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Development & Aid

adytumadytum Registered User regular
edited April 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
Development

Some countries are rich. Some countries are poor. What can be done? Should anything be done? Who should do it, and to what degree?

This is a short and uncited overview of development and development aid. Do not take this as a comprehensive discussion, because it's not. It's an abridged version of an abridged version of the issues and questions surrounding development. There are too many issues to lay out in an OP; in fact, you could read dozens and dozens of books and still not have touched upon half of the issues.

Consider this a jumping off point to a discussion on development.


What are the main schools of thought regarding development ?

Globalization is evil!
Globalization has led to an outsourcing of the worst jobs to countries with little to no care for things like "working conditions." Many countries have only one competitive edge: cheap labor. Many see this as simple exploitation by the western world for cheap junk fueled by inane consumer hunger. It would be better, many argue, if the west left the poorer countries alone.

Unfettered capitalism is the only way!
However, many of the "worst jobs" are often a step up from slaving on a farm and dying a young death, as seen from the intense competition for factory jobs. They generally pay a higher wage than working the fields, and offer at least the hope of bettering oneself. Doesn't this mean we should let the market run its course?

Maybe we should help countries get to a self-sustainable point before trying to force the free market on them?
Ah-hah! Maybe we should make sure countries have the tools they need to foster competitive industries while preserving human rights? This leads us to.. development aid!


What are the main schools of thought regarding development aid?

Give them unlimited money!
Is it the place of the western world to decide how countries should be run? There are those that believe that it's our obligation to keep pouring money in until something sticks. Unfortunately, thus far, nothing has really stuck.

They should be bootstrappy!
But do they even need our money? The western world did it without anybody helping! They should drag themselves out of the mud by their boostraps! We don't owe them anything!

Let's identify the root causes of the problems, and try to come up with effective strategic implementations!
Doesn't this sound like a great idea? Well, it's harder than it sounds. Nobody has figured it out yet. But they're trying.


Why should I even care?

Increasing the wealth of poorer countries increases the wealth of everyone.
How? Well, by having more trading partners that can purchase exports, primarily. But also through the magic of comparative advantage between trade partners. This is, in fact, how many of the "developing countries" have had such an enormous increase in wealth: through their comparative advantage in cheap labor. Of course, that leads into its own problems..

Mass migration is bad for everyone.
This is a difficult topic to discuss because there is so much emotion involved, but the bottom line is crippling poverty and sustained conflicts create refugees. Where are they to go? What happens to them? How can they receive the opportunity to live a life with dignity? Because they're not doing it now. Moving countries to the point of sustainable, humane development relieves migratory pressures and benefits everyone.
refugees.jpg

War costs money, time, and lives.
Civil wars, genocides, etc. cost the world billions of dollars, not to mention lives. Stabilizing countries reduces the risk of conflict, which saves lives, money, and reduces problems like disease and mass migration.

If "we" don't do it, someone else will.. and we won't like the results.
'Western' aid to the poorest countries comes with strings attached like "don't murder people with this money" or "don't use this money to enrich yourselves at the expense of your people". China, on the other hand, has explicitly stated that they don't care what despots and dictators do with the money they're giving out, as long as they get the natural resources they're after. Nobody knows how much money China is pouring into the poorest countries, but the number is probably staggering..
china-africa.png


Once again, this is a brief and completely non-comprehensive overview of development and development aid. Please feel free to expand.

Please note that this is not a conversation about immigration policy, the darkies taking yer jobs, or any other form of goosery.

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adytum on
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Posts

  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Some Things You Might Read

    The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier.
    This book provides a well-researched and persuasive argument about the predicaments that are faced by the poorest countries. This is a really excellent book, and is worth reading if one is at all interested in the subject
    The Conflict Trap - civil wars (with an estimated average cost of $64bn each) or coups.
    The Natural Resource Trap - having to rely on natural resources which can stifle other economic activity and lead to bad governance and coups/conflict.
    Landlocked with Bad Neighbours - poor landlocked countries with poor neighbours find it almost impossible to tap into world economic growth.
    Bad Governance in a Small Country - terrible governance and policies can destroy an economy with alarming speed.

    Quoted from Wikipedia

    The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good by William Easterly
    The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time by Jeffrey D. Sachs

    These books are diametrically opposed in their views. Easterly follows the "bootstrappy" view while Sachs believes money should be poured into the problem until it's fixed. That's paraphrasing their ideologies, but suffice it so say.. they dislike one another.

    Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen
    This is a work by nobel prize winning Amartya Sen that details how economic development helps to improve the wellbeing and ability to self-determine.

    Some Things You Might Look At

    2009 GINI Coefficient, Mapped
    Gini_Coefficient_World_CIA_Report_2009.png

    2009 World Corruption Index, Mapped
    cpi.png

    2010 Ease of Doing Business Index, Mapped
    1000px-Ease_of_Doing_Business_Index.svg.png

    2006 Population Density, Mapped (People / Km^2)
    2000px-Countries_by_population_density.svg.png

    Some Things You Might Watch

    Hans Rosling talks about UN statistics, development, and the surprising conclusions that can be drawn.
    Some Sites You Might Visit

    http://www.gapminder.org/
    Access to academic databases, visually. Great resource.

    adytum on
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  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck the search for the means to put an end to things an end to speech is what enables the discourse to continue ~ * ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) excelsior * ~Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    You could probably stick in that TED talk about how the third world is no longer really homogeneous or even that "third world" any more. It has some very pretty graphs.

    EDIT:

    This is probably the one.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html

    surrealitycheck on
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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    This is an aside but has anyone tried out that micro-lending service President Bill Clinton was gushing about a year ago? You read profiles of people in need and then you can choose to lend them money. You're repaid with interest.

    Anyone try it?

    emnmnme on
  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    You could probably stick in that TED talk about how the third world is no longer really homogeneous or even that "third world" any more. It has some very pretty graphs.

    EDIT:

    This is probably the one.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html

    I will take a look at it later. I have a lot of things to update that second post with, but I can't do it right now. There's so much information out there..

    adytum on
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  • GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    On the topic of giving countries huge amounts of money, S&P is saying that Greek debt isn't worth the paper it's printed on, and Portugal isn't much better.

    OP... I'm guessing you know nothing of the term Malthusian catastrophe, and that you've never read 1984.

    The world... cannot sustain the human population at the current standard of living enjoyed in the west. If every person in China was given a free McDonalds hamburger (just the regular one not an angus) tomorrow, there would be no cows left on the planet (or buffalo, or really anything else from that genetic family).

    We cannot elevate all nations to our standard of living there is simply not enough energy and food to go around.

    GothicLargo on
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  • shosarshosar Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I don't have much to contribute at the moment, since i'm at work, but this quote explains my position on foreign aid well for now, I'll add more when I'm not busy.

    "We cut farm assistance in Colombia. Every single crop we developed was replaced with cocaine. We cut aid for primary education in northwest Pakistan and Egypt; the kids went to madrassahs. Why weren't you making a case that Republican senators are bad on drugs, and bad on national security? Why are Democrats always so bumfuzzled?"

    shosar on
  • EndEnd Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    emnmnme wrote: »
    This is an aside but has anyone tried out that micro-lending service President Bill Clinton was gushing about a year ago? You read profiles of people in need and then you can choose to lend them money. You're repaid with interest.

    Anyone try it?

    Kiva? No, although I'll admit I'm a little curious.

    End on
    I wish that someway, somehow, that I could save every one of us
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  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    On the topic of giving countries huge amounts of money, S&P is saying that Greek debt isn't worth the paper it's printed on, and Portugal isn't much better.

    OP... I'm guessing you know nothing of the term Malthusian catastrophe, and that you've never read 1984.

    The world... cannot sustain the human population at the current standard of living enjoyed in the west. If every person in China was given a free McDonalds hamburger (just the regular one not an angus) tomorrow, there would be no cows left on the planet (or buffalo, or really anything else from that genetic family).

    We cannot elevate all nations to our standard of living there is simply not enough energy and food to go around.

    The OP is not about bailing out bankrupt developed countries. There's a thread about Greece where we've been discussing exactly that.

    You mean the malthusian catastrophe that never happened?

    Can you tell me exactly how many people is the right amount of people to have on the planet? Even a rough estimate? Can you justify your numbers?

    What is your point, exactly? Do you believe everyone should live in agrarian squalor?

    adytum on
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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I hope Goumindong pops into the thread.

