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(Luddite) Friedman Says ‘The Earth Is Full’

From, where else, but the New York Times:

Mr. Friedman’s house.

The Earth Is Full

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
June 7, 2011

You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we’ll look back at the first decade of the 21st century — when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all — and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we’d crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?

In fact, the evidence is almost as overwhelming as it was in the early 1970s. Or even back in the year 1,000 AD, when the first millennialists insisted that the world was about to come to an end.

“The only answer can be denial,” argues Paul Gilding, the veteran Australian environmentalist-entrepreneur [sic], who described this moment in a new book called “The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.” “When you are surrounded by something so big that requires you to change everything about the way you think and see the world, then denial is the natural response. But the longer we wait, the bigger the response required.”

Such as having a socialist world view, which keeps you from seeing the world as it really is?

Gilding cites the work of the Global Footprint Network, an alliance of scientists, which calculates how many “planet Earths” we need to sustain our current growth rates. G.F.N. measures how much land and water area we need to produce the resources we consume and absorb our waste, using prevailing technology. On the whole, says G.F.N., we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth’s resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished, so we are eating into the future. Right now, global growth is using about 1.5 Earths. “Having only one planet makes this a rather significant problem,” says Gilding.

This is not science fiction. This is what happens when our system of growth and the system of nature hit the wall at once. While in Yemen last year, I saw a tanker truck delivering water in the capital, Sana. Why? Because Sana could be the first big city in the world to run out of water, within a decade. That is what happens when one generation in one country lives at 150 percent of sustainable capacity.

So Mr. Friedman has with his own eyes seen actual proof that the world is about to end. We used to call people like this ‘deranged’ — or worse.

“If you cut down more trees than you grow, you run out of trees,” writes Gilding. “If you put additional nitrogen into a water system, you change the type and quantity of life that water can support. If you thicken the Earth’s CO2 blanket, the Earth gets warmer. If you do all these and many more things at once, you change the way the whole system of planet Earth behaves, with social, economic, and life support impacts. This is not speculation; this is high school science.”

It is also current affairs. “In China’s thousands of years of civilization, the conflict between humankind and nature has never been as serious as it is today,” China’s environment minister [sic], Zhou Shengxian, said recently. “The depletion, deterioration and exhaustion of resources and the worsening ecological environment have become bottlenecks and grave impediments to the nation’s economic and social development.” What China’s minister is telling us, says Gilding, is that “the Earth is full. We are now using so many resources and putting out so much waste into the Earth that we have reached some kind of limit, given current technologies. The economy is going to have to get smaller in terms of physical impact.”

We will not change systems, though, without a crisis. But don’t worry, we’re getting there.

We’re currently caught in two loops: One is that more population growth and more global warming together are pushing up food prices; rising food prices cause political instability in the Middle East, which leads to higher oil prices, which leads to higher food prices, which leads to more instability.

And never mind that "global warming" should make for longer growing seasons and more abundant food. Or that "global warming" should make it easier for people to heat their homes and thereby use less oil.

At the same time, improved productivity means fewer people are needed in every factory to produce more stuff. So if we want to have more jobs, we need more factories. More factories making more stuff make more global warming, and that is where the two loops meet.

Mr. Friedman sounds very much like a Luddite. (Speaking of loopy.) How long will it be before he starts attacking machines because they are taking away people’s jobs?

But Gilding is actually an eco-optimist. As the impact of the imminent Great Disruption hits us, he says, “our response will be proportionally dramatic, mobilizing as we do in war. We will change at a scale and speed we can barely imagine today, completely transforming our economy, including our energy and transport industries, in just a few short decades.”

Actually all of this will happen. But when ‘global warming’ reaches a crisis. This is what will happen when socialism comes crashing down. As is already happening in Europe and Cuba and elsewhere around the globe.

We will realize, he predicts, that the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less. “How many people,” Gilding asks, “lie on their death bed and say, ‘I wish I had worked harder or built more shareholder value,’ and how many say, ‘I wish I had gone to more ballgames, read more books to my kids, taken more walks?’ To do that, you need a growth model based on giving people more time to enjoy life, but with less stuff.”

Sounds utopian? Gilding insists he is a realist.

“We are heading for a crisis-driven choice,” he says. “We either allow collapse to overtake us or develop a new sustainable economic model. We will choose the latter. We may be slow, but we’re not stupid.”

