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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:40 PM

2. Changing values to try and produce lower-energy societies will not work.

Marvin Harris noticed this inconvenient fact when he developed his principle of "Primacy of Infrastructure". To a first approximation, our values and beliefs are responses, not drivers when it comes to resource usage. This is most evident in groupthink situations like whole societies. Individuals find it much easier to overcome their genetic predispositions than do entire societies.

The revulsion we feel about thoughts of de-growth is programmed into our genetics. We are programmed to be a successful species. In the most basic of terms, success is defined by energy use. That's why all our major status symbols are high-powered. It's also why successful societies begin to eat higher on the food chain (i.e. more meat) - animals are higher up the energy transformation ladder than vegetables.

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