Please, read the Deep Adaptation paper!

Martin: my answer is late, but still :slight_smile: Thank you for the more detailed sketch of your take on how a climate change induced transition to a new type of society could look like. In fact, I agree almost completely.

Only about the globalized economy we might have a different view. I did not mean to say that there will be no global commerce any more in a post-carbon civilization. However, I still think the chances for an economy that is not dominated anymore by global exchange of physical goods and raw materials are pretty good. Reasons being:

First, if we will finally get to a system that, as you say, will assign true prices incl. all externality costs of environmental (and social!) damage etc. to items that are on sale, then the price difference between mass manufactured industrial goods and more locally and less time-efficiently manufactured goods will be quite different and for some items may even reverse. In such a system, it would no longer be acceptable to exploit workers in low-wage countries half around the globe to have a comfortable living.

This becomes all the more interesting when local manufacturing will have access to new processes and machinery so that products from local materials become cheaper and new products from local materials become possible. Here is an odd and definitely speculative example: in my parents’ household there are a few baskets that friends brought from Bhutan around 1995, called bangchu and looking exactly like this. These are astonishing little things: one has been in daily use as a bread basket for years, and still nothing is broken and it looks almost like new. It has seen many plastic bowls etc. come and go, and is made just from bamboo and natural dyes: no fossil fuels, no rare materials, no bioactive plastic softeners, no mining waste, no nothing.

With future machines that would prepare, slice and even weave locally grown bamboo, this might really outcompete plastic bowls and perhaps also stainless steel bowls in a future with truthful prices. That’s a product that can be made with moderate capital investments and only local raw materials in a local factory. Given that, it makes way less economic sense to ship the same product from China.

I recently explored the technical feasibility of such a way more localized, near-autarkic economic system, and I think it is a serious candidate for a new economic order (supposed there will be some collective soul-searching before and we get to a time where ecological sustainability and restoration will be the highest law). Anyway, my notes from that exploration are over here:

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Hello Matthias - I did not research about ‘local autark systems’ (as you did). Hence, I have little to comment on the draft, but my spontaneous skeptisizem (what is of little weight). You may like to look into the book by A. Brown and its description of traditional Japanese society (of reuse, repair, recyle). I would be inclined to share that ‘dominance of global exchange’ might go away in societies of ‘reuse, repair and recycle’; but what may be the size & nature of global exchanges. My doubt is fuelled by the fact that any available experiences with local / regional autark systems is/was made for relatively small number of people. Whatever we do ‘in future’ must scale or the ~10Billion people range. This need does not devalue to build examples on much smaller scales. best regards, Martin

Brown, A. (2012). Just Enough: lessons in living green from traditional Japan . Tuttle Publishing.

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