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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:19PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the ought-to-be-enough-for-anybody dept.

Jason Plautz writes at The Atlantic that the more the world's population rises, the greater the strain on dwindling resources and the greater the impact on the environment. "And yet the climate-change benefits of family planning have been largely absent from any climate-change or family-planning policy discussions," says Jason Bremner of the Population Reference Bureau. Even as the population passes 7.2 billion and is projected by the United Nations to reach 10.9 billion by the end of the century, policymakers have been unable—or unwilling—to discuss population in tandem with climate change. Why? Because "talking about population control requires walking a tightrope." writes Plautz. "It can all too easily sound like a developed world leader telling people in the developing world that they should stop having children—especially because much of the population boom is coming from regions like sub-Saharan Africa." Just look at what happened to Hillary Clinton in 2009, when as secretary of State she acknowledged the overpopulation issue during a discussion with Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh. Clinton praised another panelist for noting "that it's rather odd to talk about climate change and what we must do to stop and prevent the ill effects without talking about population and family planning."

A 2010 study looked at the link between policies that help women plan pregnancies and family size and global emissions. The researchers predicted that lower population growth could provide benefits equivalent to between 16 and 29 percent of the emissions reduction needed to avoid a 2 degrees Celsius warming by 2050, the warning line set by international scientists. But the benefits also come through easing the reduced resources that could result from climate change. The U.N. IPCC report notes the potential for climate-related food shortages, with fish catches falling anywhere from 40 to 60 percent and wheat and maize taking a hit, as well as extreme droughts. With resources already stretched in some areas, the IPCC laid out the potential for famine, water shortages and pestilence. Still, the link remains a "very sensitive topic," says Karen Hardee, "At the global policy level you can't touch population … but what's been heartening is that over the last few years it's not just us, but people from the countries themselves talking about this."

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Book Review: Moonrush by Dennis Wingo 20 comments

Moon or Mars? It isn't a mutually exclusive choice but we'd be idiots to ignore the ideal staging post.

NASA engineer, Wingo, makes a detailed, costed argument that the current best-of-breed technology should be directed to the Moon. Specifically, the Saturn program should be continued in preference to SLS. The reason is quite simple. With advances in manufacturing, materials and guidance systems, a known quantity with known corner cases can be made safer and cheaper. (It would also avoid launchpad upgrades and other superfluous costs.)

As a matter of international co-operation, this could be augmented with Russian technology and suchlike. Yes, redundant airlocks or airlock adaptors may be required. However, does it really matter if a substantial structure requires seven payloads or eight payloads? From our current position eight is cheaper and more certain even if seven would be better in the long-term.

What would this structure be? A waystation in high Earth orbit for fueling and crew transfers. Fueling of what? Initially, craft to bootstrap a permanent base on the Moon with solar and nuclear power. Fueling is also needed until there is sufficient infrastructure on the Moon to produce fuel locally. Even then, fuel is required in high Earth orbit for emergencies. Overall, this is a plan to go from zero presence to an economic break-even point and beyond.

[Continues...]

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by turgid on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:25PM

    by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:25PM (#112254) Journal

    You can't advise people or educate people about family planning and contraception in case it offends their religious beliefs, or offends the patriarchy that is responsibly for enforcing and upholding those beliefs.

    It's just not Politically Correct.

    You can't educate about contraception because that would imply that women might have to be permitted to be educated and to have a degree of independence - and control over their own bodies. The entrenched power structured would be threatened! Millions of powerful and rich men would be undermined.

    How dare you! What are you, some kind of subversive godless pinko commie? You'll be wanting Human Rights next...

    Won't somebody think of the political and religious establishment!

    --
    Don't let Righty keep you down.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:39PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:39PM (#112258) Homepage

      The dirty and very politically incorrect truth about family planning and contraception is that religion isn't often a factor in their family planning -- those people are just unconscientious animals and there's no incentive to plan their family intelligently as long as the welfare state will support those illegitimate babies for them. This is why we should bring back eugenics and sterilization.

      I'm also for a worldwide two-child policy. But why not a one-child policy, you ask? Because people who grew up as the only child in the family are insufferable assholes.

      • (Score: 2) by turgid on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:46PM

        by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:46PM (#112259) Journal

        There are plenty of countries with no welfare state where the people breed like rabbits, are very poor, die young and live miserable lives.

        There is a strong link between poor education, religious dictatorship forbidding contraception (the Catholic Church, for example), the oppression of women, and high birth rates with high infant mortality and poverty.

        The trouble is, as soon as you start letting people have a bit of an education and some self-respect, old power structures begin to crumble. The establishment doesn't like it.

        Educated people with good housing, food and a worthwhile job tend not to produce arbitrarily large numbers of children. Look at Western Europe, for example.

        --
        Don't let Righty keep you down.
        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Entropy on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:07PM

          by Entropy (4228) on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:07PM (#112268)

          >There are plenty of countries with no welfare state where the people breed like rabbits, are very poor, die young and live miserable lives.

          Yes, but that tends to discourage or at least limit rampant idiot breeding. When they don't starve to death because neither parent
          does anything useful except breed..well..You get something like the idiocracy movie, I suppose.

          • (Score: 2) by turgid on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:20PM

            by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:20PM (#112270) Journal

            The only thing that's rate-limited is the number of people who survive long enough to reproduce themselves (due to malnutrition and disease). It's a pretty miserable state of affairs.

            --
            Don't let Righty keep you down.
            • (Score: 1) by Entropy on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:53PM

              by Entropy (4228) on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:53PM (#112276)

              Indeed it is. Somehow the irresponsible parents like to pretend they are not at fault in this scenario when to me
              it seems tantamount to child abuse.

              • (Score: 2) by edIII on Monday November 03 2014, @07:35PM

                by edIII (791) on Monday November 03 2014, @07:35PM (#112706)

                Huh?

                In the context of what you have described, you both paint the picture of a poor and unsophisticated tribal couple that might only have access to the knowledge and wisdom passed down around them. It may be as if they really are in a world hundreds of years in the past.

                Seems hardly fair to by using the concepts of responsibility as a parent in regards to future resources, and applying your concepts of child abuse to a people that are forced to survive almost as our ancestors did.

                A time travelling anthropologist levying judgement against their ancestors makes little sense to me :)

                In all seriousness, I see most of those peoples in Africa as apparently still being very much tribal, just with access to some greater technologies. It's like a working example of the Prime Directive in an alternate universe with an evil Federation selling the tribes advanced weapon technologies for their precious resources they will mine out of the ground knowing full well their own proclivities for war.

                That may seem racist, but I don't believe Africa was given a fair shake to develop with the rest of us to begin with, precisely because of racism. I have a lot of empathy for Africa. They're terribly abused as a group of peoples by the rest of the world, which is not to excuse how warlike and racist they've been internally either. Societal evolution takes quite a bit of a time, and anthropologically speaking, you are dealing with some pretty old cultures.

                On top of that, you have large pools of sophistication where they do know better, but only seem to use such information asymmetry to take advantage of their own peoples instead of lifting themselves up. Yes, I do feel like I've described large portions of the United States too :)

                So I don't lay a lot of judgment against the feet of the poor people in Africa. I see them like my ancestors (because they are), and they've been helped to create a terrible environment over there where you get to see pain at every level Maslov conceived of simultaneously.

                It's just terrible.

                --
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                • (Score: 2) by turgid on Monday November 03 2014, @09:07PM

                  by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 03 2014, @09:07PM (#112745) Journal

                  I was trying to make the point that there are people with few resources who will produce large families whether there is a comprehensive welfare state or not.

                  The right-wingers around here (UK) constantly moan that the country is full of people having huge families simply because they can afford to by getting paid by the welfare state.

                  There are people of all races, creeds, nationalities and skin colours who will have large numbers of children whether they get paid to or not.

                  Yes, Africa has had a bad deal, and yes, that's why Africa, in places, is so far behind. However, Africa is suffering badly due to religious fundamentalism being imposed upon it (in place of proper secular education) by the rest of the world, whether that's American Christian Fundamentalism, Catholicism, Islam... you name it.

