View Poll Results: Which of these would do the most good for the world?

Voters
79. You may not vote on this poll
  • Providing everyone in the world with access to clean water

    8 10.13%
  • Providing everyone in the world with enough nutritious food

    4 5.06%
  • Providing everyone in the world with free, high-quality K-12 education

    6 7.59%
  • Providing everyone in the world with access to Western-quality health care

    1 1.27%
  • Providing everyone in the world with access to information and communication (e.g. the internet)

    0 0%
  • Bringing peace, stability, and safety to every part of the world

    18 22.78%
  • Bringing democracy and freedom to every part of the world

    3 3.80%
  • Developing a clean, cheap source of energy that could be produced and distributed anywhere

    12 15.19%
  • Developing an effective, efficient transportation infrastructure in all parts of the world

    0 0%
  • Other (please describe)

    27 34.18%
Page 7 of 14 FirstFirst ... 56789 ... LastLast
Results 61 to 70 of 133

Thread: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

  1. #61
    Guru
    nonpareil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Last Seen
    07-04-15 @ 10:36 AM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    3,108

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Well that's my point, it's exceedingly rare for a country in dire poverty to enjoy peace and stability. India and Ghana are the only two I can think of which even come close, and as you pointed out, they have their problems too. This suggests to me that poverty is the primary cause of conflict, rather than the other way around.
    Then you are putting the cart before the horse.


    Obviously worse off; I'm just pointing out that poverty usually causes conflicts. The causal link in the opposite direction exists, but is much weaker.
    You have not shown that it's weaker, or what cause what. Vietnam, under the French they were better off resource wise then when the American left, and yet they didn't have a conflict afterward and successfully rebuild their economies. Singapore - poor in all resources - no conflict and is now richer per capita than the US. China - went through communism, starvation, but with unification and a change of direction, become the second biggest economy in the world. Cambodia - a socialist country in the 60's with good infrastructure, war came, and everything was destroyed, after 1993 election, they had a coupe in 1997, but otherwise conflict free - their economy is growing rapidly and people are enjoying better standard of living. In fact, almost every country in Asia sees that pattern, after the conflicts, they rebuild their economy and are better off despite resource issues.



    I'm not sure what societies you are referring to, or what you mean by "fallen," but very few societies have had their standard of living drop significantly after reaching what we think of today as middle-income status or high-income status. And the ones that do typically have their own idiosyncratic reasons: South Africa (HIV/AIDS), Argentina (extremely bad governance), Russia (alcoholism). Generally, most societies that fall even further behind are those which are already stuck in poverty traps.
    The society I referred to are past societies like the Egyptian, the Chinese, the Romans, the Greeks, and the Europeans in a way. The rose to become the dominant civilisation in their geography and then fell as a results of conflicts. And you are not having a full grasp of the history of Asia or Africa if you think countries never went backward, many have during the cold war. SA never reached the kind of standard of living enjoyed by the Europeans and the American, not for the blacks anyway.

    If you think "bad governance" is somehow different than conflicts and instability, then I think we are talking past each other.


    I don't know which countries you're referring to. But presumably some combination of conflict caused by external powers and/or bad governance caused by external powers. Both of which have largely receded since the end of the Cold War. Most conflicts in the world today are civil wars, rather than international wars.
    "Civil war" doesn't mean there's no external interference - Egypt, Libya, Yeman, Syria reminds you of anything? Not to mention Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. War are more complex than just "international" and "civil". In fact, what transpired in SEA is exactly what happens today, external influence pushing factions they support into power resulting in internal conflicts which look like a civil war.


    None of this is wrong, I just think it fails to grasp why conflicts begin in the first place. If conflict is the "root cause" from which all of those other problems stem, then it would just boil down to the personalities of individual leaders (and therefore be nothing more than the luck of the draw as to which countries find peace and which go to war). I think that this approach is too "in the weeds" and ignores the broad causes of conflict.
    You are making logical jumps again. It doesn't boil down to "personalities of individual leaders", the actions that eventually lead to war are complex with many parties involved. Libya was under Ghadaffi for many years before there was an "uprising" and he was deposed, many factors had to come together for that to happen at that exact time. Anyone who claim to know the root cause of any war is simplifying the issue - like you are doing by trying to claim that water is the root cause of most conflicts in the world. People are still debating about WWII and how it could have been prevented - if it's down to Hitler alone, then the answer would have been easy - if he existed, war WWII was inevitable - but it's not that simplistic.


