Colin's Cornucopia

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In 1960 the world looked a friendly place. We had set Europe right after Hitler and stalemated the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Our standard of living was improving rapidly after the restrictions and near bankruptcy of the war. Technology offered solutions to all the problems of mankind and the Victorian application of technology looked set to continue into some kind of Utopia. It was around 1960 that Rachel Carson gave the first hint of the difficulties of technological solutions with her book Silent Spring in which she described the devastation caused to wildlife by chemical crop management. In 1968 we had the first hints that the oil bonanza might not go on forever. War in the Middle East had precipitated an oil crisis and we became aware just how dependant we were on this finite resource. The trip to the moon in 1969 taught us how tiny and fragile this planet was.

In the 1970's Britain and the US started their somewhat involuntary de-industrialisation process. By the '90's Britain was no longer a major industrial power. Despite these problems the western countries continued to get wealthier by the day and it was not until the Gulf War that things began to change. Chasing Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait was relatively easy but it rang alarm bells throughout the Muslim world and a few disenfranchised people began to get very angry.

In the meantime we had discovered a hole in the ozone layer that, left unchecked, would fry the earth with gamma rays from space. The ice caps started melting and we became aware that our industrial emissions of carbon dioxide were becoming big enough to interfere with the normal chemistry of the atmosphere. In the 1990's the technological revolution in computing did for brain power what the industrial revolution had done for muscle power. But one of the main results of the information revolution was that we learned just how complicated and fragile this planet is.

The new millennium clearly had clouds on the horizon and since then we have been dragged into at least four wars and have suffered the worst melt-down of our financial system ever. Indeed, the crisis appears to be continuing. The major corporations have now taken over running the world together with the bankers and virtually every citizen is disenfranchised. Governments have responded by trying to tame the corporations but have only succeeded in aggrandizing themselves and producing grossly bloated bureaucracies.

The problems to be faced are many. You will find most of them described in this site. I can offer few solutions. So far all I have done is to offer strictly defined problems. I started writing these articles about four years ago in 2008 and have, while maintaining the site re-read most of them. I cannot find a single idea that I would change after four years. I consider that is a clear indication to me that I have got things nearly right.

I have realised that many of the articles carry the same themes time after time in slightly differing guises - looked at from a different view point. A very brief summary of the main problems we face seem to be:-

We are pushing the limits of the ability of the planet to contain us.

The propensity of the human race to procreate knows no bounds.

Our economic system is not capable of stasis.

Large corporations have devolved from national control and undermined the basis of the rights of man.

The banks are no longer under the control of the people.

We are outrunning our supplies of energy.

The 'third' world is determined to catch up with the west so making the future problems five times worse.

You will find many details of these and other matters that are all problems facing us today. If you want to make a difference, these are the things you should first address.

Colin Walker 3 April 2011

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