The scenes where main character Theo Faron (Clive Owen) is on the really nice buses, and there is classical music playing in the background, while outside the window there is so much poverty really resonated with me.
I've lived in SF going on 6 years now. My apt complex has private buses that run from here to FDi in the morning and evening. The route sometimes changes but a lot of the time we would go thru the heart of the TL. I'd be half asleep comfortably siting on this Bauer's bus, usually listening to something like Aphex Twin's Select Ambient Works, so not the classic music, but still I would sit there in this amazingly privileged situation and look out the window to all this poverty and despair. It constantly reminded me of this movie.
I worked at Apple for a while, and the same thing, yet instead of my apt complex, it was dozens of Apple buses, shuttling 1000s of people for all over the bay area, and again on the way i'd see so much that really made me think about the current affairs of lots of things that's going crazy in our small little part of the world.
I've since left Apple and joined to a small startup near Union Square/FDi area. I still live in the same apt complex, and they still have the buses running every 15-20 min in the morning, but i don't ride them any more.
I walk the 2 miles everyday to and back from work, and I love it. For so many reasons I love it. One big reason is I don't want to be shielded or sheltered from the real world going on around us. I don't want to deal with the shit on the sidewalk or the craziness that exists in between my spot and my work, but i also don't want to pretend it doesn't exist and try and ignore it.
Sometimes it can be very annoying, hell even scary. But also, A few times it's been amazing rewarding to help someone for 5 minutes. All sorts of little things, I've helped people that can't get their wheelchair from the street onto the sidewalk, or helping the elderly man trying to pick up a heavy box of fruit delivery for his corner store I walk past.
I've had to explain this to some friends that live in apt complex. They take the bus daily and asked why I don't ride it any more, and again it all comes back to the bus scene from Children Of Men.
It's horrible future, but a future to come if people dont "want nothing to do with it", it being the very reality that they have diced a 6 on, and somebody lesser fortunate being born beyond the wall has diced a 1 on, only guilty of having another mother and father.
Some say it's a future only distant in the eyes of the rich. I think that is, sadly, very much true.
We have that in the UK, some of the poorest areas are council estates, lots of people never have to go onto them and have little to no incite into the lives of the people who live there, I grew up 'poor' (by the standards of the UK, not talking living in a shanty town or anything) and it leaves a mark on your thought processes that never entirely goes away.
Things are getting much worse here, 6 years of austerity has removed many of the services that poor/disabled people rely on gone or in a perilous state but there isn't widespread anger about it because it has dis-proportionally hit the least 'powerful' in our society the hardest.
Frankly I think we are headed down (if not already some way down) a very dark path and I wouldn't blame the people who are hit by this in the slightest for rioting/rebelling.
Society should be about making sure that the poorest members have at least a decent standard of living otherwise what is it for.
I can't change anything. I can't help them. It's not my responsibility. I'm out and I want to put as much distance between myself and that as possible.
I think wealthy "first worlders" tend to be very "aware" of poverty and want to make a difference despite being quite far removed from it.
On the other hand in countries with serious poverty where the middle class live in the same communities as those in desperate poverty there is a lot less focus and sympathy.
Being aware of suffering in the world and living with a minimum of class segregation are orthogonal concepts, or maybe even inversely coupled, with the comforts of segregation helping superficial salon socialist ideas.
But the way I understand the root post (grandparent or deeper), the idea of avoiding the segregated bus is not directly about helping, it is just a routine reminder that the people outside the bus are persons. Maybe with their individual flaws and imperfections, but not the fearsome mass of zombies or orcs that they become in the eyes of those who spend too much time in comfortable isolation. Fear is difficult to get rid of once it is there, but it can be trivial to not allow it to start.
Can you explain that emotion to me? Why is walking through a relatively poor district and generally being a decent neighbour "saviour complex" just because the person doing it is richer?
Having grown up in poverty, been homeless for a summer, walked home past homeless people every day for years, and now a well-paid engineer in a nice city, I understand the questioning rage, wishing there was someone there to ease your burden. But I also recognize that direct charity prevents or delays people from finding a better solution, or even just having the dignity of knowing they've done the best they can for themselves.
In a sea of inequality, there is no peace, only calms between the storms. Making everyone equal is a laudable goal, but a more realistic goal is simply ensuring everyone has a rewarding and fulfilling life, and we still have a long way to go with that one.
