Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Maximizing Ideality

Based on my research, the only rational explanation I can think of for the path humanity has chosen in its consumption and population growth is that we value the maximizing of ideality over the longest interval of time. Only in terms of ideality (the average of life expectancy and happiness per person) does business-as-usual triumph over all other scenarios.

If we increase our resources and continue increasing our consumption of them, we may temporarily increase both population and per capita consumption, perhaps to astronomical levels (depending on our having technology far in advance of anything we have now), but eventually per capita consumption will be forced to drop below a survivable amount. If we wanted to maintain our current population, we would need to stop population growth and reduce per capita consumption to a level that renewable resources would sustain. On our present path, population will peak and then decline, while per capita consumption increases; and when total consumption can be maintained by renewable resources, both population and per capita consumption will level off, with fewer people living better.

My definition of an ideal world, where both population and ideality are maximized over time, requires a loss of ideality or (likely unachievable) growth in renewable resources, coupled with a reduction in population growth (as opposed to reduction in total population). That anyone would sacrifice lives for standard of living is abhorrent to me. Yet I strongly suspect that lives elsewhere in the world are currently being sacrificed for my standard of living, and the fact is being hidden so that I will continue consuming and enhancing the killers’ standards of living.

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