    Neither Afghans nor Iraqis have sufficient water or energy, and Afghans don't have sufficient food either.
    Right, so the American can just ship lots of water and food there and conflicts resolved. Don't even need the guns anymore.
    Quote Originally Posted by Free_Radical View Post

    And I wasn't making an appeal to authority, I was making an appeal to the philosophical body of work of the founders, the worth and content of which should be well-known to anyone with a cursory understanding of basic history and philosophy.

    Brian

  2. #62
    Enemy Combatant
    Kandahar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Last Seen
    10-15-13 @ 08:47 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Liberal
    Posts
    20,688

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    Quote Originally Posted by nonpareil View Post
    So many logical flaws here:

    1. How many conflicts are started over water of all the conflicts in existence?
    What do you mean "started over water"? The vast majority of ongoing conflicts on the planet today are caused, at least in part, by lack of access to clean water, and/or disputes over scarce water resources.

    2. What is "abundance"? Why can't you sell something that is in abundance? There's no limit to the number of people who can use a software, and yet Microsoft can still sell it and make billions.
    3. What make you think that water is "abundance" is America?
    Microsoft has intellectual property rights to its software; no one has intellectual property rights to water. Water is in abundance in America because it's so cheap that it's essentially free. We all waste an enormous amount of water without even thinking about it, because it's essentially valueless in America. I could literally turn on every sink in my home and leave it running for the entire day, without incurring any financial consequences (except possibly a flood. ) Even in the most arid part of the country, the American Southwest, no one ever goes without water...at most there are regulations about watering lawns and the like. Compare that with the situation in many parts of the world where water is scarce...and people have to spend hours every day walking miles to and from the nearest water source to make sure that their families have enough water to drink. The economic cost of this cannot be overstated, nor can its role in conflicts and disease.

    4. Why would something in "abundance" cease to be a cause of conflict? Many of the wars in Africa was a result of their richness in resources, not a lack there of.
    But resource conflicts are inevitably fights over things of value. Take oil or diamonds, for example. If those commodities suddenly became worthless, no one would fight over them anymore. Fighting over oil might be quite profitable (at least for the winner) if it sells for $100 per barrel...not so much if it only sells for $1 per barrel. The same goes for water, albeit on a different scale. If water was as abundant everywhere as it is in North America, it wouldn't be a source of conflict anymore because there would be enough for everyone and the economic benefits of fighting over it would be sharply reduced.

    And yet water is the not the sticking point in the negotiations, land and settlements are, why is that? Is your theory then that if those two countries have access to a secure water supply, they will cease to fight over land and settlements issues?
    Not in such a direct way, no. But if they both had access to a secure water supply, it would lead to greater economic prosperity in the long term and reduce the economic incentive to fight over ANY issue. Conflicts tend to brew in regions where the potential economic benefits of fighting are high, and the economic costs of fighting are low. This is why impoverished countries like Yemen are so violent, while its wealthier neighbor Oman is much less so.

    Except when a conflict resulted in a poor, uneducated sickly population who can't then build infrastructure for water, food or energy. Can you honestly deny that conflicts destroy infrastructures and that you can't build infrastructures unless the fighting stops?
    No?

    If you don't have the infrastructure to delivery food, water and energy - then what is the point of your arguement?
    That lack of water causes conflict much more than conflict causes lack of water.

    I can cite you cases of serial murderers in the US, it doesn't make any arguement that serial murderers are the main cause of death in America true. Anecdotal evidence are just that: anecdotal evidence.
    It's not just anecdotal evidence, I can provide similar stories about nearly every conflict in the world today. As of now, Wikipedia says there are 9 major ongoing conflicts in the world today in which there are large numbers of fatalities: Mexico, Colombia, North/South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. With the exception of the first two (fueled mostly by drug trafficking), there is a strong element of water scarcity in all of them.

