Undesirable World Futures: Things That Could, But Shouldn’t, Happen
Armageddon, The Apocalypse, Ragnarok, Doomsday; the end of the world seems to have mesmerized mankind since the dawn of civilization. Eschatology, the branch of theology that is concerned with the end times, has formed the human psyche through its religious influence. To ensure the propagation and betterment of mankind we need less mythomania and zealots and more applied foresight to confront the actual problems that threaten to annihilate humans on a large scale.
2. GLOBAL WAR
3. ECOLOGICAL DISASTER
4. GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS RUNS RAMPANT
5. US CIVIL WAR
6. AUTOMATION THE ROBOTIC THREAT
7. INFORMATION AND INFRASTRUCTURAL WARFARE
8. GLOBAL PANDEMICS
9. ENERGY CRISIS
10. GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN
11. GLOBAL TOTALITARIANISM AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER
12. HAPPY ENDING OR THE WORLD ON FIRE, IS THERE A CURE?
The western world need a common idea of a desirable global future. Fragmented interests seem to be locked in an end game where self-gratification justifies violence. Cultural nihilism systematically nurtured in established organizations are obscuring the view of the consequnces of human behavior on our fragile environment. The cumulative process of civilization could cause unparalleled destructive consequences in our lifetime.
Optimists and true belivers in progression consider the world to be predetermined for a better situation. Our collective effort to optimize comfort and happiness should result in exponential growth of general wellness in society, but unfortunatly reality seems to be more troublesome and hard to manage than that. The root of many of todays problems could be found in the broader society that we live in; war, poverty, lack of education, disease etc. These factors always cause social instability and give room for opportunistic individuals who take advantage of the discontent among the population
Most popular news media cover the disintegration and dysfunctions of society as spectacular and sensensational “Man Bites Dog” stories. To understand the real issues that might cause unprecedented damage to modern society another worldview need to emerge. Seeing through simple media lies and distortions enable individuals to rationally make decisions that delay or terminate unwanted development.
In this report I will try to describe some scenarios that are all too realistic to disregard as paranoid fantasies. These scenarios will try to stimulate people to reflect over the many undesirable situations that might arise in a world run for profit, on oil and by political demagouges. The coming 50 years will be a chessboard with many players and opposing interests, new rules and unimaginable drama
“Wishful thinking might bring comfort, but not security.”
– Charles M. Chafer
Many military analysts describe the current global situation as World War 4, referring to the Cold War as World War 3. WW4 is the so-called “war against terror” waged in an assymetrical battlefield where terrorist cells attack civilian and military targets across the world and dissapear as soon as the damage is done. Advanced military technology loose it’s edge when the target is hidden among civilian populations and the enemy is spread across the entire world.
The obvious ambition of the current US government is to have global military dominance through alliances with nations around the world and through military presence on a global scale. While China is growing in economic and technological power, USAUK is charging ahead on a global crusade to ensure geopolitical interests and “security”. Meanwhile China is laying the foundations for the most advanced and homogenous global super-power ever seen (See “China prepares for war with U.S. over Taiwan”, Bill Gertz Nov. 2000) The U.S. and China could rival each other in both economic, technological and military capacity within 10 years, and may eventually confront each other in a military campaign over Taiwan. Adding to this China could also easily be drawn into conflicts over North Korea.
The number of conflict hotspots around the world has reached an all-time high. In the past decade major hot spots have been Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Kosova, Afganistan, and Iraq. These sites are referred to as complex emergencies, trouble spots and conflicts. Old ones endure and new ones will appear. The Middles East, The African continent, India/Pakistan, North Korea and South Korea, China and Taiwan, Russian Republics and many other regions have the potential to escalate and start off chain-reactions of diplomatic and military maneuvers that could engulf the world in armed conflict. (See Preventing Future Wars, David Sanam Nyheim)
When the Club of Rome released their report “The Limits To Growth” (Se “Beyond The Limits To Growth”) in 1972 the world was slowly becoming aware of the long-term consequences of industrial society. Dystopian theories of global warming, immense pollution, water shortage, unchecked population growth and subsequent energy usage have been proven to be slightly exagerated. In stead we are experiencing global warming, freak-weather, higher sealevels and a looming ozone hole. We have not seen the final consequences of pollution, deforestation and climate change; the planet is slowly changing, either due to human activity, by natural causes, or both.