I also recognize that direct charity prevents or delays people from finding a better solution
You may claim that, but don't try to pass your opinion off as some universal truth that you 'recognize' while other people can't.
Employ homeless people.
Give a homeless person a break. Maybe just ignore them in their shelter. They must do everything in public, for they rarely have a private space. They can't afford the luxury of choosing which actions others may view.
Learn how communities in your area address the homeless people who live there. Remember that homeless people do still live somewhere. This is not a part of their life they will be proud of, but it's not the end of their life, not a permanent placement.
What about something like this instead?
There is a program by which they distribute a magazine, mainly about the homeless life, and in theory with articles written by them.
It's still a begging of sort, so not as good as a proper job, but I've always felt it was much more dignified than panhandling.
And from the other side, it gives you the idea that people handing out the newspaper are at least putting in some effort
rather than just sitting on the corner (not saying they'd do, just talking fo perception).
One reason is that my background gives me a realistic (as opposed to hysterical) view of the suffering and danger in these areas. I'm not deathly afraid to get mugged, and if it happens to me yet again it's not the end of the world. And I can see past the grimy streets and homelessness to the camaraderie and warmth. I chat with random people on the bus and in the shops, and enjoy a simple friendliness which stands in marked contrast to the chilly self-conscious distance which seems to be the norm in the gentrified areas where I usually find myself.
Also, given my upbringing, I need to spend some time in such areas to maintain some feeling of rootedness. The more time I spend in gentrified areas (and I do enjoy the style and amenities!), the more I feel some drive to be surrounded by simpler, less self-conscious people and things. It feels nourishing. And I know it's probably not rational, but what's the harm?
I've experienced "first-world poverty", and it sucks. The solution isn't to plug our privileged tech worker ears and pretend "the poors" don't exist. The solution is to get involved with our communities, by helping the old man at the convenience store, helping the wheelchair man up the curb, and talking to the homeless who spend their entire day on the sidewalk getting ignored by everyone caught up in the rat race.
Shame on you.
Starting and ending your comment in the way you did is almost guaranteed to invoke a negative, defensive reaction from the commenter which will only further drive divisiveness (which you presumably espouse).
Also, instead of just stating the solution, try explaining WHY the solution works.
Based on what we know, it's possible that he simply believes any poor person can escape poverty through hard work and tenacity. This belief (though arguably incorrect) is supported by his personal experience. And, the idea of someone 'pitying' or feeling 'guilt' for someone in his former position is detestable because it suggests that they think they're better than him.
I want to make it clear that I don't agree with this perspective, and don't believe it's constructive. However, I don't believe we need to be publicly shaming people when we can be having constructive conversation. Instead, I think we should be trying to understand where people are coming from, and discussing ideas openly. A person's character really has no place in a discussion of ideas.
If you want to help the poor, work harder and give the extra money you make to good charities. That is not going to solve the problem, either, but it will improve things more than anything else you could do in the same amount of time. The direct personal involvement you seek only serves to benefit you, at the expense of greater possible material improvements for them.
If that sounds inhuman, that's because our moral intuition, like so much of our instinct, does not scale. What is good for a single poor man is not necessarily best for poverty as a social problem.
I've never heard this phrase used out of genuine concern for those in poverty. It's just another way of saying "don't make me feel guilty by reminding me that it exists".
The condescending presumption behind the phrase seems to be that those in poverty would actually prefer it if you hid behind your gated community.
I think the most likely belief set here is that it's possible for any poor person to escape poverty through hard work and tenacity. This belief (though arguably incorrect) is supported by his personal experience. Furthermore, because he's proud of his struggle and achievement, the idea of someone 'pitying' or feeling 'guilt' for someone in his former position is detestable because it suggests that they think they're better than him.
In this light, he is not a cynic. Rather, in a sense, he is an extreme optimist and someone who is very proud of where he came from.
This is ALL speculation. My main point is that we should remain open minded in discussion and not make moral judgements on others when they are unsubstantiated (e.g. you "should really" assess your own inner self) i.e. i really think something is fundamentally wrong with you.
We had transportation to the local office and I saw much the same as you, but in way worse conditions.
It affected me just the same as you. I didn't last very long before taking a remote assignment and going back home.
