Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I am the termite of temptation

Just stating "capitalism is unsustainable" doesn't make it so... how do you know that's true?... Can you sum up in one sentence why I should believe you?
- My friend Alison
(in an email from a while back)
Well Alison, the basic thesis runs thusly:

That modern capitalism is unsustainable in the short term can be substantiated using the most authoritative of sources; the laws of thermodynamics being just one of those sources. Despite this, it's not a widely held view. And I think the reason for this could be language as much as anything else.

I'll explain... but it might take a few paragraphs rather than one sentence. Sorry about that.

The human race uses natural resources to produce all of our goods and services. Some of those natural resources are renewable, and anything created with them can - broadly speaking - be considered sustainable. Some of them are not. Now, let's ignore the renewable resources, and the superabundant non-renewables, and any resource for which we have a renewable or superabundant substitute. Those resources too have their own management issues, but for now let's concentrate on those natural resources that are irreplaceable and which the best data tells us are likely to present serious supply problems in the near term; crude oil (globally), natural gas (North America) and aquifier water (perhaps a dozen places globally, give or take).

I'm aware that I made an assumption about the "irreplaceability" of oil and gas just there. But run with the assumption for now. That discussion can happen separately, and I acknowledge that if genuine substitutes were to be discovered then this issue is entirely moot (though "fresh water" is still a huge kettle of fish. So to speak)

The language problem I was talking about is due to what people think when they hear the word "growth". The phrase "economic growth" is considered A Good Thing almost universally. Left and right disagree on how best to achieve it... but they're both aiming for the same thing.

However the phrase "economic growth" is also - in essence - a euphemism for "accelerated resource depletion". In practice they mean exactly the same thing. Modern capitalism is predicated upon economic growth. It cannot exist without depleting precisely those resources it needs to survive. There are three reactions to this.

There are those who ignore it. This group includes almost everyone that you and I know.

Then there are those who argue it cannot happen, and speak of the "infinite transformability of units of production" as though stuffing dollar bills into the ground will produce more oil. It won't. And as the energy to run the global economy begins to dry up (at a rate of about 3% per annum according to ASPO) then so will that economy. We either have a "power-down" plan or we wait for all the fuses to blow and try to fix them in the dark.

And finally there are those who look at the world around them and know... obviously... it can't go on like this. They buy a plot of land somewhere, a library of books about growing organic vegetables, a gun and lots of ammunition. Or they waste their time issuing warnings and proposing solutions (most crackpot, some with potential) and get ignored.

So when I say "capitalism is unsustainable", you should believe me. I'm in the third group. I have the weight of science on my side. I'm a poet, scientist, traveller and philosopher whose been studying this for the best part of a decade. And I have the gift of insight born of a well-squeegeed third eye.

Who are you going to believe, Alison? Me? Or the oil companies, economists and politicians?


Blogger tincanman said...

Capitalism rests on the basis that something is manufacturers and sold to the people employed by the manufacturers. For the manufacturers to profit, their expenditure must be lower than their income, which means your salary is less than the sale price of the object.

If all consumable objects in the world is condensed into one, call it the Fragoogleblaster, you can easily see why capitalism is unsustainable. You need one Fragoogleblaster a month to survive.

Because you will be paid $10 per month for working in the factory that makes the Fragoogleblaster. But, your boss is selling the Fragoogleblaster for $20. You need two months wages to buy one months worth of Fragoogleblaster. And that, is Capitalism.

Of course there are many factors that influence this, reinvestment, wealth creation, a variety fo different things which doesn't make it as simple.

I'm sure economists will have lots of words about this. Just remember, they're the same people who say:

"Because more people want something that doesn't exist, it's worth more and we're richer".

24/2/05 21:15  
Anonymous David Duff said...

Let me save you from these loons, delightful company though they be. Jim forgot one thing in his desert hide-away, the placard he has been carrying all these years with "THE END IS NIGH!" painted on it.

I wil tell you a story - shorter than Jim's and I admit that it proves nothing but it does illuminate. Back in the '70s, there was a very emminent scientist who sang exactly the same sort of song that Jim is singing. He had written a best-selling book telling us that the end of the world was nigh, using exactly the same arguements as Jim.

Another, much less well-known economist offered a bet, that the price of all non-government controlled commodities would *drop* over time, not increase; and the price, of course, tells you how scarce, or not, they are. The great man, and several of his friends, chortled, shook their heads and said it was a shame to take the money, but, hell, if he was offering it and all....

