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    (Original post by young_guns)
    It never ceases to amaze me how Greens confuse the two very basic concepts of resource consumption and economic growth, and erroneously conclude they are the same thing.

    How anyone other than a complete moron could conflate the two is a mystery
    Right, so how exactly do you propose an infinite growth society then? In what parallel universe do you live in where every single business in existence agrees to be 100% sustainable?
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    And how are the Greens going to meet the 280 billion a year cost of the "Citizens Income"?

    That of course leaves aside the fact that the Greens have said they will abolish all other benefits, leaving many of society's most vulnerable people far worse off than they were previously.
    Eh? What benefits give people more than £288/month?

    At first I thought this idea was horrendous but on further inspection it makes a great deal of sense. Removing the benefits themselves isn't the money saver, the enormous reduction in administrative costs is. Bennett said something about the administration for childcare benefit being about 100x the cost of the benefit itself.
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    (Original post by Birkenhead)
    Eh? What benefits give people more than £288/month?

    At first I thought this idea was horrendous but on further inspection it makes a great deal of sense. Removing the benefits themselves isn't the money saver, the enormous reduction in administrative costs is. Bennett said something about the administration for childcare benefit being about 100x the cost of the benefit itself.
    Yup.

    It's supported by right wingers as well.
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    (Original post by Birkenhead)
    Eh? What benefits give people more than £288/month?

    .
    Well to name a few...

    Housing benefit (which just blows that ****** out of the water)
    Working tax credits almost makes it (in some situations, if you consider it a benefit)
    Child benefit (by some margin if you have multiple children)
    Disability Living allowance (one assumes they'd not take that away though)
    Bereavement allowance
    One off but (Funeral payment for low income families)
    ESA
    Income support
    PIP

    ...ugh there's a more few I've missed I think, so just take one of them, let alone being entitled to more than one. Basically bar a few, most of the different benefits programs can give over 288 a month individually quite easily.

    Also would be interesting to see where Bennett plucks the x100 from, fair play if its accurate of course.

    I do wonder how schools are to be looked at under the Greens, Ofsted scrapped, no mention of a replacement though one would assume they would inspect in some way, data on schools to form league tables becomes non-public and of course the very liberal, no evil standardized tests.
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    (Original post by Birkenhead)
    Eh? What benefits give people more than £288/month?

    At first I thought this idea was horrendous but on further inspection it makes a great deal of sense. Removing the benefits themselves isn't the money saver, the enormous reduction in administrative costs is. Bennett said something about the administration for childcare benefit being about 100x the cost of the benefit itself.
    I think she said it was 1% of the cost of the benefit. Administering the benefits system does not cost 280 billion a year.
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    Right, so how exactly do you propose an infinite growth society then? In what parallel universe do you live in where every single business in existence agrees to be 100% sustainable?
    Because of course sustainability is the only way(!)
    Well, the way that most seem to think that "infinite" growth is impossible is saying "errr, well, resources are finite". And? As was said either earlier in this thread or in a different one, the only resources we have gone after are ones that are in the top up to 2km of some parts of Earth (most not even as deep as that and huge swathes of the planet barely touched). So, we run out of resources there, then there are two things that can happen:
    1) different resources
    2) go elsewhere, whether that be the unexplored areas, space, or just deeper
    Both of which have already happened over the centuries. The likes of Gold are arguably not as important as they once were, after all, these days our money isn't even really backed by gold reserves whereas in the past it WAS the money; not even a century ago coal was a big deal, now it isn't so much, the only real use of it is power generation and we're slowly phasing that out. Hell, you get platinum mining from the roads potentially starting in the not too distant future.



    (Original post by Birkenhead)
    Eh? What benefits give people more than £288/month?
    It's not individual benefits that do, it's the accumulation of a lot of benefits that does. What point is there of a £500 per week [on average] limit on benefits if there are no benefits that pay even 15% of it? For example, JSA+2x child benefit+housing benefit+council tax support and you're already looking at something like £200 per week. But, of course, while there is the savings there it's for a tiny part of the population and nowhere near offsets their proposal, after all, their proposal is £280bn p/a and what's our welfare&pensions is only £220bn, so there is immediately an extra £60bn, and that's assuming they seriously intend to halve pensions.

    At first I thought this idea was horrendous but on further inspection it makes a great deal of sense. Removing the benefits themselves isn't the money saver, the enormous reduction in administrative costs is. Bennett said something about the administration for childcare benefit being about 100x the cost of the benefit itself.
    100x is going to be an overstatement, but that's just a general flaw in the system; there are 4 ways of paying for things
    1) Paying for yourself with your own money- you look for good value at a decent price
    2) paying for somebody else with your own money- you look for a decent price, but don't necessarily care much about quality
    3) paying for yourself with somebody else's money- you want good quality and don't really care how much it costs
    4) paying for somebody else with somebody else's money- you don't care about the quality much, nor the value
    And therein lies the problem.
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    Right, so how exactly do you propose an infinite growth society then? In what parallel universe do you live in where every single business in existence agrees to be 100% sustainable?
    Again, you seem to be confused. Greens are claiming that economic growth and resource consumption are the same thing. They are not.

    For example, if a man on benefits sets up a business recycling objects and then selling them, therefore making a living for himself, he has just increased GDP but because it is a recycling business it is not consuming additional resources.

    Another example is the consumption of timber; in Australia, for example, the timber industry grows new forests for the specific purpose of harvesting them. The same could be said of anything that is grown; for example, hemp for fibre.

    If I set up a farm and workshop that grows hemp and turns it into fibre ropes, which we sell, that has just increased GDP. Those hemp plants didn't exist before, we just created them. It is sustainable. It is economic growth.

    So you see, the contention that unsustainable resource consumption and economic growth are the same thing is laughably incorrect. It requires a particularly incoherent understanding of economics to believe they are

    If Greens were proposing some smart, nifty ideas about environmentally sustainable economic growth, I would applaud them. But they're not. Because of their childish understanding of economics and zero-sum view of the world, they believe the only answer is to shrink the economy
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
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    Bloody well said. Fantastic comment.

    And as I said above, even if we concede (which I don't) that resources are finite in the practical sense, there's no reason an economy with high levels of recycling and sustainable resource creation (growing things, for example) couldn't enjoy infinite growth.

    The Greens have a primitive, zero-sum, neo-Malthusian view of the world
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    Yup.

    It's supported by right wingers as well.
    And how are people going to live on 288 pounds a month?

    You'd be throwing disabled people out on the street.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    Because of course sustainability is the only way(!)
    Well, the way that most seem to think that "infinite" growth is impossible is saying "errr, well, resources are finite". And? As was said either earlier in this thread or in a different one, the only resources we have gone after are ones that are in the top up to 2km of some parts of Earth (most not even as deep as that and huge swathes of the planet barely touched). So, we run out of resources there, then there are two things that can happen:
    1) different resources
    2) go elsewhere, whether that be the unexplored areas, space, or just deeper
    Both of which have already happened over the centuries. The likes of Gold are arguably not as important as they once were, after all, these days our money isn't even really backed by gold reserves whereas in the past it WAS the money; not even a century ago coal was a big deal, now it isn't so much, the only real use of it is power generation and we're slowly phasing that out. Hell, you get platinum mining from the roads potentially starting in the not too distant future.
    I've got a mission for you. Go to a dictionary, and look up the word "sustainable". When you do, you'll find out it means an activity that can be sustained. Hence, if an activity is not sustainable, it cannot be sustained. The clue is in the word. Sustainability is by definition the only resource model that works in the long term because any unsustainable activity will eventually be forced to stop by nature.

    I don't even know why I'm bothering to respond to this, but I'm going to do it anyway. You cannot bet on future technology that does not currently exist. "Digging deeper" is not an option for many resources, which you'd know if you knew the slightest bit about geology, and from economics you should realise that this also renders it unreasonable for all but the most expensive of resources. No amount of technical development is going to make digging deeper an option for the resources we use the most. Using different resources is also not an option for a lot of things. Virtually the entire planet has been prospected for minerals and practically all of the high-yield deposits have been mined or are being mined. The only exceptions are those in the Arctic and Antarctica which aren't going to be mined for obvious reasons. And if you genuinely think that Space is going to solve our problems, I think you're living on a different planet (no pun intended).

