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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Kind of an aside - do you believe in the singularity concept? (The abstract indirectly reminded me of it)
    I am skeptical of it, but with most of these things, I don't consider it impossible, but we won't know till we try.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I think this is the way forward. Well, that's what we are doing, but replace terraforming with being able to mine increasingly hostile environments (artic, undersea). However, the logic behind squeezing resources now is relatively simple: it forces the change (ie: new resources/efficient use of resources) to come faster than would be economically viable. Examples? Stuff like taxing iron mining and subsidising iron recovery/recycling.

    I wasn't a popular camper when I said that I think that there should be an exponentially increasing tax on gas. We recently introduced a carbon tax here - I said that they should raise it by 2% every year (ie: 1.02*1.02). The money gets returned to the citizens in the province in direct rebates (ie: cheque). I think it's a good idea... not many agree

    Our infrastructure is built around our resource dependence and constraints will lead to a more robust infrastructure and reduces the odds on "doomsday" level events and reduce system shocks. Humans, as an organism are... well... organic. We'll adjust, as we did when we were faced with extinction (down to the thousands), assuming any survive. However, the position that we have is heavily dependent on the systems we have. To move forward, we need to exert some control over environment. Market failure within a country is one thing - world wide "market failure" is disaster.

    Perhaps I'm being greedy - but I think that there is a systemic bias in humans (time preference) that reduces the amount of research/advancement in the correct areas (and often encourages in the wrong areas) and that we don't computer externalities very well (ie: future garbage issues vs reclaiming old use).
    Our ability to model complex systems is still largely lacking. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to "cast a wide net" and find what works.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Expand on it. What do you enjoy doing? How many people have to support it? Even something cheap, like biking, would suddenly becomes extremely expensive. Building your home - thousands, tens of thousands, of man hours. What would happen? Less houses, more crowded conditions.

    The reduction in hours of work is similar to less efficient forms of labor - as in, lower technology. That's the issue. Even though technology enables all of us to do more, the balance point is very particular. If you do less, and others do less... you can do less and there is less. The maintenance of our economy is literally just below our actual output.

    But it would be meaningless! We'd be living without computers, medicine... heat, air conditioning. To maintain all infrastructure requires virtually everyone to be, as you say, trapped. You can easily become "free" with virtually no money. I worked it out to less than $15,000 here in BC - the approximate cost for a bunch of land on which you can farm, seed money, set up tools. You'd work long hard days, though... so what is the benefit?
    Yes, I see the problem here. But I am inclined to think that at least half of the work we do and the output of that work is excess, in other words waste of time and resources. This is because the system does not encourage "enough attitude". Do you honestly think that we really NEED everything that we have in this world? We could, if we wanted to, prioritize the services and drop the work hours to something like 40%, for sure. I don't know when they started to "make needs" for people, but it has been going on for a long time. This all needs to go.

  3. #53
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    I truly believe that decentralization of government would improve our situation.

    I've seen economic growth in action here where I've lived again for the last thirty years. Acres and acres of some of the most fertile farmland in the world, is being stripped of its loam to go into land fills. This is land which took millenia to become the rich, life-sustaining earth which grows corn and wheat and beans.

    What is placed upon this neutered land? Rows and rows of cheap ticky-tacky "low-income housing" at inflated prices. Big box stores which rob the locals from their multigenerational family businesses. The buildings all look sickeningly alike and unnatural. I worry for the soul death of people who live in concrete with no access to sunlight for eight hours a day, nine months out of the year. Drive to work in darkness, arrive home in darkness. Inhale unnatural air and handle unnatural materials all day. Disabling allergies are increasing in incidence.

    These buildings will be in tatters within twenty years and then what? Tear them down and build more. . .

    Meanwhile our little city and its leaders clamor for "growth." A new strip mall opens and within a year the old one, which was functioning just fine, thankyou, closes leaving more deserted buildings. And more unused farmland. Restaurants, grandious and expensive, open and close like dandelions. We have a whole modern ghosttown on the hill of our pretty little valley. I can buy the identical cheaply made goods in any number of stores in town. (We are on our sixth kitchen clock while the one my in-laws got on their wedding day in the Thirties still runs. And my grandmother's from the late eighteen hundreds does as well.)

    We have altered community standards to make room for the newcomers whom we encourage. They escape gratefully from the large cities and the world's troubled areas, grateful for our excellent social servces. And they bring their problems with them. We struggle to deal with situations which were unfamiliar to us. Gangs, drugs, extreme violence, unhealthy cultural practices. Our human resources are being taxed to the max here.


    What will the succeeding generations think when there is no longer viable land to grow food? Eat man-made food? What is wrong when moose and deer, wolves are coming into the city limits? What are they telling us?Alienation everywhere. Our balance is tipping.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  4. #54
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    Yes, I see the problem here. But I am inclined to think that at least half of the work we do and the output of that work is excess, in other words waste of time and resources. This is because the system does not encourage "enough attitude". Do you honestly think that we really NEED everything that we have in this world? We could, if we wanted to, prioritize the services and drop the work hours to something like 40%, for sure. I don't know when they started to "make needs" for people, but it has been going on for a long time. This all needs to go.
    If the economy only grows at a few percent, do you really think that we consume 60% of overall resources to grow that much? Probably not. I think what you are saying that we should reduce our consumption because we over-consume. That I can agree with, in general, but the impact of trying is to make it more difficult to live (ie: that 500 would need to be higher). There is no way to slice away consumption without generally raising prices/lowering wages.

    Having said that, it's not impossible. Europe and Scandinavia are examples of places that tend to have higher QOL across the board compared to the US. However, consumption is lower in Europe from what I understand. There is a knock on effect, however.

    I don't want to reduce consumption just "because". I want to push us to sustainability - the "fully included cost" of everything, which will reduce consumption by default. What I really want is to stop overconsuming now and pushing the 'debtload' to the future.

  5. #55
    sophiloist Kaizer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    I truly believe that decentralization of government would improve our situation.
    Anja & may I add true and the maximum possible fiscal decentralization as a key imperative in this regard... I know mildly over simplified ... still theres an iceberg under it.
    The answer must be in the attempt
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  6. #56
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    I for one cannot wait for the end of the petroleum-based economy. It will be much better for the world (economically and environmentally) in the long run. Still, we have a long time before that happens (more than my lifetime, I am sure). That is fine. It needs to make economic sense for people to come up with other ideas. The thing I really don't get is why we still burn so much damn coal to make electricity in the United States. It pollutes way more than cars do.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  7. #57
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    Anyone who says we're going to run out of resources is silly. The biggest resource is human ingenuity. And in terms of natural resources, I recommend you people start to go and read things at Popular Science . Trust me, it's a known issue that we can't keep on consuming fossil fuels. However, there are some inextinguishable resources. The sun. The ocean. The wind currents. And biological waste (human or otherwise). All of which will be utilized to create sustainable living.

    Plus, as our architecture gets better, we can use the same space for more.
    I am an ENTJ. I hate political correctness but love smart people ^_^

  8. #58
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    The thing I really don't get is why we still burn so much damn coal to make electricity in the United States. It pollutes way more than cars do.
    It's cheap and scales easily... (The same goes with gasoline and cars, actually)

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I think what you are saying that we should reduce our consumption because we over-consume. That I can agree with, in general, but the impact of trying is to make it more difficult to live (ie: that 500 would need to be higher). There is no way to slice away consumption without generally raising prices/lowering wages.

    I don't want to reduce consumption just "because". I want to push us to sustainability - the "fully included cost" of everything, which will reduce consumption by default. What I really want is to stop overconsuming now and pushing the 'debtload' to the future.
    If we went and reduced consumption from want basis to need basis, it would be huge for sustainability. It would probably mean that the market drops down to, I don't know, 1920s level, but would that be the end of the world? This would need to be a global decision, otherwise it wouldn't work.

  10. #60
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    If we went and reduced consumption from want basis to need basis, it would be huge for sustainability. It would probably mean that the market drops down to, I don't know, 1920s level, but would that be the end of the world? This would need to be a global decision, otherwise it wouldn't work.
    Need is tribal level, or less. How do you define need?

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