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Old 02-20-2012, 10:36 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I see no reason why mankind will be any different than any of the other collections of carbon-based life on the planet. Yes, we have the capacity for reasoned thought, but we don't use it on the international scale. We will consume, exceed the carrying capacity of the planet, then reach a point of relative homeostasis after some tough times. The only variable is how much human ingenuity can make the tough times less tough/long.

Developing countries like China have a much better chance of leading the charge than developed countries because their leaders don't have to deal with "accustomed to." Americans have gotten pretty petty and divisive lately largely because we have reached the point that steady growth is expected, and any shortfalls in prosperity lead to finger pointing. In China, quality of life still has plenty of room to improve without reaching the point of conspicuous consumption.

Two issues I have with above arguments and the blog are a limit on population growth and with longer terms for politicians. Pushing for limits on childbirth is asinine and unnecessary. Population growth goes down as citizens' dependence on its children in old age goes down. The US would already be in negative population growth if not for immigrants. And longer term limits; really? Are the congressmen in the Senate any better than those in the House of Representatives? I would argue they are worse because the stakes are bigger for attaining that position, leading to greater corruption. Instead I suggest one term. That's it. Next contestant.

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Old 02-20-2012, 11:16 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I think a lot of you are making many assumptions about China, and to my knowledge, they are wrong. China doesn't have a middle class per se. They have rich, and they have poor, and they don't have much in between. What we from the outside see as a middle class is actually their rich/wealthy class (I'm not talking about the mega wealth, because they have their Buffet, Walton, etc. equivalents)... it just happens that with three times the population of the U.S., their rich are about as numerous as our middle class. They have a huge sense of entitlement, they want the best they can buy, they want to consume at the same rate as Americans, and they have the capital to do so (with hundreds of slave laborers for ever one of them, they certainly should).

I dated a girl from China who was very clear about this: Chinese people come to America because the education is cheap and their money goes further. She was here living a modest lifestyle: just bought a new car, renting an apartment in a very good neighborhood, out to eat and parting every night, etc. Based on her salary here (~$40,000-$50,000/year), she couldn't afford that same lifestyle in China. Furthermore, she couldn't even afford to live in the city at all, even if she were living an actual, modest lifestyle.

Make no mistake. The people in China who are consuming aren't the working class. It's the people making five-USD-digits a month or more, and they feel VERY entitled.
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:16 PM   #23 (permalink)
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New car and partying every night is modest?
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:26 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Should have put that in quotes... guess my sarcasm didn't scream loud enough.
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:57 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Ecky -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecky View Post
I like his sense of humor.

We apparently all need parents. ^^


EDIT: One bit that stuck with me was his statement about capitalism and democracy.
My Dad came to the same conclusion in the last year on his own. Democracies by their nature go into debt. You can't get elected promising less than your opponent.

I don't look at nations as "mature" adults. I see them more as 10-year-olds. When you take that POV it makes much more sense.

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Old 02-20-2012, 01:13 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Very interesting and thought-provoking article. Being a closet nihilist myself, I liked this comment...

"So I don’t know how this impasse gets resolved. Growth must one day cease, but human nature seems to be stacked in opposition to this prospect. Maybe it means we’re incapable of establishing a steady state, and are instead fated to boom/bust cycles on a global scale. And that doesn’t taste very nice, does it, precious?"
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:51 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/...de-adjustment/
I found the discussion that followed most intriguing and enlightening as well- might have to bookmark it or set aside quite a bit of time to soak it all in.
I like Tom Murphy's blogs. I don't always agree on all the details, but enjoy his well-reasoned approach. Thanks for bringing attention to this one.

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