I got nuthin.’

I’ve got nothing for today. Sorry. I was going to post a HUGE long-winded post about how we should return to an agrarian society, but, I lost interest in writing it. I’ll probably do it later in the week.

Instead, you get this filler post about writing a filler post. Sorry, again, for my crappy blog. To console you, I offer you a picture of beets.

Beets.

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About WonderGoon

WonderGoon is seeking enlightenment and questions everything.
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6 Responses to I got nuthin.’

  1. storydad says:

    That’s ok. I’d have argued against the feasibility and even advisability of a return to an agrarian society, mostly based on the plague that would have to kill off half the world population first.

    As population rises, so must population density. Higher density means villages,towns and cities.

    As agriculture improves and greater surplus per man-hour dedicated to food production increases, so does job specialization, leading to more people seeking non-agrarian jobs. Again creating a move to city living.

    The only way we would go back without a mass extinction problem would be if fascist/socialists took all the way over, and coerced people to live that way with a police state. At least if we are talking more than a small fraction living that way.

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    • WonderGoon says:

      That’s ok. I’d have argued against the feasibility and even advisability of a return to an agrarian society, mostly based on the plague that would have to kill off half the world population first.”

      I don’t necessarily disagree with your statement, but I want to explore it a bit more, for the sake of discussion. Why a plague? Why not a world wide war, larger in scope and duration than World War II?

      A plague would leave basic infrastructure intact, (assuming little or no civil uprisings in reaction to the incurability of the plague). A world war, even a sub-nuclear one, would devastate the existent towns and cities as the war raged back and forth. This infrastructure devastation would, essentially, force a return to an agrarian society, at least until the areas could be rebuilt. And some my be beyond the economic means to rebuild them at all.

      A world war would also deplete the worlds remaining oil reserves. Without oil to fuel the war machine, the war would grind to a halt and large scale farming, done by hand, would have to be undertaken in order to feed whatever population remained. (This is an idea that is explored in Twilight: 2000, albeit on a smaller scale and presuming a general exchange of nuclear weapons).

      Your plague theory would probably take root after a world war, but it wouldn’t be the cause from the start.

      As population rises, so must population density. Higher density means villages,towns and cities.

      As agriculture improves and greater surplus per man-hour dedicated to food production increases, so does job specialization, leading to more people seeking non-agrarian jobs. Again creating a move to city living.”

      Both good points, but both based on the idea that villages, towns, and cities are livable in a post-war environment. Even with little or no damage to urban centers from a plague or war, living in cities like New York would be impractical and far too expensive. Food prices would skyrocket well beyond what those people who remained in the cities could afford.

      Since large scale food production might not be matched by large scale food distribution, the chances that people would remain far from easy food sources would be quite low, hunger and survival being powerful motivators.

      The only way we would go back without a mass extinction problem would be if fascist/socialists took all the way over, and coerced people to live that way with a police state. At least if we are talking more than a small fraction living that way.”

      Agreed in principle. However, I don’t discount the possibility of the rising price of petrol becoming a factor in the population migrating towards a more agrarian template. Unless, of course, our cities become a lot more green, not only in terms of gardens, but in terms of energy consumption.

      Locally grown food is always going to be cheaper than food shipped in from somewhere else. You don’t have to pay for the gas used to ship it, as I’m sure you know.

      Where I disagree is the supposition that a “fascist/socialist police state” must exist before we see a return to an agrarian society. I don’t think the political system in use by the population would that much of an impact, especially considering that if even 15% of the US population left the major cities and returned to a more agrarian lifestyle, there’s nothing the US government could do to stop them. They would, essentially, be voting with their feet to change the way American culture works. This would cause some civil problems as the society adjusts to the new paradigm, but, in the end, it would probably be a smarter move than continued unchecked urbanization.

      *shrug* That’s my view, at any rate. I look forward to the discussion. 😉

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  2. storydad says:

    I wasn’t referring to a plague in particular, but anything that would kill off a significant portion of the population.

    In the end, it would not matter. Long term, cities would not survive losing half their current populations. Without regular maintenence to the infrastructure and larger buildings, within 100 years, there would not be much left to call a city anymore. War would of course radically speed that up, demolishing whole cities in a single stroke, but down the road the result is the same.

    It does not matter if the existing urban areas are livable after ‘The Event’. The results of ever improving agriculture and rising population will spur the creation of new cities if none are left. Petroleum and it’s use would have no impact on urbanization—cities existed worldwide in nearly every culture centuries before gasoline was invented. The issues of distribution are also a factor in the rise of cities. In fact, the few places where cities were not developed were in areas where food was plentiful across the land—Native American Indians, for instance, pretty much limited themselves to semi-permanant structures and mobile communities in part because food was plentiful wherever they went.

    Even long range transport of supplies does not rely on petroleum. Modern trains may use it, but rail transport was created long before the rise of petroleum. An argument could be made that they relied heavily on coal, which is still a product of mining—but assuming that all scientific knowledge does not die with mankind, and given a pressing need for alternative energy, I’m sure other effective methods would be developed. Even today rail transport is used heavily in bulk transport—it’s taken to cities and then further distributed to more rural areas by truck.

    ” if even 15% of the US population left the major cities and returned to a more agrarian lifestyle, there’s nothing the US government could do to stop them.”

    That is a really, really big “if”. I agree, if people wanted to return to it, then they could. But to discuss moving society back to an agrarian state would require some factor to force them to it. People like comfort, and dislike work. Agrarian living requires hard work every day. We could do it right not in my back yard, if we wanted to put in the effort—and for fairly cheap. After all, people used to live this way as a matter of fact. Basic hand tools are not that expensive, and neither are seeds. The monthly fee for any of our luxury expenses, like phone or internet, would cover all the supplies needed for subsistance farming on a vegetarian diet. But we don’t, because it’s easier to go to the store and buy a bag of beans and some frozen vegetables.

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  3. storydad says:

    We could do it right OUT in my back yard… I wish I could edit sometimes.

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