Degrowth and REAL Green

The current decline in global growth which appears to be as bad as what happened around the great financial crisis could be looked on as a good development from the point of view of ecological green efforts.  It is clear to anyone who follows the science that degrowth is needed.  Our collective ecological footprint needs to shrink.  That said how this happens and the behavior within the decline does matter.  Some positive outcomes might be a more sustainable and resilient regional multipolar economic arrangement.  The great economic powers of China, Europe, and the US will regionalize reducing the excesses of globalism.  The average global exponential growth that has been the case in recent history might noticeably begin to decline. 

It is degree and duration that dictate survivability.  We can apply this to the economic sphere as well as to ecosystems and species.  If this degrowth into a multipolar regionalism can be a modest growth decline we may see positive results.  Make no mistake positive does not mean without pain.  We are currently adding 80-90MIL people a year.  Planetary systems and the web of life are being degraded at an alarming rate.  The social fabric is fraying from general poor behavior at all levels.  So what we are talking about is a slower decline with relatively less pain.  This is not a new golden age it is one of less affluence and harder living.

Some issues for those who follow the science and economics of our human predicament are renewables and debt.  These are important consideration because renewables are absolutely essential for a powerdown of industrial civilization.  Greens who are excessively technoptimist are fake and delusional.  Tech alone is not green.  Behavior must be part of this tech with demand management and conservation.  The status quo is not green so adapting tech to status quo is more of the same.  That said behavior will need tech to manage a decline.  Renewables are part of this managed decline.  This decline might not be sustainable longer term but it may be the gateway to another life.   Optimistically this may be a lengthening of the decline and fall of modern man.  Renewables will help us figure out this gateway.  It is clear industrial agriculture and fossil fuels will have to be a part of this.  How much depends on behavior not tech.  The tech is there the behavior is not.  There is a time value to life.  A terminal condition that is acknowledged in stages with acceptance has value over a cascade of declining physical and mental health.  One is meaning based the other panic.  This can be applied to our civilization.  Will renewables survive degrowth?  We surely will not see the same investment if globalism economically bifurcates into a multipolar regionalism.  How much is still a question. 

The other issue is debt and the financial system underpinning the global economy.  Can this multipolar regionalism successfully decouple from the Dollar.  It is really the US dollar and the Eurodollar because much of the global financial flows involve the dollar outside of the US.  Can the mountains of debt that has been built up since the great financial crisis be rationalized and still allow a functioning economy?  Let’s be clear with so many people and so much consumption economic velocities cannot fall below a certain level without catastrophic effects.  Energy, food, and daily activity must be maintained.  We are now in a new normal of central bank economic management.  This is now influenced by tech and has the potential to take us further into a new financial age.  It is not clear if this new age is a dark age of inhuman control or one where the excesses of market based capitalism are tempered.  Likely it will be both because behavior is dangerously turbulent.  Behavior is again the issue here.  For this new financial age to work it will require behavioral changes.   How dehumanizing this becomes is an open question. 

Currently behavior in the realm of the global community is deteriorating with a cold war between the US and China and Russia.  The EU nations are caught in between and the rest of the world tailing along.  This is probably the most dangerous issue ahead.  We may be able to negotiate an economic degrowth into a multipolar regionalism without war.  If a hot war would occur but contained it might be possible the resulting crisis could be a catalyst of change but more likely it would be a cascading failure of our modern life support.  We then must hope for transition in behavior at the very top. 


Considering all this I am proposing to individuals and their locals to practice REAL Green Deep adaptation.  Confront these issues individually and locally.  These greater global trends are very much self-organizing with a few very powerful people and groups jockeying for power.  This is both proactive and reactive with rational and irrational.  This process at the top where the global power resides is not constructive change.  Currently this is destructive change that individuals and locals should adapt to if they desire meaning and less pain.  This destructive change can be adapted to but behavior must be changed with new lifestyles and attitudes.  What is required of REAL Green Deep Adaptation is the acknowledgement and adaptation to the fact that planetary systems and the web of life are likely already bumped into phase change beyond human change.  This will very likely bring an end to the stable planetary world civilization grew up with.  This then is the greater challenge above the destructive decline of human civilization that REAL Green individuals and locals must adapt to.  This is about what most certainly is an end game both planetary in regards to stability and human in regards to modern civilization.  This may play out over decades or it may quickly unravel.  This timeline is likely in our collective hands.  REAL Green says adapt and beat the rush and hopefully examples of proper GREEN ways of living will bubble up through grass roots behavior.

“WTO Warns Global Trade May Plunge 17% In Full Trade War”     zero hedge

“In the event of a full-blown trade war, global trade would collapse by 17%, a move that would rival the Dot Com bust, warned the World Trade Organization (WTO).”

“The increased trade tensions have forced the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to slash its global growth forecast from 3.7% to 3.5%.  “If the two sides carry through with their threats to wipe out all bilateral trade via prohibitive tariffs, this could have the impact of knocking off even more,” he added.  Rockwell said global imports of capital goods dropped 3% in 1Q19, the lowest level seen in over three years and a warning that the global economy is cycling down through summer. “We see uncertainty rampant, we see manufacturing output stalling, and export orders are down. All of this bodes ill for economic growth,” he said.”

“The best way to visualize just how dangerous the trade war threat is to the global flow of trade, and the world economy in general, below is a chart on the year-over-year changes in global trade as measured by the IMF’s Direction of Trade Statistics, courtesy of BMO’s Ian Lyngern. It shows the absolutely collapse in global exports as broken down into three categories:  Exports to the world (weakest since 2009), Exports to advances economies (also lowest since 2009), and Exports to the European Union (challenging 2009 lows).  Even if the trade war is deescalated, the damage to the global economy is irreversible. The world is likely teetering on the edge of a trade recession, making the likelihood of global trade collapsing by 17% extraordinary high.”

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