The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Month: March 2023 Page 1 of 3

Consequences Of Indicting Trump

So, a New York DA has charged Trump. There’s some posturing by DeSantis, but Trump will almost certainly go to New York and surrender. This is a watershed moment, no former President has ever been charged with a crime.

  1. This is a political act. Many President have committed crimes and have not been charged.
  2. It will lead to red state DAs indicting Democratic politicians with crimes to stop them from running or to damage them.
  3. This is a worldwide trend. Lula in Brazil and Rahul Gandhi in India are other examples.

Viewed from a wider context, there has been a catch-22. America and most nations let their elites slide on crimes that don’t  harm other elites. This has allowed a whole lot of evil acts to occur unpunished and for elites to act knowing they will never be held responsible for their actions. This goes beyond political acts, notice how somehow almost none of the people who took advantage of Jeffrey Epstein’s smorgasboard of underaged teenaged girls has been charged with a crime.

My judgment is that almost every powerful politician and every CEO of an important company has done things which are criminal acts: violations of red-letter law.

But when you change a norm like this, it becomes open season and causes political instability. Politicians may be guilty, but they will be charged not based on whether they are guilty but based on political expedience.

This is a further step towards America becoming ungovernable, and potentially a step towards a break-up of the Union, since red-state elites will be persecuted by blue state elites and vice-versa. With no norm of what laws elites are immune to, no member of the elite will feel safe. Either one side or the other must win and set a new norm, or the country must divide.

Globally, as I noted below, this is an extension of a new norm of not running against one’s opponents but simply getting rid of them politically.

This has nothing to do with my sympathies, to forestall obvious comments. I despise Trump and if he had been charged with crimes he had committed long before becoming President, this would be all null and void. But the type of crimes he committed as real-estate Mogul were the acceptable sort of crimes that real-estate moguls commit and aren’t charged for and if they had gone after him then, they would have made many other important people vulnerable.

This is the consequence of having a two-tier justice system where some crimes are only crimes when committed by little people and then weaponizing that.

What Trump should have been charged with, if elites were smart, was his actual crime against elites, where he broke a norm: trying to stage a coup. By charging him with something lesser, they have shattered a consensus norm and a great price will be paid for it.

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Why America Will Probably Lose The New Cold War

China’s support (along with India and various other nations) makes it impossible to take out Russia with sanctions, just as Russia’s support makes it impossible to take out China with sanctions or blockade.

The fundamental issue here is the West still thinks it’s 2000 — that China isn’t the major industrial power & that Russia isn’t a fuel, mineral and food exporter. The West isn’t /needed/. For a long time you could only get things you had to have from the West.

The West is trying to use sanctions against both China and Russia, and they aren’t working. What they are doing is speeding up the end of the Western world order by forcing faster independence and bloc formation. The quick Chinese progress on semiconductors and airplanes show this backfiring.

So what’s the endgame? A new cold war in which most of Africa the middle east and S.America are aligned with China/Russia and thus a bloc which has more manufacturing AND more resources. Pure insanity. China just gives southern nations not close to it a better deal than the West does and is their major trade partner, and they will align with it.

This isn’t a moral argument, this is purely about capability and resources. In the Cold War the West always had more. In Cold War 2.0 the West will have less. (This is also why the EU has chosen the wrong side. They should have tried for independence and third pole status. Still should.)

Part of this is because of essentialist cultural bullshit. We think our culture is superior to Russia’s and China’s and that’s why we won. But standard great power analysis is that the USSR had the inferior position and was bound to lose.

Our “system” is a subset of our culture, not the other way around but what made the West dominant was not “capitalism” it was being first to scale with industrial technology and keeping that advantage for a long time. Even if it was capitalism, well everybody is capitalist now, though the culture which comes dominant out of the oncoming dark age will be the one which finds the best alternative to capitalism or which finds the next production revolution which doesn’t destroy world carrying capacity.

The West, which included the USSR, was dominant for about two centuries because of an absolute advantage in production: the industrial revolution, combined with superior tech made possible by the industrial revolution. An absolute advantage is something you can do, that your enemy can’t, that makes you absolutely superior to them. (Nukes against a non-nuke nation are another example.)

The Mongols had an absolute advantage militarily for a long time and were only really defeated when other nations figured out how to use their methods against them: the first to do so were the Egyptian Mamalukes.

Every absolute advantage system ends. Either someone else learns how to do it too, or they find a counter.

Some absolute advantage systems are geographically bounded. Roman legions fail in steppes even against horse archers without stirrups. (Crassus says “oh no!”)

Steam/petrochemical/industrial was a time bounded advantage. Someone outside the club was bound to manage it eventually. China did because we deliberately helped them out of short-sighted greed.

Now outside the club should be unpacked. Britain helped both the US and Japan industrialize. The US helped Japan and S. Korea and Taiwan. But all of those nations were brought into the club, in Japan’s case thru force.

Japan got uppity, the US crushed it and it’s now a loyal member of the club, currently doubling defense spending to get ready to fight China. The US could crush it because they were about technologically equal, but the US had more people and resources.

Britain helping the US industrialize lead to Britain losing its world-leading position because the US was a larger nation. The US then thanked them by subjugating them and most of the rest of Western Europe after World War II, adding Eastern Europe after the USSR collapsed.

America helping China industrialize is leading to the US losing its position because China (or more accurately China’s coalition) is larger in the ways that matter.

China might have been made a member of the club IF Russia and most of the non-Western world had been kept on the side of the West/US because US/EU is big. But the rest of the world/Russia was not kept in the US/EU camp.

All of this follows fairly simply from “they have more resources and about equivalent tech” and that’s what matters. Culture and system are important as determinants of ability to tech and mobilize resources. China’s culture and system are very good at that.

One corollary of this is that the “Rest of the World” (aka. non US/EU/Japan/S.Korea or China/Russia) matter. They tilt the playing field. But China gives them a better deal than the West has for a long time, if ever, including more political independence unless nearby.

When historians look back they will see the final decision point for the end of Western hegemony as the Ukraine war. Without Russia, China could be choked out by US naval power. Without China Western sanctions would have crushed Russia. This is the primary axis. But that Africa and South America are mostly going to go with them, and that the Middle Eastern powers will wind up either neutral or in the Chinese/Russia camp also matters: a lot. It gives China the decided resource advantage.

Of course, there were earlier inflection points, but from a pure geopolitical point-of-view the West needed Russia in the club far more than it did Eastern European countries. It got Europe, but Europe won’t outweigh Russia, Africa and South America.

None of this it deny that everyone has problems. For Russia and China it’s a demographic time bomb (though I’m not sure that lower population is entirely a negative, even with an older population). For everyone the joker is climate change and ecological collapse. I wouldn’t be surprised in 50 years if both China and the US have broken up.

But on ordinary dynamics, my judgment is that the West has already lost: the coalition which is forming against them will have more industrial capacity and resources and equivalent tech.

You don’t win that competition.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

How Should CEOs And Politicians Be Punished For the Evil They Do?

Came across this tweet about the Philadelphia water spillage the other day:

So, shit happens and sometimes truly, no one is really to blame. But a lot of bad things which happen are a result of deliberate negligence or direct action. A good example is PG&E, the California power utility, which hasn’t been bothering to clear the areas around power poles and transmission poles or replace or repair old power poles. They knew this would lead to more forest fires and it did and people lost everything, including their lives, in some of those fires. PG&E had the money to do the maintenance but preferred to pay larger dividends and give more stock options to executives.

So the chemical spilled into Philadelphia’s water supply were spilled by a private company. We don’t know if negligence was the issue, but if it was, what should be the punishment?

Lately we tend to just fine companies, but that does nothing, especially as the fines are often less than the amount of money they made thru being negligent, and in any case, fines don’t remove the massive money executives already made from their actions, nor the money the owners made.

Clearly fines don’t work.

The first issue is the question of limited liability for shareholders and the use of corporations as shields for executives. There were sound reasons for limited liability for owners who really don’t control corporations, with unlimited liability people wouldn’t want to invest in companies and when primary issue of stock was a major, or the major source for creating new companies, new corporation creation would have collapsed without limited liability.

But the disadvantage of limited liability is, indeed, that corporations tend to do evil acts knowing that their owners won’t pay the full price for them, and the way corporate executives and decision-makers tend not to go to jail for actions that an individual would go to jail for (or be liable for personally in civil court) is causing huge problems.

I think we’re going to have to remove these shields, in the case of anything where a reasonable person would know that harm was likely to occur. If you make the decisions or get the benefits, you are on the hook, and you need to be on the hook for more than you made.

But there’s another question. What is the correct punishment beyond financial, because a lot of the crimes aren’t crimes where money can make the victims whole?

Perhaps with respect to polluters, for example, the executives might be made to partake of their pollution. “This is what people drank, you will drink the same.” Or “this is what people breathed for days that caused cancer, you too will breath it.”

There’s a certain eye-for-an-eye beauty to this, but I dislike doing evil to people even when they have done evil because it’s still doing evil.

I would suggest instead a simple rule. Take back all the money them made while in charge, then take enough to bankrupt them. Next, since they have shown they can’t be trusted, forbid them from any position of authority in any organization: no management or executive or board positions, no legal ability to control anything. All their possessions in the future must be controlled by an executor appointed by the government.

For truly significant harm, we might say that they are no longer allowed to work, but must subsist on whatever welfare or other provisions are provided for the indigent. Given background checks, this is often what happens to criminals: no one will hire them.

(Doing this to important people would likely lead to a significant improvement in the welfare system.)

These should probably be time gated. Ten years minimum, thirty year max, with the possibility of “parole” where they’re allowed to have a low level responsible positions, like foreman or control over their own assets while someone watches over their shoulder to see how they do.

All such rules, of course, must be done with the presumption of control. If you’re CEO or a board member, you don’t get to dodge any decision you should have known about. You don’t get to blame managers or grunts.

What sort of solution do you think would work to stop corporate malfeasance (or political)? Put it in comments.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

Is France Near A New Republic?

This video is worth watching, though I have no idea whether the bit about dead cops is true:

The situation is simple: Macron unilaterally raised the pension age by two years from 62 to 64. This is after it was increased to 62 from 60 in 2010. He couldn’t get it past the legislature, so he used a clause which allows him to do so without legislative approval. Macron one the final round of the last election by 17%, but he had no mandate for this sort of reform. People voted for him to keep LaPen (the far right candidate) out.

This has caused an explosion of protests which is not abating.

A little more background is useful. The standard talking point is that France can’t afford the current pension system and thus MUST push back the qualification date and that this is reasonable because people have longer life spans than when the pension system was created and because the age pyramid has changed: there are proportionally fewer younger people and more older people.

Here’s the French GDP per capita char from 1980 to 2021:

So, it rose pretty consistently till about 2008 (surprise) and since then is flat to slightly rising depending.

Next chart. Labor productivity.

Same basic pattern.

One more, inequality.

That last table, in particular, deserves a good looking at if you have time.

But for current purposes, what is important is simply this: France is richer than it used to be and more productive and more of its income and wealth is held by the rich, and if France wants to keep its retirement age at 62 it can certainly afford to do so, it just might have to tax rich people a bit more and maybe not give billions to Ukraine and so on.

Of course France can afford an early retirement age of 62 or 60. It can only not afford it if you “hold everything equal” in the sense that you assume doing so is not a priority.

So, Macron is full of shit. The government can easily afford the current French pension age and should probably even drop the age a couple years if the majority of the population want that.

Meanwhile while what Macron has done is constitutional, it clearly shows that the constitution is broken: he’s doing something the majority of the population and the majority of the legislature oppose, which in a democratic society shouldn’t be possible.

Since he’s shown that the constitution itself is broken and that majority will cannot be accommodated because doing so would require the government to tax rich people who have been doing very well over the last forty odd years, French citizens are entirely justified to get out in the streets and not just stop this bill but overturn the Republic and institute the next one.