    Perspective: Sudan – Land of Water and Thirst; War and Peace | Circle of Blue WaterNews
    Millions Facing Misery in Somalia Famine | Water | AlterNet
    What If Yemen Is the First Country to Run Out of Water? | Ecocentric | TIME.com
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/wo...ht-letter.html
    Iraq water crisis could stir ethnic clash - UPI.com
    Afghanistan: threat of water shortage through groundwater depletion - IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
    Pakistan
    Are you coming to bed?
    I can't. This is important.
    What?
    Someone is WRONG on the internet! -XKCD

  3. #63
    Enemy Combatant
    Kandahar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Last Seen
    10-15-13 @ 08:47 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Liberal
    Posts
    20,688

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    Quote Originally Posted by nonpareil View Post
    Right, so the American can just ship lots of water and food there and conflicts resolved. Don't even need the guns anymore.
    I know that was supposed to be sarcastic, but there is a great degree of truth in that statement. Getting people access to water/food (not so much "shipping" it, as that's too expensive to do for water) is typically a far more effective method of resolving conflict in the long term than bringing the guns.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 04-29-12 at 12:21 AM.
    Are you coming to bed?
    I can't. This is important.
    What?
    Someone is WRONG on the internet! -XKCD

  4. #64
    Guru
    nonpareil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Last Seen
    07-04-15 @ 10:36 AM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    3,108

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    What do you mean "started over water"?
    I mean exactly that. Are you moving away from saying that water is the root cause of conflicts?

    The vast majority of ongoing conflicts on the planet today are caused, at least in part, by lack of access to clean water, and/or disputes over scarce water resources.
    Claims without evidence means nothing.


    Microsoft has intellectual property rights to its software; no one has intellectual property rights to water.
    Which doesn't change the fact that having a limitless something doesn't mean that the thing can't be sold for a lot of profits.

    Water is in abundance in America because it's so cheap that it's essentially free. We all waste an enormous amount of water without even thinking about it, because it's essentially valueless in America. I could literally turn on every sink in my home and leave it running for the entire day, without incurring any financial consequences (except possibly a flood. ) Even in the most arid part of the country, the American Southwest, no one ever goes without water...at most there are regulations about watering lawns and the like.
    So to you abundance means you can "waste a vast amount of it without thinking about it" and "without incurring any financial consequences", you should read about the water situation in America, it's not as peachy as you think. There are a lot of issues with regards to water for irrigation in California. Instead of thinking that you have access to water because it's abundance, it is more the case that you have access to it because your country is not mired in conflicts so that your government can maintain a good water management system that allow everyone to have access to clean water and institute effective rationing system when there are severe scarcity.

    Compare that with the situation in many parts of the world where water is scarce...and people have to spend hours every day walking miles to and from the nearest water source to make sure that their families have enough water to drink. The economic cost of this cannot be overstated, nor can its role in conflicts and disease.
    Actually you have overstated it. Water can be moved to the people who need it - ever been to Abu Dhabi? Often the reasons it can't be gotten to those people is because there's no infrastructure to do so - now guess why there's no infrastructure to do so.


    But resource conflicts are inevitably fights over things of value. Take oil or diamonds, for example. If those commodities suddenly became worthless, no one would fight over them anymore. Fighting over oil might be quite profitable (at least for the winner) if it sells for $100 per barrel...not so much if it only sells for $1 per barrel. The same goes for water, albeit on a different scale. If water was as abundant everywhere as it is in North America, it wouldn't be a source of conflict anymore because there would be enough for everyone and the economic benefits of fighting over it would be sharply reduced.
    Can you tell me of a place where water costs $100 per barrel?


