collapse parameters

In my original version of this site, I had a page that called the ‘litany of woe’ that was an attempt to triangulate the Event from as many angles as I could. I soon realized that this was an inadequate and hastily constructed way to do so. I’ve got a sharper understanding now, and I said I’d keep updating that shit.

I need to try to map the collapse-causal matrices separately, and then attempt to explore the possibility space opened by the contingent interaction of these parameters.

I don’t have good enough math to do this numberwise, but fuck numbers anyways. If you’re into this, do your own math with it.

So basically we’ve got a bunch of separate but interconnected causal collapse trajectory vortexes. How you isolate, define, and examine each process depends on the conceptual tools you’re bringing to the job. This is what I’m working off of –

Biosphere Phase Shift

The Holocene is over, and the Biosphere is phase shifting into we-don’t-know-what-but-definitely-way-worse. Ecosystems are unravelling, biomass depletion and extinction rates are soaring, the ocean is acidifying, and GGE feedback loops are starting to kick in.

This process leads to inevitable world-systems collapse, affects all aspects of systemic functioning, and is hitting agriculture hardest and fastest. It doesn’t have any brakes (other than the outlying factors) and could continue all the way to a Venus or even Mars-type planet – we don’t know. As mass extinctions go – ours is the biggest and fastest, so this could actually be the end of the biosphere forever.

The theoretical apparati most useful for understanding this process are ecology, geology, and biology. Some decent dialectics don’t hurt either.

The popular media framing of ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ is really just a vulgar essentialist conception of a single symptom of the real threat – the thin interconnected web of biomass that covers the surface of this planet is unravelling. Large scale ecosystemic collapse is an inevitable result of capitalist functioning and is going to fuck us long before rising temperatures or sea levels do.

The Energy Cliff

The thermodynamics of fossil fuel extraction mediated by capitalist social relations guarantee declining rates of return, escalating costs – and a qualitative and probably quite sudden downshift into a different global energy state. This could happen in phases, or maybe even go to total energy system breakdown.

When the oil goes, everything goes with it. Wind and solar are a dumb joke, and can’t possibly replace fossil fuels. Geothermal and tidal are cool but also geographically limited and incapable of scaling. Hydro is already tapped.

The only possible mitigation for this is mass scale construction of nuclear power – something only state apparati really have the incentive to do. Waiting for ‘the free market’ to do things it cannot and will never do is suicidal lunacy – the liberal way. The level and scale of plant construction necessary again requires radical political/economic transformation.

Our societies need to have individual energy caps if they’re going to survive, something capitalism cannot do and liberals will never do. At the moment, new energy sources connected to the grid don’t reduce fossil fuel usage. Capitalism has no internal energy throttle, so the more energy we have, the more we use.

While the energy cliff is going to be brutal, painful, and likely very violent – the sooner it happens, the better for the future of the biosphere, and thus for the future of all life in the known universe.

Look to Sri Lanka if you want to see what capitalism looks like when it runs out of gas. Expect fuel shortages to spread.

The best theoretical apparatus for understanding this is physics, and histmat – and how value dynamics and thermodynamics interact. Even a basic understanding of thermodynamics and value dynamics is enough to render every liberalism ever invented hopelessly obsolete. It’s all folk-econ, folk-pol – Holocene gibberish.

Agricultural Burnout

Both previous causal matrices feed into this one. Our agricultural system has abysmally inefficient thermodynamics, destroys its own landbase, and is totally dependent on massive amounts of oil inputs. It’s also embedded within a conceptual system and infrastructure from the Holocene – so it’s pretty much all obsolete! The Post-Holocene climate is going to be very hostile to and difficult for agriculture to navigate. (There are atmospheric thresholds past which photosynthesis itself stops working!)

We can see exactly how dumb this is gonna go with the ag-strike in the Netherlands. In following their material interests, the farmers are shutting down a country and a food source during times of famine. This despite the fact that Holo-agriculture is going obsolete. Fun stuff.