    On top of this, you're completely ignoring the other side of sustainability, i.e. externalities. Conserving resources is utterly pointless if we've polluted the planet to the point where it's uninhabitable for civilization, which is the route we're heading down at the moment.

    (Original post by young_guns)
    Again, you seem to be confused. Greens are claiming that economic growth and resource consumption are the same thing. They are not.

    For example, if a man on benefits sets up a business recycling objects and then selling them, therefore making a living for himself, he has just increased GDP but because it is a recycling business it is not consuming additional resources.

    Another example is the consumption of timber; in Australia, for example, the timber industry grows new forests for the specific purpose of harvesting them. The same could be said of anything that is grown; for example, hemp for fibre.

    If I set up a farm and workshop that grows hemp and turns it into fibre ropes, which we sell, that has just increased GDP. Those hemp plants didn't exist before, we just created them. It is sustainable. It is economic growth.

    So you see, the contention that unsustainable resource consumption and economic growth are the same thing is laughably incorrect. It requires a particularly incoherent understanding of economics to believe they are

    If Greens were proposing some smart, nifty ideas about environmentally sustainable economic growth, I would applaud them. But they're not. Because of their childish understanding of economics and zero-sum view of the world, they believe the only answer is to shrink the economy
    Excellent examples, because most enterprises on the world are totally centred around lone craftsmen making goods out of recycled objects, aren't they? And forestry is a renewable resource (although you also have to bear in mind that there's limited land area, so even if you had a 100% renewables-based business infinite growth would still be impossible), that is completely correct. You don't strike me as a dark-green environmentalist though, so I don't think you're proposing a future where all humans simply live off the land in a totally sustainable manner. Most resources that we use today as part of modern life comes from non-renewable resources. No amount of technological development is going to allow civilization in its current form to completely live off organic resources.
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    Excellent examples, because most enterprises on the world are totally centred around lone craftsmen making goods out of recycled objects, aren't they?
    Thank you for conceding the fundamental premise that economic growth and growth in resource use are not the same thing.

    You do realise you have just conceded the total debunking of the basis for negative growth?

    And forestry is a renewable resource
    You seem to have confused yourself again. The fact that a resource is renewable doesn't mean that the economic activity associated with it doesn't constitute growth.

    We could have a totally sustainable, renewable based economy that was growing at a healthy clip.

    The unwillingness of Greens to accept that suggests it has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with hatred of consumption, whether sustainable or not. Either that or their unwillingness to accept it is actually inability to understand
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    On top of this, you're completely ignoring the other side of sustainability, i.e. externalities. Conserving resources is utterly pointless if we've polluted the planet to the point where it's uninhabitable for civilization, which is the route we're heading down at the moment.
    Characteristic Green hysteria. The UK environment is in better shape today than it has been for a hundred years. The air in London is cleaner than it's been since the Middle Ages, and yet we are consuming and producing more than ever before.

    The Greens don't seem to understand that increasing wealth brings demand for greater environmental protection and a willingness to spend money on it, on things like carbon capture, on clean air filters for factories even though it makes goods more expensive, etc.
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    Thank you for conceding the fundamental premise that economic growth and growth in resource use are not the same thing.

    You do realise you have just conceded the total debunking of the basis for negative growth?



    You seem to have confused yourself again. The fact that a resource is renewable doesn't mean that the economic activity associated with it doesn't constitute growth.

    We could have a totally sustainable, renewable based economy that was growing at a healthy clip.

    The unwillingness of Greens to accept that suggests it has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with hatred of consumption, whether sustainable or not. Either that or their unwillingness to accept it is actually inability to understand
    I'm not an expert in economics, so humour me here. Say we have a country and 100% of its GDP comes from its timber industry. Timber is a renewable resource, and 100% of the country's land area is devoted to timber growth. How does it allow infinite economic growth? You can't increase the density of tree growth indefinitely, you're going to reach a point where timer growth has reached a steady growth and hence the economy has stopped growing. This analogy works for basically every other renewable resource in existence. You can continue the activity indefinitely, I don't see how that constitutes infinite growth.

    (Original post by young_guns)
    Characteristic Green hysteria. The UK environment is in better shape today than it has been for a hundred years. The air in London is cleaner than it's been since the Middle Ages, and yet we are consuming and producing more than ever before.