The most drastic consequences of ecological change is not necessarily the first order consequnce but the second and third. Water shortage lead to conflicts over water (See Water Conflict Chronology, Pacific Institute), pollution leads to genetic defects and deforestation and environmental damage causes unknown diseases to jump from animals to humans. To understand the complexity of ecological change one need to study the interactions and relatedness in the global system.
Weather control systems like H.A.A.R.P. and the mysterious chemtrails phenomenon could be pre-cursors to how environmental change leaves us no choice but to override the natural system, replacing natural habitats and ecologies with synthetic weather systems and BioSpheres.How to Wreck the Environment”. The book deals with many types of geophysical warfare, the directed military intention of creating havoc using nature as a cataclyst
“The key to geophysical warfare is the identification of the environmental instabilities to which the addition of a small amount of energy would release vastly greater amounts of energy. Environmental instability is a situation in which nature has stored energy in some part of the Earth or its surroundings far in excess of that which is usual. To trigger this instability, the required energy might be introduced violently by explosions or gently by small bits of material able to induce rapid changes by acting as catalysts or nucleating agents.”
The largesse of mankind has brought the world to the edge of the abyss. The human race, and with it a great many animal and plant species, is already on an unavoidable course towards extinction in the relatively near future. The world’s carrying capacity has been exceeded and the question of whether we will survive is not so much if, but when. Once criticality is reached it will only be a matter of time for a single event to lead to a collapse of the global ecological system. Eventually there will be a rapid breakdown somewhere in the food chain leading to total economic and social collapse
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS RUNS RAMPANT.
“The Erewhonians say that we are drawn through life backwards; or again, that we go onwards into the future as into a dark corridor. Time walks beside us and flings back shutters as we advance; but the light thus given often dazzles us, and deepens the darkness which is in front. We can see but little at a time, and heed that little far less than our apprehension of what we shall see next; ever peering curiously through the glare of the present into the gloom of the future, we presage the leading lines of that which is before us, by faintly reflected lights from dull mirrors that are behind, and stumble on as we may till the trap-door opens beneath us and we are gone.” Erewhon – Samuel Butler
From the first GM test fields to the public debate of today, genetically modified organisms have caused much controversy. The question still remains whetever GM crops harm the natural environment through cross-polination and damage the surrounding ecological crops. Crossed GM strains could threaten to wipe out existing natural stains.
Weaponized bacteria and virus are continously being tested in several laboratories around the world. The latest CIA report (See “CIA Says Experts See ‘Darker Bioweapons Future’”, Reuters) concerning biological warfare mention weaponized gene therapy vectors that can change both human and the natural world. Race based weapons has been circulated for years but no evidence is yet available. The latest breakthrough whithin synthetic viruses could lead to much more horrible concepts, one could easliy imagine a gene therapy weapons which remove sight or other human capabilities. (See “Virus built from scratch in two weeks”, Nature)
If the army manage to keep their hideous weapons isolated in laboratories the commercial market is racing ahead with GM food that might pose another serious threat. The FDA recently approved cloned livestock to enter the supermakets. Massproduced foodstuff made of cloned animals seems attractive to the food industry, but the consequences are still hard to comprehend. The idea of identical pieces of every foodstod harvested from homogenetic industrial crops of animals and plants makes the possibilites for disaster endless.
GM humans and neo-eugenics are being revitalized through IVF, Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics, sex selection and other reproductive technologies. John. H. Campbell describes this to be the next natural step for human evolution in his “The Moral Imperative of Our Future Evolution” (See below). The utopian ideas described by the aging Francis Galton in “The Eugenic University of Kantsaywhere” should be reexamined and might shed new light on the human drive towards perfection, and, on the other hand, it’s extinction. See Campbell’s possible triggers for uncontrolled GM humans below.
