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Author Topic: Screw the economic growth paradigm  (Read 7236 times)
ender
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June 04, 2011, 10:41:44 AM
 #21

When normal people say "resources", they mean natural resources like timber, fresh water, oil and coal.  They don't mean produced goods like hamburgers, clothing and houses.

You are right. But how many normal normal people do you know that are complaining that they just cannot buy timber, fresh water, oil and coal for love nor money?

The myth that normal people have been sold by the green-socialist lobby is that these "natural resources" are becoming more scarce while the actual goods they need to survive, hamburger, clothes, housing, supposedly produced by these "dwindling resources" are in reality becoming more plentiful and cheaper .... happily for the green-socialist lobby normal people are happy to live with this paradox. It is called cognitive dissonance I think.

Resource scarcity is a convenient myth. Convenient for green-socialist lobby to scare people over to their envy and control driven cause and convenient for the inflationistas who can say "see, prices are going up because resources are dwindling" whilst they rape the monetary system.

Unless you have better explanation of how it is that produced goods that are needed by humanity are becoming more plentiful while "natural resources" are dwindling?

Perhaps your definition of what is a resource needs some refining?

Define resources correctly and go from there. Until that point the argument is ill-defined.

So you are saying that the notion that water is limited, that oil will deplete and that trees need time to grow is a MYTH?  Huh

The thing is the economy is not based on these factors, thats the reason why theres no correlation between natural resources and human production.
Its as simple as saying that the equation is missing variables, so we are getting counter-intuitive and false reasonings. It doesnt matter if theres a million forests or one tree left, the system we built on top will be making paper cheaper and cheaper (maybe not the price of the tree itself, but every other cost tends to drop). Until suddenly theres no more trees left.

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June 04, 2011, 01:52:08 PM
 #22

Resources ARE limited period, and REAL science tells us so, no matter what economists want to believe.
If you chop down a tree you have no tree left. You have to wait years for it to grow again, and yet this BASIC thing is not taken into account by our current economic system.


Man, you couldn't have picked a worse example to support your argument. Trees are a renewable resource, they are not "limited" (unlike perhaps oil or gold). In fact, the US has more trees today than it did 70 years ago. For every tree that is chopped down today, commercial lumber companies plant 1.x trees, leaving an increasing quantity at all times. Why do they do this? Because it's profitable.

Where are you getting your "REAL" science?
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June 04, 2011, 01:56:47 PM
 #23


So you are saying that the notion that water is limited, that oil will deplete and that trees need time to grow is a MYTH?  Huh


WATER?!?  That's an even worse example than trees. Water is the most plentiful resource on the surface of the planet, and can't even be used up! It doesn't go away, unless we shuttle it off the earth. While clean water is indeed limited to some extent, it's merely a question of "at what price can I obtain clean water." If the government allowed markets to work instead of fixing prices, then as clean water was used the local price of that water would rise, and entrepreneurs would figure out ways to bring new clean water in to make a profit. Desalinization is a great example... roughly 95% of the UAE's water is directly from the ocean. They're in the middle of a desert and have plenty of water.

Water, of all things, is perhaps the most unlimited resource we have. Price is the only factor that's important.
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June 04, 2011, 07:25:37 PM
 #24

You really need to start thinking globally.

It doesn't matter that USA has more trees because government pay incentives or whatever to replant. Thats local impact, and we all know the real impact of our "standard of living" is being payed by third world countries. I really doubt all timber USA consumes is produced exclusively in the USA. I really doubt you make more profit for replanting trees in the Amazonian because if this were true then we would have more rainforest and not less.
Trees are a renewable source as you call it and I described. So please point out to me in what place capitalism is taking into account this period of "renewability".

About water and as I can read from your post you do comprehend that even a thing as plentiful as clean water is limited, so you are strengthening my point, no matter how bad you think my example was.

Maybe my examples were not the best of the world, but that doesn't invalidate my argument. In the best case renewable sources "renew" at a fixed linear rate, yet we consume them in an exponential way. The worst cases are things like oil or coal, that have practically 0 growth, yet we consume them exponentially. You don't need a degree in MATHEMATICS to comprehend that exponential growth in a finite world leads to a failure in the system sooner or later. And i really hope this failure happens before we destroy the earth, so we resource based economy believers can take over and make this world a better place for ALL humans to live in.

As an example of science... "The carrying capacity of a biological species in an environment is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water and other necessities available in the environment" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrying_capacity
Please point out to me where in your "science" this carrying capacity is taken into account, if at all.