The only real mitigation would be collectivization and transformation into primarily indoor agri/horticultural production facilities, an option that is completely off the table within electoral politics. (Look at those Dutch Rednecks howl!) There have been billionaires buying up lots of agriculture, but corporate monopolies are still quite restricted with what they can do. Nonetheless – centralization of power over agriculture is extremely good and necessary for the kind of mass-scale redesign that will have to be done for the Post-Holocene climate.

But don’t kid yourself –

Bill Gates Ain’t Gonna Share.

This stuff is gonna be exclusive and limited to those loyal to the monopoly, while the masses die off. I anticipate corporate-fash company towns and fiefdoms are gonna be a thing.

In any case, we are massively overpopulated relative to the carrying capacity of the capitalist metabolism, so we are currently eating our own future out from under us. A communist eco-overhaul of this shit needed to be happening since long before I was born – so famines on a scale with no historical precedent are imminent.

For each degree of warming, yields of staple crops decline by about 10%. Relatedly – the more carbon in the atmosphere there is, the fewer nutrients plants are able to provide. So within agricultural collapse, there is a hidden nutrient collapse as well – all foods are steadily becoming more like fast food.

Economic Unravelling

The Capitalist World-System has been in a disastrous tailpin since the early 70’s. This is primarily due to the global rate of profit (and rate of return on energy) dropping over time, as it do. The Neoliberal reforms have ransacked everything to keep the RoP propped up, but they’ve only been able to level it off at the expense of, well – non-profitable ends, like healthcare, education, social programs, and the environment.

Everything is just being fueled by debt/energy stolen from the future. After ’08 the unravelling started to escalate faster, plunging us into The Long Depression, followed by an unprecedented system shock in ’20.

At the level of exchange-value circulation – the money printers are the only thing holding keep the financial plates spinning as the rate of profit tumbles. Inequality becomes ever greater as the peripheries – external and internal continue their long agonized collapse. Central banks are being slowly forced to raise interest rates to counter inflation – but this won’t work and will cause an even deeper recessionary plunge.

As for use-values, supply chains are proper fucked and never going to magically unfuck themselves. Scarcity of energy, raw materials, and commodities are affecting the system at all levels. This is contributing to inflation and the soaring costs of living. We’re not just past peak energy, we’re hitting peak everything.

The breakdown of the world system could have different catabolic thresholds –

or it could go out all at once.

It’s impossible to know what will finally do it in in the end, because the economy itself is a parasitic entity on top of the energy system and disintegrating biosphere.

The only mitigation for this would be revolutionary overhaul of our existing political/economic apparati – towards much smaller steady-state eco-economies of direct allocation.

Historical materialism and eco-econ are the best lenses for understanding this strata. All forms of neoliberal economics are now folk-econ – more or less terminally obsolete. This stuff translates ecologically into ‘how to most efficiently destroy a biosphere for dummies’. Shit’s all worthless Holocene nonsense now.

Histmat gives us the tools to accurately understand the social structures and processes we live in and reproduce, and also to imagine how things could be different.

Ideological Disintegration

This being the level of symbolic/cultural/information circulation. This stuff is, insofar as we are materialists, largely dependent on and symptomatic of the preceding (underlying) crises layers.

This strata includes the epistemic crisis (the centers of epistemic authority/hegemony are crumbling, there is an escalating trend towards escaping into irrationalism, subjectivism, relativism, spiritualisms – ignorances of any and all kinds), the ongoing shift of bourgeois interests from their passive (liberal) modes to their active (fascist) modes, heightened racial, gender, and class antagonisms, the subjective fragmentation caused by social media and entertainment practices, the mental health crisis, the suicide crisis, the opiate crisis, escalating mass shootings, the Semantic Apocalypse – you get the idea.

We were lunatics to begin with, so we’re not handling this well.

Psychoanalysis, schizoanalysis, and histmat are your best bets here. This is the stuff that appears as primary to idealists – but for materialists the objective framework is the breakdown in our physical life processes. If you don’t understand your historical conditions, this stuff is just all ‘bad shit is happening and seems to be getting worse’.

Which is true, of course – but the breakdown of the capitalist world-system has little to do with ideas or attitudes (except negatively as inadequate to the task of comprehending the historical situation), it has to do with the material structures, thermodynamics, long-term secular trends, and other objective characteristics the beast possesses.