Table II Possible triggers for human autoevolution.
· Geneticists discover a gene which produces a very desirable effect when introduced into the human genome. For example, overproduction of a DNA repair enzyme might substantially delay aging or reduce the incidence of cancer.
· A human sperm bank develops an outstanding insemination service. It demands that its users join in programs of raising the offspring in accordance with its researched program of excellence and provide detailed information about the offspring’s genetic and phenotypic characteristics.
· The AIDS epidemic becomes really serious (e.g. the virus mutates to become transmissible by insect vector) or another new epidemic virus combines the lethality of HIV with high transmissibility. Society embraces programs of inserting a gene into the fertilized egg to make the offspring resistant (such as a coding sequence for a gene shears or antisense segments of the virus). Hereditary resistance to viruses could be developed even today.
· A wealthy person sponsors his/her own vision of human autoevolution with ten million dollars.
· The leader of some third world country decides to father a thousand or ten thousand offspring for political, social, military or egotistical reasons.
· A drug, hormone or growth factor treatment is developed to prevent neurological problems in very premature infants and is found to greatly enhance the development of mental capacity of all fetuses. Embryo engineering is born.
· An eccentric geneticist successfully clones an offspring with his genotype and captures world attention.
· Inevitable progress in reproductive biology makes it possible to induce parthenogenesis or to transplant a somatic cell nucleus into an enucleated human egg. Unmarried women or wives of sterile men opt for this route to pregnancy and cause the technique to become accepted and widespread.
· The results of the human genome project supplemented by the analysis of the genetic variation in the human population convince thoughtful people of the imperative need to regulate the transmission of our genetic heritage to future generations.
· Countries finally forced to radically control their exploding population develop the ethos to detect superior genotypes and exclude them from the ban on reproduction. The largest countries of the world embrace stringent forced eugenics.
· Nuclear war elevates the mutational load to where controlled breeding and genetic engineering (such as large scale cloning of rare phenotypically normal offspring) become essential to maintain a sizable functional society.
Source: The Moral Imperative of Our Future Evolution, by John H. Campbell.
U.S. CIVIL WAR
Many conspiracy theroists today speak of population control as a tool of hidden dictators. From Margareth Sanger to the overshoot-and-collapse models of the population bomb of the 70’s to the one-child policy in China, the political maxim is control of the population. When the population of China and India start moving, either escaping war or being pulled towards western living standards the scenarios of “The Camp of the Saints” could become closer to reality than our political system can handle.
AUTOMATION AND THE ROBOTIC THREAT
The continously growth in industrial robots and automation of the workplace (See Evolution Robotics Super Toys Last All Summer Long, Plausible Futures Newsletter) will eventually lead to a major employment crisis. On top of the aging population this could topple societies, cause mass unemployment and ruthless welfare cuts. Meanwhile the robots continue to grow in both numbers and computing power.
Scenarios span from the creation of a leisure society where manual work has been abolished and comfort machines sooth the human condition (See www.whywork.org/) to a Terminator-like robotic apocalypse. Both Jeremy Rifkin and recently Marshall Brain (See Robotic Nation) consider the evolution of automation to be the end of the manual workforce. There’s simply nothing left to do for humans when robots have reached sufficient computing power and mechanical sophistication. This could take place in a timeframe of 20 years, soon aftwards many projection of computing power points to a Singularity. The all encompassing super artificial intelligence that indefintely becomes smarter and more aware of it’s own existence and powers. (See The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era, Vernor Vinge)
INFORMATION AND INFRASTRUCTURAL WARFARE
Modern largescale society is completely dependent on infrastructure for the transmission of information. The number of nodes connected to this global system of information flow is accellerating with every new electronic device produced. Modern warfare; from psychological operations and propaganda to advanced battlespace material all rely on electronics. Military systems are heavily protected against jamming. The civil society, which seems to be the battleground of the future, is vulnerable to slight interruptions in infrastrucuture performance. The blackouts in Northern America, and soon afterwards in Denmark and Italy all seemed non-related. The common dominator in these incidents is seen in the immediate effects on society. PICTURE: Microwave weapons researcher Edl Schamiloglu sits in front of the Pulserad-110A accelerator, which his lab at the University of New Mexico uses to produce single 100-nanosecond pulses of electron beams, each pulse emitting hundreds of megawatts of power. SOURCE: The Dawn of the E-Bomb, IEEE Spectrum. Anti-infrastructural weapons, that paralyse key functions of society, could seem like a mild-threat compared to recent solar storms. The Internet seems invincible, having survived Y2K, millions of virus attacks and various political supression. The Internet illustrates how distributed networks of information transfer could learn a lesson to large organizations when it comes to persistency.
|GLOBAL PANDEMICS.Eaxctly where AIDS, the West-Nile Virus, SARS, Ebola or any other emerging disease seems to be coming from is still an unanswered question. From the academia comes the theory of “ecological defense mechanism”, from the speculatives comes “military experiment gone awry”. The vectors of transmission are different, but all very deadly. STD’s, mosquito’s, air-born virus or not – if not contained they spread across populated areas with expontential speed. If SARS or Ebola becomes pandemic the world will freeze to a standstill and could, in the worst case, cause war. The recent West-Nile season in the US is over, but for the virologist there is the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Congo and the wait for the next SARS case. Republic of the Congo: Officials Confirm Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak
Health officials on Fri 14 Nov 2003 confirmed Ebola hemorrhagic fever asthe cause of 11 deaths in the northern forests, signaling the Republic of Congo’s second outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever this year. Bloodspecimens from corpses suspected to have been infected with Ebola virushave tested positive, national public health chief Damase Bozongo said. “Wecan now affirm that Ebola [virus is the cause of the outbreak],” he toldreporters. A World Health Organization spokesman, Boniface Bibousse, alsoverified the [cause of the] outbreak in the Cuvette West region, sayingthat WHO was sending 2 epidemiologists to the area on Sat 15 Nov 2003.First reports from the remote northern region emerged 31 Oct 2003. Ebolahemorrhagic fever, one of the world’s deadliest viral diseases, causesrapid death through massive blood loss in up to 90 percent of thoseinfected. In June 2003, Republic of Congo health authorities announced theend of an Ebola epidemic that killed over 120 people in the same CuvetteWest region. That epidemic — believed to have been started by contact withinfected gorilla flesh, which is eaten in parts of sub-Saharan Africa —broke out in January .The WHO says Ebola hemorrhagic fever has killed more than 1000 people sincethe virus was first identified in 1976 in western Sudan and in [theDemocratic Republic of the Congo] this country’s larger, eastern neighbor.
|ENERGY CRISIS Economic growth, the prerequisite for capitalism, is dependent on energy. Oil and gas will reach global peak production within the next 10-20 years (See ASPO sees conventional oil production peaking by 2010, Oil&Gas Journal). This fact is not proparly recognized within the poltical community. The lacking planning for this milestone could cause dramatic consequences, bordering on the collapse of the industrialised world.