As for Macron, he’s always been insufferably sure that he’s right about everything (I am aware of the irony of me of all people writing this) and that it’s OK to make the majority of the population suffer to keep neoliberal orthodoxy running. He’s a true believer, a genuine ideologue, his ideology is just neoliberalism and neoliberalism doesn’t work any more.

France should be a model for more countries. When your rich people screw you over, take to the streets.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.




Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 26, 2023

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 26, 2023

by Tony Wikrent


“U.S. Announces Plans To Reclassify Everyone’s Race Based On Net Worth”

[The Onion, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 3-25-2023]

“‘It is resolved by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that any American whose wealth exceeds $1 million shall be white,’ read the bipartisan legislation, which went on to state that citizens who were dissatisfied with the race they were assigned under the new criteria would be ‘free to pull themselves up by their bootstraps” in order to reach a racial category of greater privilege. ‘Now, regardless of the color of their skin, those who are rich will receive all the rights a wealthy person is entitled to in this country. Meanwhile, those with a net worth in the six figures, though they cannot be white, will still qualify as Asian, with the social scale moving downward from there to Latino and Black. This should go a long way toward making our racial stereotypes as accurate as possible.’ In an attempt to deal a final blow to the complications of intersectionality, Congress was reportedly taking up additional legislation to ensure everyone earning above the median income level was classified as a man, and everyone below it as a woman.”


Climate and environmental crises

Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change.

[Working Group III Contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, via Naked Capitalism 3-22-2023]

Twitter Thread


Why hypersonic weapons change everything

[Alex Krainer’s TrendCompass

It was in 2018 that Vladimir Putin took the stage to present Russia’s new hypersonic weapons. The term “hypersonic” refers to missiles that fly at speeds of 5 mach and higher. At the time, many in the west dismissed Putin’s claims and thought it was a bluff. We now know that he wasn’t bluffing. Russia is the only country in the world that has deployment-ready hypersonic missiles – not one but three types: Zircons, Kinzhals and Avantguards.…

Russia’s new Kinzhal missile flies at speeds of mach 12 to mach 15 and nothing in western defensive arsenals can stop its strike. During the war in Ukraine, Russia staged a stunning demonstration of its power. The first Kinzhal strike, delivered one month after the beginning of hostilities in Ukraine, was perhaps the most significant: Russian forces targeted a large weapons depot in Ukraine which had been built during the Soviet times to withstand a nuclear strike. It was buried 170 meters (over 500 ft) underground and protected by several layers of armored concrete.

The Kinzhal flies at altitudes of between 20 and 40 km, with a maximum range of 2,000 km. When above target, it dives perpendicularly and accelerates to 15 mach, generating enormous kinetic energy in addition to its explosive payload. That first strike with a single Kinzhal missile destroyed Ukraine’s nuke-proof underground weapons depot. This was a message for the west.

The Kinzhal was developed with the express purpose of destroying aircraft carrier strike groups…

According to Admiral Domazet, neither the western powers nor China are anywhere near having weapons like that. He explained that the critical issue with hypersonic weapons are the extreme temperatures reached during hypersonic flights on the surface of missiles, which can cause them to break apart mid-flight. Russia is the only nation that has developed special materials that enable the missiles to withstand this stress, so their flight can be controlled throughout its trajectory and delivered with pinpoint accuracy.

Western intelligence estimated that Russia had some 50 Kinzhals at the start of the war in Ukraine, and thus far it has used only 9 of them. Last week, they fired six Kinzhals in a single salvo. That too, was a message. Here’s how Domazet explained it: United States have 11 aircraft carrier strike groups. Of these, fewer than half will be active at any one time (while others are in dock for maintenance, or in preparation). Firing six Kinzhals in one go is military-speak for, “we have the capability to sink ALL of your aircraft carriers at once.”


Reviving the Arsenal of Democracy: Steps for Surging Defense Industrial Capacity 

[Center for Strategic and International Studies, via Naked Capitalism 3-20-2023]


Regime change in Moscow ‘definitely’ the goal, Joly says, as Canada bans Russian steel, aluminum imports 

[National Post, via Naked Capitalism 3-19-2023]

Open Thread

Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.

God As Idea, By Eric Anderson

I woke up last night feeling like I was suffocating, because in my dream I was. It began in a church, or an old university lecture hall. Antique. And everyone in attendance was being asked to say little prayers honoring Jesus. Everyone was reciting little prayers that are common among the devout. But when it was my turn, I stood and exclaimed: Jesus was a philosopher who taught that love is the only thing that really matters, and the rich and powerful executed him for it. Then I sat. The crowd was stunned at first, the headmasters, or priests, physically taken aback. But a small smattering of applause began to ripple through the room in agreement. The ripple turned to a roar echoing through the antique hall.

Suddenly, a giant man cloaked in black moved from the corner of my vision and was standing before me. His robe parted at one point to reveal a cloven foot and a boar’s head as he pulled back his hood.The room went silent. Looking down on me, still seated, he bent toward me and slowly said “What … did you say”? I stood to confront him and was overwhelmed by the stinging scent coming from this giant. I found I couldn’t talk, or breath. I gasped and gasped and ran out the room for a drink of water, angry that I’d been silenced. A drinking fountain hung on the wall outside the door and as soon as the water hit my lips, I woke.

I was gasping and coughing.

Composing myself, I turned out the light and sought sleep again but my mind would not stop trying to interpret what was probably the most powerfully vivid dream of my life. I tossed and turned thereafter and could not go back to sleep. I resolved interpreting the dream as my subconscious telling me evil was trying to take my voice. Knowing I’d still be unable to sleep, I sought to free my voice. So I began to write what became, this:

God is not some nebulous deity sitting a throne in the sky looking down upon us in judgment. God is an idea. An idea that exists within us all, but we’re too scared to confront in open self contemplation. So we content ourselves stories. Abstract stories, that can only loosely define the boundaries of our spirit. The trouble is, stories are open to different interpretations and can be corrupted from the original intent.

Take the story of Jesus. Many christians today like to talk about what christianity tells us we should, and should not do. But they seem loathe to actually talk about Jesus. Jesus scares them. He scares them because he was a revolutionary. A revolutionary whose gospel taught that love, is revolutionary. The idea was so powerful that the rich and powerful executed him for it. He was a threat to their coveted and established order. The real Jesus is a threat to christianity’s coveted and established order. Thus, they fear him much like the romans, and the jews feared him. But instead of physical execution, today, the principle thrust of his ideas are crucified.

God, as taught by Jesus was an idea. That idea was love. The idea was communicated to the masses by means of story, or parable. Stories abstractly behoving us to simply practice love among one another. And that if we could do this, there’d be no more need to obey the powerful, or their rules, taxes, profits, debts, wars, and contempt for the unwashed masses. He used the word God, because ideas are so hard to hold fast in our minds. They are fleeting, and nebulous, like God.

As example, witness the story of Ten Commandments and the lessons therein, as viewed from the language of love. We may not remember every commandment, but we remember the story of Moses coming down the mountain with the tablets. But what about the ideas those tablets contained? From the jewish tradition, we’re taught they were inviolable rules that if transgressed, meant perdition. Too literal. But view them through the lens of love, and everything changes.

  1. You shall have no other God before me.”

If god is an idea, and the idea is love, then the revolutionary idea is that God is love. Thus, the translation becomes “You shall have no other idea before love.”

2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.”

Traditionally translated, this meant don’t do idolatry. But if the idea is love, then it means that the second you try to capture love in an image, you lose it. Love is an action. Love is a verb, that disappears as soon as it’s objectified.

3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the lord thy god in vain.

In the traditional sense, we take this to mean don’t abuse the name of God. But cast in the active sense, to be vain is to act with vanity. From a gospel of love, to take the idea of love, in vain, is to be totally immersed in self-love. In a word, selfishness. Don’t do it.

4. “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy” Translated to the language of love means to don’t get so busy in your affairs that you forget the importance of practicing the idea that is love. Take some time and make some space in your life just to focus on the idea, that is love.

5. “Honor thy mother and father.” Translates to the symbolic embodiment of the love a mother and father hold for their children. Honoring that love means acting toward others with the gravity that love holds.

6. “Thou shalt not kill.”

Does this need explanation? Honor love in the forefront of your mind and killing another can never occur.

7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Outside the love parents feel for their children, is there any greater love than that between husband and wife, wife and husband? Adultery is nothing more than succumbing to lust, when the revolutionary idea tells us to keep love sacrosanct.

8. “Thou shalt not steal.”

Rule? Or idea of love? Love and respect are closely synonymous. Taking from another what what one has no claim, as idea, is the highest form of disrespect.

9. “Thou shall not bear false witness.”

Again, translates closely to not stealing. Disrespect for ones fellow, and more than that disrespect for oneself. We all understand the idea … those that love themselves, and others, have integrity. People with integrity travel in truth. Those without integrity travel in lies.

10. “Don’t covet.” Because, wanting what someone else has is the surest way to hate, not love. The idea is to love one another, not things. Love, again, is an action. To love a thing so much as to put it before the action of love, is self-demeaning.

The traditionally interpreted ten commandments are a prescription unifying power under a set of rules. Translated to the idea of love, they become a prescription for keeping hate from your heart. But, this translation cannot be taken literally. The lessons must be viewed as a symbolic story that points to an idea. That idea is love and love is an action.

But god is more than just love. Indeed, God, in the multitude of forms, is all of the revolutionary ideas that benefit mankind. Those ideas that hold us together, instead of tearing us apart, are in a word, our divine inheritance. Ideas that pull our minds from hate and division and discord and judgment and instead, focus our attention on quality of life among our brethren. Ideas like beauty, truth, charity, tolerance, justice.

I don’t see many of these qualities among the christian right today. I see their interpretation of the Bible as an attempt to create a jail to enclose ideas they are intolerant of. I see them using Jesus as a symbol of hate. Largely, I see them as people who walk in hate, rather than in love of people they might have some moral qualms with. But, that’s not what Jesus taught. He taught the idea of love. He taught us to live our lives in such a manner that our hearts are totally opposed to the idea of hypocrisy.

We’ve all seen this movie before, this preaching of the gospel of hate and intolerance. We’ve seen the movie where laws are passed to marginalize the weak on the basis of hateful interpretations of divine stories. Those movies don’t end well. We collectively call them nightmares, that fortunately, we’ve historically woken from by remembering that love means action. Hate means rigidity accompanying fear. We cannot fear for long before rigor mortis sets into our minds and souls. Evil will only take my voice in my sleep. I won’t let it happen while awake.

The First Great Environmental Crisis Will Be

Water. As I’ve said for many years.

The world is facing an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40 percent by the end of this decade, experts have said on the eve of a crucial UN water summit.

I’ll use the US as an example, though this going to effect almost all countries, some much worse than others, and it will cause a number of wars. Candidates include all nations along the Nile River, and all nations around the Himalayan plateau, among many others. The US may threaten war with Canada to get Canada’s water resources and may invade if Canada is recalcitrant. The Great Lakes will be a great problem.

But let’s take a look at the (more or less) current situation. These are the 2015 numbers for fresh water withdrawals (numbers are done every 5 years, but I, at least, can’t find the 2020 numbers. There won’t be a dramatic change, however.)

The first thing we notice is that electricity generation and agriculture, for crops, no animals, are the big users. Public supply is a distant third with industrial an even more distant fourth.

How is this historically? The news is mostly good, except in irrigation:

But the irrigation news is bad. It’s only a 2% increase, but…

Not every sector posted declines, though. Fresh groundwater withdrawals increased by 8 percent compared to 2010. And irrigation increased by 2 percent.

Again, the California drought effect is to blame. Irrigation accounts for 70 percent of fresh groundwater withdrawals. Rivers and reservoirs were so depleted during the drought that California farmers pumped and pumped from aquifers. Fresh groundwater withdrawals in California for irrigation increased by 60 percent, while surface water withdrawals for irrigation in the state decreased by 64 percent.

Withdrawing from groundwater means that there’s not enough rain. The long California drought, finally broken this year, but very likely to return, leads to taking more water from aquifers than can be recharged and damages aquifers so that their maximum capacity is permanently reduced.

Let’s flip back to energy generation. Thermoelectric means coal and gas and oil turbines, mostly. There is a general move away, but not quickly enough.

That’s the new generation added, here’s the retired.

Notice that the natural gas added (9.31) is almost equal to the natural gas and coal removed (9.51). Natural gas uses less water than coal, but still plenty.

The pace of reduction of use of water needs to increase significantly. Solar, while it doesn’t use water for generation does use a lot of water in construction, so wind is preferable from this point of view, with the standard issue of difficulty in supplying baseline energy, since the wind is rarely completely reliable.

There are solutions in many places. California is a huge water problem in the US, but desalinization could provide much of the solution since California is on the coast. I’ll do a full article on that later, but despite high costs, large scale desalinization is possible especially if it done using tidal power and not thermoelectric.

And tidal power is one of the most promising new powers. Wind and solar are unsuited for steady baseline generation, but in places close to the ocean, the waves are constant. For example:

As a newer technology this is still expensive, but moving to scale would reduce costs significantly. It’s 24 hour, though there’s variation in energy generation due to tidal cycles, it’s obviously renewable and it doesn’t use up water during generation, while it doesn’t have nuclear’s downides.

The great problem with desalinization is simply getting it from the shore inland. Depending on geography that may be doable, or not, but great waterworks programs were done in the 18th and 19th century, and much is possible.

Still, as with everything else, we needed to moving on solutions 20 years, or more, ago, and that means solutions aren’tgoing to be ready at the necessary scale in time.

One thing to take from all this, however, is that your person water use isn’t all that important. This doesn’t mean some ridiculous usages shouldn’t end: lawns should be illegal anywhere that doesn’t have enough yearlong rainfall to support them without watering, for example, but taking a shower isn’t going to kill the budget. And as for agriculture, while we can increase water thru desalinization, California growing mass crops of almonds, notoriously water-thirsty, is and always has been ridiculous. Switching to crops that need less water is a no-brainer, though it may require price supports and agricultural market restructuring.

But let’s take it as a given that there’s going to be a worldwide freshwater crisis. Even with use reductions and desalinization, rivers that are fed by glaciers and snowpacks are going to experience a decline and some will stop existing entirely. This will effect all the countries around the Himalayas, all the glacier fed rivers of North and South America, water outflow from the Corderillas, etc, etc…

At first, in most cases, there will be an increase in water, because of faster glacier melt and old snowpacks which have been essentially permanent melting. Then there will be a long term decrease, which will not be reversed without some form of global cooling, which will probably require geo-engineering.

On the bright side, increased warming will, globally, likely increase rainfall, but that doesn’t mean it will increase rainfall where you are or where crops are, and the general prospect for growing crops under global warming scenarios is dismal, except in certain farther north and south areas. Overall, however, the gains will be vastly outstripped by the losses and if we see, for example, problems with any of the great monsoons, the effects will be catrastrophic.

This will be exacerbated by the fact that aquifers worldwide have been massively depleted and the depletion continues. This is as true in India and China as it is in the US. Entire regions which rely on groundwater will collapse.

A water crisis thus feeds directly into a food cris.

As an individual there are solutions. Rainwater collection, condensers, creating your own storage spaces (common in the 20th century but illegal in most municipalities today) and so on. These will be made more difficult because of widespread pollution. It’s no longer safe, for the first time in human history, to just drink rain-water, for example and figuring out how to make the water you collect safe will be a major issue.

But you should consider doing some research on this (and I will likely revisit it with more details). You can survive 30 to 40 days or even more without food. Without water you die quick.

And, politically speaking, any country or region where the water is privately owned needs to move to public ownership.

If you think food riots are bad, water-riots will be worse and quite justifiably so.

The future is getting very close to being today.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

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