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jerryking : societal_collapse   10

Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows - The New York Times
By Denise Lu and Christopher FlavelleOct. 29, 2019

John Wyndham's "Out of the Deeps" (UK version, "The Kraken Wakes") has alarming scenes of London and much of the UK inundated. In that novel, it's aliens, melting the Greenland glaciers.
books  cities  climate_change  coastal  dislocations  extreme_weather_events  floods  flood-risk  flood-risk_maps  floodplains  geopolitical-risk  infrastructure  internal_migration  mass_migrations  population_movements  refugees  sea-level_rise  societal_collapse  weather 
october 2019 by jerryking
US and China must find ways to control their elites | Financial Times
July 1, 2018 | FT| Rana Foroohar. Pinboard saved article/artifact #25,000

Success rests on heading off popular unrest, rather than winning trade fights.
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Tension between the US and China is driving much of what is happening in the markets today. The analysis has focused on tariffs, currency manipulation, strategic technologies and which country has the most to win or lose in a trade war.

But there is a more important question to be asked when thinking about the future success and stability of each nation: which country will be better able to control its moneyed elites?

In his 1982 work The Rise and Decline of Nations, the economist Mancur Olson argues that civilisations tend to decline when the moneyed interests take over politics. That has clearly happened in both countries, where the levels of wealth inequality are not dissimilar; the top 1 per cent in China own about 30 per cent of the economy; in the US, the figure is 42 per cent.

........Chinese leaders also believe that America’s inability to curb its own elites will be the country’s downfall [Achilles’ heel]....America’s elite business class has, for decades now, sought to distract from rising oligopoly with hypocrisy. US companies complain vociferously about unfair Chinese trade practices and intellectual property theft.
U.S.  China  elitism  Rana_Foroohar  societal_collapse  the_One_Percent  self-interest  books  economists  Mancur_Olson  entrenched_interests  Achilles’_heel  Xi_Jinping  corruption  Chinese_Communist_Party  conflicts  confrontations  U.S.-China_relations 
july 2018 by jerryking
Where Have All the Black-Owned Businesses Gone? - The Atlantic
BRIAN S. FELDMAN MAY 1, 2017

The last 30 years also have brought the wholesale collapse of black-owned independent businesses and financial institutions that once anchored black communities across the country. In 1985, 60 black-owned banks were providing financial services to their communities; today, just 23 remain. In 11 states where black-owned banks had headquarters in 1994, not a single one is still in business. Of the 50 black-owned insurance companies that operated during the 1980s, today just two remain.

Over the same period, tens of thousands of black-owned retail establishments and local service companies also have disappeared, having gone out of business or been acquired by larger companies. Reflecting these developments, working-age black Americans have become far less likely to be their own boss than in the 1990s. The per-capita number of black employers, for example, declined by some 12 percent just between 1997 and 2014.......the decline in entrepreneurship and business ownership among black Americans also is cause for concern. ...market concentration has played a role in suppressing opportunity and in displacing local economies. ...........The role of market concentration in inhibiting black-owned businesses is also troubling because of the critical role that such enterprises have played in organizing and financing the struggle for civil rights in America......The decline of black-owned independent businesses traces back to many causes, but a major one that has been little noted was the decline in the enforcement of anti-monopoly and fair-trade laws beginning in the late 1970s......Bob Dickerson, the CEO of the Birmingham Business Resource Center in Alabama, says, “Had our institutions and businesses been maintained, had that money been plowed back into our communities, it could have meant a world of difference.”

The role of market concentration in driving down the number of black-owned independent businesses becomes all the more concerning when one considers some mostly forgotten history. In principles, people, and tactics, the fight for black civil rights, going back to before the Civil War, was often deeply intertwined and aligned with America’s anti-monopoly traditions......The story of how the struggle for civil rights intertwined and intersected historically with the struggle against monopoly provides a lesson for the future. It suggests a need to recognize how political independence connects with economic independence in the struggle for social justice. Without freedom from domination in one sphere, there is no freedom in the other.
African-Americans  anticompetitive_behaviour  anti-monopoly  antitrust  black-owned  business  civil_rights  collapse-anxiety  corporate_concentration  economic_clout  economic_inclusion  economic_independence  enforcement  fair-trade  Jim_Crow  market_concentration  market_power  New_Deal  political_independence  segregation  societal_collapse 
may 2017 by jerryking
Is This the End? - NYTimes.com
By JAMES ATLAS
Published: November 24, 2012.

History is a series of random events organized in a seemingly sensible order. We experience it as chronology, with ourselves as the end point — not the end point, but as the culmination of events that leads to the very moment in which we happen to live. “Historical events might be unique, and given pattern by an end,” the critic Frank Kermode proposed in “The Sense of an Ending,” his classic work on literary narrative, “yet there are perpetuities which defy both the uniqueness and the end.” What he’s saying (I think) is that there is no pattern. Flux is all.

Last month’s “weather event” should have taught us that. Whether in 50 or 100 or 200 years, there’s a good chance that New York City will sink beneath the sea. But if there are no patterns, it means that nothing is inevitable either. History offers less dire scenarios: the city could move to another island, the way Torcello was moved to Venice, stone by stone, after the lagoon turned into a swamp and its citizens succumbed to a plague of malaria. The city managed to survive, if not where it had begun... Every civilization must go.

Yet each goes in its own way. In “Collapse,” Jared Diamond showed how the disappearance of a civilization has multiple causes. A cascade of events with unforeseen consequences invariably brings it to a close.
New_York_City  Hurricane_Sandy  weather  natural_calamities  history  Jared_Diamond  Venice  unforeseen  chronological  collapse-anxiety  randomness  societal_collapse 
november 2012 by jerryking
Barbarians will always storm the gates of complexity
Oct 6, 2010 | Financial Times pg. 13 | John Kay. Why do
societies and seemingly indestructible empires collapse? Because as the
empires grow, the costs of central organization rise (complexity?) and
the benefits of further expansion became ever more marginal. The
phenomenon of multiplying complexity is not confined to ancient
civilisations. The nature of bureaucracy is to generate work for other
bureaucrats to do. C. Northcote Parkinson describes how the # of people
in the British Admiralty increased faster than the number of ships, and
continued to increase even after the # of ships declined. See Edward
Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, The Collapse of
Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter, and Jared Diamond's book Collapse.
complexity  collapse-anxiety  ProQuest  Jared_Diamond  Romans  books  bureaucracies  scaling  societal_collapse  sublinearity  Edmund_Gibbon 
october 2010 by jerryking
We are stone heads on medicare
Feb 28, 2005 | G &M Page A13 | By WILLIAM THORSELL. In
his bestseller, Collapse, Jared Diamond asks: "Why do societies make
disastrous decisions?" He is referring primarily to the environment, but
the answers apply to other things as well. Societies make disastrous
decisions because: We fail to anticipate big problems. It's hard to see
them in advance. But you can't say that about Canada's debt crisis, or
the rising crush of medicare. They were predicted for yrs., and yet we
barged on into them. We fail to perceive problems when they do arrive
because they are too small to see, or because they arrive slowly and we
get used to them....But the most potent of Mr. Diamond's reasons is "core values" -- the insistence on holding to certain defining values in the face of even mortal threats.

He cites the cult on Easter Island (cutting down trees to erect giant stone heads) as an example of bovine loyalty to core values in the face of compelling problems (deforestation).

Isn't that the case with medicare in Canada? We have raised the monopoly-pay/provider model to the status of a defining icon -- a core value of Canada itself. No matter how self-destructive and ineffective this approach may be, we are too invested in its symbolism to change it. It's a classic case of dumb loyalty to dysfunction, with deserved consequences.
William_Thorsell  Medicare  Jared_Diamond  incrementalism  anticipating  Canada  healthcare  creeping_normality  complacency  selfishness  values  self-destructive  slowly_moving  core_values  imperceptible_threats  societal_collapse 
october 2010 by jerryking
North Korea and Kim Jong Il: Will the Regime Collapse? - WSJ.com
MARCH 26, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | by y B.R. MYERS. If the regime collapses, will the rest of the world be ready?
North_Korea  collapse-anxiety  contingency_planning  societal_collapse 
march 2010 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT - Lunch with the FT: Jared Diamond
August 7 2009 | Financial Times | By David Pilling.

Jared Diamond is the guru of collapse. Collapse is the title of one of the books that have made him a world-famous academic. Collapse is subtitled How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, a swipe at those who suggest his books preclude choice. It is a theme that captures the Zeitgeist: markets have collapsed, banks have collapsed and confidence, even in the capitalist system itself, has collapsed.

Diamond’s celebrated book – which added to the reputation he earned through Guns, Germs and Steel, a Pulitzer prize-winner about why some societies triumph over others – sought to discover what makes civilisations, many at their apparent zenith, crumble overnight. The Maya of Central America, the stone-carving civilisation of Easter Island, and the Soviet Union – all suddenly shattered.

The question lurking in Diamond’s work is: could we be next? Could the great skyscrapers of Manhattan one day become deserted canyons of a bygone civilisation, a modern version of Ozymandias’s trunkless legs of stone?....There is no obvious segue between pomegranates and the recent shock to Anglo-Saxon capitalism but we get there via a discussion of collapsing fish stocks, a subject prompted by the salmon. Diamond knows I used to live in Japan and says, “If I was Japan’s worst enemy trying to figure out a strategy to drive it into a crisis in 10 years’ time, my strategy would be to get the Japanese to do exactly what they are doing, which is to over-harvest their main source of protein.” Humans’ ability to destroy the basis of their own livelihood is a recurring Diamond theme.
authors  books  Jared_Diamond  overconsumption  pomegranates  Pulitzer_Prize  societal_choices  societal_collapse  sustainability  writers 
october 2009 by jerryking

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