This first section is quite a long video, so I’ll reduce the number of links in this edition.
Don’t cast this in concrete.
It isn’t finished yet. I’m still waiting for the first one to sink in and I’m desperately seeking a relevant good-news story. 🙂
1. Bartlett for President?
That heading will ring a bell if you watched one of the few really good fictional TV series ever to grace our screens, The West Wing. It was a very well acted, superbly written, and often prescient 7-year ride through a White House staffed by people who were on the side of the angels. It could only make one pine for a world that was really run by the good guys.
The following link is quite an old video, and it’s not in HD. It’s an old man talking about maths. Don’t panic, you might find it interesting. Professor Albert Bartlett is the sort of person who should be running the world and who should be teaching maths. He will tell you why continual growth in a finite world is impossible. The most disturbing part to me is the examples he gives of civic and national leaders who don’t get it and the consequences of their lack of arithmetical knowledge.
Those of you who have heard me banging on about bacteria growing in bottles, rice grains on chess boards, or frogs on lily pads will recognize some of this. In order to fully grasp exactly why our planet is heading for an ecological brick wall as well as an economic one, you need to understand the consequences of “the exponential function”. Professor Bartlett was an advisor on “There’s no tomorrow” which you found in Letter 1. I hope. So you’ll find some echoes of that movie.
Don’t panic. The maths is (are?) easy to understand (as is usual if it isn’t taught by idiots) and you’ll probably find it interesting. Smart teenagers should be able to follow it. It’s a long video too–1 hour 13 minutes–so you may wish to consume it in small doses. It’s actually on Youtube as a series of 8 or 9 minute parts.
If you really find it hard to deal with you can probably get enough knowledge from the first 20 minutes or so but I really recommend watching the whole thing.
The consequences of growth
2. Why you should treat Key’s and English’s sunny forecasts with a massive grain of salt
Well, just one of many reasons really. They’re both either ill-informed, ignorant, stupid, dishonest, or any combination of the above. For non-Kiwi’s, substitute for Key and English either Obama, Cameron, Merkel, Gillard, et al or your favourite dreamer/liar/eternal optimist and their financial cronies…
China rescued us last time, They kept Australia booming, Australia kept New Zealand clinging on by our fingertips. China are very unlikely to repeat the job.
The chickens are coming home to roost again
3. This week’s feel good
I’ve had some difficulty finding any good news this week–which is a worry in itself, I’m working on it–so you get something uplifting from Playing for Change instead:
4. Greek bailout myth
A bit lighthearted but this may give those of you for whom international finance is a mystery an understanding that on one level it’s quite simple.
The only other really great TV series I can recall is Lonesome Dove, an adaptation of the book by one of my all-time favourite authors, Larry McMurtry. A mini-series. Nothing whatsoever to do with a collapsing world. 🙂
When the nation’s assets are up for grabs they’ll probably be worthwhile investments. But what ever you do, don’t buy shares in Air New Zealand or any other business that relies on unsustainable behaviour combined with obscenely excessive consumption of energy.
When an opportunity arises invest in sailing ships.
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Alan at Just Wondering