Really? Who says?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “(Luddite) Friedman Says ‘The Earth Is Full’”

  1. David says:

    Every true “over-population” believer has a duty to self elimination.

  2. TerryAnne says:

    rising food prices cause political instability in the Middle East

    Uh-huh. That’s exactly the reason why. Yep. Sure.

    “We either allow collapse to overtake us or develop a new sustainable economic model. We will choose the latter. We may be slow, but we’re not stupid.”

    I’m doubling-down on collapse. Sounds like the safer bet.

  3. tranquil.night says:

    It must be good for Mr. Friedman to know he is one of the smart ones whom apparently is worthy of life.

    We see with eyes wide open now that though Fascist Eugenics were buried from this world for a time, they never died – they evolved.

    “The consumer-driven growth model is broken and we must move to a happiness-driven growth model.”

    Yes, by having a state bureaucratic aristocracy that defines what the pursuit of happiness should be for everybody!

    Where do Msrs. Friedman and Gilling think people get the money (time, ability) to go enjoy a baseball game? How do they think Professional Sports are even able to organize themselves and put out such an amazing product?

    It is because of the achievements of consumer-based free market economics and what they’ve allowed people to produce and share in pursuit of their own definition of happiness.

    These are dangerous, delusional ideologues being called respectable economists. Nakedly arguing for total State control, regressing the lifestyles of all non-elite rubes, and mass murder of those who resist – and calling it the only choice we have for Progress.

    Keep flapping those jowels, Nazis, you reveal more of who you are with every shallow exhale of wasted breath. We’re awake, alive, and coming to stop you.

  4. eaglewingz08 says:

    I think we can take up a collection to shoot Mr. Friedman and his fellow overpopulation believers into space “for the greater good of the planet”.

    • Right of the People says:

      It would be cheaper and more eco-friendly (no pollution from the rocket fumes) to just shoot them but not into space. All of these geeks who think there are too many people need to follow their own advice, do Mother Gaia a great big bloody favor and Kavorkianize themselves.

      Problem solved.

  5. P. Aaron says:

    Freidman is the one who’s ‘full’of something here. And, it’s not difficult to guess what he’s filled with.

  6. Petronius says:

    Two questions :

    1. Since population growth is overwhelming our resources, wouldn’t it be a good idea to finish building that border wall?

    2. Who in their right mind goes to Yemen?!

    Just asking . . . .

    • tranquil.night says:

      “2. Who in their right mind goes to Yemen?!”

      If Pro were here, he’d quip that’s where all the former insurance, hedge fund CEOs, and the Palin brood are headed.

      But it’d probably be much more brilliant than that (get back soon witty bastard)

  7. canary says:

    Thomas. L. Friedman builds and mountains a house hundreds of children could live in.

    I got a closer shot of Thomas L. Friedman’s home. The brown area is designs and patterns of different rocks & minerals instead of planting trees in their place. No solar panels yet alone a white roof?
    It’s okay for him to break a mountain up.
    Chimney’s for fireplaces to burn more trees. Doubt he rubs sticks together.
    Chemicals in his swimming pool.
    No solar panels, and now white roof? no windmill
    Note Friedman didn’t mention population stable for 10 years.

    How come no one mentions the growing population of “Muslim Piromaniac Syndrome” that the religion of Islam is producing.
    Islam is the global environment’s greatest threat in the world. They even burn oil on purpose. They burn people, towns, and it’s intentional.

    These global warmer nuts need to quit be cowards and address the biggest threat in since the universe began.

    Islam needs to be labeled as a religion of Global Environmental Terrorism. Plus they grow toxic addicting drugs that pollute the air, even before the cook or smoke it.

  8. Mithrandir says:

    THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN WAVES THE WHITE FLAG—GOV’T IS A FAILURE

    The underlying message in all this is that despite HUGE government, HUGE regulations, HUGE deficits….