They lost!

What Jim, and they, failed to take into account is technology, which always comes to the rescue when a rising price/scarcity forces the issue. That is why the car you drive today does, say, 35 miles to the gallon, where-as your Granddad's car of 40 years ago only managed 20 to the gallon.

As for the long term view, well, as another famous economist once said, "In the long run, we're all dead!"

Here's another little snippet you won't hear from the 'Doomsters'. Sometime during the coming century, the big problem will be falling in populations. Yes, a *fall*! Well, you didn't really believe all those silly scare stories about there being 'Standing Room Only' on planet earth, did you?

24/2/05 22:27  
Blogger tincanman said...

Technology is our salvation? Hmmm. Doesn't matter if you use a limited resource more and more efficiently - you are still using it. And making it cheaper has preciously little impact on the simple economic facts - if you make a profit you need to sell it at above your expenses. As your expenses include wages ...

"In the long run, we're all dead!" And our decendants? The future of our planet? Of course, I realise these issues won't affect you but there is a world outside and there are going to be people living on it in the future.

Whilst technology can assist us, it's not our salvation. That comes from being aware and responsible, making informed choices and not simply saying: "Well, there's oil now, so there must be some tomorrow. And if there isn't, we'll use something else".

In the spirit of things though, I am always interested in reading more. Can you point me to links to the books and economists you mentioned, please? (Or names, so I can search for them myself).

25/2/05 00:09  
Anonymous iotar said...

"Well-squeegeed third eye"?

Sorry, I have nothing new to add to this dialogue but I am deeply afraid of this image. Whenever I'm passing the flat on my way to buy a pint of milk, some cat litter and a tenner of unsustainable electricity, part of me will be worrying whether Jim is squeegeeing(!?) his third eye. Does one do this in the living room, or is it one of those things that one retires into the privacy of the bathroom to perform?

Eye fear for yr squeegee.

25/2/05 07:59  
Anonymous David Duff said...

'tincanman' raises some points but, alas, simplifies too far.

What he forgets is that producers (what he calls 'manufacturers') come and go. They are not static. All the producers that ran stables, post horses, carriages, riding equipment. etc, up to the 19th c., went broke! Why? Because another set of producers, using technology, invented the petrol engine.
And consumers are not forced to buy everything that is produced. In other words, they have disposable income over which they can have choice. This ensures that producers regularly go bust, and those that don't are the ones who invest in the technology that will produce either, or both, better products and/or cheaper products. That is the dynamic of capitalism!

Technology doesn't just improve and make more efficient our use of commodities, it actually creates new sources of raw material. To take oil as an example, it is a truism to say that "in the long run" it will run out. But long before that happens, the price will start to rocket. That will be all the incentive needed for producers to invest in a search for alternatives. Not, I hasten to state the bleedin' obvious, because they care for mankind, but because the first to produce such a new source will make a zillion. As Adam Smith pointed out long ago, the driving force is greed, but we all benefit!

'tincanman' I can recommend the following site for a refreshing blast of penetrating commonsense and expertise on these and other technical topics; http://www.fumento.com/

As for books, try: "Wealth and Poverty" by George Gilder (or any of his books): "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations" by David Landes, a superb, fascinating and very readable book on the economic history of the world; and last but not least (but don't tell Jim, he'll have a fit!) "Free to Choose" by Milton Friedman.

25/2/05 13:57  
Blogger tincanman said...

Thanks for the book links. Now I'll have some reading to do.

creates new sources of raw materialHow? How do you create a raw material? Not transforming an existing raw material into something else - but actually creating something new? Out of nothing?

Otherwise, all you're doing is re-shaping an existing resource. Moving away from one finite resource to another doesn't solve the problem. Sure, we can move to other planets, other solar systems, other galaxies, but we're still not solving the problem.

The fact that manufacturers / producers adapt, go out of business, etc. does not alter the basic premise that the system is geared to profit.

Profit, through it's very definition means somebody is making money off someone else.

And that is why I say capitalism is unsustainable in the long run.

I use the simplified model because it is easier to discuss. The amount of complexity in it alters the time-frame, but not the basic premise.

Eventually we'll have to come up with a smarter system. Not sure what though, I don't think the human consciousness has evolved enough for something else yet.

26/2/05 01:05  
Anonymous David Duff said...

Tincanman points out correctly that it is impossible to "create" new sources of raw materials because energy/matter cannot be created or destroyed (the 1st Law of Thermodynamics). However, technology will help you discover new and hitherto undreamt of sources. How do you think oil was discovered? Also technology will make existing sources of energy/matter go further. This very message is an example, sent out to the entire world in a nano-second - compare that to the pony express! (Jim mentioned the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics which did seem at one stage to presage the end of the universe - but not for zillions of years - but I gather that the latest ideas contradict this gloomy prospect!)

Remember also one of Jim's favourites: e=mc2. That means that a tiny speck of matter, smaller than the full stop on this page, contains energy eqivalent to the speed of light squared. That is an awesome amount of energy. True, it takes some getting at, but it's been done already at great expense, but then the first motor car cost a fortune!

As for your economic difficulties, let me remind you that it is not only the producer who gains a "profit", but also the worker who has surplus income. Say you are paying your worker 'x' which just keeps him above the breadline, but you invent a new, more efficient, way of making, say, flange-sprockets, you can then pay your worker x+y in order to keep him on as a skilled and trustworthy man needed to keep the increase in production going. Thus, if you like, that worker is now making a 'profit' in that he is earning more than he needs to get the bare necessities.

I urge you not to fall for all the 'systems' that various 'experts' have dreamt up over the ages to improve what they consider to be the messy business of capitalism. It is a self-correcting process best left to its own devices. It is somewhat similar to what you see in the natural world. From very simple beginnings, emerge zillions of very complex living things. Some prosper, some fail. Any attempt to interfere merely creates unintended consequences because some systems are just too complex for any one man (or group of men) to control. Natural selection sorts it out, and that is how the market place works.

26/2/05 01:35  
Blogger tincanman said...

You make a good point there - but even if we are able to extract that phenomenal amount of energy using the latest technologies available you are still dealing with a finite resource. Discovering something that has existed does not create it.

That's not the end of the world though, and I didn't get the impression Jim was saying it is going to be - but the 'smarter' use of resources you are talking about is the way we as a people need to go forward.

The whole capitalism thing is interesting and exceptionally complex as you rightly pointed out. I can't help but feel that it is not the optimal system because it is so hungry and because it is not geared towards a win-win al the time, but conversely, it's competitive / cooperative nature it is also mirrored very closely in the natural world. (Refer to Earth, by David Brinn. Although it is Sci-fi, it is a very intelligent and well-thought out novel).

No real alternatives though, and nothing to do but leave the beast and see where it ends up. As communication increases though, and peaceful discourse such as this carries on, we might as a species eventually reach a plane where alternative systems might present themselves.

After all, before capitalism people also thought they were at their peak :)

27/2/05 04:41  
Anonymous philippe said...

Allow me to join the discussion by coming back to Jim's original point, first that capitalism is predicated on "economic growth".

From Wikipedia, capitalism is "a system consisting of a set of economic practices [...] especially involving the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as "legal persons" (or corporations) to buy and sell capital goods such as land, labor, and money (see finance and credit), in a free market (see trade), and relying on the protection by the state of private property rights and the abjudication by the state of explicit and implicit contractual obligations rather than feudal obligations."

So capitalism is neutral about economic growth - it is only a system of rights of individuals and corporations. I don't think there's anything wrong with allocating property rights and enforcing them. The thorny issues arise when these rights are abused and in how much to involve the state.

I believe that by a judicious use of legal powers and standardization, a lot of today's excesses can be righted. For example a carbon tax coupled with a market exchange to trade "carbon credits" would go a long way in helping resolve global warming. Not that many governments are prepared to do this unfortunately.

Another example would be to allow competitive production of AIDS drugs for developing countries. To sum up, I don't believe the problem lies in capitalism but in political will and vested interests.

1/3/05 00:09  
Anonymous Van Papadopoulo said...

Stoked on by Philippe, I will jump in and shove a little of my two-penny’s-worth-of-an-opinion down your collective...

First of all I've never read a greater collection of utter horse bollocks written on the same site. The end of capitalism? Milton Friedman and technology? Wikipedia!? And why not Alex North’s seminal “How to Fuck 8 Broads in a Day and Make a Million” while we’re at it! And I am much surprised that all of you haven't yet drowned at the bottom of your intellectually plopped turd-piles, to be excavated in the near future as proof that early 21 century humans were about as dumb as Neanderthals.

