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Robert Brookshire
(brookshire) - M
What about Net National Product? on 09/18/2009 16:56:35 MDT Print View

Deleted this post because it was more about energy economics than Chimerican manufacturing. I also wrote it poorly and feel terrible about it.
-Mr. Obvious

Edited by brookshire on 09/21/2009 17:19:06 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: What about Net National Product? on 09/18/2009 18:30:45 MDT Print View

"Thank you for your time and patience. I pray that each of you find productive, fulfilling livelihood in order to support yourself and your family. Grow a garden, empower others, and create real democracy by taking power away from rich people and corporations by reducing your own dependence upon their products and services, most of which are propagandized wants rather than real needs. Buying stuff creates poverty, not wealth, and this rabbit hole goes further down than most people alive today can even imagine."

Thank you, Robert, for taking the time and energy to put this on the forum. Hopefully it'll get people thinking, which is where the solution(s) must originate.

In your own search for solutions, might I recommend a book to you: "Steady State Economics" by Herman Daly. He's one of a few people that have been thinking about this problem for quite some time. Among other things, he gets into the thermodynamic dead end inherent in our current system, as well as offering one possible solution. It's an interesting read.

Thanks again for posting.

Tom

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: What about Net National Product? on 09/18/2009 20:12:30 MDT Print View

Robert, that was a very well-reasoned and clearly-put comment about our state of affairs in the world today. Doubtless someone will find something to argue about, but personally I think you expressed exactly what needs to be openly said and discussed among all people in the world today.

The only thing I would add something to was to your quote: Mr. Joe McSwiney, President of Cascade Designs Inc, was quoted as saying:
"The root cause of environmental damage is consumerism, and the root cause of consumerism is how our culture employs its surplus over the base needs of food and shelter to self-actualize."


The root cause of consumerism is greed, and the belief that owning things, including land, will bring contentedness and satiation. But it doesn't. When you own one thing so many of us today want more. And more. And more. That's what "shopping" is all about. The danger is that the marketing people have tied this to our basic animal survival instinct to go out and gather, and unless we consciously will ourselves to avoid this temptation in a world of plenty we will continue to consume at unprecedented levels. I always find it weirdly ironic that so many wealthy CEO's talk like Mr. McSwiney, but don't actually stop creating the consumer items that he criticizes. Yvon Chouinard is the same... if these people actually practiced what they said they would actively be closing down their huge and profitable businesses and stop contributing to the environmental damage. But they don't, do they? They're just as much caught in the trap as everyone else. Doubtless they have some well thought-out, and amply logical excuses to counter my words, but there you go.

What is funny is that right here on BPL the most common and passionate forum is one that is purely based on consumerism: the G-Spot. And the way we bashfully joke about not being able to stop piling up gear in our closets further attests to our madness. Of all people, we who supposedly spend so much time in "the Better World" ought to understand what our greed means, and yet we can't stop either. THAT is the root cause of environmental damage (and incidentally a lot of our health issues), this insatiable hunger for more, when we know we should stop.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
condescention on 09/19/2009 13:28:57 MDT Print View

>> You’re all smart people, so please study and think about this for yourselves.

You know, I always find it INCREDIBLY condescending anytime someone who thinks he has all the answers tells me to "think about it." Just a personal peeve of mine. Anyone else?

First, an incredibly minor and persnickety point: I also read all those articles in Economist and FP etc., and Handyside wasn't saying that consumerism creates wealth. The proposition was that consumerism drives our economy- which it does. Unfortunately. The point that consumerism as it is currently practiced in the West is unsustainable (using non-renewable energy) is a different issue.

>> Many of you will sneer at my claims and wonder at my sanity when my arguments run so directly counter to everything you’ve been taught to believe

A perfect example of how you do NOT have all the answers. You definitely don't know your audience, here. Most of us, I think, would basically agree with you. The realization that cheap energy in the form of fossil fuels is creating an artificial economic boom is not new. OTOH if you can come up with a SOLUTION then I would be impressed. Personally I'm at a loss. It's a tough problem. Frankly, I don't want my standard of living to plummet, either, and I'm pretty anti-consumerism and anti-materialism as it is...

>> Please feel free to take the red pill and rediscover the real world with your own critical thinking skills,

Wow, Robert, that's another rather annoying and condescending phraseology. (And yet more proof that you don't know your audience, here- witness that the previous two posts agreed with you, as do I, basically.) Do you honestly believe that other people don't think? To borrow your rather arrogant and abrasive tone: NEWS FLASH you aren't telling anyone anything new. I hope you don't believe that this thinking is original or something.

I of course agree with your analysis, particularly that it all comes down to energy, but, wow, could you be any more self-important and abrasive? (I painted a rather bleak post-oil picture on this forum a while ago.) Idealists such as yourself REALLY need to learn to communicate better, and preferably in a not so insulting tone.

