Opinion

The Great Debate

First chapter for ending extreme poverty

By John Podesta
May 30, 2013

Children queue for free porridge at a local government feeding program in Tondo, Manila, Oct. 29, 2011. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

President Barack Obama believes it. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia believes it. I believe it, too: By 2030, we can eradicate extreme poverty.

This is not a hollow platitude. The generations living today are the first in human history that could eliminate extreme deprivation and hunger. It is critical that all nations strive to meet this goal. Not only for our own security, though we know that a more prosperous world is more stable, but because ending extreme poverty is the right thing to do.

Since 2000, international development has been shaped by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), an ambitious agenda of measurable targets that the world’s nations committed themselves to strive to achieve. In no small part because of this agenda, the past 13 years have seen more than half a billion people work their way out of extreme poverty.

The target date for these goals is Dec. 31, 2015. That is why, last summer, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed 27 leaders from around the world — including me — to a high-level panel charged with formulating an agenda for global development beyond 2015.

Our report is set to be released Thursday. It is the result of passionate and informed discussion among panel members in meetings across the globe. It grew out of hundreds of conversations with civil society leaders, activists, women, young people, people with disabilities, businesses and development professionals. It respects what the MDGs have been able to achieve and demonstrates clear-headedness about where the Millennium agenda has fallen short.

Our post-2015 agenda first strives to build on the accomplishments of the Millennium agenda by finishing what was started: We seek a world in 2030 where no person must survive on less than $1.25 per day, and where no one goes hungry.

To make these gains permanent, we must address the root causes of poverty and better connect the very poor to the economic, social and political lives of their countries. This means taking straightforward steps — like ensuring that every person has a valid and recognized legal identity.

Eradicating extreme poverty will also require more difficult measures, such as achieving broad, sustainable economic growth that sees more women, young people and people with disabilities in formal employment around the globe. It will require us to ensure that all have access to education, healthcare, sanitation and physical and energy infrastructure. With this, the poorest of the poor and those on the cusp have the tools and resources they need to stay out of extreme poverty.

We know, too, that any progress can be easily offset by environmental degradation and climate change. So the post-2015 agenda must move beyond the framework of the MDGs by fully integrating sustainability into the development agenda. All countries — including the United States — must engage in responsible stewardship of their natural resources, alter their consumption habits and increase use of renewable energy sources.

By 2030, we can expect a world that is even more interconnected than the one we live in today. But the post-2015 agenda gives us an opportunity to harness the forces of globalization for good.

That means we need a commitment from individuals, governments, philanthropic organizations, the private sector and the development community to forge a new broad, ambitious global partnership, to be more transparent in their actions and practices and to hold one another accountable for the new development agenda.

Our report is just the first chapter, not the final word, in setting priorities for post-2015 development. But the vision it lays out is one in which, by 2030, we can save more than 1 billion women and girls from being killed or harmed violently. It can ensure that as many as 6.9 million children under age 5, who would otherwise die each year, can live and prosper. Our vision is one in which 1.2 billion more people will have electricity, and at least a third of that power will come from renewable sources.

These numbers are huge because they are commensurate with global ambition and with the hopes of people around the world – especially young people. They reflect the scale of the challenges we face — but also the incredible scope of what we can achieve by working together.

The United Nations members plan to begin debating the post-2015 agenda at the General Assembly in September. This dialogue will continue for many months.

But if the experience of our high-level panel is any guide, the global conversation will be passionate, respectful and, above all, optimistic about the future we can build for – and with – one another.

 

PHOTO (Insert A): U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a meeting in Sochi, May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool

PHOTO (Insert B): A child looks on from a house at La Chureca, Managua’s municipal garbage dump, which is located near Lake Managua, June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

 

 

Comments
45 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

The ONLY way to end extreme poverty is through a reduction in our species to sustainable levels, AND END THE UNSUSTAINABLE SPLIT BETWEEN THE WEALTHY ELITE AND THE POOR by whatever means is necessary.

Posted by EconCassandra | Report as abusive
 

I believe it too.., flick of the switch, really. Hope we’ll see it sooner, but better late than never is also good.

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

taste the waste

http://tastethewaste.com/info/film

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

Almost ten years ago when I got this computer I started reading UN news bulletins. They were then talking about ending extreme poverty in what they then called “the millennium development goals”. They have two years left. Now, another 15 year is added. But in that time hundreds of billions has been wasted on conflicts that made many more millions of refugees and victims. This is a case of the carrot tied to the stick tied to the back of the dog and dangling in front of him perpetually. I have a copy of a greeting card with that image that I found over 30 years ago.

Haiti, the last time I looked, has seen some replacement of housing with some of the flimsiest stick built doghouses on the planet (it’s all they can afford) and when the attention of the public is diverted – the efforts tend to disappear too. One crop was already wiped away a year after the first when up. There were notorious scams associated with the fund raising for the tsunami victims. The poor of the world are not likely to see much improvement to their conditions because their very existence is a threat to the next higher pool of low cost labor. But it does keep utilities and their employees in their jobs even if the costs of the products are often far more than they can afford without continued subsidies. What could be done is provide the poorest people with communities where they can control at least some of their own vital resources and start to build lives at some decent standard. They can move up and out as they prosper perhaps? But the haves will resent the competition and so pay for poverty programs to make them feel less selfish.

I know you have to be careful to make sure than any charitable donations are going to organizations that devote 85% to 90% of their funds to the purpose otherwise they are what a friend of mine called “poverty pimps”. They show heartbreaking pictures of the poor in squalid conditions but don’t show the lavish salaries and the fine conditions the fund-raisers occupy. UN diplomats don’t live in shabby quarters or pinch pennies either. No one in government ever does that. They couldn’t look at themselves in full length mirrors of they did. What on earth are diplomats or humanitarian fundraisers actually worth and how do they decide? Those jobs always tend to go to people with elite educations and pedigrees.

Years ago in my town a judge donated land to build a YMCA and the committee formed hired a fundraiser who raised not quite enough to pay his own fee of at least $75,000 to $100,000. That was the end of the YMCA. I got a call a few days ago from Vietnam Veterans of America asking for upwards of $50 and when I asked what they gave to the purpose and the young kid said a minimum of 10%. What makes them decide to devote more he couldn’t answer?

And why do these come-ons, even UN come-ons, always talk about women and small children and never mention men who are just as mortal and even more disposable as a rule? They don’t have significantly more power, either, in the modern world. They certainly can’t resist the plight of becoming refugees anymore than women and children can. Everyone is made of very fragile protoplasm, aren’t they? If they could establish employment for the men, many women and children could be provided for too. I am not a romantic and the women I have met were mostly pampered , very demanding and even domineering. Some world definitely qualify as Rosanne Barr type domestic Goddesses which is to say she expects to be worshiped and adored as an overpriced under worked Madonna or doing nothing much at all. And she tends to be more defensive of criticism that the state of Israel!

It is obscene that while one hand is asking for help, one could call that the right hand of God, while the left hand is doing its worst to increase the misery and to tear down or destroy lives and property far more than is ever replaced or at anywhere near the value. If the governments of the world can coordinate peacetime charities they would do better to end wartime miseries or they are wasting even more valuable resources than they already are. How can anyone believe that thieves, liars and murderers engaged in a variety of overt and covert battlefields always with the struggle for power and profit uppermost in their minds, can somehow also be honest managers of poverty relief? For the managers of the situation – the governments and the charities – war and charity pay handsomely if they are the center of the cash flow streams.

What would be better would be for the wealthy to share quarters and conditions together with the poor and raise the general level. But the wealthy tend to fear the poor and really don’t like them getting too close. It is a game of charity played by hypocrites.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

“We seek a world in 2030 where no person must survive on less than $1.25 per day, and where no one goes hungry.” What a pile of bovine scat. Won’t EVER happen, folks.

Those administrating areas in Haiti, Africa, South America with the distended belly babies and flies crawling on everyone and everything don’t WANT to end hunger. That misery keeps the money flowing in without end from gullible individuals, “humanitarian” organizations and foreign aid the world over. They dare not end it!

Governments and the Catholic church actively discourage the use of condoms that could cut down the endless dropping of babies every nine months and the spread of HIV, etc. Muslims breed at a rate that would make a rabbit blush. So you feed 4 Billion this year, next year you must feed five billion. It NEVER ends.

The Earth has finite limits already breached well beyond sustainability. By far the greatest part of the population EXPLOSION is from those with no money, no land, no education, no skills, no job, no prospect of any of the preceding, no sanitation and little, if any food or clean water. Every two that compassion “saves” create ever more “families”.

No one tells the masses huddled around the community TV that the life they see will NEVER be theirs. If people and their governments will not accept a fundamental responsibility for their actions or inactions and the results thereof IT’S NOT MY PROBLEM! They create and perpetuate their own poverty, let the solution come from THEM!

If the U.N. wants to eliminate hunger, let them institute “food aid” only for those that accept sterilization after ONE child. Food produces human energy…organize it into something useful. All these useless, unneeded, unwanted people who produce only urine, feces and more of themselves could make bricks of mud. They could use the bricks to build their own communities, their own sewage facilities, their own communal farms, graineries, mills, etc.

Prisoners in America LIKE the opportunity to get outside in the sun and open air and grow fresh vegetables for their own consumption. These “hands forever out and open” societies of beggars can be made more self sufficient, but so long as they can sit on their hands and take NO responsibility for themselves it looks like they would be content to do so forever. That option needs to END!

Provide them nutritious but bland manna of algae, seaweed, grain, etc. along with communal land, seeds for crops suited to the climate and soil, instructions to plant, raise and harvest, and necessary irrigation. But always remember that most animals always increase in number to the limit of the available food supply. If humans are more intelligent than that now’s the time to prove it.

There is a decision to be made by “those who decide such matters” as to whether the number of humans on this planet is to be the maximum possible with all eventually reduced to abject individual poverty, no meat, no parks, no swimming, no joy; or whether there shall be continued “pursuit of happiness” as is the current case in America but VERY few other countries. Such a decision may differ from society to society, but the “have nots” can never be allowed to dictate to successful, sustainable societies adoption of a recipe for universal poverty.

There is another, perhaps even more important clock ticking…the countdown to the moment when some madman initiates a sequence of events that results in the destruction of all human life on this planet. Given human behavior over thousands of years it not so much a matter of IF this will occur but WHEN.

The “question” then becomes: “Will Earth’s advanced societies invest enough of their bounty to assure that humans leave Earth and establish self-sufficient colonies elsewhere before we snuff ourselves out here on Earth?” Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

The “nations of perpetual poverty” will always feel “entitled” to the funds necessary for man to leave Earth permanently. If man is that dumb it will be obvious that human life on Earth was not intelligent life.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@OneOfTheSheep wrote:

”The Earth has finite limits already breached well beyond sustainability. By far the greatest part of the population EXPLOSION is from those with no money, no land, no education, no skills, no job, no prospect of any of the preceding, no sanitation and little, if any food or clean water. Every two that compassion “saves” create ever more “families”.”

***

Well if you give em money, land, education, skills, jobs… you give yourself a change in dynamic. You know, like in Europe where the population is bound to drop. You can look at it with self-interest, if you must, because it’s inaction that makes things worse.

Check this always full self-filling bottle:

http://astounde.com/water-bottle-harvest s-water-from-air/

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

@satori23,

So whose “money, land, educational opportunity and job are YOU going to take to give to these people? I’m sure not volunteering anything I own for “redistribution”. I’ll let YOU “changed the dynamic” and see how far THAT goes.

This is a ZERO SUM game, or can’t you see that?

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

The article smacks of bureaucratic propaganda but I think the author may have a point about EXTREME poverty (starving to death). Regular old poverty (subsistence lifestyle), on the other hand, is going nowhere as fixing this requires a certain level of general goodwill amongst people which seems to be at an all time low today.

Posted by BidnisMan | Report as abusive
 

@OneOfTheSheep

”Child poverty in the US has reached record levels, with almost 17 million children now affected. A growing number are also going hungry on a daily basis.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21636 723

Morality aside, what’s the economic price of such failure? Half a trillion per annum? To throw in conservative estimate…

Not interested in Nash’s paranoia or any other remnants of MADness behind strategy of sadness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMup8qJ4g Ng

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

@satori23,

“Check this always full self-filling bottle…”. Now show us the self-emptying toilet (or diaper)? Dreamer!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@OneOfTheSheep

Hater! : P

Do you hate chickens too? Cunningly, one could say intelligently designed, running around replicating like that… some cheap matter at one end and another unit pops out. It’s really disturbing…

See how this fits your viewpoint:

“I’m seeing a world where technology says you can pretty much be able to have whatever you want. It’s not up to the political players any more.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-enviro nment-22421185

You ol crypto-anarchist you…

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

Didn’t we hear the same lame prognostication during the LBJ Administration when they declared the “War on Poverty” and the advent of The Great Society?

It seems that the number of people in the United States living below the poverty line is about the same now as then (and growing). Of course, that is not “extreme poverty” – hungry every day – now suffered by something like one third of the world’s population (depending on how it is measured).

We’ve been hearing for decades how the cure for cancer is right around the corner…

Posted by ptiffany | Report as abusive
 

OOTS – many of us love science fiction too but unless you can totally overturn the theory of relativity, it will not be possible to leave the earth for colonies in outer space unless a few souls hundreds of years from now are willing to enclose themselves in ships that are self sustaining colonies in their own right. They may then have to spend hundreds of years sealed in a cocoon, that may even be the equivalent of a coffin in space, to reach the nearest habitable planet. They may very well have to obtain licenses from the ships command to breed at all. That planet has, so far, not been identified. It might even take hundreds of years to send an unmanned reconnaissance vessel just to check it out. Even if it’s possible to locate a habitable planet – they are highly unlikely to ever return and a trip on that ship will be very like an Egyptian pharaoh enclosing himself in a mountain of stone with the hope that he would live his future life with his Gods. It is quite possible no one on earth would ever see them again nor they earth and the going away party would feel like a funeral. Working to build space stations in earth orbit is another matter and not so crazy but they could never hope to contain even a fraction of a fraction of the “elect” you seem to dream about.

