Re: arithmetic, population and energy

On 25 jun, 18:03, "Steven L." <sdlit...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
"Paul J Gans" <gan...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote in messagenews:i02m9n$cft$1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx:

tg <tgdenn...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Jun 24, 10:17 pm, Paul J Gans <gan...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
tg <tgdenn...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:


Why in the world would you think that? I think the fallacious
reasoning that you aren't recognizing is associations that you
misinterpret as necessary rather than coincidental. Let's imagine 20
million people living near the East coast of the US, and the other 80
million spread out elsewhere in the world.

Work it out. Where do those 20 million people get oil and
natural gas? And who feeds them? The east coast isn't
exactly self-sufficient in food. That's why people moved

Could you explain to me why it would be difficult for those 20 million
to feed themselves? Take away the trawlers and the oil rigs, and stop
the crap flowing out of the Mississippi, and there are plenty of fish
in the sea, as they say, from Georges Bank to the Gulf of Mexico.

We don't know that. Perhaps the fish population would rebound,
but it is not clear that it would. The first fish into various
niches might keep others out.

And besides, how do we do the fishing? You know how to build
a three-masted schooner with hand tools?

There is also plenty of land that will be extremely productive
because there's enough to rotate crops and not use artificial
fertilizers and pesticides. Cows will still eat grass and produce milk
and natural fertilizer. I don't see that the percentage of the
population involved in food production would go up that much at all.
Which leaves the rest to rediscover how to make really essential stuff
like multi-colored sneakers and cellphones.

There are serious problems with that. You are assuming that farms
would be as productive as they are now. But they are productive
now only because thousands of people are engaged in building
the implements needed. How many people do we need to keep
a farm tractor plant going, suppliers and all? How does the
oil (produced I don't know how) get refined and distributed?

There are tons of problems with your scenario.

The trick, from my point of view, is to keep society from
breaking down that far. And we do that by moving to a different
basis for energy production, goods production, etc. It is
far easier with a US population of 300 million than it would be
with 30 million.

I've talked about these issues for a long time now, and there *are*
some common reasoning traps that people fall into. One of them is an
inconsistent scenario. So, if you get to have depleted fish stocks,
and dry oil wells, I get to have the material detritus of our
civilization, along with, as you mentioned in a different post, some
people who at least know where to begin building an electric
generator. Work it out that way, and it isn't difficult at all.
Plenty of parts and materials to begin with.

The other common problem is confusing cause and effect. People didn't
move West because they couldn't grow crops of catch fish; they did it
because of increasing population, and a desire to exploit those
resources in trade with Europe as well.  Remember, there was a robust
stone-age population there before the Europeans showed up. I think
I've seen estimates in the millions, even if not in the tens of
millions. A relatively small improvement in  food-production
technology is all you need; even into the 20th century small boats
could still go close offshore and catch lots of fish.

We'll have to agree to disagree.  You can check the
population of the then British colonies to see when
the move westward started.

And offshore fishing in the Northeast isn't much of
a mass business any more.  Too few fish.

As for using the scrap of the present civilization,
that's OK.  But how many of us have any idea of how
to keep an electrical distribution system going?

Who is going to repair the roads, and with what raw
materials?  Who is going to produce wallboard and
how will it get distributed?  And what will we use
for money?

I'd really rather not start over.  And I don't think
we have to.  We just have to ensure that we don't have
a total collapse.  And I don't think we will.  We run
out of oil slowly.  The price of clothing goes up.
The price of food goes up.  Our standard of living goes
down, but it doesn't go down to zero or anyplace near

The problem is that with a fixed global pie, as the Indians and Chinese
get richer, Americans will get poorer.

They outnumber us six to one, remember.

So if the pie is fixed, then the global equilibrium standard of living
will be closer to theirs than ours.

That's not going to be acceptable--even to them. They want the same
affluence that we currently enjoy.

Fortunately, that won't be necessary.
There are energy sources for the long run, fusion and space-based solar,
that can do the job.

As Soviet astronomer Kardashev pointed out, an advanced civilization
will learn how to tap all the power of its star.  That's where we should
be focusing our science and technology.

-- Steven L.

that is a nice idea. Let's see if we have enough time to make it
as for the ratio between India plus China, versus US,
China has 1.24 billions while India has 1.15 that sums 2.49 billions
the US population is 281 millions then the ratio 2490/281 = 8.86
The are nearly nine Asiatics for each US citizen.
If you put there Muslims like Pakistan and all they are more than 10
to 1.
Perhaps 12 to 1 or more.