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Winners and losers in a contracting world
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UndercoverElephant



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
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Location: south east England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:41 pm    Post subject: Winners and losers in a contracting world Reply with quote

The whole world is going to end up into a competition to survive. This will be at all levels from the sovereign states (or other sovereign entities, such as the domains of warlords) downwards. Basically I'd like to know people's ideas of what will make a sovereign entity a relative winner, and what will make them a loser, in a situation where global population and economic activity is going through a very long-term contraction (or slow collapse).

I have started a list below. What else belongs on this list?

What will make a sovereign entity a (relative) winner in the competition for survival that is coming?

Sustainability: it has systems designed deliberately chosen for their resilience and sustainability. This must include zero growth economics and population levels. This is a massive category, and includes all sorts of subcategories. Which are the most important?

Self-sufficiency: as far as possible, it is self-sufficient in food, water and energy.

National Security: it can defend its territory. Note that warfare will have changed – it will become increasingly difficult to fight hi-tech industrial warfare. This also includes the ability to maintain law and order internally.

Internal cohesion: internally strong enough to stay in one piece, politically.

Climate-change-proofed. It has planned for predicted rises in temperature and sea-level. Some countries, especially those at high latitudes, will have a huge advantage.

What will make a SE a loser?

Unsustainability: has not reformed its systems. Any unsustainable system is destined to collapse. Of particular note are economic systems critically dependent on growth, and anywhere with a growing population (for whatever reason, including immigration).

Self-insufficiency: critically dependent on imports of food, water and/or energy. This includes countries like Egypt, who are dependent on countries upstream on the Nile to not take all the water.

National Insecurity: cannot defend its territory, or cannot maintain internal law and order.

Internal divisions, especially serious ones that could lead to civil war.

Climate-change-vulnerable. It either hasn't planned for climate change, or there's not much it can do. The hottest and lowest-lying parts of the world are totally f***ed.


Last edited by UndercoverElephant on Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Besides having the ability to defend its territory it must also have the will to defend it. At the moment the UK has a government which says it has the will to defend our borders but is so addicted to growth that it leaves those borders in as leaky a state as is possible to bolster that growth.

Also, waiting in the wings, are a bunch of people who would welcome immigrants even as we were starving through not being able to import the 50% of the food that we now import. God help us if they ever take charge of the country.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you are discounting trade too harshly. The US is always going to want to import coffee and export wheat and corn among other things and world trade allows moving product from the lowest cost production area to the highest value retail sale market.
You should not be looking for self sufficiency as much as a balance of trade.
As to surviving countries look to the ones with large areas covering several climate zones and land formations with their natural resources to have better chances then some tiny country with only one climate zone that can become uninhabitable with just one climate change.
Zero growth in the economy can only come once zero population growth is achieved. Until that time growth is in fact essential.
Better government would of course be an asset to any country large or small.
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Little John



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Self sufficiency in the basics of life including including the capacity to keep the internal population fed, watered and sheltered. All of which will require self sufficiency in energy. All of which, in the case of the UK, requires a smaller population.

The only kind of government, I suspect, that is going to have the will to do what is necessary to achieve all of the above is going to be a deeply nationalistic semi or total dictatorship. I hope that is wrong for all of the reasons of the other horrors that will accompany it. But, I suspect it is not.
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UndercoverElephant



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little John wrote:

The only kind of government, I suspect, that is going to have the will to do what is necessary to achieve all of the above is going to be a deeply nationalistic semi or total dictatorship. I hope that is wrong for all of the reasons of the other horrors that will accompany it. But, I suspect it is not.


I don't think that is necessarily true. Somewhat ironically, it is probably most likely to happen as a backlash to people resisting nationalism. Also, if people can be sold a national survival plan as the best hope for survival of them and their communities, they may well decide to vote for it. Though for this to happen, there will have to be sufficient "we're all in it together" - it would require a major reduction in wealth inequalities.
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Little John



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Little John wrote:

The only kind of government, I suspect, that is going to have the will to do what is necessary to achieve all of the above is going to be a deeply nationalistic semi or total dictatorship. I hope that is wrong for all of the reasons of the other horrors that will accompany it. But, I suspect it is not.


