The two existential crises of the 21st century

Bristol-Cruiser

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Time for a serious chat denizens. Seems to see that there are two existential crises that the world faces in the next decades - note I say decades, not years, both of these will be critical for the remaining years of those reading this.
  • Climate - This has been thrashed around for years. We are slowly making progress but more needs to be done everywhere. Current state of affairs - https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/
  • Demographic transition - I think this one may be as serious as climate change but is only emerging into prominence. Just a few examples of the impact.
    • Aging populations needing support, healthcare and otherwise. In richer western countries this might mean delayed retirements (hello Macron), pension schemes at risk (US), strains on hospitals and other parts of the system. China has passed a law saying that children must look after their parents, and by extension, grandparents, i.e. give them somewhere to live and feed them. Social media is busy with discussion of a man who abandoned his children 20 years ago and is now demanding his son and DIL take him in. The court ruled in his favour btw. It is a particular problem since most of the children are of the age that they were born during the One Child Policy so the couple have four parents (and possibly grandparents, and no siblings to share the load.
    • A shortage of the labour force as people age. China has raised retirement age (a lot) and France just did it. Other countries are considering similar actions.
    • Some countries are attractive to immigrants who can fill in gaps in the workforce but in many countries this is seen as threat to existing cultural structures. As I mentioned in another thread I just came back from Iceland which is now accepting many immigrants as the fertility rate declines and thee economy is strong. Virtually all Icelanders speak English, as do the vast majority of immigrants. The result is that the economy mainly operates in English. Many fear that, given a generation or two, the Icelandic language and much of the traditional culture could disappear.
    • The potential destruction of the real estate market. Most people have much, or all, of their wealth tied up in their homes. What happens if the country's population declines by 10%, by 50%? These are realistic scenarios for this century for countries like China and Japan whose populations have only started to decline. The rates of decline will only get worse as fewer and fewer women have fewer children (South Korea's TFR is less than 1.0 - that means every two people will produce (less than) one child to replace them. What happens when there is a large and growing housing glut?
    • There are military implications, especially for countries that rely on boots on the ground rather than tech to fight their wars. Russia is experiencing this now. Ukraine has a lower TFR than Russia but is only able to make up for the shortage with more women in uniform, older folks fighting, some foreign fighters and just a higher motivation to fight.
 

kent_island_sailor

Super Anarchist
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They meet in the middle too. Cutting the population of the USA to 100 million would save more CO2 than anything else, we would be a natural paradise in many ways. Of course the quicker it happened the more of an economic disaster it would be.
* one is reminded that when holding tanks were never even though of and many houses dumped straight into the Chesapeake, never mind boats, the water quality was vastly better than it is now.
 

Ease the sheet.

ignoring stupid people is easy
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We're fucked.

I don't expect those that care will succeed in convincing the many multiples of them that don't.

The subversion of Darwin by the do-gooders has been wasted effort.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
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They meet in the middle too. Cutting the population of the USA to 100 million would save more CO2 than anything else, we would be a natural paradise in many ways. Of course the quicker it happened the more of an economic disaster it would be.
* one is reminded that when holding tanks were never even though of and many houses dumped straight into the Chesapeake, never mind boats, the water quality was vastly better than it is now.

That's a false parallel, the population was SO MUCH smaller flushing their toilets straight into the bay, that the number doing so now even with sewage treatment is providing far more waste to nourish the wrong kind of bugs.

If people living along the shores did that now, the Bay would be a total cess pit in a week.
 

Happy

Super Anarchist
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Tropical Oz
It's not just the volume of shit being pumped into the bay, it's the chemical make-up of the shit.

A hundred years ago, people were eating real food. Their shit was natural shit. Now, people are eating food-like products loaded with bad shit which turns their shit into evil shit.
 

Goodvibes

under the southern cross I stand ...
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Water, fresh water is the intersection of all the issues.

None of the green warriors have made any difference so far, Suzuki, Greta, Attenborough ... all for naught really. The oil and coal companies run this planet and util that changes, we are truly fucked. It's already too late.
 

SloopJonB

Super Anarchist
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Great Wet North
We're fucked.

I don't expect those that care will succeed in convincing the many multiples of them that don't.

The subversion of Darwin by the do-gooders has been wasted effort.
No we aren't.

The human race has a remarkable record of survival against the odds and an equally long record of never doing anything until there was no other choice.

Humanity is at its best when things are worst.
 

Ease the sheet.

ignoring stupid people is easy
21,017
2,674
No we aren't.

The human race has a remarkable record of survival against the odds and an equally long record of never doing anything until there was no other choice.

Humanity is at its best when things are worst.
I'm not sure humans are above a mass extinction event.

Lots of other animals have shown remarkable resilience and then died out.

Pockets of humans may indeed survive, may even repopulate a greater area.

But considering us different to other animals seems a fools errand.

We may even evolve into another "homo" species.