Is there some reason for this discussion other than to flash your willies at each other, while screaming that yours is bigger than anyone else’s? Have any of you thought about the fact that ‘capitalism’ is a euphemism for power – that eternal force with which humans get to play god? You think the disappearance of natural resources on this planet will somehow be the beginning of the end? Wrong. And the Spanish in the 15th century already knew this, which is why Columbus the guinea pig was sent out to find ‘alternate routes’ to their natural resources. It isn’t the natural resources we lack, but the routes to get to them.

Geeks like yourselves who spend 27 hours a day on the internet, should think back to one of your favourite films: Alien. What is the crew doing? Bringing back natural resources from far away planets. Why? Because they can – and we will to. Capitalism isn’t unsustainable when we have a whole cluster of galaxies to exploit. And I would say that this concept may just be a little to ‘big’ for most of you to grasp.

So here’s some advice. Stop clickety-clacking on your cum-soaked keyboards, leave your homes, talk to some nice looking strangers and stop the pseudo-intellectually and terminally not-funny comments on things that are obviously beyond your control.

Alternatively you could strap some explosives to your collective chests and go blow up some of these capitalists, thus securing a place in the kingdom of kamikaze heaven…

4/3/05 09:28  
Blogger Jim Bliss said...

Ah. Van's arrived. Never let it be said that my blog doesn't cater for all sorts. And not only has he arrived, but someone's pissed in his cornflakes.

Either that or he's become a gibbering moron since last we met.

It's one thing, Van, to rail against our small little electronic arguments and tell us to get out more. And I'm not going to deny that there's wisdom hidden in that aggressive little tantrum of yours.

But you completely blow it by offering views on capitalism and natural resources which are barking mad.

And what's all this about telling us not to discuss "things that are obviously beyond your control"? Is this the new Edict from Dictator Van... thou shalt only discuss that which is within your control.

Fuck that. You talk about a "collection of utter horse bollocks". Well thanks, pal, for just adding another steaming link. What? You want to criticise people for talking about the events that affect them, even if they can't control those events? Have you taught your asshole to speak lately?

And let's just put something in perspective here; I've spent several years researching this issue. A book will be forthcoming - though I suspect you view books on subjects like energy resources to be a waste of time, right Van? We should all be reading Brett Easton-Ellis and Variety magazine.

Anyways, that's what I've been doing.

You've been meeting "nice-looking strangers" and making edgy films.

People should be aware of that context when they read you claim that we'll solve our problems using Van's Special Spaceship Fleet. Just zip off to Jupiter or Neptune or wherever the fuck it is that all the resources are hidden. Is that it?

And people should be aware of the context when I respond by telling you to stick to the day job. Because you know jack-shit about energy resources.

And that guff about capitalism being a 'euphemism' for power? You can certainly view it that way. But like it or not my postmodern chum, capitalism also happens to be a set of very concrete property laws and market regulations. A significant number of which need immediate change in my view.

If it were only a euphemism for power then it would have existed throughout all of human history. Whereas the thing I'm talking about hasn't existed nearly that long.

But there I go talking horshit again, when I should be living by the Van Dogma, no doubt.

What is it I should be doing again? Sitting around in souless bars drinking depressants at inflated prices while thundering, empty music gives me a migraine? Then what? Try to drink enough so that the only strangers who'd give me the time of day appear like "nice looking" ones?

Yeah. There's a useful way to see out my days. Rock on Van!

And as for the the "terminally not-funny" remark? Yeah? Well your haircut is crap.

4/3/05 13:39  
Anonymous Van Papadopoulo said...

"An idea isn't responsible for those who beleive in it." - Don Marquis

I'll give you this much, Mr. Bliss, you made me smile wider and longer than I have in a many a winter…

I see my comment stirred a few emotions in that thickless skin you wear so well, Jimbo. So I will try (and fail by your standards) to respond in kind:

1. Up yours. And in an alternate universe I'd just head-butt you and fuck off with an Alpha-female and leave your smarmy Epsilon ass to bleed in your warm pint.

2. I taught my ass to talk (along with various other party tricks) by going out and meeting other human beings (it's called socializing), and talking to them with my mouth (and my ass) and not by using the tips of my fingers.

