Whenever we unleash our inner Curmudgeon, as we’re about to do, it upsets most of our regular readers. We don’t care. Sometimes, things have to be said. Politics is about more these days than left vs. right; those factions are obsolete and worthless. The true conflict is between the Enlightenment and the Dark Ages. Skip the rest of this if our politics are too insensitive for you.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), whose technological achievements once enthralled the entire civilized world, is descending into insanity. There’s no doubt about it, as you will soon see. This article, Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?, appears in London’s Guardian. We’re told:
A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.
Unequal wealth distribution? That leftist dogma has been around so long that our once-spritely response to it is now rather quaint, but we’ll repeat it anyway. If perfect equality were enforced, then the kid whose job is running around Disney World in a Mickey Mouse costume should have the same piece of the pie as Walt Disney, who created the whole thing. Want another analogy? Perfect equality would be like living in Basic Training, forever, with no hope of advancement — well, except for the enforcers of the system, who would live like lords as a reward for maintaining their intelligent design for society.
Let’s see what else the Guardian tells us:
The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.
We looked, but we can’t find that article, so let’s read on in the Guardian:
Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:
[The newspaper quotes from the study:] “… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”
Where have we seen that kind of thinking before? Ah yes, it’s the Marxist labor theory of value. It’s good to see that NASA is on the cutting edge of social science. The news article describes different scenarios in the study, and then it says:
Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners”, allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.” The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how “historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).”
Wow — it looks like the only solution is to raise everyone’s taxes far higher, so the benevolent government can save us from the impending catastrophe. No, dear reader, your Curmudgeon isn’t delusional. The news article quotes the research paper:
Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.
Yes — social planners are so much wiser than free markets! We must put them in charge of the economy at once! They will show us the way to paradise.
We’re delighted that NASA is spending its funds on studies like this, rather than foolish things like exploring the moon and other planets. Verily, a glorious future awaits us all!
Update: See NASA Statement on the Income Inequality Paper.
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