Thursday, March 20, 2014

NASA-funded Study: We're Screwed

Apparently, despite the fact that we humans have put men on the Moon, mapped our own genome, and peered into the furthest reaches of time, we still can't not kill ourselves. According to a new study sponsored by the Goddard Space Flight Center, human existence as we know it is headed for a "precipitous collapse". Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "WTH I've been ignoring all of those emergency shelter and freeze-dried seed commercials and now the world's going to end and... WTH?" Well, kind of yes.

Noting that warnings of the collapse of society are often fringe and conspiratorial, the study tries to explain the compelling historical data that reveals "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Oh, good. That's a relief. For a second there I thought this was going to suck. The study explains that even the most "advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent." So exactly the opposite of a Sharpie magic marker.

The interrelated factors in this whole sordid story that is our imminent demise are, not surprisingly, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy. All of which we have been keenly taking care to respect, conserve, and not at all use them like they are infinitely abundant.
Unfortunately, for us humans there are two key social issues that, when combined, create an awful no good situation for civilizations. Take it away, Guardian UK:
These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: "the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity"; and "the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or "Commoners") [poor]" These social phenomena have played "a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse," in all such cases over "the last five thousand years."
That doesn't sound remotely familiar.

Now combine that unnerving fact with this similarly unnerving fact from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch research and we get a real shit sandwich. In 2015 we will be seeing a huge male youth boom. And we all know when young men don't have much to do they start in with the masturbating OK, I crossed it out but there will be lots of that too I'm sure upheaving.
There’s a close relationship between surging populations of young men and “revolutions, wars and upheavals,” argue Ajay Kapur, Ritesh Samadhiya, and Umesha de Silva. The Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analysts cite ”civil war in medieval Portugal (1384), the English Revolution (1642-51), the Spanish conquistadores ravaging Latin America were secundones (second sons), the French Revolution of 1789, and the emergence of Nazism in the 1920s in Germany.”

2015 sounds like its going a lot of fun. Please continue, quartz dot com:
When there aren’t enough jobs to employ the supply of young men, that can galvanize conflict, argue the analysts—as can stagflation, rising income inequality, unaffordable property, and other problems facing emerging markets. Particularly if they’re unmarried, these young men have less to lose by banding together and committing crimes, unrest or violence.
To recap, income inequality + strained resources + lots of unemployed, pissed off young men = Fuck the coming decade.

I think I may go sign up for that one-way ticket to Mars. At least there we never had a chance.