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NASA: industrial civilization is moving towards "inevitable disaster"
Material posted: Publication date: 20-03-2014

According to the results of a new, funded by NASA studies space flight Center. Goddard, global civilization approaches the catastrophe that could occur in the coming decades. It can be caused by unwise use of natural resources and the uneven distribution of global wealth.

NASA: industrial civilization is moving towards "inevitable disaster"

Given that warnings about impending global catastrophes are often perceived as controversial and exaggerated, researchers cite historical data that testify to the "cyclical periods of rise and decline of society. Cases of destruction of empires, which often lasted for centuries, in the history not rare."

The study is based on new, created at the intersection of science model HANDY math Safa motierre from the American National centre for socio-environmental synthesis. The study is published in the scientific journal Ecological Economics.

In the scientific report said that even the most advanced and complex civilizations are susceptible to damage, which puts into question the sustainability of the modern world: ""the Fall of the Roman Empire and no less (if not more) advanced civilizations Han, the Maurya, the Gupta, of Mesopotamia show that even the most complex, advanced and enlightened civilization can, eventually, turn out to be fragile and short-lived".

Analyzing the dynamics of the death of past civilizations, experts have identified several risk factors: population, climate, water, agriculture, energy. These factors can lead to disaster on two conditions: first, if the rate at which these resources are spent, exceeds the rate at which they are reproduced, and second, if there is a distinct stratification of society into elites (rich) and total mass (poor). For the past five thousand years the true, underlying cause of death of civilizations was these social phenomena.

In recent times a deepening process of social stratification is associated with excessive consumption of resources, and the responsibility for both of these reasons lies on the "elites" living in the most industrialized countries.

The accumulated surpluses are not distributed evenly in society, and are controlled by the elites. The bulk of the population, which produces material wealth, gets the crumbs from these riches. Often it's just enough for survival. The results of the study contradict the widespread belief that technological progress can solve these problems by improving the efficiency of resources:

"Technological advances can actually improve the efficiency of resource use. However, there is also a tendency to increase the consumption of resources per capita and growth of volume of their production. Thus, the increased efficiency is offset by increased consumption". The last two centuries, the productivity of industry and agriculture is growing, mostly by increasing production.

After analyzing various scenarios of the development of civilization, researchers concluded that in any case of disaster to avoid would be extremely difficult. The first of these scenarios, the elites will begin to consume so much that it would cause hunger among primary (producing goods) of the population that will inevitably end with the death of society. In this case, the cause of the disaster will be the lack of manpower, and no natural disasters.

The second scenario is more concerned with the role of excessive use of natural resources, which must ensure the growing demands of the elite and more or less tolerable existence of the poor. Then the bulk of the population begins to die, and too long elites will thrive.

The point is that in both scenarios, the elite will notice the signs of the approaching catastrophe, much later than the main mass and will continue to live "normally". The action of the same mechanism, according to the researchers, it is possible to explain how the elite allowed the deaths of many empires that is clearly headed for disaster (this is particularly evident in the fall of Ancient Rome and the Mayan civilization).

With regard to the situation prevailing in the world today, researchers say the following: "Few members of society are aware of the danger of the catastrophe to which we are approaching, and a few insist on structural changes that would give the opportunity to avoid the worst. Meanwhile, the elite don't want any changes and prefer to postpone the solution of problems ad infinitum".

However, the researchers say, the worst scenarios may not be inevitable. With reasonable structural change catastrophe can be avoided. There are two key opportunities: a more even distribution of wealth and a significant reduction of resource consumption through the use of renewable sources. Moreover, you must limit the population growth of the planet.

Although this study is theoretical in nature, the results of a number of other, more applied research papers also indicate that crises related to lack of food, water and energy for the next fifteen years can come together at one point, causing a sort of "perfect storm". But the elite will probably notice the storm at the last moment.

Source translation for MixedNews — Polina Shelest



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