    The Greens don't seem to understand that increasing wealth brings demand for greater environmental protection and a willingness to spend money on it, on things like carbon capture, on clean air filters for factories even though it makes goods more expensive, etc.
    Please tell me you're joking... for the sake of my sanity and yours...
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    All this talk about finite resources. The earth is not a closed energy system, and I don't think we ought to be planning for the Sun's death at this moment in time.
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)

    Please tell me you're joking... for the sake of my sanity and yours...
    It's pretty self evident that when people have more surplus income they're more likely to spend money with environmental rather than immediate utility concerns in mind.
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    (Original post by KingStannis)
    It's pretty self evident that when people have more surplus income they're more likely to spend money with environmental rather than immediate utility concerns in mind.
    We don't have another century for people to realise that it's worth investing money in the environment. We have under 10 years now to start significant cutting out CO2 emissions (not reaching equilibrium but actively reducing by >5% a year) to avoid the international limit of "catastrophic climate change", essentially rendering the planet significantly less habitable for humans for the next millennia. That's not scare-mongering, that's a universally accepted scientific fact. We haven't got the time for the free market to come to our rescue - the markets are responsive, not proactive. They might respond to a crisis but by the time catastrophic climate change kicks in, it will be decades too late to do anything about it.
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    I'm not an expert in economics, so humour me here. Say we have a country and 100% of its GDP comes from its timber industry. Timber is a renewable resource, and 100% of the country's land area is devoted to timber growth. How does it allow infinite economic growth?
    They increase their productivity (for example, by building tree buildings, i.e. create new land vertically, or underground). Or more importantly, they grow by providing more complex value-added (rather than just selling timber, they start manufacturing furniture and wood products, etc, selling CO2 sink certificates for the period the trees are alive).

    Or they diversify into other areas, like biotech research, software, financial services, and the like. Viewing everything as a function of how much land x resources etc you have is to view things through the prism of a 19th century industrialist, rather than someone who lives in the 21st century, where we have the technological capability to create limitless energy sustainably

    And the Greens have yet to demonstrate that there is a practically finite limit on resource exploitation. There might be one day, in thousands of years. And yet the Greens are demanding we kick our economy into a depression right now. (even if they're finite, why shouldn't they be used? why should we kick ourselves into an economic depression now as opposed to using those resources we have and planning for the day when they do run out, if that ever comes at a point where it actually matters). Our resource use is actually much more logarithmic than exponential

    And perhaps the more important consideration is that we are becoming ever more efficient in the use of resources. Our houses, our cars, are more energy efficient than ever before. We are more skilled creating synthetic substances. And we recycle more.

    It's not at all implausible (in fact, this is the most plausible prediction) is that we will become more efficient, using a mix of sustainable resources and recycling to the point where we do have an advanced, sustainable and growing economy, particularly given so much economic activity now has nothing to do with the physical world and is about buying and selling information, bits, intellectual services, and so on.

    I much prefer that future to a bleak, zero-sum, neo-Malthusian future where we ignore our amazing ability to recycle and produce synthetic materials and sensible use the resources we do have available

    You can really tell that this is about irrational hatred of consumption rather than the environment when the Greens demand a permanent economic depression and massive cuts in energy supply, when it would be entirely possible to create large amounts of renewable energy supplies, use recycling and sensible exploitation of resources, to have a genuinely decent, growing economy

    Please tell me you're joking... for the sake of my sanity and yours...
    How can you be a Green and be so ignorant of environmental history? When was the last time we had one of these in London;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smog
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    We'll go nuclear eventually anyway, once Thorium is able to be fully utilised. Testing facilities are increasing in development and current injecting isotope methods are doing well. Green energy is more or less a perfunctory waste.
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    (Original post by AntisthenesDogger)
    We'll go nuclear eventually anyway, once Thorium is able to be fully utilised. Testing facilities are increasing in development and current injecting isotope methods are doing well. Green energy is more or less a perfunctory waste.
    Well said. Thorium-based reactors could essentially provide us with clean, safe, abundant energy. Along with recycling, the use of sustainable / renewable resources and appropriate exploitation of non-renewable resources, there is no reason why we can't have an environmentally-friendly and growing economy.