    In the meanwhile, here is a quick summary of the consensus view from development economics (as far as I can tell):

    We don't know what really causes economic development. There are some things that broadly seem to work in countries that have taken off - international trade, competitive structures of some kind - but nothing that applies cross-country. Hell, you don't even need private property to clip along at fifteen percent per annum (post-GLF PRC did not restore any semblence of private property until well into its boom). Likewise, you can murder hundreds of dissidents and jail thousands without trial and still accelerate along (Asian tigers), or be so democratic that your economy is dictated by special interests (India under the 'license raj' - it's the source of the pejorative 'hindu rate of growth') or the reverse of either.

    You can export (East Asia). You can import (Latin America). You can take aid and do miracles (post-Idi-Amin Uganda). You can take aid and construct a kleptocracy (Mobutu Zaire). Even different types of aid that international organizations have tried have different impacts - throwing aid at Africa is like tossing it down a bottomless well, most of the time (with some rare exceptions). Postwar aid to the third world has tended to have this effectiveness, best to worst: Southeast Asia, South Asia, South America, Africa. The first two don't even need aid any more, by and large.

    Let me repeat - we don't know what causes growth. This is the wonderful conclusion of half a century of active postwar research. There are lots of things that have an impact, like institutional quality, incidence of malaria, British colonial history, even the north/south or east/west orientation of your country. But nothing that is decisive, and especially nothing that clearly dilineates the order of causation (there's a wonderful theory by Acemoglu et al that links all four of the things I've named, with orientation determining malaria determining colonial history determining later institutions determining growth).

    This is a complicated topic, to say the least.

    ronya on
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  • TlexTlex Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I'm guessing you know nothing of the term Malthusian catastrophe, and that you've never read 1984.


    Malthus has been proven wrong for the last 230? years. Don't see why it should stop any time soon.

    Tlex on
  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    On the topic of giving countries huge amounts of money, S&P is saying that Greek debt isn't worth the paper it's printed on, and Portugal isn't much better.

    OP... I'm guessing you know nothing of the term Malthusian catastrophe, and that you've never read 1984.

    The world... cannot sustain the human population at the current standard of living enjoyed in the west. If every person in China was given a free McDonalds hamburger (just the regular one not an angus) tomorrow, there would be no cows left on the planet (or buffalo, or really anything else from that genetic family).

    We cannot elevate all nations to our standard of living there is simply not enough energy and food to go around.[/B]

    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?

    Maybe Malthusian worries have never materialized? (not to say they can't, but its an old scare tactic which has yet to come to fruition. those damn neoclassicalists keep innovating, damnit.)

    Your post kinda comes across as a fatalistic dismissal of development and/or aid. And i dismiss it as uninformed rationalization of the disgraceful global situation in the face of irrational fear of losing your random, privileged status.

    thisisntwally on
    #someshit
  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck the search for the means to put an end to things an end to speech is what enables the discourse to continue ~ * ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) excelsior * ~Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    ronya it's all about the British Empire, yo ;)

    surrealitycheck on
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  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    last i checked, with current population growth, we could easily sustain the world at a southern european standard of living. throw some technology in there and i think we have a soup. no big-macs though...

    thisisntwally on
    #someshit
  • GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    adytum wrote: »
    What is your point, exactly? Do you believe everyone should live in agrarian squalor?

    No, I believe we should adopt protectionist trade policies and let the rest of the world burn.
    Your post kinda comes across as a fatalistic dismissal of development and/or aid.

    Good. It is.

    GothicLargo on
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  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    adytum wrote: »
    What is your point, exactly? Do you believe everyone should live in agrarian squalor?

    No, I believe we should adopt protectionist trade policies and let the rest of the world burn.

    ah. so you've thought this through.

    thisisntwally on
    #someshit
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    We cannot elevate all nations to our standard of living there is simply not enough energy and food to go around.

    Once we stop wasting time and money on windmills and focus on fusion power, the energy issue will be solved. Which will solve the food issue as well.

    tinwhiskers on
    How do you spell Justice?B D S Non-Violent Resistance to Israel Apartheid & Occupation.
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?
    That's a non-starter, especially in countries with democratic governments. The industrialized countries, especially the Western ones, have figured out how to create prosperous, stable and fairly peaceful societies. Let's not mess with a working system, but rather try and figure out how to get the rest of the world out of the mud.

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?
    That's a non-starter, especially in countries with democratic governments. The industrialized countries, especially the Western ones, have figured out how to create prosperous, stable and fairly peaceful societies. Let's not mess with a working system, but rather try and figure out how to get the rest of the world out of the mud.

    this makes the assumption that the prosperity found in the developed world isn't found at the cost of the exploited third world. I am not prepared to jump to the conclusion that industrialized nations' success is endothermic.

    thisisntwally on
    #someshit
  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?
    That's a non-starter, especially in countries with democratic governments. The industrialized countries, especially the Western ones, have figured out how to create prosperous, stable and fairly peaceful societies. Let's not mess with a working system, but rather try and figure out how to get the rest of the world out of the mud.

    this makes the assumption that the prosperity found in the developed world isn't found at the cost of the exploited third world. I am not prepared to jump to the conclusion that industrialized nations' success is endothermic.

    The problem with that line of thinking is that many of the countries that are the worst off actually have no industry to exploit. They're perpetually poor for reasons that have little to do with worker exploitation and western outsourcing.

    adytum on
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  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    adytum wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?
    That's a non-starter, especially in countries with democratic governments. The industrialized countries, especially the Western ones, have figured out how to create prosperous, stable and fairly peaceful societies. Let's not mess with a working system, but rather try and figure out how to get the rest of the world out of the mud.

    this makes the assumption that the prosperity found in the developed world isn't found at the cost of the exploited third world. I am not prepared to jump to the conclusion that industrialized nations' success is endothermic.

    The problem with that line of thinking is that many of the countries that are the worst off actually have no industry to exploit. They're perpetually poor for reasons that have little to do with worker exploitation and western outsourcing.

    many. I'll give you that. and the flight of what little intellectual capital they might have probably doesn't help.

    thisisntwally on
    #someshit
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    One thing we could do: cut farm subsidies in the US

    We have flooded the market with dirt cheap wheat, grain and corn to the point that nobody else in the world can make a dime growing staple crops. one significant reason that we have so many farmers coming over the border in our corn subsidies bankrupted huge portions of Mexico's agriculture industry.

    nexuscrawler on
  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    One thing we could do: cut farm subsidies in the US

    We have flooded the market with dirt cheap wheat, grain and corn to the point that nobody else in the world can make a dime growing staple crops. one significant reason that we have so many farmers coming over the border in our corn subsidies bankrupted huge portions of Mexico's agriculture industry.

    :^:

    Farm subsidies in the US and the European Union, coupled with the food aid that inevitably results, are both huge issues.

    adytum on
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  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?
    That's a non-starter, especially in countries with democratic governments. The industrialized countries, especially the Western ones, have figured out how to create prosperous, stable and fairly peaceful societies. Let's not mess with a working system, but rather try and figure out how to get the rest of the world out of the mud.

    this makes the assumption that the prosperity found in the developed world isn't found at the cost of the exploited third world. I am not prepared to jump to the conclusion that industrialized nations' success is endothermic.

    Its still a non-starter. You aren't going to convince a large number of people to greatly lower their standard of living, and a democratic government that tries to force them won't last more than 1 election cycle. So unless you are for converting back to monarchies, changing the first world in anyways that is detrimental to its standard of living is off the table.

    tinwhiskers on
    How do you spell Justice?B D S Non-Violent Resistance to Israel Apartheid & Occupation.
  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    adytum wrote: »
    If "we" don't do it, someone else will.. and we won't like the results.
    'Western' aid to the poorest countries comes with strings attached like "don't murder people with this money" or "don't use this money to enrich yourselves at the expense of your people". China, on the other hand, has explicitly stated that they don't care what despots and dictators do with the money they're giving out, as long as they get the natural resources they're after. Nobody knows how much money China is pouring into the poorest countries, but the number is probably staggering..


    China does actually care what dictators do with the money that is invested in them, they just don't care if dictators use other money to kill people. It's strictly bussiness.

    Still, China is interested in stability in the countries they are getting resources from. So in that sense dictators have an incentive to keep things stable and keep the people at least partly happy.


    (also, western aid to poor countries doesn't come with strings attached)

    Julius on
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    On the topic of giving countries huge amounts of money, S&P is saying that Greek debt isn't worth the paper it's printed on, and Portugal isn't much better.

    OP... I'm guessing you know nothing of the term Malthusian catastrophe, and that you've never read 1984.

    The world... cannot sustain the human population at the current standard of living enjoyed in the west. If every person in China was given a free McDonalds hamburger (just the regular one not an angus) tomorrow, there would be no cows left on the planet (or buffalo, or really anything else from that genetic family).

    We cannot elevate all nations to our standard of living there is simply not enough energy and food to go around.

    The funny thing is Malthus is most famous for predicting said doom and being proven wrong as technological and social changes invalidated nearly all his assumptions. The sad thing is people don't learn from his mistakes.

    PantsB on
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  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?
    That's a non-starter, especially in countries with democratic governments. The industrialized countries, especially the Western ones, have figured out how to create prosperous, stable and fairly peaceful societies. Let's not mess with a working system, but rather try and figure out how to get the rest of the world out of the mud.

    this makes the assumption that the prosperity found in the developed world isn't found at the cost of the exploited third world. I am not prepared to jump to the conclusion that industrialized nations' success is endothermic.

    Its still a non-starter. You aren't going to convince a large number of people to greatly lower their standard of living, and a democratic government that tries to force them won't last more than 1 election cycle. So unless you are for converting back to monarchies, changing the first world in anyways that is detrimental to its standard of living is off the table.

    well. i am not one to take dictatorship off the table, particularly in the face of defacto oligarchy. but your point is taken. You'll have to excuse me while i dust off my developmental hat. its been a good four years since that 20 page term paper on a roadmap to economic development for azerbaijan. How do we get something out of nothing...

    thisisntwally on
    #someshit
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?
    That's a non-starter, especially in countries with democratic governments. The industrialized countries, especially the Western ones, have figured out how to create prosperous, stable and fairly peaceful societies. Let's not mess with a working system, but rather try and figure out how to get the rest of the world out of the mud.

    this makes the assumption that the prosperity found in the developed world isn't found at the cost of the exploited third world. I am not prepared to jump to the conclusion that industrialized nations' success is endothermic.
    There's a relatively small handful of nations with a colonial history. Who did Finland exploit? Or Switzerland? And, keep in mind, some of the more succesful recently-developed places, such as South Korea, Singapore and Hong King were colonized for a longer period and much more thoroughly than more screwed up places like Africa.

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Once we stop wasting time and money on windmills and focus on fusion power, the energy issue will be solved. Which will solve the food issue as well.

    Heh... I'm gonna try to give you the dumb version.

    Solar fusion is moderated by one thing: gravity. Stars undergo fusion largely based just off of the immense weight of their own mass crushing down on the core. This makes the reaction self moderating. Mass presses down, the core gets denser, fusion increases, pressure pushes back the weight crushing down, density decreases, fusion decreases. Self moderating.

    Achieving fusion in controlled conditions without the presence of the mass is, as most should be aware, quite daunting. It's daunting because simulating the conditions present in the sun requires an enormous amount of input energy to simulate the huge amount of mass which you do not have on hand.

    Assuming a sustained fusion reaction is achieved (which to date has not occured), the largest percentage of the energy produced would go to maintaining the conditions necessary to perpetuate fusion. More would be lost in the process of converting thermal power to electrical power. Still more would be consumed converting water into hydrogen, since free hydrogen does not exist in exploitable quantities on Earth, although it can be created with an input of energy.

    The assertion of the proponents of fusion is that aquatic hydrogen is a source of energy, because the energy achieved from fusing it is greater then the energy needed to unbind it from oxygen. This is true. I assert that the energy produce is not enough to balance out the energy consumed to sustain the reaction, the energy to produce the hydrogen, and the energy lost in conversion, thus making hydrogen a FUEL, capable of storing energy but not actually a net producer of new energy.


    People who endorse fusion as the answer to all problems fall into two camps:

    A. People who don't truly understand thermodynamics, entropy, and the fine distinction between energy storage and energy source.
    B. People who think throwing money into fancy science will get treehuggers to be quiet.


    Fusion is an interesting topic and a potential power source, but not an energy source. Ultimately solar power and solar sustained processes (wind, etc) are the best energy sources because they have the greatest conversion efficiency and the greatest energy expended/energy gained ratio. A microwave power reflector in space would be about ideal to be honest.

    GothicLargo on
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  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Julius wrote: »

    China does actually care what dictators do with the money that is invested in them, they just don't care if dictators use other money to kill people. It's strictly bussiness.

    Still, China is interested in stability in the countries they are getting resources from. So in that sense dictators have an incentive to keep things stable and keep the people at least partly happy.


    (also, western aid to poor countries doesn't come with strings attached)

    Western aid is most certainly not all unconditional. "Strings attached" is my way of trying to simplify the issue. Maybe I should reword it.

    Re: China, you just said what I said in different words. China gives them money for resources. What they do with that money is up to them; it's their money unconditionally.

    adytum on
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  • thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?
    That's a non-starter, especially in countries with democratic governments. The industrialized countries, especially the Western ones, have figured out how to create prosperous, stable and fairly peaceful societies. Let's not mess with a working system, but rather try and figure out how to get the rest of the world out of the mud.

    this makes the assumption that the prosperity found in the developed world isn't found at the cost of the exploited third world. I am not prepared to jump to the conclusion that industrialized nations' success is endothermic.
    There's a relatively small handful of nations with a colonial history. Who did Finland exploit? Or Switzerland? And, keep in mind, some of the more succesful recently-developed places, such as South Korea, Singapore and Hong King were colonized for a longer period and much more thoroughly than more screwed up places like Africa.

    finland: expoits environment, and outsources much of its electronics (and other) industries. also dicks to the laplanders, i believe
    CH: banking and finance, not gonna bother with how this might be shady. but i'll note their supply of cheap eastern and southern european labor.
    and the asian tigers? christ. now you're just being silly.

    your thinking on colonialism is uptight and old fashioned, maaannn

    thisisntwally on
    #someshit
  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited April 2010
    Tlex wrote: »
    I'm guessing you know nothing of the term Malthusian catastrophe, and that you've never read 1984.


    Malthus has been proven wrong for the last 230? years. Don't see why it should stop any time soon.

    It isn't that Malthus has been proven wrong. He was under the conception that the catastrophe would happen eventually, and the understanding that a catastrophe could happen has pushed many great scientists to advance food science to the point where it could feed the world.


    I disagree with the person who worried about the Malthusian catastrophe, however. We don't have enough food NOW or energy NOW to bring the CURRENT world population to western standards. Barring another world war, however, scientific progress will push the amount of food and energy up, while the second derivative of population growth is continuing to decrease. Too many people have too much riding on world growth to threaten it with world disputes.

    Picardathon on
  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    This is true. I assert that the energy produce is not enough to balance out the energy consumed to sustain the reaction, the energy to produce the hydrogen, and the energy lost in conversion, thus making hydrogen a FUEL, capable of storing energy but not actually a net producer of new energy.
    1): We have an effectively limitless source of fuel for fusion
    2): Issues with fusion thermodynamics can theoretically be overcome by more efficient control methods; basically we need to get our hands on some room-temperature superconductors. We don't know how to to do that yet, but it's a problem we have no reason to believe cannot be solved.

    Salvation122 on
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  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Tlex wrote: »
    I'm guessing you know nothing of the term Malthusian catastrophe, and that you've never read 1984.


    Malthus has been proven wrong for the last 230? years. Don't see why it should stop any time soon.

    It isn't that Malthus has been proven wrong. He was under the conception that the catastrophe would happen eventually, and the understanding that a catastrophe could happen has pushed many great scientists to advance food science to the point where it could feed the world.


    I disagree with the person who worried about the Malthusian catastrophe, however. We don't have enough food NOW or energy NOW to bring the CURRENT world population to western standards. Barring another world war, however, scientific progress will push the amount of food and energy up, while the second derivative of population growth is continuing to decrease. Too many people have too much riding on world growth to threaten it with world disputes.

    We're kinda overdue for a massive fuck-your-species plague though.

    Salvation122 on
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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Anyone who says we're overdue for a plague has not seen the data on what HIV/AIDS is doing to Africa.

    ronya on
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  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Anyone who says we're overdue for a plague has not seen the data on what HIV/AIDS is doing to Africa.

    Oh god yes, the data from South Africa is heartbreaking.

    Luckily they're starting to get it under control.

    adytum on
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  • PicardathonPicardathon Registered User
    edited April 2010

    Fusion is an interesting topic and a potential power source, but not an energy source. Ultimately solar power and solar sustained processes (wind, etc) are the best energy sources because they have the greatest conversion efficiency and the greatest energy expended/energy gained ratio. A microwave power reflector in space would be about ideal to be honest.

    No mention of nuclear as a stop gap measure?

    Picardathon on
  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    End wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    This is an aside but has anyone tried out that micro-lending service President Bill Clinton was gushing about a year ago? You read profiles of people in need and then you can choose to lend them money. You're repaid with interest.

    Anyone try it?

    Kiva? No, although I'll admit I'm a little curious.

    I've used Kiva quite a bit. You don't get the interest, the local lender keeps that to fund themselves. You're also open to losses from default or exchange rate fluctuation (sometimes). Feel free to ask me any questions about it, I think I understand it decently.

    Cauld on
  • GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    This is true. I assert that the energy produce is not enough to balance out the energy consumed to sustain the reaction, the energy to produce the hydrogen, and the energy lost in conversion, thus making hydrogen a FUEL, capable of storing energy but not actually a net producer of new energy.
    1): We have an effectively limitless source of fuel for fusion
    Fuel yes.

    Seawater requires electricity to split into hydrogen and oxygen. The amount of electrical energy required is far, far less then the energy produced by fusing the produced hydrogen. But when you factor in the loss in conversion of fusion thermal power to electrical power, and then the energy consumed to sustain the conditions which perpetuate the reaction, I assert that you wind up with less energy then you started with.
    2): Issues with fusion thermodynamics can theoretically be overcome by more efficient control methods; basically we need to get our hands on some room-temperature superconductors. We don't know how to to do that yet, but it's a problem we have no reason to believe cannot be solved.
    I agree with you completely. The discovery of true room temperature superconductivity would render my previous point moot.

    They have not been discovered. Ergo although we can conjecture on the cool things they would enable us to do if they did exist, the harsh reality is that at the moment, they do not.

    No mention of nuclear as a stop gap measure?

    I am indifferent on the topic of fission power. Fissionable material requires a huge amount of energy to mine, refine, and enrich, but for the time being those costs have already been sunk so we might as well consume the huge stockpiles we have sitting around. It's fuel, but we've already made it.

    GothicLargo on
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  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    So, we should maybe lower our standard of living? Maybe they don't want hamburgers?
    That's a non-starter, especially in countries with democratic governments. The industrialized countries, especially the Western ones, have figured out how to create prosperous, stable and fairly peaceful societies. Let's not mess with a working system, but rather try and figure out how to get the rest of the world out of the mud.

    this makes the assumption that the prosperity found in the developed world isn't found at the cost of the exploited third world. I am not prepared to jump to the conclusion that industrialized nations' success is endothermic.
    There's a relatively small handful of nations with a colonial history. Who did Finland exploit? Or Switzerland? And, keep in mind, some of the more succesful recently-developed places, such as South Korea, Singapore and Hong King were colonized for a longer period and much more thoroughly than more screwed up places like Africa.

    finland: expoits environment, and outsources much of its electronics (and other) industries. also dicks to the laplanders, i believe
    CH: banking and finance, not gonna bother with how this might be shady. but i'll note their supply of cheap eastern and southern european labor.
    and the asian tigers? christ. now you're just being silly.
    You wrote the bolded. You're moving the goalposts if you want to talk about exploitation of the environment, outsourcing of industry (which seems like the opposite of exploitation, since it creates jobs), less-than-perfect treatment of certain minority groups, banking and finance ethics and voluntary immigration as a source of labor.
    your thinking on colonialism is uptight and old fashioned, maaannn
    How would you define colonialism, then?

    Modern Man on
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  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    adytum wrote: »
    One thing we could do: cut farm subsidies in the US

    We have flooded the market with dirt cheap wheat, grain and corn to the point that nobody else in the world can make a dime growing staple crops. one significant reason that we have so many farmers coming over the border in our corn subsidies bankrupted huge portions of Mexico's agriculture industry.

    :^:

    Farm subsidies in the US and the European Union, coupled with the food aid that inevitably results, are both huge issues.

    I've always been leery of this argument. We spent 1,173 million dollars on wheat subsides in 04, and we produced 58.7 million metric tons of wheat. $20 per metric ton doesn't seem like it would be enough to offset the cost of shipping the grain to Africa. To me it seems more likely that the scale of US grain production is depressing the price below what makes it profitable for non-mechanized production. Especially consider how prices have been trending up since we got on the bio-fuel bandwagon, while subsides have not.

    tinwhiskers on
    How do you spell Justice?B D S Non-Violent Resistance to Israel Apartheid & Occupation.
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