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Two Juxtaposed Video

12/16/2011

I have to put on my excuse-making, apologetic blogger hat for a moment and say I’m sorry for not posting during the past week. My excuses include starting a new job, releasing and promoting my novel (whose cover you see on the sidebar, there), continuing to work at the Farmers’ Market (the last one is tomorrow) and assorted other life-related things.

I’m going to try and come up with a more sustainable posting ‘schedule’ that better complements my other schedules.

Okay, hat’s off.

Today I’m posting two somewhat contrasting videos, and I invite you to discuss in the comments section why I posted these in particular, and what the nature of their contrast is.

The first is of Milton Friedman discussing greed.

The second is from the Post Carbon Institute, and it’s about what the next ten years are likely to look like.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. John Erickson permalink
    12/16/2011 10:47 PM

    I would argue that there are levels of greed, and that at the lower levels, call it “the desire to better yourself”, greed is good (to borrow from Gordon Gecko). Where the problem begins to raise its’ head is on the bell curve of diminishing returns. Would I be better off if our annual income doubled? Heck yeah – we could get our cars properly repaired, we could get broken storm windows replaced, we could get more insulation put in our house. But if our income was already, say, a million dollars a month, would 2 million be twice as good? No way, and that’s where the negative connotation of “greed” comes in. We have people today who claim poverty because they are driving Jaguars instead of Rolls-Royces. It’s finding that cap, that ability to say “$250 million is enough, I don’t need a billion” that is the hard part.
    And just because cheap petro-energy is disappearing doesn’t mean the end of our lifestyle or innovation. If we can move away from our “everything plastic” construction concept and go back to building fans out of steel, plates out of ceramics, bags out of paper (or better yet, hemp), we could do a great deal of good by reducing non-recyclable waste AND reducing the number of non-repairable household items! (Gee, can ya smell a pet peeve of mine? :D ) Plus, all of the “alternative propulsion” systems we’re coming up with for cars, need to be applied to light and heavy trucks, to ships, and even to airplanes. Imagine the reductions in emissions there!
    And don’t apologise for not posting more frequently, or I’ll have to apologise for being a bad reader and not keeping up! :)

    • 12/17/2011 12:15 AM

      I like your concept of diminishing returns as it applies to money, and I definitely agree, though I’d never looked at it that way before. It’s true, though. If Oprah sees $100 lying on the sidewalk, it’s barely worth her while to bend over and pick it up. But if a homeless person finds it, it could mean the leg up he or she needs.

      Maybe a good litmus test for the negative kind of greed is this: if you’re using your money to influence politics and tilt the playing field in your favour and against that of others, you’re too greedy.

      I agree about the plastic–eliminating it would be a huge boon for sustainability, although doing so would require a shift of such magnitude it would practically be a revolution.

  2. 12/20/2011 10:07 AM

    Sure, greed is a motivator. But it’s not the only one. And many people want a bigger disposable income, but not one infinite in size. I still believe that human beings need more than just a comfortable lifestyle, and many people are capable of realizing that owning stuff doesn’t lead to happiness.

    As for our fate over the next decade, I sure hope our ability to be resilient and adapt can keep us going, and that the pace with which we’ll need to make changes isn’t so quick that we can’t keep up. Who knows what will happen?

  3. 12/24/2011 10:18 AM

    Hey Scott. I invite you to drop by for some holiday cheer and select a present under the tree. http://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/on-a-time-for-gifts/

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