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*** Chapter 16 *** - The World as a Polder

#19: Apr. - June 2005 (Non-Fiction)
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Chris OConnor

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*** Chapter 16 *** - The World as a Polder

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This thread is for discussing Ch. 16 - The World as a Polder: What Does It All Mean to Us Today?You can post within this framework or create your own threads. Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 6/18/05 3:17 pm
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tarav

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Re: *** Chapter 16 ***

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On p 496 Diamond asks, "What will happen when it finally dawns on all those people in the Third World that current First World Standards are unreachable fo them, and that the First World refuses to abandon those standards itself?" What do you think will happen? Will there be a world war? Will the First World eventually be pressured into giving up some luxuries? Do you think that somehow technology will provide a way for everyone to live as the First World does before we all reach a breaking point? I hate to be the pessimist here, for I know that job belongs to someone else, but I almost feel that a world war might fix the problem for us if we don't start conserving now. We see this fix through war on a smaller scale in other countries. I don't see what would prevent it from happening on a larger scale.
badmendicant

Re: *** Chapter 16 ***

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That's a very scary post. A highly intelligent and compassionate individual has been groomed into acceptance of, and acceptance of responsibility for, global conflict, based on a completely false world view constructed for public consumption by a trans-national power elite and mediated to the public through false prophets like Jared Diamond. Taking the situation in Africa for example; in Africa around 80% of the population survive by subsistence agriculture; 80% of subsistence agriculture is performed by African women. African men, as well as scorning agricultural and domestic work, expect to have many sexual partners and continue to have many sexual partners even when married. The African male is a tribal chief in his own household. African political leaders act like tribal chiefs, African leaders see the role of the people as being to enrich the chief and his followers. The country serves the ruler. The ruler does not serve the country. The political culture of Africa is, sadly, a reflection of the popular culture of Africa. Before I get accused of racism, I'm not saying that this is true of all or even most of Africa, but it is true of enough of most African countries to be the most significant factor in the continuing poverty in this continent. Until recently most people realized that Africa's relative poverty was a multi-faceted phenomenon with a multiplicity of contributing factors. No one was happy about it, but no one was stupid enough to think that any one simple strategy could resolve Africa's dilemma. Almost overnight Western Europeans, the most productive (in terms of useful inventions, technological innovations and medical breakthroughs, etc.) people in the world have been taught to believe that they and they alone are responsible for the plight of not only Africa, but of any group or nation, who happen, regardless of any behavior on their part, to be less affluent than Anglo-Americans.We are encouraged to pour our wealth away, but in reality our per-capita affluence in the West is a bi-product of our greater individual freedoms, hard won over many century's of struggle. In targeting our wealth the plutocrats are secretly plotting to steal our freedom, because our freedom is a power which is dangerous to their authority. Edited by: badmendicant at: 6/18/05 6:18 pm
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Re: *** Chapter 16 ***

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tarav: What do you think will happen?Terrorism seems like a likely start. Oh, lookie there: it's started.Will the First World eventually be pressured into giving up some luxuries?Would anyone be satisfies with minor concessions, at least for very long?Do you think that somehow technology will provide a way for everyone to live as the First World does before we all reach a breaking point?No. I think it's neither technologically nor economically feasible to have everyone living at the same level of material status, class or what have you. It is not, to my mind, an explicitly ecological problem. Social systems like ours simply operate on imbalance.What you may see is the blurring of geopolitical lines of inequality, at which point the First and Third Worlds, so called, will be a matter not of geopolitical boundaries but of divisions that are mostly transparent. To some extent, that's already the case, and there are many people living in Third World conditions within nominally First World nations. Varying factors contribute to those intranational "problem areas", but the major factor is the socio-economic indispensibility of radical degrees of inequality.badmendicant: Before I get accused of racism, I'm not saying that this is true of all or even most of Africa, but it is true of enough of most African countries to be the most significant factor in the continuing poverty in this continent.I'm not worried about racism as much as I'm worried about the veracity of your claims. Do you have a source for the percentages and the descriptions you've posted here?Almost overnight Western Europeans, the most productive (in terms of useful inventions, technological innovations and medical breakthroughs, etc.) people in the world have been taught to believe that they and they alone are responsible for the plight of not only Africa, but of any group or nation, who happen, regardless of any behavior on their part, to be less affluent than Anglo-Americans.One major reason for our "crisis of conscience" is that we increasingly exploit the poverty of such nations. Were that not so, I suspect that we would likely maintain that characteristically Victorian perspective that the Third World can bloody well pull itself up by its own bootstraps if they want to live by our standards of wealth. We feel responsible because we have found ourselves to be either tacitly or actively complicit in the factors that tend to sustain Third or Second world circumstances outside the West.In targeting our wealth the plutocrats are secretly plotting to steal our freedom, because our freedom is a power which is dangerous to their authority.Sounds vaguely like a form of conspiracy theory.
badmendicant

Re: *** Chapter 16 ***

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MAI just posted a lengthy response to your rather insightful post only to find that I had been logged f****g well out of EZboard.I'll post my response in condensed form, who knows, maybe it wont be as boring!Modern terrorists tend to be middle-class Muslims not sub-Saharan Africans or Indian Dalits.Regional global inequalities in wealth should be expected when there are radical global differences in culture.The IMF the World Bank and Western Corporations interacted with Eastern Asia in exactly the same way as they did Africa. East Asian economic development has been rapid and astonishing. It is logical therefore to attribute economic differences to regional modalities of culture rather than exploitative interventionism.If this is wrong Malaysia, China, South Korea etc., must owe their economic growth to the exploitation of some other region. Why is no one making this claim? Where is this region?North Korea has rejected Western trading terms and is not suffering from capitalist "exploitation". North Korea has one of the lowest standards of living in the world, as does Cuba.The idea that Western affluence is the creation of the exploitation of Africans is intended to lead to an acceptance of a decline in standards of living. The realities of this will be less social welfare, longer working days and weeks and declining wages. Anyone who complains will just get called a greedy, lazy Westerner. Does no one see this beginning to happen? Welcome to the new world order, and you are welcome to it too! The poverty of Africa is being used to dissolve the autonomy and affluence of Western citizens to consolidate the hegemony of a nascent trans-national elite, who themselves ultimately care not a pixel about starving Africans.There is such a thing as a true conspiracy BTW.
marti1900

Re: *** Chapter 16 ***

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"What will happen when it finally dawns on all those people in the Third World that current First World Standards are unreachable fo them, and that the First World refuses to abandon those standards itself?" Nothing like you think. No revolution, no uprising of the oppressed masses. Just more commercialism, striving for any mobility that is possible. I think you guys underestimate the power of apathy and lack of momentum.Marti in Mexico
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Re: *** Chapter 16 ***

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Quote:"If there was hope, it must lie in the proles because only there,in those swarming disregarded masses, 85 percent of the population of Oceania,could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated...The proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength,would have no need to conspire.They needed only to rise up and shake themselveslike a horse shaking off flies...Surely sooner or later it must occur to them to do it?"...Until they become conscious they will never rebel,and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.~ George Orwell aka Winston SmithMr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy PiperEdited by: misterpessimistic  at: 6/20/05 8:04 pm
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Re: *** Chapter 16 ***

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Quote:We are encouraged to pour our wealth away, but in reality our per-capita affluence in the West is a bi-product of our greater individual freedoms, hard won over many century's of struggle. In targeting our wealth the plutocrats are secretly plotting to steal our freedom, because our freedom is a power which is dangerous to their authority.MAN I wish I had some of that "wealth" that we are swimming in?What is wealth. What is the formula that an American should fit into in order to be considered part of the wealthy crew? Is it just income level? Is it Income - debt carried?Our consumption is funded by over-extending our finances and our family finances until we are hopelessly in debt. Most people are given a false sense of wealth, then fight side by side with those that make us feel we are part of the gang.Most people who complain about paying high taxes and gaining a substantial savings from tax cuts do not actually save much at all when it comes down to it. I explained this to a friend and showed numbers and this person still swore by the tax cut that saved him $200 for one year. I would gladly part with $200 a year if that money would be used wisely. That is the key phrase.Sorry...that was a tangent was'nt it? Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
badmendicant

Re: *** Chapter 16 ***

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Agree with your sentiments MrP. I think that we are being sold a spurious definition of wealth. Wealth is being promoted as a surfeit of material possessions. I think that true wealth is freedom from financial worry. Status in society was once governed by the much maligned concept of respectability. Being fair, self-sufficient and honest made you respected. Now status is measured by gaudy displays of "designer" products and "lifestyle choices". Once you buy out of this paradigm you can do some serious downsizing. This way I can pretend to myself that I'm an economic lone-wolf, subverting the establishment and "stickin it to the man", whereas the truth is that I'm probably just a tight fisted Calvinist, ha,ha!
wwdimmitt

Re: *** Chapter 16 ***

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Or, a tight fisted agnostic, as the case may be. WW
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