Noam know’s this is not uncommon in history been tried many times always’ with the same result. There is much knowledge in the World past and present right at our finger tip’s and who is now in control that’s right the people who maximizing short-term profit and put aside “externalities. A great example of that was yesterday in the House I mean central casting could not have done a better job with the new Republicans and nothing new about them. The level of thinking with known knowledge on a scale between one and ten was .05 and that could be pushing it. Something in high school maybe one two many go team go. None that I’ve seen suggested come on Noam yes from the .05er’s the little helpers of the maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities and we can see them on TV everyday in there relentless pursuit of happiness can’t we. So here’s a suggestion;

    Yet at most they set goals and take baby steps because they are under the strong influence of fossil fuel interests. There are too many people profiting from our addiction to fossil fuels—and they have a huge influence on our governments.

    Congress and the president are thumbing their noses at young people.

    The government must face the fact that fossil fuel use will not decline rapidly unless a rising fee is added to fossil fuels, a fee that should be collected from fossil fuel companies at the source before the first sale. Such a carbon fee will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for fossil fuels. Therefore it is important that 100 percent of the collected funds be distributed to the public, preferably as a monthly “green check,” although the funds could be used in part to reduce taxes. This “fee and green check” approach would leave about 60 percent of the public receiving more from the green check than they would pay in increased energy prices. The objective is to reward people who reduce their carbon footprint and to stimulate the development of clean energies. James Hansen

    To do that with the maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities people well don’t start without me comes to mind or could think of it as kind of a war with the .05er’s and where in any book does it say we have to repeat the past oh that’s right in how to win friends and influence people such a great work this is the big one illusion, myth or knowledge the truth our choice. Heck maybe all the people would start to feel better you know what I mean all the people. Has to start somewhere well it has already started just that the maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities group/gang sort of control thought’s don’t they. Well going to turn on one of the financial channels this morning and see if I can spot any thought control and the odds of that are at about 100%.

  14. Don Hawkins said on January 20th, 2011 at 3:31am #

    That being said maybe Noam would like to comment yes make a comment or would that be belittling himself not in my book mate. Unless that thinking can change we are done for that simple. The prison for the mind and am sure you have heard of it.

  15. Don Hawkins said on January 20th, 2011 at 4:49am #

    Around 2.2 million people are facing a shortage of drinking water due to a severe drought in parts of central, southern and eastern China, with some cities starting to run low on supplies, state media said on Monday.
    Rainfall is down by between 20 to 90 percent compared with the same period last year in the provinces of Henan, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Anhui and Shaanxi, the official Xinhua news agency quoted a government official as saying. Some of the areas affected are major growing regions for winter wheat, the report added.
    “Relentless droughts that started to dry out winter wheat producing areas such as Shandong and Henan provinces in November continue, affecting some 4 million hectares of cropland,” it cited Chen Lei, deputy head of drought relief efforts, as saying.
    “Water supply is running low in cities around the Yellow, Huaihe and Haihe rivers in northern and central parts of China,” Chen added, calling for more work to be put into relief efforts. “Governments at all levels should fully recognise the challenge and ramp up drought-relief efforts,” he said.
    Drought has affected winter wheat crops in 17 percent of China’s wheat growing areas in the country’s northern bread basket, and dry weather is forecast to extend until spring next year, the government said last month. Reu

    There’s that word again crop’s and it’s the little things that can get us if you can call 2.2 million people little. Out of site out of mind could work for a little while longer. An enormous effort and probably a good idea to start soon the goal save as much life on Earth as we can. We already use about 50% more resources than the Earth can produce could start there.

  16. Max Shields said on January 20th, 2011 at 9:02am #

    I agree with Mickey Z’s general point about de-industrialization. But the missing piece in this puzzle – which is almost always the case – human consumption.

    Intermediate technologies, human scaled economies are very sustainable. Our unquenchable thirst for endless growth as a neoclassical economical mantra IS the problem.

    De-industrialization that Mickey alludes to, is the realization that corporate/industrial capitalism is a deep pathology that will prove our undoing as a species. It is, I would strongly argue, in process now.

    Yes there are impacts, major, when a society de-industrializes. The issue however is much more of an imperative that a simple choice: We either begin to create a steady-state economy that allow us to prosper under new conditions (soft landing) or we will be in for a future of hell on earth (hard landing).

    Appropriate and intermediate technologies, self-provisioning and a host of options can be sustainably acheived ONLY if we move quickly away from an economy based on growth at the expense of the very system that provides us with the ability to live on this planet.

