[FoRK] Malthusian machinations

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Jun 11 13:57:25 PDT 2010

On Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 01:56:54PM -0500, Dave Kammeyer wrote:

> Malthus was wrong because children are a substitutable good.  Malthus

Malthus wasn't wrong, he just didn't include Liebig nor Haber-Bosch,
nor Borlaug into his models. Club of Rome did. 

In any case, you do not run on debt on the long run. Whether it's ecology,
or economy. As you continue to run into limits you have to leapfrog them
by just in time technology. Do not drop the ball, orelse.

I suggest we've been dropping the ball for a while. We do not have another
40 years.

> thought that overall, people would have as many children as they could
> support, but they don't.  People really want sex, and sex requires an

Are you aware that while subreplacement fertility is already prevalent
in much of the world there are subpopulations which are remarkably different?
This is less genetic than memetic, but the end result is exactly the same.

I think this stagnation business forecast doesn't factor these in.

> On the nuclear energy front, this BP clusterfuck brings into sharp
> focus again the problem with having profit motivated people with their
> hands on the levers of very dangerous machines with multiple safety
> systems.  Any time you have a company with typical compensation and
> promotion systems (i.e. good rewards for small-moderate successes),
> people will cut corners on mitigation of low probability, high-impact
> negative events.  We install safety systems which should improve
> things.  However, making the negative events lower probability makes
> companies more likely to take on more dangerous work and cut more
> corners.
> I'm quite pro-nuke, but this is the biggest problem with really
> widespread and advanced nuclear plants.  Not having a meltdown doesn't

The biggest problem is having preparative neutron sources everywhere.
You really, seriously do not want to go there. Unless you want to 
abolish cities.

> get you promoted like saving a million bucks on maintenance does.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
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