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A reduction in inequality is key to achieving any sustainability goals

How so, really?

Hierarchical or territorial inequality (particularly among males) is arguably how the nature addresses Malthusian pressures before they get out of hand. That sustainable inequality dynamics is perpetuated not just by male aggressiveness or looser discipline (as Dawkins wonders in the middle of "The Selfish Gene" while criticizing Wynne-Edwards), but by the no less remarkable female selective discipline as well.

The human socioeconomic hierarchy is just as harsh as any presumed Hobessian struggle in nature. And apart from the 20th century (or perhaps the whole industrial age), it has been similarly effective in controlling human population growth.

Empowering the female choice is a big part of the so-called demographic transition, but not quite in supposed egalitarian, ethically comfortable ways. For one thing, the family-or-career choice (or "balance") of women often becomes a comfortable occupation with nothing else happening. As I started my academic career in the always-early progressive Netherlands, I saw a few of those careers in their entirety. From their position, high-achieving women scarcely find men to admire (and then reciprocal attention). They would not realize in advance the dismal ratio of worthy heroes and creepy clowns from the high position. And secondly, magnification of socioeconomic inequalities (particularly regarding the creditor-debtor and rentier-tenant relations) by the unqualified female choice is hard to appreciate publicly for now.

Ultimately, the demographic decline will represent a mere correction to the post-industrial bounty. Humanity numbers will be "saved" by rich families with the traditional patriarchal structure, which tend to have just as many healthy children as ever. For the new generation of progressive female leaders and their rather powerless male allies, the message is: your best sexual experiences will probably come from lay pornography [Daily Kos link].

by das monde on Tue Jul 21st, 2020 at 09:24:51 AM EST
I don't dispute that social hierarchies have been key to containing population growth, particularly in the pre-industrial age. My argument is that there are many additional factors now. One key factor is women's equality and ability to choose career rather than family, availability of contraception, and the sheer cost of child rearing. Urbanisation, reducing male sperm counts and other social and environmental factors also play a role.

My argument about a reduction in inequality leading to increased sustainability was specifically in the context of the population carrying capacity of the planet. If rich countries continue to consume the vast majority of available wealth, that leaves much less for everyone else to share - resulting in a reduced overall carrying capacity. That in itself may reduce any further increase in population, but it also reduces the population the planet can sustain long term.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 22nd, 2020 at 11:15:34 AM EST
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