Second, treating the world as a software project gives us a rationale for being selfish. The old adage has it that if you are given ten minutes to cut down a tree, you should spend the first five sharpening your axe. We are used to the idea of bootstrapping ourselves into a position of maximum leverage before tackling a problem.
In the real world, this has led to a pathology where the tech sector maximizes its own comfort. You don't have to go far to see this. Hop on BART after the conference and take a look at Oakland, or take a stroll through downtown San Francisco and try to persuade yourself you're in the heart of a boom that has lasted for forty years. You'll see a residential theme park for tech workers, surrounded by areas of poverty and misery that have seen no benefit and ample harm from our presence. We pretend that by maximizing our convenience and productivity, we're hastening the day when we finally make life better for all those other people.
if you visit San Francisco, [the poverty] is something you're likely to find unsettling. You'll see people living in the streets, many of them mentally ill, yelling and cursing at imaginary foes. You'll find every public space designed to make it difficult and uncomfortable to sit down or sleep, and that people sit down and sleep anyway. You'll see human excrement on the sidewalks, and a homeless encampment across from the city hall. You'll find you can walk for miles and not come across a public toilet or water fountain.
If you stay in the city for any length of time, you'll start to notice other things. Lines outside every food pantry and employment office. Racially segregated neighborhoods where poverty gets hidden away, even in the richest parts of Silicon Valley. A city bureaucracy where everything is still done on paper, slowly. A stream of constant petty crime by the destitute. Public schools that no one sends their kids to if they can find an alternative. Fundraisers for notionally public services.
You can't even get a decent Internet connection in San Francisco.
The tech industry is not responsible for any of these problems. But it's revealing that through forty years of unimaginable growth, and eleven years of the greatest boom times we've ever seen, we've done nothing to fix them. I say without exaggeration that the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 did more for San Francisco than Google, Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest of the tech companies that have put down roots in the city since.
Despite being at the center of the technology revolution, the Bay Area has somehow failed to capture its benefits.
It's not that the city's social problems are invisible to the programming class. But in some way, they're not important enough to bother with. Why solve homelessness in one place when you can solve it everywhere? Why fix anything locally, if the solutions can scale?
And so we end up making life easier for tech workers, assuming that anything we do to free up their time will make them more productive at fixing the world for the rest of humanity.
This is trickle-down economics of the worst kind.
In the process, we've turned our city into a a residential theme park, with a whole parallel world of services for the rich.
There are luxury commuter buses to take us to work, private taxis, valet parking, laundry and housecleaning startups that abstract human servants behind a web interface. We have a service sector that ensures instant delivery of any conceivable consumer good, along with some pretty inconceivable ones.
There are no fewer than seven luxury mattress startups. There's a startup to pay your neighbor to watch your packages for you.
My favorite is a startup you can pay to move your trash bins, once a week, three meters to the curb.
If at the height of boom times we can look around and not address the human crisis of our city, then when are we ever going to do it? And if we're not going to contribute to our own neighborhoods, to making the places we live in and move through every day convenient and comfortable, then what are we going to do for the places we don't ever see?
You wouldn't hire someone who couldn't make themselves a sandwich to be the head chef in your restaurant.
You wouldn't hire a gardener whose houseplants were all dead.
But we expect that people will trust us to reinvent their world with software even though we can't make our own city livable.
>In the real world, this has led to a pathology where the tech sector maximizes its own comfort. You don't have to go far to see this. Hop on BART after the conference and take a look at Oakland, or take a stroll through downtown San Francisco and try to persuade yourself you're in the heart of a boom that has lasted for forty years. You'll see a residential theme park for tech workers, surrounded by areas of poverty and misery that have seen no benefit and ample harm from our presence. We pretend that by maximizing our convenience and productivity, we're hastening the day when we finally make life better for all those other people.
This wasn't programmers' fault. It wasn't robots. It wasn't automation. It wasn't the fault of boomers. It wasn't the fault of millenials. It wasn't the fault of "us" in any sense.
It was the fault of the same American oligarchy who conspired to suppress American wages across the country, including those of programmers: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/03/google-apple-tech-tit...
I'm quite sure they are. It's convenient to paint Silicon Valley tech workers as generally self-absorbed, complacent and pampered. The thing is people criticising this behaviour, activists and politicians are often as much - or even all the more so - to blame.
Maciej mentions a city bureaucracy where everything is still done on paper. This is just one symptom of the issues underlying both poverty and other social problems: Societal change moves at a glacial pace, especially when compared with the technological progress of recent decades. Agents and stakeholders often are not just not susceptive to change, they're more often than not actively fighting it because change might endanger their position or job.
Many of the issues mentioned - while not solvable immediately and completely - could indeed be alleviated to quite some extent today. However, it's not because of the ignorance of tech workers who couldn't care less that these problems remain unsolved. It's due to the inertia, incompetence and ignorance of politicians and civil servants. It's also due to the indifference of the electorate at large.
Effecting significant political change is incredibly hard, especially in the congealed, largely adversarial two-party political system of the US. It's no wonder young, intelligent and skilled people much rather turn to solving technological problems or try to solve every problem with technology than go into politics in order to solve problems the old-fashioned way: With technology you stand a much larger chance to change the world in a positive manner.
People keep saying that these issues can't be solved by technology. It seems however that the current political system is incapable of solving them as well. Perhaps technology is the key to forcing political systems to adapt more quickly. Liquid democracy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delegative_democracy ), devolution of power to the local level, decentralisation, a basic income. Those are promising approaches enabled by technology that could play a large part in solving eminent social problems.
The remainder of your comment seems to be exactly what he's complaining about. Problem: poverty sucks. Solution: Let's computerize city hall! Problem: politics is hard. Solution: Let's wait until magic technology makes it easy.
Pure self interest isn't a difficult vector to map. The results are predictable and repeatable.
"Taxation is theft!"
The last movie I watched in the treatre is Clint Eastwood's "Sully" and I distinctly remember the main character using a chronologically appropoaite Samsung flip phone and that single prop instantly dates the movie to the first decade of the 20th century. Just as much as Pulp Fiction is locked in the early 90s with Vincent Vega pulling the antenna out of his Motorola brick phone in one exaggerated motion, albeit these choices are probably intentional.
Some long running manga series take another approach by quietly giving its cast the latest gear despite the timeline moving at a much slower pace. It works until you start revisiting the earlier episodes and get reminded of how old the series really is with its depiction of personal electronics.
Gibson knows a thing or two about seeing their scifi becoming dated, of course. The famous opening line, "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" no longer resonates with anyone born the last 20 years or so (although for a number of years, many digital TVs would display blue for missing input).
There's also some fun stuff about people physically carrying information (this also happens in short story "Johnny Mnemonic"). For a world where there's a highly connected, super fast worldwide computer network available, people sure travel around a lot.
-- Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere. (In an intentional homage to Neuromancer.)
On another tangent: Gibson wrote, in an afterword in an early-1990s digital edition of Neuromancer, that he had never owned, nor even used, a computer until some years after he wrote the book. He noted that:
> Neuromancer and its two sequels are not about computers. They may pretend, at times, and often rather badly, to be about computers, but really they're about technology in some broader sense. Personally, I suspect they're actually about Industrial Culture; about what we do with machines, what machines do with us, and how wholly unconscious (and usually unlegislated) this process has been, is, and will be. Had I actually known a great deal (by 1981 standards) about real computing, I doubt very much I would (or could) have written Neuromancer.
Sneakernet isn't an irrelevant concept in any sort of context where data transferred through a computer network can be intercepted.
But if they just want to destroy the data, that just makes the security distinction even less relevant, as destroying his head with contents would solve the issue whether it's in his brain or on a foreign object in his head.
On a more realistic note, what is the maximum microsdxc card capacity of a human rectum?
As far as microsd cards -- I think you'd be able to 'keister' many many terabytes. They are so tiny and so thin, I'd guess hundreds would fit.
But, sneakernets are relevant because the internet is slower.
Even if you have perfect faith that it's currently impossible to crack TLS (and you probably shouldn't), they might record the stream and crack it in the future, having tools you can't even imagine currently.
when reading that my mind conjures a gray sky, but then again when I was young TVs displayed static if you turned them to a dead channel, not solid blue...
This is a thing, though. https://aws.amazon.com/snowball/
Or if you have 100PB: https://aws.amazon.com/snowmobile/
I think I like your idea of hot RAM containing data better now.
Firmly establishing in those opening lines not only the future setting of Neuromancer but also the era of analog electronics it was written in will be of great benefit to future readers.
I'm sure you are aware that "the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" is not blue - right?
> There are production design elements from the ’50s on up to modern day. [...] if you show a specific smartphone now, it dates it. It’s too real for the movie. It would bother me anyway. So we made one up. And all of that is really just to create the effect of a dream—to place it outside of time, and to make people wonder about where they are.
Directors and designers could start using flat blue devices so that interfaces can be re-imagined, in 2-D, or 3-D, and composited in future re-masterings. I like the non-desript tri-fold devices in Westworld. Kudos to the 2001 team for getting imagining tablet interfaces although that did not sway the jury Samsung vs Apple iPad case.
It's supposed to take place in 2019.
Much different when you're watching a 1990's film that purports to display life in 2020, 2050, or 2100. Then the use of 1990's technology in the film is a true anachronism.
: At least under Stallman's definition of nonfree: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.en.html#Creati...
Mainly it's just one more reason that I'm still upset at TV Tropes for relicensing things I wrote without my consent. They took a lot of things that used to be community property, and decided that they should be the only ones to make money off of it. And they've gotten away with it because none of their users really know copyright law. I guess really, it's because sometimes ideology matters.
It's not really about population -- it's about having no future, which is something a lot of people constantly worry about.
World population is decellerating at a rapid pace and will begin decreasing within decades. It's painfully obvious to anybody who looks at the numbers. But science fiction has convinced everyone otherwise.
Just look at all the countries with programs trying to entice their citizens to start families and make babies. Governments know its going to be a catastrophe.
Our governments spend money at a rate that only a larger population in the future can afford to pay for. If families aren't producing above the replacement rate, we're doomed.
Was it also painfully obvious that USSR was going to break up and Russia would have stalled with population growth?
None of the current trends made sense 30 yrs ago. And in 30 yrs there could be major geopolitical changes that would make current projections useless.
European economies would simply collapse without population growth to feed social security. And aging populations are a ridiculously undesirable outcome for any country
Current projections aren't useless. The higher your socioeconomic status, the lower your fertility rate, period. The correlation couldn't be clearer. Geopolitical events could cause temporary changes but obviously wouldn't change the underlying trend. Bringing up the existence of Black Swans to disprove trends is logically flawed.
So there's a clear downwards pressure on fertility rates, in the West, which includes propaganda about "overpopulation" that obviously quite a few people believe in, and that guides their decisions; it also includes socioeconomic improvements. What possible trend could act as an upward pressure?
Is there anything more pathological (psychologically-speaking) than the belief that humans are themselves a pathology
Only in a portion of Western culture that has very similar cultural and religious values and also incidentally responsible for a relatively rich middle class.
So your predictions are contingent on the assumption that the culture won't change or that specific religions wouldn't be more prevalent.
Rebuked again and again and again each time we reached the previous "unsustainable" threshold.
Global population isn't evenly distributed. Some countries and areas are definitely overpopulated.
What constitutes overpopulation can vary according to climate and economic changes. Just look at Syria, where unprecedented drought caused 75% of the country's farms to fail, led to mass migration from rural areas to cities, and ultimately to civil war and significant depopulation.
"Our governments spend money at a rate that only a larger population in the future can afford to pay for. If families aren't producing above the replacement rate, we're doomed."
No, it's a myth that populations need to be perpetually growing in order to maintain economic growth. Growth can also be achieved through technological development.
Developments in Robotics, AI, etc will improve labour productivity, meaning we can continue to raise living standards without necessarily increasing population in perpetuity.
The other thing worth noting is that economic growth, socially liberal (historically speaking) attitudes towards sex and gender equality, and sustainable population all go hand in hand. On the economic side of things, there's a fairly well established 'demographic transition' model that suggests that when a society reaches (roughly) a 'first-world' level of development, population growth tends towards 0: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8c/De...
Put simply, one of the best things we can do if we're concerned about overpopulation is to aid economic development in the 'third-world'.
Do you mean the West, or for example Africa? The West is often brought up, but it's below replacement level. Africa will definitely have problems, and we need to a) bring them safe, effective birth control, so they can make their own choices, and b) solve infant mortality.
The goal should be 2.0 fertility rates everywhere. "Overpopulation" isn't even remotely a problem anywhere in the West, the opposite is.
>What constitutes overpopulation can vary according to climate and economic changes. Just look at Syria, where unprecedented drought caused 75% of the country's farms to fail, led to mass migration from rural areas to cities, and ultimately to civil war and significant depopulation.
