January 4, 2018 at 4:11 pm #85964ALBKeymaster
A revealing item on BBC Radio 4 News yesterday:Quote:Asked how much of the UK's land area is densely built on, the average estimate was 47%. The far more accurate figure – based on satellite images – as highlighted in my blog last November, is 0.1%.
The average Briton thinks 356 times more of our nation's land is concrete jungle than is the reality.
This isn't just a minor misconception. The error helps to distort our mental picture of the UK and shift the politics of land use.
If the UK is viewed as a large football pitch, the people in the survey reckoned that almost all the ground between the goal-line and half-way line is densely developed when, in reality, it would fit into the tiny arc marked for taking a corner.January 4, 2018 at 4:22 pm #131256Young Master SmeetModerator
Reminds me of this art-work from the Tate, simply swapping the towns of England and shoving them into Scotland and vice-versa… http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/curtis-united-kingdom-t07596January 4, 2018 at 7:23 pm #131257
An interesting perspective. However, the fact remains that most of this island is polluted, contaminated and despoiled. And what once was wilderness is wilderness no more.January 4, 2018 at 10:43 pm #131258
The Scottish government, unlike the UK one, has gone some way to acknowledge under-population, by a rudimentary policy of bringing new people, particularly refugee and migrants, to the Isles and Highlands, which are still littered by the ruins of past villages where once people lived. I don't think you are quite correct MightyY. What we now view as natural habitat was never natural. The heather moors of Scotland was once covered by the great Caledonian forest. Same with England and Wales, no doubt. I think not "most" but "much" is a more accurate statement.We are faced with a global over-urbanisation problem. Across the world, people are leaving their rural roots for the cities. In the UK it is because the infrastructure – education and health and jobs – don't exist in the countryside. In developing countries, it is also the land-grabbing.It is speculated, many parts of the world will lose the knowledge and experience of farmers as the young are not taking up the livelihood with the older generation left looking after the family small-holding (China, for instance), and in Africa there are campaigns to recruit new younger generation to take it up.Keeping with the sporting analogy of the article ALB drew attention to, Surrey has more land is devoted to golf courses than to housing.http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24378868January 7, 2018 at 4:52 am #131259Ike PettigrewParticipant
The BBC article is intended to lay the psychological ground for further mass immigration, which I see is also what certain people on this forum want. Never mind that the working class do not want this and you claim to represent the true interests of the working class. Never mind that the working class do not want this and the BBC is funded by theft from the working class. Never mind all this. Just continue with your agenda of enforced diversity, regardless of the consequences.And the key part of that article is in the bit, not mentioned by the original poster, or anybody else here, that concedes that the physical footprint of population growth goes beyond the land actually used.The statistical basis of the article is also highly dubious. You will say the reason we need to import immigrants and other countries need to keep exporting workers is capitalism, and I would agree, but that raises the question of why so many people here are eager to promote diversity, despite its obnoxiousness, rather than make the case against capitalism. My point stands that it is because some of you are liberals, not actual socialists. You do not achieve cohesion among the working class by forcing different types of people to live together.January 7, 2018 at 5:44 am #131260
I'm pleased that you still occasionally visit the forum, even if your contributions never stray far from your immigration fears.As for your claim that we cannot achieve cohesion within the working class, this is a very old argument and originally nothing to do with place of birth. It stemmed from the days when the old craft unions of skilled workers denied access to the unskilled newcomers to their trades. Such, "i'm alright jack" trade unionism was eventually ended when more and more workers recognised their common interests. The reason we have technological change and progress is also to do with the needs of capitalism. Shall we stand against computers because it benefits capitalism? Or do we expose that the limitations capitalism places upon technological innovation will be removed by a socialist society and that the technology will be used for the benefit of all. We don't oppose our fellow-workers re-locating from city to city to seek a livelihood and we do not oppose them changing countries to do so either. As for diversity i have found it inspiring, informative and instructional. It has certainly raised the standard of football to have players from around the globe, playing clubs around the globe. Is it not surprising to you and a pleasing fact that there are far more supporters of Man U, Liverpool, and Arsenal in Asia than in the UK.Recently posted on our bloghttp://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2017/12/spains-migrants.htmlThe number of Spanish citizens residing abroad has reached 2,406,611 as of January 1, 2017. Since the beginning of 2010, more Spanish citizens emigrated to Latin America than Latin Americans who do the opposite.January 7, 2018 at 6:19 am #131261Quote:Never mind that the working class do not want this and you claim to represent the true interests of the working class.
