Thursday, December 5, 2019

civilization infrastructure 2


CIVILIZATION INFRASTRUCTURE 2
I think we can all agree that there has been enough post-apocalypse writing done on the subject of EMP's/solar flares that anyone at all familiar with prepping understands how fundamental electricity is to the functioning of society at every single level. The only way the author can continue Business As Usual in their universe is to have our intrepid hero stockpile enough goodies that even J.P. Morgan ( of 150 million ounce physical silver stockpile fame ) would take notice. Which must be why zombies are so much more popular. The lazy humps way to write in indefinite supplies.
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Every time someone brings up the book Earth Abides, gushing in admiration, I cannot help but projectile vomit blood. The very few survivors ate canned goods for decades. Now, granted, nuclear weapons were new, and one can be forgiven for flawed world building. You can even excuse the author as he was a liberal University puke and had as much common sense as a box of rocks ( okay, I don't know his politics. But, come on! California state English professor, also writing ecology novels. Hello! ). So, at best, the novel is an applauded attempt. But certainly should not be revered.
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Even assuming a diet of canned food doesn't kill you sooner rather than later, enough bombs that kill off everyone so you can get all those cans should have killed you off also. I know I'm overly harsh, but I simply detest sloppiness when it comes to logistics. And, contrary to all the slop you read ( van Creveld, as usual, being the exception ), logistics isn't warehouses of crap. It is having the resources to produce that crap. Which can never be gathered to begin with, without infrastructure. Let's take Germany in WWII.
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If I'm not mistaken, the first automobile was made over in Germany, by a chap named Benz ( actually, there isn't universal agreement, but close enough. I'm making a point here, people ). But Germany did not have abundant natural resources, nor, really, the colonies needed to get them ( not on the scale needed ). Cars were not going to get priority there, as trains did. Trains were much more efficient, and when you don't have excess resources to piss away, you always pick More Efficient.
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Once Germany needed internal combustion engine decentralized transportation for military use, she couldn't get it. She lacked resources, but, as a separate issue, she also didn't have a three to four decade head start building the infrastructure needed to build up an automobile infrastructure like the US did. The engineers going to school, the death of companies that weren't the best at production ( but leaving behind innovative ideas ), the road building with its maintenance infrastructure. The roads, with the zoning and resettlement issues. The government laws built up around auto's.
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More importantly, the US had built up its petroleum industry. Now, there was little to no oil IN Germany, but again, that is a resource issue. Switching to Russia, which had oodles and gobs of oil ( as fascinating as the question is if the Soviet Union would have attacked Germany if the Nazis hadn't struck first-read the book over at Unz.com, “Germany's War”-I think the assumption that Hitler needed Caspian oil is closer to the mark ), she lacked the infrastructure for auto and trucks ( we shipped over a butt ton of those on Lend-Lease. Which was a program getting taxpayers to fund the war before it started, bless FDR's evil black heart ).
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Having the resources and the infrastructure to use them can be interconnected, or they can be a separate issue. But one doesn't automatically include the other. I know I harp continuously on resources, what with oil and all, but resources are half of the equation. Infrastructure is nearly as important. A LOT of the dysfunction we are seeing now can be blamed on the decline of energy, our share tumbling, but that isn't because we are running out of oil as much as the infrastructure built on cheap and abundant oil has been falling apart for fifty years.
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Well, the infrastructure was already old before then, the famous example that of Japan and Korea having new factories after the war, but the US still having factories old BEFORE the war, but by 1970 the US started en masse abandoning the infrastructure. Not just the factories but the Unions that counteracted harmful corporate policies, the public education schooling for the trades, the tool and die infrastructure, the experienced workers employment, the cheaper rail transport infrastructure, and etcetera. It was a death by a thousand cuts as every swinging dingus grabbed his share of the shrinking pie all at once.
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The oil supply fiasco certainly was the excuse needed to abandon the already aging and unmaintained infrastructure that was our industrial economy ( compare the state of our war machine suppliers at the beginning of Vietnam to the end ). The drop in oil wouldn't have been so severe had the infrastructure not already been so old and our dear leaders so inclined to leave behind the hard work of building for the easy banker money made by destroying ( how much economic stimulus was from Alaskan oil, during the Reagan era, and how much was due to getting into debt and selling off the last factories for parts? )?
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Infrastructure is always way more expensive than it first looks, and without it you cannot do a darn thing. The Greek navy was needed to trade the denuded soils Crap Crops of olives and grapes for wheat from afar. The end of that infrastructure spelled the end of food and civilization. The Roman economy was built on free wheat and free Farm Implements from war. Once the war machine was blocked from expansion ( just as with the Confederate States ), the infrastructure started cannibalizing itself, just as we are doing with our oil economy.
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Once the Oil Age civilization has imploded, what infrastructure do you see being developed? When energy is in decline, no new infrastructure is built. At best, the old failing machines are fixed. By definition, in a energy decline, you cannot build new infrastructure to replace your failing structures. It is all you can do to fix the regional lakes. By no means can you instead install rain catchment in all the houses. A similar problem for the Mayans was that they couldn't replace village level aquifers, having centralized the dry season water collection spots.
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Another terrible staple of survivalist fiction is just such a fantasy of rebuilding from the group retreat. What is that putrid “classic” on the church rebuilding to the stars, because “they just needed the information on how to build the machines”? What, because rocket fuel by the ton can be supplied by backyard tinkerers? Chemicals on an industrial scale need an infrastructure only delivered by OIL. And not an old stripper well that oozes out ten barrels a day. You cannot supply an army, who needs to conquer the territories holding surplus resources, on a handful of ammunition primers from the occasional pilfered jug of stump remover.
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Do you know WHY my outlook on the future is so bleak? Because I know I am a lone stocked ship, and every stop at an island sees only desert with no food or water. There will be NO infrastructure.
( .Y. )
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14 comments:

  1. I haven't read Earth Abides yet, downloaded a free copy to see what the hubbub is about. Zombie stories do give me a chuckle when you think about just in time stocking and how decimated store shelves get just for a hurricane. Even during a zombie attack, Wally World will be full.

    Resources will be something else after a collapse, cottage industries rather than giant factories churning out whatever can be gleaned from the surrounding area. Some infrastructure will remain as long as there is a government of some form so they can tax and insure conformity. That 10 barrel a day oilwell could turn into a battleground if it means an advantage over other rivals. Chemical production would not be the same as with oil, but armies could still be supplied with basic weapons. Think black powder and not drone strikes, although for a while I could see a mixture of technology.

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    1. Ammunition is probably still JIT. In my time, the unit had to blow through the ammo before the end of the fiscal year, or suffer budget cuts. And that only happened once. I don't think there will a time to see mixed weapon use, but rather running out of ammo really quick, and units dissolving.

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    2. If you just want to blast through it quick Wrenchr2, here’s the audio version from the old time radio series Escape, parts 1 and 2 (1:10:32)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1vuCh-qeSg

      This was required reading when I was a senior in high school (1983) though I never did finish the book. Admittedly, I do like the part more towards the end, with the uncooperative fellow, that just wasn’t getting with the program. So they killed him :D

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    3. The only good part of the book.

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    4. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it Jim (Or rather, part of it, as was the case) but I often listen to old time radio in the evening as I sleep, and they’ve played it a few times. I don’t seem to recall it being terrible exactly, but I guess you could say that it was slow reading. But for its time, you could say that it was cutting edge. You have to understand that this was 1949, the height of the post war years. The economy was booming, a man could afford to support a family working at a shoe store, and a family could have a home paid off in 10 years.

      The thought that someday the lights would go out permanently, and you’d have leather clad, macho faggot bikers named Wez, running around, and making your young blond son Tommy their bitches, never entered their minds :D

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    5. Actually, you don't even really know it was written in the 1940's. The style is surprisingly modern. And I can excuse the naivety. I cannot excuse the magic unicorn resupply. I wonder, has anyone ever analyzed WHY the bikers were pillow biters? So all members were fully effective warriors?

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  2. Lord Bison, you're putting cart before the horse.
    Long before Greece had denuded soils she had massive population explosion. Each city state organized migrations of their citizens to far reaches of the Med. Sort like London merchants financing Jamestown.

    The migrations eased population pressures and opened up new friendly trade opportunities. It also allowed a replication of the ideal of the "polis".
    From Marseilles to Syracuse (Sicily) to Crimea and the Pontic shores of Black Sea Greek ideals expanded.

    They built their navies not in response to calamity or shortage but rather opportunity (yeah, I know, more glass half full thinking)

    Answer me this...how can you build wooden ships if soil is denuded and trees cutdown years before?

    Speaking of infrastructure, what are your thoughts of Europe's and specifically Germany's legislation to stop building internal combustion cars? Everything sold after 2025 (?) to be electric cars.

    I see a power play (excuse the pun). Social control through centralized electrical generation and smart meters that can cutoff your electricity for "BADTHINK".

    Adding to Remus' aphorism ("avoid crowds") and the unattributed WRSA meme ("don't get on the train") I would like to contribute....don't get into a driverless car.
    No telling who controls the auto door locks and the "true destination" route.

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    1. Greece had a navy prior to trouble. Just as we do. It is all unicorn glitter and fat times before the troubles start. Just as we will lose control of the sea lanes from military adventurism and economic issues, THEN not have enough energy to farm, so the Greeks had no issues feeding themselves trading grain. Until they did. Europe is built around public transportation. It can go back to that. The reliance on ICE auto's is no where as near as bad as ours. I do believe you are correct on electric cut off for un-PC'ness. Unless they regain their independence from the US and globalists. Then, a return to truer historical norm culturally. And no, never get in a driverless car ( excellent observation )

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    2. We'll never have a mass shift to electric automobiles because there isn't the raw materials needed for the technology. Tesla has already sounded the alarm that they're having trouble sourcing sufficient quantities of nickel for their mega-batteries. There's also a problem with the silver needed for the high-tech electrical connections with minimum resistance levels for the electrical flow. It gets even worse when people talk about every home eventually being solar powered, replacing "The Grid". There isn't enough known silver in the world to manufacture the solar panels to replace "The Grid." You are correct to distrust "smart" cars as they absolutely can be hacked and remotely controlled.
      Romans 14:11

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    3. Idiots are pretty trusting of their e-keys, aren't they? What dreamworld do people live in?

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  3. Hmm Rawles may well prove to be correct about the lowly nickel eh ?

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    1. The push for electric cars and the demand for Nicole will cause the mint to sandwich the 5¢ coin. At that point it likely will be 4 or 5 times face value for all the old coins.

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