1) You haven't established that the Syrian population was "too high for its natural carrying capacity", which is a normative and not positive statement. A drought doesn't necessarily signify that. This is a social and political problem (did they not receive pensions?), not an overpopulation problem.
2) Are you arguing that, because many died as a result of the drought, many shouldn't have been born in the first place? Seems circular.
>No, it's a myth that populations need to be perpetually growing in order to maintain economic growth. Growth can also be achieved through technological development.
Many countries in the West are below replacement levels. That carries its own problems. The people campaigning against overpopulation seem to also be targeting the West, which I find absurd.
I guess it depends how we define overpopulation.
I'd argue that overpopulation is a problem in, for example, England. Not in the sense that there isn't enough food, of course, but in the sense that high population density negatively affects quality of life, harms the natural environment, and results in poor, overcrowded, and unhealthy living conditions for many people.
Much of Africa, on the other hand, is not densely populated at all compared to Western Europe or East Asia.
"Many countries in the West are below replacement levels. That carries its own problems."
It does if we end up with a significantly top-heavy population chart, with not enough economically active young people to support the elderly. But slowing or stopping population growth does not mean an end to economic growth.
A steady population is a good goal to aim for, but that doesn't mean we should be afraid of falling populations in some areas. If we can return some areas to nature, reducing the environmental footprint of our species while maintaining and improving our quality of life, then that's a good thing.
It should technically be slightly above that to replace the portion of the population that dies before baring two kids.
One thing the movie (unintentionally) got right was how absurd this is. It really ruined the movie to me, TBH, because it was laughably implausible. Reproduction is what life does best.
I'll obviously have to watch again for the world building....
Recent years have seen many similar reports of falling human sperm counts, but there has been much debate over whether the problem is real. “The principal trouble has been selection bias,” says Joëlle Le Moal, an environmental health epidemiologist at the Institut de Veille Sanitaire in Saint Maurice, France, and joint first author of the new article with colleague Matthieu Rolland. She explains that few studies have involved sperm samples collected from randomly selected members of the general population; for the few that did, only a small percentage of men agreed to be included, and the studies were run in restricted areas. So most studies have had to rely on sperm donors or couples coming to fertility clinics, which do not represent the general population.
That article focuses on France, which is rarely counted among developing worlds. The second article is paywalled. The third two could easily be considered Submarine Articles for male supplements and stimulants.
Sometimes the technical reason is less important than the outcome.
Also, on the 30th they are screening Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm as well. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed in 70mm
2.20:1 Super Panavision, and is IMO, even more than 2001, worth seeing in 70mm.
It's also one of those rare occasions where the movie is far better than the original book. Book is ok, film is outstanding.
Even the smaller roles are well cast and executed. Charlie Hunnam is almost unrecognisable as the dreadlocked villain Patric. Peter Mullan does a fantastic turn as the brutal Syd.
The writing took the source material and squeezed far more emotion and drama out of it than was in there. Throwaway lines hint at so much untold story. There's a scene where Theo goes to visit his cousin to try and get travel documents. He has Michelangelo's David in the hallway of his office, and he talks off-handedly about "that thing in madrid was a real blow to art" or something. There's this whole backstory in there about the UK government trying to salvage the artworks of europe from the decay of civilisation, but we only get a hint of it. Perfectly understated. Always stayed with me.
I feel Children of Men succeeds because all of its elements - the direction, acting, art direction, writing, score, editing & cinematography - come together so well.
There are many films that get some of these elements right, far fewer nail all of them.
Strictly speaking there's a cut hidden in the middle of it somewhere.
And yet I have economic quibbles!
In an actual fertility collapse, a highly-developed country like the UK would have an immense surplus of infrastructure, housing, machinery, etc – capital – compared to the dwindling number of new, young workers. Immigrants (of all ages, cultures, and skill levels) could become incredibly economically valuable. In comparison, reliable 'guard labor' to try to hunt and confine immigrants would become very expensive.
Compare, for example, the depopulation of the 'Black Death' in Europe in the 1300's. For those who survived, wages and opportunity grew, and attempts to enforce older rules which bound people to undesirable situations collapsed. Wikipedia suggests that "[p]lague brought an eventual end of Serfdom in Western Europe":
It's not as one-sided as that. Many of the immigrants in the book are essentially 'terrorists', there was a funeral march by a group that is essentially Hamas in the film. Hamas are point-blank terrorists, though they are also a political group.
