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After Superscience We Get Superfinance 

Politics / Credit Crisis 2011 Dec 20, 2011 - 09:34 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleSuperfinance is already with us, since at latest 2008, but we can expect that so-called « Superscience » will be edging back to join it after its most recent place in the media limelight during the 1995-2000 period: Superscience was turfed out by climate change, peak oil, green energy and sustainability all of which are now themselves struggling to stay on the radar screen. Unlike Superfinance and the Big New Things of the past 5 years however, Superscience goes back a long way, in fact to the Great Exhibitions around Europe in the 19th century. At the time the populace was told to think railways, iron ships, electric lamps and machine guns would give them total power and make all the world their own. Like they say: Guns, germs and steel. Coming next, we have a big new slot for Superfinance operated just like the Superscience theme.

Superscience was present in the space hysteria of the 1945-65 postwar period, when the US used imported and rehabilitated exNazi missile scientists to start the ‘American’ space programme, but space exploration or 'colonization' soon faded. It was too expensive and colonizing Outer Space faced even more problems than regular terrestrial colonizing of the Vietnam War type, which also cost a lot, and also did not work.

From about 1980, following the oil crises of the 1970s Superscience made a comeback, marketed in different formats and packages on a pick-and-mix basis, with generous helpings of new hype. The basic ingredients however remain the same : Great scientists and engineers come together to Save Humanity and turn a great buck for their promoters, often with political party affiliations. With Superfinance we have Great Statesmen (and Angela Merkel) saving Europe's banks and governments by ruining the rest of the world.

New Superscience could well link with Superfinance - both operated with one eye on the political handle and the other up the opinion polls, not forgetting the TV film and book spinoff potential. While old-style Superscience featured heavy ironwork and heavy machine guns (for civilizing purposes of course), the New Superscience is light and airy and features biotech, eugenics, robotics, nanotechnology, genetically modified crops and GM Farming, and even ‘social engineering’ using leading edge information tech. Superfinance is even more imaginative or as we say 'virtual' but the old-style stuff is still there: megacities have to be built very fast, the scientists say. Deserts have to be brought under the plough, using that miraculous GM Farming, or food shortages might even hit the heartlands of consumer civilization. The energy crisis has to be addressed because oil is still expensive, and at least until Fukushima this automatically meant that all persons of Good Will know in their stem cells that nuclear energy is our only salvation, but now they arent so sure.

Doubt is always a powerful lever for change.

Small ticket initiatives like a $100 billion Green Energy Fund for low income countries, heavily hyped at the last or most recent climate change be-in for free lunching bureaucrats in Durban, are in any case much too small for Superfinance. Big projects are needed, and as in the good old days of those iron ships and the gin bottle, there has to be a pop philosopher around to crank up the pop philosophy. Mass appeal has to dovetail with consumer-oriented spin and hype, and explain why great scientists and engineers have only just now got around to Saving Humanity and The Planet, and keep the supermarket caddies rolling ever forward.

The Pop philosophy for backing Superscience exists, but has not yet been cranked up for the Superfinance mission. The basic gameplan for the pop philosophers is to say we have a Crisis of Civilization, dark and foreboding, that the scientists and engineers didn't previously want to explain, or were scared of talking about to the middle class consumer faithful. So the pop philosophers have to use both threats and promises - they have to tell the populace that things are bad but after a short transition period the supermarket shelves will be even fuller with take-home goodies at giveaway prices.

All that is needed, they will add while tapping hard on the lectern, is Faith and Cash, since hope and charity are religious ventures well handled by the Pope, Ayatollahs, Rabbins and Imams, who are anyway all onboard in what is basically a religious quest.

Social engineering and mind control are a sure part of New Superscience and will soon play a leading role in Superfinance. The easy way out, as Bill Gates will tell you and Steve Jobs would have told you is through faster and more radical dumbing-down of the consumer masses. The 1980s invention called the New Economy is now in a pretty pickle, that is an ugly mess so mass dumbing down is for their own good. When sufficiently dumb, they forget how bad things are, and they will goo-goo at the sight of old and creaking gadgets, because they also forgot these had been tried out previously, and didnt work.
We can date this new look Superscience to a start date in the early 1980s, and a high point in the late 1990s. Two of the key charlatans selling new-new Superscience were the duo Ilya Prigogine and Erich Jantsch. Their books like The New Alliance  (Prigogine) and The Self-organizing Universe (Jantsch) earned them star talking head status and high-level chats with presidents and prime ministers.  By 2000, some of their New Superscience was standard political speech material, that is demagogic slogan pack material, in exactly the same way presidents and prime ministers would gurgle "The planet is burning !" using junk science global warming one-liners around 2005-2009.

Ilya Prigogine received a Nobel prize for physics, for inventing non-linear thermodynamics in 1987. He was probably the most influential intellectual of the Francophone world of his time, and other members of the French intellectuati soon swarmed into the New Superscience of Prigogine. Dominant French intellectuals including Edgard Morin (a devotee of ‘everything is random’), Henri Atlan (a champion of ‘artificial wombs’ for breeding Supermen), and the raging neoliberal economist René Passet (who proposed that Margaret Thatcher get the Legion d'Honneur) all signed on to his theories. Only a few dissenters signed off, like the mathematician René Thom, who described Prigogine as a ‘zealot of randomness preaching the abandonment of all scientific knowledge’.

