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If we talk about poverty in terms of economic wealth, the only real obstacle to this is resource availability. Unfortunately it's also a very real problem. With our current consumption pattern we are already extracting resources from our planet and destroying resources through the effect of our consumption to an extent that is greater than our planet can support on the long and maybe even medium term.

If we want a more just distribution of wealth across the globe, this means that we either need to become much more efficient through enhanced efficiency in production and a shift in the pattern of consumption ('factor 4' and 'factor 10' approaches), or that we settle for a level of economic wealth of at least 4 times less than we have in the US, Japan and rich Western European states.

Any other approach will lead to a collapse as we will have destroyed the base of the economic system. Pace speculation about a singularity, I don't think that the pace of technological innovation is enough to allow the base to significantly expand beyond the earth before this collapse happens.

The other problems can all be overcome without decreasing our material wealth. The principle that high end employs less people only really holds in manufacturing plus the related logistics and we need to shift from product consumption to service consumption at any rate.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Feb 7th, 2007 at 08:01:36 AM EST

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