Two out of three “Top Stories” from the New York Times today (Sat, August 28) report serious problems at opposite ends of the earth… opposite in terms of economics as well as geographics… but I’m convinced there’s only one viable solution for both: the Vitality Ratio. (click here for details)
Fed Ready to Dig Deeper to Aid Growth, Chief Says
U.N. Congo Report Offers New View on Genocide Era
Growth economics in the USA is just a bunch of “more-more-more.” Growth economists have a thankless, frustrating, and self-imposed job to keep pressure on government and business to sustain an unsustainable pattern of ever-increasing production by industry, ever-increasing sales in stores, and ever-increasing consumption by the people. More-more-more at every level of society. Unfortunately, growth economics has outlived its practicality.
While Americans have a modest, safe fertility rate (about 2 kids per woman), big streams of immigrants (legal and illegal) pour into the country… so that there were 76 million Americans in 1900, 200 million in 1967, and 300 million in 2006. Today there are 310 million people living in the USA, and by 2050 there will be 450 million.
This burgeoning population makes it clear (to me, if not to anyone else!) that resources are no longer as plentiful as before. Each person will have to get by with a smaller portion of the American pie. That’s a very simple and natural fact, something that growth economics ignores… but something that is at the crux of the Vitality Ratio.
Scarcity is one of the few things we Americans today are facing more-more-more of… and adhering to growth economics amid scarcity is about as smart as hosting water-guzzling contests during a drought.
We need to scrap growth economics, and the only viable replacement would be the Vitality Ratio… which keeps a society’s needs in line with its available resources. That’s the only safe, rational economic standard for the future… and it was made possible just recently, with the advent of computer technology and the Internet.
Meanwhile… genocide in Africa (along with famine, war, and political instability) is nothing but a symptom of wildly out-of-control population growth. Fertility rates in Africa (click here) are as high as 8 kids per woman in many places, meaning that population would double every five years or so if it could. But, as any reasonable person knows, it can’t. There are natural limits to growth. Too many mouths to feed.
There’s nothing complicated here, folks. We humans like sex, and so we tend to have lots of kids. Unless there’s some sort of birth control, whether in the form of sex education or strict morality or government policies limiting family size or couples’ desire for small families or… whatever!… eventually there are too many mouths to feed.
The Vitality Ratio would work as well in Africa as it would work in the USA. It would guarantee economic stability within a generation or two, once it was properly implemented.
Editor’s note: Although I’m not going to be totally obsessed with this Vitality Ratio thing for the rest of my life—spouting nothing but resources, needs, population, and product consumption in everything I write—you can be sure that I’ll keep driving it home from time to time on this blog…. Nothing is more important and do-able than the Vitality Ratio for a safe, healthy future for humanity on Earth. Of that I have no doubt.
I have often said that much of our (and the world’s) problem is due to overpopulation, but this is the first time I’ve read someone who agrees with that! 🙂 As far as growth economics, isn’t that capitalism? Did you see Michael Moore’s “Capitalism, a Love Story”?
P.S. I can’t figure out how to put a photo in a wordpress blog without being a blog holder. Maybe, look around when you input your blog, for the option to include photos. If it doesn’t give you that option, they may not provide the free bandwidth for photos. Sorry.
Hi Melody, thanks for the comments!
Yes, growth economics is the driving force behind capitalism, which grew out of Adam Smith / Charles Darwin ideas about survival of the fittest – – basically, a glorification of the savage side.
Actually, I HAVE posted pictures with a few of my posts, when appropriate. Example, one on ‘mantric exercises.’
Using photos probably would make the blog more visually appealing. I’ll give that some thought.
(No promises…) 🙂
While you were posting this, I was replying to another thread which included comment on overpopulation. As I replied to one of Mark’s early blogs, the elephant in the room is, as has been for some time, world overpopulation.
It is studiously ignored on cultural, religious and social grounds by all world-level decision makers but that will not prevent a massive collapse in the not too distant future.
If global warming accelerates, this will compound the problem by many orders of magnitude. If glaciers continue to disappear at the current rate and if the polar icecaps begin to collapse (it is already happening in the Antarctic), the very first land masses to be affected (innundated) will be the arable coastal plains.
Global warming will probably cancel out overpopulation – in the most horrific manner.
For healthy arguments sake, if the Vitality Ratio was to be installed, who gets to pull the strings?
Am I wrong or ultimately wouldn’t there need to be a dictator of the world, backed up by an ultra-powerful global government. Would this worry anyone but me?
Hi Alex, I’ve known from the beginning that the main resistance against the Vitality Ratio wouldn’t be technical, but attitude… in my opinion unjustified.
It’s invevitable that as social systems consolidate (more people, denser overlapping networks), more regulation is needed to keep order. I suspect it’s always been that way, as tribes became communities, etc., until today’s nation-states. There have always been factions opposed to the larger regulating bodies that pulled the smaller local groups under the umbrella… but it was inevitable, for the sake of peace and order in human affairs.
Some form and some degree of effective regulation at the world level is already starting to happen, for example with standards organizations that have given order and vitality to the Internet and international communications.
What we’re talking about with the Vitality Ratio is just another world-level commission that, yes, will have a lot of influence over a few basic aspects of our lives.
That’s nothing new. Stoplights are an imposition to everyone, but without them there’d be chaos, and they provide needed order to human affairs.
We just have to extend that to include issues of population, product use, and resource availability. People adapted just fine to stoplights, and they’ll someday adjust just as smoothly to the Vitality Ratio… It’s must a matter of accepting important standards… as I tried to explain in an earlier post: