Dick Smith’s idea prize

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Dick Smith is offering a prize of $1 million to an Australian under the age of 30 who comes up with a way to tackle the population issue. (I was tipped off for this by Judith Sloan who suggested it was a prize for reducing population  — which sounded horrific — but it doesn’t look quite that way).

Anyhow, the link between under-30 and curb population growth was too hard to resist. Folks, I give you, Logan’s Run.

21 Responses to "Dick Smith’s idea prize"
  1. GOLD!
    Am I the only GenXer getting the major irrits with prominent Baby Boomers squealing about the same population growth that is going to be needed to fund that cohort’s retirement?

  2. Perhaps Dick Smith could lead the way and donate his money to the environmental movement and then jump on the Carousel.

  3. Dick Smith’s recent interest in neo-Malthusianism is just a bit odd.  Fertility and population change rates have been plummeting for the last 30 years in every region of the world.  Although it takes some time for that to result in a levelled off population, UN estimates have been revised down to peak at around 9 billion people around 2050.
     
    To reduce world population, we should do what we are already trying to do anyway, bring up living standards, education and health care (including birth control availability) in the world’s developing countries, which is usually (always?) driven by economic growth.  There is a very strong inverse correlation between a country’s level of development and fertility.  By reducing the priority of economic growth, Dick Smith is, if anything, more likely to worsen the population problem.

  4. It’s a shame we don’t care more about the people who could live in the future or we would spend more time trying to increase our carrying capacity (by improving technology) and less time trying to reduce the number of people who get the opportunity to enjoy a life.

  5. @Robert Wiblin,
    Agree 100%, though I’ve always expressed doubts about what “carrying capacity” actually is from the perspective of those seeking to justify limits on population. (The subject matter is dubious.)
    The neo-Malthusians tend to ignore the role of technology in altering the growth curve when it suits their arguments. It’s the Club of Rome in a new guise.

  6. I say well done to Dick Smith for getting everyone to think about the issue of over population and getting the public involved in finding out the facts and a solution.

  7. @Peter Williams,
    No, you have it backwards. BHP is betting that the current under-utization of potash will come to an end as the demand for food increases. That is not the same as assuming the inevitability of food shortages. Logically there is a higher probability of food shortages unless sufficent potash is supplied to the market for purchase and use.

    If anything that makes Kloppers part of the process that is making provisions for future needs. (And a another steady and profitable product line for BHP.)

  8. No Peter Williams, I don’t argue the Malthusian or neo-Malthusian side, whatever that may be.
    I point out that population and food demand are growing, while the necessary resources to produce food are constrained. Anyone who thinks they aren’t believes in Magic Puddings.
    I also argue it is necessary to do something about agriculture in order for it to double output on fewer resources. Those who think it is necessary to do nothing believe in miracles, or in something far less substantial. (The reason Malthus’ C18th predictions did not come true was the agricultural revolution. However in France they did come true, and that resulted in the French Revolution, which killed half a million people.)
    As this is an economic site I would like to draw attention to the pivotal role of economics in discouraging global investmnent in agriculture and challenge you thoughtful ladies and gentlemen to come up with some solutions to what seems to me a serious market failure…

  9. @Julian Cribb,

    I won’t deny the need for some government intervention into agriculture to satisfy demand – especially in basic R&D and creation of markets, and I agree that without further action there is no magic solution. The question is: what actions to suit what context.

    The counter-argument is that governments intervene too much in the agricultural market (fixing prices, providing subsidies) or do too little (absence or lack of enforcement of property title). Recent famines – while triggered by weather-based disasters – are mostly exacerbated by ineffective or corrupt governments.

    As to market-based failure in the Third World, it is mostly the case that effective markets don’t exist where small, under-capitalized land-holdings, fixed pricing, no rule of law, and subsistence farming predominates. There isn’t enough productivity under these circumstances to feed a sufficient amount of the population. And forced collectivization, e.g. old-school Soviet and Communist Chinese practice, proved to be an uttter failure in agricultural production.

    I’d say the market is doing extremely well in those – mostly Western and Asian – nations where it is allowed to operate effectively. (Exceptions abound where the USA and EU countries love to throw subsidies at farmers and fishermen to keep up unsustainable agribusiness practices.)

    If anybody believes that markets are failing, I give you Australia’s example, despite defacto subsidies in the form of low water pricing, a decade of drought, and poor soils (including salinization), we still managed to export, on average, enough food to feed 80 million people annually. (We also imported quite a bit of food because other farmers produced cheaper food products.) That isn’t the Federal or State governments intervening in the market; it is the market at work. This is pretty much the general story for all Western nations. The questions we should be asking is why that isn’t true elsewhere.

    Forgive the long blog, but there are a few points that needed to be made.

  10. <!– @page { margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } –>
    The Malthusian Principles of Population essay was cited by Charles Darwin as being basic to his evolutionary life-science theories. At that time this essay had become synonymous with the second law of thermodynamics. Einstein classified that law as The Premier law of all science, which includes economic science. Western culture is currently governed by that Universal Heat Death law, which demands the total destruction of all life when all universal heat is lost to cold space. Mainstream science accepts that fractal logic extends to infinity, so obviously the Malthusian population world view and all Western life-science concepts, cannot function as an expression of fractal logic. In effect, global climate change as a life-science is forbidden to be linked to rain cloud fractal logic.
     
    The NASA High Energy Astrophysics Division Library has published our Research Centre’s contention that the Classical Greek ethical life-science Humanities was constructed upon the optic engineering principles of holographic fractal logic. Recently those principles were used as the base of a fractal logic life-science developed by the three 1996 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry. Plato’s classified engineers unfamiliar with those fractal logic engineering principles as barbarians.
     

  11. Roberts comment concerning fractal logic has certainly raised the crossbar on this subject. It can certainly be considered that, if we do not balance thermodynamic physics we will all soon be for the high-jump.

     In the light of quantum and holographic technologies, the winding down clockwork  universal theory pertaining to Newton’s published works, gives humanity a limited view of reality that condemns us all to an entropic death.

    However, we do not have to be subject to this and we have to get this message to the most powerful world elite to show them that, not only is our present path unsustainable, it is also a financial and economic failure, as prooved by recent world monetary trends.

    As Robert points out, without factoring in fractal logic it is reasonable to assume we cannot survive the impending chaos resulting in our worshipping at the high altar of the second law of thermodynamics.

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    BruceT’s comments raise the crucial awareness, although I would state it somewhat differently. What needs noticing is that in the materially well-off nations reproduction rates are usually close to or less than required to maintain populations, only rising at all because of immigration and the use of very expensive technology keeping the aged alive, even though their quality of life is often so low it makes this expenditure questionable. This obsession to extend life having reached such excesses that many are now calling for legalisation of euthanasia.
    The point is that it is poverty that drives reproduction rates as the poor continue to hope that having enough offspring will offset high child mortality and hopefully ensure support and care in their old age.
    Clearly the most effective and humane way to bring down the global birthrate is to provide the most effective contraceptive. The evidence shows this to be adequate material security, which results in people choosing not to have offspring because they do not feel dependant on offspring to sustain them as they age.
    Wealthy Westerners, which now includes many in the East who have adopted the material values and aspirations of the ‘West’, who are genuinely concerned about population growth need to understand that the future of their own children would be best served by consuming less and sharing that unneeded surplus of their capacity to over produce, with those who have a real need for material wellbeing. In such an achievable more equal world where people behaved as members of the one human family the over population issue would be resolved most effectively and in everyone’s best interests.
    The already affluent would also be better off in personal wellbeing if less obsessed with having ever more things and instead spent more of their time enjoying the simple pleasures of creative pursuits, time with their kids and in nature, or in leisure activities that grew their knowledge of life, their world and of themselves as an integral and important part of an expanding and evolving universe.


  13. BruceT’s comments raise the crucial awareness, although I would state it somewhat differently. What needs noticing is that in the materially well-off nations reproduction rates are usually close to or less than required to maintain population numbers, only rising at all because of immigration and the use of very expensive technology keeping the aged alive, even though their quality of life is often so low it makes this expenditure questionable. This obsession with extending life having reached such excesses that many are now calling for legalisation of euthanasia.
    The point is that it is poverty that drives excessive reproduction rates as the poor continue to hope that having enough offspring will offset high child mortality and hopefully ensure support and care in their old age.
    Clearly the most effective and humane way to bring down the global birthrate is to provide the most effective contraceptive. The evidence shows this to be adequate material security, which results in people choosing not to have offspring because they do not feel dependent on offspring to sustain them as they age.
    Wealthy Westerners, which now includes many in the East who have adopted the material values and aspirations of the ‘West’, who are genuinely concerned about population growth, need to understand that the future of their own children would be best served by consuming less and sharing that unneeded surplus productive capacity with those who have real need for material goods. In such an achievable more equal world where people behaved as members of the one human family, the over population issue would be resolved most effectively and in everyone’s best interests.
    The already affluent would also be better off in personal well-being if less obsessed with having ever more things and instead spent more time enjoying the simple pleasures of creative pursuits, time with their kids and in nature, or in leisure activities that grew their knowledge of life, their world and of themselves as an integral and important part of an expanding and evolving universe.

     

  14. <!– @page { margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } –>
    Dudley Leggett associates human emotions within an expanding and evolving universe, which describes the functioning of a fractal world view. Such a world view is emerging into focus now. The discovery of Dr Canace Pert’s Molecule of Emotion in 1972 as being the same molecule within a simple cell (except the human molecule vibrates at a greater speed), is explainable by the functioning of an evolving fractal expansion of the universe. Sir Isaac Netwon’s unpublished more natural and profound balancing heresy physics is not only compatible with this balanced universal world view, it expressed physics concepts now at the cutting edge of quantum biology in association with Nobel prize winning chemistry.
    Julian Cribb’s Muzzling of science, Higher Education article published by the Australian, 8th March 2006, pointed out that the stakeholders in developing technologies do not tolerate any challenges to their world view. As that scientific world view is absolutely governed by the second law of thermodynamics, as was the Malthusian Principles of Population essay, cited by Darwin as the basis of his now obsolete life-science, the population issue cannot be rationally nor morally and emotionally discussed with the accepted Australian scientific world view.
    When I received my 2009 Telisio-Galilei Academy of Science (London) Gold Medal Laureate, the Head of Biological Research at the University of Moscow, Professor Simon Shnoll, received the same honour. He was so ashamed that fellow scientists were cowed by those who controlled modern science that the amplification system broadcasting his angry outburst was severed. The second law of thermodynamics was defined by Maria Montessori, listed in TIME Magazine’s Century of Science as the greatest scientist of 1907, as being the Greed Energy Law. This muzzling of science cannot continue for another 100 years.
    Due to the incredible new forbidden ethical technologies now appearing on the fractal logic horizon within a fractal world view, there is no need to point the finger at the greedy ones, who were only applying entropic logic. The harnessing of their intellectual energies is now needed and once the technological rewards for this are realised, they will enjoy becoming genuine global heroes. Simon Shnoll was correct to voice his utter frustration about the fearful scientists proudly wearing their second law yoke of scientific servitude. The 1937 Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Szent-Gyoergyi called them crazy apes, and during his 1959 Rede Lecture at Cambridge University, the Molecular Biologist Sir C P Snow referred to them exhibiting the logic of the Neolithic cave dwelling ancestors. The engineer, Buckminster Fuller, successfully demonstrated that this very issue is about Utopia or Oblivion.
    As Julian Cribb pointed out in his Muzzling of science essay, Australian democracy is being denied by the stakeholders ensuring the existence of an intolerant and ignorant scientific world view. Many Australians fought and died to bring Australia into being as it is. The front line troops are now our scientists and the issue is the ethical solving of the population puzzle.
     

  15. Professor Pope’s reference to the dogma of the supremacy of the Second Law of Thermodynamics being the determinant of mainstream scientific thinking, the Malthusian approach to economics and Darwinian evolutionary theory, is indeed critical in this matter as it establishes the dominant world view. This world view thereby becomes steeped in a sense of inevitable depletion and scarcity, clearly working against the need for sharing and caring in the interests of the whole human family.
    Candace Pert’s Molecule of Emotion, which Pope refers to, is that biological mechanism whereby this sense of scarcity becomes an emotional conditioning at the cellular level. This is why we are unlikely to see the transformation needed to overcome the population growth issue via the contraception solution I described  earlier if this erroneous belief in the dominance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics persists throughout mainstream scientific thinking, which in turn dominates popular thinking.
    This is self-fulfilling prophecy stuff, aided and abetted by the fraud (usury) of the monetary system that manufactures scarcity of the means for real wealth creation by limiting peoples ready access to the resources needed to be productive.
    Only a culture that escapes from the entropic world view generated by these limiting ideologies can hope to be rid of the fear of scarcity, and to enjoy the natural abundance of the syntropic (negentropic or order-generating) universe within which our world in nested.
    Only this form of cultural conditioning, conveyed by Pert’s Molecule of Emotion, will lead to the feelings of compassion at the cellular level needed to transform popular thinking and behaviour. Only then is it possible that all may share equally in the essentials for a good life and the resources needed to participate in productive activity.
    In this way prosperity will spread, stabilization of the global population will be achieved and peace and harmony prevail.

  16. <!– @page { margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } –>
    Dudley Leggett’s proposal that Western entropic culture maintains an inadequate understanding of the energies of emotion at the cellular level, is indeed preventing the solving of the population puzzle. Modern entropic science prohibits the functioning of the liquid crystal optics of the cellular membrane to exist, even when nano-technology demonstrates that this is simply ignorant nonsense.
     
    This nonsense can be considered to constitute an unintentional, but very serious crime against humanity. In 1995 its perpetration within the Australian Governmental supervised Educational System was the subject matter of an Open Letter to the Secretariat of the United Nations, registered by the National Library of Australia. The issue was the subject of a Peer Review investigation over a period of several years by the United Nations University Millennium Project, Australasian Node, which, in September, 2006 endorsed the claim as being based upon factual evidence.
     
     

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