Kudos GAV! On post about "Generation Excess"

Posted on September 8, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

By Big Gav …  The weekend SMH had a jaundiced look at the record of the baby boomers, as part of a more general litany of impending doom “Baby boomers practised scorched earth gluttony, and now the rest must pay the price”

….baby boomers are among the most privileged human beings to have walked on planet earth. It’s not just that we are the second longest living people in the world, after Japan. Or that we are exceptionally healthy, because obesity levels suggest we’re not. Or wealthy, although we do pretty well by all relative standards.

No. It’s because we’ve lived in that tiny slice of human history and phase of economic development where everything has been right. And let’s face it, even for the least privileged of us, life has been relatively easy. Most of us have never had to face the hell of a civil war, or depression, and have been blessed by geography – the most powerful influence in anyone’s life – by being born and raised in a “lucky country”.

But is it all coming to an end? Are petrol prices and global warming just the tip of a melting iceberg primed to set humanity back on its heels, such that our kids won’t enjoy anything like the fruits of life that we have? More worryingly, am I, and my generation partly to blame as the generation that tried to warn against all this in the ’60s and ’70s, but then said “wait for me” as the world took off again in the 1980s?

The much castigated Club of Rome, a group of wealthy industrialists concerned about resource depletion in the 1970s, rang the early alarm bells. They predicted that petrol (and other resources) would begin to be seriously depleted by around 2010. Biologist Paul Ehrlich, another casualty of that era, tried to reinvigorate the Malthusian debate about the world being finite and unable to cope with infinite population growth. There were even (bite my tongue) economists reflecting on the impossibility of exponential economic growth and the irony of the economic notion of “diminishing rates of returns” being totally ignored by their fellow dismal scientists in cahoots with politicians who strove to drive the growth train ever faster.

Read more of  “Shame on you, Generation Excess.”


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