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 The Myth of progress

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Heretic

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PostSubject: The Myth of progress   5/21/2009, 3:52 am

Via Jared Diamond in the NYTimes:

Quote :
Per capita consumption rates in China are still about 11 times below ours, but let’s suppose they rise to our level. Let’s also make things easy by imagining that nothing else happens to increase world consumption — that is, no other country increases its consumption, all national populations (including China’s) remain unchanged and immigration ceases. China’s catching up alone would roughly double world consumption rates. Oil consumption would increase by 106 percent, for instance, and world metal consumption by 94 percent.

If India as well as China were to catch up, world consumption rates would triple. If the whole developing world were suddenly to catch up, world rates would increase elevenfold. It would be as if the world population ballooned to 72 billion people (retaining present consumption rates).

Some optimists claim that we could support a world with nine billion people. But I haven’t met anyone crazy enough to claim that we could support 72 billion. Yet we often promise developing countries that if they will only adopt good policies — for example, institute honest government and a free-market economy — they, too, will be able to enjoy a first-world lifestyle. This promise is impossible, a cruel hoax: we are having difficulty supporting a first-world lifestyle even now for only one billion people.

We Americans may think of China’s growing consumption as a problem. But the Chinese are only reaching for the consumption rate we already have. To tell them not to try would be futile.

At what point can we finally recognize that it's system that's failing us, and not the people?

And this could explain some of the hostility throughout the world that's directed towards to US. We go to great lengths to export the America brand Life all over the world with the false promise "You can to!" And when such promise of such rampant overconsumption fails to materialize despite their efforts, disappointment quickly turns to anger and then resentment and violence.
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