Oh, i should have added that promoting the workers interests does not mean always agreeing with them. In fact, more often than not, it means opposing the views held by the majority of our fellow-workers or have you never heard of the Tory-voting worker that fought one another for the privilege to put their lives on the line for the ruling class. Every Tory government was elected because workers voted for them. Thatcher was the workers' darling, was she not, for most of her reign. We are not in politics for popularity and if the truth hurts then so be it. This is why we still have capitalism – our fellow-workers have not yet recognised their true interests and persistently act contrary to them. All we can do is explain why they are wrong in their political beliefs and show them why. It is up to them to heed or not. You have decided not to accept our analysis and play into the divide and rule strategy of the ruling class, playing off the sectional interest of one group against another's, rather than working towards class unity and a socialist solution.Quote:"Let those desert us who will because we refuse to shut the international door in the faces of their own brethren; we will be none the weaker but all the stronger for their going, for they evidently have no clear conception of the international solidarity, are wholly lacking in the revolutionary spirit, and have no proper place in the Socialist movement while they entertain such aristocratic notions of their own assumed superiority. "- Eugene Debs, 1910January 7, 2018 at 6:53 am #131262
Anyways, Ike, you won't value my opinion very much.As i am an immigrant and in a so-called "mixed" marriage – a totally "obnoxious" situation, as you declare.We all take your point that "the physical footprint of population growth goes beyond the land actually used." As an analogy it was not meant to be a 100% representation of reality simply an indication that the fears of an overcrowded UK are overly-exaggerated.The densest part of London is four times less dense than BarcelonaUK’s “overpopulation problem” is really the product of poor land use and social division. There’s lots of wasted space.January 11, 2018 at 11:18 am #131263
Actually, Alan, I think that I'm completely correct. In fact, I'll retract my 'most', reject your 'much' and assert that all of the UK is as I described it. There is scarcely a landscape in Britain that might be described as 'natural'. It's pretty much all managed, and, as we know, it is managed in the interests of capital. But that doesn't alter the fact that there are far too many people kicking around. And that doesn't just apply to Britain. It's a global problem created by the needs of capital, and it won't go away as long as the profit motive drives society. But this plank in the SPGB's case – the notion that there aren't too many people on the planet – is one of the reasons I'm no longer in the party. You see, in forty years of being aware of what capital is and what it does I've seen the destruction that humans wreak. And I think it's mistaken to believe that such a huge mass of fundamentally stupid semi-evolved bipeds could ever get their shit together and stop being knobs – leave alone achieving class-consciousness and abolishing capitalism – without totally wrecking the entire planet. Convince me otherwise and you'll have my Form A by return of e-mail! PS: Do not insult my intelligence by referencing any Malthusian!January 11, 2018 at 11:45 am #131264ALBKeymasterTheMightyYoghourt wrote:There is scarcely a landscape in Britain that might be described as 'natural'.
That's true but depends on what is meant by "natural". You seem to be using it in the sense of what it would be like in the absence of human intervention or indeed of humans. In which case most of Britain would be forest. The present landscape of Britain is the result of human intervention over more than 4000 years. As we put it in our pamphlet Ecology and Socialism:Quote:Although the biosphere is one big ecosystem, it is still possible to distinguish various sub-systems within it on the basis of the different climatic and physical conditions that exist in different parts of the world. For the land area of the globe, ecologists have distinguished a number of such "biomes" as they call them. These range from the tundra of the Arctic through the coniferous and deciduous forests and steppes to the savannah and tropical rain forests of the regions near the equator. To each of these physical and climatic conditions there corresponds a stable ecosystem which evolves to its "climax" through a series of successive stages. This stable climax will be the situation where the amount of food produced by the plant life is sufficient, after taking account of the plants' own respiration needs, to meet on a sustainable basis the food energy requirements of all the animal life-forms within the system. It will be in fact the situation which makes optimum use, in terms of sustaining all the life-forms within the system, of the Sun's light rays falling on the area. Under present climatic conditions, for most of Europe this stable climax, in the absence of human intervention, would be the deciduous forest which developed after the last Ice Age and which existed in Britain in untouched form till about 4500 years ago. If humans were to withdraw from the British Isles it is this forest that would tend to develop again within a few centuries.