So, anyway, I guess my advice is simply to learn to clean up your tone a bit. You'll be much more successful in convincing the uninitiated. I learned something a long time ago- when you pi$$ people off they stop listening to you. (Sometimes I stumble, too...) Hopefully I haven't just stumbled into the same mistake by being so frankly critical with you, but I figured that if you were dishing it out then you could take it. :o)

(It also helps if on occasion you're not preaching to the choir. Groupthink is dangerous.)

More to the point- what the heck does that have to do with trading with China?

Edited by acrosome on 09/19/2009 14:44:52 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: condescention on 09/19/2009 13:46:13 MDT Print View

Oy Weh, Dean. Was it necessary to voice so much anger, at such length? A little grain of salt wouldn't hurt. It's only an online discussion, for Pete's sake. And you know how online discussions can so easily be bent out of shape. You're both right. Isn't that enough?

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: condescension on 09/19/2009 13:50:15 MDT Print View

Yeah, I kind of realized that upon re-reading. I'm working on editing to tone it down. (I find myself doing that a lot- but at least I DO tone it down.) But only a little- my annoyance with the "think about it" crud is VERY real. After all, I'm right. It is a very condescending thing to say. It is MUCH better to say "I think..." or to otherwise just state your position.

And you said I'm voicing anger? I intend, at most, voicing intense annoyance, and perhaps a little offense. Which is an accurate description of my reaction to that post. I don't like being talked down to, particularly by someone who is telling me something obvious that I already know. If he hadn't used that tone I would probably have responded with a +1, or more likely not at all.

And I don't think I'm misinterpreting Robert's tone, either. I do try to take into account how easy it is to misinterpret via this medium, but I thought the condescension was obvious.

OTOH, Robert, if you merely had a bad day and vomited that diatribe onto the screen without really thinking about it, well, sorry. I've been there.

EDIT---

Is that better, or should I tone it down even more?

Edited by acrosome on 09/19/2009 14:46:16 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: condescension on 09/19/2009 14:41:12 MDT Print View

I just took it as one person's point of view, nothing more.
Obviously, anyone who writes such a long posting feels pretty strongly about the matter, which usually means a bit of soapbox. That's OK - it was all very polite.

I am interested that so many agree with the problem.

Cheers

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Made in China - A State of the Market Report on 09/19/2009 20:17:24 MDT Print View

We definitely have a problem. Can someone please send me a PM when you find a solution ?
Thanks in advance
Franco

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report on 09/19/2009 20:57:30 MDT Print View

"We definitely have a problem. Can someone please send me a PM when you find a solution ?"

Relax Franco, Mother Nature has the solution well in hand.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Made in China - A State of the Market Report" on 09/19/2009 21:37:00 MDT Print View

RELAX ???
I have just received an E Mail from Father Time.
Translated from Mandarin via Google.
( I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement)
Franco

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report" on 09/19/2009 22:24:29 MDT Print View

Is that better, or should I tone it down even more?

Nah, we're good. I was rather surprised at your comment, since you usually write so eloquently and tolerantly. I may not always agree with you, but you've never come across as abrasive.

I don't like being talked down to.

I also felt certain parts of the comment seemed a tad superior, but I thought, "what the heck, not worth getting bent out of shape over". Besides, whether or not he actually felt superior or not has no bearing on how I feel about myself. Bush was a mite condescending, and in the beginning I used to get apoplectic over his comments, until I realized that it was not doing my health and peace of mind any good, so I just let go. Did wonders for my sleeping habits. I KNOW I'm superior to Bush! (@v@)

which usually means a bit of soapbox.

I've always loved the whole concept behind "Speaker's Corner" in Hyde Park, London. Anyone can have a go and say whatever they d@mn well wish and listeners can either stay and listen or simply walk off. I guess the same goes here.

Franco, you've been getting correspondence from Father Time?!?! Lucky dude! I keep getting Facebook chat requests from Ferryman Charon, asking me to liaison with his Shanghai factory over his claim that his newest boat wasn't built to specifications (insisting that only "Made in Hades" is acceptable). Problem is, I think he's confusing my Japanese with Cantonese! And he's not even offering me a special deal! (like "Lifetime supply of MLD shelters" or "Guaranteed burial spot in the Spectralite Palace"... let alone a free ferry ticket)

Now back to the subject at hand: What do you think of products made in Fiji? I recently bought a $1.00 twig hand broom manufactured in Fiji. (if you look real closely you can see that the upper portion of the broom's gathered end was only triple stitched, rather than quadruple stitched. Substandard, if you ask me). I hate the idea of losing out job opportunities to Fijians. Pretty soon they'll be OVERRUNNING THE WORLD! Can you imagine that? Being subjected to endless rounds of Yaqona?

(for those of you who lack the tongue-in-cheek gene, please be patient with me...)

Edited by butuki on 09/19/2009 23:00:36 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report" on 09/20/2009 04:21:04 MDT Print View

> his claim that his newest boat wasn't built to specifications

Does it float?

Cheers

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report" on 09/20/2009 07:12:26 MDT Print View

Does it float?

I'm not sure. I think he said something about trying out a new silnylon skin. I warned him about silnylon not being fully waterproof, but he's set on his ideas. He tells me it's just misting, but I don't know. I wouldn't be caught dead in one of his boats!

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
eloquence on 09/20/2009 13:43:07 MDT Print View

If I am at all eloquent, it is only through vicious editing...

But I agree that it is pointless to get bent over some post on the internet:

duty calls

Rog sure broke me of THAT one...

Courtesy www.xkcd.com, best webcomic out there.

Edited by acrosome on 09/20/2009 13:44:12 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report" on 09/20/2009 14:11:43 MDT Print View

I also pretty much agree with Robert's summing up of our biggest 'problem'. And China/India etc.. feels it's their turn to live the good life...and can you blame them? We've had our time in the sun, only to find it is not sustainable, leaving the developed countries in the unenviable situation of having to impose restrictions on developing countries due to environmental and resource concerns. Sigh. I too would like to receive a PM when someone finds a satisfactory solution.

One of the human rights issues that China often gets taken to task over is it's "one child" policy, yet that is what we, as a world, really need to be thinking about and moving towards. In a world of over 6 billion unsustainable consumers, should it really still be a 'human right' to produce as many offspring as you want? It's massively contentious, yet population control is, IMHO, the most pressing issue of all, followed by a consumerism economy that I am as guilty of supporting as anyone else.

For the record, I do not support China's methods of controlling population, merely the intention behind the policy. I think you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and that people in developing countries need strong incentives (as in rewards) to reduce their fertility, rather than being punished for having children.

Edited by retropump on 09/20/2009 16:13:38 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report" on 09/20/2009 14:56:55 MDT Print View

Not only that, it's HUGELY presumptuous to think that people in the poorer countries don't know what they're doing or that your own standards or morality is better than theirs. The Chinese don't hate Chinese, and from their point of view the practical and very realistic and completely unsentimental view of over-population might actually be a better way of dealing with gigantic problems than the wishy-washy and often endlessly argumentative views of people in the West. I mean, is there anyone here, except perhaps Chinese and Indians, who even really KNOW what dealing with a population of a billion people who were starving until the programs were implemented really entails? Can you even get your mind around the number "1 billion"? I know I can't. (sometimes I have trouble counting to ten!)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report" on 09/20/2009 17:13:11 MDT Print View

"I have just received an E Mail from Father Time"

Don't believe a word he said; Mother Nature put him up to it.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report" on 09/20/2009 17:17:25 MDT Print View

"I wouldn't be caught dead in one of his boats!"

And the alternative is...?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Made in China - A State of the Market Report" on 09/20/2009 17:21:00 MDT Print View

"Can you even get your mind around the number "1 billion"? I know I can't."

It's easy. Just spend a week in either Calcutta or Shanghai. :)

Robert Brookshire
(brookshire) - M
sorry on 09/21/2009 17:08:45 MDT Print View

Dean Fellabaum said I was condescending. I'm sure Dean was right and I apologize. It's great that so many people are aware of these issues! My everyday experience suggests that most people are *not*, even those in very high places in society. I don't keep up very well with the day-to-day postings at BPL and am sorry if I missed all the good conversations on peak energy, etc.

As I read through the comments to this article, I was disappointed that nobody had brought this stuff up and couldn't help but do so myself. That was my first mistake, obviously. Before about 5 years ago, I know that *I* hadn't really thought about how human economics meshed with natural systems and was very happy when I was nudged into doing so. I should have kept quiet, but IMO an article about asian manufacturing has *EVERYTHING* to do with energy economics, because when I choose to buy a product my first priority probably shouldn't be where it's made but whether I really need it at all. However, my post was not really appropriate in this thread and I recognize that now. I was just so disappointed that nobody was talking about what *I* selfishly thought should be important here that I felt obliged to post.

When I said "think about it for yourself", I was trying to imply that I don't want you to listen to me or take my word for it. I was trying to convey the idea that your own conclusions and ideas were going to be different than mine. My intent was not that I know everything already, but that I never did find the bottom of that rabbit hole. I got as far as thinking about the invention of language itself and basically decided it was pointless to continue since there weren't any solutions down there (and later found that other people already wrote books about the invention of language so I was still reinventing the obvious). I certainly didn't invent any new ideas, but I did come up with some of them on my own and was very excited when I found out that other people were thinking about the same things. For me, the dollar=sunlight equation was indeed a revelation. They didn't teach me that in high school or college. I'm very glad that so many people are aware of this now and I won't bring it up again.

Again, I apologize for being a jerk. I was not trying to be. I guess it comes natural. I certainly wasn't trying to "dish it out" and I am especially sorry that I seem to have derailed a thread about Roger Caffin's great article :(. Thanks to everyone for their comments and criticisms. I especially need the latter.