L. Neil Smith is a wonderful human being, but sometimes he can be too silly, such as when he starts channelling Dick Tracy characters who say things like, “The nation that controls magnetism controls the universe!”
L. Neil Smith predicts the dire consequences of a Chinese presence on the moon, with obvious references to Heinlein’s Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
Guys, China knows damn well that its top priority is to keep its middle class reproductively active, politically naive, and addicted to shopping. That means China knows it has to raise middle class wages.
Yanks might try to buy guns and butter simultaneously; the PRC is more likely to hand out higher wages to middle-class workers. The PRC is not likely to try for violent conquest of the Senkakus or Taiwan. Even if they boost military troop counts to keep energetic young men out of trouble, the PRC is not going to go to the moon and re-enact Heinlein novels.
Furthermore, China has its own internal problems, such as breast cancer induced by frequent abortions:
links to an article which actually praises Mandela, somewhat:
although Mandela personally did not kill anybody, and never set off any bombs, or even shoot a gun in anger — he certainly had the intention to do so and the organization which he founded — the ANC’s armed wing — most certainly did kill people. …
The problem, however, is that cultural, social, and political elites in the West promote multiracialism and multiculturalism as a means of making sure this never happens. The advancement of non-White minority interests overrides the group interests and wellbeing of White majorities in Western nations. In the U.S., minority ethnic lobbies are actively trying to shape changes to immigration policy, which would enhance their political stature as a voting-block coalition and advance their own ethnic agenda at the expense of the White majority’s national agenda. When will a “conservative” politician with the stature of a true statesman, such Enoch Powell, ever break with prevailing political conformities to stand on principle, in the mold of Mandela, and forcefully defend the European identity of their national heritage? And proclaim, “enough is enough!”
So, actually, they set it up as if they want to criticize Mandela, but then they turn around and call for leaders “in the mold of Mandela.”
Wait a minute, does that mean “leaders who never shoot a gun in anger,” or “leaders who have the intention to do so”?
It’s a major metropolitan area run by armed teenagers with no access to jobs or healthy food, and not long ago, while the rest of America was ranting about debt ceilings and Obamacares, Camden quietly got pushed off the map. That was three years ago, when new governor and presumptive future presidential candidate Chris Christie abruptly cut back on the state subsidies that kept Camden on life support. The move left the city almost completely ungoverned–a graphic preview of what might lie ahead for communities that don’t generate enough of their own tax revenue to keep their lights on. Over three years, fires raged, violent crime spiked and the murder rate soared so high that on a per-capita basis, it “put us somewhere between Honduras and Somalia,” says Police Chief J. Scott Thomson.
“They let us run amok,” says a tat-covered ex-con and addict named Gigi. “It was like fires, and rain, and babies crying, and dogs barking. It was like Armageddon.”
Energized county officials say they have a plan now for retaking Camden’s streets one impenetrable neighborhood at a time, using old-school techniques like foot patrols and simple get-to-know-you community interactions (new officers stop and talk to residents as a matter of strategy and policy). But the plan also involves the use of space-age cameras and military-style surveillance, which ironically will turn this crumbling dead-poor dopescape of barred row homes and deserted factories into a high-end proving ground for futuristic crowd-control technology.
Beginning in 2011, when the city first installed a new $4.5 million command center–it has since been taken over by the county–police here have gained a series of what they call “force multipliers.” One hundred and twenty-one cameras cover virtually every inch of sidewalk here, cameras that can spot a stash in a discarded pack of Newports from blocks away. Police have a giant 30-foot mobile crane called SkyPatrol they can park in a neighborhood and essentially throw a net over six square blocks; the ungainly Japanese-robot-style device can read the heat signature of a dealer with a gun sitting in total darkness. There are 35 microphones planted around the city that can instantly detect the exact location of a gunshot down to a few meters (and just as instantly train cameras on escape routes). Planted on the backs of a fleet of new cruisers are Minority Report-style scanners that read license plates and automatically generate warning letters to send to your mom in the suburbs if you’ve been spotted taking the Volvo registered in her name to score a bag of Black Magic on 7th and Vine.
Nobody in North Camden calls the police. When the county installed the new “ShotSpotter” technology that pinpoints the locations of gunshots, they discovered that 30 percent of all shootings in the city go unreported, many of them from North Camden. “North Camden would generally like to police itself,” says Thomson. “Rather than getting a call of an adult who had assaulted a child, generally you’ll get a call to send an ambulance and a police officer to the corner of 7th and York because there’s a person laying there beaten nearly to death with chains.”
In the short run, there are many places on Earth that could see a Robocop-style crimino-pocalypse – anarcho-tyranny near the established centers of power, and anarchy in the “no-go zones.”
In the long run, the problem might be more like Soylent Green than Robocop.
I think I’m going to keep linking that study, because I think I need to think about it many, many times and write several essays about it before I get a handle on it. It amazes me that a group of editors allowed it to get past the political-correctness filters of modern academia.
Its insights are not particularly shocking – the fact that academics feel they can discuss these things does shock me.
An accompaniment of the population cycle is always the progressive concentration of the inhabitants in cities. “At this level all civilizations enter upon a stage … of appalling depopulation. The whole pyramid of cultural man vanishes. It crumbles from the summit, first the world-cities, then the provincial forms and finally the land itself, whose best blood has incontinently poured into the towns, merely to bolster them up awhile. At the last, only the primitive blood remains. … This residue is the Fellah type,” wrote Spengler in his book The Decline of the West (1922; 251). He
comprehended the essential elements of the downward spiral in a typological way, without proving his conclusions statistically. Until far into the 19th century – even into the ascending phase of European civilization – in all large cities, more men died than were born in them. Large cities grow and always flower at the expense of the surrounding countryside. In the crowded conditions of any large city prostitution and sexual laxity flourish while human reproduction declines. (Davis, 2006).
Why are big and fierce animals rare? Their place in the food chain is the most exposed and their existence requires a large number of smaller animals – hares, deer and so on – which need plants as fodder. In German we speak of somebody as a “Big Animal” if he is a man of the first rank; but his status also depends upon the large number of poorer citizens who work for him or pay taxes. The ecological space of big animals is limited. They themselves are the first to perceive when their space is becoming crowded (Colinvaux, 1980).
So perhaps we are not going to see a future of “megalopolises,” as many have predicted. The UN believes that the 21st century will see most of the world’s population living in favelas, studded with a few shining skyscrapers of rich people. But if the intellectuals die out of the cities, people won’t bother staying in favelas. People don’t have a natural need to stay in one place. Young, aggressive men won’t say, “Hey, I need to get into the big city!” Young, aggressive men will say, “I want to go where the adventures are” even if that means going to an isolated oil rig, a foreign city, a war zone. Young, aggressive men have a way of finding ways to travel, even when they have very little money.
Shanty towns of poor people exist because richer people give jobs to reliable workers who live in one place. Thus bus drivers, shoe shiners, restaurant bus boys, etc. make up the core of the favelas. If a functioning society does not exist to keep their jobs operational, then they can pack their valuables into a backpack and wander away, without worrying too much about filing a formal change of address.
The early 21st century has seen considerable migration to favelas, because centralized governments and banks kept their system ticking over. If a breakdown in social hierarchy manages to disrupt centralized governments, the result could be nomadic bands of ex-favela-dwellers dispersing over a very wide region.
If the hierarchies break down, but there is still enough technology, it might be possible to make a more efficient version of capitalist consumerism.
The way forward should include heirloom consumerism.