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Old 05-09-2008, 07:53 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Old 05-09-2008, 10:09 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Coal very much keeps the lights on for me. My local energy co-op owns a coal mine in WV. 99% coal fired power for me, not that I like it that way.

Nuclear is GREAT as long as you don't F*#K it up. Unfortunately the current government administration has quite a track record for F*#king things up. If someonecan that they can do it right I'll be behind they 100%
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:10 AM   #43 (permalink)
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I don't see this as being offtopic, but you don't have to respond.

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Originally Posted by Duffman View Post
The U.S. farmer has an abundance of capital in the form of tractors and combines while the Mexican has none and does everything by hand. The American farmer is obviously as productive as a couple hundred Mexican because of his machinery and will receive a higher wage because of it.
Who is going to be hurt more by increasing oil prices? The American sees productivity solely is terms of the stuff he can accumulate. The American sees his field of corn as a bundle of cash, not as a food source to feed millions of mouths. An American sees gas as $3.60 at "Gas'n'Go," not as the sustenance of our way of life.

After reading your posts and sitting through economics, I have a vague understanding of why the American ditch digger (yes, they exist) makes more then the African ditch digger. I'm just having a hard time understanding why the African puts up with it. The instant you enter the economic rat race is the instant the value of your life is put in material terms.

Hvatum suggests the world would be better off if technology can maintain our way of life and decrease our impact. I think the two are inversely related. Modern day life is only focused on improvement: going faster, making more stuff, cramming more into a day. Maintaining our way of life would eventually require an infinite amount of energy and matter to be available. Alongside infinite efficiency, that is impossible. If you need more stuff all the time, you can't decrease your impact.

What the world needs to understand is that the value of something isn't based solely in its productivity. Whether you are willing to admit it or not, we look down on New Guinea natives for the lifestyle that they've maintained for tens of thousands of years. Their lives are short, labor intensive, quite boring, and non-progressive: Grandson lives exactly like Grandpa.

But what is so bad about the New Guinean way of life? They have lived for tens of thousands of years! Scientists are predicting the deaths of millions to billions of people in the near future from global warming. Blindly following economics and supporting that decision through technology is only going to bring destruction. The big picture counts, not our flickers of life.

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Old 05-10-2008, 01:31 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Right now you are sitting (assuming on a chair in a house typing on a computer). I also assume you are getting some enjoyment out of it or you wouldnt be doing it? Point is somebody had to cut down some lumber to build the house, somebody had to drill the oil to make the plastic for your computer, somebody had to work in the rifinery to upgrade the oil. Somebody is working at a powerplant to provide the electricity to run your stuff. Some teacher had to provide 13+ years of education to you so you could read and write on this forum. The list goes on and on, but if all those people were not productive you could not be doing something as simple as typing on this forum. Additionally you need to be productive to afford the house, desk computer... Unless you want to live in a box under a bridge and eat garbage the world needs productivity, but again somebody had to manufacture the box the bridge and the garbage. The problem with Africa is nobody is doing anything so they dont have anything. Even the simplest things had to be produced by someone.

Productivity is not evil, I can use increased productivity for 2 things, either to have more stuff or to have the same amount of stuff and work less to get it.

Last edited by Duffman; 05-10-2008 at 01:39 AM..
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:42 AM   #45 (permalink)
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Is 13+ years of education, a stable job, refined oil, and a computer necessary for daily life?

I'm not saying I want to live in a box under a bridge, but I'm saying that most things aren't necessary. My grandfather got by his childhood just fine without a refrigerator, yet now it is a necessity. That's what modern life does, it keeps loading you up with things you think you need to live a successful life.

The problem isn't that the African ditch digger is dirt poor, it's that the world views him as dirt poor. Compared to the New Guinea native, you might as well call him sultan.

Feel free to call me a hypocrite for the way I live my life. That isn't lost on me. I just hope you realize that even hypocrites can speak the truth. Figuratively, I was born a "crack baby." Learning what is necessary for a happy life is one of the toughest issues I've ever faced. Like a junkie, coming clean isn't easy.

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Productivity is not evil, I can use increased productivity for 2 things, either to have more stuff or to have the same amount of stuff and work less to get it.
Productivity in itself is not evil. Using productivity as the sole metric to a meaningful life is. Give me a tree and I'll cut it down. Find me a deer and I'll kill it. Give me a mountain and I'll destroy it for ore. The only thing I ask is that you give me a meaningful purpose for doing so.

What I'm trying to get at is that conservation is not the answer. Forcing people to live a degraded life is not going to work. The key is to show people that happiness and meaning can be found outside of work and the bank account. People shouldn't conserve, they should readjust their priorities in life. Like with food, "diets" don't work. It takes a lifestyle change to make a difference.

