Increasing Versus Decreasing Footprint

Are you unhappy about Middle Eastern events enough to think deeply about how groups come into conflict? Are you willing to consider that groups come to conflict because one group increases its requirements for resources until its demand for them overlaps the demand created by another group. As a result, one of the two group's must
     a) do without,
     b) more intensively exploit their remaining resources,
     c) "flee to (and maybe fight for) new resources, or
     d) fight to regain lost resources.

If you believe this, then the cause of global problems are described by a mechanism whose inputs are group demands, and whose outputs are conflict (environmental depletion and pollution.)

Consider the possibility that every group in every generation input "increasing demand" into this mechanism. Then the mechanism’s output, global problems, was input into other mechanisms, like religious, political, or economic systems, whose outputs are redistribution and increased productivity.

Notice that the outputs of the second set of mechanisms have no impact on the inputs to the first. That is, a group's demand for resources is the collected demands of its individuals. Redistribution and increased productivity do not change each individual's "demand-creating-behaviors." Our means for managing global problems do not change the group's growth in "total demand." At most they gently retard or advance the inevitable arrival of problems created by the first mechanism.

Reversing the normal output of the first mechanism, that is sending the group toward peace, abundance, and a cleaner environment, requires the group's demand for resources decrease over time.

If only sixth grade math is required to prove the above argument: "Why is such analysis not performed and believed by each person who has successfully completed sixth grade?" Why does it appear that individuals have not made such analysis, or have not heard of such analysis? Why does it appear that political or religious codes do not coerce acts that reflect such analysis? Certainly, it appears that few individuals take behaviors that shrink the group's requirements for resources.

The two mechanisms taken together suggest: "Populations must contract enough each year, that even with per capita increases, the group's total demand for resources decreases. The "demand - decreases" that reverse the trends toward conflict, depletion, and pollution, require everyone to limit themselves to at most one child per family."

I can hear the chorus. "We have had smaller populations and they had the same problems. Why does the writer think a smaller population will stop the problems?" I did not say "a smaller population" would stop conflict. I said, a "declining" population would stop conflict." As long as people are not willing to give up hopes of a better life, A husband and a wife have to give up their desire to replace themselves with 2 children. Believing they can have both replacement and improvements in well-being without having an increase in load on the environment is a myth.

A reduction of population, at a rate of "half-every-generation," can not go on forever. No humans would exist. But to resolve the "growth-to-conflict" problem it must go on (universally among 6 billion people) until two criteria are met. 1) The demand for resources, human beings place on the environment, is easily within the world's capacity. And 2) the social value of every individual exceeds cost of fulfilling his material needs.

That is the value of a living individual must exceed the value of the resources required to support him or her at the level to which he or she requires.

Even when this balance is approached and replacement children are allowed, each generation will have to decide how it will adjust for increases in longevity, new spikes in consumptive patterns, and exhaustion of non renewable resources.


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