Can we all be as rich as America please?

 Any attempt to bring others anywhere near our level of wealth is dependent on using renewable forms of energy -- solar, geothermal, wind.
The problem with these -- as with nuclear power -- is that they all require large amounts of capital investment, the main thing that developing countries don't have. In general, coal is still a main source of power for developing countries, right? Anyone know what the coal supply situation is?

I almost mentioned the lumber thing, but I'm not sure if it's really a problem or not -- lumber isn't as critical a resource as it once was, and techniques seem to have much improved. As far as metal, I remember reading someplace that there is enough easily accessible iron, aluminum, and uranium to last us an obscenely long time -- millennia at the very minimum.
 Recognitions: Science Advisor I was wrong, it wasn't 2/3 it was 64%. A publication of the State of Utah (1980) reports "The potential of oil shale is enormous. While found throughout the world, nearly 62 percent of the world's potentially recoverable oil shale resource are concentrated in the United States...The largest of the U. S. oil shale deposits is found in the 16,500 square-mile Green River formation in northwestern Colorado, northeastern Utah, and southwestern Wyoming. The richest and most easily recoverable deposits are located in the Piceance Creek Basin in western Colorado and the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah...The deposits are estimated to contain 562 billion barrels of recoverable oil. This is more than 64 percent of the world's total proven crude oil reserves." "The numbers on oil shale resources around the world are nothing short of staggering. Most of the following estimates are drawn from Duncan and Swanson (1965) unless otherwise cited. Oil shale deposits of Late Permian age in southern Brazil have been estimated to contain 800 billion barrels oil equivalent in shale that yields 10 to 25 gallons per ton, and 3.2 trillion barrels in possible extensions. Resources that yield 5 to 10 gallons of oil per ton were estimated to hold 4 trillion barrels of oil equivalent in possible extensions. A 200 square-mile Middle Tertiary lake basin deposit in southwestern Montana has approximately 1000 feet of sediments which have not been appraised in detail but may contain tens of billion barrels of oil potential. Weeks (1960) stated "possible potential resources" of higher grade oil shale in the U. S. are approximately 2 trillion barrels of oil equivalent, and 12 trillion barrels in the world. Duncan and Swanson (1965) estimated a world oil shale resource of 2.1 quadrillion barrels." Regards PS - I've omitted parts of the article not supporting my position. SOP. NO?
 I was wrong too. I called my in-laws in Kenya to find out the going rate for a coffee picker who works a full day, it's 25 to 50 US cents a day. It takes about two minutes or less to pick enough coffee for one cup of coffee, which costs $1.50 at Starbucks.  ^^^ Just for context, don't forget that those coffee beans have to be cleaned, collected, packaged, loaded onto trucks, driven to a port, loaded onto a cargo ship, sailed across the Atlantic, unloaded from the ship and back into a truck, driven across the country to some warehouse, from there to some Starbucks, stored there, made into coffee, and finally served up by a Smiling Starbucks Employee in an high-rent, air-conditioned building. All of that gets rather expensive. I think the problem is that small-scale, hand-picked agriculture of this kind is just not very efficient or lucrative; nor has it ever been. What needs to happen -- in Kenya and elsewhere -- is the creation of more and better-paying jobs, which will help lead to the adoption of more efficient methods of agriculture. ---- Zero, that article has local plantations enslaving children (I agree this is horrible), not foreign multinational corporations. It also has no suggestion of government involvement. Indeed the Cote d'Ivoire just had a people's revolution in 2000, after a military coup in 1999 -- the previous government had been following IMF/WB restructing plans and seeing ~5% growth; since the revolutions things have been much nastier. If your grand thesis -- that the West is rich because it forcibly exploits cheap labor throughout the developing world by being in cahoots with dictators -- it should be trivially easy to find one or two or three examples, right? The world's a damn big place.  Originally posted by GENIERE I was wrong, it wasn't 2/3 it was 64%. A publication of the State of Utah (1980) reports "The potential of oil shale is enormous. While found throughout the world, nearly 62 percent of the world's potentially recoverable oil shale resource are concentrated in the United States...The largest of the U. S. oil shale deposits is found in the 16,500 square-mile Green River formation in northwestern Colorado, northeastern Utah, and southwestern Wyoming. The richest and most easily recoverable deposits are located in the Piceance Creek Basin in western Colorado and the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah...The deposits are estimated to contain 562 billion barrels of recoverable oil. This is more than 64 percent of the world's total proven crude oil reserves." Ah, so it is shale. I'm guessing that the "total proven crude oil reserves" refers to the underground lake type of reserve, not shale. According to http://216.239.57.104/search?q=cache...l=en&ie=UTF-8, the world had about 1.05 trillion barrels (1,050 billion barrels, 1.05x1012 barrels). 562 billion barrels represent 53%. Your source mentioned 64%, but that was written in 1980 (which quotes a source form 1965?).  "The numbers on oil shale resources around the world are nothing short of staggering. Most of the following estimates are drawn from Duncan and Swanson (1965) unless otherwise cited. Oil shale deposits of Late Permian age in southern Brazil have been estimated to contain 800 billion barrels oil equivalent in shale that yields 10 to 25 gallons per ton, and 3.2 trillion barrels in possible extensions. That is a lot, if we can feasably get that out of the ground.  Resources that yield 5 to 10 gallons of oil per ton were estimated to hold 4 trillion barrels of oil equivalent in possible extensions. 5 to 10 gallons per ton...that doesn't seem like a lot. It seems to me that it would be cheaper to buy photovoltaic systems at today's prices than it would be to mine that. How many gallons of total material are in a ton? And how much destruction of habitat would be necessary? It doesn't seem worth it to me to get that out of the ground. Thanks for providing your sources, Geniere. ----------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------  Originally posted by damgo The problem with these -- as with nuclear power -- is that they all require large amounts of capital investment, the main thing that developing countries don't have. In general, coal is still a main source of power for developing countries, right? Anyone know what the coal supply situation is? Yes, that is a problem. But if most of the world is to have affluence anywhere near our own, it will be necessary. In the United States, at least, it is cheaper than paying for electricity from the power company, if you stick with it for a decade or so (I'm not sure of the exact payback period). But, of course, you have to have that money to spend in the first place. Sounds like a good reason for loans. (Of course, interest would drive up the payback period).  I almost mentioned the lumber thing, but I'm not sure if it's really a problem or not -- lumber isn't as critical a resource as it once was, and techniques seem to have much improved. Maybe not, but we do use if for a lot of things...and we need forest in existence for biological reasons. Breathing oxygen is always fun [:)].  As far as metal, I remember reading someplace that there is enough easily accessible iron, aluminum, and uranium to last us an obscenely long time -- millennia at the very minimum. Hmm, Apparently so. But, once again, I'm not talking about today's usage rates, but if most of the world has a level of affluence comparable to our own. I have read that recycling generally uses much less energy than mining, so that helps in the energy department. If you're looking at the really long term, then you might want to give some thought about metal supplies. In 20,000 years (if we're still around), will we still have a steady, plentiful supply? Mentor  Originally posted by damgo Hmm, no. It relies on the profit motive, markets, and open trade. In general it will not lead to a flat distribution of income/wealth, but there is nothing to disallow a widespread increase in wealth among all classes -- indeed this is rather typical. The idea that capitalism requires a large number of poor is a common misconception, easily refuted by actual income statistics. ACTUAL INCOME STATISTICS for the USA show that in fact *ALL* segments of the population are increasing their incomes faster than inflation. Pick a table. Any table. Any way you slice the statistics, EVERYONE in the US (including the poor) is getting richer. example: in 1967, the bottom fifth of households in the US had an average income of$7,303. In 2001, \$10,136. An increase of 38%. These numbers are inflation adjusted.
 Well when you think about it, the reason for some countries is the form of government. Communists and Socialists can't exactly do that because there is no room for advancing. You always have to stay in one postition and cant make your own decisions. Where as in america you are free to start your own business if you wish.

 Well when you think about it, the reason for some countries is the form of government. Communists and Socialists can't exactly do that because there is no room for advancing. You always have to stay in one postition and cant make your own decisions. Where as in america you are free to start your own business if you wish.
Guevara wanted to have the Cuban government allow small business so people can expand and the country could prosper. Guevara knew that a Soviet-style economy couldn't work in order to prosper the country. Inherently, Guevara was not against capitalism's free choice, but against capitalism's exploitation of workers.

However, Guevara's suggestion went unheard either due to a bad management of the Cuban economy or the adamant nature of the leaders to refuse the Western style economy.

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