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A Simple Question


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#1 Constantine

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 06:30 PM

For those of you who think the world economy is doing ok, and in particular, the U.S. economy I ask you this?

How can you seriously expect continued economic growth in a finite world of limited resources?

The United States in particular is in a perilous economic situation. The USA is being financed on massive debt, mostly to Japan and China. If either one of these countries were to call in their debts, game over. The USA cant pay.

About 4 - 5 years ago I read a tiny little article ina major newspaper on page 32 or something. It basically stated that the US Government had raided a pension fund of 45 billion dollars in order to pay Federal employees their wages until further tax revenue came in.

Now if any of you have done a little reading on this issue you will agree that the debt levels of the USA are astronomical and cannot be repaid. If the USA was a business they would have declared bankrupcy long ago. They are trading while insolvent.

In my view there are two factors keeping the world economy, and in particular the US economy afloat; Ignorance and confidence. Once we lose our ignorance our confidence will disappear and the ecomomy will collapse.

It is not a question of if but a question of when.

Constantine
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#2 groovicus

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 08:03 PM

Given that there are already web-sites that deal in sales and trading of commodities of MMORGs, there is in fact infinite resources. i also have a hard time believing that the government had to raid a 45 billion dollar pension fund to make a payroll, considering that in 2001 (adjusting for inflation) the GDP was about 11 trillion dollars. So 45 billion is less that 1/2 of a percent of that. I'm pretty sure that the government can come up with that pretty easily. There is more to that story...

#3 Constantine

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 08:43 PM

Your point that 45 billion is a trivial amount given the overall size of the economy is well made. This actually makes the fact that they didnt have it even more worrying. I have no doubt that there is more to the story. But it sure wasn't reported. This worries me too. So little information.

Constantine
I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

#4 Constantine

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 08:49 PM

Given that there are already web-sites that deal in sales and trading of commodities of MMORGs, there is in fact infinite resources.


The fact that you can trade commodities infinitly does not mean there are infinite commodities. I was not refering to the trading of paper. I was refering to the product it self.

There is only so much iron ore in the ground, so much oil, so much copper, so much coal. Very finite amounts in fact. And the system is a closed one. No more of these commodities are being created (at least not on any time scale that could make a difference.

When they are gone, they are gone.


Constantine

Edited code for qoute. Removed / from top bracket (acklan)

Edited by acklan, 07 January 2006 - 10:48 PM.

I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

#5 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 09:54 AM

There is only so much iron ore in the ground,

Steel can be recycled. Alternative materials used. (my wife's family is in the steel business - so keep buying steel!!!)

so much oil,

Oil is available in many forms. Shale for instance. It is not being currently extracted because of it's cost. But at some point it will be a viable resource. There is enough oil in the shale in Colorado, USA, to rival the middle east. More can be discovered (1/3 of the world's oil is below the polar ice cap, perhaps when this melts....) Also, Hydrogen fuels are just around the corner. Other alternatives are being worked on.

so much copper,

Can be recycled.

so much coal

Coal is mostly used for the creation of electricity. Nuclear power plants is the answer here.

All of these issues are being worked on currently. There are still GENERATIONS of all of these resources remaining. More can be discovered. Alternatives are being worked on. But as usual it all comes down to money and the free market (which I believe in, BTW). It is POLITICS that is stopping the creation of alternatives, not the free market. For instance, in California, the people did not allow a new power plant to be built in a couple of decades, even though their power needs doubled. Then they ran out of power, and guess what??? Nuke plants are now being allowed! Surprise, surprise!
ALBERT FRANKENSTEIN
I'M SO SMART IT'S SCARY!


Currently home chillin' with the fam and my two dogs!


#6 P.T.

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 10:12 AM

Albert Frankenstein ,

Very good, logical and informative points. There are many stories on the news daily pertaining to new energy ideas, and alternative means of fuel. I believe there was a story on the BBC where they were using offal to fuel a train. Gross you may say, but its in use and it works. They’re so many alternative means of energy. It is amazing to read how clever the world is becoming on this issue alone. I'm constantly amazed at what man can do on these issues when we work together for a common goal. :thumbsup:

Edited by P.T., 08 January 2006 - 12:22 PM.

It's easy to get lost in thought if it's not familiar territory to you.

#7 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 12:47 PM

Mmmmmmmmmm....offal!!!
ALBERT FRANKENSTEIN
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#8 cowsgonemadd3

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 05:42 PM

Well there is biodiesel and it can be made from grown materials which can be made forever like soybeans and algea.....

#9 Constantine

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 11:41 PM

Guys,

Sure, there are certain things that are sustainable. Then there are certain things that are not. I am not argueing that if we husband our resources and recycle and seek alternative methods, we cant continue to exist.

But the arguement is about the economy. It is predicated upon continuous growth. For this to happen markets must continue to expand. We must continue to use more resources to meet increasing demand. Think about it. It is simple logic.

Now under these circumstances what must eventually happen? At some point the market must reach its growth limits and eventually it must contract. The speed of the contraction will determine the size of the crash.

This is not rocket science. Grow a plant in a small pot. See what happens in the long run.
How much can it grow? You cant add fertilizer. The pot represents the closed system of earth. You need to make do with what you start with basically.
I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

#10 jgweed

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 12:55 AM

I am not so sure any analogy between economic and biological growth is warranted, since "growth" is used in entirely and subtily different ways in the two sciences, and moreover, growth seems to obey two different sets of laws. Certainly, the influence of the human spirit's activity is certainly, at least up 'till now, far greater in the economic horizon than in the strictly biological- - -so much so that most economists hesitate to predict future trends of cause and effect more than ten or twenty years in the future.

