Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More in the Box Thinking about Populations...

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
Recently I have had the opportunity to explore some issues involving population of the world questions and so called "stresses on our environment", with possibly more discussions in the near future. I included the quote above since the paradigm of the "Population Bomb" is so ingrained in our conscious mind that we {at least a good number of us have been raised under it} accept anything that comes from so called experts. We have in essence failed to see the underlying forces as to why we see bad news at nearly every turn. We are like the old widow that reads the paper every day and imagines the world outside as one scary place that is only good to hurry back and forth for life's daily needs.

While this is trite and trivial, maybe we have failed to learn for ourselves and to question the prevailing paradigms of our time {or at least to have the right teachers as the beginning quote would suggest}. Although Searching for the Right Passage from Childhood and School By Maurice Gibbons presents a lot of physical manifestations of a quest for young people before their adulthood, there is still the inner and outer "jihad" {struggle in the basic sense}. And each must choose their own path of what is the truth to them.

So instead of dealing with the hundreds of gloom and doom forecasts {e.g. Mega-droughts In Sub-Saharan Africa Normal For Region: Droughts Likely To Worsen With Climate Change or Ocean Dead Zones Likely To Expand: Increasing Carbon Dioxide And Decreasing Oxygen Make It Harder For Deep-sea Animals To Breath or Too many ’straws’ sucking water out of the Colorado River} let me start with the most headline grabbing article that has the "experts" tell us the most pressing problems in the world in the article entitled: Worst Environmental Problem? Overpopulation, Experts Say
Overpopulation is the world’s top environmental issue, followed closely by climate change and the need to develop renewable energy resources to replace fossil fuels, according to a survey of the faculty at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).
Well this non-expert thinks that if you can solve the energy problem {to most people's satisfaction} then it would solve the carbon problem and thus the strain on the environment, thus on casual observation they have the order reversed and was similar to an analysis I came away with nearly 30 years ago.

Overpopulation came out on top, with several professors pointing out its ties to other problems that rank high on the list.

“Overpopulation is the only problem,” said Dr. Charles A. Hall, a systems ecologist. “If we had 100 million people on Earth — or better, 10 million — no others would be a problem.” (Current estimates put the planet’s population at more than six billion.)

Dr. Allan P. Drew, a forest ecologist, put it this way: “Overpopulation means that we are putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than we should, just because more people are doing it and this is related to overconsumption by people in general, especially in the ‘developed’ world.”
I have heard about wacko environmentalists talking about 1 billion or less but 100 or even 10 million starts to get really ridiculous. Even the Americas supported at least 40 million with the most primitive of cultivation methods. Unless the "experts" think the native Americans were ravaging the environment then at least that should provide a basis for what amount is allowed even in their criteria. Honestly I think the world can support 15-20 Billion humans especially if we think in concepts of what the minimum humans consume which is the carbon we expel in breathing and the carbon in the food we eat. Any other resource could be made from dirt.

What I mean by dirt is the fact that the basic chemicals are in the dirt like silica, nitrogen and carbon and everything else is just transformation of the basic building blocks into patterns that would suit human consumption. It is not like nature is really upset that humans have dug something out of the ground that no any other living thing needs.

In addition to what the Natives in North and South America obtained, we also have some other historical numbers to go by what was achievable with the given technologies. According the book by Gillis, the pre-agricultural era that ended about 12,000 years ago achieved less than 100 million world's population. Is he really thinking like Derrick Jensen as we should go back to hunter-gatherers? The transition for settled agriculture to the industrial revolution was around 1.7 billion in 1800. Again if they supported it with just traditional agricultural technology, then why can't man with such advances now do better?

But I do have advice for all people like this, which I affectionately call Pedantic Nihilists, is that they leave this world but be sure to leave all their assets including their chemicals to the government. In that list also includes any human capital that we have deem to be important like systems ecologists and forest ecologists. Of course if we ever do get to this level of numbers of humans then we definitely will have no need for these people and there would not even be a base to support that type of specialty. They would be superfluous.

Of course it would be quite a strange world if the dreams became reality since there is a large degree of synergy and linkages in our technologies we have now and this would push the population closer and closer together until I would imagine a one city world with some outlying "villages" that would be for farming, mining, fishing and other manual hands on work.

Rounding out the top 10 issues on the ESF list are overconsumption, the need for more sustainable practices worldwide, the growing need for energy conservation, the need for humans to see themselves as part of the global ecosystem, overall carbon dioxide emissions, the need to develop ways to produce consumer products from renewable resources, and dwindling fresh water resources.
While that is an interesting list a more practical list is provided by Bjorn Lomborg the Global prioritizer and with The outcome of Copenhagen Consensus 2008. Of course it is interesting that they place Global Warming at position 14th first since they break it down by category. Even that is just trying to increase technology to help low income countries, as Jeffery Sachs would also support. Other than that the other criteria is just mitigating the effects of global warming.

A fairly long article but a good read is: Bound to Burn Humanity will keep spewing carbon into the atmosphere, but good policy can help sink it back into the earth. I do not share the pessimism of the writer on many of the points but the conclusions are well worth the read to build his points on. Which I include a part here:
If we’re truly worried about carbon, we must instead approach it as if the emissions originated in an annual eruption of Mount Krakatoa. Don’t try to persuade the volcano to sign a treaty promising to stop. Focus instead on what might be done to protect and promote the planet’s carbon sinks—the systems that suck carbon back out of the air and bury it. Green plants currently pump 15 to 20 times as much carbon out of the atmosphere as humanity releases into it—that’s the pump that put all that carbon underground in the first place, millions of years ago. At present, almost all of that plant-captured carbon is released back into the atmosphere within a year or so by animal consumers. North America, however, is currently sinking almost two-thirds of its carbon emissions back into prairies and forests that were originally leveled in the 1800s but are now recovering. For the next 50 years or so, we should focus on promoting better land use and reforestation worldwide. Beyond that, weather and the oceans naturally sink about one-fifth of total fossil-fuel emissions. We should also investigate large-scale options for accelerating the process of ocean sequestration.

