A brown new deal | The Consciousness of Sheep

Those lucky enough to die of old age often fall into a very peaceful state – not dissimilar to the deep relaxation sought after by meditation practitioners – from which they simply slip away. Since 1958, though, one of the ways in which modern civilisation has sought to cheat death has been to install pacemakers into the chests of people who develop irregular heartbeats. That was great while these people were in middle age, and might otherwise have had a premature death. But as the baby boomers enter their twilight years, more and more people will find themselves experiencing a phenomenon described by Nina Adamowicz some years ago:

“Adamowicz, then 71, described how she would lose consciousness, often at night, and would hear the click of her pacemaker snapping into action when she came to. She said she was ‘lucky’, and ‘forever grateful’ for her life, but that she was also prepared to die.

“’I feel that [there is] life, and death is other side of the same coin,’ she said. ‘I’d like to know what is there. It’s not about I want to die, I’m dying’.

“So she asked for the pacemaker to be turned off.”

She became the first British pacemaker recipient to successfully campaign to have the device switched off. But in a civilisation that all too often denies the inevitability of death, and which is defaulted to extend life irrespective of individual wishes, Adamowicz had to battle to allow nature to take its course:

“Adamowicz went into her local hospice with her family and lay chatting while her doctor turned the pacemaker off, a procedure that took 20 minutes. She soon said she felt different, family members say. She described her body as feeling heavy and she felt a little nauseous, but said she felt at peace. She slept through the night, returned home in the morning and died later that night.”

The current iteration of the global economy – created by the collective unconscious decisions of baby boomers like Adamowicz – faces a similar moral decision. The economy’s pacemaker is central bank currency printing. And every time the economy slumps into that deep state from which death would ordinarily follow, the automatic central bank response is to use another massive influx of currency stimulation to kick the system back into life.

The first cardiac arrest came in 1973 with the first oil shock; which spelled the moment that the economy had to cease growing exponentially because the energy source that fuelled that growth had itself ceased growing exponentially. Sure, there was (and still is) more oil beneath the ground and sea bed than we have extracted and burned to date. But as the cost and complexity of oil extraction has grown, so the growth in the amount of energy available to power the economy has slowed.

Financialisation – the massive deregulation begun by Thatcher and Reagan and extended by Clinton and Blair – acted as the pacemaker; inflating a debt-based boom based on the fiction that there would be sufficient wealth in the future to pay off the debt with interest. Planet Earth, though, does not work that way. To have what humans call wealth, you have to have resources and you have to have the means to extract, transport and utilise these resources in order to create the goods and services that are bought and sold in the global marketplace. But before you can do any of that, you have to have energy. And while the new currency being borrowed into existence in the financialised economy was a claim on energy, it was not energy itself.

When conventional oil growth ceased entirely in 2005, it set in (slow) motion the chain of events which resulted in the 2008 financial crash…

Read more (recommended):
A brown new deal | Damn the Matrix

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, Core thought, Culture, Economics, Education, Energy, Environment, History, Reblogs and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to A brown new deal | The Consciousness of Sheep

  1. msjadeli says:

    What you describe with the pacemaker is one of the reasons I stay away from doctors, prescribed medications, and any of those nasty tests they try to coerce people to take. Doctors and their “toys” have been making things unnatural for quite awhile now.

    I’m no economist, but you are not the first person I’ve heard saying the unnatural animation of a corpse began when we went off of the gold standard and the “central bank” took over.


    • pendantry says:

      These here aren’t my words, they’re by Tim Watkins, from ‘The Consciousness of Sheep’. Did you read the whole article? It’s quite scary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • msjadeli says:

        No I didn’t. I don’t have the time, but no doubt anything to do with Western medicine is scary. If you want to give me the highlights beyond what you’ve posted I will do my best to read them

        Liked by 1 person

        • pendantry says:

          It’s not about ‘western medicine’, it’s about the state of the planet’s finances. Or lack of them… have you heard of the Seneca Cliff? We could be about to go over it.