3. I've read one book by Brett Easton-Ellis, which you turned me onto: American Psycho. Do you have some sort of personal 'thing' against this book? Or aren't their enough pictures of oil wells in it for you? And yes, I read Variety. I also read Cahier de cinéma and the Kathimerini film reviews. So that I know what's going on in the industry. Just as I'm sure you do when you pick up a copy of Butt-Boys with Bum-fluff.

4. Jimbo again: "And let's just put something in perspective here; I've spent several years researching this issue. A book will be forthcoming".

Simmer, dude. That's wonderful. Send me a copy and then I'll be a part of your little club of energy resource watchers. Until then, an energy resources writer, you are not. So put this into perspective: get a life and stop dating your bog roll.

5. Running for cover: "And people should be aware of the context when I respond by telling you to stick to the day job. Because you know jack-shit about energy resources."

Ouch. Testy testy. You're absolutely right; I know nothing about energy resources. But I do know that the extraction of natural resources is an integral function of any living creature on this planet. Whether we do it with respect the environment, or not, we will do it and profit will be what continues to create poverty: THE REAL ISSUE AT HAND and an eternal one that far outweighs whether capitalism will bring us to some kind of energy resource brink. Poverty/Wealth is what drives any system of any human grouping. Some have figured out how to bring the two extremes closer to the center. Other systems abuse the extremes which can lead such wonderful things as the internet bubble, De Beers diamonds and Arpanet. In all of them though, power and those who wield it ultimately decide the balance of this dichotomy. So you can gear-up as many wind farms as you want, but if we don't confront the extremes of poverty/wealth in the world today, capitalism or not we have a much bigger problem on our hands and that is, simply put: global terrorism. The result of 150 years of capitalism's raping of our natural resources has been more poverty. Now whether capitalism is sustainable or not pales in the face of our need to balance out the 'human condition', which has unevened the world's wealth and plunged us into a war driven by hatred. And the irony which so deftly sneaks its way into this argument is that capitalism/democracy may be the only thing to keep us from averting a global war, insofar as "modern" capitalist democracies don't got to war with each other!

It's kind of sad because you're so close and yet miles away from understanding your own argument. You're critical of an economic system and its inherent fallacies, and not of the mentality that goes into creating new ways to screw the poor, which is what capitalism is. As was the case with imperialism, monarchies, fiefdom's and so on.

6. Out come the big guns: "But like it or not my postmodern chum, capitalism also happens to be a set of very concrete property laws and market regulations. A significant number of which need immediate change in my view."

Capitalism is your lips moving in a systematic way, pronouncing a phonetic signifier, filled with every manner of piddle possible. Property laws, market regulations and the cost of a pint while you're at it. And? Property laws started with marriage and have evolved and will evolve. Market regulations, business ethics, fair-play and the rest of it, sure, bring it on. But what does this have to do with the extraction of limited natural resources? Nothing.

5. Another Jimmy salvo: "People should be aware of that context when they read you [sic] claim that we'll solve our problems using Van's Special Spaceship Fleet. Just zip off to Jupiter or Neptune or wherever the fuck it is that all the resources are hidden. Is that it?"

I'm surprised you saw my "Special Spaceship Fleet" as a solution to a problem. There is no solution to any of this, other than we're all fucked, all the time and for all time to come. Why? Because we are animals with the uncanny ability to deny our animal-nature and attempt to hide from this truth by inventing words like capitalism, which people like yourself bandy around as though you really know anything about it. If you had a smidgen of vision or foresight (something that doesn't come from reading ASPO reports) you'd see film (and art in general) as more than a 'cool' thing watch with your stony buddies and appreciate the eternally moral 'message' which artists communicate to some of us, namely that we cannot escape our animal nature no matter how hard we try. Fail we will and from this failure we will rise to a greater awareness only to fail again – because ultimate awareness is unattainable. So capitalism and the extraction of natural resources are simply distractions from the real issue at hand: the human condition.

Alison asks: "Just stating "capitalism is unsustainable" doesn't make it so... how do you know that's true?

Your response was:"That modern capitalism is unsustainable in the short term can be substantiated using the most authoritative of sources; the laws of thermodynamics being just one of those sources. Despite this, it's not a widely held view."

For Alison's sake, here's the nitty-gritty version of the more accurate 3rd law of thermodynamics: energy (natural resources) is in constant decay and headed towards entropy (no natural resources). The faster we burn it the quicker we reach heat-death: a state of non-burnable energy. And we are to believe that capitalism is burning up this energy thus making itself unsustainable in the short term.

