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If the world population grows, then 'production' must grow too. However, there is a difference in growth built on the finance/corporate game, and 'sustainable growth'.

Sustainable growth does not mean a return to agrarianism imo. But it does mean an end to the production of consumer crap and a complete rethink of how we generate (and waste) energy. We also need to examine the complete life cycle costs of everything we produce or provide services for.

As I note in a recent comment, technological innovation as a solution, requires state intervention to coordinate many different disciplines. Only government can provide this coordination, and also the social responsibility context - not only nationally, but globally.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Apr 14th, 2010 at 04:35:06 PM EST
Sven Triloqvist: Sustainable growth does not mean a return to agrarianism imo. But it does mean an end to the production of consumer crap and a complete rethink of how we generate (and waste) energy.

Georgescu-Roegen would agree with you about the consumer crap:

Fifth, we must cure ourselves of the morbid craving for extravagant gadgetry, splendidly illustrated by such a contradictory item as the golf cart, and for such mammoth splendors as two-garage cars.  Once we do so, manufacturers will have to stop manufacturing such "commodities."

Sixth, we must also get rid of fashion, of "that disease of the human mind," as Abbot Fernando Galliani characterized it in his celebrated Della moneta (1750). It is indeed a disease of the mind to throw away a coat or a piece of furniture while it can still perform its specific service. To get a "new" car every year and to refashion the house every other is a bioeconomic crime. Other writers have already proposed that goods be manufactured in such a way as to be more durable [e.g. Hibbard, Walter R., Jr., "Mineral Resources: Challenge or Threat?" Science, 12 April 1968, 143-145., 146]. But it is even more important that consumers should reeducate themselves to despise fashion. Manufacturers will then have to focus on durability.

Not quite sure about the return to agrarianism:

Third, mankind should gradually lower its population to a level that could be adequately fed only by organic agriculture.66  Naturally, the nations now experiencing a very high demographic growth will have to strive hard for the most rapid possible results in that direction.

66To avoid any misinterpretation, I should add that the present fad for organic foods has nothing to do with this proposal, which is based only on the reasons expounded in Section X.



The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Wed Apr 14th, 2010 at 05:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i think some people will be too busy doing other things to farm, but i think farming will be everywhere, and revalued for the essential activity it is, rather than the present systemised fossil-fueled folly.

it is an uncontestable fact that the closer we are to out food supply, the better our health, and the more we respect the process that ensures our lives.

right now we have farmers subsidised to grow tobacco 4 times as much as to grow corn or sunflowers round where i live. this is more folly.

i think 50 years from now, cities will be cleaner, and roof, terrace and vertical gardens will be everywhere.

people will eat much less unseasonal food, and will become wise again in the arts of food preservation, as our great grandparents were.

the present levels of waste in supermarkets will be looked back on as a dark age in ignorance, (along with many other worst practices).

European Tribune - LQD: Too big to succeed

 It no longer seems comfortably far off to me personally, dunno how the rest of y'all are feeling.

it hasn't felt comfortably far off since 1975, a split second in earth time, but 35 years of sensing the whole western consensus reality was cantilevered way too far out on rotten moral beams has made me more phlegmatic as to how long wile.e.coyote's legs can keep spinning before the swift plummet down.

humanity should have spazzed off the ledge long ago, but here we are, still teetering, still looking up...

the flash i got this time reading this dreary death warrant was: what if once we really have realised the value to what cannot be created, but so easily destroyed, the new social positioning markers will consist of intellectual property, rather than bling.

if that were to happen, we may look back on these years at ET as some of the soundest investments we ever could have made.

if the internet survives, we can de-parochialise rural life, and democratise knowledge, removing the stigma of ignorance and backwardness traditionally benighting those whose geography was removed from the loci of centralised cultural events and ideas.

first we need to decentralise the energy supplies, and remove electric bills from households, freeing up much money that way.

then we need to do the same thing nationally, and keep at it till the whole world is networked for power and knowledge.

for knowledge is power, and ignorance slavery.  

digitised campesinos...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Apr 14th, 2010 at 06:55:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Couldn't agree more, especially:

melo: if the internet survives, we can de-parochialise rural life, and democratise knowledge, removing the stigma of ignorance and backwardness traditionally benighting those whose geography was removed from the loci of centralised cultural events and ideas.

first we need to decentralise the energy supplies, and remove electric bills from households, freeing up much money that way.

As Migeru once put it about a different but related prospect:

One can always hope...


The point is not to be right, but to get to right.
by marco on Thu Apr 15th, 2010 at 01:06:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... given increase in population is, in part, a matter of distribution of resources and efficiency in utilizing them.

Indefinite, continuous population growth is only possible the old fashioned way ... by spreading out. Since the surface of the earth was sufficiently occupied 5,000 or so years ago to force people to descend into civilization in response to increased population density, spreading out at this point means moving out ...

... so here on earth, we do indeed to halt population growth.

However, according to the rough guide at the global footprint network, the resources consumed by one American can keep two Japanese, five Chinese, and six Burkinabe going. So the ecological footprint per person is not a static and fixed constant value.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Apr 17th, 2010 at 02:31:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How can we compare the quantitative value of the various lifestyles?  The american would quip that not only would they not like to live like burkinabe, but that the burkinabe would rather live like them.  Whether this is actually true or not, let's suppose it is, isn't that then saying that the american lifestyle is fundamentally superior to the burkinabe lifestyle and hence a morally directed goal for all humanity to reach?
by njh on Sat Apr 17th, 2010 at 08:17:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, if morality is measured by desire.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!
by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sat Apr 17th, 2010 at 09:00:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its simply an observation of fact that the desire for increase material consumption can be cultivated among a population, but it also seems to be entirely beside the point.

For the conclusion that a given population implies a given level of resource consumption, you have to assume that the other two factors of I=PAT are held constant - the consumption per capita and the technological impact per unit of consumption.

However, assuming those to be constant is silly - for all of the living memory of each of us, the A and the T have been subject to constant and ongoing change, and so to assume them constant is to assume the one thing we have never observed them to be.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Apr 17th, 2010 at 09:58:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But impact per unit can be constant at a given time (everywhere may be able to use the same ideas) so comparing sideways is not unreasonable.
by njh on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 12:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Technology is not disembodied ideas alone, its ideas as implemented by social rules of behavior and available tools and skills.

So you still must respect that talking about population growth without talking about resource distribution is only ever a first cut analysis.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Apr 18th, 2010 at 01:19:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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