A 'world on fire' with millions of people flooding into the 'small, stable area' definitely represent a threat to that stability at least on some level.
It's more nuanced take. Almost everyone is a good guy / bad guy, and there is a lot of violence ... in that state, it's hard to have an easy moral compass.
It also felt a bit like '28 days'; after about half-way it went low-budget and lost it's way story-wise.
If you haven't seen it, find some time over Christmas to do so. Won't exactly get you into a holiday spirit though...
Perhaps it's one on a technicality, in much the same way Die Hard is. But it's definitely not what most people think of when somebody says "it's a Christmas movie."
It's also my favourite opening lines of any film:
> Newsreader: Day 1,000 of the Siege of Seattle.
> Newsreader: The Muslim community demands an end to the Army's occupation of mosques.
> Newsreader: The Homeland Security bill is ratified. After eight years, British borders will remain closed. The deportation of illegal immigrants will continue. Good morning. Our lead story.
What a way to set the scene
(On a side note, I just finished reading Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower, which resonantes with today's world in a similar way.)
Actually, I lived around the corner from one of the locations in the film, and remember the film crew coming in and cleaning up the pretty disgusting real filth (human excrement, used needles, etc.) and painting over the real graffiti, replacing it with cleaner pretend filth (scrunched up newspapers and the like) and safer pretend graffiti.
Their problem is not couples trying to conceive and failing, but people choosing not to have children.
Which does not prevent it from being a problem. Government policy can change that. Not forcing teenagers to go $150.000 in debt and to have a career to repay that until they're in their 30s would be the bare minimum.
But a fertile body can influence the mind in all sorts of ways -- changing hormones can modify sexual desire, for example.
In fact, global population will likely peak around 2050, and then start falling, which will be a whole new crisis. People will look back at overpopulation fears and laugh.
A rapid fall in population would be problematic, but a steady state or slow gradual decline would be beneficial - and perhaps environmentally necessary.
Obviously you need to ensure there are enough young people to support and care for the elderly, so population can't be too top-heavy. But improving technology (robots, AI) should reduce the need for labour without compromising living standards.
Like for example, look at this Haiti plot: https://knoema.com/atlas/Haiti/Population-density
It is already 1.5x more dense than Germany. 3x more dense than China. Would it stop? When?
Why is Switzerland 9x more dense than Ireland? Is population of Ireland expected to eventually grow to that of Switzerland?
Ironically, of course, the only workable solution to the demographic crises in Europe and Japan is immigration. Otherwise, pension responsibilities will overwhelm the working-age population and the whole society will collapse.
Staving off a demographic crisis using mass migration of middle class people from developing nations is a bit like staving off a petrochemical crisis by fracking or digging up national parks for coal. You're just shifting the problem to another time period and making irreversible changes to your country. It's not at all sustainable.
Global population will peak, so eventually every country will have to come to terms with an ageing population. In many ways, Japan is trail blazer here while the west has its head in the sand.
Yet there are demographers who very much worry about it. They sometimes call it the "demographic winter".
The decrease of birth rates is already observed in most developed countries, and it does not turn into population decline mostly because of immigration, so this kind of reflects to what is described in the movie, even if the movie shows an extreme version of it with a supernatural element (the sudden halt of worldwide fertility).
I do think the author's premise is a little shoddy though. Broad similarities between the state of the world in 2006 when the film was made and today aren't all that shocking. In 2006 the world was far along the path of globalization set forth through policies developed after the fall of the Berlin Wall and championed by essentially every US president and their allies since. The author does allude to this when he writes "In 2006, all of this seemed plausible enough, but perhaps a little strident, a little over-the-top." I agree that in 2006 most (myself included) probably didn't think that globalization would face the challenges that it does today as quickly and dramatically as it has over the last two years. That being said, that nationalistic and discriminatory behavior and actions can result from decades of globalization and tolerance seems more a reflection of a natural (if not unfortunate) pendulum swing between two approaches on opposite ends of the spectrum. Any particular power of foresight on the part of the screenwriters/filmmakers seems to me like a stretch, although the author seems to insinuate this to be the case.
Maybe I'm thinking too much...the movie is really awesome and I need to watch again.
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