Homo not so fucking stupid...
 

Bristol-Cruiser

Super Anarchist
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Great Lakes
They meet in the middle too. Cutting the population of the USA to 100 million would save more CO2 than anything else, we would be a natural paradise in many ways. Of course the quicker it happened the more of an economic disaster it would be.
* one is reminded that when holding tanks were never even though of and many houses dumped straight into the Chesapeake, never mind boats, the water quality was vastly better than it is now.
I should have made the point that a declining population is a good thing. The problem is how do we deal with the transition. The demographic transition model as it was taught for decades (I know I did it) was that birth rate and death rate would stabilize at a low, but pretty much equal rate. There was really no evidence, for even theoretical take, to suggest why this should be case. Japan (TFR is 1.37) has a birth rate of 6.4/1000 while the death rate is 12.4/1000 or basically twice as much. World population will decline (a good thing) as more and more countries have TFRs below 2.1 - here's looking at you India. The fascinating thing is to imagine what the world be like in 100 years if TFRs in all countries that matter demographically and economically (ignoring the Upper Voltas etc) are in the 1 to 1.7 range. The map below uses the UN medium-variant projection, which typically has proven to be high in the past.

800px-TFR-HighRes-2020.png
 

Bristol-Cruiser

Super Anarchist
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Malthus lives.
I don't think you understand either Malthus or what this thread is all about. Malthus thought that population control was impossible ...

  • "The superior power of population cannot be checked without producing misery or vice."

What is happening now is that population is being controlled and it would be hard to describe the methodology as being either 'misery' or 'vice' unless you think family planning and the empowerment of women is either of these. (Well, in your case maybe you do think so.)

Old Thomas, Robert was a cleric and a bit of a commie sympathizer long before Marx.

"The rich, by unfair combinations, contribute frequently to prolong a season of distress among the poor."

https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/thomas-malthus-quotes
 
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BeSafe

Super Anarchist
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I should have made the point that a declining population is a good thing. The problem is how do we deal with the transition. The demographic transition model as it was taught for decades (I know I did it) was that birth rate and death rate would stabilize at a low, but pretty much equal rate. There was really no evidence, for even theoretical take, to suggest why this should be case. Japan (TFR is 1.37) has a birth rate of 6.4/1000 while the death rate is 12.4/1000 or basically twice as much. World population will decline (a good thing) as more and more countries have TFRs below 2.1 - here's looking at you India. The fascinating thing is to imagine what the world be like in 100 years if TFRs in all countries that matter demographically and economically (ignoring the Upper Voltas etc) are in the 1 to 1.7 range. The map below uses the UN medium-variant projection, which typically has proven to be high in the past.

800px-TFR-HighRes-2020.png

I think an enormous challenge is that big blue blob in the middle.

The people being born today are being born into infrastructurally poor areas, which by necessity means higher waste and pollution. A million new people born in Nigeria have a different footprint than a million people born in Germany. Today, that million in Nigeria use less energy than Germany, but as they aspire to the same level of comfort that the Germans have achieved, they have to go through their industrialization phase with generically worse impacts because the EROEI is now lower than it was 100 years ago. The population that are going to overwhelm the ecosystem are just being born today. They didn't do anything wrong and its not their fault. But that's the math.

What I've personally advocated over the last decade is free tech-transfer. High on my list is heat-pump technology. No patents, no IP. Just give. If you think oil is bad for the environment, wait until you see what a billion cheap window air conditioners do as they rot away in landfills. Same thing with environmentally hearty grains that reduce fertilizer requirements.

I'm not particularly worried about 'falling' real estate prices. I've been a huge critic of REITs for a long time now as well and the 'commodification' of single family homes should provide a pretty strong backstop against falling prices. Those funds will have cash to buy when the prices fall and aren't reliant on interest rates so they'll just swoop in to bottom-feed. We'll see how it goes. A lot will depend on how durable the BANANA laws turn out to be. The system is gamed to protect folks in the system and the forces that maintain the status quo aren't so easily dissuaded. That's why I get annoyed when people talk about 'wealth inequality' and then focus on 'income inequality' solutions. That's "Dick Cheney" speak in my world.
 
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BeSafe

Super Anarchist
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Interesting. Who gives what to whom and how?

The US gives them to the world.

IPs / Patents in the US are a government created tool to give monopoly protection for a period of time. For those technologies, simply remove the protections. Essentially, just run out the protection clock to 0 years and they fall into the public domain.

The folks who are smart and creative will take advantage of them first.

In truth, there's less 'there' than 'there'. Most of that development happened decades ago already and it's just 'onion shields' at this point anyway. But it would remove an impediment to broader adoption.

African industrialization is the main event for climate and biodiversity and ultimately, the world's climate is going to be dependent on their choices. I'd like to empower them as much a possible. But, in the end, it will be their choice - unless Empire makes a comeback.
 
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