Unless there are such highly sophisticated beings in the universe that visit earth the way we visit other countries of this planet, and they aren’t intent on making us extinct to colonize us like you know who once dreamed about in Poland and Russia, they would probably be gung ho supporters of anti poverty measures because they probably wouldn’t be worried about extreme differences in income inequality and would no better.

But there is quite a smogasbord of alien life forms to choose from the Sci Fi channel. Who knows, they might be highly intelligent flies that evolved deep space travel the way plants develope spores taking centuries to scatter spores the way plants can do that in air. They may find fly covered misery just the taste of home they left? Remember the Bug in Men In Black – He loves war zones “more food for his family”. Maybe they would be refugees from a planetary civil war that got completely out of control? Every story line you can think of has ben tried in Sci Fi.

Why ignore the oceans? I do not suggest that ocean living would occur in deep sea but off the continental shelves – much of which are less the 200 feet deep water and could reasonably support surface structures that might even be self contained water environments at the surface and enclosed to the ocean floor and large enough to withstand violent seas. In other words – towers bridged with beam like building elements either floating fixed or above the waves CCTV building like.

Take a quell man and relax – you are suffering from what Carl Jung might have called psychological “inflation”.

You are peddling a fairy tales engendered by watching too much sci-fi channel.

Poverty makes men miserable but affluence and a change of the conditions of one’s personal or social psychology must make them mad? Hopefully it’s only temporarily.

There is nothing so terrible about the love/hate dichotomy. It tends to follow patterns and one starts to learn to appreciate the pattern. I’m learning mine slowly. Unfortunately the earth’s population doesn’t seem to recognize the patterns of its own activities popularly enough and is inclined to scare the wits and guns out of the closest and armories too easily. If the weapons and warfare out number the peaceful activities no body will go anywhere.

The UN News digests were full of patterns that their experts were all very familiar with. But if most think those patterns aren’t worth spitting at because of the actions of the big boys, than what hope does anyone have with extensions of them, let alone ocean cities or space colonies? Their good actions start to look like bailing water by the cup full from a canoe someone stuck his foot through.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

@paintcan

To share a thought; back here and way over there we have these deep scars from wars long fought and won. It’s hard to maneuver, because power comes with age and even seasoned youngsters are forced to wait for these unfortunate generations, which are damaged and inhibited beyond repair as much as ideas of socialism or capitalism – to die out.

***

When assessing what can and cannot be done, what’s sustainable and what not.., it’s better to place oneself firmly on the ground and examine the potency of the future we’re living.

Neural networks, synthetic tissues, food printing, self-filling bottles, gravity lights, ”black hole generators” (CERN)… or those ”tricoders” that we use to read Reuters, summon monsters, watch movies… while on… it’s not sci-fi, it’s reality.

Today, we’re surrounded with tech that was unthinkable yesterday. There’s no reason to ignore these breakthroughs (you have to be aware of em though) or suggest that tomorrow will be different.

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

@paintcan,

You miss my point, as usual.

While I do hope that in time man will journey to the stars in some way, the method is not yet apparent. It remains in question as to whether our bodies can survive low or no gravity in the long term. The one thing certain is that if we don’t try nothing is possible.

Your comment about having “…to obtain licenses from the ships command to breed at all…” is quite consistent with any environment of finite size and resources. Far, far to many people do not accept the fact that the Earth is, itself, an “environment of finite size and resources”. This basic fact is irrefutable. The specifics, meh.

“Working to build space stations in earth orbit is another matter and not so crazy…”. Thank you.

“…but they could never hope to contain even a fraction of a fraction of the “elect” you seem to dream about.” My hope is merely that humanity has established self-sufficient habitats sufficiently far from Earth as to survive when some idiot here touches off planetary suicide, whether that be by microbe or starvation or weapons of mass destruction.

We’re not talking “elite vs. the masses” but SURVIVAL! And those survivors had better be our “best and brightest” and not a bunch of stoners. For the record, I certainly have NO prospect of being one of those survivors. And, also for the record, I’m not sure mankind would do any better given such a “second chance”.

As to “…highly sophisticated beings in the universe that visit earth…” a favorite science fiction book envisioned just such visitors who came here solving all of Earth’s problems. They had a book: “To Serve Man”. Turned out it was a cook book.

The oceans would be no refuge from extinction of life as it exists on land. It is also quite possible that colonies in space would be sabotaged or targeted for destruction by those expecting destruction on Earth. In so many, many ways, man seems incapable of thinking ahead and acting to assure a better future. Maybe we just don’t deserve one?

But yu and I are both necessary…the optimist invents the airplane. The pessimist invents the parachute. I wish and plan for the best. It’s impossible to imagine what you wish and plan for.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

OOTS – many of us love science fiction too but unless you can totally overturn the theory of relativity, it will not be possible to leave the earth for colonies in outer space unless a few souls hundreds of years from now are willing to enclose themselves in ships that are self sustaining colonies in their own right. They may then have to spend hundreds of years sealed in a cocoon, that may even be the equivalent of a coffin in space, to reach the nearest habitable planet. They may very well have to obtain licenses from the ships command to breed at all. That planet has, so far, not been identified. It might even take hundreds of years to send an unmanned reconnaissance vessel just to check it out. Even if it’s possible to locate a habitable planet – they are highly unlikely to ever return and a trip on that ship will be very like an Egyptian pharaoh enclosing himself in a mountain of stone with the hope that he would live his future life with his Gods. It is quite possible no one on earth would ever see them again nor they earth and the going away party would feel like a funeral. Working to build space stations in earth orbit is another matter and not so crazy but they could never hope to contain even a fraction of a fraction of the “elect” you seem to dream about.

Unless there are such highly sophisticated beings in the universe that visit earth the way we visit other countries of this planet, and they aren’t intent on making us extinct to colonize us like you know who once dreamed about in Poland and Russia, they would probably be gung ho supporters of anti poverty measures because they probably wouldn’t be worried about extreme differences in income inequality and would no better.

But there is quite a smogasbord of alien life forms to choose from the Sci Fi channel. Who knows, they might be highly intelligent flies that evolved deep space travel the way plants develope spores taking centuries to scatter spores the way plants can do that in air. They may find fly covered misery just the taste of home they left? Remember the Bug in Men In Black – He loves war zones “more food for his family”. Maybe they would be refugees from a planetary civil war that got completely out of control? Every story line you can think of has ben tried in Sci Fi.

Why ignore the oceans? I do not suggest that ocean living would occur in deep sea but off the continental shelves – much of which are less the 200 feet deep water and could reasonably support surface structures that might even be self contained water environments at the surface and enclosed to the ocean floor and large enough to withstand violent seas. In other words – towers bridged with beam like building elements either floating fixed or above the waves CCTV building like.

Take a quell man and relax – you are suffering from what Carl Jung might have called psychological “inflation”.

You are peddling a fairy tales engendered by watching too much sci-fi channel.

Poverty makes men miserable but affluence and a change of the conditions of one’s personal or social psychology must make them mad? Hopefully it’s only temporarily.

There is nothing so terrible about the love/hate dichotomy. It tends to follow patterns and one starts to learn to appreciate the pattern. I’m learning mine slowly. Unfortunately the earth’s population doesn’t seem to recognize the patterns of its own activities popularly enough and is inclined to scare the wits and guns out of the closest and armories too easily. If the weapons and warfare out number the peaceful activities no body will go anywhere.