                  --
                  Don't let Righty keep you down.
                • (Score: 1) by Entropy on Tuesday November 04 2014, @01:23AM

                  by Entropy (4228) on Tuesday November 04 2014, @01:23AM (#112826)

                  I'm not really being critical of people in Africa.. There's so many factors that come into play there that I simply don't know about. At some point in developing societies having kids strengthens a family, as they can do useful work on a farm. I'm speaking of my own family history here, from about 70-100 years ago. Africa is pretty darn varied, so who knows what is going on where there.

                  I was just talking about couples having kids with absolutely no way to support them in the US. Not even 1 kid, many kids. People that have at least access to the information and should have some clue that the path they are on is idiotic.

                  Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about:
                    http://www.wfla.com/story/20565853/who-is-really-responsible [wfla.com]

                  Good old angel adams as 14 kids, has no job, and no man... basically she makes no useful contribution to society, and is raising another generation of super failures. She rants on the news about "someone needs to pay for all these kids!", as if the someone isn't her and whatever unfortunate troop of men fathered all those kids with no future. That's child abuse.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:47PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01 2014, @08:47PM (#112260)

        I'd say that your argument falls apart, looking at the complete lack of a welfare state propping up the "unconscientious animals" (your words, not mine) who live in sub-saharan Africa.

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday November 03 2014, @04:46PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Monday November 03 2014, @04:46PM (#112654)

          He said there are plenty of examples, not that it's a universal law.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday November 03 2014, @06:58PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday November 03 2014, @06:58PM (#112690) Journal

        those people are just unconscientious animals and there's no incentive to plan their family intelligently as long as the welfare state will support those illegitimate babies for them.
         
        The welfare state in sub-Saharan Africa?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cafebabe on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:00PM

    by cafebabe (894) on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:00PM (#112261) Journal

    This was covered by the BBC News on Mon 2 Feb 2009 [bbc.co.uk]. I've had a while to think about it since then and I believe that energy consumption is key to development [soylentnews.org]. In particular, advocating birth control prior to industrialization will fail [soylentnews.org]:-

    if you plot [paulchefurka.com] birth rate [wikipedia.org] against energy consumption [wikipedia.org] you'll find that high birth rate and high energy consumption are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, the most energy-intensive countries generally have less than two children per breeding pair [wikipedia.org].

    [...] I would have presumed that more energy means more stability and more resources to have more children. But that doesn't match the data. Indeed, it is suspected that some families stop having children after they have male and female children. Also, fertile couples tend to replace lost children. Whereas, people in energy poverty tend to breed prolifically to counter high infant mortality and other dire circumstances.

    I think this raises interesting questions about quality of life, labor participation, work patterns, migration, contraception, medical care and very probably other matters.

    --
    1702845791×2
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:24PM (#112263)

      Correlation is not caucasian.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:17PM (#112269)

      Energy use is, in general, higher in countries with more education.

      Birth rates are, in general, lower in countries with more education.

      Energy use and birth rates seem to be symptoms of the same thing: education. You don't need a public sector family-planning intervention to lower birth rates: just teach the women reading, writing, arithmetic, and science, and give them equal access to the job market, and the birth rate will plummet on its own.

      Civilization bonks itself on the head with the Darwin-Fairy's Wand of Natural Selection. The more civilized it gets, the faster it gets outstripped by the barbarians' capacity to breed like rabbits.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday November 02 2014, @05:53AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 02 2014, @05:53AM (#112357) Journal

      if you plot birth rate against energy consumption

      Correlation doesn't imply causation. As I noted the last time you mentioned this "metabolic theory of ecology", labor force participation by women completely explains this phenomena without requiring a model with poor matching to reality.

      Nor does the theory explain the natural world where higher energy consumption tends to correlate strongly with higher successful reproduction rates. For example, I work seasonally in Yellowstone National Park. The various ruminants of the park (bison, elk, deer, mountain goats, mountain sheep, etc) have various constraints on population growth and size, including predation by wolves and bears, disease, human kills (hunting and population control), and winter die-offs. The last is the dominant one, particularly for bison (who really are only controlled by die-offs in winter and human culling of the herds when the population gets larger than certain negotiated limits). Winter die-offs are primarily caused by difficulty of acquiring food. While bison are able to dig through snow for food, it requires energy to do so. And when they get less energy from the food they eat, than they burn clearing snow to get at it, then they will starve. This leads to substantial population growth during mild winters and severe die-offs during harsh winters. In addition, some of the human culls of bison are triggered in winter time by bison leaving park lands, looking for food by moving to private or public grazing lands.

      The metabolic theory of ecology completely misses this correlation between winter food supply and successful reproduction. An even more glaring example is reproduction of small animals, such as microbes or mice. Reproduction will occur at near exponential rates until the food source is consumed.

      people in energy poverty

      People in energy poverty also happen to be people in genuine poverty with fewer economic alternatives available for women.

      • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Sunday November 02 2014, @09:31PM

        by cafebabe (894) on Sunday November 02 2014, @09:31PM (#112482) Journal

        The Metabolic theory of ecology [wikipedia.org] extends Kleiber's law [wikipedia.org] by including energy consumed externally to an organism.

        It is widely observed that larger organisms live longer and consume energy more slowly per unit mass. The Metabolic theory of ecology extends this to virtual organisms. Above a certain threshold (which I should locate or calculate sometime), a virtual tribe has an average lifespan and lives at a pace at which the physical manifestation cannot sustainably breed.

        Therefore, if you want to reduce population, push energy consumption above the threshold. The major problem here is that a fixed energy budget and a declining population leads a runaway effect which leads to extinction.

        --
        1702845791×2
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday November 03 2014, @03:08PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 03 2014, @03:08PM (#112616) Journal

          The Metabolic theory of ecology extends Kleiber's law by including energy consumed externally to an organism.

          That is absurd from several angles. Humanity's metabolic rate and mass hasn't actually changed much. That point of view remains valid no matter what degree of energy prevalence or larger system is present. Why would we expect humanity's reproduction rate to change just because it is immersed in a larger system? Do the bacteria in your gut reproduce many orders of magnitude slower just because they are part of your body's ecosystem? No, they do not. In fact, if they did significantly slow down in reproduction rate, then our digestive systems would become much more vulnerable to invading disease organisms.

          Further, this "virtual organism" almost completely consists of things like buildings and roads, not people who make up a miniscule amount by mass. So far that stuff has not had any trouble reproducing in your "virtual" sense and most of it by mass has an effective lifespan considerably shorter than a human life.

          Third, this is a misuse of Kleiber's law since it's not intended to model "virtual" phenomena like social behavior or the construction of infrastructure. Do coral organisms reproduce slower on the Great Barrier Reef than they do on small reefs? Do trees in a forest grow slower, if the forest covers a continent instead of a small field?

          Fourth, metabolic rate only has a loose correlation with longevity. There's no reason to expect that humanity has a fixed lifespan (especially given how much that lifespan has changed significantly up and down over history already). Prevalent energy use correlates with higher technology levels which correlates with longevity IMHO.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mojo chan on Sunday November 02 2014, @12:11PM

      by mojo chan (266) on Sunday November 02 2014, @12:11PM (#112385)

      Bangladesh has managed to lower its fertility rate from a high of 7 to around 2.2 now: https://www.google.co.uk/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_dyn_tfrt_in&idim=country:BGD:IND:PAK&hl=en&dl=en [google.co.uk]

      They did that through education. According to this [worldbank.org] Bangladeshi are only using around 260kWh/year/person, compared to around 13,250kWh/year/person in the US. Even relatively efficient countries are around the 5-8000kWh/year mark. So, energy consumption is not linked to the birth rate, education is.

      Since the 60s there have been multiple programmes in Bangladesh educating people about contraception and the benefits of having a small family. Women have been empowered to refuse their husband's wishes to have more children, and having a small but well cared for and educated family has become the model. Bangladesh is still very poor, but the low fertility rate is helping to change that. India has realized the same thing and made major progress.

      As for world population, we are nearly at the point where the number of children in the world is levelling off. The actual percentage of the population that is under 18 has been falling since the 60s, and the absolute number will level off around the 2 billion mark. By the end of the century world population will be stable around the 10 billion mark. Sounds like a lot, but most of the growth will be in Africa and that continent can cope if it is developed. We can't be complacent, we need to make sure development happens with sustainable farming and clean energy, but fortunately Africa is quite well suited to those two things. It's a challenge, but not the end of the world.

