The system is broken, the system has to change.

Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
This question has been raised by a Guardian long read entitled The new elite’s phoney crusade to save the world – without changing anything (link). One of the questions the article poses is:
Are we ready to hand over our future to the plutocratic elites, one supposedly world-changing initiative at a time? Are we ready to call participatory democracy a failure, and to declare these other, private forms of change-making the new way forward? Is the decrepit state of American self-government an excuse to work around it and let it further atrophy? Or is meaningful democracy, in which we all potentially have a voice, worth fighting for?
and
What is at stake is whether the reform of our common life is led by governments elected by and accountable to the people, or rather by wealthy elites claiming to know our best interests. We must decide whether, in the name of ascendant values such as efficiency and scale, we are willing to allow democratic purpose to be usurped by private actors who often genuinely aspire to improve things but, first things first, seek to protect themselves.

In this country that image suggests a return to the Victorian age, where philanthropic factory owners provided art galleries for the future on the back of the labour of their workers. Where the Labour party fought for democracy, but it took WW1 to really change the class system.

Have we returned to a plutocracy ruling the world? And what will it take to change things?
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Comments

  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Dead Horses Host
    edited February 11
    A global revolution of the proletariat? The world has been there, tried that in some places, mostly said no. The leaders of revolutions mostly seemed to turn out worse than the corrupt authorities they replaced.

    Seizing back government of the people by the people for the people? I suppose the US experiment is ongoing, just not in a very good place presently. An ideal corrupted by money and powerful interest groups.

    I keep on praying "your kingdom come, your will be done" and doing my best to work towards that where I am. That's also work in progress and globally it doesn't appear to be in a very good place either. But it's the best I've got.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Those same plutocratic elites are on track to destroy the natural environment.

    Human activity is driving the Earth’s entire insect population to extinction. This is due to big companies, intensive agriculture and climate change. In other words the money makers for those plutocratic elites.

    It’s looking more and more like my generation has lived through a golden age. I feel grateful for that and sad for the future of humankind and the planet.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    As long as people keep voting in right wing parties you will have plutocrats. People are more concerned about their money than others. The governments on both sides of the Atlantic have sided with the rich and want to keep them sweet:
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    42 people own the same wealth as the bottom 50% of the world's population. That percentage will only go up unless we do something about it.

    Once upon a time, we fought dragons that hoarded wealth. Now we beg them for money.
  • The recent Egyptian experience of democracy is instructive.

    My guess is that in a free and fair election, the Muslim Brotherhood was elected. From the perspective of the West and Egyptians who are Coptic Christians, that was very very bad. It was felt that the Muslim Brotherhood did not intend to practice democratic norms as we understand them, but instead to impose a system which was supported by the majority, but which trampled on the rights and probably the lives of a minority.

    The army staged a coup, and things more or less returned to normal, unless you are associated with Al Jazeera, the Muslim Brotherhood, or speak out against the new Government.

    Please note that I am pulling this out of my arse and I may well be mis-remembering or indeed misrepresenting what happened.

    In Britain and the United States, full-franchise de jure has been in operation for roughly 100 years. Our transfers of power are smooth and follow established patterns. When election results happen that we don't like, we just wait, because in a few years we will get to vote again and we know that the outcome will be respected. Since the scourge of McCarthyism, nobody has sought to lock anybody up for their political views. Civil liberties are so strong in the UK and its political system so robust that a bare majority decision to pummel the country's economy and reduce its influence in world affairs is being implemented as we speak despite the fact that the elites don't want it to happen.

    Democracy is alive and well in the Anglosphere. You might well say that it is a little too robust for our own good. Where it is desperately needed, in corrupt developing countries where the elites actually participate in the looting of their own national wealth, it is barely breathing. However, in Indonesia and Malaysia, they appear to be making a welcome yet still shaky transition from autocratic countries with klepto-elites to stable democracies.

  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    The elites do want the UK to leave the EU with no deal - there's a group planning just that with Plan A+, big business wanting to bring the UK's standards down to those of the US. Where the poverty levels are so bad that Oxfam is supporting chicken workers.
  • I was under the impression that the elites, as partly represented by the likes of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and Rees Mogg were perfectly prepared to see an impoverished Britain for the 'gain' of the country's independence from the EU. Not that they said any of that during the Referendum campaign of course.

    Democracy is weird. I suspect that many people who are currently insisting on the need for the democracy of the Referendum vote to be reverenced so highly, are the same people who previously complained bitterly every time a democratic vote went against them; or perhaps were even the same people who would whinge about the uselessness of bothering to vote at all, choosing to stay at home and opt out unless something on the ballot sheet tickled their fancy.

    Democracy has its limitations, and its flaws. Especially when the democratic choice of a referendum is between the 'potentially unappealing continuance of the too complex to describe and understand ' option, and the 'complete pig in a poke with no-one in charge' option. Bit like computer programming: crap in, crap out. It was a shit choice to begin with; good probability of a shit result.
  • There is a huge tendency to confuse democracy and pluralism. Pluralism is essential to sustain a democratic political system, because it requires there to be more than one party which can govern without the followers of any of those parties facing punishment simply for their support of that party. Competing ideas have to be in circulation for elections to be meaningful, and elections have to at least appear meaningful for the system to function and to be recognised as democratic. However, that circulation of ideas is pluralism, not democracy.

    It is possible for a dictatorship to be elected, as in Egypt. However, a dictatorship cannot be a pluralist democracy because dictatorship is exclusively and repressively self-perpetuating. As such, it fails the unspoken part of the test, though it passes the spoken one.
  • Anselmina wrote: »
    Democracy is weird. I suspect that many people who are currently insisting on the need for the democracy of the Referendum vote to be reverenced so highly, are the same people who previously complained bitterly every time a democratic vote went against them

    They'd hardly be alone in that. Far too many people at all points of the political spectrum only really like democracy when it delivers the result they want.
  • The majority in a democracy hasn't the right to suppress the rights and will of minorities. "Majority rule" must never be absolute.

    The problem with referendums is that no-one knows what the threshold should actually be. 50% +1 is hardly sufficient. If I understand the Brexit vote, it was won by the "leave" side by the majority who voted, but apparently not by the majority of the people of the UK.
  • The vote to name a research ship 'Boaty McBoatface' was a portent. We in Britain have voted ourselves the most incompetent government and opposition within living memory, implementing a policy in which no intelligent and educated person really believes. It seems we no longer take politics seriously. We risk handing absolute power to anyone who can get us out of the fix in which we have landed ourselves.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    I have argued on a previous thread that parties entering candidates for a democratic election need to sign up to a minimum democratic and social rights charter. They agree to respect both the process (no cheating) and the result, and if they get into power, they hold fresh elections in a timely fashion, don't subvert democratic institutions and respect human rights.

    This was apparently controversial.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    ThunderBunk: There is a huge tendency to confuse democracy and pluralism. Pluralism is essential to sustain a democratic political system, because it requires there to be more than one party which can govern without the followers of any of those parties facing punishment simply for their support of that party.

    This is OK as far as it goes in describing Liberal Democracy. Pluralism, however, is not simply about the existence of a number of parties more or less independent of the state, but of the independence and autonomy of social and economic institutions whose interests those parties represent and articulate. This raises the question as to whether there can be Liberal Democracy without capitalism, though there can, of course, be capitalism without Democracy. Liberal Democracy also implies that there are legitimate centres of power having political consequences outside the formal democratic institutions, pressure groups, for example.

    What has not been discussed is the notion of Representative Democracy and the relationship between political elites (elected politicians, especially executives) and the democratic multitude. Experience suggests that good government is not compatible with plebiscitary democracy because the electorate is ignorant of the issues involved in just about all political decisions and does not have to deal with the consequences. Representative Democracy is better, though it rests on elected politicians retaining the confidence of electorates in their superior capacities to make informed decisions. The current political crisis in western democracies arises from a collapse of confidence in and deference to political elites, exposing them to demagoguery and populism. The centre may have 'fallen apart', 'the best [may] lack all conviction' but the 'worst are full of passionate intensity'.



  • Have we returned to a plutocracy ruling the world?
    The answer to this question seems to be an undeniable "yes". From the US to Russia, via China, the power over the vast majority of people is held by a few, extremely rich and unaccountable, individuals.

    I am reminded of the wise words of Tony Benn:
    In the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions. If one meets a powerful person - Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates - ask them five questions:

    1. What power have you got?
    2. Where did you get it from?
    3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
    4. To whom are you accountable?
    5. How can we get rid of you?

    If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.

    And what will it take to change things?
    As things currently stand? Revolution and bloody uprising. Nothing else will do it.
  • All systems are broken and all systems change.

    Tax wealth including all investment transactions. And all robots. All automation even. Based on energy consumption in part. TAX!!!
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    All systems are broken and all systems change.

    Tax wealth including all investment transactions. And all robots. All automation even. Based on energy consumption in part. TAX!!!

    A Dutch historian who was invited to Davos by some fluke talked about precisely this: all initiatives by the wealthy to change the world are moot if they are not paying their fair share in tax. Suffice to say that he did not have the most receptive audience. Here is an article about the speech and here is a video of his speech. The speech has gone viral and I have already heard him interviewed twice on the radio.
  • Have we returned to a plutocracy ruling the world?
    The answer to this question seems to be an undeniable "yes". From the US to Russia, via China, the power over the vast majority of people is held by a few, extremely rich and unaccountable, individuals.

    I am reminded of the wise words of Tony Benn:
    In the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions. If one meets a powerful person - Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates - ask them five questions:

    1. What power have you got?
    2. Where did you get it from?
    3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
    4. To whom are you accountable?
    5. How can we get rid of you?

    If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.

    And what will it take to change things?
    As things currently stand? Revolution and bloody uprising. Nothing else will do it.

    And that won't do it either. There is no gain that could possibly be worth it in the developed world. Or anywhere else I can think of. What it takes to change things is what we've been doing for two hundred thousand years. Changing things. Pluralism is a western luxury that cannot ever touch China, the Islamic world, Russia and has reached its limits in the West. It's now up to liberals to work with conservatives. That's what's got to change. Smart ones always have. In making everyone consumers first.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited February 12
    Consumers are destroying the ecosystem on which we and the species on which we depend rely. Another plan is vital now.
  • That would be better expressed as our monomaniac obsession with consumption. Either way we need another plan. A radically different one.
  • Ain't ever gonna happen. Everybody's got to have a mobile. For a start. And refrigeration. And toilets. The South will move North as the North's population crashes, even in China. I have a cock-eyed optimism that the arc will continue tending upward.
  • There is only one alternative. The ecosystem collapses and we die in our millions.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    It is made extraordinarily difficult to opt-out, on purpose. The deal - that we exchange our labour for money - is undermined by a predatory economy that sees people with money as a cow to be milked. Once the milk has gone, we are no longer any use to them.

    So unavoidable costs - fixed costs for housing, local taxes, energy, water, insurance, transport, (health care and education were applicable) - rise in order to milk the maximum money from the system. Even if wages are rising, fixed costs will rise faster. Most people from the middle classes to the poorest are worse off, and will continue to be worse off, as more of their disposable income is milked.

    There are obviously things households can do to stop the milking. Owning property moves money away from rentier landlords, but requires a formidable amount of capital and/or a high household income. Solar panels can be installed, but the FIT is being ended, and will only make sense in conjunction with storage - another capital cost. Transport alternatives do exist, but if you've a long commute by train, or live in a rural area, you usually only have one choice. There's not enough suitable land for everyone to have a smallholding and a well and a septic tank, and as much as I like my neighbours, cholera isn't nice.

    I'm agreeing with ThunderBunk. We need a radically different, collective, plan. This isn't something that individuals can do.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited February 12
    The elites do want the UK to leave the EU with no deal - there's a group planning just that with Plan A+, big business wanting to bring the UK's standards down to those of the US. Where the poverty levels are so bad that Oxfam is supporting chicken workers.

    You will certainly know more than me about the elites in the UK and how to define them. I would be surprised though if many British academics or members of the professions are in support of Brexit. I don't think many of your light entertainment stars are for Brexit, but I haven't made inquiries.

    Also, are there that many businesses that support Brexit? I know a bloke who owns a chain of pubs supports it. What about Richard Branson? I genuinely don't know his position. I am reliably informed by Miles Jupp that the bloke who owns Dyson Vacuum Cleaners supports Brexit and has copped some criticism for opening a factory in Singapore.

    As for the Parliamentary elites, I understand that Labor MP's as a whole would prefer it if Brexit didn't happen, but their objections are muted by an Opposition Leader who is probably pro- but mostly ambivalent and anyway, they have a game of political brinkmanship to win. I also understand that a fair whack of the Conservative Party's MP's, though probably not a majority, are ambivalent about Brexit, and only support it publicly because of the perceived political need to implement the referendum result. My understanding is broad-brush and mostly derived from British political satire and the occasional front page from Private Eye.

    On the subject of British Big Business, are there any still around? Virgin qualifies I suppose. We have a petrol company here that used to be British - BP. Is it still? Australia is similar. There aren't really all that many 'national' big businesses any more. Banks, maybe grocery chains might qualify, I don't know. Payday lenders? Betting shops?

    I think Brexit is a very good example of democracy at work, a decision being implemented by your representatives despite its lunacy. I don't know if the original vote was unduly swayed by money politics. Certainly the margin was narrow enough for it to potentially matter. I do know that I saw a heap of purple signs in England when I was there, and met a few racist arseholes who spoilt my breakfast in a couple of B&B's. So I'm thinking that there was a fair amount of actual and not confected support, and that is what our systems of Government are all about.

    Personally, I would find a way to prevent the democratic will of the People as expressed in that non-binding plebiscite from being implemented. The EU seems keen to help in that project. But I'm sure most British shipmates are with me on that one, or rather I'm with you.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Guardian article (link) - entitled Who is behind the push for a post-Brexit free trade deal with the US?
    All services and government procurement should be opened to international competition. While these thinktanks acknowledge that opening up the NHS might be too controversial, they think it a good idea. And protections designed to avoid workers being exploited or undercut by cheap migrant labour, which, for example, limit the number of hours people can be asked to work, or require parity of pay with local workers for those posted abroad, should be removed, says Plan A+. The same goes for environmental protections, food standards and the precautionary principle that the EU favours when assessing risk.
    That little delight is led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Theresa Villiers and David Davis - all featuring in the photo at the head of the article. The Charity Commissioners have censured them for contravening various regulations in campaigning as a charity.

    We have a lot of things going on in the background, including this one, on Brexit - and it won't take much filibustering to take us into a no deal Brexit.

    Big business is generally self-protective, anti-regulation
  • So as none of that is going to happen. None. Apart from the little England trivia of Brexit recession the silver lining of which might be a Labour government to pick up the pieces and be perceived as a worse failure in one term and for the Tories to capitalize on the painfully slow recovery and turn Britain in to the money laundering trickle down capital of the world.

    The future is Africa. Getting up to India's level in a generation.
  • In which case they will have the pleasure of powering the ecosystem on which we all depend completely into oblivion. How thrilling for all of us.

    And there I was thinking that faith in an infinitely generous God might motivate something other than mindless consumption. How hum.
  • I might well be wrong - but I have some faith that a combination of dispersed manufacturing and robotics will offer some solutions. Whether it happens in enough time to save us is an open question - but it strikes me that if distribution costs of manufactured good are taken out of the equation, then there ought to be environmental savings and a flattening of the difference between rich and poor on a world scale.

    The challenge, of course, is how to ensure that the massive corporations do not simply take control of the means of production, and how to keep the knowledge open-source.

    But for me, I don't think we are a long way off locally 3d printing goods, including tech like mobile phones.

    Of course there is an issue about availability of the raw materials - but again I have hope that the poorest might leap-frog into using the good stuff.
  • In which case they will have the pleasure of powering the ecosystem on which we all depend completely into oblivion. How thrilling for all of us.

    And there I was thinking that faith in an infinitely generous God might motivate something other than mindless consumption. How hum.

    Chill TB. Our eusociality is evolving fast. And that's the spirit mr cheesy.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    One simple thing we can do that will cost nothing is stop measuring GDP. Just that. Stop measuring it, stop worshipping it, stop trying to drive it ever upwards.

    There's a name for something that continually grows. There's a thread for it down in Hell.
  • Guardian article (link) - entitled Who is behind the push for a post-Brexit free trade deal with the US?
    All services and government procurement should be opened to international competition. While these thinktanks acknowledge that opening up the NHS might be too controversial, they think it a good idea. And protections designed to avoid workers being exploited or undercut by cheap migrant labour, which, for example, limit the number of hours people can be asked to work, or require parity of pay with local workers for those posted abroad, should be removed, says Plan A+. The same goes for environmental protections, food standards and the precautionary principle that the EU favours when assessing risk.
    That little delight is led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Theresa Villiers and David Davis - all featuring in the photo at the head of the article. The Charity Commissioners have censured them for contravening various regulations in campaigning as a charity.

    We have a lot of things going on in the background, including this one, on Brexit - and it won't take much filibustering to take us into a no deal Brexit.

    Big business is generally self-protective, anti-regulation

    Oh yeah, Trump is so right on free trade deals, but for the wrong reasons. They suck for working people and anyone operating on a small to medium scale. They usually have these disgusting arbitration clauses and clauses the limit 'local' governments from changing laws in a way that adversely impacts upon international businesses. How is a free trade deal between the US and EU less of a problem?
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    <continuing tangent>The EU is big enough to insist on their own safety, workers rights and environmental regulations. Which is why certain people want Britain out of the EU - but this belongs on the Brexit thread. That information is in both the articles linked</continuing tangent>

    @Martin54 the news over the last couple of days has been full of a report that insects are likely to die out in 100 years (Guardian link)
  • I'm not sure its that simple CK, particularly on the issue of whether the EU can resist the demands of global capitalism, many EU countries being home, like Britain and Australia, to people that would love to see the sorts of policies embraced by Rees-Mogg and his mates implemented around the world. My understanding is that the EU is, like the rest of the developed world, in a conservative phase, and that immigration has been used there too as the issue that gets people to vote against their economic interest. I understand that a free trade agreement between in EU and the USA is back on the agenda but not finalised.

    In case my point is lost, it is that the EU can't resist the demands of global capitalism any more than Australia or the UK as individual entities. Global capitalism is not the USA, it is the West. The USA is just the weakest link, from our perspective.

    Far from being a tangent, the struggle for worldwide economic justice is intimately linked to the protection of democracy (or whatever you want to call it) in the developed world. Free Trade agreements are one of the ways in which our enemies seek to undermine our democracies by having us cede sovereignty not to international organisations of nations, but international business. Its woeful, its frightening, and the solution might well be found in the empowerment of the teeming millions to which Martin refers. The next time I get a fraudster ring me from the under-developed world, I'm going to shout at them, "Go you good thing!"

    To put it another way, my conception of Government is a shield against the rapacious capitalism we use to create wealth. The purpose of Government is to protect the weaker against exploitation by the stronger. I think that's what you believe too CK. Rapacious capitalists know this, and use whatever tools they deem fit to puncture our shield. The promotion of cynicism has been a very successful tool in the USA. Free Trade Agreements with these woeful clauses are the next.



  • <continuing tangent>The EU is big enough to insist on their own safety, workers rights and environmental regulations. Which is why certain people want Britain out of the EU - but this belongs on the Brexit thread. That information is in both the articles linked</continuing tangent>

    @Martin54 the news over the last couple of days has been full of a report that insects are likely to die out in 100 years (Guardian link)

    No. Just in our small bailiwick. They've been here a while longer than us. Ants. Roaches. Wasps. Termites. Moths (which is why we're not knee deep in horn).
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    No, world wide catastrophic failure of ecological systems, 40% reduction in insects that are an essential part of life cycles and ecology on earth. Pushed by our agricultural methods into extinction.

    It's another sign that we're in the middle of one of the great extinction cycles.
  • Yes, it's looking grim. I expect that many people will avert their gaze. And I don't know if there will be last minute attempts to rebalance, but probably too late. If a species has gone, it's not coming back.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Yes, it's looking grim. I expect that many people will avert their gaze. And I don't know if there will be last minute attempts to rebalance, but probably too late. If a species has gone, it's not coming back.

    Life on Earth won’t survive without them.

    Climate change could be small beer compared to this.
  • Uh huh.
  • The extinction rate has different estimates. For example, some scientists estimate 200 a day, plants or animals, but others are skeptical. The point about insects seems obvious, 30 years ago your windscreen would be plastered in them, after a long drive, not now, (UK).
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    It seems we no longer take politics seriously.

    That's an inevitable outcome of people perceiving that politics doesn't actually change anything important in their lives. If how you use your vote isn't going to matter, you may as well use it to have some laughs.
  • Mosquitos are doing fine and they pollinate more plants than bees in many places. The large and noticeable insects like bees are in decline, but many insects are just fine. It's like the decline in large animals, while small rodents are thriving.

