The basis for my bet
Thank you for the excellent and detailed response. I agree, generally, with all of your positions on carbon correction and I have never been deluded by the power of governmental carbon markets to solve the problem(s). I think those were laudable only as an initial action and, therefore, better than nothing.
That has proven to be questionable as you note with the collateral damage to the majorities even in post industrial states who have been increasingly exploited by the vastly wealthy oligarchs. On the bottom end of that are people seriously hurt by rising energy prices passed through in ‘market’ actions.
I agree that the real key is a combination of rapid conversion to renewable, primarily, solar energy with wind, tidal and nuclear although the later is tremendously expensive to do safely. We are already seeing growth in momentum to electric power with conversion of fossil fuels to solar.
There are very important roles for government in making this happen quickly and it must happen quickly. We are already seeing political collapse driven by climate change in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. We have already missed too many targets to prevent catastrophic warming above 2 degrees.
These roles are primarily in driving investment in solar and renewable energy while penalizing fossil fuels to get it to the level that beats fossil fuels in an open market. And that is the real problem. These problems are recursive, complex, and nonlinear. People cannot handle these by any form of intuition. In fact they are far beyond the standard politician or ruler who has been reduced to opportunistic power grabbers. That is a cultural problem tied to the failure to evolve to a new form of social management and a truly democratic social structure at the planetary level.
And that is why I am working to look at China as the emerging most powerful nation state from the Asian perspective and not form the failing west’s perspective. The West’s failure is a natural process as even the most successful systems degrade and become dysfunctional as conditions change.
We are going to need to understand and influence China for our survival. America is in collapse and the EU, while it is much better off than the US, is only slightly healthier in the overall and is prone to the same type of collapse into neo fascist self destruction. That is just the inevitable final stage of capitalism. So we need to move on. China is presenting itself as the successor that is able to act for mass benefit with government sponsored markets as a better system. They are at least partially correct but that is a dangerous play. However that plays out they are winning converts in Africa and throughout the southern hemisphere. That is the future in resources, population and opportunity.
If you’ve read any my main writings the emerging social structure is, I think, a planetary culture that is city based in urban regions. This is simply what is happening. As the old large nation states collapse the breakout will be to regional city states. The driving forces are numerous as we are at 50% urban now and will be 70–80% in the next forty or so years. But, of course, these will be new as we will be unable to prevent the loss of many coastal cities to sea level rise. China’s building of large “new” cities is an interesting preparation for that although it tends to be sneered at as a failure of state planning which may be partially true. That was fairly ruined by Brasilia fifty years ago.
My main point in contradiction to your response is assuming that China is simply an authoritarian and very large nation state that can be defined by western terms. You quote some good work on a more accurate way of looking at China but the same forces that I see moving against larger planetary regional states applies their, too. The very long Chinese experience with defining good societies is, I think, far more sophisticated than the Greaco-Roman west. It is more authoritarian but also more personal in smaller states. Government stops at a higher level with local management in the hands of local scholars. How will that evolve in a planetary networked society? Right now we are seeing that power used for deep tracking and identification. But that is happening everywhere that is growing more authoritarian.
These are not answers but the need to be more open and to actively abandon the current collapsing systems while actively redefining what a good society is in the 21st century. That will only come to pass if we survive our own destruction of our climate.