Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future. A MUST READ.

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson  should be required reading for everyone. In particular, for those with economic and political power (send a copy to the people of your choice!).

“Easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism …” p25  And that’s the problem.

“Looking into plans to redirect fossil fuel companies to do decarbonization projects.  Capabilities strangely appropriate.  Extraction and injection both use same tech, just reversed.” p54  IS THAT TRUE?  Then what the hell are we waiting for?  “People, capital, facilities, capacities, all these can be used to ‘collect and inject’ either by way of cooperation or legal coercion.  Keeps oil companies in business but doing good things.”  p54

“But lawmakers are often lawyers themselves, notoriously bereft of ideas.  Can we assume they get their ideas about law from others? … Think tanks.  Academics. / Meaning MBA professors. … Economics departments.” p59 Yes.  Right there.  B students with no humanities knowledge, understanding, with no science knowledge, understanding run/create the world.

“The three richest people in the world possess more financial assets than all the people in the forty-eight poorest countries added together.  The wealthiest one percent of the human population owns more than the bottom seventy percent.” p74

“Also, the two billion poorest people on the planet still lack access to basics like toilets, housing, food, health care, education, and so on.”  p74

“…we can’t think in anything but economic terms, our ethics must be quantified …” p75

“GDP … consists of a combination of consumption, plus private investments, plus government spending, plus exports-minus-imports.  Criticisms of GDP are many, as it includes destructive activities as positive economic numbers, and excludes many kinds of negative externalities … ”  p75

And a wonderful conversation on p98-100 culminating in “There are about a hundred people walking this earth, who if you judge from the angle of the future … are mass murderers. If they started to die …  Exile, then.  Prisons …  What if they woke up one day with no assets?”

“Arctic permafrost [contains] as much stored methane as all the Earth’s cattle would create and emit over six centuries, and this giant burp [the melting of the permafrost, already underway] would almost certainly push Earth over an irreversible tipping point into jungle planet mode …” p147

“The whole field and discipline of economics, by which we plan and justify what we do as a society, is simply riddled with absences, contradictions, logical flaws, and most important of all, false axioms and false goals. … Not profit, but biosphere health, should be the function solved for.”  p166

” … many of the worst climate impacts will be irreversible.  Extinctions and ocean warming can’t be fixed no matter how much money future people have, so economics as practised miss a fundamental aspect of reality.”  p173

” … the heat wave, which was now said to have killed twenty million.  As many people, in other words, as soldiers had died in World War One, a death toll which had taken four years of intensely purposeful killing; and the heat wave had taken only two weeks.”  p227  “And yet still they burned carbon.  They drove cars, ate meat, flew in jets, did all the things that had caused the heat wave and would cause the next one.”  p228   How is it that so many people are so mentally deficient?

“Meanwhile the fossil fuel companies keep pouring vast sums into buying elections, politicians, media, and public opinion.”  p250

“Then all those planes going down in one day [through sabotage]. … It killed the airline industry, more or less.  That was ten percent of the carbon burn, gone in a single day.” p254  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

“… those few so rich that they could imagine surviving the crash of civilization, they and their descendants living on into some poorly imagined gated-community post-apocalypse in which servants and food and fuel and games would still be available to them.” p288-9 Poorly imagined, indeed.

“Help get us to the next world system.  … Invent post-capitalism!”  p317

“… a clear sign that macroeconomics as a field was ideological to the point of astrology …  economics were still very skilled at ignoring outside criticisms of their field …” p343

“So until the climate was actually killing them, people had a tendency to deny it could happen.” p349  And yet, see above re the heat wave.  So until it killed them themselves?  How special do people think they are such that seeing it kill someone else is … irrelevant?

“In the corporate world I’ve read the average wage ratio is like one to five hundred.  Actually that was the median; one to 1500 happens pretty often.  The top executives in these companies earn in ten minutes what it takes their starting employees all year to earn … To hide the fact that they don’t actually do a thousand times more than their employees.  Hiding like that, they won’t be normal.  They’ll be bullshitters.”  p383

” … would include American stupidity and hubris, and the assumption of being the world’s sole superpower, as one of their outstanding problems …” p483

“Woman as Other—when would that stop, them being as they were the majority of the species by many millions?”  p483-4

“Stan back, get away, keep out; maybe try fishing for plastic rather than fish …” p484



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