Alternatives to Political SystemsConsumerismEconomicsPeak OilSociety

Capitalism’s Crowning Achievement – a Cold, Cold Heart, and Deceit to Hide It

The following video is shocking. If you don’t want to see real people getting killed with real bullets, then please don’t watch it.

Collateral Murder (Warning: Very disturbing imagery)

But, just like it’s good for us to meet the animals we consume, I think it’s good for us to see what happens to our taxpayer dollars when they’re used in war; in securing oil, securing the lifestyles we’ve grown accustomed to, and in protecting our economic stranglehold on the rest of the world.

In this video, along with a dozen or more ‘unknowns’, two Reuters reporters were killed. In the immediate area, a New York Times reporter almost met the same fate, when he pointed his camera at one of the U.S. attack helicopters.

People will argue over the content of this video. Were the soldiers justified in their request to, as they pleaded to their superiors – "Let us shoot!"? Perhaps there were RPGs. Perhaps they didn’t see the children seated in the front seat of the van they were begging to destroy. Perhaps the children were brought to "a battle", and weren’t on a mission to collect wounded, as it appeared to my untrained eyes. Perhaps they really thought the wounded man attempting to crawl to shelter posed some kind of threat.

Whatever you may think of the incident, the official version given to the media speaks volumes that can be summed up in two words. They lie.

I just feel sadness for an erosion of more than morality – but a complete absence of sympathy or empathy. The modern soldier, protector of liberty and justice, has instead become defender of corporate interests and unbridled consumption, and murderer of anyone who stands in their way.

Further watching:


  1. Hi Ed

    You asked the exact same question on another post, which I took time out to respond to:

    Despite my taking the time, you did not engage in the conversation then. You just dropped the negative comment and ran. And yet you now ask the same question again. For what purpose?

    I won’t repeat the same comments again, as it just takes time away from me putting other posts up (ones that, who knows, maybe even you might enjoy – I say ‘even you’, as a quick look at your previous comments tells me that 95% of them are negative). I would suggest you use your time more productively as well – by perhaps commenting positively on the posts that do gel with your narrow view of the world and the changes necessary to put it on some kind of sustainable path.

    And in the meantime, perhaps consider that in the centralised world we live in, where much of what we eat, wear, drive, etc., comes from resources plundered, labour abused, wars waged and economies subjugated in places far out of sight and out of mind, then supporting whistleblowers who might fill us with disgust for this system that pours blood into our own hands, is not such a trivial action.

    For me to not publicise the video above is the same as doing what their Bradley tanks did after the event – just ignore the bodies and drive over them.

  2. Look, radical left-wing polemics will get us absolutely nowhere. It will only marginalize permaculture as just another band of left-wing loonies. It will alienate the very people we need to listen to the message. I strongly advise you to lay off it.

  3. I’d truly love to know what you’d have people do with video footage captured of your death when you were doing nothing wrong. Sorry, I ‘strongly’ disagree with you, but then that’s my right. These people deserve to be noticed; their deaths witnessed and talked about. The savagery and injustice evidenced here shouldn’t be labelled ‘radical left-wing polemics’ and get ignored so the machine we call ‘society’ can just continue, unchanged and unhindered.

    Have a little compassion.

  4. A rather disturbing statement I have heard while lecturing in America is that “we are driving our cars on the blood of Iraqi children” is brought painfully and shamefully into focus here.

    This emphasizes and reinforces that we need to direct all our efforts towards a peaceful positive solution-oriented direction with redefinition of wealth, resources and good life for everyone.

    Permaculture empowers us, we the peaceful people of the earth to be the solution and to dis-empower those who are the creators of the problem.

    We need to tolerate and co-operate as a movement of people who can make a difference.

    I worked in Iraq 3 times in 2003 designing and directing the rebuilding of a village with 53 straw bale houses and a community center, and all the village infrastructure. The Iraq people I worked with were always welcoming, friendly, honorable and extremely hospitable.

    I was carrying a camera on my shoulder most of the time I was there, often with American army helicopters flying overhead, and on my own as the only foreigner with my Iraqi colleges. I engaged in the work expecting that I could have been killed for what ever reason, but not I thought for carrying a camera that could be mistaken for a weapon.

    My deepest sympathy to the beautiful people of Iraq and the Middle East who have suffer so much injustice.