But what would be the advantage in that?The aim should be to establish a stable global ecosystem which includes humans. In any event, even if/though it is humans (in the abstract) who have messed things up, we are the only species capable of putting things right. Again as we put it in the pamphlet:Quote:As the only consciously-acting life-form within the biosphere, humans ought to act as the biosphere's "brain", consciously regulating its functioning in the interest of present and future generations. But before humans can hope to play this role we must first integrate our own activities into a sustainable natural cycle on a planetary scale. This we can only do within the framework of a world socialist society in which the Earth and its natural and industrial resources have become the common heritage of all humanity.January 11, 2018 at 1:04 pm #131265
It is very much like the rest of the problems created by capitalism, MightyY. There is a solution if socialism is established but not if capitalism endures. If capitalism is not overthrown, humanity is most likely doomed. So if you think socialism is unachievable you will be pessimistic about over-population and many other ills than inflict the planet, climate change, inevitable nuclear war. Even if population growth ended today, worsening rates of starvation, the growth of slums, and ecosystem collapse would continue more or less unabated. A central concept of capitalism is the idea that there isn’t enough to go around. There isn’t enough food, there aren’t enough jobs, there isn’t enough houses, or schools or hospitals. “There isn’t enough…” really means “It isn’t profitable…” I just blogged today that China alone has already built new cities that can house 3.5 billion people, double its existing population and which are now presently ghost cities awaiting the compulsory relocation of many rural and slum dwellershttp://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/chinas-war-on-poverty-could-hurt-the-poor-mostBut you would argue, i think, that it is unsustainable and there are no resources to support the urbanisation. This is the physical footprint Ike tries to imply to present his case against immigration. If you followed the other thread on Marxist Animalism, you will see references to the food production system and how changes are possible to increase output to many times required to meet the needs of future population projections. We don't have rational food production under capitalism, do we, and we are not likely to have it while capitalism persists, will we?But let us keep to population numbers.So the year 2100 is when global population reaches an estimated 12 billion. We can already feed 9 billion with our current inefficient methods. “Does population growth explain food shortages?” and many will instinctively answer “Yes”.Why is the prognosis so doom-laden. Well, let us first remember is the important fact that the majority of scientists are not socialists and their understanding of an alternative way of running the world is no better informed than any other person's. They may be experts in their specialised fields but like the majority of people they lack the knowledge of social evolution held by Marxist materialists. Like so many others, their view is blinkered by the “what-is” and not the “what-could-be”. Production for use is not a concept many professionals are acquainted with when they build their models.It seems common sense that more people in the world must mean more resource use, therefore fewer resources to go around for everyone. It is a logic that has led to some highly unsavoury arguments and policy decisions, such as Ike's racist views. By arguing that population growth is the main cause of mass starvation and environmental ruin, we play into the hands of ruling class who wish to blame the victims. One such consequence is that helping the poor not only hurts them, but also threatens to drag the well-fed down to their subsistence level. Under this hypothesis, no sharing is permitted, as it will only generalise starvation to the entire population because there is only so much to go around. So do as Ike and Trump say. Build the Wall and the fences. Keep the outsiders out and kick the newcomers out. But that sounds crass so some resort to a more sophisticated justification – the carrying capacity of the planet. We transform ecosystems to sustain ourselves. This is what we do and have always done. Our planet’s human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limits. There is no environmental reason for people to go hungry now or in the future. There is no need to use any more land to sustain humanity — increasing land productivity using existing technologies can boost global supplies and even leave more land for nature — a goal that is both more popular and more possible than ever. The only limits to creating a planet that future generations will be proud of are our imaginations and our social system. Societal collapses due to populations reaching “environmental limits” are not the norm. Existing technologies could sustain current and anticipated human populations while increasingly sparing land for nature. Human well-being and improved stewardship of the biosphere are limited primarily by the type of social system and its technologies, not by population or environment. We have indeed spoken of socialism in terms of