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  •  Most civilizations have collapsed at the point (15+ / 0-)

    where the tiny aristocracy or ruling class gained too vast a proportion of the wealth.

    The USA came close in 1929, after which there were real fears the country would turn communist.  Roosevelt, for all he is vilified by Republicans and "conservatives", essentially saved Capitalism and Democracy, both.

    Funneling vast resources to the top requires enormous waste, as you've pointed out, to produce those resources.  Once it turns to mercenaries instead of citizen soldiers, into aggression instead of self-defense, to calculating fraud to steal from the poorest, a civilization is on its way down.

    It will take a huge effort - and a full accounting of all costs - for the world to overcome the false theory of economics under which we currently operate.  Something like a Bretton Woods x10 accord.

    Incidentally, the Maya are thought to have deforested nearly all of Mesoamerica once, if not twice.  Wood for fuel, wood for producing lime for cement for pyramids, cutting forest for crop-rotation land (slash-and-burn agriculture) eventually took its toll when too many people had to be dedicating to providing the ruling class with their level of luxury. Analysis of middens show shrinking food supplies in later years of various cities.

    We're doing the same thing. We're burning global forest, not just Mesoamerican forest.  We're burning actual wood - tropical rain forest destruction - and past millennias forests in the form of oil, coal and gas.  It will lead to the collapse of humanity. The world will survive, perhaps vastly changed. But it may just shrug off the destructive parasitic infection of "humans."

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:24:40 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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