      --
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    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:22PM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:22PM (#112395) Homepage
      I conclude from this image: http://www.paulchefurka.ca/WEAP/image001.png that paulchefurka is interested in misleadingly representing data, I'm not sure why I should trust anything else he says.

      Having said that, his conclusion that making having children less valuable will be correlated with a later reduction in population growth, and that industrialisation can be part of that, does have some merit. And that increased energy consuption is part of industrialisation. However, his graphs, in particularly his regressions, are at best meaningless.
      --
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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:15PM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:15PM (#112262)

    Climate change is due to human activities. Fewer humans, less climate change. By that simple logic, family planning, Ebola, Nazi concentration camps and all-out nuclear war all reduce climate change.

    The real question is whether humanity wants to talk about reducing itself, either by not refreshing its pool of individuals, or by culling existing individuals. And the answer is that it violently does not.

    Here's a group of people that I find rather sensible, if a little extreme: the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement [vhemt.org]. They propose that humanity save nature by letting itself go extinct. Despite the idea making sense in itself, you can never mention this group or their ideas in any conversation without passing for a extremist lunatic, and without abruptly ending the conversation. That's how averse to talking about population control people are.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Adamsjas on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:53PM

      by Adamsjas (4507) on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:53PM (#112275)

      You are conflating population control with total eradication.
      Its no wonder you get take for an whacko. I suspect if you didn't START there, you could have a conversation.
      If your intent is to END there, then you might as well not START at all.
      Because the answer will always be: You First.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by Bot on Sunday November 02 2014, @12:00AM

      by Bot (3902) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 02 2014, @12:00AM (#112285) Journal

      If you think population should be reduced, start with yourself. The problem will democratically solve itself. I've seen touchier subjects.

      --
      Account abandoned.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:53PM (#112401)

        And that's exactly where the discussion stops - right at that comment that has little to no value in the overall conversation. Let's get beyond that gut reaction and talk about the problems with uncontrolled population increase, and the possible solutions. Please, let's stop with the PC dramatics, on both sides, and use our brains to have a logical discussion. :)

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday November 02 2014, @03:40PM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday November 02 2014, @03:40PM (#112421) Homepage
      Nuclear winter might change the climate quite a bit...
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 2) by SuperCharlie on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:40PM

    by SuperCharlie (2939) on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:40PM (#112264)

    Maybe half baked idea..but.. It would seem that if you started this control fiscally from the top down you would be much more effective. It would never fly.. But while we are talking of things that won't happen I'll just throw that in.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 01 2014, @09:47PM (#112267)

    Pyramid schemes only "work" for a very short time and only for a very few people.
    A system that mainly benefits non-worker elites (investors) is the problem.
    An economic system that infinitely requires growth to satisfy the idle rich is unsustainable.
    When enough isn't enough, the model you are using is broken.

    ...and the situation is compounded by advertising.

    A sustainable economic system where the workers are working for themselves is the answer.
    There are working models e.g. Mondragon. [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [wikipedia.org]

    ...and, of course, getting off of centralized non-sustainable energy production.

    -- gewg_

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday November 02 2014, @03:55AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 02 2014, @03:55AM (#112340) Journal
      If that's true, then care to explain why capitalist societies tend to be a lot more sustainable than the non-capitalist societies and yet still be "pyramid schemes"?
      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Sunday November 02 2014, @08:27AM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday November 02 2014, @08:27AM (#112364) Journal

        Almost purely capitalist societies (USA) have proven to be much less sustainable than societies who combine the best of capitalism with the best of socialism (certain northern European countries).

        --
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        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @10:38AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @10:38AM (#112375)

          You forgot to mention that about every 80 years Capitalism completely falls on its face.
          When it happened in 1837 and again in 1873, no gov't action was taken and the USA economy stayed in the crapper for well over a decade each time.

          It happened again in 1929.
          Nothing substantial was done until 1933 when FDR and the New Deal started to put 15 million Americans to work on the public payroll.
          FDR's big mistake was retaining Capitalism so that the elites could undo his changes and the economy would fail yet again.

          It happened again in 2007 and the "solution" was to bail out Wall Street investment bankers with tax dollars instead of allowing the failed businessmen fail (as they did in Iceland).
          We haven't seen the last of this one yet.
          None of the actual problems were solved; the politicians just kicked the can down the road.
          We're in for an actual depression pretty soon.
          Most Americans know that the "recovery" that Lamestream Media keeps yammering about is a fiction. [ronrambles.com]

          Calling Capitalism "sustainable" is ignoring the historical facts again and again (a specialty of khallow).

          .
          You also didn't mention that the reason that non-Capitalist systems fail is because the Capitalists have their hired thugs show up with guns and murder those who dare to try an alternative.

          It happened in 1871 in Paris. [wikipedia.org]

          It happened again in Barcelona 1936 - 1937. Homage to Catalonia [wikipedia.org]
          Again, guys with guns broke things up.
          State Capitalists that time. Look for "NKVD".
          (Stalinists weren't actually Communists.)

          Indonesia in 1965 was another fine example.
          In his book, [google.com] Bird Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty (USAF, Ret.) tells how his guys transported tens of thousand of rifles from USA armories to the CIA-organized Capitalist thugs who then murdered over a million.

          More recently, USA-funded/organized coups turned South America upside down in the name of Capitalism.
          Those countries are only now recovering from that murderous era.

          -- gewg_

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:35PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:35PM (#112396) Journal

            You forgot to mention that about every 80 years Capitalism completely falls on its face.

            So what? There are three things to note. First, no other system does better though as the parent post noted, there can be somewhat better societies than pure capitalist societies, if capitalism is leavened with a bit of socialism. Even your worker cooperative example, Mondragon Corporation ran into trouble following the real estate crisis with bankruptcy of a good sized subunit, Fagor Electrodomesticos [wikipedia.org] in 2013. And how well would Mondragon or those who rely on its products and services fare, if it didn't have competition to keep it relatively fit and trim? They are best of the cooperative breed, not typical.

            Second, why do you think that the various economic downturns are a bad thing? A key property of recessions and such is that they are caused by economic problems or huge, collective errors in societal perception, and usually are corrections to these problems. For example, in the US, they are the primary time when US labor corrects for being more overpriced than developing world labor (the key US problem right now - the whole rich vs poor class thing is due to the fact that capital is not similarly affected), which I view as a necessary task in order for the US to remain economically competitive with the rest of the world. Similarly, downturns weed out bad companies. I consider them one of the bigger constraints on business power and one of the key economic differences between people and businesses. A person doesn't cease to exist just because they go bankrupt. Third, society doesn't cease to exist. In most cases, it is healthier than before the recession (a further sign that a recession acts as a correction to societal imbalances). That's also indication that recession is not just an unfortunate event, but part of what makes a capitalist society sustainable.

            It happened again in 2007 and the "solution" was to bail out Wall Street investment bankers with tax dollars instead of allowing the failed businessmen fail (as they did in Iceland).

            That's not capitalism when public funds are involved. You're blaming the wrong system.

            It happened in 1871 in Paris.

            After France imprudently lost a war with Germany. Again not due to capitalism. And the outcome was probably better for France than if the commune had succeeded.

            State Capitalists that time. Look for "NKVD".

            "State capitalists" is an oxymoron. And Spain was in the process of being taken over by a Fascist (ie, non capitalist) government at the time.

            I have a different view of these events, obviously. For the most part, you are describing a well-known failure mode of populism, namely, using other peoples' money to bribe a significant fraction of society and then looting the society with the resulting public sanction. Such mundane yet destructive corruption is not at all unique to capitalist societies.

            More recently, USA-funded/organized coups turned South America upside down in the name of Capitalism. Those countries are only now recovering from that murderous era.