  5. When did protesting the slaughter of innocents become “radical” or “left wing?” As a libertarian, I completely agree with Craig. (Well, maybe not with calling this “our” stranglehold on the world. I don’t consent to the government’s legitimacy, so it’s “them” doing this, not “we.”) Kudos for posting it.

    Also worth noting is that Bradley Manning, the soldier who leaked this video, is facing criminal charges and up to 60 years in prison. He deserves our support.

  6. It’s funny JBob, I was just planning to add the same thought but you beat me to it. People are so busy putting situations into little preconceived political boxes, they can’t see through all that left/right/whatever bullshit to see some clarity in what they’re really looking at.

    It’s just inhumane, and it’s wrong, and we should not let it go unnoticed. Turning a blind eye to the kind of savagery that has us saying “C’mon – let us shoot!”, and “go on, pick up a weapon” (so we can finish you), and “they shouldn’t have brought children to a battle” (as an excuse to let the kids die) is just what this ‘system’ would have us do.

    I say, don’t let yourselves become so desensitised that this seems normal.

  7. Doh! More capitalism bashing.

    Last time I checked it was governments committing these atrocious acts.

    Maybe the title of this article should be “Socialism’s Crowning Achievement”?

  8. Craig – may I please please suggest these alternative names for the corrupt system we live in today?

    Fascism, Corporatism, Oligarchy

    By using the label capitalism you are alienating a lot of us permaculturalists who tend more towards libertarian/anarchist principles.

    Capitalism properly defined is simply a system of private ownership and allowing people to control the means of production (as opposed to socialism where the means of production is controlled by the state).

    If you’ve watched the excellent documentary “Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil” you’ll see that one way that Cuba survived their peak oil crisis was by moving more towards capitalism. The large state run farms were broken up and the land was privatised. People could choose what they wanted to grow and could take their own produce to market and sell it for their own profit.

    Capitalism and permaculture are not enemies and I wish you’d stop using the term as a pejorative.

  9. Globalized capitalism controlled by large indistrual structures, is an enemy of Permaculture!

    Local capitalism put into the framework of local bioregions, as a part of designing systems which set humans and the natural world in harmony with each other, is a friend of Permaculture.

    Capitalism as a blind belief in the “Invisible Hand” is an enemy of Permaculture!

    Capitalism as a part of a larger Pattern Language, expressed by the VISIBLE HAND of Permaculture, is a friend of humanity!

  10. Aah, Cyrus, the old what-do-we-call-the-system-around-us dilemma! :)

    I’ve had this conversation a few times before. I’d encourage you to read a comment thread from not so long ago:

    A big thing I’d like to get across, is that before we had government control, we had feudalism. In fact, government control gets spawned by feudalism – either because feudal lords are trying to create and control government, or because the public are trying to protect themselves from feudalism and urge government to regulate them, or both.

    Now, how do we get feudalism? Again, before we had government control, we had feudalism. Feudalism is a result of private individuals overreaching. They just want more.

    The globalised, corporatised, world we see today is, from my observations, the unfortunate but natural result of completely free market mechanisms at work.

    A free market, respecting individual choices, in and of itself is of course not an evil thing. Indeed, it SHOULD be the ideal. The reason it is not – the reason it always ends in feudalism, government control, dependency, etc. – is because a system based on complete individual freedom will only succeed if it is entirely guided and restrained and utilised for the good of people and place through some kind of inner moral compass that stops the individual using that freedom to (instead) compete, accrue, centralise, monopolise, etc.

    How do you stop an individual from giving in to the temptation to regard meeting basic needs as insufficient, and to reach and climb and compete for more? Indeed, if you try to stop him, you’re encroaching on his freedoms. If you regulate him, you’re moving to state control.

    Scenario: Give me a fresh clean planet (something like this planet, but a few thousand years less ‘mature’), then place a few billion people on it. Give these people a good dose of knowledge about environmental realities and resource constraints, and then let them loose with freedom to do what they want, but with the recommendation that they work together in a way to build happiness whilst protecting the resources upon which that happiness is dependent. What will happen? From observing thousands of years of history, it’s my belief that these lucky recipients of a fresh, clean, new earth, will put themselves in the exact same position we’re in today – scrabbling over crumbs of the earth’s resources, with either a centralised government restraining/controlling industry (a la China), or a centralised government being controlled by industry (a la USA). (The China example is increasingly one of industry controlling centralised government, just like the USA, but still…).