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June 04, 2011, 07:33:31 PM
 #25

While clean water is indeed limited to some extent, it's merely a question of "at what price can I obtain clean water." If the government allowed markets to work instead of fixing prices, then as clean water was used the local price of that water would rise, and entrepreneurs would figure out ways to bring new clean water in to make a profit.

If governments allowed markets to work instead of fixing prices, we would have a great percentage of our GLOBAL population that cannot pay for clean water DIE because of it. Oh wait, this is already happening. Your solution to this particular problem seems to me will make it worse.

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June 04, 2011, 07:47:51 PM
 #26

Renewable sources "renew" at a fixed linear rate, yet we consume them in an exponential way
I think that's a very interesting point.

Each individual consumes more and more resources, (because of ever increasing economic growth),
and there are more and more individuals (because... humans keep reproducing. Stop having kids, people. Please.).
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June 04, 2011, 08:15:21 PM
 #27

I think that there is a big difference between natural resources and total wealth. The main reason why the world's wealth is increasing in modern times is not because we're using up more and more resources but because of technology. Technology allows us to get more utility out of the same resources - a computer now is far more useful than a pot made five thousand years ago out of the same raw materials was then; a genetically engineered plant (including selective breeding) produces twenty times the usable food for twice the nutrients and the same amount of effort. While natural resource consumption will inevitably hit the latter half of its S-curve, technological progress will continue and accelerate without any currently visible limit.

Argumentum ad lunam: the fallacy that because Bitcoin's price is rising really fast the currency must be a speculative bubble and/or Ponzi scheme.
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June 04, 2011, 11:22:24 PM
 #28

I think that there is a big difference between natural resources and total wealth. The main reason why the world's wealth is increasing in modern times is not because we're using up more and more resources but because of technology. Technology allows us to get more utility out of the same resources - a computer now is far more useful than a pot made five thousand years ago out of the same raw materials was then; a genetically engineered plant (including selective breeding) produces twenty times the usable food for twice the nutrients and the same amount of effort. While natural resource consumption will inevitably hit the latter half of its S-curve, technological progress will continue and accelerate without any currently visible limit.

This. The only resource we can truly run out of, and be stuffed as a species, is minds for critical thinking.

We create the resources. Until it is desirable and valuable to humans it is an inanimate, worthless, object. When it has utility it becomes a resource. 300 years ago large, untapped oil, gas and uranium deposits were unknown to man and worth nothing. The prized resources from that same era likely have been substituted by better, cheaper, technically superior alternatives and are now worthless again.

Resource scarcity is the same old Malthusian myth that won't die, no matter how many times it is proved wrong. Like Keynesian monetary theories.

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June 05, 2011, 01:22:56 AM
 #29

I think that there is a big difference between natural resources and total wealth. The main reason why the world's wealth is increasing in modern times is not because we're using up more and more resources but because of technology. Technology allows us to get more utility out of the same resources - a computer now is far more useful than a pot made five thousand years ago out of the same raw materials was then; a genetically engineered plant (including selective breeding) produces twenty times the usable food for twice the nutrients and the same amount of effort. While natural resource consumption will inevitably hit the latter half of its S-curve, technological progress will continue and accelerate without any currently visible limit.

This. The only resource we can truly run out of, and be stuffed as a species, is minds for critical thinking.

We create the resources. Until it is desirable and valuable to humans it is an inanimate, worthless, object. When it has utility it becomes a resource. 300 years ago large, untapped oil, gas and uranium deposits were unknown to man and worth nothing. The prized resources from that same era likely have been substituted by better, cheaper, technically superior alternatives and are now worthless again.

Resource scarcity is the same old Malthusian myth that won't die, no matter how many times it is proved wrong. Like Keynesian monetary theories.

So we all agree that humans have reached this point of civlization because of science and technology. From fire to microwave ovens what really solves our problems at the end of the day is technology, not tribalism, feudalism, comunism, capitalism or any other thing. Thats why a RBE is based around science and technology, not money, profit or politics.

I couldn't care less about keynesians or the church, to me its all based around beliefs and faith, not scientific facts. Science has no ego, contrary to beliefs that think they posses the ultimate truth. Science has no room for opinion. You either prove that something is right or wrong or you stfu and play other games.

I dont think you have disproven my "myth" at all. Again, give me facts that scientifically prove that earth's resources renew following an exponential function or will in the future. Prove to me that exponentially consuming oil, for example, will not end with oil depletion.
Your myth, on the contrary, falls under its own weight and it should be evident. What you have is faith. And I know its difficult arguing with people that are not able to question their beliefs. "Its the truth and theres no room for opinion". Who is your leader?

