Tag: Deep Adaptation

Climate ChangeEconomics

Rent, Profit, and Degrowth – A Postscript to “Capitalism and Climate Collapse”

In Capitalism and Climate Collapse, I argued that catastrophic climate collapse cannot be avoided under capitalism because capitalism requires economic growth, economic growth requires energy growth, energy growth requires extensive burning of fossil fuels, and extensive burning of fossil fuels causes catastrophic climate collapse. To avoid collapse, we need to shrink the economy – that is, degrowth – to a sustainable level with respect to energy requirements, and then switch to a steady state economy to stay at that level. What exactly that sustainable level is is debatable, but regardless of whether it’s closer to one third of current closer...
Climate ChangePhilosophySocial Issues

Human Extinction

Apparently, an increasing number of people say that they believe that climate change will cause human extinction. To what extent all of these people are genuinely convinced about this I don’t know, although, for reasons explained elsewhere, I expect that for most of them it is a desperate attempt to find meaning and make sense of an increasingly meaningless and senseless world more than a genuine conviction. Regardless, the topic of human extinction is an interesting one. How likely is human extinction really? And would human extinction actually be a bad thing? These are the two questions I will focus...
Climate Change

The Lesser Dystopia

(This is part 3 in the No Time for Utopia series.) In On the Fragility of Civilization, I argued that due to the slowly compounding effects of an increasing number of relatively localized “natural” disasters caused (directly or indirectly) by climate change, a vicious circle of failing disaster management, economic decline, civil unrest, and hunger will trigger a cascade of collapsing societies, eventually leading to global societal collapse in roughly 25 to 30 years from now (give or take a half decade). The world during and after collapse will be very different from what most of us have ever experienced,...
Climate ChangePhilosophySocial Issues

No Time for Utopia

Most political thought is “ideal theory”: its arguments are based on an idealized world in which important aspects of reality are abstracted away. Abstraction isn’t necessarily a bad thing – in the contrary, it is often necessary in science – but it isn’t self-evident that the results of abstractions and idealizations are (always) applicable to the real world, and if theory doesn’t descend from the ideal world to reality it turns into an intellectual game without practical relevance; or worse, as the case of neoclassical economics illustrates. In that case abstraction and idealization resulted in a “theory” that explains nothing,...
Climate Change

Fictionalism – or: Vaihinger, Scheffler, and Kübler-Ross at the End of the World

In 1911 the now almost forgotten German philosopher Hans Vaihinger published Die Philosophie des Als Ob (The Philosophy of ‘As if’) in which he argued for something approaching global fictionalism. In the preface to the second English edition of his book he wrote: The principle of Fictionalism . . . is as follows: “An idea whose theoretical untruth or incorrectness, and therewith its falsity, is admitted, is not for that reason practically valueless and useless; for such an idea, in spite of its theoretical nullity may have great practical importance.” Fictionalism is the view that claims in some area of...