Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Give Me Bubbles!

Over on EuroTrib Gerome Guillet directs our attention to the eager use of the word "bubble" by financial media commentators these days to describe both dramatic ongoing increases in oil prices as well as the still absurdly inadequate increases in renewable energy technology and infrastructure investment taking place these days.

"Of course," he points out, this evocation of a short-lived, even faddish and frivolous aura around rising energy prices and renewable energy investment "is easy to understand" once one recalls the incumbent interests whose agendas are being megaphoned by these financial media commentators: "It is so much more comfortable to paint the ever-higher oil prices, and the development of still thoroughly hippie-tainted wind power as temporary aberrations or meaningless bursts of irrational exuberance rather than as persistent realities."

The larger context that makes this sort of irresponsible propagandizing especially ironic (a rather wan word to encompass the scale of the outrage involved) is that "the blatant real estate bubble was ignored by all 'serious' commentators (and after an earlier decade when the reality of the dotcom bubble was similarly denied until the crash had happened),'" and yet "they now find it extraordinarily [useful] to use that label freely [to handwave away] any inconvenient [truths]."

Energy descent is of course the "persistent reality" trivialized in this "bubble-discourse," while investment in renewable energy, far from a "bubble" (one should certainly hope, we will certainly have to demand), is the so far still too timid and inadequate response of an intelligent humanity to conditions that could render our vulnerable incomplete secular democratic technoscientific societies a bursting bubble themselves.

To confront these persistent realities, Guillet points out would require financial policymakers and media popularizers to change their assumptions and their course dramatically, to refrain for the first time in their lives from promoting the dangerously delusive and destructive fantasies of "[p]erpetual growth, the deification of the quick buck based on blissful ignorance of externalities," while at once explaining hard lessons that some of the senseless unearned conveniences many privileged people have come to identify with "individual freedom [will] have to give way to long term planning, intrusive regulation of pollution and emissions, [and] policies to reduce demand and care for the commons."

Needless to say, the misuses of the word "bubble" by these media figures indicate with perfectly clarity (and predictability) their preference both to ignore the real problem and trivialize the real solution to it. What they will find soon enough, to their immediate cost (but eventual benefit as people who also have more of an interest in a sustainable planetary civilization than in maintaining their provisional positions in a corrupt pecking order devoted to lies, even if they are too stupid or corrupt to be paying much attention to such things here and now), is that the p2p commentariat, p2p policymaking, and democratizing p2p disruptions of Machine Party politics are rendering the definitive role of their corrupt dull-witted hierarchical system of incumbent interest the real bubble they should have had on their minds right about now.

2 comments:

jfehlinger said...

> To confront these persistent realities. . . would require
> financial policymakers and media popularizers to change their
> assumptions and their course dramatically, to refrain for
> the first time in their lives from promoting the dangerously
> delusive and destructive fantasies of "[p]erpetual growth,
> the deification of the quick buck based on blissful ignorance
> of externalities," . . .

Oh, pooper, pooper, party pooper!!

Pooper.

Poop.

D.O., not B.O.!
http://www.maxmore.com/optimism.htm

Dale Carrico said...

I've never quite understood why an asshole's disregard for the negative effects of his conduct on others or over the long term is described so often as "optimism" by so many people.