Nature IS a dictatorship. And its the only dictatorship we cannot end no matter how smart we think we are.

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June 05, 2011, 03:48:45 AM
 #30


You still haven't defined exactly what you mean when you loosely refer to "resources" everywhere in your arguments, so they are based on sand. Not science.

I have already shown, and you haven't refuted, that the actual resources humanity desires is a temporal phenomena that changes with technological advance. It can change quite abruptly, look around at what is happening right here. Domestic scale fusion reactors may come on stream next year.

Are you saying that humanity is going to cease to advance technologically?

Is this what you mean by running out of resources?

As long as we are still leaving the planet in better shape for the next generation than we found it, there is no reason to think the place has become unihabitable for future generations because of "resource depletion". You are conflating pollution and resource extraction if that is what you are erroneously thinking.

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June 05, 2011, 12:45:54 PM
 #31

As long as we are still leaving the planet in better shape for the next generation than we found it
We are? Shocked

Considering the millions of hectares of forest lost each year, extinguishing species, overfishing, etc, I wouldn't say so.
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June 05, 2011, 01:14:23 PM
 #32

As long as we are still leaving the planet in better shape for the next generation than we found it
We are? Shocked

Considering the millions of hectares of forest lost each year, extinguishing species, overfishing, etc, I wouldn't say so.

No, see, you don't understand.  As long as we use all of those worthless resources to build needed things like SUVs and strip malls, then we're making the world a better place.

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June 05, 2011, 02:05:20 PM
 #33

As long as we are still leaving the planet in better shape for the next generation than we found it
We are? Shocked

Considering the millions of hectares of forest lost each year, extinguishing species, overfishing, etc, I wouldn't say so.

Destruction of forest, extinguishing species, overfishing is a result of the inability to own these resources, not resource scarcity.

In any case, if we ever figure out how to mine asteroid...a single asteroid will be more than all the building, electronics, roads, and all the other material things that's made out of lead, steel, silicon, gold, etc, combined. Gold will cease to be the storage of wealth.

Assuming our population don't grow like rabbits and our hunger for resources don't grow like rabbits, it might be the all things that we will ever need for building anything.

The next question is how do we get enough energy? Do we get it from nuclear power on earth or absorb energy from the sun?

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June 05, 2011, 02:37:10 PM
 #34


You still haven't defined exactly what you mean when you loosely refer to "resources" everywhere in your arguments, so they are based on sand. Not science.

I have already shown, and you haven't refuted, that the actual resources humanity desires is a temporal phenomena that changes with technological advance. It can change quite abruptly, look around at what is happening right here. Domestic scale fusion reactors may come on stream next year.

Are you saying that humanity is going to cease to advance technologically?

Is this what you mean by running out of resources?

As long as we are still leaving the planet in better shape for the next generation than we found it, there is no reason to think the place has become unihabitable for future generations because of "resource depletion". You are conflating pollution and resource extraction if that is what you are erroneously thinking.

This is getting pointless and has implications far greater than the topic of the post suggest.

"actual resources humanity desires is a temporal phenomena that changes with technological advance" Actual "superfluous" resources you mean. Silk and gold, now its Nike and Apple. Thats what this growth is all about.
Another piece of the puzzle, our best friend energy! Since we began producing energy with oil and coal we haven't changed that much. And that was a long time ago. Exponential consumption of a limited resource = fail. And technology does have alternatives but they are not profitable so the problem is unresolved. The paradigm even goes against technological advance.
Unquestionable human needs: food, water, shelter, love... they have not changed and will never change. Without them we DIE. Yet we don't provide food nor water nor shelter for each and every member of our species. Yet we built a society where crime, depression, obsession, stress, suicides... are growing decade after decade. Where our idea of love is getting a 300$ present at christmas.

Thats one valid distinction between resources. Needed for survival and others. We are not even granting the survival of three fucking fourths our species. And you are wrong. Pollution = destroying the earth = not having even the basic resources.

Humanity won't stop advancing technologically, and i dont mean that by resources. Thats what i think being human is about. But we could stall, it has happened before, and i think thats where were headed because of our unsustainable economic paradigm.
Egypt was building pyramids 2000 a.c. and that level of technology was lost for millennia. Look at the middle-ages. Read about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism "Its time of construction is now estimated between 150 and 100 BC.[4] The degree of mechanical sophistication is comparable to a 19th century Swiss clock."

Open your scope. Open your mind. Really. Watch the film i posted before. If you can make your mind around the fact that our way of thinking depends on education and culture you can skip directly to Chapter II at 00:42 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w#t=42m10s
Chapter III is a proposed solution to our problems.


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June 05, 2011, 02:47:58 PM
 #35

As long as we are still leaving the planet in better shape for the next generation than we found it
We are? Shocked

Considering the millions of hectares of forest lost each year, extinguishing species, overfishing, etc, I wouldn't say so.

Destruction of forest, extinguishing species, overfishing is a result of the inability to own these resources, not resource scarcity.

In any case, if we ever figure out how to mine asteroid...a single asteroid will be more than all the building, electronics, roads, and all the other material things that's made out of lead, steel, silicon, gold, etc, combined. Gold will cease to be the storage of wealth.

Assuming our population don't grow like rabbits and our hunger for resources don't grow like rabbits, it might be the all things that we will ever need for building anything.

The next question is how do we get enough energy? Do we get it from nuclear power on earth or absorb energy from the sun?

Not inability to own resources. Its the system that demands profit while theres no profit in preserving the earth.

Our population grows like rabbits. Our hunger for resources grow like rabbits but not directly because of what would be expected: population, but because 1/4 of the world needs more and more and more.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World-Population-1800-2100.png

About the asteroid. We don't even go to the fucking moon anymore because now its not a penis race and its not profitable. And your alarm clock could now be reprogrammed to guide us there.

About the energy, take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale
There are three stages of civilization and we are not even in stage 1... the direction is clear.

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June 05, 2011, 03:24:17 PM
 #36


Not inability to own resources. Its the system that demands profit while theres no profit in preserving the earth.

Nobody figures out how to own school fishes, so everyone compete for the remaining fishes. It's a tradegy of the commons situation.

Quote
Our population grows like rabbits. Our hunger for resources grow like rabbits but not directly because of what would be expected: population, but because 1/4 of the world needs more and more and more.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World-Population-1800-2100.png

It is a transportation problem, not a resource allocation problem. Not enough infrastructure, no market institutions, no speculators, etc.

Quote
About the asteroid. We don't even go to the fucking moon anymore because now its not a penis race and its not profitable. And your alarm clock could now be reprogrammed to guide us there.
* kiba points to SpaceX.

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June 05, 2011, 03:31:01 PM
 #37


You still haven't defined exactly what you mean when you loosely refer to "resources" everywhere in your arguments, so they are based on sand. Not science.

I have already shown, and you haven't refuted, that the actual resources humanity desires is a temporal phenomena that changes with technological advance. It can change quite abruptly, look around at what is happening right here. Domestic scale fusion reactors may come on stream next year.

Are you saying that humanity is going to cease to advance technologically?

Is this what you mean by running out of resources?

As long as we are still leaving the planet in better shape for the next generation than we found it, there is no reason to think the place has become unihabitable for future generations because of "resource depletion". You are conflating pollution and resource extraction if that is what you are erroneously thinking.

This is getting pointless and has implications far greater than the topic of the post suggest.

"actual resources humanity desires is a temporal phenomena that changes with technological advance" Actual "superfluous" resources you mean. Silk and gold, now its Nike and Apple. Thats what this growth is all about.
Another piece of the puzzle, our best friend energy! Since we began producing energy with oil and coal we haven't changed that much. And that was a long time ago. Exponential consumption of a limited resource = fail. And technology does have alternatives but they are not profitable so the problem is unresolved. The paradigm even goes against technological advance.
Unquestionable human needs: food, water, shelter, love... they have not changed and will never change. Without them we DIE. Yet we don't provide food nor water nor shelter for each and every member of our species. Yet we built a society where crime, depression, obsession, stress, suicides... are growing decade after decade. Where our idea of love is getting a 300$ present at christmas.

Thats one valid distinction between resources. Needed for survival and others. We are not even granting the survival of three fucking fourths our species. And you are wrong. Pollution = destroying the earth = not having even the basic resources.

Humanity won't stop advancing technologically, and i dont mean that by resources. Thats what i think being human is about. But we could stall, it has happened before, and i think thats where were headed because of our unsustainable economic paradigm.
Egypt was building pyramids 2000 a.c. and that level of technology was lost for millennia. Look at the middle-ages. Read about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism "Its time of construction is now estimated between 150 and 100 BC.[4] The degree of mechanical sophistication is comparable to a 19th century Swiss clock."

Open your scope. Open your mind. Really. Watch the film i posted before. If you can make your mind around the fact that our way of thinking depends on education and culture you can skip directly to Chapter II at 00:42 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w#t=42m10s
Chapter III is a proposed solution to our problems.



Well this is just a huge emotive rant that is not going solve anything, let alone define the problem more succinctly.

Have you defined what a resource is yet? I don't think I've seen the answer to this in your writings thus far, yet you use the term everywhere.

You seem to keep sliding around that point and back into the doom and gloom is nigh stuff.

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June 05, 2011, 03:58:37 PM
 #38


You still haven't defined exactly what you mean when you loosely refer to "resources" everywhere in your arguments, so they are based on sand. Not science.

I have already shown, and you haven't refuted, that the actual resources humanity desires is a temporal phenomena that changes with technological advance. It can change quite abruptly, look around at what is happening right here. Domestic scale fusion reactors may come on stream next year.

Are you saying that humanity is going to cease to advance technologically?

Is this what you mean by running out of resources?

As long as we are still leaving the planet in better shape for the next generation than we found it, there is no reason to think the place has become unihabitable for future generations because of "resource depletion". You are conflating pollution and resource extraction if that is what you are erroneously thinking.

This is getting pointless and has implications far greater than the topic of the post suggest.

"actual resources humanity desires is a temporal phenomena that changes with technological advance" Actual "superfluous" resources you mean. Silk and gold, now its Nike and Apple. Thats what this growth is all about.
Another piece of the puzzle, our best friend energy! Since we began producing energy with oil and coal we haven't changed that much. And that was a long time ago. Exponential consumption of a limited resource = fail. And technology does have alternatives but they are not profitable so the problem is unresolved. The paradigm even goes against technological advance.
Unquestionable human needs: food, water, shelter, love... they have not changed and will never change. Without them we DIE. Yet we don't provide food nor water nor shelter for each and every member of our species. Yet we built a society where crime, depression, obsession, stress, suicides... are growing decade after decade. Where our idea of love is getting a 300$ present at christmas.

Thats one valid distinction between resources. Needed for survival and others. We are not even granting the survival of three fucking fourths our species. And you are wrong. Pollution = destroying the earth = not having even the basic resources.

Humanity won't stop advancing technologically, and i dont mean that by resources. Thats what i think being human is about. But we could stall, it has happened before, and i think thats where were headed because of our unsustainable economic paradigm.
Egypt was building pyramids 2000 a.c. and that level of technology was lost for millennia. Look at the middle-ages. Read about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism "Its time of construction is now estimated between 150 and 100 BC.[4] The degree of mechanical sophistication is comparable to a 19th century Swiss clock."

Open your scope. Open your mind. Really. Watch the film i posted before. If you can make your mind around the fact that our way of thinking depends on education and culture you can skip directly to Chapter II at 00:42 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w#t=42m10s
Chapter III is a proposed solution to our problems.



Well this is just a huge emotive rant that is not going solve anything, let alone define the problem more succinctly.

Have you defined what a resource is yet? I don't think I've seen the answer to this in your writings thus far, yet you use the term everywhere.

You seem to keep sliding around that point and back into the doom and gloom is nigh stuff.

If you dont know what a word means theres a thing called dictionaries. But i know you know what i mean and that you are deliberately playing dumb in desperate hope my reasoning can be rejected.

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June 05, 2011, 08:19:04 PM
 #39

The next question is how do we get enough energy?

Well, according to mother_of_another's argument, something will be invented (http://prometheusfusionperfection.com), or something we already have (solar) improved enough, before the resources we currently use for energy production will be depleted. (if we continue in this manner without new/better technology, these natural resources will be used up at some point, according to ender's argument)

Now just because in the past it has been the case that we always shifted our technology in time, this doesn't, in my mind, allow us to stand by and just assume this will be the case in the future.

If we fail this and humans are extinct, the question of wether or not we left a "better" planet, is not one we can answer, because life after us might have a wholly different set of values and judge that diffently. But that's not the point.

I'm not really sure any more about my original point, but I'm still of the opinion that we as western citizens should reduce exploiting both nature and other people in order to protect our outrageous wealth and become even more obese and unhappy.

I have a feeling (for wholly unscientific reasons), that bitcoin might play a role in this process.

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June 05, 2011, 08:36:08 PM
 #40

On a positive note, a solar power plant that works 24h a day is going to be built in Nevada. (It stores energy as heat, by using molten salt. That's why it also works during the night).
http://blogs.forbes.com/toddwoody/2011/05/19/obama-administration-grants-737-million-for-a-247-solar-power-plant/
We'll see how it turns out.

So, yes, technological progress and innovation are good.
Wasting resources, however, should be avoided.

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