abundance and our green critics claim that human wants are "infinite" interprets this as meaning that socialism will be a society of ever-increasing personal consumption, of people coming to consume more and more food, to take more and more holidays, and to acquire more and more material goods. If humans wants were "infinite" then this would be the result of a society based on free access and geared to meeting human needs, but human wants are socially-determined and limited. Humans can only consume so much food, for instance, and only seek to accumulate more and more material goods in a society of economic insecurity like capitalism. In a society, such as socialism would be, where people could be sure that what they required to satisfy their needs would always be available then we would soon settle down to only taking what we needed and no more. This is all we meant by talking of socialism as a "society of abundance": that enough food, clothing and other material goods can be produced to allow every man, woman and child in society to satisfy their likely material needs. It was not a reference to some orgy of consumption, but simply to the fact that it is technically possible to produce more than enough to satisfy everyone's material needs, thanks, we might add, to technology and mass production. Meeting everybody's likely material needs will indeed involve in many cases an increase in what people consume. This will certainly be the case for the millions and millions of people in the so-called Developing World who are suffering from horrendous problems of starvation, disease and housing. So, yes, socialism will involve increases in personal consumption for three-quarters or more of the world's population. Impossible, say many Green environmentalists, this would exceed the Earth's carrying capacity and make environmental destruction even worse. Not necessarily so, we reply. They confuse consumption per head with what individuals actually consume. To arrive at a figure for consumption per head, what the statisticians do is to take total electricity or whatever and then divide it by the total population. But this doesn't give a figure for what people consume as, in addition to personal it includes what industry, the government and the military consume. It a grossly misleading to equate consumption per head with personal consumption since it ignores the fact that consumption per head can be reduced without reducing personal consumption and that this is, in fact, compatible with an increase in personal consumption. This in effect is what Socialists propose: to eliminate the waste of capitalism, not just of arms and armies but of all the overhead costs involved in buying and selling. It has been estimated that, at the very least, half of the workforce are engaged in such socially-useless, non-productive activity. In a socialist society all this waste will be eliminated, so drastically reducing consumption per head. This will allow room for the personal consumption of those who need it to be increased to a decent level. Diverting resources to do this and ensuring that every human on the planet does have a decent standard of living will be the primary, initial aim of socialism will put up consumption per head again, but to nowhere near the level now obtaining under capitalism. The amount of so-called ‘arable land’ on the planet is according to Wikipedia about 14 million km2. If we only use this amount of arable land, we would have about 20 times the land we need to feed all of us on the planet. If we include permanent pastures, which amount to about 33 million km2 and is used for livestock, and grow vegetables there instead, we end up with more than 60-100 times of what we actually need. That is if we only eat veggies. But of course, we don’t need all that land, so there would be plenty of room for some grass-fed beef or chicken with happy free-ranging animals that can be managed holistically. Our planet does possess limits. However, the total number of people that can be supported by Earth’s resources cannot be predicted merely by knowing the total amount of matter or surface area on Earth. So indeed those analogies of everybody in the world can stand on the Isle of Wight is irrelevant. Every time we get into a conversation with someone, and we hear “well, everyone knows the earth is over-populated” we can start by clearing up the misconception by showing it is directly contrary to the facts. Globally, women today have half as many babies as their mothers did, mostly out of choice. They are doing it for their own good, the good of their families, and, if it helps the planet too, then so much the better. Nothing the Catholic priests say can stop it. Women are doing this because, for the first time in history, they can. Better healthcare and sanitation mean that most babies now live to grow up. It is no longer necessary to have five or six children to ensure the next generation—so they don’t. Lower infant death rates mean families don’t need to have as many children in order to guarantee that some will survive. At the same time improvements in quality of life make it less necessary to have many children working to support their families. Greater access to contraception gives families more control over fertility. Today the reality is that the world is experiencing falling birth rates and rising life