Rattle your pitchforks and say #yes2meat

(Doug) #61

That’s just not gonna happen, though.

It’s not that we’re “awful,” it’s that we are as we are. Most people’s consumption rises with their wealth and income; most people spend pretty much all they get. About a half a percent of the world’s people get to a standard of wealth that right now equates to being a ‘millionaire’ in current U.S. Dollars, something that isn’t nearly what it once was, due to the incredible debasement of our currency.

Socialism/Communism appeals to many people, at least at certain times in their lives, but in practice they work out poorly - this is human nature again - when we’re not working directly for our own benefit, we don’t produce nearly as much. Russia had collective farms, with the workers being allowed tiny plots of land for personal gardens - the yield on the state farms was about 1/10 of the personal plots, by land area. And in reality, almost all socialist countries run out of other people’s money, in the end.

Capitalism is not ‘perfect’ - almost everybody would say so, and that no human economic system can be. Totally unfettered capitalism leads to an incredibly wealthy monarchy and/or a handful of super-rich, with the rest being akin to serfs. The individual being rewarded for his own efforts and for his own ownership results in greater overall wealth, however (versus other economic systems), with the exact distribution of it being somewhat dependent on the modifications to the capitalism at hand.

You say we’re good at cooperating, but we’re also mighty warlike. Tribalism? Look at the amount of horror visited on the world by religion, just by the fact that “They believe differently than we do.” Resource shortages make for big trouble, i.e. “All war is ultimately caused by population pressure,” and we’ve had no shortage of wars.

Good question. We are already very overpopulated, by some measures. What is the actual carrying capacity of the earth - where, with modern knowledge and some improvement in our ways and a lessening of our harmful impact - can things be sustainable? I’ve seen good analyses that say 3 or 4 billion people.

The birth rate has already leveled out, bigtime, in the U.S. and quite a few other countries around the world. The fertility rate is down around 1.75, so not even replacement rate.

What would I do? Mostly, I don’t have any good solutions - and feel that there really are not any, for the most part, i.e. the possible and the practical are still going to result in some real declines in standards of living, let alone quite a trashing of the “things get better and better” mantra that so many of us became used to after World War II and with deficit financing. Yet there would definitely be some changes made. I don’t see any system that is unsustainable as good. So, beginning with the economy, no more deficits.


We can do anything we put our minds to, right?

See I refuse to accept the premise that we’re all, deep-down, a bunch of greedy a-holes. This kind of mass selfishness is learned, and in America’s case (and pretty much every Western nation), rewarded. And just because it’s been in vogue right now, and for the past few hundred years (or few thousand if we want to trace most our modern problems back to patriarchy), doesn’t mean that things cannot change.

If capitalists are right, that we’re all inherently greedy beings, then we the have-nots have nothing to lose by taking from the haves. We’ll just be fulfilling our basic animal instinct to take from the beast who decided it needed 100 apples a day when it only needs one, while the rest of the herd starves. Why not take from it?

This kind of resource-hoarding has never worked out. Eventually, it always crumbles. Feudalism crumbled. Colonialism will crumble, too. And the rich just better hope they aren’t eaten in the process, because when the herd is pushed to the brink of starvation, that’s when things get ugly. All empires must fall, after all.


Weather too, which some people confuse with climate.

Strange things can happen though. Look at the Maunder Minimum, which coincided with the Little Ice Age.

If you look at temps though, there is no corresponding increase that goes with the CO2 elevation into the 400s. And there have been previous periods with CO2 levels that high, based on ice core samples.

It all looks very cyclical to me based on the studies and presentations I’ve seen.

(Doug) #64

No - we cannot change our nature. And while some progress can be had, we can’t eliminate most of the effects of population pressure on the planet - such is just not practical or politically possible.

I didn’t say that. The fact is that most of us have more concern for ourselves and our immediate family, by far, than we do for the world’s population or our own countrymen as a whole. On a national scale, most of us vote our pocketbook; which candidate, which party is going to give us the best deal? Our own close clan or tribe may be quite important, too, but when we get out as far as “To each according to their need, from each according to his ability,” then the systen is not in line with human nature and is not going to do well. Too much incentive to do little, since the rewards will be the same.

Disagree - it’s part of us. Heck, you look at Chimpanzee society, and there are things that work and things that don’t. You can say “selfishness,” but it really is the heart of human motivation - that short of physical compulsion otherwise, from among our available choices we pick that which we want the most, or that for which we have the least distaste. It all goes to desire.

Capitalists wouldn’t say “greedy,” much, outside of Michael Douglas in full movied-up regalia. The principle of private ownership looms large, so no have-nots taking from the haves. Why not take from the haves? --Because this will result in so many dead people, in the end, that ain’t hardly anybody gonna say it was a good thing. The overriding point is that when we are working for ourselves, for our family, we tend to produce much more than if we are working for the “common good,” etc.

It’s also not like Capitalist systems are the only ones with a very rich, privileged class. Look at most of the world’s Communist and Socialist countries - same deal there, with the average standard of living being considerably less than under Capitalism.

That “resource hoarding” has always been - we’re going to do for ourselves and our family long before we get to “our nation’s people” or everybody on earth. Yes, things fall apart - and I was going to say that all hegemonies have their expiration date. Rome, Brittania, the U.S…

KC, you mentioned the patriarchy - here too I agree with you. There is a difference, for one thing - women in general are not nearly the warmakers that men are. Hey - no question that women are disastrously ender-represented in leadership and power, around the world. With the way it’s worked out largely under men, I say let the women take it for a while.


What’s that got to do with whether or not we can eat the rich?

If this were the case, we wouldn’t concern ourselves with charity. Yet if you open up gofundme, you’ll see plenty of examples of people acting altruistically, even tho they stand nothing to gain from it. And they’re doing more for humanity than trickle-down economics is.

We’re also genetically close to bonobos, who are generally much less violent than chimpanzees. Why not model ourselves after them?

Well I mean, capitalism has more than its fair share of millions upon millions of dead people - the genocide of the indigenous populations in North America, South America, Australia, etc., the enslavement of Africans and the carving of African nations for plunder. I’m no apologist for Communist nations, but capitalism can’t be acting like its predictable side-effects are acceptable whereas those of other violent revolutions aren’t.

This isn’t really true. Patriarchy’s problem isn’t that women are “inherently wiser” or something (rest in Hell, Margaret Thatcher), it’s that patriarchy brings out the worst in men: it makes them competitive, it makes them treat non-men as “other”, among other things.

(Doug) #66

Sure, big difference. The seas have about 4000 times the thermal mass of the atmosphere, so the weather - especially localized weather, means almost nothing in the long term. The real question is if the oceans are warming up, and they are - and fast.

The same thing happening now would only result in 0.25% less energy from the sun hitting the earth, not enough to cool things off nor even stop the currently rising temperatures.

Compared with what we know from history, we’ve had both incredibly fast temperature rise and increasing CO2. As a practical matter on the earth, there is no necessary “corresponding” temperature increase with CO2 elevation, since there are many other variables at work. If and almost surely - when - we have doubled the CO2 concentration in the air, the temperature increase will still only have been 2 to 4.5 degrees C.

Yes - the CO2 concentration and world temperatures have been higher at some times in the past than they are now. The rate of change is what is striking at this point. Going back over the past million years, there have been some relatively fast warm-ups after ice ages, but this is relative to pre-human-effect on climate. For the past 40 or 50 years, the rate of warming is 15 or 20 times as fast as even the prior “fast” times.

As far as us getting over 400 PPM of CO2 in the air, the ten hottest years on record have all been from 1998 onward.

(Doug) #67

The realities of human nature do not mean that it’s physically impossible to eat a very rich person. However, no amount of some people “putting their mind to it” will change the fact that if it got to be an actual thing, that it would result in some serious mass-slaughter. You think a lot of zombies got whacked on The Walking Dead…

If one wants outright anarchy and some serious population-reduction, then one might look into it, but I seriously doubt it would get much traction at all, barring considerable changes in the political status quo.

No, not at all - nothing I said rules out charity and altruism. The fact remains that our primary motivation lies elsewhere.

We don’t (yet) have the choice. :wink:

In no way did I say or infer that Capitalism is perfect. Of course it’s not - again, no human economic system will be, in the eyes of almost everybody. It’s not a matter of one being all good and the others being all bad - it’s that capitalism is more in line with human nature, and that it results in significantly greater overall production and wealth. The ‘Poverty Line’ in the U.S. this year is $25,750. World median income is around $11,000.

Just going to have to disagree here, KC. I submit that women really are less warlike, in general, than men are.


I’m gonna need some citations for that. There’s no reason to believe capitalism reflects human nature. It always comes across to me as just the excuse greedy old Christian straight white cis men give to why they should continue to hold the majority of the power while everyone should just “be grateful” that it’s not worse.

Yeah and it’s pretty much impossible to live on that minimum wage in the US, unless you live in the middle of nowhere Mississippi. Once again, telling Poors that “others have it worse” does not make capitalism good or even all that appealing.


Bruh, I was assigned female at birth and raised as a girl. Women are more than capable of being as monstrous as men are under the right cirumstances. Saying that women are “inherently” this-or-that is just sexism talking, it’s the same sort of nonsense that leads people to say “well we can’t have a woman as president because she’s controlled by her emotions.”

The OldDoughouse
(less is more, more or less) #70

Sigh. Suffice it to say that I’m practicing charitable silence as my tongue bleeds, rather than engage in remedial economic discussions.

I am interested in what might constitute sustainable animal husbandry and farming practices. Fashionable notions on human nature and one’s favorite macroeconomic systems, much less so.

(Doug) #71

First of all, much of it is common sense. Capitalism rewards productivity, socialism disincentivises it. One big, central gov’t making the decisions will be inherently inefficient to outright foolish - bureaucrats don’t know the intricacies of making automobiles, raising cattle, growing coffee, mining the earth, etc. A market economy handles this much better.

The transient successes of socialism have mostly been akin to making a factory to make parts to make more factories - “all this glorious production” - but it very poorly translates into making good quality consumer goods and lots of them. Witness the real-world history. How have things been going in Venezuela and Greece over the past few years? Check out the recent experience of Spain, and the much longer present history of Cuba. Is North Korea really the best Korea? No, not by a longshot.

I think it’s a truism that it often takes a couple generations for people to get fed up with stupid stuff, even if it seems good in theory at the outset. Look at what happened in the world as a whole after World War II (huge rise in socialism), and specifically in some of the largest countries - China, Russia, East Germany. We get to the late 1980s and things rapidly change. '89 - down comes the Berlin Wall. '90 - China throws in the towel, embraces capitalism to a large extent, reopens the stock exchange, etc. '91 - the Soviet Union collapses.

In all these cases, the knowledge had accumulated that the way they were doing things simply was not nearly as good as in capitalist countries. To a large degree, it was the elite, the high gov’t bureaucrats, etc., who traveled outside those countries, and they were faced with the fact that even with their lofty status at home, their standard of living was frequently lower than a factory-worker in western countries.

It’s a different world now - modern media, movies, internet, cell phones, etc. - it is nearly impossible to hide the failures of socialism from the people.

Even in the frequently-mentioned “best” examples of socialism, i.e. Nordic countries like Denmark and Sweden, there is plenty of evidence of the inferiority of socialism or that we mistake their economies for being socialistic. Bernie Sanders’ misguided, uninformed admiration notwithstanding (:smile:), here’s the Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, speaking at Harvard in 2015: “…some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.” In the ‘2019 Index of Economic Freedom,’ Denmark ranks 14th out of 186 countries, barely behind the U.S. at #12.

Sweden became quite wealthy into and through the 1960s. In the 1970s tax rates were raised a lot, and large social programs were instituted. The growth rate plummeted to the second-lowest of western European nations. It took a while for the people to get fed up with this - it wasn’t until 1991 that a center-right coalition gov’t was elected, and the country moved toward free markets again. As a result, Sweden’s growth rate became the 2nd highest in western Europe - this was true from 1991 through at least 2014.

These countries are still relatively “high tax and high service,” compared to the U.S. They have a much more homogenous population and a strong work ethic that has sustained them, there. People who leave these countries still become more affluent in the U.S., in general, than those who stay. Both Danish Americans and Swedish Americans have over 50% more GDP per capita than Danes and Swedes. Even with the vast oil wealth on a per-capita basis for Norway, Norwegian Americans are wealthier than those at home.

A long post, I know. Let us consider human nature, alone, then. You and I and others are servers at a restaurant. Capitalism lets us keep our own tips. If tips are pooled, and then divided evenly - which would adhere more to socialist philosophy - then problems start. I’m lazy and a poor server, my contributions to the tip pool are not much. You get $100, I get $20. At the end of the day, we get the same. Is this not going to disincentivize you?

In reality, it tends to disincentiize everybody in that situation. “Why should I work harder when we’re all getting the same pay?”

In capitalist businesses, truly lazy employees tend to get fired or reprimanded, and their advancement is usually less. Under socialism, they get “according to their need,” despite them not producing what they should, per their ability. Marx was right about Fichte’s explanation of change being rooted in “thesis–antithesis–synthesis” but he really missed the boat as far as human motivation and what makes for a good, workable society.

The OldDoughouse
(Doug) #72

Most people always want “more.” (Even if they are spending money on tattoos, cigarettes and nail extentions while bemoaning how little they have.) Agreed that only making minimum wage is tougher than making more, but look at that ‘Poverty Line’ again - $25,750. Not all that far from $32,400, and $32,400 puts one in the top 1% of world income.

Poor people in most countries do not have automobiles, TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, etc. - they are outright luxuries in many places, but in poor America they are frequently taken for granted. This shows you how relative things are. Capitalism does not mean that everybody is going to be totally happy; nothing does. Capitalism does mean that the pool of wealth will be much higher, on average, and that even the poor in many capitalist countries will have a higher standard of living than the vast majority of the world’s people.

The OldDoughouse
(Doug) #73

No argument there. :smile: As I’ve said before, the wickedest fight I ever saw as a kid was between two girls, 13 or 14 years old. Scratching, eye-gouging, etc… This was live or die. And I hear you on Margaret Thatcher - yes, once in a while there will be an aggressive woman, even in politics.

Yet we are talking about people in general, and not in anecdotal or just the “right circumstances.” Men have an evolutionary history and genetics that make us different from women, and we have tostesterone, and very often social training that amplifies all the above.

Look at violent crime statistics - men are the ones, women are hardly there.

(Bob M) #74

This is a meaningless statistic. If you’re in rural, poor India, for instance, your $25,750 goes a long freaking way. Here in the US, not so much. So, even if you’re in the “top 1% of world income”, it’s meaningless unless you also note where you live and what that means in that location.

In coming back to this thread after while, what does any of this have to do with saying yes to meat?

(Doug) #75

Sorry, Kyle - things do get pretty tangential at times. :smile:

With more diversity in plants, sustainable growing of pastured meat animals looks good - for the animals and those who eat them, and for the land itself. In the U.S. we do “feed the world” to an extent, but so much land also goes for crops for fuel production, and for feeding factory-farm animals.

Significantly higher prices and the entrenched interests that would fight the more pastoral, diverse approach make me think it would be a long road…


I’d love to continue but OP is tired of us verging off topic and my fashionable politics so I guess I’m stepping out.

(Doug) #77

No it’s not, Bob - it shows that our ‘poor’ is often really not so poor, in the context of the entire world, with people taking many things for granted - things that are true luxuries many places elsewhere. It’s massively naive and illogical to presume that just by changing policies this situation can be substantially altered, i.e. we have already far surpassed the carrying capacity of the earth to provide everybody the standard of living to which the average poor American is used to, let alone the middle class of the U.S. or indeed any western, industrialized nation.

As I think about it, raising meat animals with better plant diversity, less chemical usage, etc., in a more sustainable and good way for a meaningful portion of the world’s people seems incredibly hard. If we were holding steady at a population of 3 billion, say - then perhaps improving technology could do it, in the end. Yet we’re way over 7 billion already and heading to 9 or 10 fast.

There is also climate change to deal with. Not saying this is any sure doom for us, and we’re pretty darn adaptable, but a good bit of crop-growing land and pasture land has already been rendered worthless or less suitable for it. Some new lands will be improved/created by the changes - and people have moved around on earth before due to such things, but I see it as a net negative for now.

The overall trend is still strongly toward less individual farmers, “family farms,” etc., and toward huge agribusiness, which I can’t see being favorable to pasture-raised meat unless the prices would rise so high as to provide more profit than what the land is being used for now. :neutral_face:

(Doug) #78

Hey KC, make a separate thread or I will, if you want…


Full free text there. Here’s a quote: Of the total land surface of the world, 33% is used for livestock production. Ouch, to me that’s a huge :slightly_frowning_face:.

We already have extensive factory-farming in several ‘First World’ countries, plus a lot in China, Mexico, the Phillipines, Taiwan, Argentina, Pakistan, Thailand, Ethiopia and… India - yeah, ‘sacred cows’ and all that but water buffalos ain’t sacred and though it’s hard to believe, India is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of beef, barely behind only Brasil.

There obviously is a limit on how much of the earth’s surface is suitable for pastoral grazing. If we’re already using 1/3 of the land for it, how much is left that can be added, as we’re faced with increasing demand for meat.

(less is more, more or less) #79

I warmly encourage you to create your own post, and carry on. I should have simply said “no hi-jacking.” We are way off-topic.

We low-carb-ites should stand ready to counter the charge that we only care about ourselves. That we’ve thought out the ramifications of providing a reliable supply of a low-carb, high-animal-product regimen to more than the first world. Also, we in the first world have access to food woefully absent in the majority of the world. That may lead to a more macroeconomics discussion, but that will lead to its own irrelevant tangents, as we have seen.

(Doug) #80

Yeah… Maybe I’m missing something that really means I’m wrong, but with the way things are - huge world population, increasing demand for meat, and already a lot of the earth dedicated to meat production, seems to me that sustainable animal husbandry and farming practices, especially aimed at less chemical usage and better conditions for the animals, are destined to only be niche production, if that. :worried: