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Tue Jun 12, 2012, 12:36 PM

IMF chief Christine Lagarde warns world risks triple crisis

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jun/12/imf-world-risks-triple-crisis-christine-lagarde
<snip>
Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, has warned that the world risks a triple crisis of declining incomes, environmental damage and social unrest unless countries adopt a more sustainable approach to economic growth.

Ahead of the Rio+20 Earth summit later this month, she said the rich should restrain their demands for higher incomes while there are still 200 million people worldwide looking for a job and poverty is on the rise.

Giving her clearest backing yet to green taxes and a range of measures to protect the environment, she argued for taxes on petrol-guzzling cars among a range of green measures to tackle climate change.

"Too many regions today are still stuck in a trap of low growth and high unemployment," she said.

"Right now, 200 million people worldwide cannot find work, including 75 million young people trying to take their first step on the ladder of success.

"So we need a strategy that is good for stability and good for growth where stability is conducive to growth and growth facilitates stability."

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Reply IMF chief Christine Lagarde warns world risks triple crisis (Original post)
malaise Jun 2012 OP
jannyk Jun 2012 #1
Uncle Joe Jun 2012 #2
midnight Jun 2012 #18
Gregorian Jun 2012 #3
The Doctor. Jun 2012 #4
Gregorian Jun 2012 #9
The Doctor. Jun 2012 #16
Gregorian Jun 2012 #17
The Doctor. Jun 2012 #19
Gregorian Jun 2012 #20
malaise Jun 2012 #6
Gregorian Jun 2012 #11
tk2kewl Jun 2012 #5
Egalitarian Thug Jun 2012 #7
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #12
Egalitarian Thug Jun 2012 #14
marmar Jun 2012 #8
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #10
malaise Jun 2012 #13
dixiegrrrrl Jun 2012 #15

Response to malaise (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 12:38 PM

1. kick

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 12:43 PM

2. Humanity; needs to drop the locust as the foundation of its' survival model.

Thanks for the thread, malaise.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 10:50 PM

18. 100% in agreement...

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 12:52 PM

3. There is a disconnect between cause and effect.

I see it here just as I see it in conservative circles. It is an unconsciousness. People are cheating by saying it's just them, just this time, just my little trip to go on vacation.

I'm also seeing it with the military support. If you put on a uniform, you're supporting the military. You can't have it both ways. Just like you can't go traveling around the planet without a carbon footprint. Unless you walk, sail, ride a bike.

There is a disconnect in the Republican party that by voting R, the economy will suffer. They blame the Democratic president.

It's a form of lying. Lying to oneself.

I've taken a lifetime of flak for abstaining. By being responsible I've incurred wrath. It's simply astonishing. And now it's going to become so obvious that choice will no more be a luxury. Just like our economic situation, it's not going to be fun.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 01:11 PM

4. The family that scrapes for 5 years

 

to put together a trip to Disneyworld is not an infinitesimal fraction of the CO2 contribution represented by those that own multiple houses worldwide and routinely jet around on vacation.

The problem isn't the humble seeking occasional retreat, it's the rich on constant vacation.

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Response to The Doctor. (Reply #4)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 01:40 PM

9. That's exactly the reasoning that is the problem.

This entire problem is based on multiplicity. Ultimately it's about carbon emissions. But now we have to get into specifics in order to argue, and I doubt you nor I have the time for it.

I can't say that you or I are correct or not. But my intuition says that there are way too few of the wealthy in comparison to the millions who contribute. And just how many trips to Disneyland equals a new house and a yacht is to be discovered.

But this isn't about comparison. This is an absolute problem. It's sort of like war. If someone kills a million people does it make it ok for me to kill just one. The problem is that if all carbon emissions stopped today, we would remain at 400 PPM of CO2 concentration for quite some time.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #9)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 08:33 PM

16. No, I get that.

 

It's just that the family that scraps tends to use more modest means.

When I was 13 we drove from MA to FL with a 25 mpg Aspen Volare station wagon to go to Disney. Everything was modest.

Yes, multiply that over 3 million families and you get a big foot print. But the problem isn't the individual families wanting to take a break. If we look at how much they create while not on vacation, I'm sure it's nearly comparable. People of lesser means must choose more efficient methods by necessity. When one airplane is filled with passengers in coach, that mitigates the output per person. When a family takes a road trip, the highway MPG is better than if they were spending the week driving to and from work, the gym, soccer, store, etc. I would imagine that a family of modest means on vacation is not much less efficient than when going about their day to day activities. That would mean that it's really the infrastructure and energy supply base at issue here. Not much us little people can do about that without stoking political will. Good luck with that.

Now, the Families of greater means are an entirely different story. I'm sure I don't have to go into a complex description.

I suppose I come at this more from a social-philosophical perspective where the modest families are still creating modest footprints while seeking to escape the soul-crushing grind of a lower middle-class existence. Their minor uptick in consumption, in my perspective, is far less obscene than the consistent high-level consumption of the higher class which casts a long shadow on the modest dreams of the lower classes. I even believe that it is to some degree far more necessary for the lower classes to find respite in down time in order to maintain better social stability.

That's just my notion.

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Response to The Doctor. (Reply #16)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 10:47 PM

17. It's an interesting discussion.

I grew up in a town, and in a family that was acutely aware of how energy is generated, and the details of what makes a modern society work. I remember in 1963 we had an electric car show. But that was Silicon Valley before it was known as that. And I was raised by an extremely bright engineer. So frugal was just the default mode. Talk of world population was just common discussion even when I was only a child.

What I'm now wondering about is that since we are facing big troubles, and even though all of us cannot afford to live the modern life without literally killing the planet, does that mean that we have to stop doing the things that modern people enjoy? You mention the how a group of people on a plane divides the carbon output by the number of people on the plane. Given the amount of fuel that's burned for a trip of a few hundred people on a plane, it's really prohibitive. It's something that shouldn't even be happening. Now that we are at 400 PPM of CO2, and 7 billion humans, we should be already in emergency mode. No more childbirths until the population drops in half, at least. And no more using of fossil fuel for frivolous things. Holy shit, what am I, some kind of monstrous dictator? What kind of world would that be? Do you know what the carbon footprint of making a movie is? HUGE! So no more movies.

You can see what a dilemma we have. Economies depend upon resources. We pretty much have the choice between environment OR economy. And the choice between a world like North Koreans now live, or something along the lines that we enjoy. One is a dismal life not worth living, the other is interesting and colorful.

So I know what I wanted. I wanted to see responsible people making daily choices that would allow the world to be sustained in it's nice and comfortable form. Now that we're where we are, I don't really know what to do. I actually came to DU just for to discuss these things. I was surprised at how resistive people were to talk about it. I can see why. We're all threatened by it. After all, it's all downhill from here. Or if we continue our present lives, we're guilty of essentially killing planet earth.

What do we do? We can't engineer our way out of this. Even if we improve efficiency of transportation and heating by 50%, we're going to see 50% more humans shortly. That improvement will be lost.

I'd love to hear ideas. I don't see any half way solutions to a full blown situation. I do appreciate your reply, though. I can tell you are thoughtful.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #17)

Wed Jun 13, 2012, 09:39 AM

19. Oh no... you're absolutely right.

 


There actually are engineering solutions. Well.... one. But even strategically and with absolutely grace-of-God precision dumping of iron filings to create algae blooms large enough to balance out CO2 levels, we still have the massive problem of managing planetary resources in order to sustain as many as 10 billion people. (A number arrived at by Stephen Baxter, and astrophysicist and author I highly respect for his adherence to extrapolation from hard-science approach to fiction, as the maximum population a well-managed Earth-sized planet can sustain)

No, it is not going to happen on a planet full of quite literally psychotic primates. I say this knowing full well the definition of 'psychotic'. In this case there is a reality that these people do not merely deliberately ignore, but supplant with their own delusions and expectations almost entirely for the sake of never having to personally feel any responsibility. Given the unprecedented monstrosity of that responsibility, it's easy to see why. Add then the myopic rapaciousness of the corporations that control the political process and media and we have the makings for the greatest nightmare the human race, or perhaps any race, has ever seen.

I will consider us very, very lucky if we merely turn the Earth into a giant ball of ice. Should we Venu-form the planet, it will be a billion years or so before the bacteria that survived below ground will evolve the sentience to appreciate our demise.

In the meanwhile, it's very difficult for me to see the modest families struggling for the opportunity to relax for 2% of their lives as the problem, though I'm full aware of just how they are part of it. No, they are generally ignorant of the damage they do which again is individually insignificant but collectively dramatic. The real problem are those that are at a constant state of high consumption and those that knowingly prevent the vast institutional and infrastructural changes necessary to bring down the consumption rates of everyone.

In short: we are in very deep shit and the realization and awakening will hopefully result in a wiser humanity rather than a nifty archaeological dig for extraterrestrials investigating the Galaxy's extinct species. Also, if we do survive, I hope that any and all people who practice anti-science for profit in the future, as industry has presently, are tried and summarily executed for 'Threatening the welfare of the environment and species'.

I too was raised by an engineer and an MIT graduate, but despite their truly conservative lifestyle.... they watch Fox News.

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Response to The Doctor. (Reply #19)

Wed Jun 13, 2012, 12:56 PM

20. I'm sorry to hear about the Fox viewing.

My 90 mom and dad spend their mornings in their sunroom reading the New York Times. I can imagine what the disconnect must feel ilke having parents that don't share the same political sentiment.

We're on the same page. There are only arguments regarding theoretical carrying capacity of the planet. My bottom line is that the planet should be able to handle what we ask and still be able to retain it's natural equilibrium. How can 10 billion people all eat deer, and other naturally occurring animals? It can't. That's why we invented the Bosch-Haber cycle to produce nitrogen to supercharge our soil. At least for vegetable products. But the same goes for animals. And we were not intended to eat low protein diets. But that's not worth arguing about.