The UN News digest were full of patterns that their expert were all very familiar with. But if those patterns aren’t worth spitting at because of the actions of the big boys than what hope does anyone have with extensions of them?

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

@OOTS – that comment was supposed to go ahesd of your last one but for some strange reason the co Reuters site did not upload it in spite of the fact that I pressed the commnet button and saw the hour glass icon that accompanies the cursor. The page either freezes up or the comment just sits there fore minutes. This personal computer is a two way street but it is a little surprising that it may not nearly as anonymous as I thought it was. This computer has been acting up all day and even the page window keeps bouncing around. I took a nap and the comment was still there while yours had gone im. Does even Reuters cheat?

Your suggestion of outer space is nonsense as is your argument against greater use of the ocean surface. IF both ideas are fantacies, the oceans are the nearer and more likely destination. I even sketched an idea that I don’t have the means to test for accuracy. My intuition says it will work as surely and Bramante’s egg demonstration told him the Duomo’s inner shell in Florence could work. And all it would take is a good computer model to test it. There is even a way to do it that doesn’t require the computer but a good physical model and a big tub. That might be even more reliable because it’s closer to physical reality without the “art” or computer animation.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

This UN mission is a divine one. I think it is extremely hard to achieve its goal unless the world is united as one. This is only a dream however.

Posted by Kailim | Report as abusive
 

BTW – I just noticed – the kids ii the picture have a very close sense of personal space. That doesn’t happen here very often and is one of the reasons, many people are nervous about subways. WE are used to far more room around ourselves. And they don’t look squalid or dirty either. They simply don’t mind touching each other.

Touch is very nearly a luxury in my life and it has been for most of my life. It’s a terrible way to live, actually, and the absence of close physical contact is the hallmark of aristocratic lifestyles. Dresses were even made to exagerate the distance required bewtten ladies and gentlemen. Touch is what many people take for dirty and wretched but those kids are just poor and not getting enough to eat.

They are all skinny while yesterday at Mcdonalds and at the laundromat I saw people who’s fat rolls had rolls. They may have been lovely people and I had a conversation with the girl at the laundromat but she occupies enough space for five of the kids pictured above? Is that the prerogative of the winner taking all?

Was she wearing her pannier made of flesh?

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

…as Bramante’s eggshell… and experts, not expert.

Maybe I got it backwards about the fat rolls? Perhaps they are too eager to be touched and grow to fill the void? That almost makes sense. But if there is merit to that idea, what am I as a chronic smoker trying to fill? I don’t think it’s my mouth that wants cigs as much as my lungs. That’s the organ that seems to miss them the most.

But who has the higher priority to food in life: four or five kids or one large appetite? Countries are like people. One can have far more than is good for it and four or five have far too little. No one ever seems to recognize when enough is enough and even prosperity can be an addiction.

This is not a suggestion for mandatory fat farms nor an open invitation to the ridicule of fat folks. Just because one eats less doesn’t mean someone else eats more. I have a hard time keeping my weight down too. And the hideous rule that even Christ cited, that “he who has gets more and those who have little loose what little they have” (or words to that effect), isn’t encouraging either. That seems to be true for weight gain too.

Maybe you are right about winners and losers, OOTS, but it kicks love and concern in the teeth.

Cities make a living at business and trade of many kinds but they make so much employment by the building of their own physical existence. And now we are living in an economy that doesn’t seem to need as many human beings. Maybe the economies of the world are making the worst mistake possible by encouraging too much automation when so many able bodied people could be working at something.
It’s uglier than going on welfare – automation could spell the extinction of many poor people (and even higher up the pecking order) because they aren’t needed and poverty instinctively makes them want to replace themselves quickly just like wars tend to do. We are an animal species. Not even the very comfortable, or large and employed should be able to think about that without great discomfort. I can’t think about it too much because I want to ask the question “what am I sticking around for”. Other then these comments, I haven’t got much to do with my time at all now and my maintenance bills are increasing and I’m getting far less for the money in terms of quality of life with no particular purpose for the extension of my life.

If economies made it easier to live on very small means they might be able to make themselves marketable again and still live a decent life. How doesn’t anyone define a “decent” or adequate lifestyle and what should it cost? Not even the UN seems to have all that good a definition about what an adequate lifestyle can be defined as. How much material should be used to be considered a good shelter? Access to higher culture doesn’t necessarily require money but doing anything with it seems always to. There is even a competition to exercise one’s work ethic toady.

If the young and the poor face threats of extinction – the old and poor(ish) face just as great a threat. Maybe war makes certain the scythe cuts more indiscriminately but that is a savage fight for survival. Isn’t charity intended to make the fight less savage? That is also a core concern of all the five major world religions and even some of the older extinct religions.

A lot of us consume things the way other people consume food. The economy loves it but it seems to make problems in terms of disposal and fuel consumption. But the older I get the less I want or really need and am open to suggestions and would rather voluntarily adapt to shrinking means and fading strength than find they are being ripped from my grasp.

“A clean, well-lighted place” (Virginia Woolf?) sounds ideal sometimes. But how much square footage? And how many changes of cloths and how much furniture? It has to have a bed, desk and maybe a book case and cloths closet, computer and wifi and carpet and some curtains. With all the riches of culture and social life within easy reach and cheaply available. And maybe even some luxurious rooms within reach and available for special “functions”.

That very nearly describes the rooms of the last Tsar’s children in the Alexander Palace in St. Petersburg (without the computer and wifi). They actually lived very plainly. The average college student has more stuff in their dorm rooms then they did.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

@ptiffany said:
“Didn’t we hear the same lame prognostication during the LBJ Administration when they declared the “War on Poverty” and the advent of The Great Society?

It seems that the number of people in the United States living below the poverty line is about the same now as then (and growing).”

Where exactly are you getting your data? Or maybe I don’t really want to know…

Here’s the actual data.

According to the US Census Bureau the official poverty rate in the US was 22.2% in 1960, the last year of the Eisenhower administration and a time of relative prosperity. By the end of the LBJ administration in 1968 the poverty rate had been reduced to 12.8%, a reduction of over 40%. Very “lame prognostication” indeed. The poverty rate continued to fall to an all time low of 11.1% in 1973 and it remained below 12% for most of the years until the Reagan administration when it peaked at 15.2% in 1983. It was 15.1% when Clinton took office in ’94 and back down to 11.3% at the end of his term in 2000. As of 2011, the last year for which data is available, in the midst of the greatest recession the world has seen since the Great Depression, the rate was 15.0%, more than a 30% reduction from 1960 (and shrinking).

I’ll never understand why people insist on just making things up when the data is so readily available. I guess if the real facts don’t fit your world view it’s easier to just make them up.

Posted by jtfane | Report as abusive
 

We are about as likely to end poverty as we are to end war. It simply won’t happen. It surely won’t happen if we don’t do something about population growth.

I recommend reading the book, “Ishmael”. It takes only a couple hours. It should be required reading for everyone at the UN and for everyone in American politics.

