Dr. Art Hunter, Canadian Club of Rome Board of Directors, explains his smell test for authenticity of an article.
“Is this link a conspiracy theory, fake news, propaganda or a clear statement of dire concern?”
It passed my smell test.
One of the main reasons I shared this link that is highly critical of the US and world systems was that it was first published on 20 May 2018 with a projection. Here we are two years later and have the ability to assess the quality of this critique. It is impossible to predict the future, but this has no impact on the enthusiasm for doing exactly this. Predictions abound with knowledge and luck playing important roles in even coming close. The linked prediction was highly political and US centric with what seemed to me to be a disapproval of both main parties in the USA. This is novel as we are mainly exposed to highly partisan critiques.
Thus, the reader has the ability to apply their own knowledge, understanding, belief, or opinion on some of the many dimensions Mr. Hedges lays bare on the table. I don’t intend to dissect his thesis but will address the lens that I have when addressing the “smell test” for filtering propaganda, conspiracy theories, and fake news from legitimate critique worthy of serious consideration.
It is important to keep in mind the impact of time on the dynamics and interplay of the forces that are shaping our future. Further, this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, just some that are important to me. Your list will be different and with different priority based on your degree of denial.
- Widespread social unrest and civil disobedience. 40 US cities have curfews according to the news a few hours ago, police and National Guard deployed. There is a sense this movement has not peaked and other grievances are starting to become part of the unrest. “it’s likely that the United States will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years.” https://www.bu.edu/articles/2019/are-we-headed-for-another-civil-war/. The comments section is indicative of the divide that is in support of this prediction. Internal stresses are not confined to the USA. Canada is not immune, as is every other nation on the planet as the elite try to maintain their privilege and the poor want relief.
- Sustainability. The misguided notion that the Earth can withstand unlimited growth with the consumption of its “rocks and logs while commercializing species habitat” is not viable. Limits to growth is not a new concern https://www.resilience.org/stories/2018-09-24/did-the-club-of-rome-ever-disavow-the-limits-to-growth-a-story-of-ordinary-disinformation/
- Global Warming leads to Climate Change with many global threats. There is no single URL but atmospheric physics (chemistry) is changing leading to average global temperature rise (extra energy in the atmosphere) resulting in Canada’s Arctic ice melting (and all the spinoffs from this), ocean level rise, spreading drought, frequency and intensity of storm systems, forest fires in Canada, Russia, California, etc, invasive species (plant and animal) moving North, desperate human migration (Europe, Africa, Asia, Americas), Economic drivers.
- Sars-Cov-2 virus and the Covid-19 disease. Uncertainty, corrupted data, unsettled science, massive onslaught of rules, social and economic disruptions reveal many faults (Old age care homes) in our health and welfare systems.
- Financial DEPRESSION already underway. Massive debt, unemployment records, economy in a lock down, no consensus on what to do so a broad spectrum of management styles are being deployed at country, provincial, city, company, shop owner, individual, institute, facility and every other level imaginable. The EU is under great stress – Brexit, Italy, Greece. Further, this seems to change daily. Stability is not achievable and stock markets like stability. The outlook is grim.
- Geopolitical power projection intensity has great reach, impacts many millions of people and threat levels rise. The USA is abandoning its prior leadership position in favour of conflict, opting out of international agreements (nuclear, trade, G20, UN, etc) while China happily moves to fill in the void. ISIS, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Kurds, Myanmar, Israel, North and central Africa, Kashmir are some of the many locations or cultures with critical instabilities.
- Nuclear doomsday clock set to 100 seconds. https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/ Do read their rational for this setting.
- Global Overpopulation already and growing to 11.2 billion by end of the century. https://ourworldindata.org/future-population-growth Further, in the G20, the populations are aging with fewer to pay the bills.
- Capitalism over-reach as the poor remain poor, the middle class shrinks and the elite see spectacular wealth accumulation. The age of the billionaires is now. The corporate influence on government decision making and corporate multi-nationals have democracy free boardrooms threaten democracy. The emergence of the elite 1% and unlimited growth models steal wealth from the poor to accumulate with the rich.
- Food and clean water security. Urban sprawl, pollution, waste disposal are impacting the food supply especially in 3rd world countries. Famine is current and growing. Water wars are predicted.
- AI, big data, Internet of Things and social media’s digital stimulus of behaviour is well understood. Influencing buying, voting, investing, ideologies and much of human lifestyles is a fact of life.
- The relationships and interactions of the above. “Everything of importance is interactive with everything else that is important.” It is not possible to split one force of change away from the rest. They are in a blender and unscrambling the egg is only a dream. The forces of nature, chemistry, atoms, and quantum mechanics will prevail no matter what the political belief system. Religions see their God as the ultimate authority. One thing is certain, politicians are only minor actors.
We can all see these forces at play and big change is inevitable. Return to the 2019 “business as usual” is very unlikely.
At least, that is the way I see it.