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Old 08-21-2013, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Such as North America, Europe, Japan, Australia (let's put aside debates over whether the US is really first world for awhile) or do you think our consumeristic, high quality of life depends largely on economic inequalities, e.g. cheap labour in Indonesia making Nike shoes? If we wanted all the goodies but didn't rely on cheap labour, would they all be affordable?

I think we'd have to re-evaluate what we think we require to have a high standard of living.
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Here.
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No it is not possible. It was not even possible in the United States when we were manufacturing our own goods. We had a large lower class, mostly made up of immigrants. Some small countries have a high standard of living for almost all their citizens, but these are generally small countries and their unique situations can not be extrapolated a thousand-fold to include all nations.

"As the third world countries become more like the United States, the United States will become more like the third world countries."
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:26 PM
 
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It's not so much countries, but the number of people.

For the current number of people to achieve the high standard of living, the world cannot do it.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:00 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordSquidworth View Post
It's not so much countries, but the number of people.

For the current number of people to achieve the high standard of living, the world cannot do it.
I don't know if population is the major factor though.

Japan is one of richest countries in the world and has 127 million people. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world and has only 10 million people.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
I don't know if population is the major factor though.

Japan is one of richest countries in the world and has 127 million people. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world and has only 10 million people.
Nothing like that.

Carrying capacity.

Ignore countries, and look at numbers of people. The world can sustain so many at a high standard of consumption, before it doesn't have the capacity to support any more.
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:49 PM
 
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I think it's possible, but it'll never happen. Too much greed, and too many people figuring they're better or more worthy than (even the lives of) others.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:00 PM
 
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With the current tech base as used I'd say not really on any sustainable level. But we could do things very differently that would allow for it to be.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
do you think our consumeristic, high quality of life depends largely on economic inequalities, e.g. cheap labour in Indonesia making Nike shoes? If we wanted all the goodies but didn't rely on cheap labour, would they all be affordable?.
Yes, with respect to these particular points.

When I was growing up in the 1940s and 50s, Nothing was imported. If somebody had something in their house that was made outside the USA, it was considered a curiosity, and was shown to visitors. Yes, we imported some raw materials extracted by cheap labor, but no finished products were made offshore. After WWII, a few cheap things began to trickle in that were made in Occupied Germany or Japan. Nothing was made of plastic, which did not yet exist as a common fabrication material.

Everything was made by Americans, and one American man, working 40 hours a week at unskilled work, earned enough money to support a family of four or five with every bit of the contentment that people enjoy today.

People in developing countries actually can easily live just as well today, and maybe even in some of the third world, as long as they live without 21st century toys, the way I did in the 50s.

I lived perfectly well in rural towns in places like Paraguay and Indonesia, in a small house with no amenities except a safe water tap and a couple of light bulbs and a bed, a table, and a few chairs, and a kerosene stove made by local handcrafters out of coffee cans. Most of my neighbors had more than that. Nothing else is needed for dignity and contentment, unless you feel the need to envy the fabulously wealthy.

So the answer to the OP's question is that "life" (even as we know it today) does not require the footprint of what Americans call "comfort". It is easily attainable, unversally. My wife and I live quite nicely in the USA on a budget equal to the PPP of Colombia or Tunisia, and we have cable, internet access, air conditioning and a car.

Last edited by jtur88; 08-23-2013 at 03:54 PM..
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles (Native)
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Good points regarding living simply. Despite the financial crisis many people are still spending and spending money they don't have on things they don't really need.
Oftentimes wants are categorized as needs.

I often think about living abroad cheaply and don't really like the way American society is so focused on spending and consumerism.

On the other hand things today are more expensive such as housing in a lot of areas even when you take into account inflation.

I'd like to think the entire world could live well. There is unfortunately a lot of greed and corruption and countries run by people that don't care or look down on poorer people.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:10 AM
 
535 posts, read 855,406 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
Such as North America, Europe, Japan, Australia (let's put aside debates over whether the US is really first world for awhile) or do you think our consumeristic, high quality of life depends largely on economic inequalities, e.g. cheap labour in Indonesia making Nike shoes? If we wanted all the goodies but didn't rely on cheap labour, would they all be affordable?

I think we'd have to re-evaluate what we think we require to have a high standard of living.
No, there are many peoples who do not desire a "first world standard of life" and abhor it.
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