The Path forward

Everywhere we look we find descriptions and solutions to visible and projected problems. However, the credit meltdown, climate change, peak oil, and government grid lock, while problems that will disrupt our lives, are nothing when compared to larger problems like civilization collapse, human die off, and unrecoverable dark age.

For most people these larger problems are hidden or at best abstractions. Giving meaning to a global civilization collapse is difficult because no one has ever experienced one. Somalis, Lebanese, and Tamils, know something about local civil break down, but global civilization collapse is not within their or our experience. There is no stored wisdom to guide or motivate avoidance-behavior.

Furthermore, the approach of civilization collapse is difficult to anticipate because it is much like a car ride just before a collision. The moment before crash appears tranquil, a moment later is chaos. Also muddling through civilization collapse is like trying to fasten a seatbelt mid-crash. After the crash many of the mechanisms to fix problems are broken.

Maybe we should stop our progress toward these larger, stranger, and unmanageable problems. We should search for behaviors that pull the human experiment back from these vaguely defined super problems with unknown trigger points.

If we know an increasing total human footprint takes us closer to these tripping points, then we also know behaviors that reduce total human footprint pull us back. For example, we know a large rapid and ongoing population decline will reduce total footprint and provide breathing room for civilization.

If population remained constant, and we tried to reduce footprint by reducing per capita footprint, this decline would produce loss of wellbeing, which will produce social conflict and result in civilization collapse. If we have to choose between the two reductions -- I choose decreases in population because it saves our civilization and allows improvements in everyone's wellbeing.

The nice behaviors that create rapid population decline (RPD) are very low birthrates. The unkind behaviors that create rapid population decline include:
     a) indirect genocide (the rich purchase the resources
          that kept the poor alive,) We have plenty of that today
          and plenty of opportunity to see that expand in the
     b) anarchic conflict (individuals kill one another
          for resources,) Our cities are incubators of this activity.
     c) direct genocide (groups kill groups that compete for the
          same resources.) expect this to be the institutional

Very low birthrates can be created by
     a) laws: for example, "No one may father or mother more          than one child;" and
     b) policy: for example, "All those that go childless should
         be largely rewarded for they are saving everyone's
          quality of life."

The birth rate should be below .5. The lower the birthrate:
     a) the lower the number of people who will die from the               unkind processes,
     b) the longer our fossil resources will last, and
     c) the less damage humans will do to the eco-system
If the birth rate is low enough, we might just keep:
     our civilization from collapsing,
     our technology advancing, and
     our progeny experiencing ever increasing wellbeing.

Clear as this view of reality may seem to many who have given it thought, we have not found powerful ways to communicate it to the global community. They retain a firm hold on an alternate view and behave in accordance with it.

Both views of reality can not be true. The behaviors that result from each view lead to different futures. So our challenge is clear. We can watch as normal behaviors drive the human experiment into oblivion. Or we can work to develop arguments that change a person's view of reality and thus his or her view of appropriate behavior.

We can create arguments that help this person see the:
     a) errors in his view of reality,
     b) tragic destinations of normal behavior,
     c) smallness of some of the loudly touted problems,
     d) meaninglessness of solving these problems
          in the context of failing to solve the larger problems,
     e) impotence of normal behaviors
          (even ZPG and 30% reduction in consumption)
          to address the larger problem, and
     f) behavior that actually addresses the larger problems
          (e.g. implementations of rapid population decline.)

Human viability depends on these arguments being successful in creating a majority who will vote for laws that implement universal "one child" behaviors and policies that reward people who choose no-children.

I have selected a democratic process to implement these laws and policies, for five reasons:
     1) When using the democratic process you only have to
          convert half the constituency to get 100% compliance.
          The converted half of the constituency simply
          drags the unconverted half into compliance.
     2) The half you do convert does not have to include the
          hormone or culturally driven.
     3) The work to pass the law only has to be performed
          once. You don't have the endless task of
          convincing each new procreator as he or she
          comes on line.
     4) It allows the arguments to be tailored to a single
     f) When using a bottom-up model of change,
          your arguments don't have to overcome the counter
          forces created by a leader's diverse
               special interest groups, and
               legislative cohort.

This democracy model, of implementing one child behaviors and policy rewards, should shape the creation of our recruiting arguments. For example, here is one argument that can be derived from ideas posted in the last year.

------------- sample argument -----------

"I Kill People?"

The human system has passed into a state where there are not enough resources to give everything to everyone. A market allocates scarce resources. When the total consumption is far from the carrying capacity the rich are sated before there is nothing left for the poor. However, when total consumption gets closer to the carrying capacity (and production can not be easily expanded) then higher bidders empty the market leaving nothing for the lowest bidders. The poor perish. Successful bidding turns everyone living into killers. Every person who is not born is one less killer. Every person who dies is one less killer.

In these strange conditions, not only are consuming individuals "killers;"
     a) any plans to have children expand the parents' roles as
     b) any plans to heal the sick which would die, are acts of
     c) any acts to feed the hungry which would die, are acts of
          murder; and
     d) any acts of education, which help individuals expand or
          maintain their footprints are acts of murder.
I don't like these descriptions of my system, but my distaste does not change their validity.

It seems the first step out of this predicament is to inform the participants that reality does not support their beliefs that they are not killers. If they don't want to be killers, reality dictates different behavior. The new behaviors must implement rapid population decline. We must increase the separation between total human footprint and carrying capacity enough that supplies in the market will again become so abundant (like air) that no matter how much is purchased by the higher bidders, the lowest bidder can still survive and prosper.

Thus to implement rapid population decline, everyone who wants no children should be lavished with praise and rewards. Those who must have children should limit themselves (or be limited by their group) to mothering or fathering one child. Those who do have more than one child should be treated as the egregious murders they truly are.

------------- End sample argument -----------

The goal of each argument is to break down the denial and fantasy which distorts the full meaning of an individual's procreative behavior which (when collected with others) is choking the life out of the human experiment. The process is to choose and present these arguments to one person with intent of changing his or her beliefs. Then to encourage this individual to apply his or her choice of the best arguments to another individual, etc..

Gentlemen and ladies, the assignment is "what do you know? How can you present it?, so that a single listener will:
a) release his/her fantasy of doing no harm,
b) replace it with responsibility for the harm he/she does , and
c) vote to implement one child laws and policies that reward the non-procreator?"

Jack Alpert

Below are nine other arguments that past posts support. These, and many others can be tailored to help one individual change his or her beliefs, from "rapid population decline is not necessary to address the human predicament" to "rapid population decline is." Each argument will help one individual vote in favor of one-child laws and "no-child" reward policies.

1) New successful consumers kill. For example, 1.4 billion Chinese eating more meat (or Americans driving cars that burn grain- alcohol) are raising the prices of grain and killing people.

2) The human experiment is so far into overshoot, reducing first world consumption does not prevent anyone from being a killer. If the haves (20% of the global population) cut their consumption to a third, and the have nots (80% of the population) added the released resources into their daily consumption, the poorest people would still be starving. The only thing that has changed is that the responsibility for these deaths would be more evenly shared by more people.

3) Increasing longevity kills. Even when having just two kids and making sure your kids do not take more food, housing, cars, etc than you did then, the number killed by each child would still increase simply because he or she will live longer lives.

4) The only way to keep the total human footprint far below carrying capacity is to have the reduction in total footprint, that results from reducing-the-group-size each-year, exceed the increase in total footprint that results from growth in per capita footprint that year.

5a) How much do we have to reduce population to establish social justice? That is let the have nots of the world live like the haves. We could do this if the population declined to a 1/4. Or 1.6 billion people.

5b) How much more would we have to reduce the population below 1.6 billion if we wanted to live sustainable. There are may ways to calculate this but one of the simplest is to use one estimate that our intensive farming processes loses top soil 16 times faster than it is being replaced by natural processes. If this is true then we would have to have 15 out every 16 acres used for food production in a process of restoration - while we farmed only one. It follows that we would have to reduce our 1.6 billion population to a 1/16 or to 100 million people globally.

6) 100 million is just a number that the human population would pass through. In reality the global population would have to continue to decrease, until a person was more valuable as a person than the resources he or she consumed. (That is, you would want to take a bag lady home because she was of more benefit to you as an acquaintance than an additional Learjet in to your hanger.)

7) Besides behaviors that are performed by individuals that increase or decrease consumption, there are parts of the system that can be activated which contribute to ever increasing consumption even when the individuals initiate a decrease. For example, if scarcity creates conflict and conflict consumes resources and thus increases scarcity then this self reinforcing loop can cause the human experiment's collapse. If the listener can understand the system's vulnerability to this unrecoverable death spiral, then they have one more reason to change to an RPD belief.

8) Scarcity in a market can be caused by other than individuals increasing their consumption. For example,
     a) Fossil fuel reserves exhaust.
     b) Consuming renewing resources faster than they
          naturally replenish.
     c) production reductions caused by human wastes attacking
          the eco system.
     d) resource diversions to address social conflict .
With each reduction more of the poorest are priced out of the market, starve, and die.

9) No set of behaviors will prevent all injury to people and environment. However, there may be behaviors that allow continued-advancement of science and art. There may be behaviors that make humans "not-the-primary-degrader" of the physical environment. Our search should identify these behaviors and then our activities should focus on the task of implementing them.


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