Continuation of: Ecological economics in the stomach #2 Resources
Progression over years
Humanity has progressed over hundreds of thousands of years, but until about the seventeenth century, progress was a rare event. There were novelties, but a person would not expect a whole sequence of improvements in his lifetime. From the Renaissance we really could find a New Birth and a renewal in the way were living and making use of all the beauties and sciences. Since then scientific progress has been continual, and in the advanced parts of the world, there has also been continued technological progress. The Enlightenment thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries brought more advancements and again some new ideas how to look at our ways to progress in the creation. The last few centuries we could find a grow in industrialisation and in capitalism which took its toll. The normal trend was to get a position where being adequately nourished and escaping premature mortality could safeguard a reasonable pleasant living. For this there had also to be a focus on human ends and on respecting the individual’s ability to pursue and realise the goals that he or she values. Progress normally is considered something good, but we noticed with the industrial revolution that people had to start in un-wearthy living conditions and nearly had to become part of the machine themselves. Though adjustments were made in the operating environment and how people were treated at work, pressure increased as well on other terrains. This caused to bring an alternation in the view how to cope with other nationalities and other ethnics. While a community has to have a recognition of human diversity, which draws attention to the role played by ethical principles in the design of the “good” society, to survive this has lately again come in danger as in the 1930ies. Again there has come a dis-balance in the weighting the various non-monetary dimensions of quality of life (beyond the goods and services that are traded in markets) in a way that should respects people’s preferences.
We notice that it can happen that in a country with a lower GDP per capita we can find life-expectancy at birth being higher and that this advantage has been widening. (For example, in 2006 French GDP per capita was 0.82 of the US level, while the life expectancy of French men was 1.025 times that of men in the United States. – Source: OECD data)
Factors causing earlier death
People from lower occupational classes who have less education and income tend to die at younger ages and to suffer, within their shorter lifetimes, a higher prevalence of various health problems. But these differences in health conditions do not merely reflect worse outcomes for people at the very bottom of the socio-economic scale but extend to people throughout the socio-economic hierarchy, i.e. they display a “social gradient”: for example, life expectancy in the United Kingdom increases when moving from unskilled manual workers to skilled ones, from manual to non-manual workers, from lower-ranked office workers to higher-ranked staff.
The study done is going to define in the first place the possibilities on the work-market. But on top of that, today we are more confronted with non-standard employment, gender gaps in employment and wages, discrimination in the workplace, opportunities for lifelong learning, access to employment for disabled persons, working time and “unsocial hours”, the work-life balance, work accidents and physical risks, work intensity, social dialogue and workers’ autonomy. At the bottom of the ladder got place the unpaid domestic work, such as shopping and the care of children and other household members.
How people spend their time and the nature of their personal activities matters for quality of life, irrespectively of the income generated and has a lot of consequences on the time people shall be able to stay in good health or alive. We may not forget the importance of developing indicators of both leisure quantity (number of hours) and quality (number of episodes, where they took place, presence of other people), as well as of measures of participation in cultural events and of “poor leisure” (such as the share of children who did not take a holiday away from home in the previous year). The activities that people engage in have effects on their subjective well-being, in terms of both their hedonic experiences and their evaluative judgements.
More generally, people do not always “choose” among these activities in the same way as they allocate their budget among various goods, due to a lack of effective alternatives. Further, these choices will generally affect other people within the family and community, with some of these personal activities effectively representing indirect costs to production (e.g. commuting) rather than consumption.
We can notice to day that a lot of youngsters bring their live in danger by looking for extreme entertainment, which goes further than base-jumping, skateboard-jumping and car racing on ordinary streets.
Civilisation pre-dates the Enlightenment by several millennia; and is often equated with the development of agriculture, settled communities, and cities. However, since past civilisations have come and gone. Modernity brought other ideas and wishes. People started dreaming of a better world and several modern machines made life seemingly easier and more comfortable.
