Uttar Pradesh, the quintessential Indian state that 200* million people call home, along with another 200 million in the Hindi-Urdu heartland, has always had abundance of natural resources but its utter mismanagement has led to an unprecedented ecological crisis that no one in the political setup seems to be bothered about; and that may be since they continue to grapple with challenges of heavy population, unemployment, casteism, and near absence of law and order in every fabric of the society. Most of its major cities are on the verge of collapse, whilst the elites along with the politicians have cornered an enormous amount of wealth for themselves at the expense of the environment and the people; unlike in 2000s China, where the distribution of wealth seemed more fair, in comparison.
I think, India and Pakistan (I was astonished at the very similarity of what's happening to India's biggest states like Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, and Punjab; and Pakistan's Punjab and Sindh) and most other tropical countries favouring unabated development at the cost of the environment are going to end up in a very sorry state that's going to get worse along an exponential curve for entities with larger than sustainable populations.
I don't understand at all the increasing rents, property prices amidst the impending crisis. Given that, especially, only a handful hoard most of the wealth and could afford buying or renting at today's rates.
India is being held hostage in a prison of corruption by greed, will promptly be taken to the altar of doom by ignorance, where civil unrest will have a final swing of the sword culling the Virus, as Agent Smith would put it.
But now even the leader of this party has a huge corruption case against him, so he tries to change the laws to save his ass, by making corruption legal. In the last 12 months he changed 3 prime ministers (all from his party, absurd as it seems) because even they were afraid to do the illegalities he demands. He's a joke and we can't get rid of him. Why can't he directly take the PM seat? Because he has already been condemned for corruption in a past case, so he's barred. He can still lead by proxy, though.
Sometimes I think old people shouldn't be allowed to vote because they got little time left and don't care much for the rest of us (the future they won't get to see), so they'll gladly sell our futures for a modicum raise in their pensions. If you vote, you should be held to the reality of what you voted on. It's unfair to vote and die soon (same thing happened in UK where old people voted out and young people are left with the consequences).
Your example of the UK gives away the problem. Lots of young people voted in, because they naively believed the predictions of catastrophe and doom that were being announced at max volume by the academic and governmental elites. Older people who perhaps remembered their long history of failed economic forecasting were less worried. Who was right? The older people were - the forecasts that were made in the run up to the referendum have by and large been systematically proven wrong since then, to the extent that senior members of government and business are openly stating the forecasters at the Treasury and Bank of England have no credibility and should be ignored.
The other elements of the forecast are coming, they're just following on a time lag because they're dependent on choices getting locked in. The not so funny thing about Brexit is that it's like a game of chicken: the market doesn't believe Britain will choose drive off the cliff edge, so it hasn't priced in the damage; but that lack of pricing information makes it more likely Britain will drive off the edge.
It's one situation where markets might ironically be ill-suited to judge because of feedback effects. The worse the outcome, the less likely the market is to believe it, which sustains the delusion that it won't be bad.
But even if you were right about that, Article 50 was invoked and no insta-recession occurred.
Regardless of how you try and slice it the consensus of economists was wrong, 100% and completely wrong. There is no way to deny it.
The other elements of the forecast are coming
Wrong, totally wrong. Go read the Treasury's actual forecast:
New Treasury analysis shows a vote to leave the EU would tip Britain’s economy into a year-long recession.
Speaking at B&Q in Eastleigh, Hampshire, the Prime Minister and Chancellor set out the Treasury’s analysis of the impact on the nation’s economy over the immediate period of two years following a vote to leave.
Do you see that - vote to leave. Very clear. There was a vote to leave. Their predictions did not come true. My point remains.
I’ve heard many arguments on how brexit is not going to be a disaster and many which say it’s going to be great.
The fact is that any exit from the EU will add friction to transactions with its closest geographic partner which it did not have before.
So the best option is that either the brits become a stepping stone for some world power (America/China).
And since recently someone pointed out that “China currently won, America just doesn’t know it yet.” I suspect that the power who finds use in propping up a regime near the Atlantic will be China.
Or it pretends to it’s populace that it’s independent but instead conforms as closely to EU regs to facilitate trade.
Either way, the drop in GDP is guaranteed, it is a matter of how much.
Every drop in GDP Is many thousands upon thousands of jobs that cease to be, its the inability to fund the NHS or repair trains.
Eventually it’s the utter overtake of the country by people who promise the moon but then divide the dwindling spoils.
Now humans think this sounds bad. But it’s not. It’s not terrible/ you aren’t becoming a third world nation.
You just have a GDP reduction. That’s it.
You also get to keep people tout, and fight harder for whatever it is that drove people to vote against their interests.
The population was fed a bunch of lies and rolled with it, complete BS like the 350M that would be shifted from Europe to NHS. How any sane person can still be rooting for Brexit after the truth came out is beyond me.
Did you read my post at all?
Government ministers are saying that its own analysis is suspect and not to be believed. And they are correct because the Treasury and many other economists all predicted a recession triggered by a vote to leave, not leaving itself (due to "uncertainty"). But that vote happened, so did invoking Article 50, and yet no recession occurred. Also all their post-vote predictions about quarter on quarter growth were wrong too, and again, in the wrong direction.
The government's predictions about the economy have no credibility. Young people often have trouble accepting that, but it is fact and cannot be argued with. The predictions were precise, and the real reporting values are also precise. They do not match and are not even close.
That sounds literally crazy to me, and the consequence of individualism run amok. In a healthy society, the elderly should have a strong vested interest in seeing their children and grandchildren succeed.
I'm not sure whether the fact that you seem to truly believe that the elderly just want to acquire as much money for themselves says about the elderly or about yourself — I truly mean that by the way, since I don't have much actual direct experience with seniors here.
But you know, what do I know, I come from a society where the traditional multigenerational family is still considered an ideal to be worked towards.
Wages seem to be awful there compared to the US and northern Europe, but it also appears that home prices are still really high.
Finally, from the few Italians I've spoken with - I've only been there once long ago - nobody is getting married and people live with their parents until their mid 30s, at least.
A lot of the educated Italians hit the road for jobs in Germany and elsewhere, meanwhile you're importing a lot of low skilled migrants from Africa.
Why are things so bad there?
But even despite this the tax evasion rate is really low in rich areas, even if you take into account the rate given by official stats (which are probably fake since those who made the stats need tax evasion to appear high in order to justify the persecutions of entrepeneur), while is a little higher than EU average in poor areas where people either eat or pay taxes (and in Italy there are no food stamps no real welfare for the cronically unemployed).
Also we had hundreds of capable entrepeneurs who were brought to suicide by State persecution, with illegitimate request of money from various government body.
Also, another fun thing is that if you are persecuted by our equivalent of the IRS you can go to a special court, where the judges are people who used to work for the IRS equivalent or similar institutions designed to persecute business (not exagerating). Despite this the IRS equivalent still loses over 50% of the time  because it asks for money it shouldn't even in light of our anti-business laws. Just recently they have been found out while bringing fake documents in court .
But that's nothing but a hint of the terrible tax situation in Italy, so there you have it
I would note that the EU's Vice President and head of foreign affairs is an Italian woman ... and former member of the Italian communist party.
But fun thing is that after ww2 many communists in Italy didn't really like economic central planning bcause it felt too fascist. So, they were communist but they didn't practice communism to the full extent. Italy also used to have classical liberals like Einaudi who even became president for many years, and kept politics in check.
Sadly, I noticed that we are moving towards statist ideas more and more, with people expecting the State to solve everything and regulate all aspects of life. It's scary.
Even people like Berlusconi or Salvini, while right wing, still have a lot of statism in them, even considering just what they appear to be.
I don’t know the exact causes: lack of focus on high margin activities (like, in the ‘90 the right was celebrating the small cottage industry in the North East, who was essentially competing with Eastern Europe and China... anyone’s guess how that ended?)
Or if it was staying in the Eurozone, as until ‘90 we were ok deficit-wise. But very uncompetitive so we took a load of debt just to stay in the Euro - and buy German goods for cheap - and not to become competitive.
In the meantime industrial production de-mobilized out of Europe and we’re just stuck with post-industrial parks and nothing to replace them with.
I’ve somewhere read that neo-liberal single market zones develop a trend where human (economic) potential remains constrained by the local macro-zone, hence migrations.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that post-ww2 economic development in Italy was exceptional: powered by the Marshall plan and the need to rebuild a country from scratch after being bombed back into the middle ages, the market boomed. Once that wave was over and public money ran out, the traditional approach came back in fashion and the country stalled.
Here's the broader problem: Italy's economy has not expanded since 1992 on an inflation adjusted basis. On a nominal basis it hasn't expanded since 2004. The population has expanded by about three million since 2004. The demographics have worsened in terms of an aging population, much like the rest of the developed world. That adds up to a painful scenario.
Italy's economic growth has been falling on a ten year averaged basis, since ~1960. That isn't super unusual, that's true of a lot of developed economies. The problem is, in the early 2000s it basically hit a zero growth flat-line, and has never picked up off of that. The significant economic contraction periods of 2008-2009, and 2012-2013, were never countered with bursts in post-recession growth as would be more typical. If you don't have a post-recession bounce of outsized growth, things tend to get super bad, super quick, as inevitably another recession will arrive and make the situation worse. Some meaningful growth is practically a requirement to a healthy society, in the sense that it pays for inevitable mistakes that are made politically and socially, including as it pertains to debt or policy mistakes. Without that, you have to operate at a level of perfection at all times.
At some point Italy has to figure out how to grow again. As a population ages, obviously, things only tend to get more expensive in terms of social welfare and having enough active workforce to pay for it all.
Ultimately there are two choices in that scenario: ration resources more tightly, reduce standards of living, and accept that as a new normal; or start growing again.
So you have more than a billion of people that will soon need to drink on a packed polluted land. And the country has already huge social tensions, a gigantic gap between the legion of the poor and the small group of the rich, plus the nuclear weapon.
China took the himalaya for this very reason years ago. Fresh water is more important than the dalai lama.
But for india, the 3rd world war could very much start here. I wish i was joking, but i have political analysts around me that take this possibility very seriously.
Tibet is a cold desert or tundra. Please don't spin this around. China has an abundant land elsewhere outside of Tibet which provides plenty of rainfall. China's intentions and justification for their relationship with Tibet is largely political and strategic.
Air is already a problem is some parts of China. So water ?
They will eventually need to choose between their industries and water. And they will choose their industries. Their gov knew this, and made a bet on Tibet.
Now, because India gets most of Tibet's water, they had to hide the plan behind something that made sense. And they did had a problem with part of the Buddhist community, so they killed 2 birds with one stone.
A territory, btw, next to india.
Ha, I guess if you can say crossing the Himalayas is next to anything. I’m trying to imagine the trans-Annapurna pipeline right now.
Also, I’ve Nepalese friends who would tell me Nepal is actually between Tibet and India.
About those blue areas though, yeah it has a Minnesota-looking tapestry of lakes spread out over 1000 miles, about 300 mi north of the mountain range.
So at first glance I don't see it. Is the concern that China is somehow going to massively redirect water flows somehow and take water away from India?
You don't need to redirect it though. You can, but you could also pipe it, pump it, bottle it, whatever.
The thing is, when you have no water, cost is no issue, because the stuff is way more valuable than gold.
The only real issue is India getting mad about it. But now that Tibet is China's territory, it has a legitimacy that will be impossible to contest peacefully.
While this is true. The true problem really is the population scale is just too much. At that point everything breaks.
We really are a society of extreme scarcity. There could be enough for everyone, but there are just too many people. People do the obvious and optimize to no end for personal profit. At one point in time people thought the government is corrupt, or that government jobs automatically come with corruption. At that point in time around late 80's there was a sentiment private jobs and enterprises would come along and solve all this. Something like the exact opposite happened. Almost every company I've worked I have seen politics and corruption to no end for foreign travel opportunities, pay rises, equity and promotions. This automatically creates a situation where merit can never win. You can start all the start ups you want but if you can't solve this problem its just attempting to build a pyramid on quick sand.
>>I don't understand at all the increasing rents, property prices amidst the impending crisis.
Why don't you understand this?
Settling in cities is the only hope for a decent job currently. Farming jobs are long gone and are not profitable for a long time. Most farms lands are owned by a few families and the remaining people just slave around on that. For those people the only escape is to start a small shop or get some education and get a job in the city. So those people will keep coming to cities. And we can only develop a few cities as we don't have enough tax collection to build and develop all over. This concentrates people into a few cities.
Now you have a high demand and low supply situation. There fore high rents and property prices.
Ideally if you had good transit then you could expand to outskirts and increase supply. But some 1000 people come to a city like Bangalore everyday, and there isn't enough tax money to build that sort of infrastructure.
>>Given that, especially, only a handful hoard most of the wealth and could afford buying or renting at today's rates.
If you start early, save and invest well, you could establish unbeatable lead over your colleagues. In a society like India where things are so scarce this is even more so true.
I wonder how you came to this conclusion. In fact, farming in India is very fragmented. Lot of farmers or people in rural areas own very small parcels of land and work on them. Yes, there are people or families which own large pieces of agricultural land, but not in the numbers that you seem to imply.
Also, lack of manpower for working on farms is a very real problem in India. Farming jobs still exist at a big scale in India because we don't have mechanization like western countries(Again because of fragmentation of farms). People are not willing to "slave around" in farms anymore because they get subsidies from government i.e. food at very low cost for people below BPL. And it is very easy to get a BPL card if you live in rural area. This comes from someone(me) who has worked and been around farms and is still involved in farming though not directly on a day to day basis.
>>Also, lack of manpower for working on farms is a very real problem in India.
That's not a problem, that's a solution. Nobody should do a job that doesn't work for them.
That’s really a lot of people if think about it. That’s 365,000 people a year. If a new city was built for all those people, in France it would be the 5th largest city.
That scarcity is completely artificial though. Wealth and income inequality make this obvious and they are the problem. A different social organisation could allow for everyone to have enough and probably make society less wasteful too.
There are probably more efficient membrane-based solutions, but probably more expensive.
Unless you meant to supply the whole country from Gujarat, in which case it's a straw man argument.
but surely Ram mandir will fix all that. The real problem is cow slaughter, and inter-religious marriages, oh and Padmavat[i]
As long as you keep taking sides, you eventually become a part of the problem because every side is fucked up to the core.
That's what separates a leader from a petty peddler.
Its not the case that one hasn't seen such leadership before. But when politics is a career, why would one bother when they get a win with shallow clickbait issues. Leadership that needs sincerity, lets not do that, pimping up some clickbait issues, hell yeah.
As far as better issues there are plenty -- Better, sustainable basic infrastructure, better governance of resources ...
That's a pretty intense number even for India
But the element that I find strangely missing is the one about population growth. I'm pretty sure that GDP per capita can grow, if not indefinitely, for a very very long time - if the population isn't too big. India will soon be the most populous country in the World and still growing strongly enough; I would be curious to know if this is seen as a big problem in India, or not...
Globally alternate energy adds to the global energy production, it's not replacing. When the industrialized world moves to alternate energies,
developing world can afford to consume more oil, gas and coal. When solar becomes cheaper, it makes hydrocarbons cheaper due to decreasing demand. I don't see how solar power replaces the global hydrocarbon production significantly before it's too late. It certainly will not do so in the short or medium term.
Markets value large oil and coal companies and producers like the demand will continue. EIA estimates that global petroleum and other liquid fuels consumption and production are in constant upward path: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/global_oil.php
If the world decreases its consumption, the prices may go down (possibly by a large amount). But any increase in consumption will very likely push the prices up, it does not matter it the competition between consumers is small.
There was a time when population explosion was recognised as something to deal with. For the last decade or so, somehow this conversation has simply vanished (from the school books, from political discourse, from the news media). It is as if we, the citizens, have collectively given up on this issue and want to pretend that the issue does not exist.
If I were to pick one single thing to start with, in order to reverse the current trend of environmental degradation, it would be population control. Unless this is addressed soon, it will be the root cause for the breakdown of the equilibrium of the environment and the social structure.
In the west it's disappeared because the projections were all wrong. The population in rich countries does not replace itself. Without large levels of immigration the population would start to decline. This is partly why the EU is trying to force mass migration on the member states - it's for several (stated) reasons, but one of them is a belief that otherwise the population will decline and the economy will shrink.
This is a completely unfounded speculation.
Europe will clearly need immigration in the coming decades, so we have to provide those who want to come, and are able to come, and whose situation makes it possible for them to come, with legal paths to get to Europe.
Why will it clearly need immigration? Because of demographics.
(written by Avramapolous, EU Migration Commissioner)
The EU has granted protection to more than 700,000 people last year. They have found safety in Europe, but we also need to make sure they find a home. This is not only a moral imperative. It is also an economic and social imperative for our aging continent — and one of the biggest challenges for the near future.
Note: aging continent.
The people who control the EU do routinely state their belief that the EU needs mass migration from Africa for demographic and economic reasons.
Just because Japan is ageging India won’t be saved.
‘Population momentum’ will mean they keep growing for a 2-3 decades but the tfr is very low in many states (well below replacement level) but there are a couple of big poor states where it’s still higher than replacement level but still not anywhere near as high as it used to be. The damage was done in the 50s and 60s for the most part, people are having far fewer children today. In some wealthy states like Punjab and Kerala it’s far below replacement and in fact lower than even Western Europe and the USA.
This will lead to natural decongestion as industries will spread out over a larger area causing large populations to shift base.
For instance, the Dholera Smart City (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOFpWFLSqgU) based in Gujarat will become operational in 2019 (http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-dholera-smart-city-to-b...).
Exactly this - it seems that while we are aware of it as individuals, we act as of it were not so as societies.
There's no reason why increased individual consumption can't be sustainable or a ultimately net gain in society despite their increased individual consumption (by their own productivity, contribution to taxes, economic contributions, social work via charity, etc).
This is what is so often overlooked in people's efforts to blame 'wealth accumulation' as the underlying problem, as if it only benefits that one person. Resulting in policies trying to reduce "wealth inequality" that ultimately end up hurting everyone (including the poor) in a 'noble, well intention' effort to punish the rich.
The government and volunteer groups are the primary bodies that needs to address and coordinate many of those social and economic issues.
The biggest problem with India is that:
a) the taxes/government organizations are wasted and terribly corrupt which hurt both economic growth for the middle class and small business , where only the powerful/connected are allowed to operate in an efficient business environment and social policies make little progress
b) countless individuals exploiting this corruption and contributing nothing to society (ie, rewarding people despite not contributing any value to the economy) by leeching off these public institutions either by getting friends in gov to do their bidding or more directly skimming off public funds
c) big longterm social issues can't be addressed with an ineffective government, a private/non-profit industry constrained by endless bureaucracy and top-down political influence, a healthy middle class and safety net (where the majority of the population can't live a sustainable lifestyle out of pure necessity to eat/live).
d) the smartest people needed to lead those non-profits and government agencies all leave to North America and Europe - driven away by the government incompetence, leaving many mediocre B-players in leadership positions within India, further contributing to government failure - an evil cycle.
You don’t have to look that far back in history to find examples of societal “norms” that are downright sociopathic. For all the problems of the developing world, life is much less cheap now, than any other time, anywhere
The US bombed civilian populations with napalm in the Vietnam War.
If anything, the forces of greed and self interest that lie behind the problems described in the article are timeless. The problem is that the human species has been so successful, and developed new technology, that there are new problems to go along.
Fundamentally, the most severe problems facing human populations have their roots in politics and culture, not resource constraints.
As I was thinking about what motivates the super rich to keep going with obtaining wealth far beyond their needs, I had a bit of an epiphany.
All people suffer from being vulnerable, by our nature, and assured of our own guaranteed destruction. To the extent that wealth creation and accumulation provide real, if marginal, improvements to our security, it’s not surprising that someone super rich would continue whole heartedly in one of the activities that actually does the increase security.
But since even the super rich are only a little bit more existentially secure than the rest of us, to stop with the process of wealth accumulation would deprive them of one of the few activities they have relied on to increase their sense of security. It would lead to a greater experience of their subjective personal powerlessness.
I also think, based on my own idle speculation, anecdotally, that more pronounced sociopathic behavioral traits are distributed among the population, across class.
Such traits provide an advantage to power seeking individuals, with talent, ambition, and cultural resources at their disposal. Hence, positions of power have an over representation of heartless, ruthless, greedy people in their ranks.
Such people, lacking in empathy and charity, once they reach positions of power, can distort the behavior of the institutions they control, leading to the kind depredations described in the original article.
The only hope against such people is that the mass of non-sociopathic individuals can weave supporting and countervailing structures.
If the societal institutions are strong enough, the talents of such driven people, with the “killer instinct” can be mitigated, and in some cases channeled into productive activities.
We see such sociopathic behavior from Trunp, big time. My fear right now is that in his wake, he is tearing at this social fabric, as an end in itself.
The people associated with him, the powerful republicans who populate Washington, are being”turned” by Trump, and are re-introducing and amplifying a “take no prisoners, scorched earth” approach to US politics.
Sean Spicer does not strike me, or probably anyone, as someone who would instinctively go on national TV, and spout obvious lies, in service of maintaining a corrupt politician. But that’s what he did.
I’m he’s asked himself many times, “what was I thinking?”
But our world might be infinite, and there is certainly at least 20 orders of magnitude more available resources than our current usage, so this isn't a practical consideration.
But the real concern is the biosphere, which most certainly is finite and the 7.4 billion humans are very much dependant on it. Maybe we terraform Mars someday, but I doubt that will do much for life on Earth.
Vast progress in real-world use of desalination is why Israel can exist at all for example. 
Large cities in California will likely become supplied mostly by desalination in the near future. San Diego is getting 1/3 of its water from one plant. It can fulfill the water needs of its entire population for about the cost of three, one billion dollar desalination plants. I consider that an extreme bargain. Such plants will get cheaper and more efficient with time.
Indoor agriculture and altering crops to need less water, adjusting them to indoor efficient growing via CRISPR, will also significantly lessen our water demands over time. That'll take decades to bring to meaningful impact, however there's no scenario where we don't do that.
Basically, fingers crossed for fusion.
Just because growth isn't "infinite" says nothing about how far away we are from reaching the limits of the planet.
Personally, I think that limit is much closer to 1 trillion people living on the earth than it is to 1 billion people. So we've got a ways to go.
The facts show, that by every metric of quality of life, life is better than it has ever been in the history of the world.
The problem, as I see it, is that even if you are optimistic about the theoretical capacity of the planet to sustain human life, its practical capacity is limited by how efficiently we use the resources to hand, and the current system does not properly incentivise efficient use. More often, it's the complete opposite, because the price of resources like water and soil does not reflect their true scarcity.
It's like having a large store of firewood. Enough, in theory, to heat your home through several years of harsh winters. Then you burn the whole stockpile in a great bonfire on the first cold Autumn night. That night, by every metric, you'll be warmer and cosier than you ever have been before, but you'll still have doomed yourself.
Q: "A population of bacteria in a petri-dish doubles every hour, after 24 hours the petri-dish reaches 100% saturation. At what time did the petri-dish reach 50% saturation?"
A: 23 hours.
How can people possibly burn our Sun energy ahead of time (billions of years ahead)?
Honestly, you can think whatever you want. But what people want to think and what's actually true often don't line up, and they certainly don't here.
Wikipedia says that the total land mass of Earth is about 150,000,000 km^2. Do you really think a global population density of 6666 people/square kilometer on every single piece of land on earth is in any way sustainable? That's a population density that exceeds Tokyo. Japan's population is heavily dependent on food imports to sustain itself. When the whole world is denser than Tokyo, where is the food going to come from?
Double the amount of cities in the world, from 1% to 2% of land usage, and that's 5 billion more people that the world can support.
For food well, we currently only use a very small percentage of the sunlight that hits the earth, and energy = food. Especially if lab technology for growing food gets much better.
Yeah, it is unsubstantiated sci-fi predictions but taking about these Sci-fi scenarios in detail is kinda missing the point.
The point I was trying to make, is that the whole "resources are finite" is a dumb argument because it doesn't say at all how close we are to that limit.
Someone's 1 billion people carrying capacity prediction is just as valid as my unsubstantiated 1 trillion people prediction.
And if you are predicting that doomsday overpopulation scenario is right around the corner, you better provide some damn good evidence, because all the current evidence shows that humans are doing better than they ever have been in the history of the world.
Evidence for us hitting the carrying capacity of the planet would be things like "hunger is increasing and quality of life is going down in these overpopulated places". But so far this is not happening.
And it sounds incredibly dystopian.
And just because Malthusians have been wrong for centuries, doesn't mean they won't turn out to be right in the next 50 years. At some point something will snap. Yeah, we have it pretty good right now. At least those of us in the west. I'm not sure if those people in India who have to endure 51 Celsius heats, don't have access to fresh water and live in areas where it's hard to breathe are in a better positions than their ancestors.
A trillion people on Earth may be possible if there was a God designing the planet from scratch with the specific aim to put a trillion people on it. But moving gradually to such a number, from where we are now, I'd say is absolutely impossible. Countries like India and China that are already bursting at the seams, seem to be proving that.
But the burden of proof is on the doomsday predictors who claim that doomsday is right around the corner, when all actual evidence shows that things are going great right now.
China and India are NOT bursting at the seems. Quality of life is better there than they have ever been. Quality of life is still going up, and it is going up like crazy in those places.
You can look at any quality of life metric at all. Mortality rates. Access to fresh water. Diseases. Hunger levels. Life expectancy. They are ALL getting better. And they are getting better by leaps and bounds.
No, not just in the west. In poor countries and the third world.
Evidence that they are having problems, would look something like "hunger is going up, and quality of life is going down." but that isn't happening.
A bold claim given we’re already way over the ecosystem limits regarding CO2 production, biodiversity loss, atmospheric nitrogen depletion; and close to the limits for ocean acidification, land use converted to cropland, & water consumption; and until we invent sustainable replacements for currently non-renewable oil drilling and phosphorus mining, it’s probably a better idea to say “fund research into fixing this” than “it’s all good”.
Quality of life is nothing without way to sustain it long term.
There's enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed. -- Gandhi
> The facts show, that by every metric of quality of life, life is better than it has ever been in the history of the world.
Also, the gap between rich an poor has never been bigger.
In terms of digits in a bank account, that's probably true. Is it true in terms of actual living conditions and power? Is the gap now wider than between Louis XIV and his Haitian slaves?
With scientific and engineering advances, we in the "first world" have all the royalty-level of power and energy at our disposal. Washing machine alone is an equivalent of a maid or two. The ability to just sit down whenever and enjoy a play or a concert on TV is something you can do now, while it was utterly impossible for even the most powerful kings. If you couple this with advances in medicine it's safe to say that we live our lives in comfort and safety unheard of ever before, to the point that kings of the past, with all the personnel, seem trivial.
Meanwhile, "Haitan slaves" - or just normal people who didn't have the luck to born where they should - live exactly the same way they lived hundreds and possibly thousands of years ago. They struggle every day just to have something to eat and they die of hunger if they fail. The technology they use is the same as it was a thousand years back.
In effect, the gap between rich and poor only widened in time. And that's comparing low end to a average in first world countries. It gets really ugly when we start comparing low end with top 1% - it's the difference between struggling to just stay alive another day and taking a leisure trip to the ISS (or was it Mir back then?). The difference between having half of your family dead before your thirties and having a healthy life with all your friends well into 80s.
So in short, yes, living conditions of a king and a peasant were worlds apart but it did get markedly worse with time.
Actually, it has been much bigger in the 19th century. Source: Piketty
I'd rather live in the modern day, "unequally" with the rich, than starve or die of disease equally with the rich of the middle ages.
Just because the rich have 100Xed in quality of life over the last century, doesn't negate the fact that the poor have 10Xed in quality of life.
Making everyone equal is easy. Just make them all equally dead, starving, or miserable, just like they were in past centuries.
Looking at the past only works if the future is like the past. It's a lazy argument, but sure, statistically you are right most of the time.
This in turn is a case of survivorship bias and a result of how you count: Everybody who is wrong is weeded out immediately. If you sample many times you are more likely to find that it all works just fine because those who survive are counted many times, failures only count one time. The more often you count the more your argument will look favorably for the side of the "anti-alarmists".
It's such a sad state of affairs that in many parts of the world we can't even breathe the air. I'm in Thailand up in Chiang Mai where the "burning season" has just begun. The mountains in the distance, normally plainly visible, are gone, hidden behind a blanket of smoke/smog. And the locals tell me, "hah, this is nothing, wait until March [when the air quality goes from merely unhealthy, to hazardous]".
Berkeley Earth reveals the state of the air in this side of the world. Am thinking of heading to northern India but it seems there's no safe haven short of climbing Mount Everest. Maybe at other times of year the air quality is much better; for the locals I hope so.
 In Asia apparently every spring the farmers burn the previous season's rice fields in order to enrich the soil for the next crop.