expectancy. Countries with a fertility rate (FR) below replacement level (2.1 children per woman) now number more than 80 worldwide — and counting. Greece with an FR of 1.34; Italy has an FR of 1.4. The United Kingdom’s overall FR has risen to 1.98 due to Muslim baby-booming, but indigenous Britons’ FR is lower. The same demographic reality is evident in most of Asia, with China (1.7), Japan (1.4), Hong Kong (1.2), Singapore (1.3), and South Korea (1.2) being prime examples. And many developing nations are on the same trajectory, with Uruguay (1.9) and Brazil (1., illustrating the point. Then there’s Mexico: While its women bore almost seven children each in the 1960s, the FR rate is declining fast and stands at 2.3 today. Overall, the world’s 1950 to 1955 FR of 4.95 has declined by more than half and now stands at 2.36. Professional demographers tell us this will continue and that perhaps as early as 2050 and no later than 2100, the Earth’s population will begin declining. The “graying” that has plagued Japan and Europe will envelop the planet. The world population is getting much older: by 2050 the number of people over the age of 65 will triple from 531 million to 1.5 billion. In fact, perhaps the real issue of the world population is not those being born, it is those not dying. There is a growing life expectancy gap where the affluent may expect to live to 120 or more while the poor won't see 60. In most developed countries actual fertility is lower than desired. We should allow immigration from overpopulated countries to keep the ratio of working age to elderly dependents constant. Unfortunately most immigration policies severely limit the migration of unskilled people. If better survival rates for babies and longer lives for the elderly contribute to “over-population”, what is the eugenic social engineers policy going to be infanticide and euthanasia? Let people die of epidemics and war? The exception to the drop in population rate trend at the moment appears to be Africa, a continent with a rich potential. Ethiopia is among nine African countries whose rate of population growth is declining. Others are Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda. Ethiopia has seen a massive cut in its fertility rate, from an average of seven children per woman in the 1990s to 4.6 currently. Experts say reducing poverty rates also leads to a decline in fertility. "It's not the population growth that is the problem – it's the extreme poverty that is the underlying reason," says Hans Rosling, professor of international health at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. "If you continue to have extreme poverty areas where women give birth to six children and the population doubles in one generation, then you'll have problems." A case in point is Niger, the country with the highest fertility rate in the world – 7.6. It is also one of the poorest On the question of resource, its availability or lack of it, and therefore its ability or inability to support the African population – another component of Africa’s ‘over-population’ fallacy – well over 50 per cent of Uganda’s arable land, some of the richest in Africa, remains uncultivated. Were Uganda to expand its current food production significantly, not only would it be completely self-sufficient, but it would be able to feed all the countries contiguous to its territory without difficulty. Just about a quarter of the potential arable land of Africa is being cultivated presently. Even here, an increasingly high proportion of the cultivated area is assigned to so-called cash-crops (cocoa, coffee, tea, groundnut, sisal, cut flowers, etc.) for export. As for the remaining 75 per cent of Africa’s uncultivated land, this represents 66 per cent of the entire world’s potential. This vast acreage of rich farmlands with capacity to optimally support the food needs of generations of African peoples indefinitely. In addition, the famous fish industry in Senegal, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana for instance, Botswana’s rich cattle farms, West Africa’s yam and plantain belts extending from southern Cameroon to the Casamance province of Senegal, the continent’s rich rice production fields, etc. The current economic situation demonstrates that if the acreage devoted to cultivation is expanded and expressly targeted to address Africa’s own internal consumption needs rather than land use directed to the calamitous waste of cash-crop production for export there need be no food shortages. It is an inexcusable tragedy that any African child, woman, or man could go without food in the light of the staggering endowment of resources in Africa. Africa constitutes a spacious, rich and arable landmass that can support its population, which is still one of the world’s least densely populated and distributed, into the indefinite future. It is clear that the factors which have contributed to determining the very poor quality of life of Africa’s population presently possess is to do with the non-use, partial-use, or the misuse of the continent’s resources year in, year out thanks to foreign capitalists and the native overseers – the national government and its indigenous domestic capitalists. When we look at the world around us we cannot fail to notice the extent to which nature is being ravaged in the name of short-term economic gain. It is all too clear