    Not in such a direct way, no. But if they both had access to a secure water supply, it would lead to greater economic prosperity in the long term and reduce the economic incentive to fight over ANY issue. Conflicts tend to brew in regions where the potential economic benefits of fighting are high, and the economic costs of fighting are low. This is why impoverished countries like Yemen are so violent, while its wealthier neighbor Oman is much less so.
    Right, so now you have moved from water being the root cause of conflict to something else. Do you want to go back and read what you were argueing before? If all a country needs is a secure water supply to achieve "economic prosperity", then again, the solution to the world's problem would be very simple - guess why it's not - why it's so hard to build infrastructure for water, food and energy when the technology and capability already exists?


    No?



    That lack of water causes conflict much more than conflict causes lack of water.
    Then you have moved away from your own OP - which asked: what is the biggest problem facing humanity. If water is the solution then just give everyone water. Ah, but how do you give everyone water when there are fightings in the country? You can't. So now what's the first problem you've got to solve?

    You are also being loose with the term "water", first you talked about clean drinking water, of those where conflicts destroy the infrastructure, it definitely causes the lack of them. In fact, even developed countries face the lack of them during natural disasters, and yet no war has resulted as your theory would suggest.


    It's not just anecdotal evidence, I can provide similar stories about nearly every conflict in the world today. As of now, Wikipedia says there are 9 major ongoing conflicts in the world today in which there are large numbers of fatalities: Mexico, Colombia, North/South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. With the exception of the first two (fueled mostly by drug trafficking), there is a strong element of water scarcity in all of them.

    Perspective: Sudan – Land of Water and Thirst; War and Peace | Circle of Blue WaterNews
    Millions Facing Misery in Somalia Famine | Water | AlterNet
    What If Yemen Is the First Country to Run Out of Water? | Ecocentric | TIME.com
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/wo...ht-letter.html
    Iraq water crisis could stir ethnic clash - UPI.com
    Afghanistan: threat of water shortage through groundwater depletion - IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
    Pakistan
    It is anecdotal evidence, you are not establishing causes for these conflicts but merely finding articles which talk about water shortage in those countries when there are already conflicts occurring in them. Correlation is not causation. We know the cause of the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq since the US itself were the one who brought its soldiers there to start those conflicts, are you saying the US went there to get their water? We know Somalia is a lawless country with military control, we know why Yemen and Syria are mired in uprising, we know that South and North Sudan are fighting over access to oil.

    I repeat my earlier comment: you are revising the facts to fit your arguement instead of seeing them for what they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I know that was supposed to be sarcastic, but there is a great degree of truth in that statement. Getting people access to water/food (not so much "shipping" it, as that's too expensive to do for water) is typically a far more effective method of resolving conflict in the long term than bringing the guns.
    It was to illustrate a very important point: that those things didn't happen. Why didn't it happen? For all the money that the Americans spent bringing soldiers and equipments, maintaining their bases in those countries, they could have built many a water plant and gave seeds to farmers - and yet they couldn't do that - because when they went out, they get attacked. We know how to build water plants, we can transport water over long distance, we can now make sea water into drinking water at a viable cost, we can plant enough food to feed everyone in the world, but that all means nothing because those things don't get to the people who need them most because of political and military conflicts.
    Last edited by nonpareil; 04-29-12 at 07:33 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Free_Radical View Post

    And I wasn't making an appeal to authority, I was making an appeal to the philosophical body of work of the founders, the worth and content of which should be well-known to anyone with a cursory understanding of basic history and philosophy.

    Brian

  5. #65
    Sage

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Last Seen
    Today @ 02:19 PM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    90,044

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    The single biggest problem of the 21st century is how do we find a constructive purpose for billions and billions of people when we no longer have an agricultural based economy or even an manufacturing based economy which needs them any longer?
    __________________________________________________ _
    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers

  6. #66
    Sage
    cpwill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USofA
    Last Seen
    Today @ 11:40 AM
    Gender
    Lean
    Conservative
    Posts
    57,148

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jredbaron96 View Post
    Seriously?
    yup, seriously.

