Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Overactive Humanity

A new report describes how human activity is degrading the planet. Even if we discount the effects of climate destabilization (or even if we assume it is natural and not anthropogenic), the other impacts of human overactivity are quickly undermining the Earth’s ability to support life, including humanity.

Politicos argue that more and more economic growth is needed to lift the majority of humanity out of poverty, but that is trickle-down nonsense. There is plenty of wealth in the world; the problem is maldistribution. If rich nations stopped ripping off poor nations and if wealth were redistributed fairly around the world, there would be plenty to go around.

A further problem is that human activity has already exceeded planetary scale. We are like a grossly fat person who is eating himself out of house and home, and can’t fit into his clothes any more but has no larger sizes to wear. The world economy must be scaled down, and people must be encouraged to have smaller families (note I say “encouraged,” not “forced”). If the tremendous amount of wealth in the world is redistributed, everyone could at least get out of poverty and live with dignity. Better that everyone have the bare minimum of a dignified life, than a few living in luxury and the rest of humanity in squalor and poverty, which is what we now have.

I live in the midst of mind-boggling waste and extravagance. It’s obscene, but it continues because people in the developed nations have been given a false sense of entitlement by their leaders. “I am not a redistribution Democrat,” intoned John Kerry, one of America’s finest, indicating that he and his Republicrat brethren have no intention of redistributing wealth even within their own country. So you can bet that Third-World slum dwellers and peasants have precious little chance of advancing their station without a new politics.

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