that the prevailing economic system of capitalist competition is quite incapable of seriously taking into account the long-term considerations of a healthy planet. On a global basis the alteration in the natural balance is taking place on a massive and unprecedented scale. One of the gravest criticisms that can be leveled against the capitalist system is that the application of the profit motive have been disastrous to the land. Throughout virtually the entire world, land is not used to produce the crop best adapted to it on a permanent basis but to produce as much cash as possible, as cheaply as possible, and as quickly as possible – the same system exalted by the industrial manufacturer. Almost everywhere, the land is being impoverished; its fertility flushed down the world's rivers or blown away by its winds or simply buried under an expanding carpet of concrete. A socialist world would obviously want to halt and reverse the long-term decline in soil fertility by improving the humus content of the soil. Not only would this make for the more efficient absorption of chemical fertilisers but would help contain further topsoil loss as a result of erosion. Whilst this would involve more labour intensive work which would require a larger agricultural workforce it should be borne in mind that one of the greatest productive advantages of socialism over capitalism is that it would release a tremendous amount of labour for socially productive work. Concentrating on population confuses symptoms with causes while simultaneously validating apologists for the system. Population growth arguments fit in with the ideological needs of the system rather than challenging them and is the primary reason that they receive so much publicity. It is completely acceptable to capitalism to place the blame for hunger and ecological crises on the number of people rather than on capitalism. Anyway, MightY that is an adapted and abridged version of a reply offered to a prospective member who shared similar misgivings as yourself. And apologies for the lengthy reply….but appreciate, it could have been a lot longer. The simple fact is that being apologists for over-population advocates makes us allies with the racists like Ike and the various Greens that accept capitalism. After clearing up the mess inherited from capitalism, then both consumption and production can be expected to level off and something approaching a "steady-state economy" reached. In a society geared to meeting human needs, once those needs are being met there is no need to go on producing more. Population levels will stabilise too. This is a reasonable assumption, and is already beginning to happen, even under capitalism, in the developed parts of the world. Population growth is a feature of the poorer parts of the world, suggesting a link between it and poverty and the insecurity that goes with it (the more children you have the more chance there is of someone to care for you in your old age). If you reject socialism all that is left is to envisage either compulsory sterilisation programmes, the revival of eugenics or letting starvation, disease take their course. Socialists emphatically reject such an anti-human approach. If that's what an "Earth-centred ethics" teaches then we want nothing to do with it. We'll stick to our human-centred approach, which embraces the view that the balanced functioning of the biosphere is something that humans should try to achieve since, as part of the biosphere, it is in our interest that it should function properly. There is in fact no antagonism between the interest of humanity and the interest of the biosphere. This system must go. The Myth of Carrying Capacity Many believe that we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite planet, with dire consequences. Disaster looms as humans exceed the earth’s natural carrying capacity. Clearly, this could not be sustainable. Many have learned the classic mathematics of population growth — that populations must have their limits and must ultimately reach a balance with their environments, it’s physics, after all, there is only one earth! "Carrying capacity" refers to the number of individuals who can be supported in a given area, within natural resource limits, and without degrading the natural, social, cultural, and economic environment for present and future generations. The carrying capacity for any given area is not fixed. Carrying capacity is not a fixed number. Estimates put Earth's carrying capacity at anywhere between 2 billion and even 40 billion people. It varies with a wide range of factors, most of them fitting under the umbrella of "lifestyle." If humans were still in the hunter-gatherer mode, Earth would have reached its capacity at about 100 million people. With humans producing food and living in high-rise buildings, that number increases significantly . A good way to understand the flexibility of Earth's carrying capacity is to look at the difference between the projected capacities of 2 billion and 40 billion. Essentially, we're working with the same level of resources with both of those numbers. So how can the estimates swing so widely? Because people in different parts of the world are consuming different amounts of those resources. Basically, if everyone on Earth lived like a middle-class American, consuming roughly 3.3 times the subsistence level of