            Note that the successful societies like Chile, are strongly capitalist. And we ignore here, that if they weren't turned upside down in the name of Capitalism, they would have been turned upside down in the name of Communism, which turned out to be a worse choice. For example, the notorious dictator, Augusto Pinochet came to power in Chile in 1973 because a Socialist/Communist government was turning Chile and its economy into shit fast. US "capitalist" intervention was helpful and perhaps even necessary to the coup working, but not the triggering event. The colossal incompetence and mendacity of the predecessor government under Salvador Allende was the trigger.

            While capitalism is being blamed for being "unsustainable" it has two obvious features that make it more sustainable than competitors. First, capitalist societies tend strongly to be very clean, non-polluting, technologically advanced societies. Second, capitalism provides a tremendous engine of wealth and creation of assets with which to better societies. Even those opposed to capitalism routinely depend on it for resources (for example, the all-too-common assumption that the wealthy can afford any burden no matter how large, which is a far more optimistic viewpoint of capitalism than capitalists themselves have).

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @11:17PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @11:17PM (#112500)

              Anyone who has been conscious any time in the last 3 decades will recognize what you have stated as 100 percent horseshit.

              The only reason for anyone to read your comments would be to learn how to do denialism and distortion through making up your own "facts".

              You are simply a fact-free defender of the oligarchy.

              -- gewg_

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03 2014, @12:08AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03 2014, @12:08AM (#112508)

                the oligarchy you detest is not a result of real capitalism, which encourages competition on a level playing field.

                monopolies occur when the power of the state gets involved in markets. even something as innocuous as a broadcasting license will affect the balance in favor of the license recipient, making it harder for competitors to rise and keep monopolistic tendencies in check.

                where it gets ugly is when political influence is bought and sold. this is not a flaw of capitalism, as corporations can only buy what is being offered. it is the corrupt government officials that offer influence for sale in the first place that are the root cause of the monopolies we experience today. corporations will lobby, as do churches and other groups, but we place our trust in public officials to resist lobbyists and act in the best interest of their constituents.

                public officials are only human, and humans are corrupt and greedy so its folly to assume that we could expect such honor. that's why the only solution is to keep the absolute power of the state to a minimum so that there is little power that could be offered for sale by corrupt officials.

                capitalism is the source of much of the comforts that modern society takes for granted, and level competition keeps prices low and wages high.

                turnover of labor is wasteful and costly so despite the rhetoric from the left about greedy capitalist corporations exploiting workers, if that were really the case everyone would be working for minimum wage. the real reason for minimum wage workers is that they aren't worth more than that. you might say that's not fair but you'd be wrong; what's not fair is the government fixing the price of labor so that poor people can't get their first low (or no) pay job and work their way up the ladder of success. the left is so obsessed with punishing rich people, they're blind to the unintended consequences of their policies on poor people that they purport to care about.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday November 03 2014, @03:19PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 03 2014, @03:19PM (#112624) Journal

                Anyone who has been conscious any time in the last 3 decades will recognize what you have stated as 100 percent horseshit.

                You got nothing. All of the developed world societies, which are by far the most sustainable societies on Earth by all the metrics that matter, like pollution per capita, reproduction rate, wealth generated per resources used, etc, are all heavily capitalist societies.

                The only reason for anyone to read your comments would be to learn how to do denialism and distortion through making up your own "facts".

                Then show me the "facts" that dispute my claims. Don't just assert and give a few toy models like Mondragon Corporation.

          • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Sunday November 02 2014, @11:13PM

            by cafebabe (894) on Sunday November 02 2014, @11:13PM (#112499) Journal

            Regarding your comment that capitalism fails every 80 years, this is assumed to be when the necessity for safeguards fall out of corporate memory plus a margin for the damage to occur. As an example, the US Banking Act 1933 [wikipedia.org] was partially repealed in 1999 by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [wikipedia.org] (whose proponents were born in 1942, 1942 and 1932 respectively). However, the foolishness of this action was not generally apparent until 2007 or later.

            Regarding your comment that the problem remains unresolved, I agree. Restoration of the US Banking Act 1933 is probably naive but there is a popular argument that finance is a scale-free network [wikipedia.org] and therefore every checking account is vulnerable to financial collapse unless financial institutions are typed and partitioned.

            --
            1702845791×2
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03 2014, @11:02AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03 2014, @11:02AM (#112571)

              corporate memory

              I would have said regulators' personal experience, but yeah.

              ...and if the world was all worker cooperatives, this stuff wouldn't be an issue.
              Workers having control and voting to screw themselves makes no sense.
              The problem is the idle rich who are in control.

              -- gewg_

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday November 04 2014, @12:16AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 04 2014, @12:16AM (#112812) Journal

                Workers having control and voting to screw themselves makes no sense.

                There are three avenues of abuse present. They can screw over a different worker coop. They can screw over future workers (pension fund abuse in particular). And they can screw over more productive workers (Ayn Rand-style).

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday November 02 2014, @12:39PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 02 2014, @12:39PM (#112389) Journal

          Almost purely capitalist societies (USA) have proven to be much less sustainable than societies who combine the best of capitalism with the best of socialism (certain northern European countries).

          Good point, though they are still capitalist countries and the socialist aspects are under relatively rigorous control (public debt owed by government ranges from 30% of GDP for Norway to around 53% fpr Finland as compared to the US's 75%).

    • (Score: 1) by legont on Friday November 07 2014, @08:20PM

      by legont (4179) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 07 2014, @08:20PM (#113929)

      The biggest issue with capitalism is that it needs exponential grows of population. One does not need to go to any "revolutionary' info to get it. Every mainstream macro report mentions population grows slowdown as a major long term disaster receipt, Japan being first in line.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Appalbarry on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:24PM

    by Appalbarry (66) on Saturday November 01 2014, @10:24PM (#112271) Journal

    A 2010 study looked at the link between policies that help women plan pregnancies and family size and global emissions.

    Good luck with that....

    At least in Canada, the same people who consistently deny Climate Change (our Prime Minster) are also the people who specifically refuse to support or fund any sort of birth control efforts in developing nations. [thestar.com]

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday November 02 2014, @03:48PM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday November 02 2014, @03:48PM (#112422) Homepage
      Does Canada consider itself under-populated? It probably ought to. In which case, why would it think there was any merit in trying to limit reproduction as a general concept?
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:04AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:04AM (#112296)

    I've been preaching this solution forever. How soon can we start killing the poor and unemployed? Even if there's ever a "family planning" solution, it'll only apply to the poor anyway.

  • (Score: 1) by Skwearl on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:06AM

    by Skwearl (4314) on Sunday November 02 2014, @01:06AM (#112298)

    This is a cultural issue. Namely the Chinese and the Indians.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @09:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @09:46AM (#112373)

      and muslims

  • (Score: 2) by Konomi on Sunday November 02 2014, @11:13AM

    by Konomi (189) on Sunday November 02 2014, @11:13AM (#112376)

    Funny how overpopulation is this "huge problem" and it can "help with climate change" even though most first world countries aren't having enough kids to replace the adults that die. I like taking a trip to http://overpopulationisamyth.com/ [overpopulationisamyth.com] now and then in other words.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @02:39PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 02 2014, @02:39PM (#112414)

      yay for religious kooks!

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday November 02 2014, @04:08PM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday November 02 2014, @04:08PM (#112425) Homepage
      The problem I have with PRI is that they were founded by someone who was unable to distinguish fact from fairy stories. 2 letters tells me that. "Fr".

      They also seem to think that the USA is the whole world. The USA as a country is *underpopulated*, so of course "rural areas are almost empty" is a maxim they can through around, but it's an entirely parochial statement (quelle suprise). Look at the figures: ~30/sqkm, compared to a world average of ~50/sqkm. Yes, *your* "overpopulation" problems are just big cities getting shitty (queues for starbucks being too long, disaster!). But the countries which are suffering the most from an inability to feed the offspring that they probably shouldn't even have had, the population density tends to be between 2 and 6 times higher.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 2) by Ken_g6 on Sunday November 02 2014, @10:43PM

    by Ken_g6 (3706) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 02 2014, @10:43PM (#112496)

    A new study [pnas.org] shows [thinkprogress.org] population control won't do much unless it's drastic. So if China took over the world and imposed a one-child policy, that would work. If Pakistan and India nuked each other, that might work too. Short of that, no significant effect.