There Is Not Enough For Everybody

[365 Toy Project: 050/365] The Humans Are Dead
[365 Toy Project: 050/365] The Humans Are Dead (Photo credit: nhussein)

Another cherished myth of our time is that there is enough for everybody, if only we would make the system just. This is a dangerous belief in the omnipotence of technology. Just because there are flaws in its implementation, there must be a way to overcome the difficulties by introducing even more technology. Of course, that hypothesis could never been proven before she is put into practice.

We all know the pictures of 3, or 5, or 7 blue planets with the caption “If every human being would live like a US American, we would need so many planets”. This is easy to verify: The amount of fossil fuel needed to support homo americanensis in his craving for mileage, fast food, cheap consumables and other “comforts” (pacifiers) would require a multitude of planets if every human were to “rise” to that level of consumption. I’ve seen these pictures many times, shared on facebook pages, or printed on posters by some NGO. But I already got the message. I’ve seen many people chuckle at it, and they might mumble “that’s an interesting way to put it” as they continue business as usual. Here’s this idea made into an online game you can play for free: http://sustainability.publicradio.org/consumerconsequences/

Fact is, there will soon be NOT enough for everybody, and yes, many people will die because of that. If you are reading this post, you are probably not one of them (but if you are in Africa, where Internet connections are often available before food security) you do have something to worry about. I don’t want to scare anybody (and I’m uninfluential enough not to fear I would with this article). I just want people to educate themselves and see clearer – and then act in the best interest of their grandchild (yes, it might just be a good idea to have only one).

The comforting message of politicians and populists alike that there “is enough for everybody” is beginning to look like the pompous self-deceit it really is. If you want to live on a consumption level that everybody (we are talking of more than ten billion people by 2050) will be able to sustain, put down that cappuccino, get out of that car, don’t munch that chocolate, don’t buy that new fashion shirt or that new cellphone, don’t eat that steak, and don’t fly anywhere. But nobody will do that, so the neocolonial plundering will go on(you did read coffee, cacao, rare earth minerals, oil, cotton in the last sentence, didn’t you?) and people will be inculcated with this belief that “there is enough for everybody” and if you’re smart, you’re gonna get your share.

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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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