    Again, read the thread I linked to above. Check out the Tytler Cycle chart I mention there, along with other thoughts.

    I’ve yet to see anyone tell me how you stop ‘liberty’ from equating to greed and, ultimately, control.

    The title of this post is as it is because capitalism is, by dictionary definition, an economic system driven by profit.

    cap’italism noun the condition of possessing capital or wealth; the economic system which is driven by the profit-motive and depends on investment of private capital to provide the means of production, distribution and exchange.

    Capitalism is about capital accumulation. Capital accumulation is about extraction and competition.

    These always end in social stratification, social injustice, and resource depletion.

    As should be clear from this article (which is about some history for a former communist controlled country) I am not, by any means, advocating communism. Indeed, I’m against centralised control. I just recognise something that I don’t believe you’ve yet observed objectively – that complete freedom eventually turns into centralised control/manipulation of one form or another (either by industry, or government, or both). Why? Because of our faulty human nature. We tend to give in to feelings of ambition, greed and pride.

  11. Well, from the dictionary definition of capitalism, then is what I call a “good” capitalism, not capitalism after all. Wonder what to call it? Mayby “creatingism”? The freedom of the individual to run his own business as a part of a larger Pattern Language, made up from the freedom of individuals, as a part of a new sustainable culture, Permaculture.

    I guess “creatingism” is not a good name describing the good “capitalism”. Does anybody have a better name for it?

  12. I don’t normally watch videos like this or like reading articles on this subject. But I had an Occam’s Razor moment where I just cut everything down to its base simplest component and the only thought I had was “Wow, its amazing to know that if there was no oil here, this would never had happened.”

    Which ties into the permaculture principles of setting up abundant systems and sharing that abundance.

    There is no abundance of limited resources and any acts which we lower ourselves to in order to get them does not change the act having been committed.

    Everything else is higher level reasoning to make on feel just in having the act committed it in their own head.

    All the too and fro in the posts here seem to be between one heads reasoning against another heads reasoning but the act remains.

  13. @Craig “Capitalism is about [private] capital accumulation.”

    Exactly! But food forests, swales and healthy topsoil are a form of capital accumulation.

    Thanks for the reference to the other thread. I read it and I believe you’re confusing two separate issues:

    1. The *ideals* under which a society functions i.e. permaculture vs growth-based rapacious unsustainable behaviour.

    2. The *system* under which a society functions i.e. free markets (capitalism) vs government owned production (socialism/communism).

    I think we can agree that until we adopt a sustainable culture then all systems of government will degenerate into feudalism.

    My fear is that when you attack capitalism you give people the impression that more government control would solve all our problems – it won’t.

  14. Thanks for taking the time Cyrus.

    I don’t think they’re separate issues though (ideals and the system). My continual pointing back to morality/ethics being the base problem to freedom not working (the invisible hand doesn’t have a conscience of its own, after all) is because I think we need to see that if we’re to create a successful ‘system’, it will only be because it’s based on ethically founded ‘ideals’. They’re not separate – indeed, one creates the other.

    My fear is that when you attack capitalism you give people the impression that more government control would solve all our problems – it won’t.

    No, it won’t, it’s true – but my ongoing fear with libertarians who don’t have a replacement framework to suggest is that when you attack any kind of government regulation you’re giving people the impression that private enterprise on its own will solve all our problems – it won’t. It never did.

    But do note that nowhere have I promoted more government control. I use the word capitalism, because it’s the correct use of the word. Capitalism is profit based. And, yes, soil and trees are a form of capital, but development of these doesn’t have to be ‘capitalism’, in that excess is not accumulated, but cycled. The ‘fair share’ (return of surplus) principle is what makes the difference between permaculture land development, and a capitalist land development concept. Both may improve the land biologically, but in the latter case, the trend is towards the accumulation of land, trees, labour, etc., as it’s based on competition and ‘profit’.

    Through the site and comments we’ve tried to share participatory democracy concepts – where an ethically minded, educated populace (with a good dose of soil science education!) get involved in politics to the point where they actually become government.

  15. Thanks Craig. We’re going to have to agree to disagree I guess. I don’t agree that capitalism is profit based. A charity is a capitalist entity because it is based in the free market i.e. it is voluntary, not coercive.

