U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-31-2008, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Harrisonville
1,832 posts, read 1,447,500 times
Reputation: 378

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
I was thinking about this the other day. I think as a parent, it's my responsibility to raise my children to be functioning, contributing members of society. They must learn how to appreciate the freedoms afforded them, but still maintain the responsibility to a society. Basic economics, work ethics, responsibility, and accountability are all facets I should teach them. I have my kids get jobs at 16 years old. I tell them to make sure they put some of their paycheck into savings, and to pay what they owe first, then themselves... whatever's left is theirs. I have taken them along on community give-back programs like Christmas in April (where the community pitches in to fix/repair homes of elderly or disabled persons) and Meals on Wheels (in which we deliver food to those that can't always shop for themselves).

But at a deeper level, I also think it's incumbent upon me as a father/parent to prepare them for what the world will hold for them in the future (as far as we can tell). And this is where I'm stuck. With the steadily increasing population, world economies, recent insurgence of personal freedom over societal responsibilities, clashing cultures, and increasing scarcity of resources, I'm not sure where the world is going to be in 20-30 years. How many people will there be? Will we have overused the resources available on the planet? Will wars be more prevalent as everyone thinks their ideas, morals, or religion are more important than the next? I can only really see three futures:

First is what I call "the postman" scenario. Much like the movie of the same name starring Kevin Costner... war will have devastated much of the U.S., and only pockets of communities will exist. They will be concerned primarily with the preservation and sustaining of themselves because of scarcity of resources (food, water, etc.). They will have stepped back a little in terms of technology because of power supply limitations (or damage).

The second is the "streets of New York" scenario. This is where America is run by gangs, more or less. All the available existing resources are controlled by gangs or cartels of some sort. You either submit to a gang, or face starving or living on the edge. These gangs supply what the local community needs, but at a cost (they get more, and they get other benefits/perks for providing the food, water, clothes, security, etc.). It would be more of a dog eat dog world.

The last would be the utopian view, I guess you could say. We use technology to our advantage, even to the possibility of sending portions of our population into space. We find a way as singular race to handle all the politics and other events in a more constructive way. We find ways to feed everyone, provide medical care to everyone, etc. Money would have less value over providing essential needs to a population (yeah, I know it sounds a lot like socialism, but think more futuristic).

Does anyone else agree with any of these or have other thoughts about what it might hold? What do we tell our children they are going to inherit? How do we prepare them for the future, and what kind of future do you think we will be leaving them over the next 20 to 30 years? How do I leave my kids a better place than I got? Or is it even possible in today's world?

Be careful of statements like " the world has been getting better and better since World War II ". It may be true for most (not all) people living in the USA, or even North America, but probably not for any of Africa and problematic for most of Asia. With a few givens, such as we now import pretty much everything we use, and our principle export is our trash, we can't consider our own future separately from the rest of the human race.

If you look at all the food, water and other goods and services all the people consume in a year and compare it to the amount produced in a year, you can see that the amount consumed became larger than the amount produced back in 1978. That difference widens a little every year.

If you think of those resources as equivalent to a specific sized piece of the earth's surface you can see that people in general require about 2.5 hectares to supply their needs, but Americans require about 7.5.

Some people try to resolve this with a moral judgement along the lines of "we deserve it and they don't", and then use that to support the solution "they just all need to die, so we can go on doing things any way we want". One problem with that is they produce most of what we consume, so if they did all die we'd immediately have big problems. The solution is probably not calling things like starvation a character defect.

To live at our lifestyle, but under conditions where we aren't threatened with extinction by our own hands, through war, pollution, and exhaustion of resources, our planet could support about 600 million of the 6 billion we now have.

Now clearly, the other peoples of the world want the things we have. They are willing to work hard for them. Right now without those things, they already work harder than most of us. They are even willing to follow the conservation measures, be more efficient, and all the things we've been so reluctant to do.

So, if in fact they and we applied all known conservation and efficiency measures, and the earth's population were reduced to about 10% of its current value we could all continue with as lifestyle as good as or better than what we have now.

What I expect, sadly, is the human race will try to resolve its problems by the same methods we have always used in the past, and we will end up with a population somewhat greater than 10% of the current value, and a drastically reduced lifestyle, with the same huge differences between "haves" and "have nots" that we have today.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-31-2008, 11:49 AM
 
Location: West Texas
2,440 posts, read 3,719,638 times
Reputation: 3009
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatchance2005 View Post
Be careful of statements like " the world has been getting better and better since World War II ".
Good post. However, I don't see anywhere in my post where I said that the world has been getting better since WWII. In fact, at the risk of sounding like the "Harbinger of Doom" (or anything negative as has been mentioned in previous posts), I would say the opposite is true - not just in America, but the world in general.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-31-2008, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Harrisonville
1,832 posts, read 1,447,500 times
Reputation: 378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
Good post. However, I don't see anywhere in my post where I said that the world has been getting better since WWII. In fact, at the risk of sounding like the "Harbinger of Doom" (or anything negative as has been mentioned in previous posts), I would say the opposite is true - not just in America, but the world in general.

Oh not you! Post #3.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-31-2008, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,090 posts, read 7,244,247 times
Reputation: 4031
No one knows the carrying capacity of the planet, it's only educated guesses like the limit of computer chips...some one makes a prediction and it gets broken pretty quick by another smart monkey and technology. When it finally does hit capacity it will be a disaster, not just people in universities making guesses. Life has gotten better IMHO as well since WW2 with three big examples, computers, rocketry and antibiotics...although the gap from haves and have nots is larger.

I think there needs to be more people, without the incentive and crisis of competition of resources the human race won't be colonizing new planets. If everyone was happy and fine on the Earth, there would be no reason to go to the stars...why risk when you can stay at home with your feet up living in luxury?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-31-2008, 12:50 PM
 
Location: NYC area
3,486 posts, read 3,422,161 times
Reputation: 3746
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
Good post. However, I don't see anywhere in my post where I said that the world has been getting better since WWII. In fact, at the risk of sounding like the "Harbinger of Doom" (or anything negative as has been mentioned in previous posts), I would say the opposite is true - not just in America, but the world in general.
How is it not better? Literacy has improved. Civil rights have improved. Racism has decreased. Medicine has advanced and become more accessible. Life expectancy has increased. Infant mortality has dropped. Are you honestly saying your children's lives are less secure and comfortable than when you were growing up?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-31-2008, 12:58 PM
 
Location: West Texas
2,440 posts, read 3,719,638 times
Reputation: 3009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redisca View Post
How is it not better? Literacy has improved. Civil rights have improved. Racism has decreased. Medicine has advanced and become more accessible. Life expectancy has increased. Infant mortality has dropped. Are you honestly saying your children's lives are less secure and comfortable than when you were growing up?
In some ways, yes (in response to your last sentence). It is very possible, and I don't exclude the possibility that we (as parents) are overreacting to a media that thrives on negative reporting. But, I know I would go outside in the 60's and 70's when I was a kid to play. But, today, my paranoia as a parent doesn't logically afford me the same luxury with my kids. I don't mind them going to friends houses, going to the movies, or the mall. But just walking around the neighborhood is not something I do without reservation (partly because I can go online and see that there are registered sex offenders in my neighborhood - although I admit it doesn't say specifically what their crimes are, so again it could be over-reaction).

But, I think for all the medical advances we've made (and there's been tons, I realize) we still can't cure the common cold. Let alone the flu, cancer (although we may be very close), MS, and other debilitating and life-threatening ailments.

I think that there's a larger population in the world than we can effectively feed. I have walked through my local Walmart and wonder just how much of that meat, fish, poultry, and produce will be thrown away. But on a larger scale, the resources of the planet (gas, oil, water, etc.) is being consumed at a level I don't know how long before it expires. Could be thousands of years, I'm not educated in that, but there's always the possibility it's not that long. That's what I'm referring to. What are we leaving for our kids? A better life, or one filled with more concerns and struggles than we have? That's all.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-31-2008, 01:03 PM
 
Location: NYC area
3,486 posts, read 3,422,161 times
Reputation: 3746
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathagos View Post
The only problem I have with your articulation of what you believe would happen, is that when the Roman Empire fell, there was a LOT less population, a lot less developed land, and ample room for expansion.
Actually, that's not entirely true. There were fewer people, but the Romans did cause an ecological disaster in Western Europe. They over-farmed, leading to loss of arable land; they also destroyed much of the primordial forest, causing a shortage of building materials -- so yeah, there was a shortage of resources. As the power of the Roman Empire shrank, the growth rate of the population declined (that, with primitive condoms and no birth control pills), and eventually, people adjusted. This is not to say that adjustment is not without costs -- but they did adjust.

