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News First sustainable nation

  1. Jan 31, 2010 #1
    Which country of the world will be the first to reach sustainability?

    By this I mean is able to provide its energy from local sources for at least the next 500 years and is able to provide its food from local sources for at least the next 500 years and can provide its industrial inputs from local sources for at least the next 500 years. The use of outer space resources is allowed in this definition but seems more long term.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2010 #2
  4. Jan 31, 2010 #3


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    There will never be any such thing unless/until there is one world government.
  5. Jan 31, 2010 #4
    Which will never come true ...
  6. Jan 31, 2010 #5
    I do not see why a world government has anything to do with it. If the most advantaged place on Earth can not do it adding in the less advantaged spots will not help.

    I wonder if Cuba is already there?
  7. Jan 31, 2010 #6


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    I would say that it would be a nation where the citizens have a lot of spare time on their hands, no cable, and no twittering.

    Reducing ones carbon footprint takes much longer than expected when one has to go to work every day, and is interrupted with trivialities on a seemingly constant basis.

    I'm going to guess https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tx.html". 60% unemployment, censored media, and 70 godzillion cubic feet of natural gas sitting on their shoreline.

    I would go with https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/zi.html", with an unemployment rate of 95%, but it just seems to be a mess right now. Man. Can you imagine a place were almost no one has a job?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  8. Jan 31, 2010 #7
    Yes I can.

    It depends on two things the population density and the amount of technology and capital that is invested to produce goods and services. So basically four combinations

    1) low density, low investment/tech good life looks like 30,000 BCE
    2) low density, high investment/tech great life looks like paradise
    3) high density, low investment/tech wretched life looks like parts of Haiti
    4) high density, high investment/tech salary slavery looks like modern day US much of population unable to reproduce
  9. Jan 31, 2010 #8


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    It is hard to determine what a country is *able* to do.
    In an optimistic scenario where many countries reach approximate sustainability, countries would still trade.

    So they would not, in practice, be obtaining all food and raw materials from local sources.

    There might conceivably be a "club" or "trade block" of sustainable countries (just as there are now clubs of developed nations) and they might preferentially trade among themselves---then one could see more definitely which national economies are operating on a collectively sustainable basis.

    But I don't see why, in an optimistic scenario, there would be barriers to trade forcing every economy to run exclusively on local resources.

    I was thinking what a better definition might be. How about saying a country's economy is sustainable if they generate all their energy sustainably AND their exports and imports consist completely of sustainably produced/harvested goods AND whatever internal agriculture and manufacturing is done on a sustainable basis.

    So then you could imagine a country like Norway that has a lot of hydropower resources (does it?) and a lot of forest and a lot of fish. Suppose it is harvesting timber and fish sustainably. Then it might achieve a sustainable economy even if importing some non-local but sustainably produced vegetables---by for example exporting lumber.
  10. Jan 31, 2010 #9
    Trade and specialization are fine. Let's amend the question to which nation or group of nations will be the first to be sustainable?
  11. Jan 31, 2010 #10
    If it is a group of nations I would explicitly add all the nation must have a net zero trade surplus/deficit. That is if one member is going deeper and deeper into debt that is not sustainable in the long run. A point Keynes made at Brenton Woods and that no one paid attention to.
  12. Jan 31, 2010 #11


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    If I've said it once, I've said it before: India.

    An acquaintance once described how India was able to sustain such a large population. It made total sense to me: Low tech, low energy. I told him it could be the model for the world. He of course laughed.

    I have become quite accustomed to living in one of the least densely populated, moderately comfortable areas on the planet. But if we were to bump our density up to that of India, in a sustainable manner, 90% of us would have to starve to death first. So I'd say, population density is a factor, but not an overly important one, compared to the agricultural capacity of the area.

    Your question about sustainability is a good one. It involves everyone, and everything.

    But I got fed up with the lip service a few years back.

    Hence, my foray into the realms of zcf.

    Lead by example.

    ps. when in doubt, over punctuate. I'm sure we Americans are all quite capable of reproducing ad absurdum. If that is what you mean.
  13. Jan 31, 2010 #12


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    India has 1/3rd of the world population of people living below the International poverty line of $1.25 a day.

  14. Jan 31, 2010 #13


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    That is probably why my acquaintance laughed at my statement.

    But I was most impressed that a nation with over 1/6 of the worlds population can sustain itself in an area 1/3 the size of the US. That's the equivalent of 76,000,000 people living in the state of Kansas. And India is able to keep most of them alive.

    Perhaps we should add to the equation of sustainability: And provide a comfortable environment were one does not have to worry about starving to death tomorrow.

    Wait! What's this I've just googled?


    Hmm... That's 1,200 per year out of 1,100,000,000.

    Compare that to wiki knowledge:

    So the starvation score is:

    1 : 1,000,000 for India
    1 : 170 for the rest of the world.​

    This is why I like India's model. It's one thing to be poor, but it sure beats being dead.

    My continued use of India as a model should not be construed as an indicator of how I would want live, nor see my fellow humans live, but as an indicator of the carrying capacity of a region to keep people alive.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  15. Jan 31, 2010 #14


    Because soon enough all the gypsies will have left to the western European countries because they accept them with open arms (I am looking at you GB.) and then Romania will just be the hardcore Romanians (about 12 people currently) and they will live long and prosper.
  16. Jan 31, 2010 #15
  17. Jan 31, 2010 #16


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    I'm sure most of the deaths from starvation are in Africa were a lot of the problem is political, on top of the fact that they live in a area that can't sustain them to begin with.

    India has improved greatly, but they can't provide adequately for their population. Near starvation and no medical help are not situations to be envied.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  18. Jan 31, 2010 #17


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    It has nothing to do with "advantaged" or "less advantaged". No country, no matter how "advantaged" is ever going to be self-sufficient. The economies of the countries of the world are far too intertwined for total self sufficiency to be possible, much less desirable.
  19. Jan 31, 2010 #18
    the US could do it now, but it's more profitable to import
  20. Jan 31, 2010 #19
    The US could be energy independent now?
  21. Jan 31, 2010 #20
    The Soylent Corporation has taken care of the food and fuel shortages.
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