Regards,
John

Edited by jgweed, 09 January 2006 - 12:57 AM.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#11 Constantine

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 01:18 AM

John,

That was eloquently stated but as far as I can see you did not actually refute my points.


annoyingly yours


Constantine
I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

#12 medab1

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 07:49 AM

What might help is,instead of thinking zero population growth,think along the line of negative population growth.
Reduce the number of humans & there is more to go around...
Within a hundred years things would probably be better all around.
Maybe.

Learn to take screenshots & add them to your posts. :thumbup2:

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/43088/how-to-capture-and-edit-a-screen-shot/#entry4532851

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#13 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 07:51 AM

At some point the market must reach its growth limits and eventually it must contract. The speed of the contraction will determine the size of the crash.

I like to read your posts because obviously you are a thinker.

I am going to make an assumsion here and say you are speaking of the US.

If there is anyone here who beleives that the US will remain the one and only superpower from now until eternity, they are mistaken. No world power lasts. Things change. Right now China is setting herself up to be the next world superpower. Don't know exactly how long the changes will take, but I have told my kids to learn Chinese, as international business with China is where the next big revolution is going to take place.

The US's influence and power in this world is going to change, that is a fact. The question is when and by how much.
ALBERT FRANKENSTEIN
I'M SO SMART IT'S SCARY!


Currently home chillin' with the fam and my two dogs!


#14 phawgg

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:27 PM

Constantine,
My thanks to you on posting a topic that is really overlooked, misunderstood and deceptively
"a simple question".

Commonly given slang names like Voodoo Economics, theeh Big Bluff, and sometimes seen wielding a big stone at the end of a long line of dental floss, the position of USA=THE SUPERPOWER is imho indeed at risk.

Unfavorable opinions amongst the world economic players alone could concievable
hasten an end to this complex set of realities now in place that assures us
a national self-image of benefactor to the downtrodden/policemen
to all other categorically opposed groups of individuals.

Technological advantages, military strength &
a 250 million+ population within a fairly
temperate climate and presently
actively consumming ...
Thats about as accurate of viewpoint, casually perhaps, as ya' get of what it takes to perform as a society
for a brief 200 years and become egotistically and arrogantly a "superpower" and it does bother me
that tangible evidence of our strength is compromised by the fact of MASSIVE DEBT.
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#15 Constantine

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 07:46 PM

Dear Albert,

Thanks for your high opinion of me. I do believe that my major asset in this life is the stuff between my ears. But I have found thinking alone doesn't cut it. There are lots of smart people out there thinking themselves into knots.

I have come to believe that before we can do any useful thinking we must first see. Before you can effectively break out of prison you must first acknowledge that you are in one.

I believe we, as a society have been conditioned; conditioned to accept a certain world view. Conditioned by the media, by advertising, by hollywood, by our peers (who are also conditioned) to accept certain "realities".

Now the conditioning is directed at our thought processes, at our perceptions. It affects our critical thinking. We can easily accept any arguement that does not conflict with our conditioning. When an arguement does conflict with our conditioning we immediately reject it. We literally cannot see the merits of the arguement, try as we might to be open minded. The arguement is clearly wrong because it is like breaking the laws of physics, it breaks the laws of our conditioning.

But knowing you are conditioned is not enough to break out. Knowing you have agrophobia is not enough to beat it. You still have agrophopbia. Breaking the conditioning is a fairly long mental exercise. I was unknowingly put through this exercise and it took many months of me argueing in defense of my then world view before the cracks started to appear in my conditioning and I started to see the mental bars that had been erected around my mind.

Having seen them, the process accelerated and I started digging away at their foundations until one day (and I remember this day) they came crashing down. It was a physical thing. In earlier times it might have been described as a revelation, an epiphany. In fact it was my phycological prison collapsing around me. It happened in minutes.

From that point on it felt to me that someone had removed the veil from my eyes. I looked at the same things and saw them in 3 dimensions for the first time. I could now peer into what had previously been shadows.

Now, this probably sounds like I need help. It would have to me as well a few years ago. Dont take my word for it, ask a psychologist about conditioning.

So, now I can see a thing from perspectives I could not see before, and having these perspectives I can now think with all the facts. It is an amazing thing and I am sorry if I sound crazy. Imagine a deaf person who does not know what sound is like. He knows he is deaf but he still cannot hear. Then one day he gets his hearing back. That's what it is like. You have to experience it to believe it.

So, to the issue of the US and its economy, my view is that it will collapse in a most sudden and destructive way, not decline. Our society cannot, in my view, continue on its present course, present debt levels, and present levels of consumtion. The most offensive word to me is "consumer". I will not be defined this way. Termites are consumers. People are much more than this. To accept the descriptor of "consumer" is to remove any feelings of guilt of excessive consumtion. Conditioning.

Oh, credit is another word I am not fond of. The word itself is very important to the finance sector and retailers. If they were obliged to use a more accurate term like....debt, then it changes people's perceptions of what they are doing. Everyone wants good credit, nobody wants debt. Conditioning.

I could of course rabbit on in this vein for ages, but I think that's enough in one sitting.


Unconditionally

Constantine
I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.




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