The public outcry has been constant for decades. The information and alarmism has existed for just as long. There's no shortage of reasons why we shouldn't tackle these issues. Those in the power to enact significant change to environmental and economic models aren't incentivized to. How do we shift perception to incentivize sustainable growth, rather than growth in isolation. How do we incentivize politicians to feel rewarded for methodical long term changes rather than short term successes at the cost of finite resources?
Sure, everyone is for reducing pollution and against climate change in the abstract, but then in my country coal miners rally (successfully) to avoid their mines getting shut down, drivers complain when car lanes or parking space are replaced with bike lanes or sidewalk, half of the population buys diesel cars to save a few bucks, many go to live in suburbs and plan their life around the car, and people give close to zero weight to environmental proposals in elections.
There are countries with more environmental consciousness than mine (I'm from Spain and sadly it's very far from being a model country in this...), but anyway, public outcry is worthless if it is hypocritical and near the bottom of people's list of priorities.
By the way, the answer to your question is that elections provide a great way of incentivizing long-term thinking in politicians: just don't vote those that don't exhibit it. It's the voters' fault if we don't take that into account and instead vote based on stuff like "unemployment has gone down 2% in the last 4 years" (probably more due to global trends and long-term decisions of previous administrations than to whatever the current one recently did...)
Make sure they stay in office for a long time.
Numbers are touched up all the time, both in politics (e.g. few governments will admit to lowering the employment rate, if things are not working, usually a new way of counting the unemployed is introduced) and in large companies (managers who report "everything's fine" up the chain until it's too late).
Applied to your idea, donors will have to come up with KPIs to meet. Whatever the situation, the KPIs will magically look good. And if there are no KPIs, nobody will dare take the job.
One other thing is most places in Mumbai for example don't have strict zoning practices. I do think that this has some unintentional benefits like lower travel time for commuting by colocating housing and offices.
The general attitude among middle class, when discussing how unsustainable cars are, is - why do I, as a first time car owner, have to think about pollution and traffic when all first-world countries have enjoyed it for decades? I don't necessarily agree with that stance, although I understand it.
The problem is that a huge percent of the population use two wheelers to get around and any hike in petrol prices will affect them adversely.
I agree that spending money on the environment is a good idea, but it's still a separate cause. We could spend money on the environment even if we weren't taxing those who harm it.
1) India is a very large and very diverse country. How is the culture of acceptance towards carpooling and resource sharing, especially when it will gain an ascendant middle class like we're seeing in China?
2) Vehicles have always had a status communication role. Is there something we can tap into that can impede this desire?
I really doubt it. People are always looking around for honest signals about each other, and a vehicle is the most expensive possession other people will see in a casual social setting by at least an order of magnitude. Whether you're at school, work, a bar, hiking, etc, people will see you get into your car.
2. This has, sort of, lost its charm with the younger generation especially if they are earning well or used to own a car. Public transit has become faster (on the order of twice as fast during peak time) compared to driving. 2 wheelers are more popular than 4 wheels for cost and practical reasons.
So if car pollution, parking, congestion is priced appropriately then some people will still have bigger, less efficient vehicles to show off but the baseline will be lower and therefore society as a whole is better off.
2) The status still exists. However it can be practical to not own a car as roads are extremely congested in big cities (in some places temporarily worsened by public transportation infrastructure projects)
I cannot agree with this more.
India and Bangladesh make me very afraid for the future.
The whole of Europe, similar in area to China, has 1/2 the population density of China.
6 minute American Museum of Natural History animation
The fundamental problem is over population IMO
Govt should impose 30% #InheritanceTax and use those funds for free healthcare/education/pensions.
Capitalism has a happy partnership with inequality. People who exploit resource effectively get given more resources; that is the heart of the system. Works really well. Builds societies that are the envy of the world. Even people who squander resources can expect to come out ahead (they get a small share of a bigger pie).
The USSR planned its world in 5-year spans. That's about the same length of time between elections in most democracies. Lots of people like to say things like "one of the biggest flaws of democracies" but I've yet to see such a statement that actually doesn't also apply to other systems of government.
Realistically population one of the few things you can take a long term view on, since so geo politics and technology are so unpredictable. With population planning much of the effects are only to come a generation later so mostly only a long term concern. It is also completely radioactive as far as modern democracies are concerned.