And in the long term? Is your post "modern capitalism" sustainable then? If we slide into a period of sustainable energy resource extraction, does this make post-modern or late-modern capitalism somehow ok, because it has become sustainable? Or do you believe that the unsustainability of modern capitalism will give way to another more benign system which manages sustainable resource extraction? Capitalism may be tightly connected to the extraction of resources but it is not a mutually exclusive relationship. Humans need to extract natural resources (whether sustainable or not) as a leopard needs to kill gazelles to survive. Without the transformation of these natural resources into the building blocks of community our species would have been in jeopardy of extinction a long, long time ago. Our hands and the size of our brains (DNA) are proof of this. Capitalism is the protection of this created 'property' and the binding of people around causes that lead to war or an exchange of goods. Call it what you like but the only thing unsustainable is the name we give it. And today we call it capitalism. And in the future, whatever we decide to call the system at hand, will we still be extracting resources deep into the universe, exchanging goods and if there are any aliens out there you can be sure we will go to war with them. Because it is in our nature (DNA) to do this. (read Nonzero : The Logic of Human Destiny). It is not in our nature (DNA) to ponder the human condition. This can only be taught, through experience and passed on through generations as a collective understanding of who we are.

The question you should be asking yourself isn't "how do we deal with the unsustainability of capitalism's natural resource extraction" (which you must know a lot about given all those books you read). Because sustainable resources are no guaranteed panacea for the extreme differences of poverty/wealth. Renewable resources will not be free or dirt cheap. There will be a business model which will make people rich and those who choose the Enron route well, they'll become president of America…

The unsustainability of the present system will correct itself by producing a sustainable system. I think the question is how we tackle the poverty/wealth issue in a world with sustainable energy resources. My fear is that an attempt to right the poverty/wealth imbalance may accelerate the extraction of natural resources along with renewable resources and this will be what drives the coming age of space exploration, in order to find more resources! Or am I wrong? Is the film Alien simply a fun-ride for you?

Latest UN statistics (http://online.wsj.com/public/article/0,,SB110978995542768451,00.html?mod=todays_free_feature) are not quite in line with Duff's opinions on world population, but my guess is we have a lot more extracting to do and we'll be doing it hand in hand with something similar to capitalism. And the quicker we can do it away from this planet the better. Or maybe you thought landing on mars and on an asteroid was just to see if we could do it?

And you say this is not a "widely held view". Wrong. I would stake my life on the fact that this is "widely held" among every energy analyst or supplier in the business. Which I would think you know given you've done so much reading on it…

Then you go on to say: "Modern capitalism is predicated upon economic growth. It cannot exist without depleting precisely those resources it needs to survive." Ok. In another words capitalism will eat itself. A wary description of mercenary capitalists, backed up by some ASPO statistic (http://www.asponews.org/ASPO.newsletter.034.php was that hard?) and some ranting about living in a grotto, eating rabbit turds, you then go on to woe this poor, confused Alison with images of you as poet… I'm a little lost here, but what happened to the fragile ecological balance of our planet and the ramping up of capitalism?

You didn't answer her question!

The ensuing discussion between Tincanman and Duff was summed up succinctly by Iotar:
"Eye fear for yr squeegee" and I fear for your soul, Jim. So angry, such a waste.

You say, Jim: "And what's all this about telling us not to discuss "things that are obviously beyond your control"? Is this the new Edict from Dictator Van... thou shalt only discuss that which is within your control." Yes, well you're right. Perhaps my raving got out of hand (but it was fun). So angry, such a waste…

More ranting:"If it were only a euphemism for power then it would have existed throughout all of human history. Whereas the thing I'm talking about hasn't existed nearly that long."

No, it hasn't existed in this form for that long. But the underlying mechanism is eternal: power to rule, power to revolt, power to sell and power to enslave. And that's what makes it relevant to who we are, not because "modern capitalism" is eating itself and the planet…

I've spent way too many of my own natural resources on this response, but it's been fun and I'd like to sign off by saying that using big words to impress Alison won't get you laid, Jimmy. There will always be a stool next to mine in that bar with the loud music and the migraine. But when it's time to go, me and my "nice looking" friends will have to leave in the company of your beloved, solitude.

Good luck with your book. I'll be holding my breath…

5/3/05 14:44  

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