    I’m not arguing that the free market will solve all our problems. I will argue however that moving towards a more capitalist system will prove superior to more government control as we slide down from Hubbert’s peak. I hope we can start this process by ditching government’s paper money and going back to free market money: gold, silver, barter etc.

    The free market is incredibly powerful. After all, Permaculture comes from the free market. Permaculture is the result of the “invisible hand” in action.

  16. Yes Cyrus, with this definition I may can use the term good capitalism still. But the “invisible hand” and the free market produces just shit, especially when conducted by big entrepreners. One of the biggest entrepreners in Norway, Nordbohus as they dare to call themself, as if they made houses for northeners, have destroyed the life of me and my wife. What they built for me were nothing else than garbage, and to me as a customer they payed no respect. Why? Because they used the simplest possible materials the simplest possible way, to gain maximal profit. Look around you, or are you blind for all the extreme ugliness you see all around you, mostly a result of maximizing the profit. The “invisible hand” has destroyed my life trough the tool of an entreprenour, and I’ll never forget what it did to me!!!!

    The sad thing is that the entrepreners live in symbiosis with the governments, so that they can force theyr garbage upon everyone. Destroying our lives and environments utterly. The whole planet is soon just a heap of garbage and ugliness.

  17. Don’t take this personally Øyvind :)

    Cyrus – I think permaculture is less a product of the invisible hand than it is a reaction to it. A reaction of disgust at where unbridled consumerism takes us.

    Private enterprise, on its own, without some kind of moral compass, ends up doing the following:

    – creates products for which there isn’t a need.
    – creates the need (or, the ‘want’ as the case may be) for the product that isn’t really needed (through social manipulation in advertising, etc.)
    – reduces the costs of production of that product (in terms of manufacturing process/materials and labour – even if that means using the lowest waged workers on the planet, at the greatest distance from the purchaser), resulting in people and place being taken advantage of, and resulting in consumers being not only physically removed from the people and place of manufacture – but they’re also blissfully ignorant of the true costs paid by both people and place.
    – externalise the cost of both manufacturing, dumping it onto anyone (environment, producing staff, consuming customers, taxpayers).
    – ignores the life cycle of the product, creating built in obsolescence, creating fashion consciousness (I find it hard today to buy a pair of jeans that hasn’t been pre-ripped/worn – imagine explaining to a starving guy somewhere in the world that we now pay premium prices for clothing already half destroyed at point of purchase) so as to shorten product lifespan and thus increase consumption.

    – does what it can to outsmart and absorb the competition.
    – exerts whatever influence it can to control any and all power over the populace.

    – seeks private ownership of everything….

    Show me a system that works on cooperation and stewardship, and you’ll be showing me a system based on ethics.

    My concern, as I’ve expressed in other places, is that as the world continues on its current path, and increasing desperation ensues, the ethics needed to move us in the right direction will be enforced upon us in arbitrary fashion. Increasing ‘freedom’, without finding genuine and individually motivated ethics to fill the void, will only hasten the approach of fascist/religious intolerance.

  18. Good picture!

    Permaculture is cooperation, not competition. But cooperation can only happen between equals. This is why I’m against both huge industrial and buerocratical structures. But I believe most businesses should be own and run by individuals, but in the framework of a Pattern Language. I too believed in the Invisible Hand before, but now I find the pattern language theories much more hopeful. I’m sure these theories can be used in building our whole society, not just for buildings. And the good thing is that pattern languages are extremely flexible, and can be adjusted to every situation. But people don’t have the freedom to make up good pattern languages today, because everything is left in the hands of experts.

    At my trip to Lofoten I overheard a story about how the fjord of a fisherman was destroyed, where he grew up. One day two trawlers came to his fjord, and they put a thick steel wire between their trawlers. Then they drowe along the whole fjord cutting down all the coralls there, to make it easier for them to use their bottom trawling equipment. The fisheries of his fjord was then destroyed forever.

    I had earlier been chocked by using dynamite for fishing at coral reefs in the Philippines, but this was the most idiotic greedy thing I had heard about ever, and it took place in Norway as I thought was a ziviliced country. Of course it probably were some years ago, but still.