          Fortune is of sluggish growth, but ruin is rapid,

          Liked by 1 person

          • msjadeli says:

            Does the article talk about the Seneca Cliff?

            Liked by 1 person

          • pendantry says:

            Not directly, no. In a nutshell: the article explains that our civilization is based upon energy, and on the assumption that we can buy now, and pay later: but our energy reserves are dwindling, so what has worked (temporarily) in the past won’t continue to work for very much longer. It’s a grim picture.

            Liked by 1 person

          • msjadeli says:

            Thank you, Colin, for synopsizing. After watching the youtube series with the professor talking about exponential growth of population and soon-to-be-depleted energy sources it confirmed what I already knew. We are doomed. Do you believe in the Gaia Hypothesis? I’m not sure how pernicious a parasite we are on Gaia, but I have a feeling that Gaia may be in the process of “shrugging” right now.

            Liked by 1 person

          • pendantry says:

            Gaia would do well to rid itself of these parasites I call ‘homo fatuus brutus’ :(

            Liked by 1 person

  2. john zande says:

    All people should have the fundamental right to a dignified death.

    As someone smarter than me said, “Euthanasia doesn’t increase death, it decreases suffering.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • pendantry says:


      However; perhaps I should have included more of the original article. The anecdote about the death of Nina Adamowicz was but a prelude to the main event, which points out that our civilization may well be going through its own death throes….

      … I’ve added three more paragraphs of the original to the above.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree totally with John.

    Incidentally there’s a most interesting read about the demise of things here: https://grist.org/ask-umbra/why-is-everything-falling-apart-in-2020/

    Good night, nurse!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bill Ziegler says:

    We are kindred souls on the matter of this “brown new deal”, Sir — both in matters involving the individual person’s decisions regarding ones own personal fate and in matters involving the anthropomorphic roots beneath the planeticide presently occurring in real time. Solastalgia is something I wrote about on my own blog more than three years ago:


    It is of course a red thread that runs through my own thoughts on the urgency of inaction: the modus operandi behind a Western-European compulsion to keep things as they are, at maintaining the status quo at all costs, including Planet A.

    In 1974, I read a commonplace book written by D.H. Auden, a volume that I loaned to a friend many years ago that was not returned. Now of course available on the internet. Important because it underlies my philosophy. Salient now as I reread some of them this very evening. Daunting because I do not read most of the stuff I’ve written *after* publishing them on WordPress. Self-deprecation is one of my most severe faults it seems.


    T.S. Eliot’s play “A Family Reunion” also contains a phrase that codifies my life somehow. “Sudden Solitude in a Crowded Desert”. Hey, I’ve just noticed that it’s already on my blog.


    Thank you for reading my blog. And for writing yours. Now I must return to reading them.


    • peNdantry says:

      I too, rarely re-read most of my wibblettes, though I do make a conscious effort to try to link them together when appropriate. Freddie Mercury was dismissive of his past works, always looking forward to the next; the moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on is, I think, common to any wordsmith. And I also believe that self-deprecation is not something to be overly concerned about: it’s surely a more worthy trait than hubris.

      Thanks for the links, Bill (though I’m unclear why you repeated the second one; that third link threw your comment into the moderation queue). I’ve followed them and have left comments for you on those posts.

      PS You’ve left me intrigued as to the title of the ‘commonplace book written by D.H. Auden’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bill Ziegler says:

        We have a great number of sychronicities in our writings world, mate. My wife, [redacted by peNdantry], is a keen fan of all things Freddie Mercury; she could extemporaneously produce volumes on his days and ways. [redacted by peNdantry] has also noted my dismissive attitude on my oeuvre, including my many sketches. So your compliment is humbly noted. Hubris belongs elsewhere.
        That second link was indeed an oversight. An attempt to highlight just how much Eliot’s verse play *The Family Reunion* has influenced my thinking over all these years perhaps.
        Thank you, in advance, for your comments. I look forward to replying to all and each in turn.
        D.H. Auden’s *A Certain World, A Commonplace Book* is becoming exceedingly rare. I had no idea just how rare until trying to find a copy on Duck Duck Go


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