Reinventing America

It’s been more than a year now since my posts here on The Archdruid Report veered away from the broader theme of this blog, the decline of industrial civilization, to consider the rise and impending fall of America’s global empire. That was a necessary detour, and the points I’ve tried to explore since last February will have no small impact on the outcome of the broader trajectory of our age.

Where there’s no government

Modern societies rely on the government to defend property rights, enforce contracts and regulate commerce. As the economy expands, so do the functions of government, along with its bureaucratic structures, laws, rules and procedures and—what expands fastest of all—its cost. All of these official arrangements show an accretion of complexity over time.

In the end, sometimes giving things up *IS* the answer

About five years ago a colleague of mine, Dale Allen Pfeiffer wrote an essay I can no longer locate. At the time, Colony Collapse Disorder was just being diagnosed in bees, and one of the discussed potential causes of the problem was cell phones and cell phone towers. Pfeiffer didn’t, as I remember, take a stand on this question as a cause, but what he did do was interview people and ask “If it was true that cell phones caused CCD, and knowing that we depend on bees for a large portion of our food, would you give up your cell phone to save the bees?” The answer, overwhelmingly, was no.

The Hard Road Ahead

The latest round of political theater in Washington DC over the automatic budget cuts enacted in the 2011 debt ceiling compromise—the so-called “sequester”—couldn’t have been better timed, at least as far as this blog is concerned. It’s hard to imagine better evidence, after all, that the American political process has finally lost its last fingernail grip on reality.

The Doha Perplex

"Those of us who have been attending these meetings for the past 20 or more years have felt very frustrated by the slow progress and the lack of an international treaty. Exemplary work by Wackernagle, Rees, Meadows, Daly, Costanza, Rockstrom and others points a direction forward, but it always comes around to some international agreement. What will it take to get that?