I don't think that is necessarily true. Somewhat ironically, it is probably most likely to happen as a backlash to people resisting nationalism. Also, if people can be sold a national survival plan as the best hope for survival of them and their communities, they may well decide to vote for it. Though for this to happen, there will have to be sufficient "we're all in it together" - it would require a major reduction in wealth inequalities.
the existing globalist ruling class will never allow that. So, the only way it happens is via extremes of the political spectrum and even they will only get to have their way if enough people become desperate enough to do whatever is necessary to lever them into power. The current arrangements end with bloodshed one way or another, followed by barbarism of one form or another. And yes, massive reductions in wealth inequalities for the population will be a prerequisite for support. So, nationalism and socialism it is then.

Or, "national socialism" if you prefer.
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UndercoverElephant



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little John wrote:
the existing globalist ruling class will never allow that.


They may not have much choice in the matter. The alternative might be much worse, even for them.
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BritDownUnder



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would declare New Zealand the winner of that particular competition by a mile.

On the plus side.
    Self sufficient in food - some say up to three times.
    Abundant hydro/geothermal potential for electricity generation as well as good coal and gas reserves.
    Proven border control in the Covid-19 outbreak


On the negative side.
    Rather stupid socialist and somewhat naive worldview - such as believing all foreigners are nice and friendly.
    Immigration far too high
    Poor financial situation in terms of government budget and trade deficits.
    Potential serious minority problems from Polynesians, Chinese and Indian communities.
    Relatively low oil reserves.

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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another disadvantage is the fact that the islands are on the edge of a tectonic plate with all the volcanism and earthquakes that go with it. It's a beautiful place though.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not very optimistic about the chances of the UK in a contracting world, we do have a number of advantages but also a number of disadvantages.
These may be summarised as follows, in my view.

ADVANTAGES.
Being an island is preferable to land borders for security.
Plentiful wind energy, said to be one of the best in Europe.
Ample opportunity for tidal power due to the great tidal range.
A generally mild climate with only limited extremes.
Climate and soil generally suited to farming.
North sea oil, depleting rapidly I know, but even a little is better than none.

DISADVANTAGES.
Overcrowded, and getting worse.
Poor transport infrastructure.
A planning system that makes doing anything very hard, e.g. new rail lines.
Increasing lawlessness, which subjectively seems to be getting worse.
A poorly educated population especially WRT the sciences.
A lot of poor quality housing, old and poorly insulated, or new and jerrybuilt.
And finally, excessive immigration. This not only adds to the already excessive population, but many of these new arrivals are strongly opposed to British values and once here devote themselves to terrorism or other crime.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could also put the planning system down as an advantage as over the last 73 years it has stopped the uncontrolled development on green field agricultural land which characterised the time before. Just imagine the chaos we would have had with a population increasing by over 50% in that same time and look at the ribbon development which took place with only a modestly increasing population pre the 1947 Planning Act.

This protected agricultural land will be a huge advantage as climate change takes hold and reduces the world's food supply.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not sure that a poor transport infrastructure would be relevant in the future as the requirement to move people and stuff will reduce drastically post industrialisation.

Even post covid the requirement for transport of people especially has dropped drastically. It is said that only 10% of the people who formerly travelled into London now do so and the number of people "going shopping" has drastically reduced as well.

As consuming less "stuff" becomes the new norm after internet shopping dies the death that it deserves the large scale delivery systems will become redundant as well. We will only have to deal with essential travel and that will take on a new meaning as well: probably the transport of troops repelling an invasion in the north to repelling one in the south soon after!!
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My concerns are increasing road traffic almost entirely FF powered, rather than greater use of railways for both passengers and freight.

I would prefer that both freight and passengers be moved by electric train where reasonable, but at present a lot goes by road as the default choice due to rail being considered too expensive or unreliable.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
My concerns are increasing road traffic almost entirely FF powered, rather than greater use of railways for both passengers and freight.

I would prefer that both freight and passengers be moved by electric train where reasonable, but at present a lot goes by road as the default choice due to rail being considered too expensive or unreliable.

Has anyone done the math yet on moving goods on EV cars and trucks Vs. trains powered by renewable electricity? Not a slam dunk off the top of your head now is it?
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In most cases trains will be more efficient. Steel wheels on steel rails have far less friction.
An electric train has effectively infinite range, whereas a battery vehicle has a range limited by battery capacity.
Less staff needed by railways, a train with one or two staff can carry 1,000 passengers. that would need at least a dozen buses each with a driver.
Or nearly 1,000 cars, consider the road space taken up.
A freight train can carry 1,000 tons or more, that would need several dozen trucks for road transport.

Trains are also faster in many cases.
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