You would think that when everything became easier it would not have been a problem to keep getting as much children as before, but just the opposite happened, lesser children became born in the industrial modernised countries while in the poor countries population increased.
In the West we found countries striving to be the best in terms of sustainability, environmental care and ecological balancing. Good economy with accelerated growth in the GDP, used to boast of their performances, as unemployment plummeted and average disposable incomes of citizens hiked, demand and supply increased. But the train got running to fast and derailed somehow. Now we are facing a very big hole. The people their sense of purpose, the fulfilment of their goals and how they are perceived by others, became pulled down. People’s actual feelings, such as pain, worry and anger, or pleasure, pride and respect were put in question. People normally act to achieve satisfaction in their choices, and those choices are based on memories and evaluations. The after the 60ies generation got not so positive ideas from the stories of their parents and from what they have seen they have taken lessons which accounted in a newer generation which has ‘posses’ in its code of arms. ‘To have got’ and ‘to keep’ as ‘not being taken away’.
Quality of life
Subjective reports of people’s life-evaluations and affects provide measures of quality of life that can be monitored over time; some of these measures can also be compared across countries in reliable ways. Probably more importantly, however, is that these measures provide information about the determinants of quality of life at the level of each person.
These determinants include both features of the environment where people live and their individual conditions, and they vary depending on the aspect considered. For example, activities (such as commuting, working, or socialising) may be more important for affects, while conditions (such as being married, or having a rewarding job) may be more important for life evaluations. In both cases, however, these measures provide information beyond that conveyed by income. For example, in most developed countries younger and older people report higher evaluations of their life than prime-age people, a pattern that contrasts sharply with levels of income for the same groups.
Income depends largely on the education, and that has came under pressure lately as well. In the U.K. by introducing again heavy school-fees may youngsters will start work with a debt, having to pay back their study loan. School enrolment, educational expenditures and school resources came again in a bad prospect. Some countries may combine excellence for students that reach university education with widespread under-achievement for a large number of youth, mainly from households at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. Within countries, measures of inequality in learning outcomes are especially important for youth at the bottom of the achievement scale who are at risk of poverty or exclusion from well-paid and rewarding jobs in adult life. As education is an important predictor of many dimensions of people’s lives those in charge of policy making should outline a policy to protect the vulnerable and to take away the fragility of the present system.
One area where various subjective measures of people’s well-being agree is in pointing to the high costs of unemployment for people’s quality of life. People who become unemployed report lower life-evaluations, even after controlling for their lower income, and with little adaptation over time; unemployed people also report a higher prevalence of various negative affects (sadness, stress and pain) and lower levels of positive ones (joy). These subjective measures suggest that the costs of unemployment exceed the income-loss suffered by those who lose their jobs, reflecting the existence of non-pecuniary effects among the unemployed and of fears and anxieties generated by unemployment in the rest of society.
Health is a basic feature shaping both the length and the quality of people’s lives. and the last decennia this has come back under threat. Mainly because the healthcare can not spend time into the psychological and spiritual aspects of their patients. People became more fragile and are not taken in by their family as in previous generations. There is no household atmosphere any more to take care of the ageing. The invalid, the babies and very young became with the elderly the weak humans of our community which has to spend most of the time into earning money to be able to pay the bills of accommodation, food and energy.
Mortality statistics by age and gender document the risk of death confronting people and are used to calculate the expected length of a person’s life but they do not take into account the quality of life.
Benefits of progress
According to John Dryzek, the rhetoric of the EM discourse is reassuringly optimistic; and would have us believe that we can retain a healthy environment without having to sacrifice the benefits of progress (Dryzek 2005: 171). More recently, echoing both Mol and Dryzek, Neil Carter has defined EM as a “…policy strategy that aims to restructure capitalist political economy along more environmentally benign lines based on the assumption that economic growth and environmental protection can be reconciled.” (Carter 2007: 7).
I am sure we should take into account the demographic and ecological figures.