Prigogine's claim to what his invention of non-linear thermodynamics means were as modest as you might expect from a Savior of Mankind, like any two-bit politician on the financial crisis talk circuit of today.

He claimed he had finally found out how life started on this planet. It was through non-linear thermodynamics and his easy-on-facts theory split living things into only two groups: regular, old-style Nature, based on rigid heat engine principles, and new creative Nature, including the first life on this planet and his own New Nature.

The world as we know it (WAWKI) is mostly New Nature, Prigogine and his pals said, and it happened through mysterious random pulsations and fluctuations in the Universe. But there are also hangovers and residues of Old Nature which is no better than a 19th century steam engine, and the bottom line is that it has to go. The Old-style Science that goes with Old Nature has hidden this wonderful truth from the people, exposing them to an unnecessarily long wait before we (persons who swallow Superscience) can build paradise on Earth.

This is exactly the situation with the New Economy and new Superfinance. The WAWKI is mostly New Economy and was squeaky clean until 2008, we are told, but was undermined by Old Economy residues, like worrying about debt and paying too much for oil.

This gives the flavour: Superscience is not at all like old-style science, in fact science ‘as we know it’ is perverted and organized to enable whatever harms WAWKI. It has to be thrown overboard because it is too restricting, it suffers from the ‘intellectual prison of Newton’s physics’, and it treats Old Nature as if it was serious. Anybody cobbling up a new European superfund to fight the supercrisis will sing the same song.

Old science, like the Old Economy does not answer the Real Needs of the People. What needs and which people were quickly defined in the books and speeches of Prigogine and the self-styled philosopher and visionary Jantsch: these are the business-as-usual ‘needs’ of the employable 40-odd percent of the consumer class in rich countries. This is an Us and Them problem, as they said in the days before Emerging economy growth exploded and China's forex reserve pile reached $2.4 trillion. The old world rich countries, with about 15% of the world’s population are programmed to overconsume for the other 85%, but they are facing unjust limits due to Old Science - like the Old Economy harms and handicaps the miracles of Superfinance.

The crisis comes in fast: Prigogine and Jantsh told us that even keeping the richer segments of the population inside rich countries at their current hyper consumption level is getting mighty difficult. Bringing onboard another two billion determined consumers is going to sink the ship, AKA Spaceship Earth. However, it is the task of great scientists and philosophers to say the consumption levels of the richworld can be extended to the ‘whole world’, or at least to a few extra parts of it, that is enough parts to dampen down rebellion, rout and revolution, using good old heavy machine guns where needed, for example in Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya.

Both Prigogine and Jantsch used plenty of artistic licence and grabbed huge media attention, by sketching ‘biotechnically re-engineered Man and Nature’. The whole lot would be made over, botox style. New cities would not just be built, but would organically grow and reproduce, through machine-mineral and machine-plant hybrid materials. Those happy and permanently excited consumer-bots (that is consumer robots) would wake up or be switched on in the morning to see an entirely new section of town that popped up next to their quarter in the night, literally mushroom growth ! Out in the now flowery deserts, vast expanses of perfect GM crops would wait obediently to be harvested by ‘new and efficient’ electric-powered machines.

Of course these Superscience machines would be so efficient you wouldnt (or couldnt) believe it, but producing the electricity would need something other than hot air and fine prose. Prigogine being a Nobel physics laureate had the solution to this. His magic bullet was a little creaky - controlled nuclear fusion, just like in the Sun – but the ITER project shows this gadget can still drag down a lot of government cash from bankrupt European governments. Way back in the 1990s, Prigogine caould tell his friend Jacques Chirac that he was sure fusion could be done if somebody gave him enough money. The punchline was nothing if not traditional: "Hadnt we sent 3 persons to the Moon in 1969 ?", once only and 40 years ago.

Thanks to his Nobel status, Prigogine could announce that non-linear thermodynamics proved the entire biosphere of this planet is totally inefficient and has to be scrapped, and this can be done in a few shakes of the right test tube with the right ingredients. Any Merkel-Sarkozy talk-in on solving Europe's debt crisis says the entire financial system is totally inefficient and has to be scrapped.

A natural child of the Prigogine-Jantsch Superscience surge is Raymond Kurzweil, of the Extropy Institute who still stomps the free lunch circuit, announcing his own New Superscience. Kurzweil has a yet more radical Superscience solution : massively downsize human beings with genetic engineering and nanotechnologies, and millions of them can push their microscopic supermarket caddies through the eye of a needle, just like those dancing angels of long ago! Their downsized cars, invisible to the naked eye would be rather fuel efficient, and upmarket models could have an angel on each hub cap. Likewise, used in Superfinance, sovereign debts can be shrunk to dancing angel size, for example through creating new 'money type' instruments with 'high intrinsic value'.

Putting a sombre tone in their voice at well-paid conference venues, Prigogine and Jantsch explained that old-style and inefficient Nature has let Man down, for example by only providing Saudi Arabia with 170 billion barrels of oil and not the 260 billion it has on paper and in the financial press. Water is getting a little short in a lot of places, too. Deserts are growing at about 50 000 sq. kilometres-per-year, food production just isnt keeping up with population growth - but this is simply because we are not using deserts like we should. As he said, we have to understand the 'psychology' of deserts. Soon, the providential pop philosopher of Superfiance will tell us all about how we need to understand the pyschology of debt.

The same goes for climate, which is only changing because we dont understand it. Coming just a little before the Global Warming wave, Prigogine missed out on that gravy train for charlatan scientists and their corporate chums but was right on the money with 'climate engineering'. Like Stalin's scientists seeding the clouds with silver iodide crystals, Prigogine said that if we throw enough money at it we can change climate anyway we want, sideways backwards or whay you want: it is as easy as controlled nuclear fusion or saving Europe's commercial banks. There is nothing to worry about. Prigogine advocated ‘controlled use of atom bombs to divert cyclones’.

The Prigogine clan of French superscientists stressed that the Final Goal of Superscience had not changed since the early 1950s dreams of American exNazi space scientists : not just this solar system but the entire Universe has to and will be colonized. To Prigogine, this would be ‘rather easy’ due to exo-planets with ‘Earth-like characteristics' existing in what he called nearby solar systems. Just how ‘nearby’ can be judged from our nearest neighbour Alpha Centauri being only 4.2 light years away from us and getting there would take about 80 000 years travelling at 100 000 kilometers per hour. This of course was just a detail that Prigogine carefully excluded on his free lunch conference trips.

The Superscience Salvation Story which started in the early 1980s was obliged to include olde tyme Space Conquest, to be sure, but was right on the money with an appeal to New Age mysticism and the neo-religious revival. Heavily used by later charlatan Superscientists in their Global Warming money quest, especially the Blue Goddess of James 'Gaia' Lovelock reining over Earth but somehow unable to control the CO2, there were Ultimate Reasons for scrapping the biosphere, changing world climate and colonizing space.

This combination of whimsical New Age and pseudo scientific fantasy is likely critical and basic to selling Superfinance.

Jantsch, being a philosopher and self-styled visionary particularly played the theme of Man’s consciousness and intellect being already extraterrestrial and ‘spanning the Universe’. We already exist on Other Planets but we are not fully aware of this. The same applies to the Global Economy and the debts of the Old Rich countries: these debts are everywhere but the victims are not yet fully aware of it.

More important perhaps for cobbling up Superfinance, the Prigogine gang of Super charlatans peddled the line that despite the bad deal thrown at us by Old Nature, through its "inefficient evolution", Man’s special role in the Universe can only go on growing. Just like oil prices, we can go on growing our debt if we can find a way to export it outside the planet.

Very simply, God has decided. In fact, as Jantsch actually wrote a few times, Man is God, the convergence happened some time back, unlike energy fusion in non existent fusion reactors, so there are no conflicting centres of decision or differences of opinion. Continuing this lurid theme with a quick nod to Teilhard de Chardin and his Christian philosophy of the Noosphere, both Prigogine and Jantsch explained that Nature had let us down. Superfinance will tell us that not only Lehman Bros and MF Global have let us done, but the entire finance system, based on Old Economy hangovers and leftovers has let us down. We deserve better.

The pop philosopher of Superfinance can take one other page out of Prigogine's book. Without actually saying it is the Devil’s work, the Superscientists hammered home the message that Nature is old-style and inefficient: plants and animals do tacky things like go extinct on us when we cut down, burn over, and pave forests or pour dioxine on them by burning throwaway plastic bags the kindly supermarket generously gave us, to throw away and burn of course. This infringement of Consumer Sovereignty has got to stop, Jantsch and Prigogine thundered, and the biosphere has got to be scrapped.  God or Man, which in fact is the same thing, has willed this.

To date, showing very slow uptake, the Nicolas Sarkozy Spin Circus has not taken the Superscience offer, with an invention as French as crusty baguettes and Strauss Kahn frolics in the bathroom. Not too many people talk about “Superscience” with a straight face and they are already getting disrespectful about Merkel-Sarkozy Superfinance. This only proves that Superfinance marketing is defective, and needs a new and great Scientist and Philosopher duo, French of course, to keep the consumer herd's mind off the economy falling apart during the time needed to really destroy it.

Some low grade hopefuls are on-field for this, both in France and other countries, such as Jacques Attali, Strauss Kahn himself, Stiglitz, Roubini, Krugman and the Austrian School yogel economics yogis.

Radical science-type solutions are not yet on offer. Linking eugenics and information tech, consumers could be programmed and controlled with onboard, surgically implanted credit-debit chips, readable by supermarket scanners and of course at the coming Superfinance banking establishments. Already tried at the time of the ill-fated (for climate hysterics) Copenhagen summit of 2009, the new single world reserve currency called Carbon Money can simply be switched to Head Money: when your account is zero you are erased.

Debt no longer exists because credit is permanent and exponential, but to collect your credits you need to visit your nearby Alpha Centauri bank.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2011 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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