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Is Malthus back?
Written by Hector Perez-Saiz
Saturday, 24 May 2008
First of all, it is a misconception that there are not enough natural resources to satisfy humanity and its continual growth in population. The reason there is this perceived shortage is due to the current levels of consumption by the countries of the first world. Period. It is a known fact the main causes of death in the first world are related to excesses: heart problems, obesity, stress, overdose, automobile accidents. While the main causes of death in the third worlds are related to scarcity. There need to be a better distribution in the patterns of consumption on both ends. We can’t bring the third world out of poverty and into the current levels of over consumption and waste of the first world because under that scenario we would need at least 4 planets (in terms of natural resources). The societies of the first world can’t just models of what is labelled currently as sustainable, but in order to actually obtain long-lasting sustainability they will have to adopt models of decrease. On the other side, the third world has to be able to bring back into its societies their ancient models of organization and consumptions, with the added benefits of modern times, but not assume that the current capitalist and consumption of the first world is what is best for them. The need to have their own process and path of development (economically and politically) aligned with their traditions, cultures and environment.
Putting to much hope on technology is also incorrect. It does help, but the ultimate solution lies in human nature and what has to be changed at that level. Just as the “green revolution” of past decades was held as the promise of abundant food supply thanks to technology, the result of it turned out to be an increase in poverty and famine in these third worlds. Indeed we are approaching another shift that could herald immense changes and benefits to humanity, but, ultimately it is how we put them to work for human kind, taking into consideration all aspects of life, and how this impacts on the individual level, the family structure, society, humanity, wild life, the delicate balance of the ecosystem and its symbiotic cycles.