  7. #67
    Sage
    cpwill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USofA
    Last Seen
    Today @ 11:40 AM
    Gender
    Lean
    Conservative
    Posts
    57,148

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    Quote Originally Posted by nonpareil View Post
    Why? Are they the only "humanity"? What's wrong with people from other "worlds" carrying on the human race?
    Economically: The First World is the engine of the rest of the Globe. When they crash, they drag the rest of the world with them. If Venezuelans suffer, the rest of the world sends aid. If the EU, Japan, and US all collapse, much of the rest of the world starves.

    Culturally: The First World also has heavy overlap with the set of cultural assumptions that I would like to see spread. Individual Liberties, Equality for Women, Property Rights, Free Markets, Free Speech... these are not things that the rest of the world takes for granted, and as the society that upholds them dies, they will subside.

  8. #68
    Enemy Combatant
    Kandahar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Last Seen
    10-15-13 @ 08:47 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Liberal
    Posts
    20,688

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Economically: The First World is the engine of the rest of the Globe. When they crash, they drag the rest of the world with them. If Venezuelans suffer, the rest of the world sends aid. If the EU, Japan, and US all collapse, much of the rest of the world starves.
    I agree in principle, but I think this ignores the fact that the "First World" is not a constant; more and more countries are reaching a level of economic development at which they could reasonably claim to be part of the "First World"...and therefore even if birth rates continue to decline, it doesn't necessarily mean that fewer people will be able to contribute to the well-being of humanity if prosperity continues to spread to other countries.

    A generation ago, the only developed countries were Japan, Western Europe, and the English-speaking nations. Today, that category would also include the Asian Dragons, the Baltic states, Central Europe, Israel, Chile, Uruguay...and arguably Argentina, Malaysia, and some of the Persian Gulf countries. In another generation, it could conceivably include most of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and China. So even with a declining population in Europe and Japan, this loss could be more than compensated elsewhere, and more people than ever could be contributing to the world's economic engine.
    Are you coming to bed?
    I can't. This is important.
    What?
    Someone is WRONG on the internet! -XKCD

  9. #69
    Anti political parties
    FreedomFromAll's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    New Mexico USA
    Last Seen
    Today @ 05:30 AM
    Gender
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    12,050

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    The single biggest problem of the 21st century is how do we find a constructive purpose for billions and billions of people when we no longer have an agricultural based economy or even an manufacturing based economy which needs them any longer?
    We that would take getting people out of the 20th century first. The problem has been that people believe that factory jobs are the only good jobs. Through out the industrial age right up to the present factory jobs have always been unstable. There have always been large lay offs.

    The real problem that we face is educating people to realize that they do not have to work for someone else directly. But well sheep will be sheep.

  10. #70
    Sage
    cpwill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USofA
    Last Seen
    Today @ 11:40 AM
    Gender
    Lean
    Conservative
    Posts
    57,148

    Re: What is the biggest problem facing humanity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I agree in principle, but I think this ignores the fact that the "First World" is not a constant; more and more countries are reaching a level of economic development at which they could reasonably claim to be part of the "First World"...and therefore even if birth rates continue to decline, it doesn't necessarily mean that fewer people will be able to contribute to the well-being of humanity if prosperity continues to spread to other countries.

    A generation ago, the only developed countries were Japan, Western Europe, and the English-speaking nations. Today, that category would also include the Asian Dragons, the Baltic states, Central Europe, Israel, Chile, Uruguay...and arguably Argentina, Malaysia, and some of the Persian Gulf countries. In another generation, it could conceivably include most of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and China. So even with a declining population in Europe and Japan, this loss could be more than compensated elsewhere, and more people than ever could be contributing to the world's economic engine.
    Except that the sub-replacement birthrate has combined with large social safety net programs to create a situation in which the largest members of the First World are insolvent. The EU, Japan, and possibly the US aren't going to ever-so-slowly-slide into a situation of the-West-and-the-rest; they are going to go through a period of bankruptcies which will cause massive economic destruction and upheaval. The integration of the global economy (and the part those nations play in the global supply chain) ensures that they will be wrecked as well.

Page 7 of 14 FirstFirst ... 56789 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •