[FoRK] "What did the president know and when did he know it?"

Stephen D. Williams sdw
Thu Jul 7 13:28:40 PDT 2005

Ian Andrew Bell (FoRK) wrote:

> On 6-Jul-05, at 5:32 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> So, what are all of those finite resources that America is wasting to 
>> the definite detriment of all future generations?
>> Do you think we're going to run out of water?  Air?  Helium?  What?
> Yes.  Add to that list oil, protein, vegetation... read up on 
> Babylon.  You know all that sandy desertified footage of Iraq?  Do you 
> think that was what it looked like when the Tigris-Euphrates valley 
> was the birthplace of civilization?  We thrived in the garden of Eden 
> all right, just up until the point we exhausted its resources and 
> turned the garden into a lifeless tundra.

All temporary and reversable.  To some extent, when one area becomes too 
hot another shifts into the temperate zone, but that's going to happen 
by itself due to land mass movement, weather patterns, etc.

The soil still exists.  The resources you are talking about are all 
reproducible if we really wanted to control water flow, etc.  Western 
civilizations can produce all of the protein and vegetation we want with 
zero dependency on the outside world.  Nothing was permanently lost; 
you're talking about temporary state.

>> In your answer, please explain how it is impossible for the human 
>> race to recover from the gross misuse of the planet thus far.
> Oh we'll recover all right, just after about 6 billion of us starve 
> ourselves back to the stone age, taking with us hundreds of thousands 
> of unique species of flora and fauna.  If you think 10 Billion, or 
> even 4 Billion,

People have been predicting starvation for most of the world since at 
least the 60's.  It hasn't happened, at all.  The only starvation is in 
non-Western countries where regimes are siphoning off resources and 
screwing with farming, stability, etc.  Every sink-side prediction of 
doom is matched by orderly and uneventful increase in production 
efficiency.  Farms are not ever used to capacity; prices have been too 
low for farm production in the US since I was a toddler.

> people can maintain the same standard of living as you do for any 
> length of time you're a fool.  Your success is supported by the 
> suffering of others.

That's rediculous.  With enough capital investment, the landmass of the 
US could probably support about 2 billion.  Look down at the 90%+ of the 
US that is almost completely unused.  With enough energy (nuclear, 
hydrogen, wind, solar fully deployed) all other problems disappear: 
water, manufacturing, farm factories, transportation, etc.  It is 
completely possible and in our future.  The only issue is the transition 
path when we Don't have to do it yet.  When it becomes a necessity, 
solutions will be found.

You imply that suffering is required somewhere for my standard of 
living.  What are you talking about?  Where?  Suffering for what?  Is 
this some kind of guilt relationship where suffering is an automatic 
responsibility of the non-suffering?  (While I believe that those not 
suffering have the responsibility to make reasonable efforts to stop 
suffering, it certainly isn't cause and effect most of the time.)

Do you mean that the unbelievably cheap goods that I buy at WalMart, 
imported from China, are the benefit of "suffering"?  To the extent that 
that is true, it may be temporary and need to be addressed.  Is it 
possible that those are transition labor/cost ratios that are the buy-in 
to a modern economy?  Possibly.  Is it likely that a human that can 
accomplish that work now could be replaced by automation soon?  Definitely.

> -Ian.

Your arguments seem to be based on a static technology world, which 
isn't the one we live in.  Technology capability is exploding in many 
ways, allowing many problems to be solved.


swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw

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