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View Diary: To solve the climate change problem, end the class divide (50 comments)

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  •  I don't think (0+ / 0-)

    that's exactly a fair reading to say that Pearce's article shows that the bottom half isn't a part of the problem.

    Definitely I agree with Pearce that over consumption is a problem in the top half or even top few percent (USA).  That is the larger part of the problem.   But it doesn't address the long term projections based on past history, as a nation develops, it tends to start consuming more.  We can't address equalization of incomes only, that just makes more people the problem.  Its more equitable distribution, but not a solution to over consumption.  

    Its a two pronged strategy that is needed at least, to leap frog underdevelopped areas over old technology to make their development less destructive, and to convince everyone that more prosperity shouldn't be expressed in a bigger carbon footprint.  

    A third prong, large family size, really would be appropriate to address as well.   Those large family sizes tend to happen as a result of cultural trends that devalue women's rights and education.  

    •  Ah -- (2+ / 0-)
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      In her own Voice, Radical def

      But it doesn't address the long term projections based on past history, as a nation develops, it tends to start consuming more.

      But this is assuming that "past history" is any key to future history in a world-system that is rather close to maxing out its resource base.  

      The capitalist press would like to promote the idea that the fruits of capitalist development are available to everyone, and so they promote misleading ideas about the actual prosperity of the world.  If you believe McKinsey, for instance, you might feel confident in assuming that the Indian middle class currently constitutes 5% of India's population, and will grow to 40% with the snap of a finger.  Whereas in reality the statistics on Indian income reveal a much, much smaller middle class by Western standards.

      My point is this: the idea that the history of the Western nations in "development" and "prosperity" is going to repeat itself in India and China is a myth.  We've discussed India; as for China you can see from a cursory reading of Mark Hertsgaard's Earth Odyssey that the Chinese spurt of growth has already exacted an enormous toll upon Chinese ecosystems, and that was ten years ago.  It isn't going to get better as the icecaps atop the Himalayas melt away leaving China in drought.  Minqi Li gives China a decade more of growthmania at which point the ecosystem limits will be reached.

      The era of "development" and "consuming more" is quite likely to come to a screeching halt, within our lifetimes.  We can deal with this by attempting to bridge the class divide, or we can wind up with a world in which the remaining privileged few fight over what's left.

      Otherwise I liked the points you made in your post.

      "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:37:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you are overly optimistic (1+ / 0-)
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        Land of Enchantment

        given the blogs I've been reading in the climate series this weekend about China.  I think their targets are estimated to leave them increasing for the next decade, just as history suggests.

        I think India has a slower growth curve overall, but to the extent that growth occurs, they will also increase.

        When the brick wall hits any given nation seems to be the real limiter.  But the point of these discussions, to my mind, was to try to avoid the wall, not use it as a tool of fostering social equality.  You posited using fostering the classlessness of a better world to avoid the problem, as a solution, not a result of the climate disaster.

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