the USA spills too muck energy

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by denjeff, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. denjeff macrumors member

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    #1
    this is a thing a heard from a nice girl i know... she said that if the entire world would live like the USA, we would need 4 earths to deliver energy, spread pollution and deliver raw materials...

    you can read this in two ways:
    1. the USA spill toooooo much energy
    2. the USA could not exist unless they exploit other (poor) countries
     
  2. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #2
    Trouble is, energy usage correlates directly with GDP. People get into the wrong arguments. The real issues are the manner of generation of electricy, and the types of transportation that are used.

    Oil and gas reserves are declining. Okay, fine. They're too valuable to be used for electricity and transportation. They are raw materials for too much other stuff that's produced by the petro-chemical folks. Computers, for one thing. :)

    Sure, there are lots of ways we here in the U.S. could improve things. Still, I'd rather see ways to improve things in third-world countries than to see us reduced toward that condition. I've plowed behind a horse, and picked cotton by hand. Bummer. I've lived without electricity, and depended on a windmill for water. Also a bummer.

    Not that I'm a fan of the "light show" of Las Vegas...

    :), 'Rat
     
  3. denjeff thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    i live in europe, and we would need 2 earths... anyway, going back would be a ***bummer (i love ellen feiss), but i think the point is "go back a bit or go towards real big crisis"

    going back means not loosing it all. for me it means developing new stuff that is more energy friendly, more durable, requires less new things to put in and is developed to be easily recycled.
     
  4. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #4
    denjeff, I won't argue that a lot of folks in the U.S. tend too much toward "Bigger, newer, shinier!", but that's a small part of the world-wide problem.

    I've covered a fair amount of south-central Germany in the last few years. (My son lives in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, not far from Lake Constance.) From what I saw, the U.S. does better at recycling--particularly cars. :) In fact, we're so good at collecting recyclables that we're getting behind in actually using them. Part of the reason for that is that many of the would-be users no longer do manufacturing in this country.

    But, another question, tied more to the opening post: What difference does it make about the quantity of energy used, if it's non-polluting and is a minimal drain on mineral resources? (Wind and solar power systems require the mining of bauxite for the aluminum frameworks, as well as drilling for oil and gas for the plastics.)

    'Rat
     
  5. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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  6. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Frohickey, stipulate for a moment that the boffins will succeed in doing the fusion power thing. How do you waste something that's literally unlimited?

    For that matter, maybeso someday they'll be able to figure out just what--or why--IS gravity and become able to use it...

    :), 'Rat
     
  7. denjeff thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    the point is that one day there will be no energy left, unless we start building the wind energy and solar energy installations. if we are not prepared to diminish the amount of energy we abuse, then we face a big energy crisis.

    another point is that we abuse poor countries so that we could have all our waste of energy. you can say that is historical, but does that make it fair?

    yet another point is that the tirth world countries are evolving a bit towards our way of living. this eventually will create an ecological crisis.
    the earth can swallow a lot, but i think mankind can t swallow that much. expect some very hot summers and expect your children to live in a world they did not intend to have wanted.
     
  8. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #8
    denjeff, would you explain "another point is that we abuse poor countries so that we could have all our waste of energy"?

    To what "we" do you refer? And, how is this "abuse" done?

    'Rat
     
  9. denjeff thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    The USA and also Europe (we) install well paid governments in poor countries. Those governments then supply raw materials (oil, uranium, metals...) for a good price. We then make products from it (cars, drugs->AIDS,...). Then we sell those products back in their countries at a price that is much much much much much higher then what we paid for their goodies. We also drain their brains (at first they are underfed, they don t get proper education and if a smart guy arises, we steal him towards our country). That way they will never be able to develop their own products. To resume: we make their economy dependent of ours. And they will be supplying their goodies forever and ever and they will stay retarded and we will be able to spill their natural richness.

    Examples: drugs against AIDS (the USA is very much against cheaper drugs for those who can t pay them), all kinds of raw materials (gold; diamant->if they would process the diamant theirself, they would be loaded; copper; that thing that goes in to mobil phones and is a reason for civil war in Congo...),.....