The population of Earth has doubled since Paul Ehrlich first warned the world that there were too many humans. Three and a half billion people later, he is more pessimistic than ever, estimating there is only a 10% chance of avoiding a collapse of global civilisation.According to The UN her new world population forecast out to 2100 the current world population of close to 7 billion is projected to reach 10.1 billion in the next ninety years, reaching 9.3 billion by the middle of this century, according to the medium variant of the 2010 Revision of World PopulationProspects. The high projection variant, whose fertility is just half a child above that in the medium variant, produces a world population of 10.6 billion in 2050 and 15.8 billion in 2100. The low variant, whose fertility remains half a child below that of the medium, produces a population that reaches 8.1 billion in 2050 and declines towards the second half of this century to reach 6.2 billion in 2100.
Lots of people do think the earth and accessible and usable planets place a limit on the possible human population and that population may eventually approach this limit, thus necessitating actions by sovereign countries or other entities to limit their population. Others draw inferences about increase in population and do not think it is going to cause problems about space or food to provide to keep them all alive.
Laws of natureAs mentioned in a previous post humankind is given the possibilities to stay alive and live comfortably healthy when it respects the laws of nature.
Taking care of the fossils, having an eye for the seasons and for what can grow in those seasons at which places under which circumstances, people could keep their control on a economical base in fossil fuels and when making less use of chemicals. not muddling with the genetics of plants, animals or even human beings. Though there would be nothing against smarter ways of traditional cross-breeding as good alternatives to genetic engineering, which is a hot political issue in many countries.
After the babyboom we got the babydusters with a global economic malaise inhibiting child-bearing in developed nations. Today we can notice that it nearly becomes impossible to be able to afford accommodation and food to stay alive without going to work by two. In certain families a third person has to bring some extra income as well to be able to enjoy more comfort and to be able to make use of the modern extra tools like computers, cell or smartphones, etc.. Such malaise could go on for quite a while longer.
As Robert W. Kates writes “Hunger has always been with us, and the most detailed long-term computer simulation of future food availability finds as many or more hungry people in the year 2060 as there are today. But it need not happen. It is possible to visualize the world of the coming century without famine, with little seasonal or chronic undernutrition, and with virtually no nutrient deficiencies and nutrition-related illness.”
Some of the lower fertility now may be compensated with extra fertility later, when conditions improve to make people confident in starting families, but some of it will be permanently lost due to biology. In the mean time we shall have to face the fact that many children or working people shall not be able to afford the necessary accommodation and treatment for their parents and/or grandparents.
Women are waiting longer to have children and older women, even if they want children, are less likely to initiate and complete pregnancy. The effects compound over time because even if the next generation returns to higher “normal” fertility, it will be a smaller generation than otherwise. Creating a situation were we can not find enough working people to contribute to the non-working, pensioners, invalids and others.
Industrialisation and economic growth
There are several industrialized nations that have low population density, low or negative population growth rates, and high natural resources (both mineral and ecological) relative to population. Those countries who at the moment are in an economical boom, like India and China, are going to go into the footsteps of those industrialised countries and , where their population grew at first to quickly, shall be encountering very soon the same problem of a decreasing population which can take care of the fragile ones. Some examples of such nations, which have substantial spare biological capacity relative to human population, include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Russia, and Finland shall not be able to attract workers from the lesser developed countries to help to bring in workers and consumers who take care that there can be produced. Because without enough consumers, there shall be no reason to produce, so no reason to take on labour-force, implementing a lot of no-work situations.
Feeding growing population
To be able to feed a growing population would not be a problem if we are not going to choose to grow to much bio-gasoline producers. Because there is a big danger the industry is going to take up to much land for creating bio-fuel at the cost of human food. But in case we would not mind holding to our good senses and find acceptable ways to increase food availability that is far in excess of increased population we should be able to manage when there shall also be an extensive growth in household income.
We shall have to tackle the starvation and malnutrition by educating people and giving them means to provide themselves for the necessary nutrients. Governments should fight the chronic or seasonal absence of needed food proteins and caloric energy.
The wealthier countries should be careful with their aid schemes so that they do not make the poor people independent nor that they bring those countries were they try to help in dis-balance. For example by offering free milkpowder or grains so that the farmers in that land cannot sell their own products any-more. There should be looked out not to create a sudden rise or a drop in food prices, drop in labourers’ incomes.
The worst denominator of all poverty and famine is political instability and wars. Therefore there should be a control of marked changes in government policy which can create hunger for millions, even in the absence of the more familiar causes of food shortage, such as droughts, floods, pests, or armed conflict.
In the seemingly stable countries we encounter malnutrition because certain people got pushed in a corner by the system. For some inhabitants of the industrialised countries poor availability of fresh and right foods makes that their children are missing the necessary micronutrients, salts, metals and vitamins. Mild to moderate iron deficiency lowers mental performance, impairs immunity, increases susceptibility of infection, lowers physical work capacity, and leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Unhygienic circumstances defeats a healthy environment for children of workless, homeless or people at the boarder of our community.
In the groups who have no higher education or have difficulties to find work or to pay their bills we find a lot of people with eating disorders. This undermines their health but also their economical situation.
First there was the population growth, than we got with the Industrial Revolution a change in how people could work and live, but also a change in the surroundings. Environmental change, , and increasing connectedness and diversity are currents of global change that run as deep and strong as those that thread the oceans. The rising temperatures will bring rising waters and taking necessary land of a lot of people. Having to move upwards and trying to get anew some grounds to fertilise, the massive assault on native plants and animals shall lead to deforestation and create possibilities for mudslides and lesser ways to clean the already polluted air. The carbon dioxide shall even increase more and that will warm the climate enhancing the growth of some plants. Humans shall become confronted with more desertification in the dry lands, and species extinction, causing also less diversity in food and variety in regions. The extremes of weather conditions would also put a lot of people in the risk of loosing food at certain disasters.
Most demographers who make long-term population forecasts have projected a world population of between 8 to 15 billion, with a medium-range expectation for 2150 of 11 to 12 billion (compared to today’s 5.8) that will stabilize sometime within the next two centuries. In that more crowded world, the proportion of people who live in what is now considered the developing world will have grown from the 77 percent of 1990 to more than 85 percent.
A child born today has a world- average life expectancy of 65 years, in the course of which he or she will experience a probably warmer and more crowded, more connected but more diverse world. These currents will impact the task of ending hunger in different ways.
Biodiversity underpins many of our ecosystems and is vital to their resilience. Its loss can weaken an ecosystem, compromising the delivery of ecosystem services and making it more vulnerable to environmental shocks. Restoring degraded ecosystems is costly, and in some cases, change can become irreversible.
It has been estimated that by 2050, the global business opportunities dependent on biodiversity and the ecosystem services it underpins, could have a value of between $800-2.300 billion per year. In practice however, at the operational level, the value of biodiversity is only starting to be taken into account in decision making. If biodiversity is to be conserved this has to become common practice.
The new 2020 EU Biodiversity Strategy sets out the main policy tools for achieving this objective, and for reversing the trends in loss of biodiversity we have seen in recent generations.
Continue reading: Ecological economics in the stomach #4 Water
- Ecological economics in the stomach #1 Alarmbell (marcusampe.wordpress.com)
- Happy Planet Index (theneteconomy.wordpress.com)
It doesn’t take a lot of resources to live happy, productive lives.
- Why do we need an Occupy Australia? (tigerbeatdown.com)
Things are not perfect in Australia economically – not with the astronomical housing prices – but we can’t say that the middle class has collapsed in the same way as in the U.S.
There is nothing inherent to capitalism that creates livable wages or good working conditions – those are the result of struggle by the working classes against their bosses. Capital must be forced to deliver things, for without regulation, strong labour unions and a national social welfare net, horrific poverty and abuse of workers will occur. This is the utopia of which the extremist anti-regulation American right-wing libertarians dream.The failure of democracy, therefore, is the failure of the ability to keep the rich and powerful in check, to prevent them from exploiting the rest of us.
