Globalization and poverty

  • #26
russ_watters
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And I just saw this:
Aquamarine said:
Universities, especially humanities, are dominated by the left. They will, often unconsciously, present whatever are supporting their view of the world. That is part is the psychological need to diminish cognitive dissonance.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance
This is true, but its also related to what I said in my last post about only protesting when things improve. There was another study done on business productivity:

People in a factory were medium-productive and a study was done to see how their productivity could be improved. Things like improved lighting, longer luch hours, music, etc. all improved morale and productivity. Unsurprising. But here's the killer: taking those things away also improved productivity and morale. As it turns out, it isn't the incentive that improves morale and productivity, but the attention.

How does this relate to Bolivia's water supply? People don't complain unless they know someone is listening.

In any case, the thing that scares me most in politics is colleges leaning left. And its not the fact that colleges lean left itself, but the dis-association with reality that grows out of it. People come out of college with liberal ideas that are based on things they learned that just plain aren't true. That's why I jumped on this thread: I could smell the implication of facts learned that aren't true.
 
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  • #27
Math Is Hard
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russ_watters said:
I'm still hung up on the suggestion that a primitive hunter-gatherer society is somehow something "good." Just unbelievable.
I don't know if my teacher would make the argument that it is something "good", as much as she would say that it is not something "bad".
Of course, I can't speak for her.

My anthropology textbook calls foragers "the original affluent society". Why "affluent"? Because they desired less!

[so what do you think of that, Russ? Over the top?]
:smile:
 
  • #28
russ_watters
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Math Is Hard said:
[so what do you think of that, Russ? Over the top?]
:smile:
It quite honestly scares the hell out of me.
 
  • #29
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perhaps i can help you here. in comparison to a primitive agricultural society(that existed throughout the middle ages in europe and exists still in third world countries) the hunter-gatherer society is incomparably better of. but primitive agricultural societies have the potential to evolve and become ultimately better than a hunter-gatherer society . furthermore to be prosperous hunter gatherer societies need much larger living space which today is not available. so at present nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle is no longer viable though, right upto the 18th century it was the dominant way of living(%of global area inhabited) on earth. note that humans knew agriculture very early but chose not to practice it till 10000 years ago and then only in isolated pockets where the depleted natural resources could not sustain the earlier mode of living.
 
  • #30
Math Is Hard
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sage, thanks for your comments. It seems like you have studied this subject quite a bit. Let me ask you - is it common for anthropologists to use the word "primitive"? I got the impression that this was something we weren't supposed to say (not PC or something).

"..but primitive agricultural societies have the potential to evolve and become ultimately better.."

I wonder how well it would have gone over if I had said that (the above phrase) in class. Wouldn't it sound like I am supporting the old 19th century Unilineal Cultural Evolution model?
 
  • #31
NoahAfrican
I think that the problem with living in our Western society is that we do not entertain the notion that we live under a system of propaganda. The things we are taught are designed to propagate the system, because the elites have a vested interest in the continuation and propagation of the system that benefits them the most. Thus, although we have freedom and all kinds of access to information…by the time we mature intellectually; the system has already conditioned a bias within us in favor of what exists. It kind of akin to growing up conditioned to be a Christian and hence rejecting all other forms of worship from being valid. Had we simply grew up in a different culture, we would have been conditioned to be of another religion.

The truth of the matter is that humans have survived and flourished long before theoretical capitalism. Moreover, there have been wealthy and powerful communities long before our model of capitalism existed as well. Thus, to link wealth and poverty in this world, which has existed for thousands of years, to a recent theoretical phenomenon known as capitalism is counter intuitive. More than likely, capitalism is a façade that simply mask the empirical means of the creation of wealth. A Trojan horse, if you will.