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Last edited by LostCause; 05-10-2008 at 01:58 AM..
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:58 AM   #46 (permalink)
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My grandparents had an icebox, with a regular ice delivery, things are still the same the delivery is now different as it comes through a wall socket now. If you think you can get by without a refrigerator then unplug it and eat the food a week from now, it is more than just a luxory there are some health benefits to that appliance as well and in this day and age it is more of a necessity. I dont disagree with your assesment that more is pushed on us now but life is better as well.

Hundreds of North Americans dont dies every day becuase we cant afford mosquito nets to protect us from maleria.
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Old 05-10-2008, 02:10 AM   #47 (permalink)
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My grandfather did not have an icebox, he used a cellar. My great-great-great-great grandfather probably salted his meat. My great^23 grandfather probably killed his meal.

Life has definitely increased in comfort, but that is the crux of the whole issue. The problem is that it is all relative. Our lives only seem easy now because we can compare them to the past. In reality, we are slaving away compared to what we expect our children's lives to be like.

Just like comparing the value of your productivity to the Jones', comparing your quality of life against others' is a losing proposition. Happiness comes from somewhere deeper than the material abundance and comfort of our lives. Happiness comes from meaning, which can only be obtained by comparing the value of your life against yourself.

I think our views are well established in this thread and I want you to know that I appreciate your viewpoint. You did make me reconsider some of my thoughts and helped define how I feel, but like debating politics, I think we might be exhausting the usefulness of this debate. Great debate, though.

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Old 05-10-2008, 02:15 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:34 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duffman View Post
Right now you are sitting (assuming on a chair in a house typing on a computer). I also assume you are getting some enjoyment out of it or you wouldnt be doing it? Point is somebody had to cut down some lumber to build the house, somebody had to drill the oil to make the plastic for your computer, somebody had to work in the rifinery to upgrade the oil. Somebody is working at a powerplant to provide the electricity to run your stuff. Some teacher had to provide 13+ years of education to you so you could read and write on this forum. The list goes on and on, but if all those people were not productive you could not be doing something as simple as typing on this forum. Additionally you need to be productive to afford the house, desk computer... Unless you want to live in a box under a bridge and eat garbage the world needs productivity, but again somebody had to manufacture the box the bridge and the garbage. The problem with Africa is nobody is doing anything so they dont have anything. Even the simplest things had to be produced by someone.

Productivity is not evil, I can use increased productivity for 2 things, either to have more stuff or to have the same amount of stuff and work less to get it.
Agreed.

Lost cause, I agree with many of your points, but you're confusing moral imperative with economic imperative. However I don't agree that an African is merely focused on feeding people whereas the evil American farmer is just in it to make a profit.

Many African farmers grow coffee beans, Ethopia is one of the largest exporters of Coffee beans, but no one eats them. So they don't only grow food to eat it. Instead they grow coffee beans and then trade them for food and other goods, the same as many American farmers.

Also, I've never met anyone who digs ditches. The closest I've ever come was installing some sprinkler systems, but I used an electric ditch digging tool to do that, which allowed me to dig ditches twenty or thirty times faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostCause
Hvatum suggests the world would be better off if technology can maintain our way of life and decrease our impact. I think the two are inversely related. Modern day life is only focused on improvement: going faster, making more stuff, cramming more into a day. Maintaining our way of life would eventually require an infinite amount of energy and matter to be available. Alongside infinite efficiency, that is impossible. If you need more stuff all the time, you can't decrease your impact.
I call BS. First of all, we can't possibly consume an infinite amount of resources. Secondly, if all of our energy sources and an absolute minimal impact on the environment and we recycled almost all of our resources then we could consume many times what we do now and have a lesser impact.

Sure, if you want an infinite standard of living where each person eventually has an entire planet for themselves filled with robots that build gigantic pyramid monuments out of frozen Osmium, then yes, you're right. But again, you're confusing issues and putting words into my mouth by reaching that conclusion. France already has a lesser impact today on the environment than they did (per Capita) twenty years ago, so right there the facts on the ground prove my point. Sadly the Greenpeace hysterics and crony capitalists have stopped real progress on that front in America.

Honestly, if you really want to do what's "absolutely best" for the world, what are you doing posting on the internet or driving a car around? Why don't you just get a bicycle and grow organic food in the forest? (Ok, I know that's not really fair, but you see my point)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostCause
I think our views are well established in this thread and I want you to know that I appreciate your viewpoint. You did make me reconsider some of my thoughts and helped define how I feel, but like debating politics, I think we might be exhausting the usefulness of this debate. Great debate, though.
Agreed. I totally respect your viewpoint too, and I see where we disagree. I also enjoy debating, arguing is good fun.
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Last edited by hvatum; 05-10-2008 at 08:00 AM..
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:41 AM   #50 (permalink)
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We do need to conserve oil. However, it must be replaced with an energy that does not need to be conserved. The abundance of relatively inexpensive energy is one factor has enabled us to achieve scientific progress at unprecedented rates. We can't have future Einsteins spending their valuable time riding bikes to work or spending several hours a day in the garden to feed their families. We need them to be working on things that improve life for all of us.

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