June 13, 2005

The short run or the long run?

I recently read an article that concluded that all intelligent debate concerning whether or not global warming is manifesting has ended. The only question now, for most scientists, is at what rate it is taking place and what can be done about it. Much of the cause of this effect is rooted in the burning of fossil fuels to provide our economies the needed energy to grow and provide the lifestyle that many enjoy.

Nature may have its own solution to this problem, if humankind cannot practice the self control to manifest the prevention of ecological calamity. If it is true that the burning of fossil fuels is creating or expediting the “green house effect” and hence global warming, then the finite supply of the source of the problem will eventually run out and nature can heal itself. However, if and when these supplies run out, so does the fate of most of humankind who are dependant upon these energy sources to fuel their economies.

The philosophical, as well as scientific, quagmire for humanity is born from the laws of nature, primarily the laws of closed systems or relatively closed systems. The reality forced from these laws is that you can never profit from the system of nature, in the long run. Nature forces its own double entry system of accounting. Thus, for every credit one receives from nature, there is a corresponding debit as well. Another way to look at it is that every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. What distorts or hides this reality from many is that reactions or debits are not real-time (immediate), but are often conserved and actualized in the future.

A human life exists in the short run, while the life of nature is a long run phenomenon. As a result of this, a human’s scope and perception is often void of the manifestation of negative reactions to actions and hence experiences a net gain. This is what has been happening over the last 100 years. Humans, through technological advancement made possible by fossil fuels, have been maximizing their living comforts and pleasures, as well as living longer. In the process, humans have depleted fossil fuels and endangered the ecological system and energy supply for future generations. Consequently, the increasing of human standard of living, lives, comforts and pleasures will come at the expense of their descendants, who will be alive when the conserved reactions and debits are released from their conserved state.

All the debates about what political and economic systems are measured only in their short term efficaciousness. The systems that can best promote the maximization of human comforts, pleasures and standard of living are heralded as the “superior” system. However, is not sustainability and longevity the ultimate measure of superiority by nature’s standards? One hundred years from now, will people view capitalism as a superior system or will they curse their ancestors for their greed and gluttony made possible through its application? It is my hypothesis that it will be the latter as they will be left with natures bill for past generations gluttonous consumption.

A proper benefit cost analysis requires all the cost to be on the table with the benefits. The problem with human existence is that cost or burdens are either unknown or ignored. Opposite reactions are ignored when the burden can be placed upon others, present or future. Even today, you have intransigence from our government leaders in regards to making changes related to global warming and fossil fuel consumption reduction; because the politicians recognize that the degree of change needed would result in a radical reduction of GDP, which of course means recession, if not depression. Consequently, politicians realize that the descendants, who are to bare the burdens if we don’t change our ways now, don’t have a vote. However, who does have a vote are the millions of people who will be negatively affected today, by instituting such changes in energy policy and consumption.

One cannot have a short term oriented system, like democratic politics, and expect it to deal with long term problems. One of the draw backs of democracy is that people will rarely vote to make their lives worse off. Hence, if you have a government representing the people, the plurality are not going to vote to lower their standard of living, based upon a yet to manifest consequence. Like most addictions, society will have to “hit bottom” before they realize that the hyper consumption of the “product” that have been giving them so much pleasure….is slowly destroying them. But again, the people getting the benefit of the high, in this energy addiction, will not bear the burden of the addiction. In a doctorial construct, the needed changes could be forced upon the people.

In conclusion, the truly wise heed the theory and practice of moderation. Human existence is a marathon and not a sprint. We should not judge phenomenon based upon the assumption of a short term finish line created from the window of a human life span. The measure of superiority is not who is ahead, but who or what system can sustain its self temporally as the finish line of humanity is unknown. Being out front and well ahead of the pack, by an exhaustive expenditure of energy, is foolishness when the finish line is far off. In truth, it is the slower pace that is the pace of wisdom and nature. It is the pass of both progress and conservation of energy via self control. It is the tradeoff of running longer that comes from sacrificing running faster.

Wealth creates hyper consumption of energy and much of the creation of wealth output requires massive energy inputs. This is why the wealthiest nation on earth, the USA, consumes 25% of the petroleum, while being about 5% of the total human population. Hence, it is wealth that is causing global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels, which is the fact that presents the quagmire for capitalistic economies. The promotion of wealth is hence the promotion of extinction.

You have to be able to replenish or give nature a time to heal; such is living in harmony with nature.


At 10:48 AM, Blogger Scott said...

I don't believe you are now chiming in on global warming.

And you are blaming it on capitalism. Do you know anything about the environmental destruction in the former soviet union and its satellite states.

It was capitalist countries that created the environmental movement and funded the research.

Jibber Jabber. You guys need to study some basic economics. Without that understanding you miss the forest for the trees.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Scott, your mouth in motion before your brain is in gear is getting boring. Maybe your gears are stripped or your brain needs an overhaul. In either case, it produces the same resultant.

My proposition is that that burning of fossil fuels is greatly correlated with global warming. Successful and wealthy economies, in this modern era, necessitates the burning of massive amounts of fossil fuels to fuel the growth and hence wealth. All movement requires energy and thus to have a rapidly moving and expanding economy requires energy to fuel this movement.

Given the above, if it is true that capitalism is the most productive system (if it is produced it is consumed), it is also true that it is the most consumptive system as well. Both production and consumption are action verbs and all actions require energy to fuel. Now, if this is true, then non capitalistic systems are less product and consumptive and hence less egregious of its consumption of energy.

This theory does not take into account the efficient use of energy, as capitalistic nation’s are the most efficient at this point it time. However, even though more efficient, the difference in consumption of energy is astronomical. Again, the USA is less than or equal to 5% of the worlds population, but represents 25% of the global use of energy add in Japan and Western Europe, you have about 70% of the global energy usage coming from capitalistic nations that represent less than 20% of the total earths population. No matter how wasteful or inefficient other non capitalistic nations are, their percentage use of the global production and consumption of energy each year is less than their percentage of the global population.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Thanks for clarifying. Now I see you are just wrong "Successful and wealthy economies, in this modern era, necessitates the burning of massive amounts of fossil fuels to fuel the growth and hence wealth."

Burning fossil fuels is not a necessity at all. Its a option because its cheap and for 35 years the environmental movement has been against nuclear energy. As the sentimental movement realizes nuclear energy is the solution to global warming we will move away from fossil fuels.

We have also created Zero energy homes.

And trust me capitalist countries will once again lead the way in solving this problem.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Scott, do I have to THINK for you? Capitalisms focus is PROFIT MAXIMIZATION. Consequently, profit maximization necessitates the cheapest energy option.

Ahhh…you say the salvation in the nuclear option? What will be done or the consequence of all the nuclear waste by product from the exponential increase in nuclear energy as a substitute for fossil fuel? If it nuclear technology is the option for the future, then all nations will need to be allowed to develop and exploit this technology. Given that nuclear technology has dual use, either for energy or weapons of mass destruction, anyone can see that the proliferation of it will only increase the probability of a nuclear annihilation. Can’t you see that far Scott? I bet you are not a good chess player…..are you? You don’t seem to have the ability to think beyond one move.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Noah your understanding is so simplistic. Nuclear power equals nuclear bombs. Are you 12?

Even with yesterdays technology its incredibly difficult to turn a fuel rod into a nuclear weapon.

With modern reactor design its even more difficult.

Also nuclear power creates electricity. There is no reason to put power plants in unstable countries. When we can have a world wide power grid.

Nuclear plants can also produce hydrogen that is transported to other countries.

They can also be placed offshore on ships.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Tell that to your president, as that seems to be his and other capitalistic nation’s argument against Iran possessing them. Irks says that it wants the technology for energy. The Bush administration says that they can convert the processed fuel into Nuclear weapons. Nuclear energy infrastructure and development is steps A thru W in creating a Nuclear weapon. When nuclear technology proliferates …so will the X, Y, Z.

Again you astound me. Not many countries who want to promote independence will allow their sovereignty to be held hostage by nuclear power grid controlled by another country, if or when they have the capacity to create their own. Can you image the leverage that the host country of the grid would have over the fate the economies of nation’s dependant upon it? Can’t you see the potential and likely abuse of such power to control these other nations to represent the host nation’s interest? Not too many countries would support this.

WOW….nuclear power produces electricity? Scott…I can always count on you to increase my knowledge. Yes? I am being facetious.


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