    To mee I think it’s better to make a pattern language that doesn’t allow anybody to own more than one fishing bout and just up to a certain size. And to take well care of the coralls. I don’t like the present situation where one man in Oslo can own 20 trawlers, a person who has no relationship to the place the fisheries take place. But the work of the invisible hand always ends up like this. I don’t think the owner of these trawlers should have cut down the corals of this fjord if he lived there himself. And I think the men working for him should been more happy if they each had their own small fishing boat.

  19. I can give one example of how things end up when left in the hands of experts. Earlier people could eat their food inside a restaurant without paying extra. Now our experts have made a roole that you have to pay 15 % extra tax if you eat at a restaurant. Earlier people ate their burger meals inside or around McDonalds, now they just by the food and eat it by the lake or in the park. The result is that the wrapping for the food and plastic cups now is spread all around town and along the lake.

    I’m sure a pattern language made by the people should make it contrary, to make people eat at the restuarant and avoiding all this wrapping thrown around all over. Also it’s nice that people can meet and chat at a restaurant, not making this a luxus.

  20. As with fishing boats, agriculture can only be done sustainably on a small scale. How do you limit land-parcel size appropriately, if the citizenry do not understand soil science/biology and self-determine to organise themselves in a way to steward the land in harmony with the laws of nature?

    Amongst many questions I would pose to ardent libertarians is what to do with the present situation of massive centralisation of industry. As mentioned, even if we were today somehow placed on a level playing field, I believe we’d eventually end up back where we are today. But, what changes, without government intervention, can be applied to break up the current corporate monopoly of land and other resources? It seems to me, that except for government intervention, we’re only left with rocks and pitchforks wielded by disgruntled townsfolk.

    We’re facing the greatest crises ever seen in history, and a large part of the solution is to see small scale polycultures incentivised, so as to peacefully redistribute land in a fast, but staged manner. How does removing all government control accomplish this? After all, it is increasing freedom from regulation that has given birth to the likes of Monsanto.

    I hate centralised control – either by government or industry. But with most of the world satisfied with, or hungering for, just a 9-5 workday and hollywood-provided evening entertainment, and thus unaware of even the predicament they’re in let alone what’s needed to extricate themselves from it, we’re in a pickle that cannot be solved by merely removing government. You’ll just be leaving massive industry to write its own laws (as if they aren’t already).

    Question in summary – how do you remove all regulations, and yet break up monopolies, redistribute land, and educate/incentivise a shift to relocalised polycultures and community interdependence?

  21. Cyrus, thanks for saying what needs to be said. I guess I’m getting too used to Craig’s disparagement of capitalism because I didn’t even notice he used the word this time! ;)

    Craig, “Private enterprise, on its own, without some kind of moral compass…” Any political system, on its own, without some kind of moral compass won’t work. Capitalism and anarchy do the best job of limiting the damage any one madman can do. Stalin, Hitler, Mao… not capitalists.

  22. Any political system, on its own, without some kind of moral compass won’t work.

    Exactly!! That’s the point!!

    But, I don’t believe capitalism (profit based accumulation) or anarchy (complete freedom for the current dumbed down populace we have today) would do a better job, let alone the best one.

    But, time will tell, I guess…

    I guess nobody will answer my question, from my last comment? I fear if it (land redistribution, transition to relocalised polycultures, etc.) doesn’t happen by massive, widespread grassroots awakening, that it’ll happen by force – either from the bottom, or the top. I feel there’s a chance, small though it may be, that the current governmental infrastructure can be utilised, with widespread pressure, and involvement at every stage(!), from an awakening populace, to incentivise transition and stage its progression to minimise disruption and suffering.

    I don’t see this staged transition occurring at the hands of the current corporate captains let loose from all regulation.

  23. Yes, I see you are right! Even we don’t like the bureocrazy and the organization of our gouvernments, finding the split in left and right boxes ridiciless, I think we have no choice than to take part of it to change the system from inside.

    Even Bill Mollison wanted to create an organisation of positive examples, changing the system from outside, it’s maybe now time to become infiltrators of the system as well, changing it from inside,

  24. JBob, don’t you see that both Stalin, Hitler and Mao were zentralists and monoculturists? Like huge industrial structures are! We need to relocalize and polyculturize everywhere. But in a way you are right, because in many slums people living in anarchy make beautiful pattern languages by themself. In Alexanders books there are some examples for this, I just didn’t see the beauty of the slum before he explained it to me.

    I’m sure we could learn a lot by studying the pattern languages people living in the slum make for themself. Often they make living structures much more alive than what we live in.

    Anyway, maybe we strive for the same thing, the freedom for people to make their own pattern languages. You may call it anarchy, but I call it permaculture. And capitalism can thrive here, depending on the definition of capitalism, or how you use it.

  25. What Craig attacs is the centralized and globalized capitalism. This capitalism is evil. In lack of a better word I think we have no choise than to call local based economies capitalism as well. I should like to have another word for it, but in the lack of a better word i call it good capitalism. Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe we don’t need the word capitalism. Anyway, the word has so many negative accosiations that we might better try to avoid it. Instead using therms as sustainable economy etc.

  26. “Amongst many questions I would pose to ardent libertarians is what to do with the present situation of massive centralisation of industry.

    Question in summary – how do you remove all regulations, and yet break up monopolies, redistribute land, and educate/incentivise a shift to relocalised polycultures and community interdependence?”

    Easy answer – let them fail!

    Instead what we are seeing around the world is mega-corporations subsidised and bailed out using tax-payers money. Most monopolies could NOT EXIST without government support. Reduce the size of government and you automatically cut the monopoly off at the knees.

    The beauty of peak oil is that “bigness” is going to be less and less possible. Let the mega-corporations fail – the market will replace them with local solutions.

    Also Craig – I don’t think you are being fair to me by turning all my arguments into strawmen. I’ve said clearly that I do not believe that capitalism is only profit based. Capitalism can be a tool for evil or good. It can be based on competition or cooperation. You do your readers a disservice by reducing the argument to “capitalism == bad stuff”.

  27. JBob, I think capitalism without guiding principals will not work. A capitalist working ounder the framework of permaculture:

    is a complitely different kind of capitalist than a capitalist working ounder the framework of the mecanistic idea of order:

    And to Cyrus, even you are complitely right in your analysis, because big industrial corporations surely live in symbiosis with our gouvernments, I worry it will not work if we just tear it all down. Because our minds have now collectively been poisened by the mecanistical idea of order for 400 years!!!!

    This is why a tear down of gouvernments and global corporations can only work ounder the guidance of permaculture etics:

    Also, because our pattern languages are lost, it will be a time of caos before we can rebuild new, locally adapted, well functionating pattern languages around the world.

    And for me, even I might be a capitalist, because most of my family are running their own businesses now and for at least 5 generations back in time, I have complitely lost my belief in the invisible hand.

    This happend after reading The Timeless Way of Building (the invisible hand makes in my opinion extremely ugly and disfunctional buildings and societies, and has not the skills to produce “the quality with no name”) and A Pattern Language and half The Nature of Order-series by Christopher Alexander.

    So now I only trust the pattern language theories and the development and use of generative codes. And I find it facinating that even Christopher Alexander believes that generative codes by time can replace the whole bureocrazy in every aspect.

    But still, if we just tear down our gouvernments all in a sudden, without having the understanding of pattern language theories and the new theories of generative codes adapted in our collective mind, I fear we’ll have a long time of caos before implementing these tools.

    But still, our society doesn’t value these tools as well, so maybe the best was if it all collapsed into caos, and in the caos people should grab for these tools and the guidance of permaculture to save them, and we should have a new kind of world faster than ounder the present direction?

  28. When I now again took a look at the permaculture design principles:

    I find it facinating how much it correolates with the procedures of the use and development of generative codes, which too is an organic process.

    What is highly wrong with bureocrazy and global corporations is that they are not organic in how they adapt their systems upon the surface of the world.

    The only way we can successfully implement our systems upon the surface of our world, is mimicing the procedures of nature. This mean observing, small step solutions, react to change etc.

    Using generative codes doesn’t allow finished plans and systems forced upon the world, the nature doesn’t work like this! Only when adapted by small steps and with paying attention for the feeling of the whole for every step adapted, a system can be a living structure.

    Unfortunately our present day systems violate these facts complitely, and hence our world is now filled up with dead structures, not supporting life.

    As I have not seen anything about the use of generative codes in permaculture websites and litterature yet, I hope now permaculturists can take a more serious look at these tools. I find so much influence here in use of pattern languages, but nothing about generative codes. As these theories are highly organic and search to reflect the way the nature creates life, I think it’s now time to look at these tools to implement them in permaculture design, and to gain a full understanding of it:

    I will with this strongly encourage this site to make a series of articles about the theories and use of generative codes!!!!

  29. I recall seeing similar videos to this from the Gulf War. “Clueless kids-with-guns-too-powerful-for-their-cluelessness” taking pot-shots from military choppers at people on the ground, like it’s a video game and those on the ground are 3D models. How does one on the ground reason with someone up in a chopper? Or, how does a human reason with a chimpanzee or dog… so that the dog or chimp understand what the hell’s wrong with humans.

    If or when a permaculture society like the one envisioned by Mollison/Holmgren becomes reality, I wonder how some people like the “team players” who thrived in the capitalisticish (whatever you want to call it) systems will fare.

    Maybe they will shrivel.

  30. On July 7, 2010 @ 10:41 pm, Ed Straker wrote:
    “And this relates to permaculture, how?”

    Another option is to answer your own questions, using the internet, the world’s greatest library.

  31. When I wake up this morning I came to think about the ironi of that we attacked Irak to find and eliminate veapons of mass destruction, while the worst threath of mass destruction is in our own backyard, CONSUMERISM and UNLIMITED GROWTH!

  32. Another idea is to utter ‘boiled frog’ to people who seem out of touch with the danger that surrounds them. Make it appear as a mild or playful insult (which I guess it is). (It should get their attention and may have them make inquiries.)

    @Øyvind Holmstad:

    Ironic indeed that our own lifestyle is what may/is kill/killing us.

  33. Cyrus – sorry for my tardy reply. I’ve been trying to squeeze a break in.

    I also lament the subsidising of industry destruction through our own taxpaying dollars, and then bailing them out as a reward, just as I bewail the subsidising of wars of aggression. Yes, we need to remove this subsidising.

    Yes, peak oil will transform industrial society in profound ways.

    Where I disagree is that peak oil and the removal of subsidies and government will ‘cut monopolies off at the knees’. You’re forgetting that there were monopolies, and feudal lords, well before there were government subsidies and supports for them. In fact, it was because these monopolies and corporate feudalists were as powerful as they were that they managed to transform government into an agency working on their behalf. Cronyism is a result of monopolisation, not the other way around (although they then, subsequently feed into each other, of course).

    From what I’ve seen, peak oil and economic collapse is doing the opposite of what you’re predicting. Instead of a breakup of monopolisation, we’re seeing increasing centralisation. The supposed benefits of economies of scale were seen in 2008 (when oil prices tripled in a year) to cause struggling airlines to either merge or sell out to the bigger competition. As the trend continues, there will soon be little to no competition. Peak oil and economic collapse may weaken these big guys, but it’s all relative – they’ll still be bigger and stronger than anyone else.

    Feudalism grew out of a fairly level playing field. Remove government now – in a situation where the playing field is anything but level – will not bring equality, but just leave the biggest players with free reign. Their business activities will certainly need to adapt to a situation of declining resources, but they will still maintain their position of power in the marketplace.

    I see all kinds of disasters occurring from just removing all regulation and government. One example – take BigBiotech. It is deregulation that gave Monsanto the ability to fast-track their attempt to take control of the world’s food supply (see The World According to Monsanto to see footage of Bush Senior saying they’re in the deregulation business), and biologically contaminate the world’s natural systems as a result.

    Although there seems to be increasing leak-points, Europe is largely a no-go zone for GMOs, due to bans on it that reflect the will of the majority of the people. Remove those restrictions, and GMOs will flood Europe and the rest of the world, with widespread, alarming consequences that can occur even before peak oil has had a chance to impact their business at all.

    My suggestion is to not completely remove government, and leave business interests to do whatever they want, but rather to see a significant increase in citizen participation in government – with that citizenry made increasingly lucid through education in both the realities of what we’re facing, and recognising the potential found in actual, holistic solutions.

    To be honest, when you say ‘let them fail’, I don’t think you’ve really thought this through. I don’t think you know what you’re saying. Our system, as bad as it is, still gives a life to billions of people. Our horribly centralised agricultural systems, for example, still give life (even if not well nourished) to billions – if they fail, many of us will die. There is no doubt that they will fail eventually – it’s just a matter of time, due to energy constraints as well as soil/water/phosphate depletion issues, etc. – but if we don’t find a way to transition this failure, then we’re in serious trouble. No man is an island here.

