The Service Transition

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The Service Transition

Postby Ikonoclast » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:20 pm

Blair Fix writes: "The evidence is overwhelming. A service transition is a recipe for using more energy."

I agree, with two possible caveats. Firstly, a service transition in the current capitalist and growth system is a recipe for using more energy. In other words, if we ditched capitalism and growth, a service transition might reduce energy consumption. Secondly, the services could only be of certain kinds and certainly not energy intensive services like regional and global tourism, to use a glaring example. Consumption patterns and expectations would have to become far more modest. Endless, shrill demands and unequivocal statements that "our way of life is non-negotiable", meaning our high consumption is non-negotiable, come from the captains of capitalism, their propaganda apparatus and even from their consumer supporters suffering from false consciousness, science denial or simply empirical denial in general.

The current system is geared to produce ever more growth, consumption and waste. Indeed, the capitalist system is predicated on those factors. It cannot function without them. Without these factors and without the ignoring of negative externality impacts, the capitalist "mega-machine" collapses. A question which exercises me is; "Do we have civilizational agency?" This breaks down to the question of whether an entrenched civilizational system can decide to change preemptively before a crisis emergency inflection point. The answer for capitalism so far seems to be "no". This means that the ill effects of climate change, environmental destruction and human suffering have to become acute before action. The capitalist elites and their support apparatus will not act to change the system. The change will have to come from below.

This means that in ostensibly democratic countries (really plutocratic corporatocracies) like Australia, where I live, the voting masses and the youth as young as Greta Thunberg will have to demand and enforce change in way or another. The first way is the ballot box and peaceful demonstrations. A great change in voting patterns and peaceful actions (and options offered by candidates standing inside or outside traditional party structures) will have to occur for this to happen. In turn, false consciousness and empirical denialism will have to decline markedly.

Australia already appears to have moved to a new climate regime. In many places our bush-fire seasons are starting earlier and running longer. The fires are now often catastrophic, essentially unfightable and threatening to become fully fledged firestorms. Bush-fires are just one of the many burgeoning disasters we will have to face. Food prices are also spiking in Australia currently and I expect food inflation to be a major problem for the bottom 50% of Australians before long. Only when people feel real pain (unfortunately) will the false consciousness blinkers fall off their eyes. The advent of a catastrophic collapse era will bring revolutionary pressure for changes.
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