From: Nicholas Dronen <ndronen@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 29 May 1996 14:31:26 -0500
> Sorry to be dull Chris, but I don't know, you tell me. I think that there
> are enough resources in the world for everyone in the WORLD to live a
> comfortable life working some minimum set of hours. I also beleive,
> however, that as some people take more than what is needed to be
> comfortable, others must lose their comfortableness and live simply with
> basics: food, water, housing. But we see in the world today that many
> people do not even have these basics. Theproblem, I admit, is not
> necessarily a lack of these bacis. Sometimes there are problems with
> distribution. Many goods that are sent overseas to "third-world" countries
> get there but are not distributed throughout the population, but are kept
> by a few. Now there is somotehitng to be said about living with just the
> basics. I mean really, who needs a car, except that we are made to need a
> car by the society in which we live. But this ohnoly takes more from the
> environment and harms the enviornment more. When talking about matters of
> distribution, we must be concerned with more than just how people are
> But that is not central to the discussion right now. The question is how
> much resources do we really have and what is the rate at which we use these
> resources. At current consumption rates, I read, the following: "global
> resources of petroleum will last 31 yrs, natural gas, 52 yrs, and
> bituminous coal 175 yrs." (The Human Polity, 2nd edition, Kay Lawson, p.
> 120, 1989). I also remember reading somewhere that we only have about
> thirty years of fresh, clean water available (sorry can't remember or locate
> source). So I think that we do need to face the reality of scant
Clearly, resources on this planet are limited with respect to the
technologies (recipies for production) we currently employ. But when the
fossil fuels have been exhausted, we surely can turn to other sources of
energy. (I suspect that the water fact you mentioned is an eccentric
interpretation of the case.)
> If we don't then we are left with arguments like Gauthier's in
> MNorals by Agreement, or Nozick's in Anarchy, State and Utopia. Badsing
> their arguments on Locke's proviso, they hold that people can accumlate
> meterial goods as they wish. But Locke's proviso assumes an infinite
> supply of natural resources. He wrote in the early days of the Aemericas,
> when there seemed to be such an infinite supply. But hasn't the near
> extinction of buffalo taught us differently?
No, it hasn't. People in America are able to obtain their
protien in other red meats.
> are also oblivious to the fact that much of our wealth is extracted
> (stolen) from other countries, or how else do we explain that the U.S. has
> 60% of the world's wealth?
Zero-sum fallacy. Wealth in America has not been created by
extracting resources from other countries. Most of the international trade
conducted by American firms is with firms from Eurpoean, developing and
advanced Asian countries, and our neighbors to the north and the south.
The poverty of the "South" is not explainable by the wealth of the "North,"
and vice versa.
Clearly, if you think that the onlly explanation for America's relative
opulence is that it is stolen, then you do not have much of an idea of how
wealth is created in the first place. I will post more on this later. Gotta
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