What moved the economics of survival closer to a zero sum game has been the private ownership of land. Land and the resources on and under it is the most valuable resource for human survival. There was a time when most people lived off the land…and flourished. One can still find evidence of this in the Amazon jungles and in parts of Africa. These people are WEALTHY, HEALTHY and INDEPENDENT. What capitalism does is that is takes the ability of independence away via putting the land in the hands of private owners, who eventually exploit or develop the land, moving the inhabitants off it and into the “system”, were they become DEPEENDANT, POOR and UNHEALTHY….and hence ripe for exploitation.

I often view capitalism as a sprint, while other forms of economics are more like a marathon. What I mean by that is that capitalism seeks to go full throttle and to maximize the usage of resources and energy to reach a certain point quickly, while other forms of economics moves more slowly and does not produce the type of output and gains in juxtaposition with the sprinter. However, it comes down to an issue of strategy based upon…..where the finish line is. If the race is short, then the sprinter strategy is sound. However, if the race is long, then the sprinter strategy is foolish, because it consumes energy and recourses faster than they can be replenished, which will eventually lead to burn out. Thus, at a point in time all could look great and superior for the sprinter, if one is ignorant of that point in time relative to the distance remaining to go.
 
  • #32
russ_watters
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NoahAfrican said:
The truth of the matter is that humans have survived and flourished long before theoretical capitalism. Moreover, there have been wealthy and powerful communities long before our model of capitalism existed as well. Thus, to link wealth and poverty in this world, which has existed for thousands of years, to a recent theoretical phenomenon known as capitalism is counter intuitive.
The standard of living that a lower-middle class American family has today would make an 18th century king weep. This is due to things, primarily: the industrial revolution and American capitalism.
There was a time when most people lived off the land…and flourished. One can still find evidence of this in the Amazon jungles and in parts of Africa. These people are WEALTHY, HEALTHY and INDEPENDENT.
Now that's just absurd. Having nothing is not wealth. Living under constant threat of death from the smallest illness is not health. Being utterly at the mercy of their environment is not independent.
Had we simply grew up in a different culture, we would have been conditioned to be of another religion.
No one of any level of intelligence can misunderstand the implications of a refrigerator or tap-water (though they would seem like magic). These things have nothing to do with conditioning.
Thus, to link wealth and poverty in this world, which has existed for thousands of years, to a recent theoretical phenomenon known as capitalism is counter intuitive.
You miss the point. Its not the existence of poverty and weath, but the change in poverty/wealth that capitalism is relevant to.
I often view capitalism as a sprint, while other forms of economics are more like a marathon.
The finish line for a human is death. How long it takes to get there depends greatly on your place in the economic scheme of things.

But I'll bite - you say other forms take a long-term approach. When can I see the benefits of another system and how many billions of people have to die before they are realized? The human race has been civilized for upwards of 20,000 years, and the average life expectancy remainded roughly constant for the first 19,900 years. In the last 100 years, it has doubled. I think 19,900 years is enough time to spend waiting for the benefits of another system to occur and try a new system...

I find it extrordinary that so many people today have so little regard for how good they really have it. Could you even imagine what life would be like without electricity, refrigeration, indoor plumbing, pennicilin, concrete, etc?
 
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  • #33
If wealth were about nothing but TVs, nannies and the like, capitalism wins. But is that all we are going to judge our standard of living by? What about justice, equality, freedom?

Lets not forget relative wealth. The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen in the US
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/08/13/national/main635936.shtml
and UK
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...gap08.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/12/08/ixhome.html

Someone has to make the TV, and be the nanny. Is the nanny glad she doesn't have to live in a ditch and die at 28? She'd be nuts not to. But that's a pretty desperate yardstick by which to measure the success of capitalism.
 