What I see that I find so difficult to digest is that we grew to this stage in our lifestyle by virtue of a desire to be comfortable. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. We didn't pick individual kernels of grain. We took a risk and killed a large animal so we could eat well for a week. But we sustained injury by doing so. Grain was poverty subsistence for the hardest of times. And we froze in our caves. We saw fire, and we copied it. Newton and Archemedes and Liebnitz and a few amazingly bright people gave us concepts that then leveraged us into a modern lifestyle that gave us the comfort and convenience we never dreamed of. But people had no concept of limits. The world was huge. There are a lot of thoughts at this point. Are we just lagging in our response to growth right now? Given exponential growth, even little input can be disastrous right now. But my point was that we got to our present state because we wanted a better life. And I guess the question is do we continue or do we stop or do we go backwards? It gets complex. It even gets religious.

I just know that since 1972 I have been in a state of anxiety over what my eyes are seeing. And I remember the exact moment it happened. So either I am neurotic, or there is a real problem. And judging from the ecological state of the planet, I think it's the later. It is my belief that there is something wrong with the feedback loop in the human/planet control system. I happen to be one who is seeing the trouble, yet I see almost no one else reacting in the same way. I think it's fear of losing this comfortable lifestyle. But it's also a kind of breeding/ sexual greed. The desire and need to reproduce, and do so without any concern for what the eyes are seeing. So that the feedback loop is broken. Kind of like Fox news has done to politics. Without the truth, many people simply don't have the information to make decisions in order to change the system back to a better state. And to make things worse, we have such a fantastic lifestyle, we are highly attracted to indulging in it. I've got a machine shop, a backhoe, an amazing mountain bike, a Porsche. These are the things that in massive numbers, just cannot be sustained.

OK, I better shut up. Besides, I have a baby crow to attend to.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 01:25 PM

6. Well reading Lagarde's new IMF thinking I can't help but wonder

why we've been facing austerity package after austerity package for close to four decades.
I've sure stopped traveling across the planet.
It's not going to be fun I agree and yet we're the lucky ones compared to the real victims of the capitalist mess.

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Response to malaise (Reply #6)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 01:49 PM

11. It always seems to be the case.

The poor get to suffer the results of the happy users.

I don't see it posted much, but there are studies on global dimming that confirm that the Ethiopian famines were a direct result of the exhaust that is made due to internal combustion engines. Our driving really does kill.

The problem is that modern life is good. Or, it was good. In these numbers it's unsustainable. That is the problem. Modern living isn't the problem. But that seems to fly over almost everyone's head. And now I'm not sure there is a good solution. It's pretty much painful from here on out.

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 01:15 PM

5. K&R

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 01:31 PM

7. Cognitive dissonance; "the rich should restrain their demands for higher incomes while there are

 

still 200 million people worldwide looking for a job and poverty is on the rise." -> "So we need a strategy that is good for stability and good for growth"

Perpetual growth in a closed system has only one possible outcome.

There are so many workable answers and none of them will ever see any light because the answer inevitably involves those with more than they can ever use giving most of it up so that everybody else can have what they need.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #7)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 01:56 PM

12. Please expound if you will.

I dont disagree but have some questions.

What is the only possible outcome?

Why havent we reached that outcome before? or have we?

Are we in ever increasing cycles?

Is it human nature that makes the outcome inevitable?

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #12)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 02:33 PM

14. A closed system is just that, closed. perpetual growth within such a system,

 

be it a body or a planet will eventually consume the resources available. Throughout history, whenever we have reached the end of available resources in a given area, we have moved into a new area. This is rapidly becoming impossible as we're simply running out of places and extracting what resources remain is more difficult requiring more effort to get at less.

The outcome is the demise of either the system or that which grows, there are just no other outcomes.

It has taken us this long to run out of places to move on this planet and we are not working toward moving to another, we can't even know for sure that it would be possible. And yes, we have reached this outcome over and over throughout our history.

Our economic system is based entirely on the idea that growth can continue forever. That was fine hundreds of years ago, it must have been inconceivable that we would ever run out of trees, for example, when somebody is standing in a forest so large that you can't see its end.

Human nature? Maybe, we certainly love to breed and it is one of the tools we have that allowed us to survive, but it is no longer beneficial and has become what might well be the cause of our demise. OTOH, there is a growing body of evidence that many of the traits we put down to our nature are really the result of culture and culture can be changed.

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Response to malaise (Original post)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 01:33 PM

8. Does Lagarde recognize the role that her organization has played in exacerbating those risks?

nt


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Response to marmar (Reply #8)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 01:41 PM

10. How many guess do I get? nm

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Response to marmar (Reply #8)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 02:11 PM

13. IMF, World Bank

and the neo-liberals from the Washington Consensus gang.
The irony is breath-taking.
What we're facing today is a direct consequence of the Friedman/Hayek approach to looting the planet for the rich.

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Response to marmar (Reply #8)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 05:59 PM

15. Bingo!!!!!!!!!!

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