  17. John Andrews said on January 21st, 2011 at 1:07am #

    Mickey,

    You and Mr Chomsky both seem to miss the most important point. The single most important issue about the long term health of our planet is the overpopulation of human beings.

    Take a little look at the human population clock: http://math.berkeley.edu/~galen/popclk.html

    This is not the rate of live human births, this is RATE OF GROWTH of live human births. It is obviously unsustainable. Human beings must stop overbreeding.

  18. Don Hawkins said on January 21st, 2011 at 3:34am #

    One central bank board member has estimated that the floods, linked by some scientists to global warming and rising sea temperatures, could shave up to 1 percent off economic growth in the December and March quarters, equal to around $A 13 billion. ($12.9 billion).

    Coal mines are working to reopen, with water still needing to be pumped from their pits and rail lines to the coast to be repaired. In New South Wales, completion of the grain harvest has been delayed and crop quality severely downgraded. Reu

    Crop quality severely downgraded there it is again and am starting to feel like the computer program web bot as I keep hearing crop, crops then of course I watch MSM here in the States and feel much better. Yesterday on the fair and balanced channel was unboring as they are not going to tone it down as I guess the truth must get out. I think if we can unscramble this thinking probably more on the lines of doublethink and or newthink or just good old fashion BS. Last night on CNBC Boone Pickens was on and said look’s like World oil demand 98 million barrels of oil in 2011 I think that was the number and supply will be 97 million barrels. Well somebody is going to have to start walking. How high can it go good question first stop probably a $100 a barrel and China is now driving there driving look there driving. I worked with my son yesterday a little and we were out at an old farmers place and the old farmer and myself were talking about biscuits and floor and how to can meat as again probably going to make a big come back. Oh we did talk a little about lawyer types and doublethink in so many words.

  19. Don Hawkins said on January 21st, 2011 at 4:21am #

    Here’s something some might find shocking. At Fox New’s what could one reason be they can’t tone it down? Well in many way’s they live off the misery of others and yes they are not the only one’s. They need to make there lives feel useful while helping a few very few Maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities”. To tone it down or use reason tell the truth on a few levels would make them feel weak. I find with myself to tell the truth has the opposite effect and yes I change my own brakes sweep floors and make a mean pot of coffee. So much to learn.

  20. Deadbeat said on January 21st, 2011 at 4:31am #

    You and Mr Chomsky both seem to miss the most important point. The single most important issue about the long term health of our planet is the overpopulation of human beings.

    I totally disagree with this neo-Malthusian rhetoric of “overpopulation”. There is an ABUNDANCE of resources as well as UNDERCONSUMPTION by much of the world’s population. The problem has to do with Capitalism and the power. What is needed is a massive REDISTRIBUTION of wealth, power, and resources. In other words there needs to be a confrontation of both Zionism and Capitalism with the goal of world-wide Socialism.

  21. Deadbeat said on January 21st, 2011 at 4:35am #

    I agree with Mickey Z’s general point about de-industrialization. But the missing piece in this puzzle – which is almost always the case – human consumption.

    Totally disagree. There will a continued need for industrialization. Industrialization and growth are mutually exclusive. Part of the reason this is being sold to activist by folks like Chomsky and Zed are because they are members of the pseud0-Left who actually support Western imperialism while pretending to be against it. This is the pseudo-Left positioning AGAINST the developing nations to maintain Western imperial aims especially as Zionism is pretty much the driver of 21st Century imperialism.

  22. Don Hawkins said on January 21st, 2011 at 4:57am #

    Let’s see yesterday 127 mobsters were arrested and it was said they make a lot of there money by lending money. Interesting and this last little economic downturn did Wall street lend any money in order to Maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities”. Oh yes they sure did that and just didn’t lend the money with compound interest almost a magical form of math but then again almost like magic turned the lent money into more magic and spread there magic Worldwide. How did it work out not well and were they arrested of course not as they were not taken away in a wagon to a military base for booking but a wagon sort of of more money arrived at there front door. Did they laugh all there way to the bank well no they were already at the bank. Who invented this system maybe we have been visited from travelers from far far away.

  23. Don Hawkins said on January 21st, 2011 at 5:08am #

    Repeat the obvious and don’t forget as it’s probably the forget part a few depend on. Then again it’s kind of hard to forget something when the same people who want us to forget control the information. Kind of takes education to a whole new level in the land of Oz.

  24. bozh said on January 21st, 2011 at 9:06am #

    the label “overpopulation” stands as an overgeneralization. and it wld be wise not to make any conclusion from such a conclusion.
    and once one is on the road of conclusion making, it never ends.
    and thus the arguing, bitterness, warfare, exploitation, torture, jailing people also never ceases!

    having said this, i am not opposing u.s. pop being reduced by 90%, or if not that, then, their consumption reduced by 90%.
    so, ok! i, too, have concluded. however, this proposal-conclusion is of much lower order; thus, closer to reality.
    in any case, what’s important is to be aware one is concluding! we just cannot talk unless we also conclude. they do have to be based on facts– and all salient facts that pertain– aaaand, no cherry picking, please! tnx

  25. Don Hawkins said on January 22nd, 2011 at 3:52am #

    Somalia’s prime minister told the UN Security Council on Friday that the new government is winning its war with Islamist militants but that 2.5 million people face starvation because of drought.

    “Nearly 2.5 million people are on the verge of starvation and unless we will have immediate support, definitely there will be a catastrophic situation,” Mohamed told reporters after the meeting. AFP

    So in the minds of some this is the solution? The easy way out is it well to do nothing but that’s right we now have the Volt to do nothing; nothing from nothing leaves nothing. To watch those lawyer types in the House talk about health care the .05er’s and then think about a real try and what is needed not looking real good for the home team.

  26. Don Hawkins said on January 22nd, 2011 at 4:02am #

    {http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png}

    I really do want to see this summer the melt as the ice that is forming new ice is anything but normal. Check out the big picture as those dirt rat fink low’s just keep coming.

    {http://goes.gsfc.nasa.gov/goescolor/goeswest/overview2/color_lrg/latestfull.jpg}

  27. Don Hawkins said on January 23rd, 2011 at 3:41am #

    So as of January 19, 2011 these people are starting to understand this; hello people where have you been for the last 15 years or so. Oh and in Antarctica the ice is melting just not as fast as in the Arctic and on our present path that to shall change. You can’t make this stuff up then again……………………

    Too little ice could be adding to global warming

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011
    This story may be a little hard to believe, especially a day after most kids had a day off from school because of ice, but here goes:
    Scientists are reporting that the shrinking ice and snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is adding to the problem of global warming in a way that they had not anticipated. Arctic sea ice, glaciers and snow are reflecting less energy back to space than they were 30 years ago, according to a University of Michigan study.
    Scientists say that what was once covered in ice and snow is now land and water, which are darker and absorb more heat than the white ice. As a result, the amount of solar energy being reflected to the Earth’s upper atmosphere has decreased since the late 1970s.
    Scientists add that other factors could be causing the decrease but that the decline is more than they had expected.
    Temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere have risen by about 0.75 degrees Celsius in the past three decades. The study did not look at the Southern Hemisphere, where Antarctica has far more ice, is much colder and shows fewer signs of warming. Washington Post

  28. Don Hawkins said on January 23rd, 2011 at 3:50am #

    While individual weather extreme events cannot be directly linked to larger scale climate changes, recent data analysis and modeling suggest a link between loss of sea ice and a shift to an increased impact from the Arctic on mid-latitude climate (Francis et al. 2009; Honda et al. 2009). Models suggest that loss of sea ice in fall favors higher geopotential heights over the Arctic. With future loss of sea ice, such conditions as winter 2009-2010 could happen more often. Thus we have a potential climate change paradox. Rather than a general warming everywhere, the loss of sea ice and a warmer Arctic can increase the impact of the Arctic on lower latitudes, bringing colder weather to southern locations. NOAA

    At the Washington post go slow and as you use your mind a little more a whole new world starts to open up.

  29. bozh said on January 23rd, 2011 at 9:42am #

    don, that’s the reason why hamas had dug thousands of long tunnels.
    when temps rise to 60c in fall or winter, tunnels wld offer cooleness and survival.

    i used to be a miner. shld i start digging my own survival-tunnel? probably not!? i am 80 yrs old! so, what’s the use??

    let’s not be surprised that obama, clinton, bush r not right now digging survival-tunnel[s]? tnx

  30. mary said on January 23rd, 2011 at 9:59am #

    FYI the tunnels were dug in order to get food, medicines and other supplies in after Israel strengthened their siege which continues to this day.

    ‘The siege of Gaza did not begin when Hamas seized control of the Strip’s security organs, or when Gilad Shalit was taken captive, or when Hamas was elected in democratic elections. The siege began in 1991 – before the suicide bombings. And since then, it has only become more sophisticated, reaching its peak in 2005. ‘

    {http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/history-did-not-begin-with-the-qassams-1.268097}

  31. Don Hawkins said on January 23rd, 2011 at 3:35pm #

    Noam Chomsky did put it well they are pursuing their institutional role: maximizing short-term profit and putting aside “externalities,” in this case the fate of the species. In even more simple terms thank’s mom thank’s dad for absolutely nothing or the corporation comes first not the family or the fate of the species and or life on Earth we human’s can’t see the future and we always’ wait until it’s to late it’s always’ been done that way and so it goes. The they will say we have the volt great what about tax carbon, sorry can’t open that door maximizing short-term profit and put aside externalities in this case the fate of the species.

  32. Rehmat said on January 23rd, 2011 at 3:48pm #

    I think Hamas dig-out all those tunnels to smuggle Iraq’s unfound WMDs, right bozh!!!

  33. Rehmat said on January 23rd, 2011 at 3:49pm #

    Noam Chomsky has lost all his moral credential by exposing himself to be an agent of Israel Lobby.

  34. Don Hawkins said on January 23rd, 2011 at 4:02pm #

    Noam Chomsky did put it well everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler. He put the first part well the answer’s if we wish to survive with some freedom it’s the but not simpler part that is a tuff one a little light on that one. If Einstein looked at the Universe like are so called leaders so far look at the problem’s we face he would have stopped at it’s all relative probably no thought on light.

  35. bozh said on January 23rd, 2011 at 4:36pm #

    rehmat,
    maybe some tunnels ended under baghdad and via a shaft onto main street.

    from there, wmd were tunnel-lifted off to another– but to ‘jews’ an unknown tunnel– either in gaza, jordan, arabian peninsula.

    this explains the siege of gaza! tnx

  36. Deadbeat said on January 23rd, 2011 at 8:18pm #

    Noam Chomsky has lost all his moral credential by exposing himself to be an agent of Israel Lobby.

    Totally agree. Noam Chomsky is FULFILLING his INSTITUTIONAL role of diverting scrutiny away from American Zionism and its POWER and INFLUENCE of U.S. policy.

  37. mary said on January 24th, 2011 at 2:50am #

    According to the leaked papers, the Palestinian people have been betrayed by Abbas, Errekat and Fayad who are now claiming the documents are a ‘pack of lies’.

    ‘They show “the level of the Fatah Authority’s [sic] involvement in attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause, particularly on the issue of Jerusalem and refugees, and its involvement against the resistance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip”, Sami Abu Zuhri said, quoted by AFP news agency.

    Current peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been suspended for months, ostensibly over Israel’s refusal to stop building Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land.’

    {http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12263671}

    Futhermore Abbas’s mandate expired in 2006.

    The ‘leak’ of these papers completely buried the whitewash of the Israeli report on the Mavi Marmara atrocity. Regev has been allowed free rein over the British media at the weekend.

  38. Don Hawkins said on January 24th, 2011 at 4:44am #

    “If you think it’s bad now — when we’ve had about 0.7 degrees Celsius of warming — wait until we’ve had 3 or 4,” Gulledge said. “There’s absolutely no reason to think it will not continue getting worse and worse and worse.”

    In an increasingly urbanized world, people, goods and infrastructure are concentrated, meaning that each natural disaster has the potential to cause an unprecedented amount of damage.

    “The losses are increasing very rapidly,” Wahlstrom said. “Today is decision time. We know what the risks are. We can see the trends.”

    While natural disasters tend to be more deadly in developing countries, this last year has shown extreme weather can strike planet-wide.

    “The attitude that many of us probably have lived with for decades, because we’ve lived in fairly safe countries, is that disasters are something that happens to others,” Wahlstrom said. “That is no longer viable.” Globalpost

    The they will say we have the volt great what about tax carbon, sorry can’t open that door maximizing short-term profit and put aside externalities in this case the fate of the species; the fate of the species has this ever happened before well not to human’s although our numbers did get rather low at times in the past now 65 million years ago life on Earth had a small problem. Did we walk with the dinosaurs no as just turn on your TV we are still walking with dinosaurs. We have been told and told and yet short-term profit and put aside externalities. The band aid approach oh well and what is coming up oh that’s right the 2012 elections and am thinking my two TV’s will make a great place to grow plant’s. Maybe the State of the Union speech here in the States will give us a clue on the fate of the species, life on Earth. How dare you say the fate of the species don’t you know that goes against the thinking of the greatest minds in human history and maximizing short-term profit and put aside externalities where consumer confidence must be saved at all cost’s. Who do you think you are might want to try listening to your leaders and if you see something say something. No grow plant’s in my TV’s and read a little if you don’t mind. Well yes we do mind what if more people thought like that I mean we would give an election and nobody would show up. Have you seen the choices in 2012 and the thinking that goes along with the choices walking with dinosaurs comes to mind again don’t you think. I thought we told you more than once ignorance is strength what part of that don’t you get yet keep it up and off to a reeducation camp for you. Is it nice how’s the food can you play basketball.