When the prices of energy skyrocket due higher demand than production the commodities market will go amok. After a period of increasing prices, the autorities will have to enforce blackouts. This is already a reality in many large cities. The resulting effects on industry is hard to imagine. The geographic location of industry will no longer be based on the access to cheap labor but on the access to reliable sources of energy. The auto industry and the transport sector will crumble when the price of gas equals the car.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN
The protagonist in the fascinating fictional story “Operation Economic Depression” fights a worldwide conspiracy that plan to control the money supply and create conditions for a global market crash. Confronting the Patriarchs–a super-secret society of the world’s wealthiest families—the main character struggle to unravel the scheme before millions of investors are ruined and the world is plunged into another Great Depression. (See “Operation Economic Depression”, Ed Thorne – Palisade Press) The ownership of money seems to be be controlled since the Knights Templar and the dynasties of Venice established the European banking system and later through the private banking cartel called the Federal Reserve. While the U.S. economy is being destroyed by war mongering presidents (in generational succession) certain interests always stands to gain. On March 18, 2003, World War Three Began
The corruption of the core economic instruments have had devasting consequences for stock markets. Enron and the rest of corrupted private industry has become nothing less than the whores of governments and will continues to do so until the corrupt plug is pulled. Widespread corruption will eventually cause the need for drastic counter-meassures. When these counter-meassures only produce more corruption the solutions seems to be hard to find. World Bank and IMF corruption scandals in former Soviet Republics and elsewhere are only the beginning of this story.
GLOBAL TOTALITARIANISM AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER
From the atempt to infiltrate the Freemasons in Europe by Adam Weishaupt in the late 18th century seceret societies has played a crucial role in the development of modern society. The myriads of operative secret socities of today could easily be the front for cabal with ambitions of global dominance under their rule. Many consider this idea a classical paranoid conspiracy theory, dubbed The New World Order. Looking at the literature on this phenomenon makes even the serious history geek shiver. Fascism, democracy and capitalism goes hand in hand with secret societies – from the Bilderberger Group, Skull and Bones and the “Committee of 300” secret powers are pulling the strings from their board rooms. What their real aims are – only they know.
HAPPY ENDING OR WORLD ON FIRE, IS THERE A CURE?
“The word UTOPIA stands in common usage for the ultimate in human folly or human hope — vain dreams of perfection in a Never-Never Land or rational efforts to remake man’s environment and his institutions and even his own erring nature, so as to enrich the possibilities of the common life. Sir Thomas More, the coiner of this word, was aware of both implications. Lest anyone else should miss them, he elaborated his paradox in a quatrain which, unfortunately, has sometimes been omitted from English translations of his Utopia , the book that at last gave a name to a much earlier series of efforts to picture ideal commonwealths. More was a punster, in an age when the keenest minds delighted to play tricks with language, and when it was not always wise to speak too plainly. In his little verse he explained that utopia might refer either to the Greek ‘eutopia’, which means the good place, or to ‘outopia’, which means no place”. –Lewis Mumford (in The Story of Utopias , 1922).
Modern scientific futurology has its root in the utopian litterature of earlier centuries. Our conception of the future can be traced to famous authors like Plato “Republic”, Francis Bacon “The New Atlantis”, Aldous Huxley “Island” and “Brave New World”, Ursual Le Guin “The Dispossessed”, B. F. Skinner “Walden”, Francis Galton “Kantsaywhere” – worlds where utopias and dystopias are examined and explored with rich imagination. To avoid the many catastrophic endings our world confronts we need to form desirable future ideals, worlds where our highest ambitions and needs are fullfilled. The Hedonistic Imperative (See “The Naturalisation of Heaven”, David Pearce) builds utopian universes on the marvels of technological progress. Utopian Studies Journal gives an impressive overview of the many facets of utopian future studies. Utopian litterature is descriptive of future worlds where we might want to live; these sentiments should be impleneted in our normative behaviour, political institutions and commercial community. To counter the threats this world faces concerned inviduals need to know what is desirable and act accordingly.
If everything else fails, our only escape may be the final frontier – space.
|NEWS SOURCES* Corruption News* ReliefWeb
* Doomsday Scenarios Threatening Life on Our Planet, Stanislav Grof* We’re All Gonna Die!, Wired* 20 Ways the World Could End, Discover* SARS, Bioterrorism and the Media, New Dawn Magazine* Preventing Future Wars, David Sanam Nyheim
RESOURCES:* Apocalypse, the Evolution of apocalyptic belief and how it shaped the western world, PBS.* The Atomic Clock, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists