Glisten, I first composed this the day you posted your The beginning of “what comes next” , specifically related to optimism/pessimism. I held back and then forgot about it.
In the 21st century the top elite have great power, wealth and access to the best technical minds and systems. They can live well through whatever climate change brings, even as those in the vast majority of humans die and mass extinction sweeps the biosphere. The single most effective step to reduce global warming would be the mass extinction of most humans, and don’t think that some in the elite aren’t aware of this.
They can create the equivalent of a system of “space (dome) cities” on Earth, with vehicles that will permit travel through the wastelands between. Robotics have reached a point where the elite won’t need many slaves – and the few slaves could be kept well and even be made to believe they live in their “place” in the society. Capitalism and business as is practiced today would change, and the market could well disappear. But, the remaining elite will have ample resources (for their small population). With new technologies they could produce ample food, have ample clean water, and live a very comfortable life under their domes.
They may even create a few enclosed nature parks and experiment with genetic engineering a new ecology that can take root in the hot wasteland. Given time they may even populate the Earth with their own new engineered biosphere – taking into account the best science. Remember, most of the elite value their creations well above and superior to those of “nature”. This is consistent with the current elite’s accepted approach to climate change: adaptation. Some may even attempt the Kurzweil solution by uploading their minds into computers – which I don’t believe will be possible.
Almost 40 years ago when I faced this reality, I wrote a short essay called FIVE FUTURES of which one was THE OPERATION: the decision to surgically remove 80% of the human population from Earth. This scenario variation, never (reported having been) performed by THE LIMITS OF GROWTH simulation studies in the early 1970s, would have significantly delayed the collapse forecast by those scenarios (which are on track).
There are many humans capable of being part of this and I speculate that some are explicitly working on THE OPERATION. Psychopaths can make the difficult decisions and most will follow so long as they are included in population to survive. Explicit programs of genocide fill the historical literature – but you must look for it. The elite have been willing to kill large numbers when necessary and then rewrite history to make it look necessary and appropriate.
If you compare conflicting hypotheses of what happened for many significant events (an establishment conspiracy vs an alternative conspiracy) from a neutral scientific perspective using all data and information available, you may discover that the establishment stories are much less probable than the alternative stories. This holds clearly for the assassinations of Jack and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King (and many others during the 20th century). Add the 911 attacks, coverup, and the rapid shift of the USA to a Security State. ALL those behind these (whoever they are) still have power, and probably more. Serious conspiracy hypotheses must be distinguished from the many “crazy conspiracy theories” sown to the media to mask the serious hypotheses and generally discredit all “conspiratorial thinking” – which is general practice of all leaders (if only to not tell everyone their intentions).
Specific modes of societal activity will continue to change for many reasons. Competition among the elites continue, even as new elites try to join them at the top. Whatever type financial collapses occur, the top elite will survive – and may even thrive. Remember, the top elite gain power and wealth during wars, and sometimes instigate wars for this reason.
Elites still fear a truly massive uprising. There are not enough “police” to pull “triggers” if the people flood is too great, and at some point the trigger pullers change sides. This may be why we don’t see mass exterminations reported in the media – unless the horror in Syria is such an experiment. Today I read that floods of Sunni and Shite are heading for Syria to join in the conflagration. Corporations will bulldoze Syria after all are dead and try to establish NWO corporate enclaves.
The elites are not in total control. With their wealth and technology they have learned to surf the turbulence. They have the power to create events, then follow with their intelligence the – often chaotic – consequences and skim off the top for themselves. This has been their game since the rise of civilizations and IMO is one of the defining characteristics of civilizations. The other defining characteristic of civilizations is to intentionally suppress the full development of the vast majority of newborns. A competent majority population is their greatest fear. And they are correct.
I became aware of this from my studies during the 60s and it motivated me to seek an action beyond transformation which I had decided was impossible. This was well before the PC, The Internet, and the Global Warming threat. Societal metamorphosis was a viable alternative with UPLIFT the core strategy.
Glisten queries about the distribution along the pessimism-optimism dimension for our global population. The distribution would be different when having people fill out questionnaires or using interviews vs observing their behavior over time. Most people probably bury themselves in their day-to-day living and think very little about alternative futures. Most activists, to avoid having to think about worse case scenarios, are naive in their attempts to modify the existing system. Some simply can’t face such negativity and believe some spiritual miracle will make it all good.
UPLIFT and THE OPERATION are two “optimistic” futures. Which is “more likely” cannot be estimated as forecasting isn’t possible when there are no historical precedents (for UPLIFT).