    Of course, the Greens hate that idea because it wouldn't involve sitting in the dark shivering eating a plate of boiled lentils. In the Green mindset, consumption is evil. This is about a moral judgment on the value of humans, not a serious concern about how we can find ways for humans to have less negative impact on the planet
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    They increase their productivity (for example, by building tree buildings, i.e. create new land vertically, or underground). Or more importantly, they grow by providing more complex value-added (rather than just selling timber, they start manufacturing furniture and wood products, etc, selling CO2 sink certificates for the period the trees are alive).

    Or they diversify into other areas, like biotech research, software, financial services, and the like. Viewing everything as a function of how much land x resources etc you have is to view things through the prism of a 19th century industrialist, rather than someone who lives in the 21st century, where we have the technological capability to create limitless energy sustainably

    And the Greens have yet to demonstrate that there is a practically finite limit on resource exploitation. There might be one day, in thousands of years. And yet the Greens are demanding we kick our economy into a depression right now. (even if they're finite, why shouldn't they be used? why should we kick ourselves into an economic depression now as opposed to using those resources we have and planning for the day when they do run out, if that ever comes at a point where it actually matters)

    And perhaps the more important consideration is that we are becoming ever more efficient in the use of resources. Our houses, our cars, are more energy efficient than ever before. We are more skilled creating synthetic substances. And we recycle more.

    It's not at all implausible (in fact, this is the most plausible prediction) is that we will become more efficient, using a mix of sustainable resources and recycling to the point where we do have an advanced, sustainable and growing economy, particularly given so much economic activity now has nothing to do with the physical world and is about buying and selling information, bits, intellectual services, and so on.

    I much prefer that future to a bleak, zero-sum, neo-Malthusian future where we ignore our amazing ability to recycle and produce synthetic materials and sensible use the resources we do have available

    You can really tell that this is about irrational hatred of consumption rather than the environment when the Greens demand a permanent economic depression and massive cuts in energy supply, when it would be entirely possible to create large amounts of renewable energy supplies, use recycling and sensible exploitation of resources, to have a genuinely decent, growing economy



    How can you be a Green and be so ignorant of environmental history? When was the last time we had one of these in London;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smog
    None of those arguments make sense. If you build tree buildings, you're taking away the land area that can be used for growing trees and buildings aren't "renewable", once it's built, it's not providing any kind of income and its value is fixed so no growth from there. You can build as much "vertical land" (whatever that is) as you want, there's a finite limit of the amount of energy you can get from the sun. There is an absolute limit to the productivity you can get from renewable resources, you can't build a second sun. And trees do not grow underground. You can manufacture timber furniture but again, there's a maximum productivity. You can't do that forever, the best you can hope for is steady state. Selling "CO2 certificates" is also limited and doesn't work anyway because you're simply displacing emissions rather than eliminating them.

    Once again, all of those things are limited. You can keep researching and making software forever, but the value of these products won't indefinitely increase. The software being produced in 100 years time will be infinitely better than the technology now, but it's won't be any more valuable in that economy because you're still playing with the same basic resources. Technological development is not the same thing as economic growth. Similarly, development itself is not the same thing as growth.

    I don't see how you can possibly doubt the fact that there are finite resources. In terms of mineral resources, I seriously think you underestimate the abilities of geologists if you think there are hidden troves of mineral treasures available to humans. The only exceptions to this are, as I mentioned earlier, the Antarctic and Arctic (and also deep sea trenches), none of which can possibly be exploited if you want to avoid an environmental catastrophe.

    Efficiency is absolutely the way forward but even then, there's a limit. A 100% efficient car (which is physically impossible) will still require energy to drive it.

    Another mistake in your reasoning is that you're taking undiscovered technology for granted. The future is completely unpredictable, you can't bet all of your money that there's going to be some miraculous techno-fix in the future that's going to save the world. If that salvation doesn't come (which it probably won't), everyone is completely screwed. If someone invents cold fusion or a matter generator, wonderful. Until then, we need to assume that they don't exist.

    Also, recycling and using synthetic materials is absolutely fine. We're going to need them. That doesn't mean infinite growth is possible.

    And since when was 1952 the middle ages?
 
 
 
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