Re: Limited resources? was: some U.S. observations and notes

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Wed Dec 26 2001 - 18:03:58 MST

"J. R. Molloy" wrote:
> From: "Kai Becker" <>
> > Am Mittwoch, 26. Dezember 2001 06:37 schrieb J. R. Molloy:
> > > Competition due to
> > > overcrowding exacerbates conflict, in a neighborhood, state country or
> > > region. One person's gain is another's loss. Given one pie--be it finite
> > > natural resources or available full-time jobs--adding additional
> > > consumers must be at the expense of others.
> >
> > Isn't this statement in contradiction to the assumption that improved
> > technology will provide more pie - pardon, resources - for all?
> That assumption works well in many casses, except that historically (and
> predictably) people use new technology (such as medicine) to extend their
> lives and to reduce mortality, thus adding to overpopulation. It's more
> popular to use technology to save lives than it is to use technology to create
> more and better widgets, so while greedy and selfish (according to liberals)
> capitalists continue to develop more amazing gagetry, government and
> foundation funding goes to institutions which promise to cure disease, etc.
> We could reduce the overcrowding problem by slowing human reproduction, but
> there's still only so much real estate available on Earth. Some say the
> solution is to colonize other planets or to live in space, while others say
> extraterrestrial migration constitutes pollution of the universe. Furthermore,

And we should actually consider this last opinion for more than
a few microseconds? The solution will present itself quickly
enough as we migrate from being totally or mainly meat-based.
Even in the meat biological space ZPG tends to correlate
strongly with advancing technology and more options and
interests than spawning children.

> providing more "resources" also means providing more opportunity for crime.
> The industrial revolution made possible machine guns used by gangsters.

That does not follow in the least. With sufficient resources
there is no need for crime in order to survive and even

The "First Prohibition" created many of the gangsters and fueled
organized crime. The "Second Prohibition" allows parasitical
profiteering on locking up huge segments of the US population
and creats a lot of needless street violence and excuses to
strip away a lot of our rights. These things can hardly be
blamed in any meaningful way on improved technology.

> I believe
> > that history has shown that this is possible, but only if we use technology
> > wisely with the profit for all in mind.
> Yes, it may be possible, and it's more possible for people to believe this
> than it is for people to accomplish it. The wise use of technology implies
> comparable wise use of the technologists who create it, and nobody really
> likes the idea of being used, wisely or otherwise. So, there will always be
> rogue technologists, as witness the abundance of hackers on the Internet.
> Sometimes it looks like there's more computer virus technology going around
> than there is useful programming.

This has no substance at all. It is a strawman. You posited
wise use of technologists out of whole cloth and then use it as
an arguing point. Shame, shame.

There are "hackers" and there are hackers. Hackers in the
original sense are master software and hardware people.
"Hacker" in the derogatory sense is "cracker" someone breaking
and entering and vandalizing machines. The government seems
bent on making a lot of what the first category, including me,
most cares about and wants to see come to pass from the
cyber-revolution, illegal and those who pursue it
"cyber-terrorists". In such an eventuality more and more of us
will be criminals according to some hair-brained rule or
another. But it is not because we are fighting being "used".
It is because our government is standing in the way of a future
that is much more desirable and that is within our grasp if we
will to produce and claim it.
> > The "limited resources theory" does not explain the higher rates of violent
> > crimes in the US compared to countries with the same standard of living
> > (Europe, Japan, Australia) -
> IMO, gun ownership doesn't explain it either. America differs from Europe,
> Japan, and Australia in many ways, not just the American right to bear arms.

What right is that? In most of America there is no practical
right to bear arms. All of the laws strip us of that right. We
may have the "right" on paper but most politicians weasel out of
that even being acknowledged much less any real implementation
of it.

> ...and I've noticed that there are more Europeans, Japanese, and Australians
> migrating to the US than the other way 'round. So, perhaps people prefer a
> certain amount of violence combined with the freedom it seems to announce,
> than the crime-free atmosphere of places lacking other kinds of liberty. The
> wild West ain't the safest place in the world, but it may be the most open and
> unfettered. Guess that's why more folks immigrate than emigrate.

The US is not remotely like the images of the Wild West.
> > IMO, the ideology of limited resources we have to fight about is only good
> > for extremists (left or right) who prefer to steal from others, instead of
> > exploring new opportunities.

And when those who produce nothing steal and lock away what you
and others like you have produced, what then?

> I'm all for exploring new opportunities, and for creating more resources.
> That's why I prefer science to politics and laugh at the oxymoron "political
> science."
> Of course it's convenient to dismiss real problems and run off to explore
> supposed opportunities somewhere else, isn't it? With overcrowding comes more
> and more explorers who compete for the supposed new opportunities. IMO, the
> ideology of stealing new opportunities instead of repairing and maintaining
> what we have is only good for crackpots who deny the work that is necessary
> for real success.

Fortunately there are a lot more options than these.

- samantha

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