    Bees, by the way, account for 7-8% of pollination of human cultivated crops. The 1/3 figure often cited is about the paid pollination. (went to a lecture series last summer re this, info like this was provided.
  • No, world wide catastrophic failure of ecological systems, 40% reduction in insects that are an essential part of life cycles and ecology on earth. Pushed by our agricultural methods into extinction.

    It's another sign that we're in the middle of one of the great extinction cycles.

    Well I've read the paper, and that's not exactly what it says.

    It claims that 40% of insect species are in decline, which doesn't necessarily mean that overall numbers are going down. Nor, in fact, does it mean that new species will not emerge to occupy ecological functions if/when some go extinct.

    I mean, it is shocking if true - but some of the news stories about this paper are vastly overstating what the impact might be when that's very much unknown.

  • The extinction rate has different estimates. For example, some scientists estimate 200 a day, plants or animals, but others are skeptical. The point about insects seems obvious, 30 years ago your windscreen would be plastered in them, after a long drive, not now, (UK).

    I hate to agree...
  • The paper is drivel. How about we stop refering to it, unless we are going to critique how they can possibly extrapolate from studies of species in Europe and North America to the whole world - including vast areas of the globe containing millions of insect species that were not included at all in the study.

    That one thinks one can take insect splatters on a windscreen as indicative is beyond ridiculous.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    The paper is drivel. How about we stop refering to it, unless we are going to critique how they can possibly extrapolate from studies of species in Europe and North America to the whole world - including vast areas of the globe containing millions of insect species that were not included at all in the study.

    That one thinks one can take insect splatters on a windscreen as indicative is beyond ridiculous.

    That you think insect splatters are the only scientific evidence quoted indicates you didn't read the paper. It cites 73 studies. Are you saying they were all of windshield splatters? How about we stop thinking we know what something says unless we read it?
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    That one thinks one can take insect splatters on a windscreen as indicative is beyond ridiculous.

    No, that's observational science, and people take it very seriously indeed.

    When I was a lad (first driving in 1984), there was the phenomenon of driving along country lanes and being blinded by the blizzard of insects throwing themselves at the car's headlights.

    Driving those same lanes 35 years later... barely anything.

    The insects haven't changed their behaviour. They've just gone.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    The paper is drivel. How about we stop refering to it, unless we are going to critique how they can possibly extrapolate from studies of species in Europe and North America to the whole world - including vast areas of the globe containing millions of insect species that were not included at all in the study.

    That one thinks one can take insect splatters on a windscreen as indicative is beyond ridiculous.

    That you think insect splatters are the only scientific evidence quoted indicates you didn't read the paper. It cites 73 studies. Are you saying they were all of windshield splatters? How about we stop thinking we know what something says unless we read it?

    The paper says nothing about insect splatter on windscreens that I've read. Someone above mentioned it as somehow indicative evidence.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    That one thinks one can take insect splatters on a windscreen as indicative is beyond ridiculous.

    No, that's observational science, and people take it very seriously indeed.

    When I was a lad (first driving in 1984), there was the phenomenon of driving along country lanes and being blinded by the blizzard of insects throwing themselves at the car's headlights.

    Driving those same lanes 35 years later... barely anything.

    The insects haven't changed their behaviour. They've just gone.

    This is bullshit.

    You can't seriously pretend that someone untrained in insect ecology can possibly know anything about global insect decline based on what they've seen on their own car windscreen in England.

    It's exactly the same as those idiots who say that the planet is not warning because the winters they experience in San Marino have been cooler than they recall 40 years ago.

    That's not science, that's drivel.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    The RSPB did test the insect splatters one year, 2004, from the link as a piece of research on trying to observe insect reductions.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    This is bullshit.

    You can't seriously pretend that someone untrained in insect ecology can possibly know anything about global insect decline based on what they've seen on their own car windscreen in England.

    I'm not pretending anything. This is observational science. It has a very long and noble pedigree. Someone untrained in climate science can note first bud and last leaf fall over many years and make a critical contribution. Or the arrival of migrating birds. Or fruit ripening.

    Just because you've never heard of it.
  • In relation to birds, it's often known as citizen science. One observation has little value, but there are various bird and butterfly surveys which rely on thousands of amateur observers, headed up by professionals.
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