The European population exploded by the early 14th century, and then, the combination of the Mini Ice Age and Bubonic Plague greatly reduced it. The Great Plague of 1347-1350 is something else I like to bring up whenever I am confronted with Doomsday Predictions. You would think that after an epidemic which wiped out at least 1/3, and perhaps as much as half, the population of Europe, with major cities such as Florence almost completely depopulated, and governmental structures in total disarray, Western Europe would henceforth look like your classical postapocalyptic movie. But that's not what happened. The bourgs reconstituted themselves, new farmers began to work the land. Population growth dropped precipitously (in fact, Western Europe did not reach the pre-Plague population levels until the 19th century), but European societies did not stagnate. In fact, what followed on the heels of the Great Plague? Renaissance, maritime exploration, the Scientific Revolution -- and the greatest flowering of the Western Civilization yet.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-31-2008, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Harrisonville
1,832 posts, read 1,447,500 times
Reputation: 378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redisca View Post
How is it not better? Literacy has improved. Civil rights have improved. Racism has decreased. Medicine has advanced and become more accessible. Life expectancy has increased. Infant mortality has dropped. Are you honestly saying your children's lives are less secure and comfortable than when you were growing up?
I think there's an intent here to make a distinction between conditions in America, particularly white America, If you take the larger view, obviously most things have not gotten better.

Even in the narrow context of American society; no, literacy has not improved. When I was in High School (1960's) we were 5th among developed nations, and that was seen as a gigantic problem. Today we are 27th of 29 among developed nations, and most people seem to think that's just fine and dandy. We are 29th in infant mortality, and have the second worst rate of newborn death in the world. Yes USA infant mortality has improved from 30 in 1960 to 8 in 2000. It can be shown that's due to decreased birth rate among the high risk populations more than any other factor.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-31-2008, 01:17 PM
 
Location: NYC area
3,486 posts, read 3,422,161 times
Reputation: 3746
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatchance2005 View Post
I think there's an intent here to make a distinction between conditions in America, particularly white America, If you take the larger view, obviously most things have not gotten better.
Really, they haven't? I am an immigrant from Eastern Europe, by the way. My grandparents were born in a shtetl (that's the rural equivalent of "ghetto"), to which they were confined by law. My parents didn't, and neither did I. I consider that an improvement. I consider the repeal of the Third Reich's various racist and totalitarian policies an improvement as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatchance2005 View Post
Even in the narrow context of American society; no, literacy has not improved. When I was in High School (1960's) we were 5th among developed nations, and that was seen as a gigantic problem. Today we are 27th of 29 among developed nations, and most people seem to think that's just fine and dandy. We are 29th in infant mortality, and have the second worst rate of newborn death in the world. Yes USA infant mortality has improved from 30 in 1960 to 8 in 2000. It can be shown that's due to decreased birth rate among the high risk populations more than any other factor.
Hmm. Is it because literacy in America has fallen, or because it improved in other countries? Has the infant mortality risen in the United States, or has it fallen in other countries? Place statistics are meaningless without context. And isn't the opportunity to decrease birth rate in a high risk population (presumably through birth control) an improvement as well? Also, just out of curiosity, do you have a link for that statistic of the United States having the second highest rate of newborn death in the world?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-31-2008, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Harrisonville
1,832 posts, read 1,447,500 times
Reputation: 378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redisca View Post
Really, they haven't? I am an immigrant from Eastern Europe, by the way. My grandparents were born in a shtetl (that's the rural equivalent of "ghetto"), to which they were confined by law. My parents didn't, and neither did I. I consider that an improvement. I consider the repeal of the Third Reich's various racist and totalitarian policies an improvement as well.



Hmm. Is it because literacy in America has fallen, or because it improved in other countries? Has the infant mortality risen in the United States, or has it fallen in other countries? Place statistics are meaningless without context. And isn't the opportunity to decrease birth rate in a high risk population (presumably through birth control) an improvement as well? Also, just out of curiosity, do you have a link for that statistic of the United States having the second highest rate of newborn death in the world?
You are correct, it is because we haven't advanced as fast as other countries.

Infant Mortality: U.S. Ranks 29th


Here is a link on the newborn stat

CNN.com - U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says - May 10, 2006

I can see how your parents experience has helped shape your views on this. For the victims of such crimes anything would be an improvement. The thousands who starve to death as I type this might feel differently. I also agree about statistics, and about birth control in high risk populations being an improvement. If you have read my other posts you know these aren't major issues to me. I was just responding to your post (or attempting to).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:04 PM.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top