food and about 250 times the subsistence level of clean water, the Earth could only support about 2 billion people. On the other hand, if everyone on the planet consumed only what he or she needed, 40 billion would be a feasible number. As it is, the people living in developed countries are consuming so much that the other approximate 75 percent of the population is left with barely what they need to get by. Ultimately, the idea is this: If everyone on Earth can manage to do more with less, we'll be back on track to Earth's indefinite carrying capacity. The conditions that sustain humanity are not natural and never have been. Since prehistory, human populations have used technologies and engineered ecosystems to sustain populations well beyond the capabilities of unaltered “natural” ecosystems. We transform ecosystems to sustain ourselves. This is what we do and have always done. Our planet’s human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limits. The idea that humans must live within the natural environmental limits of our planet denies the realities of our entire history. Charles Maurice and Charles W. Smithson at Texas A&M University studied the history of natural resources over 10,000 years. They found that temporary scarcities in natural resources are the norm. They also found that same temporary scarcity always led to an improved substitute. The Greeks' transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age 3,000 years ago was forced by a shortage of tin. The rise of coal followed timber shortages in 16th-century Britain.The shortage of whale oil in 1850 led directly to the first oil well in 1859. The lesson? Human ingenuity has always been successful in overcoming crises that once seemed inevitable. That is why i have an optimistic hope for socialism…January 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm #131266
Well and good, Alan. And yes, your reply could have been shorter. But, you see, I've heard it all before. I just don't believe it anymore. You think that seven billion stupid humans can organise world food production. I've watched seven socialists on the EC try to organise five hundred socialists. It doesn't bode well for humanity.January 11, 2018 at 11:36 pm #131267
So, your problem really isn't about that there is a over-population problem, MightyY, if i rea between the linesCan i assume that you do accept the argument that many more billions can live on the planet in relative prosperity if and that is a huge big IF, the social system of organising production and distribution was very different?Am i right in thinking, MightyY, you simply don't believe socialism is possible. That the socialist cooperative commonwealth is no longer an option to choose? That you don't believe workers can acquire the class-consciousness, the mass unerstanding, to overthrow capitalism and then bring about a rational society? That people are incapable of administering and running the world other than in the manner it is now done based on your own experience of the world as it is and reinforced by your experience of the SPGB making decisions and carrying them out.That is an entirely different question and position to hold from one that asserts that growing population numbers is an existential threat to humanity.And of course, my reply didn't involve addressing it. Before i and others endeavour to try, i wonder if you could confirm these assumptions and elaborate on your concerns in more detail, to initiate a proper discussion , MightyYJanuary 12, 2018 at 8:42 am #131268
Came across this article when trawling websites for our bloghttps://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/09/holland-agriculture-sustainable-farming/Quote:The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country, with more than 1,300 inhabitants per square mile. It’s bereft of almost every resource long thought to be necessary for large-scale agriculture. Yet it’s the globe’s number two exporter of food as measured by value, second only to the United States, which has 270 times its landmass…. The Dutch are also the world’s top exporter of potatoes and onions and the second largest exporter of vegetables overall in terms of value. More than a third of all global trade in vegetable seeds originates in the Netherlands.
See the graphics on the website for more stats.( GMO is not used to produce such impressive output.)Quote:African drought? “Water isn’t the fundamental problem. It’s poor soil,” he says. “The absence of nutrients can be offset by cultivating plants that act in symbiosis with certain bacteria to produce their own fertilizer.” The soaring cost of grain to feed animals? “Feed them grasshoppers instead,” he says. One hectare of land yields one metric ton of soy protein, a common livestock feed, a year. The same amount of land can produce 150 tons of insect protein.Quote:“Look at the island of Bali!” For at least a thousand years, its farmers have raised ducks and fish within the same flooded paddies where rice is cultivated. It’s an entirely self-contained food system, irrigated by intricate canal systems along mountain terraces sculpted by human hands. “There’s your model of sustainability,”
Bali's population density – 673.1 p/km²January 12, 2018 at 8:14 pm #131269Ike PettigrewParticipant
Why can't Africans take care of themselves?
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