    My bet is that a more humane transitioning process can occur with people learning to take responsibility for their own future and ensuring they’re heard and represented by a government that works by the people, for the people, rather than just letting private interests run roughshod over all.

    Sorry if I seemed to be making a ‘strawman’ of capitalism. Yes, the freedom aspects of ‘capitalism’ are worthy of merit. I don’t dispute that. I’m all for freedom. Where we differ is that you seem to think that total freedom will be the best path, because things will just ‘work themselves out’. I am confident that history will repeat, as it ever has – that pride and selfishness and ambition will ensure a modern, high-tech feudalism would take control even more than it does today.

    The reality is – governments now largely represent industry, and industry is becoming government. I believe what you’re pushing for is to remove the last vestiges of defense against democracy. We need to take back control of government, from industry – not just hand control over to them on a platter.

    One more example – in a post that may interest you also. Scroll down to the section – “Getting to the heart of the matter: Corporate greed is a CEO’s legal obligation“. This talks about, as the sub-title suggests, the fact that corporate captains are legally obliged to look out for their own interests, and pretty much nothing else. Removing government doesn’t solve this problem, particularly as corporations have pretty much written their own laws. Please take a look at that section, and the remainder of the article.

    One thing with taking control back over government – we don’t even need a majority of the people on board to do so, we just need a sensible, but active minority to begin to make substantial change. If there are 1000 people in a voting district, if most of them watch Baywatch on Wednesday nights, while a sensible few decide instead of go along to the community hall and push for necessary change, these sensible few will make their voices heard over the apathetic, do-nothing couch potatoes.

    What you seem to be pushing for, at a political level, is to give control back to the ‘invisible hand’, which has no morals or accountability – and people can continue to watch Baywatch on Wednesday night, and continue to leave their futures to time, chance, and (I say) the whim of industrial oligarchys. It’s a ‘comfortable’ message that fits with the kind of society industry has bred over the last century, but it’s not a message that will bring solutions.

    A final comment – as I just suggested to JBob, you are welcome to write up a post delineating your ideas on strategies for an alternative global nation. I, and I’m sure our readers, would be interested to hear your opinion on how to transition. I’d personally and particularly like to understand how you see it playing out after all government has been removed. Think it through well (as you’re facing a discerning readership here!), and send it through! editor (at)

  34. To be honest I think Christopher Alexander has found the solution for a new kind of world, where pattern one maybe is the most important pattern there exist:

    Even the feudal system never really existed here in Norway, because we’re a marginal country on the edge of the world, I’m afraid Craig is right that a new hypermodern technological feudalistic system will this time stretch its tentacles even to the most remote fjords of my country.

    The small farmer and fisherman of old ages living high up in the fjords slopes, walking up the steep sides with ladders he could withdraw when he climbed up the mountain side, were mostly a free man while most Europeans were slaves of feudal lords.

    But next time the feudal lords stretch out their parasitic tentacles over the world, their poison will burn everyone and leave nobody with the flavor of freedom.

    So what we need to see now is the roots of Permaculture to stretch out to cover the whole surface of the world, nourishing all people to make them strong and independent. Only this way they’ll be strong enough to withstand the crisis that are approaching!

  35. The video posted by Craig displays the callousness and impropriety of the war machine in Iraq … in the name of “energy security”, for which we all share “some blame” since the vast majority of us are still using cars, motorbikes, buses, plastics, paints and by-products from the petrochemical industry.

    The video footage CATEGORICALLY does NOT represent the fundamental values of permaculture:-


    So, until all of us (somehow or other) successfully transform our lives and behavior to a more sustainably friendly future, we all actually shoulder a portion of the blame.

  36. Craig Mackintosh wrote:
    “…you are welcome to write up a post delineating your ideas on strategies for an alternative global nation. I, and I’m sure our readers, would be interested to hear your opinion on how to transition. I’d personally and particularly like to understand how you see it playing out after all government has been removed. Think it through well (as you’re facing a discerning readership here!), and send it through! editor (at)”

    @ Craig:

    “The medium is the message.”

    We have power right in our hands, right at our fingertips.

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