    *poverty still exists
    *war still exists
    *misery still exists
    *pollution still exists
    *environmental problems still exist
    *economic problems still exist

    However, the natural conclusion to all of this (for liberals) is ALWAYS: more government, more control, more taxation (to redistribute to their loyal voting blocks to continue their control over everyone….it’s a political perpetual motion machine)

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      It’s almost sad that we don’t have the good ol’ USSR to show as an example of how bad things can be. Under total communist control, the USSR had rampant poverty, pollution was actually government-driven, they fought numerous wars, and nobody had anything at all. Housing was all government owned/provided and 99% of all of USSR citizens lived in crappy places with the poorest of wiring/plumbing, etc. Yet that is Friedman’s idea of paradise. He’s certainly old enough to remember when it was in full swing. Or, is he one of those who would just dismiss it by saying, “The wrong people were doing it. We have smarter, better people who can do it here?”

      The thorn in the side of all socialists is that they are the result of a free-thinking society. Were it not for the availability of the education they received and the right of open-minded discussion about things, they would have been forced to accept a draconian viewpoint and that may have changed his mind a little. But no….as with all socialists, they are of the opinion that they, somehow have it right while the rest of the nation has it wrong. It’s a very annoying brand off arrogance and self-importance that free people find more than a little irksome.

      Looking at his house alone tells me he lives in his own head. I’m pretty sure he uses fertilizers and pool chemicals and so on and so on. Sure, maybe he puts out the recycling, and will only buy “earth-safe” products, you know those ones with the cute symbol on their labels. But his hypocrisy is beyond words and he only deserves my laughter.

  9. usmcmgb says:

    “When you are surrounded by something so big that requires you to change everything about the way you think and see the world, then denial is the natural response. But the longer we wait, the bigger the response required.”

    Yep, like the hopey-changy thing Obama is foisting on the U.S. They’re going to see one hell of a big response come November 2012.

    “While in Yemen last year, I saw a tanker truck delivering water in the capital, Sana. Why? Because Sana could be the first big city in the world to run out of water, within a decade. That is what happens when one generation in one country lives at 150 percent of sustainable capacity.”

    No, Tommy. This is what happens when you build your capital city in the middle of a friggin desert.

    “If you cut down more trees than you grow, you run out of trees,” writes Gilding.

    Too bad this is a fallacy and a lie. Georgia Pacific, Wayerhauser and every other large paper goods company plants dozens of trees for every one they cut down. Uh, Tommy, it’s the prime raw material that they require to operate their business. Why would they not do this? Are they stupid or do you just think we are?

    What China’s minister is telling us, says Gilding, is that “the Earth is full.”

    OK this one made me blow my morning coffee through my nose I was laughing so hard. Run, run, the EARTH IS FULL!!! What a bunch of crapola. How do these guys shave in the morning without laughing at themselves in the mirror? The earth is full? Anyone ever drive cross country through Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana or Texas? And that’s just in the US. Take a jaunt through South America, Africa, Central Asia, Australia…yeah, the earth is full. Jackass. Free up the “free” market, reduce regulation strangulation by governments and let capitalism go to work. Then you’ll see how easy it is to feed, clothe and house millions of more people.

    “At the same time, improved productivity means fewer people are needed in every factory to produce more stuff. So if we want to have more jobs, we need more factories. More factories making more stuff make more global warming, and that is where the two loops meet.”

    Well, I say thank God we’re killing millions of unborn “drags on society” through abortions right Tommy? Otherwise we’d be in an even bigger mess. Less “drags on society”, means fewer jobs needed and less stuff required. Fewer factories, less CO2…it’s all good. Better living through abortion!

    “We will realize, he predicts, that the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less. “How many people,” Gilding asks, “lie on their death bed and say, ‘I wish I had worked harder or built more shareholder value,’ and how many say, ‘I wish I had gone to more ballgames, read more books to my kids, taken more walks?’ To do that, you need a growth model based on giving people more time to enjoy life, but with less stuff.”

    Ah yes, the greasing of the wheels for the acceptance of socialism. Convincing people that they need less “stuff” to be happier. Just like in Cuba, Red China and North Korea. Look how happy they are? And they don’t have Jack as farr as “stuff” goes..

    “We are heading for a crisis-driven choice,” he says. “We either allow collapse to overtake us or develop a new sustainable economic model. We will choose the latter. We may be slow, but we’re not stupid.”

    And how many “experts” like this have been predicting the collapse of society over the last 100, 500, 1000 years? This latest bunch, like the hypocrites Friedman et al are just expressing their wishful hopes for the collapse of “greedy”, “unfair”, “unjust” “racist” America.


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