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Sustainability doesn't exist

Sustainability doesn't exist
April 12, 2012, 08:35:33 PM
World peace can't be done. It just can't exist.

Our dream is that the poor of the world can improve their standard of living toward first-world norms. The U.S. uses about 25% of the world’s annual energy resource (which I will use as a proxy for standard of living) while harboring about 5% of the population. Thus the average U.S. citizen uses energy at five times the rate of the average global citizen. For everyone to get where we are today in the U.S. would require a five-fold increase in the total energy expenditure of the planet. Make that 7-fold allowing the population to swell to 10 billion. And even that requires a freeze in growth at the top end (the U.S.). Since that’s not about to happen—at least not voluntarily—we should call it a ten-fold increase for everyone to get what they want.

If we are not sustainable today, how could we possibly achieve sustainability under the burden of a ten-fold increase in scale?


7 billion people brought up to American lower middle class lifestyles would be an environmental holocaust.

Then they all have kids, and we're at 9 billion.

Re: Sustainability doesn't exist
April 12, 2012, 08:48:37 PM
As long as progress is conflated with "growth" (defined narrowly as more people, more technology and more stuff), nothing will happen.

How do you convince people that going backwards is not actually going backwards, then?

Re: Sustainability doesn't exist
April 12, 2012, 09:20:56 PM
You allow various society-types to locally diversify instead of setting modernity as The Standard. That would require purging the international do-gooders and neo-imperialists alike. Maybe we could conscript our liberals for an airborne assault of the Far East.

Re: Sustainability doesn't exist
April 13, 2012, 06:04:32 AM
If we just stopped saving people from themselves, a lot of this might iron itself out. The problem is that when you take the EBT cards away, they're going to riot and you have to be ready to hide the TV cameras and shoot some underclassers.

Re: Sustainability doesn't exist
April 13, 2012, 06:34:03 AM
US EBT card users are still only like 2% of the world population.

China and India want to live like us. That's 35% of the world population.

Then there's the 15% (1 billion) in Africa that America could stop subsidizing.