Working Structural Framework

These are the best large-scale conceptual angles on the Hyper-Process that is the Event that I’ve got, each with appropriate theoretical angles and concepts. I’ve stacked up like this because it gives them up all a useful metastructure – each ‘layer’ is dependent on the preceding in order to exist, sorta kinda. You can use different kinds of dialectics and causal models between and around them and stuff.

There are additional factors and symptoms like the Water Wars and escalating plague breakouts (hallo monkeypox – no surprises there), but idk where to locate these really. Increasing resource scarcity hits all strata. There are many ways these matrices can be related, and many conceptual apparati that can do the relating.

So like, it’s impossible to know how these trajectories will play out, not without a roomful of math nerds and a supercomputer maybe. Limits to Growth is the attempt at this I know of, but the conceptual models used to do it are kinda weak.

The interests here are opposed – Capitalist survival is opposed to Biosphere survival. Hence the necessity of redirecting civilizational survival towards the EcoCommunist Exigency/Impossibility. This contradiction will ‘resolve’ whenever the antagonism disappears, for whatever reason. The sooner the world-system transforms/collapses the better for the future of life.

Everyone with a conscience should be identified with biosphere survival – everything depends on it.

Outcome Matrix Scratchpad

In the Cores we have 8-10 years of something like ‘normal’ left. Maybe. (It could also all just collapse tomorrow – there’s nothing holding this shit together but habits, lies, nukes, guns, duct tape, and bubblegum). After that the nightmare will be inescapable even for the upper classes, who are still desperately burying their heads in the sand for the most part.

I don’t expect capitalism in its current form to last past 2040. What will succeed it is an open question, but will of necessity be far more local and fragmented, and on a massively smaller metabolic bandwidth. High energy lives are going away – likely forever, barring some last-second fusion miracle.

We are already seeing a systemic partition take place as Amerikan Hegemony breaks down, so it’s possible there are many layers of increasing ‘localization’ of the former world-system ahead of us – or perhaps this new binary system will be able to limp along for longer.

The smart geopolitical play right now for nation-states is steering for autarky. This is one of the reasons the sanctions on Russia have backfired so spectacularly – affecting the NATO cores much more negatively than the Russian periphery. Disconnection from the western core bloc is exactly what Russia wants/needs right now – and the West is raw material and energy blind while being totally dependent on them. (Idealism is a helluva drug).

Russia has played the whole RvU conflict better than NATO, on both the strategic and tactical levels. As my initial analysis indicated: Ukraine is indeed getting proper-fucked, and the sanctions have blown up in NATO’s face. Russia is winning this. While they’re also taking economic damage, the country has the recent history and knowhow to set up planned internally self-sufficient supply chains, which it seems to be trying to do. USSR 2 is the best possible outcome here – a 1917 style Event in Russia right now would fundamentally alter the global playing field.

RvU is helping China too. Something like a unified counter-hegemony to Amerikan/European Imperialism is emerging with the BRICS alliance. What liberation there is out from under Uncle Sam’s boot comes from China. I expect the USD’s status as universal reserve currency to become a thing of the past in the near future.

The Western Cores are in a state of serious and accelerating decline. The social fabric is devastated, and Covid continues to run rampant in a now oblivious population. The fumbled, misinformed, deceptive, hysterical media response to RvU is starting to lose its credibility. Biden and Trudeau alike are both sitting on top of sinking ships, hated by a good segment of their populace – and have very little influence or control over the escalating waves of entropy smashing into the system. Gas prices – far from being the fault of Putin, are the fault of NATO’s moralist incompetence and idealist blind spots. They’re operating in a world of escalating energy scarcity as if energy were infinite – and judge others as being morally unfit for not sharing this hallucination.

Doom, collapse, and extinction consciousness are beginning to impinge on public awareness. More and more people are getting to a minimally accurate meta-cognitive mapping of the situation -> eventual acceptance.

It is hard for me to come up with a politics that isn’t hardcore accelerationist at the moment. For the future of all life in the known universe –

capitalism must end.

Last Updated: 7/16/22