    A second thing we do is dump our garbage over there. Those things usually don t get primetime, but it happens a lot. Another cruel thing is that there are still companies in the USA and Europe that produce DDT (which is forbidden to use here), but sell it to third world countries...

    Got the point a bit? There is so much to tell...

    Books advised to read: Against Empire from Michael Parenti,...
     
  10. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #10
    Sort of. In fact the US (and other western nations) are far more efficient in converting energy use to wealth then developing nations. The big problem coming down the line very rapidly is the result of growing economies in developing nations like China demanding more energy, and using it inefficiently as a wealth producer. When that happens, we're all in big trouble in the energy department. We probably already are.
     
  11. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #11
    denjeff, could it possibly be that poor nations' socio-political systems are factors in the equation? Note that those run by thugocracies are the poorest, having only raw materials to sell. Further, your argument does not explain the current increase in economic activity in India and China, much less other Asian countries. Nor, by and large, do you consider the dramatic changes in where manufacturing is now being done...

    IJ, how do you know that China is inefficient? (Citing "The big problem coming down the line very rapidly is the result of growing economies in developing nations like China demanding more energy, and using it inefficiently as a wealth producer.") Sure, right now they're still petroleum based, but they--like Japan--are going nuclear and China is building the Three Gorges hydroelectric project...

    And, how do other countries' inefficiencies relate to our "waste"? And, I guess that one question might be, how much of our energy use, on a percentage basis, is actually waste?

    And to further worry at the issue of waste, if the oil-to-gasoline sequence is paid for by the user, and the SUV is paid for by the user, what's the problem? (I'm deliberately not considering issues like CO2/pollution or "wise investment of capital", here.) When the free market sees some shortage, other solutions have always been found. Given the history of free-market solutions about energy, why would or should we expect the future to be stasis?

    'Rat
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    I looked it up. The US uses 12,000 BTUs for every dollar of GNP; China uses 46,000 (source on request). They probably will become more efficient as they develop, but that's not guaranteed. Either way, they're going to be using a lot more energy in the future, and a lot of that will be fossil fuels.

    I didn't say it did, at least not directly. My point is that we're going to be drawing on a highly over-stressed worldwide energy pool at much higher prices. As one of the world's major users of fossil fuels, we're potentially looking at economic damage similar to the 1970s, and possibly much worse, since that shortage was artificial and transitory and this one will be real and long term. We need to reduce our dependance on fossil fuels, and we need to do it soon. Increased efficiency is one way to get there.
     
  13. denjeff thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    it a quiet complex thing... that s for sure.

    one thing is that china and india aren t depending on foreign investors for the growth of their economy. ofcourse there are foreign investors, but (i read this in a magazine once) china and india do have their demands. when a country has cheaper labor to offer, then it is in a position to negotiate about it...

    also, these countries don 't follow the advise of the world bank (WTO). there are numerous countries that had big potential, but now have foreign depts. they lost their force to negotiate, because they must attract foreign investors at any cost to pay of their dept. countries in this category are russia, argentinia, most african countries,...

    you talk about the "poor nations' socio-political systems are factors in the equation". these are sometimes forced on them. western governements (especially the US) support combat groups to destabilise governments (done in columbia, haiti, chili, liberia, somalia, congo...). another example is palestine (i know this is a delicate subject with some), where ground is taken, crop fields are destroyed and so on. almost every time a western country interfered with a poorer country, things got worse then they were before... (this last paragraph is what my book suggetion was about, but then a bit better and longer)
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    IJ, we've had several discussions about efficiency of utilization/production of electricity and transportation, but insofar as "We need to reduce our dependance on fossil fuels, and we need to do it soon. Increased efficiency is one way to get there." is concerned, we're certainly in accord.

    denjeff, have you ever looked up the $ value of exports from the Arabic and third world countries? If you leave out oil, the total value of all other exports barely equals the GDP of Germany. This can't all be blamed on the U.S. government's support of Evil Bastards.

    Heck, look just a Mexico. They have oil and gas and gold and silver and timber and prime farmlands. And tourism. And a population that pretty much lives by a work ethic--or is willing to, when there's work. There is no reason whatsoever for their system to be so sorry that we have all those wetbacks coming here. (I live on the Border, and have travelled around Mexico a good bit, as well as talking about the place with folks who have even more experience there than I.)

    'Rat
     
  15. denjeff thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    is the GDP the only thing that matters? GDP is about open trade, with other countries. it would increase by foreign investments. but if a local economy goes around well and people don t suffer from hunger and people are well educated, then there is no reason to say that that is an underdeveloped country.

    economics is a difficult thing. i believe that there isn t anything like "the economy". the word "the economy" is used or abused by whoever profits from it. like "it goes bad with the economy"=time to sack some. "we see some improvements in the economy"=please invest your money in stocks, so that my stocks go up and i can sell them at higher price.....
    i do belive that there are many different types of economy, like local, regional, national, international. ofcourse they have influence on eachother. but you don t have to be in the international sort of economy to have a prosperous country (that s what they want you to believe). that way the GDP doesn t matter all time i think.

    so if a foreign investment makes the GDP higher, people tend to say that their economy is growing.
    BUT there could be much more unemployement
    and their local economy could be made dependent of a foreign one (which is never good i think)
    and their food supply could become dependent of foreign countries (which is the worst that could happen)
    and eventually politically they become dependent of a foreign one...
    and so on... it is a circle that is very difficult to break.
     
  16. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Overall, denjeff, I agree with your last post. Still, GDP--particularly on a per capita basis--is a measure of the well-being of a population in a nation. (Or, in a more local area, if "Domestic" is seen as applying to that local area.)

    E.g., a GDP of $500 per capita, to me, means that local folks are in deep doodoo for diet, medical care, basic transportation, etc.

    I note in passing that here in the U.S., more and more of our food is imported. This is particularly true of winter veggies and fruits.

    'Rat
     
  17. denjeff thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    but in the USA food can be supplied by your own production, isn t it?

    tomorrow exam neurology... i ll post some more tomorrow.
     
  18. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #18

    Waaaaah!!! The US is evil!!! Waaah!!!!!

    Could it be that because of the thugocracies, there is no incentive to develop the raw materials into other goods and services?

    Could it be that because of the thugocracy, there is no incentive but to emigrate to another country where your ambition and hard work would pay you instead of the thugs running the country?

    So, your solution would be to stop all travel and immigration.
    Stop all global trade.

    Is that what you are saying?

    :eek:
     
  19. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #19
    C'mon now... be a little civil at least

    You're talking about the US when you say thugocracy, right? :eek:
     
  20. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #20
    The problem is that if all the people driving SUVs were driving minivans we would not have to import oil from Saudi Arabia.

    THe other thing is that the only free market energy solution I can think of is the move from whale blubber for lighting to oil. The next "solution" will not be so easy.
     
  21. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    There were no personal attacks in that post. :p

    As to the thugocracies, there is the perennial president-for-life governments in the middle east, the perennial party-for-life governments in the people's democratic republics in asia, and the perennial dictators in africa.
     
  22. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #22
    "The problem is that if all the people driving SUVs were driving minivans we would not have to import oil from Saudi Arabia."

    wwworry, I really have difficulty in believing that going from 20 mpg to 28 mpg for a small percentage of all passenger vehicles will reduce our oil consumption by eight percent.

    Whadda we got, some 250 million or so cars in the U.S.? SUVs represent some 30 million or so, with some of them being the smaller, fuel efficient versions. The monster-jobbers that get the deservedly bad rap just aren't that big a percentage of the total.

    And why should I not believe in marketplace and technological solutions? This is 2003, right? And what happened at Kitty Hawk, in 1903? And where were we landing in 1969?

    Fifty years ago, television just wasn't all that common. Today, we're seeing pictures from Mars. And, lordy, it wasn't all that long ago that the 386 chip was a breakthrough...

    'Rat
     

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