For some reason, we learn to ignore the fundamental basis of our existence on this planet as we grow up. The book points out what all of us already know, somewhere in the deep recesses of our minds.

Posted by breezinthru | Report as abusive
 

Addressing poverty addresses (subjectively perceived) overpopulation. Speaking of which, here’s hypothetical tale (open to subjective interpretation) about seven billion people, exercising their (subjectively perceived) collective might (blight, if you prefer), in city of LA.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHbyQ_AQP 8c

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

I watched the video and other than the illustration of how lightly populated the world really is, the rest seems to be nonsense.

Ocean waves can have greater height in not very choppy seas than that collective bounce and the calculations ignore the fact that the topography of the earth varies in height by several miles. Those speculations go in the same category as: could a butterfly cause a storm to form on the other side of the world? But it is a lot of fun to think about.

Human beings are also really walking water about the same density as seawater. Our blood is, in fact, modified seawater.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

paintcan wrote:

”Those speculations go in the same category as: could a butterfly cause a storm to form on the other side of the world? But it is a lot of fun to think about.”

Bernanke flaps his lips and…

paintcan wrote:

”I watched the video and other than the illustration of how lightly populated the world really is,”

If you take it lightly the future looks more brightly.

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

@satori23,

“Addressing poverty addresses (subjectively perceived) overpopulation.” No, it doesn’t.

And there aren’t SEVEN BILLION people in Los Angeles, wrong again.

Soylent Green is a “hypothetical tale”. Most of us wouldn’t want to live there.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

What on earth are you talking about satori?
What do butterfly sneezes have to do with Bernanke and quantitative easing or low Federal Reserve Bank interest rates and bond buy backs?

All of those efforts actually made sense except that they didn’t appear to work as expected because the first decade of the 21st century is not the same world and economic situation this country faced in 1929. Obviously the country went into a financial crash that was very unexpected. The economy of the Globe has undergone recessions and crashes since the 17th century – and maybe longer. Money is not a stable substance. It is an abstraction. The Roman Empire had them but couldn’t describe them in their surviving history books.

@OOTS: that video was very like college speculation I used to hear 45 years ago. It didn’t say there were 7 billion people in LA. I think it was trying to say that 7 billion people closely packed (I may have missed when the video mentioned how much sq footage each person took) could all fit in an area the size of Texas. Then it shifted the place and said “in LA”. In college, decades ago, I heard a variation of this idea that claimed – if every person on earth (under 6 bln. at the time) were given 2 sq ft of space on which to stand, they would all fit into New Jersey. You could give any number to the base Sq. Footage you like and look up total areas of various things (countries or cities or even large buildings, like the Sears or John Hancock Tower in Chicago, to figure how many people it would take to fit all the people in the world at 2 or more sq. ft. per person. It is only a game of statistics. In Junior high school I made up a hypothetical mile square cube -apartment house full of light wells (it would have been a nightmare environment and think “Forbidden Planet” and the Krell computer but much more tightly spaced – only a kid would dream such a monstrosity up) and was able to fit the entire population of the world at one person per apartment. I think it may have contained more apartments than people at the time, but I threw the drawing away decades ago. It would be easy to recreate.

It is obvious people require far more room per person that close packing, like the Philippine children showed in the photo, or the hypothetical example in LA, but there is nothing particularly fixed or sacrosanct about the amount of space a person or business occupies. There are HUD code requirements for minimum room sizes etc. It depends on what the business or industry requires, the type of technology or equipment being used requires, the cost of materials and labor, the amount of space required by custom or expectations or the income devoted to providing a person’s living area. In other words: the standard of living. The future might think up very compact ways of living and think we were primitive and inefficient and not as comfortable as they had them. They may have very different tastes in the matter. The Palace of Versailles held somewhere like 5 to 10,000 people in one complex of buildings and they were never packed tightly. While rural aristocrats could live in 50,000 sq ft plus chateau with a few dozen members of their household and may have felt “crowded”. The perception of personal space is very subjective. A large room in a cold climate would not be nearly as comfortable as a small room with low ceiling.

I should clarify something I wrote earlier about charity and hypocrisy. Organizations that claim they help the poor but devote too much of it to their own fund raising activities and their own salaries (they are usually only phone calls of mass mailings) can be seen as hypocrites, or worse, thieves. Churches or organizations that claim they help the poor and raise millions for that purpose, but divert some of it for their own needs or salaries are also, sometimes, breaking the law. Jim Baker went to jail for that.

People have been claiming the earth was overpopulated since they began looking at each other. It must be some instinctive trait in human nature that is somehow always misinformed. Cavemen must have felt the same thing when the clan got too large for local resources or they just started to get on each other’s nerves? But the amount of space people require to feel comfortable and even happy can vary widely depending on culture and habits. Cities are amazingly compact and house unimaginably dense populations – at levels historic societies could never dream of – and yet they are still the most desirable and expensive places to live on earth. Manhattan apartments aren’t expensive because people are forced to live there – they are expensive because people tend to want to live there for the convenience and the amenities. I would give my eyeteeth to live in a city like Manhattan – if I could dream of affording it. My eyeteeth aren’t worth that much.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

excuse me, how many buildings, countries,or cities it would take to fit all the people etc….

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

Another thing – the standard of even public housing today is so much higher than that of historic poverty levels, it is obvious that squalor can be eradicated.

What society lost (as a rule but there are tens of thousands of exceptions) were the mega houses of the old days that became too expensive to heat and maintain because the cost of labor rose greatly after the first World War and people tended not want to work as domestic servants and even the upper classes didn’t want the compromise of privacy that having servants always required. The “master” may not always know whet they were doing – but they knew everything that was going on “upstairs”. I even wonder sometimes if paranoia about what the high income levels are up to might be solved if only high income people didn’t insist that they live always in exclusive environments?

The standard of living in this country is primarily the single family, three bedroom house but that could be a thing of the past too as people have fewer children.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

@paintcan,

I would think that the people of Texas (or wherever else some idiot might pick) would take exception to “others” being packed in like sardines without food, jobs, money or infrastructure on land they don’t own and cannot buy. The very idea likely springs from the drug induced haze in the mind of a hippie from the sixties…wwwowwww, man, COOL! Where’s the toilet?

“People have been claiming the earth was overpopulated…Cavemen…when the clan got too large for local resources or they just started to get on each other’s nerves? But the amount of space people require to feel comfortable and even happy can vary widely depending on culture and habits.” You got it!

The Earth’s “capacity” can be determined by two extremes:

1. By the maximum possible number of humans possible to bring to breeding age. (If each then quickly dies by agreement or from starvation, that’s OK). This is the “quantity of life” choice.

2. By considering the “planetary burden” of the standard of living and “way of life” of each existing individual. This is the “quality of life” choice. I apologize to NO ONE i subscribing to the latter “camp”, and also caution that some “fudge factor” must be allowed for such improvement in said standards as people age and expectations change over anticipated years of life.

Americans and their present “way of life” consume much more in terms of planetary resources and have a much less dense population than some arbitrary worldwide per capita measure. Simple fact…the “rest of the world” (would someone PLEASE tell those born south of the Rio Grande?) can’t come here OR live like us where they are. Right now, today, the Earth’s natural resources won’t permit that for all already born.

“Cities are amazingly compact and house unimaginably dense populations – at levels historic societies could never dream of – and yet they are still the most desirable and expensive places to live on earth.” This “truth” is but a “half-truth”.

The true measure is the burden on national and planetary resources to build the infrastructure essential and inseparable to raising, feeding, clothing, transporting, educating, medicating and entertaining residents of a city or neighborhood or state or country in the manner accustomed and anticipated divided by their number and projected life in years.

Is privacy and/or a peaceful “surrounding” in which to contemplate “right” or “luxury”? Just because it is possible to design and construct a subterranean human environment much like an ant hill does not mean we SHOULD.

Obviously that number is different for a rural village in an impoverished area of Africa from New York City. Other than by accident of birth location, how would anyone judge without bias how much land one should be able own, how much money they should be able to make, or how many children they should be able to have? Is privacy and/or a peaceful “surrounding” in which to contemplate “right” or “luxury”?

Another question of significance, preferebly before every birth. Is there be a “place” in their society for this person? Does (or should) each birth be a “benefit” to or burden on “society”? Most on the bottom of the economic pile today have already discovered that God does NOT “provide” all that well.

I would venture to say that in China’s “new society” predominately comprised of only children, the leadership may find out to their considerable surprise that to many, the “needs of the many” do NOT outweigh the “needs of the few (or the one).

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@paintcan… It was pun, Bernanke flaps his lips and world markets react (in sensitive dependence on initial conditions). Last year, Draghi’s comment was sufficient to put the Europe into relative calm… of the eye of the storm.

***

Videos are for entertainment purposes only, they serve to illustrate how our perception, not necessarily based on facts, affects our thought processes. These days’ people scream about overpopulation and our impact on environment as if all hell broke loose. I’m not suggesting that it should be downplayed, but running around and screaming how we should control the populace (or kill the poor as some idiots would suggest with minds clouded by Canadian cheap) is not to be taken lightly. After all, we have folks on a mission, conducting rogue geo-engineering experiments based on their subjective assessments that in turn affect our reality.

I’m not even picky in throwing these things onto this thread, we have studies and research available at our fingertips, anyone with interest can pursue the data to determine plausibility of this and that scenario. As stated earlier, imo, eradication of extreme poverty is within the reach, flick of the switch, really. I’m firmly in the camp of those who think that we can’t have healthy world without healthy bottom, especially so when it comes to economy whose current state was depicted by Dhaka building collapse.

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

OOTS – It’s very obvious you have a hard time with reading comprehension or thinking outside your box. You are desperate to keep the lid on it because you are afraid if it opens you might loose something to strong winds perhaps, or a swift current? The future always belongs to “children”. Are you making those children fond of you or are they more likely to bury you in that box and forget you? You may be earth sheltered whether you want to be or not but when you are dead it will be wasted on you.

I am not suggesting that earth sheltering is a solution for all urban or suburban construction but some places in this country are idiotic for not considering alternatives to the usual ways things are done. If I were living in the Great Plains states I would consider alternatives to the exposed stick built house. Harvard University has subsurface spaces that are anything but catacombs. And urban density does not have to look dense. Your taste doesn’t rule the country anymore than mine might. Suburban communities do not show state of the art in originality or creativity either. Existing vested interests in the form of zoning law often prevents that.

“WE” doesn’t actually exist and is only a convenience of speech as in “we the people”. The constitution is a definition of rights and obligations and never believed in the “dictatorship of the people”. But what on earth is wrong with seeing things as they might be? That does not mean that what one can see in one’s mind’s eye is what one can get. One usually can’t get the whole dream but only a part of it. I never get quite that “stoned”. BTW, who can afford to build with stone anymore, anyway and a “stone” has about as much affect on me as a glass of wine but isn’t as inclined to produce a headache. It might even be keeping my blood pressure down. It’s a little lower than it was 35 years ago.

Are you sure you want to refuse entry to people who might be able to work for far less money and find it better than what they were used to? Why not try to establish communities for people who could live decent lives, not particularly lavish at first, perhaps, but clean and safe and comfortable and even keep money, and maybe even many of the economic “temptations” of the mainstream economy at a distance (perhaps they don’t need automobiles as a necessity, among other things) and Shaker style, permits them to create some savings that will allow them to get better established elsewhere or to build homes for themselves that will have a higher market value when they choose to reenter the mainstream? This country works always on “freedom of choice” and that freedom could still be respected but allow for a way for the “losers”, you tend to mention the most, a chance to recondition themselves for better situations? In other words sweat equity on a community wide scale?

New York City was once able to do that very effectively for people with next to nothing and the world seems still to make people who have next to nothing. There are no wide open prairies for homesteaders but perhaps the government, at all levels, could sponsor, with seed money, homesteader towns or small cities? They could do it perhaps by quarantining capital and allowing the inhabitants to establish their own much reduced wage and cost of living rates restricted to their won membership. Rather like what China did during the Mao years. They might take members from immigrants and natives. Money is a tool but perhaps they could fashion their own financial tools until their situation allows them to mesh more effectively with the greater economy, if they chose to? Labor costs are one of the most significant costs of building or making anything in this country and they might be able to lower that enormously by establishing an economic “warp” within their own communities? Obviously there is a risk they could sink into their own economic black hole too but what if they also managed to produce their own infrastructure, homes and goods that had a high “foreign exchange value”, so to speak?

The Shakers managed to keep a high standard of cooperative living using something like this principle. If someone wanted to leave one of their communities they were given back whatever they had brought in, in terms of cash or assets. They would be pioneers and build their environment under controlled financial conditions, and even a more controlled social environment, including their own health care and educational provisions. If it worked well they might attract more affluent outsiders and gradually phase the community into the higher cost economy. In a way it is making little Chinas? They might chose to stay or sell out and move on to the mainstream. If they can live at low wages and provide for a good standard of living, they might be able to build splendid environments that would attract more affluent people to settle there too, without risk of swamping them in higher costs of living.

You propose the most intrusive government control imaginable: control of the right to reproduce. And you would limit that right, apparently, only to the employed or the independently wealthy. Employment in this economy is not always something one can count on for uninterrupted spans. Haven’t you noticed? Even family fortunes can be lost to investment mistakes. Winners can become losers and losers winners, unless you are already dead and then it doesn’t matter what you were.

Your idea about controlled births here won’t likely work without the control of a party like that of China and even they make exceptions to the one child policy.

China may have difficulty enforcing that policy in the future in as much as they no longer have to restrict their national development to the policies of the past. They don’t have to restrict their consumption of food and resources to what they can provide within their own borders. They did that while they were trying to develop the infrastructure of the country free of external debt. Now they are creditors. The one child policy may take a hit. What you are hinting is that you really want a one child policy but without the inconvenience of communist economics that went with it. What you want are good capitalist “breeders”. Hitler was more generous and sponsored “Aryan babies, or what you might call “welfare babies” from mothers subsidized by the state.

@Satori – I’m not even picky in throwing these things onto this thread”. I tend to do the same thing, it’s called a free and open conversation – but I do wrack my brain and try to do good work.

This site is a great exercise in freedom of speech.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

Ah, Utopia! But if you are depending on “governments” to do some heavy-lifting, you just might be disappointed.

Posted by AZreb | Report as abusive
 

How is the idea any more Utopian than China for the last 60 years? Or even the kibbutz movement of Israel? Even rounding up “illegals” in yards of pink underwear and miles of buses back to Mexico to mollify OOTS won’t be cheap. They can be far less of an eyesore than gulag walls and fences for hundreds of miles making modern DMZs. Government has been throwing money around like it was confetti. Maybe they should take a chance on some new ideas than in supporting the status quo than never ceases to age. Low interest loans in not utopia but grants in aid might save bundles considering the very likely increase in health care costs. If they can locally control the cost of living and maintain a kind of reverse “exclusivity” keeping the too affluent rif-raf out, so to speak, until they are ready to accommodate them, they can lower the cost of doing everything there. They carefully use more sophisticated engineered materials for places that can’t be built any other way. They can even do those with some training and education.

And they don’t have to fight the environment but adapt and work with it. It might save bundles in cooling and heating as well. The can start with being off the grid and reintroduce themselves when they are more established and capable of providing a surplus perhaps? How about establishing modern pueblos (of the latest design) in the desert southwest and designing them to nearly disappear from view or blend it with scenery until one is either very close to them or in them. They might very well resemble ancient buildings and might even use ancient materials like stone and adobe. The Egyptian Architect Hassan Fathay suggested this idea for public housing and very fine private housing, including some very up scale homes, for Egypt. He even made sure than old crafts techniques were employed that would otherwise die out to an adulterated mass production .The communities could go about the affairs as though they were building a work of art intended to last for centuries because simple materials close to their original state seem to do that best. They do not have to copy the styles of historic architecture – only the techniques. They might encourage exquisite handwork for those more capable for patronizing it and simpler versions for the same for the less well fixed. A few jewels in a plain setting can very effective. Remember that NYC would look utopian and futuristic to anyone alive in 1900 and would stagger anyone who knew that city in 1800. “Utopian” is not a precise definition of much of anything, actually.

Most people suffer from a poverty of imagination.

It is ridiculous to dispense with human labor and spend big money for sophisticated hardware and building equipment when it might be possible to use less of the expensive machinery and building technology and avoid some of the large financing costs because of it. They might actually slow the clock down in these communities and encourage a longer attention span at the same time. Physical exercise is better than worrying about one’s weight and hypertension. If they need an industry like glass or ceramics, they deign and built it and it have their own style and be a mark of their own identity the way pottery can be identified by region or nation.

Crudité could be cool – literally. Thick stonewalls can maintain cooler interior temps. They could build elegant and even sophisticated interiors using ancient techniques that create buildings that don’t resemble anything that is now common. The Indian city of New Delhi was built with the labor of very low skilled workers 9both men and women) using techniques as old as the ancient Romans. What if thousands of that level of workmanship form brick layers to higher craft techniques built their own homes as part of their deferred pay and something they might choose to live in or sell at a later date to more affluent buyers? They would also build businesses and commercial premises. It might be possible that once the territory of the community has been acquired they might be able to control the Time of this place – as Kevin lynch once put it – although he did not coin that phrase to describe an act of intention or a design element. It would beat McDonald’s or other service type jobs that are usually not adequate for an adult living wage.

Piles of stone and brick or abobe blocks and lumber, plus labor, equals buildings and the time element can rest entirely on their own volition and priorities. On welfare they are a cost to society but in an organized community that would be established to help them convert simple labor into more valuable artifacts, they might see the importance of establishing a very self-rewarding work ethic and way of life – including some food production. They could protect themselves from commercial and financial exploitation. And even establish self-government and possibly avoiding the debt spiral many could be caught in otherwise.. They would be the origin of their own economy. Can anything be more attractive or effective than self-investment if they have the push to start?

BTW – chartable groups and even churches could sponsor them too. I like to think they could pull this off so well that it makes the established and more affluent “rif-raf” that gets their identity from a catalogue or a big box store, envious. The might create a coordination of efforts that other cities or towns can’t even dream about. In other words, instead of letting established commercial interests dictate the type, cost and quality of their way of life, they take all the issues into their own hands and do the job themselves, starting with the planning of the place and ending with the food on their tables and the vessels and dishes they use. Christopher Alexander has as explored this idea too and publish a three volume pattern language that could be helpful. But a combination of his, Fathay’s techniques and an over all coordination of the profile or massing of the community might be possible too. But that can be established with a kind of zoning. New York City and Boston profiles are a matter of laws establishing heights and use.

It would beat the hell out of that Swedish arts and crafts center that the rioters burned out. They might even value what the schools have to teach. Probably not one of them had a hand in building anything in those neighborhoods because established businesses and contractors made sure they got the contracts. The well healed and established tend to have more pull with local development authorities. The hippies were too young to think like this. It’s been forty years, and this observer (never in a commune myself) learned something in over 40 years.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

@paintcan,

Feel better?

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

No, Its something like post partum depression I think? The idea is so fine, I’d move into one if I could find one.

I can just imagine a desert site with layers of fragmented sedimentary stone just waiting to be dug up with earth moving equipment, sorted, sized and built into gorgeous post modern towns. They are out there. They could make deals with Oregon and New England to get the pine, oak maple and other timbers. There are people who like the idea of barter and this is the scale to do it at. They would swap that lovely building stone for whole trees I see all the time on local roads in flatbeds. If the township were near a rail line they are golden. If they had limestone – they could produce their own cement. They can even barter for the transport costs.

If other country’s find this economy too attractive, it may be because it prices everything too high as an illusion of success and now it is trapped. I am convinced my sister is outrageously overpaid for apparently giving seminars for corporate types at $150,000 plus/annum when I would do it for half the price or less. All she has to do is talk, it’s not like she had to write anything, let alone draw. It only makes her imperious and the poor girl doesn’t know how to shop. A fortune pissed away on nothing much! This whole economy is becoming fortunes pissed away on nothing much. And a whole lot of it gets sucked up to Oz or down to Davy Jones locker and they never know what to do with the material.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

- The word corrupt (Middle English, from Latin corruptus, past participle of corrumpere, to abuse or destroy : com-, intensive pref. and rumpere, to break) when used as an adjective literally means “utterly broken”.

***

Give it a decent thought; if you kindly will…

We’ve incinerated 4.6 trillion in highly-inefficient furnaces of corrupted system. We’ve seen bankers impoverished beyond belief… so we gathered together, relief efforts around the globe.

To be honest, I’m still dazed by benevolence of US citizens.., their epic effort to provide some 17 trillion of public money to help the poor buggers.

Needless to say and try as you may, you can’t beat unprecedented generosity of European citizens – they gave it all.

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

So what’s next satori23? Nirvana or nervous break down?

I just read the guide to buying Japan bonds – not something I am likely to do but one does like to try to improve oneself, if only to try to preserve a sense of relevance and even importance.

There are times (like the last 40 years) when thought and effort both seem useless and a waste of time.

Perhaps “God” or any definitions of the idea, are either “corrupt” (that word could mean a bad copy, as in a corrupt disc or even a version of a spoken language) or severely out of date with conditions now? But one does like to fill a vacuum.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

Think so? That is, the way things fall, idea and derivatives may as well be profoundly anti-establishment… fed up and determined to eradicate corruption at any cost.

Posted by satori23 | Report as abusive
 

Puhlease – as long as we have dictators, monarchs, even elected politicians, we are subject to their whims and wishes. We now have more hunger and poverty in the US than at any time since the Great Depression – more on food stamps, more children going hungry, more depending on food banks to supplement food needed for their families.

What to do? Send more “foreign aid”, export more basic items like wheat and import more tainted food, sell our corporations to foreign owners (Smithfield to Chinese), allow companies like Monsanto to grow and prosper while the family farms and ranches are gobbled up. That seems to be the norm now.

Posted by AZreb | Report as abusive
 

Zero Sum applies to finite resources. Wealth is not finite. The more leaps and bounds we see in agriculture, the larger the source of food is. The higher tech the water plants become, the more water will be available in urban areas. The overall wealth “total” expands exponentially with each passing minute, and the creator of new wealth is generally the beneficiary.

Why should there be a free ride for those who may not contribute any wealth to society? Because it’s “humane”? It seems that lately the moochers in society are winning the political war… as long as there are other planets to colonize, the only limiting factor is technology to expand and utilize those wasted resources (from water to minerals).

I feel we should be encouraging entrepreneurs, not punishing them with a huge tax burden. We’ll get a Star Trek fantasy like society when we have the technology.. until then, stop slowing down it’s advance by punishing the creators.

Posted by NorthernLight | Report as abusive
 

@satori23 – Yes, I do think so. What is the “corruption”, or what are the corruptions, that the idea I described would eliminate? That may be an “idea and derivatives” worth airing? Why be coy? Are you sure they are “profoundly anti-establishment”.

No one is “perfect”, but those settlements may be the only way of making homesteader establishments that can’t be had any other way in the modern world? Or the country may just face growing poverty that can’t be overcome. OOTS and many others always seem to want a system that sheds people rather then changes the practice. Or one could change the practice in a way that OOTS et al, probably wouldn’t even notice, and keep the people? Historically, the larger the population, the greater the country was.

I forgot to add a sentence about Japanese bonds. The country is forced to feed on it’s own tail now. The central bank must buy the bonds the government issues because private investors are increasingly reluctant to take them. The money that would be parked in bonds is shunted to stocks and other assets like gold, but those investments – especially stocks, are facing brick walls too. The government is trying to ignore the obvious: that it is bankrupt. Inflation and devaluation of the currency will be the result of that short circuit. The bank deposits of the country are now being put to service of the national deficits. The government is eating it’s own tail. The same is happening here and seems to be happening all over the industrialized world.

Are you suggesting that a good idea can be deadly to the status quo? Would you say the idea is illustrative of satori? “a state of intuitive illumination sought in Zen Buddhism” according the Webster’s?

I forget to mention – the communities would have modern water supply, waste disposal and electrical service. Being “off the grid” is optional. But they may like the idea of starting from scratch and phase in and creating a lifestyle and pattern of consumption they created from scratch. It could be an interesting and very educational way of life. They would also be bound by the constitution of this country and their home state. The local ordinances would be the responsibility. It could incorporate the goal of “sustainability”: another topic the UN is enthusiastic about. That is very much an ideal too.

Sustainability may not be a matter of choice anymore, but it is not at all well defined. It is obvious countries are being forced to eat their own tails or they will eat each other alive, and that isn’t much of an option either.

I didn’t say a word about the role of religion. They might want to start that from scratch too or honor those of their inhabitants? That may be one of the ways these communities would establish their identity. The constitution answers that question but allows for areas like the Amish that dominate their traditional geographic area. I don’t think it is necessary for the homestead to be dominated by a religious tradition but sometimes that helps people feel like they all know what they are talking about. I tend to think people can do better than that. The constitution of this country does too.

This country, the states and municipal governments use lower tax rates all the time for profit making enterprises to encourage their growth. They could do the same thing with these communities to encourage outside investment and make the start up period easier for the inhabitants. They may be full of people who otherwise might only collect welfare, may live of shrinking incomes or fixed incomes. I think they should make sure they are not buried alive in investment and product lines meant for the benefit of the manufactures or investors who could sap its goals and strengths before they even get off the ground and who may have no real sympathy for any other aspect of the life of the community but their won bottom line. They should be vetted for participation the way some high-end condos make sure they get only “the right sort”. Otherwise they will not be able to keep the cost of labor and living down and will kill the idea before a stone has been put in place.

Of course, “corruption”, whatever that means, could be so well along, the world dies of gangrene?

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

I made a mistake – It was Brunelleschi’s eggshell. Bramante was involved with St. Peter’s in Rome.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

The first chapter is to address birth control… Or is the failure to address birth control, the reason why ending extreme poverty is so far out of reach?

Posted by StevenMitchell1 | Report as abusive
 

@StebemMitchel- You do that – Send a polite letter (or the “first chapter” of that population control manual) kindly requesting that all those you deem surplus will please responsibly stop having children – and include a big box of rubbers, and diaphragms and even a few sex tips on how to do it without consequences. And pack a few bottle of Viagra while you’re at it, for morale, and maybe they will tell you to mind your own business, if they bother to read it all. The UN is already addressing birth control.

After all, how ignorant of the masses not to appreciate that their way of life threatens your way of life, that can’t seem to use and abuse far more of the planets resources than they could ever dream of and increase the cost of them beyond their reach.

While you’re sending that advice – send one to the people here: that they really don’t need to eat so much food or consume so many resources that they have some of the highest numbers of morbidly obese people on earth, they waste more gasoline for not much of anything productive, and consume massive amounts of metal, lumber, plastic and fabric in so many goods, that yard sales have to be held regularly so people’s here don’t plug up their homes – some of the flimsiest on the planet – like they plug up their arteries, the refuse of which filled up so many landfills it is now expensive to dispose of it.

If life – raw life – the majority of which is non human – had to make a choice between the over stuffed and the barely surviving – whom do you think it would favor?

I know who it will favor: those who can still live like the majority of all life on earth – with little or nothing above it’s most basic needs. There will be no argument about it either because they will not be burdened while those who have too much will loose it all. That is history, especially in a time of crisis or war. Atilla and the Huns knew that 2000 years ago when they saw the ancient “civilized” Romans. The Roman world collapsed and the Huns moved on.

Refugees carry what little they can on their own bodies. Anything else is superfluous. It’s been a long time since this country saw wagon trains and had to decide what was important to stay alive. It happened to the most civilized people on the planet (so they thought) the Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese, not quite 80 years ago.

I’m not writing with a sense of self-righteousness or as one eager to learn this lesson. I just know it is the most raw and basic lesson of life. This country is in no condition anymore to teach itself any lessons and its way of life is seductive but has very little credibility.

The future could well belong to those who aren’t afraid of a few flies, body odors or some dirt on their skin. It usually does. If mankind ever succeeds in making the rest of life on earth irrelevant – it will make it’s own body irrelevant too.

I think you overestimate the developed world’s ability to control or address much of anything now. It’s trapped in its own appetites as the developing world is trapped in its own desperate needs.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

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