This article from Wired magazine shows the weakness of American popular culture. It is good that the authors see potential problems from the population explosion, and try to come up with a way to feed the 9 billion humans expected to live by 2050, but this is a very shallow consideration. Certainly much thought and work should be applied to this issue, but do the authors think time and the population explosion will stop there? What do they expect to do when the population – enabled to have even more children by the plentiful food supply – continues to explode and reaches 10 billion, 11 billion, and then 12 billion? Continue reading
Tag Archives: economics
We humans are clearly overrunning the planet, but few understand or will face what is happening. As population hits an all-time peak later this century, life on the planet will get much tougher and there will be no simple answers to the problems that will arise or simply increase in severity. While it is hard to see ahead with any detail, past experience says there will never be a single crisis that challenges humanity like overpopulation does (barring an asteroid impact, a global volcanic surprise, or the sun doing something unexpected). This is because human nature drives us to want to live better and have more children. Can we successfully change ourselves to have less offspring and live more sustainably? Continue reading
There sure seem to be a lot of people trying to get rich quick these days, with many of them employing methods that are unethical, immoral, or downright criminal. Injustices abound, but those that involve making and keeping people poor are everywhere, and have become so blatant that some of them have even been written into the laws. So why are so many people trying to take advantage of others, and of a legal system increasingly rigged to increase the profits of billionaires and billionaire corporations, with an expectation that they can become rich? Continue reading
The news media report many problems and disasters, but they can miss much. Dr. Jeff Masters Wunderblog for October 13, 2015, brought to my attention a disaster worse than any others I’ve seen this year, in which smoke from forest clearing fires in Indonesia has covered an area thousands of miles across and is causing the premature deaths of thousands of people. This is made worse by a developing El Nino weather pattern that is increasingly keeping parts of the tropics much hotter and drier than usual. This is clearly a huge problem, but what interests me most is what it suggests about the next century as the population explosion “detonates”. The climate changes we’ve seen so far have been worrisome, but I’m more worried about what will happen as the planet warms, the population grows, and the weather changes still more. Continue reading
“We have met the enemy and he is us.” That famous quote I first read in Walt Kelly‘s great 20th century cartoon strip Pogo has stayed with me ever since. I have come to realize that, if we are to minimize the suffering from the convergence of the population explosion and the exhaustion of fossil fuels, it will require an effort such as my parents experienced in World War II, involving government-enforced rationing, “victory gardens” for every household, people working together and living together in poorer conditions than their forebears, and businesses forgoing profit until the “war” is over. This will not be easy to achieve, however, for reasons I will discuss. Continue reading
All my life, growing up in the capitalist United States economy, the success of the system has depended on growth. This is widely recognized, and growth is often invoked as a remedy for economic problems. “Growth ” has become a business (and, by extension, government) mantra – the panacea for all our ills. Unfortunately, this makes no sense at a very fundamental level. How big will we grow and how much resources will we devour reaching the point where population is completely unsustainable, and famine and disease roam the world killing millions? Can we stop worshipping growth now?
Programming computers is a skill that can be learned, and a lot can be learned about it with very little investment in hardware and software. That enables people from almost every society on earth, including dangerous psychopaths, to build programming skills and use computers as they choose. Civilization is so dependent on the internet here in 2015 that I expect we have passed the point where a major, multi-day failure of the internet wouldn’t be accompanied by at least some people starving. That puts a lot of power at the fingertips of internet users, but a great deal more in the hands of those who can write software. People never stop learning, and some of them, rogue programmers, are sociopaths with bad intent for the rest of us. So what bad deeds are they carrying out that we don’t know about yet? Can we know? Continue reading