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Last Friday’s edition of NOW on PBS asks, “Is a coastal catastrophe approaching, and what should we be doing about it?” It specifically addresses the issue of flooding in Bangladesh, currently the 7th most populous country on the planet and one of the most densely populated (1063 per sq km). (The next most populous country is Russia with a mere 8.4 per sq km!) Featured is Dr A. Atiq Rahman, the Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) and a Lead Author of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) Chapter-19 on “Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and the Risk from Climate Change”, co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr Rahman says terms like Global Warming and Climate Change are deceptively euphemistic, and says Irreversible Catastrophic Climate Destabilization is much more accurate and impactful. Where I come from, people might say, “It’s time to get the finger out!”
You can watch the segment below. I recommend you view the NOW page also, as the comments are enlightening. For instance, commenter Forrest M. Mims III says,”… land subsidence alone may account for an elevation change of -30 cm over the past several decades,” which for me is in the category of “things you never thought of”.
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We have been mislead by Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, and nearly every other public figure. Economic growth, job creation, and actual prosperity are not necessarily a package deal. In fact, the first two are horribly misunderstood. Economic growth/loss (GDP) is little more than a measure of wealth changing hands. A transfer of currency from one party to another. The rate at which it is traded. This was up until mid '07' however, has never been a measure of actual prosperity. Neither has job creation. The phrase itself has been thrown around so often, and in such a generic political manner, that it has come to mean nothing. Of course, we need to have certain things done for the benefit of society as a whole. We need farmers, builders, manufacturers, transporters, teachers, cops, firefighters, soldiers, mechanics, sanitation workers, doctors, managers, and visionaries. Their work is vital. I'll even go out on a limb and say that we need politicians, attorneys, bankers, investors, and entertainers. In order to keep them productive, we must provide reasonable incentives. We need to compensate each by a fair measure for their actual contributions to society. We need to provide a reasonable scale of income opportunity for every independent adult, every provider, and share responsibility for those who have a legitimate need for aid. In order to achieve and sustain this, we must also address the cost of living and the distribution of wealth. Here, we have failed miserably. The majority have already lost their home equity, their financial security, and their relative buying power. The middle class have actually lost much of their ability to make ends meet, re-pay loans, pay taxes, and support their own economy. The lower class have gone nearly bankrupt. In all, its a multi-trillion dollar loss taken over about 30 years. Millions are under the impression that we need to create more jobs simply to provide more opportunity. as if that would solve the problem. It won't. Not by a longshot. Jobs don't necessarily create wealth. In fact, they almost never do. For the mostpart, they only transfer wealth from one party to another. A gain here. A loss there. Appreciation in one community. Depreciation in another. In order to create net wealth, you must harvest a new resource or make more efficient use of one. Either way you must have a reliable and ethical system in place to distribute that newly created wealth in order to benefit society as a whole and prevent a lagging downside. The 'free market' just doesn't cut it. Its a farce. Many of the jobs created are nothing but filler. The promises empty. Sure, unemployment reached an all-time low under Bush. GDP reached an all-time high. But those are both shallow and misleading indicators. In order to gauge actual prosperity, you must consider the economy in human terms. As of '08' the average American was working more hours than the previous generation with far less equity to show for it. Consumer debt, forclosure, and bankruptcy were also at all-time highs. As of '08', every major American city was riddled with depressed communities, neglected neighborhoods, failing infrastructures, lost revenue, and gang activity. All of this has coincided with massive economic growth and job production. Meanwhile, the rich have been getting richer and richer and richer even after taxes. Our nation's wealth has been concentrated. Again, this represents a multi-trillion dollar loss taken by the majority. Its an absolute deal breaker. Bottom line: With or without economic growth or job production, you must have a system in place to prevent too much wealth from being concentrated at the top. Unfortunately, we don't. Our economy has become nothing but a giant game of Monopoly. The richest one percent already own nearly 1/2 of all United States wealth. More than double their share before Reagan took office. Still, they want more. They absolutely will not stop. Now, our society as a whole is in serious jeapordy. Greed kills.
Thanks for your comment. How do you propose this redistribution of wealth be implemented?
At this point, it would take an act of God. But the people could do their part by spending more of their money down and less up. If the majority would have feared this concentration of wealth 40 years ago (They should have. Einstein warned them.), they could have prevented it. Instead, they spend their money without the slightest regard for how it circulates or accumulates. They also worship celebrities, pro athletes, some executives, and even some politicians. They won't acknowledge greed as a form of evil. I'm not making excuses for the rich. What they have done is wrong. But the people have made it very easy. Its like taking candy from a baby.
What then must we do?
We always get the old adage "Economic growth must be sustained". That is a thin veil for "we want to continue making tons of money". Looking at the photograph, how would the rich folk feel if their beautiful mansion, pool and tennis court were destroyed by a man made natural disaster? The only way out of this mess in my opinion is when the people with the money find ways of making huge profits with green renewable energy.
But, isn't green renewable just as susceptible to the same narrow spirit of exploitation and greed?