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Deep thought - Feb 28

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage.


Upper class people are more likely to behave selfishly, studies suggest

Ian Sample, Guardian
A raft of studies into unethical behaviour across the social classes has delivered a withering verdict on the upper echelons of society.

Privileged people behaved consistently worse than others in a range of situations, with a greater tendency to lie, cheat, take things meant for others, cut up other road users, not stop for pedestrians on crossings, and endorse unethical behaviour, researchers found.

Psychologists at the University of California in Berkeley drew their unflattering conclusions after covertly observing people's behaviour in the open and in a series of follow-up studies in the laboratory.

Describing their work in the US journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, social psychologist Paul Piff and his colleagues at the Institute of Personality and Social Research claim that self-interest may be a "more fundamental motive among society's elite" that leads to more wrongdoing. They say selfishness may be "a shared cultural norm".

The scientists also found a strong link between social status and greed, a connection they suspect might exacerbate the economic gulf between the rich and poor. ,
(27 February 2012)
From Australia: Rich people more likely to take lollies from children: study.



Foreclose: Rehousing the American Dream (Museum of Modern Art)

Karen Cilento, arch daily

Suggested by the Independent (UK) which writes:

The latest cultural institution to begin thinking about the future of the suburb in the post peak-oil world is New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMa). Last summer the museum's Long Island site, MoMa PS1, asked five teams of architects and designers to come up with new ideas for refitting and redesigning America's suburbs – especially those that have been devastated by the mortgage crisis. The concepts are now on show at the exhibition Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream.

Some of the ideas include a new plan for a town in Oregon that mixes swathes of nature with houses with non-uniform green spaces and thin, car-unfriendly gaps between houses.

Another retrofitting concept proposed to fill the streets of parts of The Oranges (four suburban towns in New Jersey) with buildings, each with ground floors you can walk through. Good luck with that one... The five concepts are all fascinating.

You can read about each of the five plans in detail here: ind.pn/forearchdaily
(25 February 2012)
The article in Arch Daily is from September 2011.



Get a Job

John Weber, Sun Web
We are trapped. A friend of mine, very bright, knows engines backwards and forwards has gone to the fracking fields in North Dakota to work. He is around 30, has a family and was working a seasonal job. Now he is raking in the money. He told me one day they didn’t have anything for him, he sat in his truck all day and earned a lot of money.

He needs a job. The way we live, we need fossil fuel energy. If we are polluting the water, polluting the air, upsetting the seismic situation , so be it. He needs a job and the way we live, we need fossil fuel energy. If he doesn’t do this work, there will be a flood of job loss repercussions locally and across the nation.

... As the U.S. of A. empire winds down, our military men and women will be coming home. Many of these men and women have been trained in high tech, energy intensive fields and in war. Where will these thousands of people work? What kind of job?

Manufacturers, assemblers, installers, maintenance people and bureaucrats inspecting and providing grants for solar and wind devices, as I have written in multiple places, are extensions of the fossil fuel world will be idle when fossil fuels are scarcely available.

A dear friend is an interior designer. Enough said.

These careers/jobs have been valuable and contributing in the world of cheap, easily accessible fossil fuels and with the ongoing paradigm of continual growth. The men and women have been hard working people enmeshed in the ongoing vision of the their world. They are not to be denigrated for this past; their jobs are simply extraneous and not supportable in the coming world.

We are trapped in needing to squeeze out every molecule of fossil fuel energy we can. It is threatening air, ground water, rivers, oceans, seismic activity, soil, and human health, but we have no choice.
(23 February 2012)



Die ökologische Revolution
Vom Ende eines Produktionszeitalters - und vom Beginn eines neuen

Dr. Hubert Fetzer, Neues Deutschland
Zwischen 1780 und 1790 wurden in der englischen Grafschaft Lancashire die ersten Spinnmaschinen aufgestellt. Es war ein regionales Ereignis, das außerhalb der Grafschaft keinen Briten interessierte. Stattdessen blickten nicht nur die Briten, sondern ganz Europa nach Frankreich, wo sich die politischen Auseinandersetzungen zu einem Ereignis zuspitzten, das als Französische Revolution in die Geschichte einging. In den Geschichtsbüchern konnte man später auch lesen, dass das provinzielle Ereignis in Lancashire der Beginn der Industriellen Revolution war, die die materielle Grundlage für den Übergang vom Feudalismus zum Kapitalismus schuf.

Gegenwärtig deutet vieles darauf hin, dass eine ähnliche Situation auf höherer gesellschaftlicher Stufe entstehen könnte. Im Folgenden soll nicht auf die in der Öffentlichkeit breit diskutierten aktuellen politischen Ereignisse, sondern auf die kaum wahrgenommenen Veränderungen der materiellen Produktion eingegangen werden, und es soll die Frage beantwortet werden, ob die Menschheit am Beginn einer neuen Produktivkraftrevolution steht.

Wenn man die verschiedenen Sektoren der gesellschaftlichen Produktion betrachtet, zeigt sich überall die gleiche Situation: Die bisherige Art der Produktion stößt an Grenzen. In der Energiewirtschaft ist die Erschöpfung der Vorräte an fossilen Energieträgern absehbar. Das deutlichste Indiz ist der bereits erreichte bzw. kurz bevorstehende Gipfel der Erdölförderung (Peak Oil).

... Beginnt eine neue Produktivkraftrevolution? Alle Anzeichen deuten darauf hin. Die bisherige Art der Produktion stößt an Grenzen. Ein neues Produktionsprinzip beginnt zu wirken und führt zu qualitativen Veränderungen in der Produktion. Dies ist verbunden mit der Nutzung einer neuen Energiequelle. Im Ergebnis vollzieht sich ein Qualitätssprung in der Produktivität. Zusammengefasst sprechen alle empirischen Belege dafür, dass wir uns gegenwärtig am Beginn einer neuen Produktivkraftrevolution befinden, deren Spezifik am ehesten mit dem Begriff Ökologische Revolution widergespiegelt werden kann.

Diese Revolution ist nicht nur eine Energierevolution, gepaart mit der schon seit Jahrzehnten wirksamen Informationsrevolution, wie J. Rifkin meint (ND vom 15./16. Oktober 2011), sondern auch eine Industrie- und Agrarrevolution, eine Revolution, die letztlich das gesamte gesellschaftliche Produktivkraftsystem erfasst.

Weitere Untersuchungen werden zeigen müssen, ob diese Produktivkraftrevolution zu einem grünen Kapitalismus führt oder materielle Voraussetzungen für eine Gesellschaft jenseits des Kapitalismus schafft.

Dr. Hubert Fetzer, ehemals Gesellschaftswissenschaftler an der Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR, beschäftigt sich mit der Dialektik von Produktivkräften und Produktionsverhältnissen. Er publizierte dazu in »Utopie kreativ« und »Sozialismus«.
(25 February 2012)

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