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World Crises -- dishonest and spurious arguments

I Am Right and You Are Wrong?

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following experience in the elaboration of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (1976-1994).

This appreciative approach may also be seen as a form of anticipative exploration of the conditions so ably analyzed by Jared M. Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, 2005) and Thomas Homer-Dixon (The Upside of Down: catastrophe, creativity, and the renewal of civilization, 2006). Especially valuable is the argument of the latter concerning the need of current civilization to develop the skills of "degrading gracefully" through adaptive management in order to navigate the predictable challenge of the collapse phase of the adaptive cycle -- understood as essential for civilizational resilience. Failure to acquire such skills might be compared with the faith-based expectations of Armageddon, possibly to be triggered by the unexpected, as analyzed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable, 2007) -- or as explored elsewhere (Spontaneous Initiation of Armageddon: a heartfelt response to systemic negligence, 2005).

Complenet to Celebrating ****

Web resources on ncirticall thinking

Not on CNN arguments

Strategic dilemmas


Dishonest and spurious arguments

Food crisis ! -- therefore we need to produce more food (FAO)

Water crisis ! -- therefore we need to give priority to conserving water and locating new sources

Human mortality ! -- therefore we need to give priority attention to ways of prolonging life (WHO)

Housing shortage ! -- therefore it is essential that we construct more housing, irrespective of environmental costs (UNHCS??)

Unemployment ! -- therefore we need to create more jobs, irrespective of any exploitation of non-renewable resources (ILO)

Ignorance ! -- therefore we need to enhance educational programmes, irrespective of whether they are of proven relevance to the issues engendering contemporary crises (UNESC0)

Territorial conflict ! -- this needs to be stopped, even if it means enclosing people in ghettoes and restricting them to reservations

Proliferation of arms ! -- this is essential to the preservation of peace, irrespective of the violence that it enables and sustains in the process

Immigration ! -- this needs to be curtailed, preferably avoiding attention to the issues that give rise to it (???)

Drug use ! -- this needs to be stopped, irrespective of the psycho-social pressures giving rise to it

Crime ! -- this needs to be stopped immediatrely, irrespective of any consideration of the issues giving rise to it (Interpol)

Energy shortage ! -- this necessarily requires a priority focus on exploitation of energy resources, whether non-renewable or not, and locating new sources of energy, irrespective of the impact on the environment (IEA)

Transportation, national and worldwide ! -- this fundamental right needs to be ensured for all, irrespective of the justififcation for such travel or the energy constraints -- now or in the future (ICAO, WMO??)

Waste disposal ! -- this needs to be ensured by any means, irrespective of increasing degradation of the environment

Global warming ! -- carbon emissions need to be constrained by any means, avoiding consideration of factors ensuring that they will continue to increase

Social unrest ! -- this needs to be stopped by appropriate use of force, ignoring the issues that give rise to it -- to the extent possible

Injustice ! -- priority should be given to clarifying responsibility for any past injustice for which there is hard evidence, rather than responding to current and emergent injustice for which legally adequate evidence has yet to be collected

Inequality and poverty ! -- these are a necessary consequence of economc development processes and can only be mitigated by ensuring that people enagage energetically in those processes, irrespective of whether they succeed or fail disproportionately -- to the advantage or disadvantage of others


Jared M. Diamond. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. 2005

L.H. Gunderson, C.S. Holling and S. S. Light. Barriers and Bridges to the Renewal of Ecosystems and Institutions. Columbia University Press, 1995.

C. S. Holling, L. H. Gunderson, and D. Ludwig. In Quest of a Theory of Adaptive Change. In: Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems. L.H. Gunderson and C.S. Holling, eds. Island Press, 2002

Thomas Homer-Dixon. The Upside of Down: catastrophe, creativity, and the renewal of civilization. 2006

Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable. 2007 [reviews].

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