- Sense or nonsense of “Human Fragility” (marcusampe.wordpress.com)
- Philanthropists and Indigenous Leaders Talk Solutions to World’s Pressing Problems (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
It’s important to remember that “life is not monetarized everywhere,” said Dr. Wolde Tedesse, program officer for the African Rift Valley for The Christensen Fund. “We live in realities where cash and market are not central.” Indigenous Peoples engage in “reciprocal exchanges,” Tedesse said. Climate change is fostering even more reciprocity. In the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia where Tedesse is from if one community suffers from say, an unseasonal drought, another community automatically offers cattle and seeds.Climatic changes are forcing donors to better understand their role. Simply providing disaster relief can disrupt traditional reciprocal relationships among neighbors. In Africa for example, increasing erratic rainfall forced seasonally flooded communities to rely on outside resources, a situation that fractured local support systems.
- Why Food Security May Not Be Achieved Before 2020 in Nigeria (foodsecuritysm.wordpress.com)
Many Nigerians are saying agriculture is not performing the expected roles as much desired, and every attempt to unravel the reason (s) for this unfortunate situation has been attracting attention, yet, without a concrete solution.
“So much emphasis had been placed on intensive land clearing, fertilizer distribution and other inputs, at highly subsidised costs with very little or no attention paid to post-harvest loss prevention. Whereas, no matter the tonnage of food that you produce, if you are unable to store them or add value to this food product by partial or full processing, there will still be food shortage and scarcity.
Government should also be more consistent in policy implementation and regulatory activities on agricultural produce and should also invest more on appropriate technology for the handling and post-harvest processing of agricultural produce.
- What is the correlation between safe drinking water and life expectation (wiki.answers.com)
life expectancy is reduced on average by 12 years for people not using clean purified water.
Most countries are suffering for lack of decent clean tap water.
- a primer about social inequality (andreadreamin.com)
- The Nature of Movements (theleftvision.wordpress.com)
Modern, democratic societies have characteristics that favor the proliferation of movements.
- How pension funds are coping with longer life spans (moneyville.ca)
Health conscious Canadians who live longer than expected are creating financial headaches for corporate and public pension plans already under pressure from turbulent global equity markets, reinsurer Swiss Re said Monday.
- What would life be like if we lived to 150? (thepunch.com.au)
The existence of a fountain of youth that restores the health and youth of anyone bathing in its waters has tantalised humanity for centuries.
- Can modernisation be “ecological”? (learningfromdogs.com)
In order to answer “Can modernisation be “ecological”?” t is essential to define what is meant by ‘ecological’; ‘modernisation’; and the theory of EM to which it has given rise.
- China’s green economist stirring a shift away from GDP (guardian.co.uk)
Niu Wenyuan’s ‘quality index’ measures the economy not just by size, but by sustainability, social equality and ecological impact
- You: China’s green economist stirring a shift away from GDP (ourworld.unu.edu)
“The GDP quality index is coming under political pressure, not from the central government but from the local level,” Niu told the Guardian at his office in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “I have had a lot of phone calls in recent days from the offices of provincial governors asking why they ranked so low.”
- How old were people dying in 1800s (wiki.answers.com)
- Ecological And Economic Reality – The Relationship Between Ecology And Economics (edmortimer.wordpress.com)
NNRs—fossil fuels, metals, and non-metallic minerals—enable our industrialized way of life. They serve as the building blocks that comprise our industrialized infrastructure and societal support systems, as the raw material inputs to our industrialized economies, and as the primary energy sources that power our industrialized societies.Unfortunately, through our incessant pursuit of global industrialism, we have been systematically eliminating the finite and non-replenishing NNRs upon which our industrialized way of life and our very existence depend.
