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The problem is that one needs quite a lot of sophisticated cultural baggage to get past the basic idea that "more stuff = better life". Even in our wealthy societies where that is manifestly not the case for a majority of people. The young will save us : those who have grown up with scarcity of work and money but have the cultural baggage to put it into perspective, are often philosophically attuned to the idea of having a rich life which is poor in material stuff.

But with respect to places where people are doing subsistence agriculture without access to labour-saving devices, "more stuff = better life" is manifestly true. And where periurban dwellers don't have access to safe water and basic sanitation, same again.

So I have a lot of sympathy for the idea that to achieve an ecological transition, a society has to be mature and ready. As with the demographic transition, Sweden is at the forefront. That means there's hope for the rest of us.

As with the demographic transition, China will probably short-circuit the process by the application of brute force. That will give an alternative model, philosophically less attractive.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Apr 23rd, 2014 at 03:42:33 AM EST
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