Gillis, M., D.W. Perkins, M. Roemer and D.R. Snodgrass (1996) Economics of Development, New York and London: W.W. Norton; fourth edition, Chapter 8, Pages 191-219.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste even if it is Krugman's

Tea Parties Forever
By PAUL KRUGMAN Published: April 12, 2009

This is a column about Republicans — and I’m not sure I should even be writing it.

Today’s G.O.P. is, after all, very much a minority party. It retains some limited ability to obstruct the Democrats, but has no ability to make or even significantly shape policy.

Beyond that, Republicans have become embarrassing to watch. And it doesn’t feel right to make fun of crazy people. Better, perhaps, to focus on the real policy debates, which are all among Democrats.

But here’s the thing: the G.O.P. looked as crazy 10 or 15 years ago as it does now. That didn’t stop Republicans from taking control of both Congress and the White House. And they could return to power if the Democrats stumble. So it behooves us to look closely at the state of what is, after all, one of our nation’s two great political parties.

One way to get a good sense of the current state of the G.O.P., and also to see how little has really changed, is to look at the “tea parties” that have been held in a number of places already, and will be held across the country on Wednesday. These parties — antitaxation demonstrations that are supposed to evoke the memory of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution — have been the subject of considerable mockery, and rightly so.
Yes, Paul, you should have stopped at the first sentence instead of sticking both feet in your mouth. You may be a fairly good intellectual in the field of Economics but you clearly show yourself as a political hack. Are you not aware of the party of Dems that has Code Pink for one prime example? Have you been in a cave for the last 8 years and all the anti-war demonstrations as well as 9-11 truthers and the plot to invade Iraq and Afghanistan for oil? Lastly, you must not get any news about San Francisco where you are since you clearly are not aware of the phony outrages over the Marine Recruitment station there. The post {This one is truly prize winning for a Fascist.} is his and my response is below.

And most recently More Unintentionally Humorous Video From the Failed Liberal Tea Parties. But naturally he ignores the fruitcakes in his side of the aisle and concentrates on the Republicans. What a hack.
Thus, President Obama is being called a “socialist” who seeks to destroy capitalism. Why? Because he wants to raise the tax rate on the highest-income Americans back to, um, about 10 percentage points less than it was for most of the Reagan administration. Bizarre.

But the charge of socialism is being thrown around only because “liberal” doesn’t seem to carry the punch it used to. And if you go back just a few years, you find top Republican figures making equally bizarre claims about what liberals were up to. Remember when Karl Rove declared that liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to the 9/11 terrorists?
I can not speak for others but liberals want to take from the rich and give to the poor and socialist want to own everything like Banks and manufacturing and if they can do that bloodlessly then take from the rich and create a socialist state.

The question about rates is direction of the country and a portent to what really may happen. That is he will raise the taxes for all US taxpayers to fund all Obama's giveaways. Instead of class for itself, Americans understand fairness and once you tax to death the successful it is not too long before you tax all signs of success even if it is just marginally. The question you {Krugman} should answer and give econometric reasons why the rate higher 10% is good for society. And there may be plenty of theoretical as well as analysis in econometrics that should help answer this question.

Then there are the claims made at some recent tea-party events that Mr. Obama wasn’t born in America, which follow on earlier claims that he is a secret Muslim. Crazy stuff — but nowhere near as crazy as the claims, during the last Democratic administration, that the Clintons were murderers, claims that were supported by a campaign of innuendo on the part of big-league conservative media outlets and figures, especially Rush Limbaugh.
Made by whom? Pretty sloppy as no name. It could be a plant or misinterpretation or just some fool that showed up. You don't think there are plenty of fools in the Democratic party?

Going back to those tea parties, Mr. DeLay, a fierce opponent of the theory of evolution — he famously suggested that the teaching of evolution led to the Columbine school massacre — also foreshadowed the denunciations of evolution that have emerged at some of the parties.
I will defer to this post about that portion: We Farm Out The Krugman-Bashing (And Help Truth Get Its Boots On).

Last but not least: it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.

But that’s nothing new, and AstroTurf has worked well for Republicans in the past. The most notable example was the “spontaneous” riot back in 2000 — actually orchestrated by G.O.P. strategists — that shut down the presidential vote recount in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.
It seems that Republicans are only taking a page out of the Left Wing Wacko Billionaires for Democrats. Have you ever heard of George Soros and ACORN, or do you live in a cave? Yes, a few people that stormed an office 8 years ago. You have anything more recently as I certainly do for the Left wing wackos.

For now, the Obama administration gains a substantial advantage from the fact that it has no credible opposition, especially on economic policy, where the Republicans seem particularly clueless.

But as I said, the G.O.P. remains one of America’s great parties, and events could still put that party back in power. We can only hope that Republicans have moved on by the time that happens.
Yes, the Democrats are in power so why don't you be creative instead of showing your "concerned Troll" impressions especially since you have no balanced analysis of anything in politics. Even most conservative economists give advice to both sides of the aisle and other ideologies like Milton Friedman visits to Chile and China.

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