  • #34
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Life-expectancy vs life-expectancy at age

russ_watters said:
the average life expectancy remainded roughly constant for the first 19,900 years. In the last 100 years, it has doubled.
It has been pointed out on http://groups-beta.google.com/group/sci.life-extension/search?group=sci.life-extension&q=%22life+expectancy%22+infant&qt_g=1 [Broken] that the concept of life-expectancy is nonsensical without an accompanying at the age of qualification. For example, has life-expectancy for 20-year-olds really doubled?
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/sci.life-extension/browse_frm/thread/2722719147c2613a/ddffa455c3a6f103?q=%22life+expectancy%22+infant&_done=%2Fgroup%2Fsci.life-extension%2Fsearch%3Fgroup%3Dsci.life-extension%26q%3D%22life+expectancy%22+infant%26qt_g%3D1%26&_doneTitle=Back+to+Search&&d#ddffa455c3a6f103 [Broken]


  • Paul Antonik Wakfer Sep 1, 3:02 pm

    Newsgroups: sci.life-extension
    From: Paul Antonik Wakfer <t...@morelife.org>
    Date: Wed, 01 Sep 2004 18:02:01 -0400
    Local: Wed, Sep 1 2004 3:02 pm
    Subject: Re: Statistics regarding lifespan

    Doug Brooks wrote:
    > This was posted on an online forum. Is there any truth to this?

    > "Unfortunately most improvement in longevity stems directly from
    > improved neonatal care.

    > I had a biostatistician look at last 150 years of life tables from
    > Metropolitan Life, and his conclusion: If you survived the first 3 days
    > after birth in 1930, your life expectancy was within 6 months of what it
    > is now, despite all the heart surgery and chemotherapy... "

    It is my understanding from many credible sources that this is generally
    correct, although to hear all the doctors and drug companies talk, you
    would never know it. It is that basis of why people like Jay Olshansky
    (and Aubrey de Grey, for that matter) argue that with today's
    technology, even extrapolated into the near future, there is going to be
    little increase in either the average or maximum life expectancy of the
    human species. This is Aubrey's basis for promoting a big push for
    research into radically new technologies to increase human lifespan.
 
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  • #35
NoahAfrican
If you were a true scholar Russ, you would realize that in nature….the only true metrics of success is perpetuation of the bloodline. You spend too much time evaluating the pleasure and longevity of a particular life, under a particular form of economics, when that is not NATURES measure of success.

The wealthiest nations have the weakest humans and the lowest rates of reproduction, which promotes FAILURE in nature’s standards. Why? The reason being is that the natural selection process is stymied. There is little resistance to life that promotes the natural selection processes, which in turn makes each subsequent generation stronger. Also, the low rates of reproduction of wealthy moves them closer to the extinction threat….regardless of how long and how well the people who are living.

People in Africa may have a low life expectancy….but they have triple the rates of reproduction and population growth than does wealthier more advanced peoples….and by the laws of natural selection, they are biologically stronger due to the resistance they face and genetically mutating and evolving to survive. Thus, they are actually more successful than the West.

Most of the things that make us live longer in the West are artificial and not genetic. We stay alive via drugs and medicine, not evolved biological strength as a resultant of having to be biologically strong to survive. Moreover, we pollute our bodies with all sorts of chemical, destroy the environment, air quality and atmosphere…all to live a more comfortable life. In the short turn….that manifest into a benefit…but what are the long term implications on future generations? Likely bad.

Russ, your problem is that you have a superficial short term intellect and you do not understand NATURE.
 
  • #36
loseyourname
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I'm pretty sure Russ understands nature, but Russ is an ethicist. He isn't concerned with the way things are in nature, he is concerned with the way things ought to be in the course of human endeavor. Most ethicists will tell you that they are not the same thing.
 
  • #37
NoahAfrican
Many people understand concpets....but that does not mean that they put that understanding to practical application. What are the "ethics" of nature...other than survival and reproduction?
 
  • #38
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hitssquad said:
> I had a biostatistician look at last 150 years of life tables from
> Metropolitan Life, and his conclusion: If you survived the first 3 days
> after birth in 1930, your life expectancy was within 6 months of what it
> is now, despite all the heart surgery and chemotherapy... "

It is my understanding from many credible sources that this is generally
correct, although to hear all the doctors and drug companies talk, you
would never know it.
I find the above post rather difficult to interpret; Russ states that 100 years ago, our life expectancy was not as good. The above post suggests that this claim is somewhat unfounded and provides evidence from seventy years ago. Since there were important changes in society between 1904 and 1930, this post doesn't suggest to me that Russ was incorrect, though the clarification is appreciated.

