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Inevitability Of The Revolution

Recently I was talking with a friend, and she had a point saying that our society is in status quo and that there won't be any revolution to change anything.  

Today, in 21st century, nothing can cause the global revolution. No ozone depletion, no drastic violations of human rights, no WikiLeaks nor Facebook, no Angelina Jolie nor hungry children of Africa. 

People of today are feeling cozy and secure in their consumer world, so nothing can move them. Not to mention their attention spans as of a hyperactive 5-y-o kid. Combine that with the lack of will for any change and you get the impossibility of the revolution. 

She has the point. Everybody's more interested in their new piece of plastic than in the society they live in. Call it social myopia, if you like. But still, I beg to disagree.

Capitalism really did the good job in keeping social peace.

Roman recipe for stable society made by bread and games is mastered this time. 

We treat our conformity as a birth-right. We were all born rich. Seriously. No matter how empty your valet might be, you do have a roof over your head, you ate today and you do have a computer with Internet access somewhere around. You probably can afford come kind of toy from time to time to amuse you. 

Living in the insanely rich civilization, even on the economic outskirts of it, is a comfortable thing. We don't have much reason to complain, right? Well, I do. 

What I do complain about is the social myopia around me. And this time I'm not complaining about it because of justice, human and civil rights and other noble things (though all of those are legitimate reasons to complain).

I'm complaining because all this luxury we live in is not going to last.

And I don't mean it will disappear in 50 or 100 years. It will disappear in our lifetimes. In the following decade probably. 

The most important part of the colossal mechanism we call our civilization are we. Humans. Billions of people working. A huge beehive producing stuff, spending energy and consuming the produced stuff. Sounds like a closed system, but it is not. All that energy and material for the stuff we produce must come from somewhere. And in the last 150 years, it comes from oil. 

All this is built on and from oil. All. Everything. Everything you touch and see. Even if it's not powered by gasoline or electricity (which we mostly get from burning oil), even if it's not made of plastic (which is an oil-derivative), there was a huge amount of oil burned for its production and transportation. There is not a single man-made thing that doesn't have an oil stamp on it. 

oil rigsphoto by Richard Masoner

Capitalism, and its recipe for social peace is based on permanent growth. We work more and more, we spend more and more, we consume more and more. And for that, we need more and more energy. The bad news is, there is a definite amount of oil under the surface of the Earth. Even worse news is, we're seeing the bottom of the empty barrel. 

We are actually on the peak of our oil production and consumption. Or we were a couple of years ago. Bad thing about peaks is that they are the point from where the things go only downwards.

Our civilization is an oil-junkie. As every junkie, we always need more, not less.

Now you know where the recession came from. We spend much more than we can possibly make and nobody can live the whole life on credit, let alone the whole civilization. 

revolutionimage from Revolution in South Asia

Suddenly the comfort that keeps the capitalism safe is not that available anymore. As the time goes, more and more people will be more on the revolutionary side. It won't matter if they care about WikiLeaks stuff more than about the new iPad. The end of the capitalism is not the matter of people's willingness to start a revolution. Capitalism will end this way or the other. Question is if we are going to start working on the next system before it is too late. 

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10 comments to Inevitability Of The Revolution

  • I couldn't agree more, I have been thinking much the same thing. Big corporate interests are what moves almost all our Governments, and only so very rarely do the citizens get to claim a bit back.
    And I'm not a "Consumer"..I'm a "Citizen".

  • Ananda

    Being the day it (was) here's a little passage from Martin Luther King – Stride Toward Freedom:
    Something began to say to me, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate  it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”   When oppressed people willingly accept their oppression  they only serve  to give the oppressor a convenient justification for his acts.  Often the oppressor goes along unaware of the evil involved in his oppression so long as the oppressed accepts it. So in order to be true to one’s conscience and true to God, a righteous man has no alternative but to refuse to cooperate with an evil system.  This I felt was the nature of our action…”
    I tend to agree that we're near the peak of oil production, although I think it'll carry on through a number of peaks and troughs for a long time so I wouldn't bet on it bringing about a collapse by itself.   But hmm, we're also hitting a peak of food production, and of fertilizer production.  Who knows what lies ahead?

  • Shockwave, big money has always directed the moves of any government in history. And it never ended well. Nor it will this time. It's a simple cause and effect thing and its hard to expect that things will turn out differently this time out of nothing. One would expect them to think a bit and learn from the history. Not that it's not in their best interest as well. 

  • Ananda… Yes, we are hitting the peak of food and fertilizer production as well. Both are heavily based to oil production. 
    I would guess that we can possibly go for quite while with the current oil reserves, providing that we acknowledge the problem and start behave according to it. But if we're going to keep turning the blind eye and increase our consumption instead of reducing it and (more important) redirecting it towards finding new sources of energy, then it's not going to last. Somehow, I expect the blind eye scenario.

  • Misko

    I agree that capitalism is going to end and soon. But it is not simple depleting of the oil that is going to do the trick.
    You may or may not be aware of the fact that US dollar, as a piece of paper, is not representing it's value in gold, but rather serves as a bond that obligates the US government to return the loan to the Federal Reserve Bank with the interest rate! The Bank itself is not state own, it is private bank, like any other big bank, just with an addition - it is the only bank the State is allowed to loan from. Current amount of loan is several hundred trillion dollars and it is rising exponentially. Likewise, US dollar value drops each year. The money government loans is loaned further to "simple" banks, from them to small banks, from them to citizen. So, generally, the US citizens are returning the loan of the government with interest. Where does the interest come from? People earn it through their salary. Salary is payed by their employer, who loans from the bank (or earns from somebody else who loans from the bank), the bank loans from government and it all goes around back to Federal Reserves Bank.
    Every now and then, The FRB just stops loaning and requests that government returns the part of the loan. The government asks the banks, the banks ask the citizen and citizen do not have anywhere to take it from. That is how the crisis starts, like the one at the end of 2008. In other words, FRB dictates when the crisis starts.
    At some point US$ will diminish so much that it will lose all its worth. That is where it all will collapse. And given that almost every world economy depends on US$, colaps will be global.
    It is very possible that it will coinicide with oil reserves depletion.
    But I wouldn't expect that the People In Charge (owners of FRB and similar European Bank) do not have the scenario for that – there is most probably the solution to it. And I am sure it includes bloodshed – as it was in 1st then 2nd World Wars. Maybe it will not be the 3rd one, but some global turmoil is guaranteed. Then a reset button is pushed and they start from the beggining, with change from oil to water (probably).
    Anyway, This is my opinion. there may be others who share it and if so, I would like to hear from them.

  • Yeah, I am familiar with how the money/banking system works. Thing I don't understand about it is how it all started, i.e. how the FRB made that deal with the government. I mean, how one does persuade somebody to accept that kind of deal. 
    The collapse will, imho, coincide with oil depletion, but it won't be coincidence. Oil is the very place we borrow from to keep the system going. the very moment oil is gone (or better, go in the critical phase) FRB will have no interest in keeping the peace. Without is, people won't be able to produce enough for themselves and the rest of the pyramid. The credit we're using for so long will come to the payday. 

  • Misko

    It all started very easily – FRB used the moment the US Senate did not have all the Senators in place (it was even disputed that the Senate did not have the quorum to start with) and using the ones they already had in their pockets, the Law was passed. The whole process is described very thoroughlt in the Zeitgeist – the Addendum movie (though utopistic by nature, the movie shows quite a lot of raw facts on modern economy).
    I know one thing – if the war starts, we should all join and hit the ones that lead to it, and not the ones they choose to be our enemies.

  • Trescherix

    Very interesting reading!
    However, I believe the point is in the last sentence. With a small amendment, it's not likely that we (ordinary people) will do something on it, but rather them (who have the most interest, read money) who will or won't do something to find alternate source of  "energy". 
    I would place my bet on huge capital! The thing is in the essence of thing, the capital has an urge to reproduce, once out of fuel it immediately searches for alternative. So, I'm pretty sure the alternative is being looked for. 
    As an example, look at what Norway does, money from oil is invested in vast array of industries, following principle of eggs and basket.
    So, I'm placing my bet on the ability of huge capital to find itself new place to lay an egg.
    The reason we heaven't heard anything of the kind for is that it will never be publically announced until it's already obvious. 
    Imagine yourself in the position of the capital, would you say: "Look people, I have great substitute(s) for oil in my hands, let's start using it and I will flush my investment in wars and oil fields down the drain"… I thought so :)

  • Tomas

    It's a very precise and detailed analisys. I just hope I'll live enough to see how this ends. 

  • Misko, I agree on your idea which side to pick in the future possible war. Unfortunately, the producers of the war will do the good job in marketing of the war so not many people will think as we do. 
    Trescherix, of course that huge capital won't tell there's another source of energy before they suck the last drop of the old resources, then ride the profits from the drought and use it to rearrange social structure a bit. I'm not sure if Norway is the best example in this story, as, correct me if I'm wrong, they tend to play the game with less destructive greed.
    Tomas, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the post.

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