- Guest Post: The Paradox of Thrift – Debunked (zerohedge.com)
Increased savings means there are less buyers for goods produced, so the nation as a whole will tend to produce less.
- If an individual saves they increase their wealth;
- But if an entire nation saves, this causes a shortfall in consumption; and
- The shortfall in consumption will cause national income to fall.
- Jeremy Rifkin: The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Will Transform Society (Excerpt) (huffingtonpost.com)
Energy regimes shape the nature of civilizations… how they are organized, how the fruits of commerce and trade are distributed, how political power is exercised, and how social relations are conducted.
The two generations whose sociability has been formed, in large part, by Internet communications, are far more likely to divide the world into people and institutions that use top-down, enclosed, and proprietary thinking, and those that use lateral, transparent, and open thinking. As they come of age, they are affecting a shift in political thinking–one that will fundamentally alter the political process in the twenty-first century.
The European Union is the first continental economy and political union to begin transitioning into a Third Industrial Revolution. Continental unions have recently been formed in Asia (The ASEAN Union), Africa (The African Union) and South America (The Union of South American Nations). In North America, the fledgling political associations forged between the northern states and Canadian provinces are a precursor to a potential continental union.
The Third Industrial Revolution changes our sense of relationship to and responsibility for our fellow human beings. We come to see our common lot. Sharing the renewable energies of the earth in collaborative commons that span entire continents can’t help but create a new sense of species identity. This dawning awareness of interconnectivity and biosphere embeddedness is already giving birth to a new dream of “quality of life,” especially among the youth of the world.
- Reality check (andreicochior.wordpress.com)
One of the important debates in our post-modern society takes place into the field of ecology. From the start of the industrial revolution we have inflicted great changes into the very geological structure of the Earth. A series of imbalances provoked by deep impact changes into the natural environment started a chain reaction leading to global warming, melting of the polar ice cap, rising of the sea level, harsh winters, thousands and thousands of species of animals going extinct and so on.
- Public Opinion and Political Participation in the Climate Change Debate (bigthink.com)
Matthew C. Nisbet reviewS research that provides several explanations for the complex nature of U.S. public opinion.
- Paul Ehrlich, a prophet of global population doom who is gloomier than ever (guardian.co.uk)
- Letters: Fertile approaches to population (guardian.co.uk)
- It will not be a problem to feed 15 billion people (nextbigfuture.com)
- World population reaches seven billion: predictions of doom are nothing new (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- Letters: Fertile approaches to population (guardian.co.uk)
- It will not be a problem to feed 15 billion people (nextbigfuture.com)
- World population reaches seven billion: predictions of doom are nothing new (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Freedom 66’: Retirement age climbing, StatsCan says (canada.com)
According to Statistics Canada, a 50-year-old worker in 2008 could expect to remain in the labour force another 16 years — 3.5 years longer than pre-retirees of the same age in the mid-1990s.
- Seven big problems for 7 billion people (msnbc.msn.com)
How we respond now will determine whether we have a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future or one that is marked by inequalities, environmental decline and economic setbacks, according to “The State of World Population 2011” report.
Women in every country should be given equal rights and opportunities with men, and every sexually active human being should be given access to excellent birth control methods, and, in case they fail, backup abortion. Governments should all adopt the slogan “patriotic citizens stop at two children” and adjust tax and other policies to discourage over-reproducers and those unethical elements in society that are pronatalist.
- India’s Rural Commons at Odds with Surging Industrialization (shareable.net)
- India’s Rural Commons at Odds with Surging Industrialization (shareable.net)
Beyond the more obvious urgency of climate change — the immediate need for radical emissions reductions and greatly expanded carbon sinks, among others — how much more room do the earth and the sky have for the material advancement of our ballooning populace?
But the facts of climate chaos and the dire need to cut global emissions require an aggressively honest assessment of limits starting with U.S. and other ‘first world’ nations’ concepts of growth and materialism, but also more critically re-defining ‘developing world’ growth in the context of ironclad climatological and earthly limits.