Whereas I believe you can make a strong case that much of modern medicine has done little for our life expectancy, there can be no doubt that modern infrastructure has made huge progress. Adittionally, I have not seen in this thread where anyone is arguing that modern drugs are soley responsible for an increase in life expectancy, but I do see where people are arguing that modern society - including technology - is responsible. The result mentioned in the above quote suprises me not at all; most of the really major infrastructure advancements that come with civilization had already occured by then. Advances in plumbing, trash disposal and other health needs had already been made. Hunter/Gather societies do not have these things, and therefore do not have nearly as long a life expectancy.

In short, if you consider longer life expectancy a positive thing, then our modern society should be viewed positively in that regard.
 
  • #39
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NoahAfrican said:
What are the "ethics" of nature...other than survival and reproduction?
Heh. Exactly.

Now you understand why we spend so much time "evaluating the pleasure and longevity of a particular life, under a particular form of economics" rather than just caring about how NATURE acts, as you put it.

Because to do otherwise would be unethical.
 
  • #40
loseyourname
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Locrian said:
Heh. Exactly.

Now you understand why we spend so much time "evaluating the pleasure and longevity of a particular life, under a particular form of economics" rather than just caring about how NATURE acts, as you put it.

Because to do otherwise would be unethical.
I'm not so sure that Noah does get it. I have the impression he is saying that survival and reproduction of a certain gene line are the only ends we should strive for, and that quality of life really doesn't matter.
 
  • #41
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NoahAfrican said:
If you were a true scholar Russ, you would realize ...
This person is speaking of a "true scholar?" This is the person who wrote:
Had we simply grew up in a different culture, we would have been conditioned to be of another religion.
Even a high school "scholar" could compose a grammatically correct sentence.

People in Africa may have a low life expectancy….but they have triple the rates of reproduction and population growth than does wealthier more advanced peoples….and by the laws of natural selection, they are biologically stronger due to the resistance they face and genetically mutating and evolving to survive. Thus, they are actually more successful than the West.
As Rushton has pointed out for the past 10 years, humans differ in the r-K scale as do different species. Insects, for example, have taken the r-strategy of high reproduction, no care for the young, and short lifespan. Mammals, generally tend towards the K-strategy, which is opposite. Among mammals, rabbits are at the r-strategy end, while elephants are at the K-strategy end. The same strategies have been seen in different forms between Mongoloids, Caucasoids, and Negroids. Every pertinent biological factor that separates these groups lines up in exactly the same order.
 
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  • #42
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According to the work of Elaine Pagels, in the book "The Chalice And The Blade", the peoples of Northern Europe enjoyed an eight thousand year hiatus of peace and prosperity in the river valleys with no fortification, or evidence of warfare; prior to the Roman invasions. They traded and lived in large familial clans. The worked metal to make cups and jewelry. This life was prosperous, and peaceful. These were the "Barbarians". The model we currently enjoy isn't the only game that ever was.

I also read that the average life expectancy for male factory workers in 18th century England, was 17. So we have quadrupled or quintupled our life expectancy from that statistic. You see life expectancy of 40 for a forest nomad, was very high in comparison to British factory workers.

We are an adaptable species, but to be tamed we need to be fed and cared for, so that we feel a mutual trust and affection for the society we are a part of. The economic system that our current government is touting, is highly exclusionary, they are actually trying to bring home to us, the atrocities they have been part of, in Central and South America for decades.

Globalization also is a means for vast energy co-dependency. I live in a western state, and most of our food comes from more than 1500 miles away. There is a move for sustainable local agriculture, so that we are somewhat self sufficient. We couldn't sell the Utah apple crop in Colorado, last year, because of the cheap Chinese apples. Now when I read of the plight of the Chinese farmer, then I see the Utah farmer victimized too; I think that this globalization is profiting oil salesmen, but not farmers on either side of the long expensive ride.
 
  • #43
russ_watters
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loseyourname said:
I'm not so sure that Noah does get it. I have the impression he is saying that survival and reproduction of a certain gene line are the only ends we should strive for, and that quality of life really doesn't matter.
Heh, I'm not so sure I get it. That survival itself is the only ends is indeed what he said in his last post, but previous posts did make claims about quality of life - that "wealthy, healthy, and independent" crap. I don't know that its worth continuing the discussion with such a moving target.
 
  • #44
russ_watters
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hitssquad said:
It has been pointed out on http://groups-beta.google.com/group/sci.life-extension/search?group=sci.life-extension&q=%22life+expectancy%22+infant&qt_g=1 [Broken] that the concept of life-expectancy is nonsensical without an accompanying at the age of qualification. For example, has life-expectancy for 20-year-olds really doubled?
If you have some statistics from a reputable source, I'ld be more than happy to take a look. That said, I also consider child mortality to be a pretty important statistic as well.

Also:
I had a biostatistician look at last 150 years of life tables from
Metropolitan Life, and his conclusion: If you survived the first 3 days
after birth in 1930, your life expectancy was within 6 months of what it
is now, despite all the heart surgery and chemotherapy... "
That's absurd and I won't accept it without substantiation.

edit: Ehh, don't bother. I found the data myself (it was pretty easy) and I was right - your claim is absurd. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus04trend.pdf#027 Table 27 on pdf page 77 has life expectancy at birth, 65 years, and 75 years from 1900 to today (though, unfortunately the data only goes back to 1900, so you only get life expectancy of people born after 1900). Suffice to say, improvements have been made across the board: male, female, black, white, etc.

For example, from 1950 to 2002, life expectancy of a 65 year old (all races/sexes) has increased from 13.9 to 18.2.
 
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  • #45
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Is there such a thing as life-expectancy unqualified

Locrian said:
hitssquad said:
It has been pointed out on sci.life-extension that the concept of life-expectancy is nonsensical without an accompanying at the age of qualification. For example, has life-expectancy for 20-year-olds really doubled?
I find the above post rather difficult to interpret; Russ states that 100 years ago, our life expectancy was not as good. The above post suggests that this claim is somewhat unfounded...
No. My post suggests that life-expectancy unqualified may be a nonsensical concept. One cannot make an unfounded quantity claim about a quality that itself is nonsensical.
 
  • #46
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Math Is Hard said:
sage, thanks for your comments. It seems like you have studied this subject quite a bit. Let me ask you - is it common for anthropologists to use the word "primitive"? I got the impression that this was something we weren't supposed to say (not PC or something).

"..but primitive agricultural societies have the potential to evolve and become ultimately better.."

I wonder how well it would have gone over if I had said that (the above phrase) in class. Wouldn't it sound like I am supporting the old 19th century Unilineal Cultural Evolution model?
well i'm no anthropologist. so i can't help you on that. but i will say this. historians in general are beginning to take second a look at their age old biases about tribal societies. the conventional wisdom of seeing them as uncouth barbarians no longer hold on closer scrutiny. consider the vast cave paintings of cro-magnons or large mammoth bone complexes found in
europe. there is also evidence of extensive trade routes between europe and china 20000 years ago. the tribal societies were extremely prosperous by any standards. then why this bias. well people would say they had no written
language, no lasting monuments,coinage,texts or literature. of course they did not have these feature of an agrarian society because they were not agrarian society. would you call trees to be less developed than animals because they can't run? well democracy is a tribal heritage and nobody complains about that.
 
  • #47
russ_watters
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I was pretty much with you until this:
sage said:
the tribal societies were extremely prosperous by any standards.
I proposed a standard: modern lower-middle class American. That's just above the current American poverty line. So I ask this: were these "prosperous" early tribal societies above or below the standard of living of people who today are considered just above the poverty line? Was the King of England in 1700?

My view is that the King of England had luxuries, sure - but he did not have many of the things that a lower-middle class American would consider basic necessities. That makes his standard of living lower and wealth an irrelevant facade.

It still amazes me that we're even having this conversation.
 
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  • #48
loseyourname
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Dayle Record said:
Globalization also is a means for vast energy co-dependency. I live in a western state, and most of our food comes from more than 1500 miles away. There is a move for sustainable local agriculture, so that we are somewhat self sufficient. We couldn't sell the Utah apple crop in Colorado, last year, because of the cheap Chinese apples. Now when I read of the plight of the Chinese farmer, then I see the Utah farmer victimized too; I think that this globalization is profiting oil salesmen, but not farmers on either side of the long expensive ride.
That's a little odd, to say the least. I don't know much about agricultural trade patterns, but almost all of the fruit we eat in California is grown in California. In fact, I've also lived in North Carolina and New Jersey and, in both instances, most of the fruit we ate was grown in California. The only major exception I can think of are apples (Washington) and oranges (which often do come from California, but just as often come from Florida). I don't think I've ever eaten a Chinese apple.

Now energy is something we've really been screwed on, but that had nothing to do with globalization. That had to do with the fact that almost all of our plants were owned by Enron, so we had a corrupt company in Houston selling energy made in California to be used in California. We're also routinely squeezed on gas prices, but that is simply a function of demand. More people drive more cars on more miles of highway than in any other state, so prices are always higher here than in other states. And, of course, suburban housewives love to drive 80-ton SUV's to the mall alone.
 
  • #49
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California's special gasoline-price problem

loseyourname said:
We're also routinely squeezed on gas prices, but that is simply a function of demand.
Reportedly, it is more a function of the fact that California requires a unique gasoline formulation. If the distinctly volatile and high gas prices of California were simply a funtion of demand, the demand might soon be met by an increase in refineries and/or shipments as it is elsewhere in the nation.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/...ns/primer_on_gasoline_prices/html/petbro.html


  • Why are California gasoline prices higher and more variable than others?

    The State of California operates its own reformulated gasoline program with more stringent requirements than Federally-mandated clean gasolines. In addition to the higher cost of cleaner fuel, there is a combined State and local sales and use tax of 7.25 percent on top of an 18.4 cent-per-gallon federal excise tax and an 18.0 cent-per-gallon State excise tax. Refinery margins have also been higher due in large part to price volatility in the region.

    California prices are more variable than others because there are relatively few supply sources of its unique blend of gasoline outside the State. California refineries need to be running near their fullest capabilities in order to meet the State's fuel demands. If more than one of its refineries experiences operating difficulties at the same time, California's gasoline supply may become very tight and the prices soar. Supplies could be obtained from some Gulf Coast and foreign refineries; however, California's substantial distance from those refineries is such that any unusual increase in demand or reduction in supply results in a large price response in the market before relief supplies can be delivered. The farther away the necessary relief supplies are, the higher and longer the price spike will be.

    California was one of the first states to ban the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) after it was detected in ground water. Ethanol, a non-petroleum product usually made from corn, is being used in place of MTBE. Gasoline without MTBE is more expensive to produce and requires refineries to change the way they produce and distribute gasoline. Some supply dislocations and price surges occurred in the summer of 2003 as the State moved away from MTBE. Similar problems have also occurred in past fuel transitions.
 
  • #50
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NoahAfrican said:
Many people understand concpets....but that does not mean that they put that understanding to practical application. What are the "ethics" of nature...other than survival and reproduction?
No offense but the the above post suggests that people should be just meat like animals and should have no purpose but to produce babies and survive as we all should confirm to the "ethics" of nature.
Survive? To what end?
There is something known as human happiness and our purpose is to strive towards it.

P.S. Ethics apply to living conscious beings. They do not apply to animals or nature.
 
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