html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Without ever once saying the word "sustainable".

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Without ever once saying the word "sustainable".

I am afraid I’ll never be able to discuss each point you guys are bringing up in the comments to my post against globalism. I’ll try to do that on work time today. But, I’ll flush out some of my baseline assumptions here, in hopes of pre-empting some lines of discussion. I’ll even number them, for easier reference.

1. I value a thriving environment and ecosystem as much as I value human existence. If there are people, I want them happy and fulfilled and not suffering. But if forced to choose between no people and a healthy world and lots of people and a broken environment, well, I’d start looking around for a coin.

2. I am not real impressed with efficiency in the abstract. Economists are all “But if you go to a Pareto superior position, you can use the gains in efficiency to compensate the losers. And the winners keep some! More overall! For everyone!” and I am all “Yeah, but that doesn’t actually happen. All the gains in efficiency very often go into some already-rich-person’s pocket, adding little to their utility. If you aren’t actually sending a check to the losers, with the Memo line reading ‘Pareto payments’, I am not interested in a move that increases efficiency at the expense of widespread utility.” Unrealized utility is crap.


I know my darling readers would never do this, but in case some strangers stop by, I’m also listing some arguments I don’t want to hear:

3. “Megan, your position, taken to an extreme, would be so inconvenient that even you wouldn’t live by it. In fact, you don’t live by all of its tenets now. You are a HYPOCRITE! Because you are a hypocrite in some way that negates some of the benefits of your practices, you should abandon all of them and not even try. We shouldn’t either, so keep your banana-fascism to yourself.” Well, yes. Of course I am a hypocrite and I can’t live up to my ideals. That means I try harder, not that I shouldn’t try at all. When I lapse, I remind myself why it is important to me and try to do better next time.

4. “If you understood basic economics, you would understand why you are all wrong.” I am solid on basic economics and graduate-level resource economics. I didn’t agree with all of it while I was learning it, either.

5. I don’t want to get sucked into a number of people vs. resource consumption debate. So that we are clear, I want radically fewer people, consuming far, far less than Westerners do.

And, more specifically, for food:

6. “Why food, when localism could as well apply to anything?” Because I know and understand food. If I were a transportation engineer, I’m sure I would be equally committed to a different set of issues and actions, and eat mangoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So I start with food.

7. “Why should I pay more for local food, in money or time or effort?” Because with a direct link to your food, the way your food is produced becomes transparent to you. You can assess for yourself whether it is grown in a way that you want to support. Most Americans are fanatically devoted to inexpensive food, but there is an intrinsic cost to producing food the way I want (food production that isn’t mining soil fertility or old groundwater or depleting the pollution-absorption capacity of the air, that pays its laborers enough to live with dignity and get their kids out of the fields, that isn’t damaging rivers, or…). If I do not pay the full cost of producing food the way I want at the cash register, someone else will pay it somewhere. That cost will get taken out of the environment, and likely, out of a very poor brown person’s wellbeing. It is wrong for people who are wealthy and aware to shift the burden of their existence to poorer people, or to our ecosystem.

This is enough for now, and I’ll go back to your real comments, and not just the ones I made up, in a bit. Tyler, are we still friends?

51 Comments:

Anonymous jens said...

Too bad Tyler's married. You'll find out soon enough if your relationship has shattered. Anyway, a true blogger shouldn't need sex if they get LINKING.

There is no point in my debating with you on this issue because our priors are incompatible. I want there to be lots of humans even after the Earth is a burnt-out husk inside a red giant. I just don't want to rush that.

Clearly my goal is unachievable if your goal is met. But even though that makes you my unreconcilable policy-enemy, that doesn't mean you aren't fun.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

"I am not real impressed with efficiency in the abstract."

Fair enough. The advantages of efficiency are usually very hard to see in any sort of tangible way. So let's look at a whole big block of efficiency piled on top of each other, because then it forms a big enough lump to notice.

The difference between how we are able to live now, and how we could have lived pre-industrial-revolution, is because of the acucmulated results of a bunch of eficiency gains. Someone makes a thingy that puts thousands of people out of work, but does some job more efficiently. Repeat over and over.

Many people back then said "This is too different. This is all going too fast. Stop." And I'm glad they largely lost the debate.

I have a mental image of my great-granddaughter having a wide array of life choices to pick from. Will she work 20 hours a week for 10 years and then retire and go travel around the world? That's a very real possibility if the efficiency engine keeps rolling.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Jens:
YAY! I so want to avoid debates where our priors are incompatible. 'Cause then we just fight and you cry and cry in frustration over not being able to refute my eloquent and careful language or my devastating logic, but we finally get to the difference in core values and agree to disagree. Better to skip the intermediate step.

Mark:
I love that vision for our great granddaughters, but I don't think it is an inevitable outcome of the way we live now. Profound environmental collapse and slowly starving in overpopulated slums seems just as likely to me. Efficiencies could pull us out, but I would sooner trust having far, far fewer people, so few that living lightly on the earth still feels like abundance to them. Our great-granddaughters, naturally, would be among them and great friends.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark: if we keep to our current course, the only travelling your great-granddaughter will be doing is by sailboat.... and there is no extrapolation from current norms to 20 hr weeks for 10 years; we're moving the other way.

Sure what you say is possible in a sci-fi way, but it isn't very plausible.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

"That cost will get taken out of the environment, and likely, out of a very poor brown person’s wellbeing. It is wrong for people who are wealthy and aware to shift the burden of their existence to poorer people, or to our ecosystem."

Okay, I get the "shifting the cost to the ecosystem" part, but I don't get the "shifting it to poorer people" part. They see the work as jobs (i.e. money), and if everyone did as you advocated, many of them would lose their jobs. The poor countries are asking for freer trade (i.e. more trade) not less.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Anonymous,
Congratulations on your application for joining the Malthus club. Its members are distinguished by two common traits:
1) They all predicted global catastrophe based on extrapolating current trends.
2) They were all wrong.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

"Sure what you say is possible in a sci-fi way, but it isn't very plausible."

That's exactly what I'd expect someone living in 1800 to say about the way people live in 1900, and what people living in 1900 would say about the way we live today.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous jens said...

"cry and cry in frustration"???

Pshaw!

The debate would end, of course, not in agreeing to disagree, but in your changing your core values to accommodate my irresistable charm, language and logic be damned.

But I am not sure we are all meant to have the same core values.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

Hopefully assumptions are in-bounds for discussion:

For #1 - What's the difference between a "thriving" environment and a "broken" one? How do you make this value judgment, and why? It looks like for many environmentalists a "good" environment is one that's untouched by humans; if this is the case for you then that plants you square in the middle of debate #5.

Personally, I'm pro-human. My (serious, if not rigorously scientific) list of reasons that humans are cool:
1. Our babies are helpless. This is a result of bipedalism (requires a narrow bony pelvis) and of our big heads (required by the fact that our brains are large for our bodies). The bipedalism and big heads go together, of course, since walking upright frees up our forelimbs to become specialized for manipulating things, which is a lot more useful when you're smart. Anyway, we have to be born at a very early stage of development in order to (just barely) make it through the pelvis, which means that humans have to have a very strong nurturing instinct. What other species has pets? (symbiosis doesn't count, it's purely self-interested)
2. The fact that our babies need more than a decade of fairly intensive care (big brain, complex behavior -> lots of learning) means that humans have a unique need to think about and care about the future.
3. We're extremely social and cooperative. This means, among other things, that we have a highly developed sense of empathy. The fact that we get crunchy hippie vegetarians means that some of us are even empathetic beyond our species, which IMHO is pretty remarkable.

A lot of people don't really like humans very much because humans aren't as nurturing, forward-looking, or empathetic as they think humans should be. But other species are much worse, or they would be if they could be. If you gave monkeys ICBMs they'd be flinging much worse than their BMs (ha-ha, sorry that was lame).

Point being, nature really is red in tooth and claw, though most environmentalists prefer not to think that way because it's inconsistent with their romanticized view of nature. The fact that we're able to rise above that, if only on a limited basis, and sustain even a small population of hippies is a pretty substantial achievement.

Sure, humans do lots of bad things, but I don't think I'm too pollyanna in thinking that we're beginning to rise above a lot of that, too. The fact that we've become so globally interdependent means that we have much more of a stake in each other's success than before. Anyone pulling an Attila the Hun today would be destroying his or her semiconductor supply chain. Or, in other words, the fact that we can buy things from each other means we don't have any reason to take things from each other, which is inherently more expensive.

Sorry for rambling, my point is: humans=the shiznit. If you disagree, consider the alternatives. Would they be any better? Why?

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should be mad at Hicks, not Pareto. Pareto's measure of "better" is a good one: nobody is worse off, and some people are better off. Hicks went with "potential Pareto improvement" as a measure, where the transfer to make losers equally as well off *could* happen, but didn't have to. Never liked that

Anonymous4

12:11 PM  
Blogger Tassled Loafered Leech said...

Megan, At what point do you want to stop progress? If you want to live an Amish lifestyle, and be "one with the land", go ahead. But to stand back and say- this, but not that is more than just hypocricy, it is elitism of the worst sort.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

I should say that I completely agree with the idea that the strong correlation between development and declining birthrates is a wonderful thing, and a great cause for optimism.

The specific causal link between those two things is as far as I know still somewhat fuzzy. It's mostly moot, though, whether the declining birthrates are due to better education, access to contraception, or empowerment for women. All of those things are worthwhile in and of themselves.

The idea that people will naturally choose to have fewer children means that Megan's wish for a lower population is plausibly achievable without draconian measures that would be truly evil, or a malthusian collapse that would be awful. Development is the answer to overpopulation! Even the crunchiest of hippies can find some justification for pro-growth policies there.

I'm skeptical that we'll get to 1-2 billion that way, though. And I doubt that developing countries will be able to avoid a consumerist phase, though I am curious about whether or not that's an essential part of the process.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That's exactly what I'd expect someone living in 1800 to say about the way people live in 1900, and what people living in 1900 would say about the way we live today."

That's exactly what I'd expect someone to say if they believe the stupid but popular `technology will magically save us' idea.

Mark, Jim: look, the comment wasn't from a Luddite or Malthus sort of view. Going from a pre-industrial to post-industrial society involved both benefits and costs, both of which were very hard to predict. You (Mark) are making the very same error that you accuse me of in extrapolating from only particular short term trends.

I probably worded things poorly, sorry. I'm not suggesting a `we're doomed' scenario. Just that assuming two generations from now will be like now, only better and moreso is rather naive.

Absent fundamental scienctific gains that are by nature unpredictable, we're going to face at least a bit of an energy crisis in the next couple of generations. On average, individual weekly labour trended up during industrialization, then down a bit, and is now going up again (US trends, anyway).

So my point is that if we are looking at the next 50 years, Mark picked a couple of bad examples. Bad in the sense that no, we don't know what is going to happen, but the scenario he envisions is not a *likely* scenario given current knowledge. In other words, it just isn't the way that the smart money bets.

Of course all of this is made more difficult by the fact that some of the things we are talking about are decidedly non-linear in the historical data we can use, so simple (and particularly `common sense') extrapolations are probably junk.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

9:28 anonymouse, whom I suspect is also the 1:28 anonymouse:
My comment policy is affirmative kindness toward your fellow commenters. I feel especially protective of Mark Nau, because he is clearly a gentle, frail soul. So, when you address people here, be even nicer than polite.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always and ever...! Not that it matters, but keep in mind that from a purely personal (rather than social) point of view, my food philosophy has significant components of yours.
Tyler

1:42 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Tyler! BFFE!

Megan

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forever is 1 word. I normally wouldn't complain, but you screwed up the acronym, and I'm very protective of proper acronym usage.

Unless the E means something new here that I'm not familiar with?

Justin

2:00 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Justin, I am a bureaucrat. How can you possibly be more fond of acronyms than I am? Also, I was once a teenage girl, which I believe makes one an authority on the cutesy acronym genre.

Was it not clear that I was inviting Tyler to be my Best Friend Forever and Ever? (As long as he doesn't sleep with my ex, which is a new requirement I have for my best friends.)

2:19 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

"I feel especially protective of Mark Nau, because he is clearly a gentle, frail soul."

Ahahaha. I think that's the first time either of those adjectives have been used for me. But I appreciate the sentiment, Megan, and hereby give our great-grand-daughters permission to marry, or join the same gestaltmind, or whatever those wacky kids are doing in 2079.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, yeah, see I wouldn't have guessed there was an extra ever in there.

Anyway, as far as love of acronyms goes, remember, I'm a computer engineer, and I write software. So, I don't know who wins that contest.

And, do you really care if people sleep with your ex? Isn't it more important that they not sleep with whoever you happen to be currently dating?

Either way, I don't think Tyler, or anyone else for that matter, would let you know of their plans to sleep with your ex up front. So, I don't think the qualification is going to be very useful in trying to select your BFFs.

Justin

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan: yup, they were both me. And I never intended to not be nice. On re-reading the thing I see that could be taken as not-nice would be the `stupid idea' bit.

I certainly didn't mean to suggest that anyone posting here was stupid. It is a stupid idea, but a very large number of people seem to hold it as a sort of received knowledge, just because they haven't thought about it much. I don't blame them for this; I was just commenting on the mischaracterization of what I meant, even if I didn't write it clearly. It is a mischaracterization that is highly correlated with the idea I mentioned....

s.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

S:
You posted eight minutes late this time. Glad to have you here, though.

Justin:
They probably wouldn't tell me up front, but I just like to have that be explicit. I'll worry about my best friends sleeping with my current boyfriends after it becomes a problem. I still like to give people the benefit of doubt at first.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

"Absent fundamental scienctific gains that are by nature unpredictable, we're going to face at least a bit of an energy crisis in the next couple of generations."

Specific scientific advances are unpredictable, yes. However, predicting that there will be no scientific advances ("sailboat") is silly.

Especially in the area of alt-energy, there are hordes of ideas that have been waiting in the wings for oil to stop being so darn cheap. It's entirely reasonable to look at the underlying physical constraints (like total insolation) and say, "This is physically possible to do." Whether cellulosic ethanol or algae biodiesel or f-t synthesis turns out to be the cheapest is difficult to predict; that something (or things) will become an economically viable alternative (for some useful fraction of current fossil fuel consumption) is near certainty IMNSHO.

Some people consider this to be magical thinking, but the truth is that people are pretty good problem solvers.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

I suppose I should add that when I say "silly", I'm referring to the idea. Any people who may have held the idea (which is a strawman in any case) are wonderful, I'm sure.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitch: I'm certainly not claiming we won't have scientific advances, that would be silly. But you have to be careful with your assertion. People have been assuming for a long time that we would have had a good replacement for current battery technology decades ago and it simply hasn't happened. Not for want of trying, but because it turned out to be a hard problem.

Alt-energy really isn't my area, but I know smart people who work in it and have asked them about this. None of what you mention looks like a viable oil replacement for everything, at least. One particular thing I have problems with in Marks original comment was world travel. The current model for that is airtravel, and there simply isn't anything on the horizon to replace an oil-reliant airplane, period.

As you say, people are great problem solvers, at least for certain types of problems. Engineers are very good and iteratively improving known solutions. Problem here is, our known solutions are somewhat broken, and we don't have any new ones in the pipe at the moment.

So I certainly believe we will have clever implementations of things that will replace some of our oil reliance economically. Economically, however, may involve deeply changing how we do things. Much in the way that building this oil reliance has deeply changed the way we do things.

One of the best-estimate sort of effects of this is that, unless something deep changes (and it isn't in anyones lab today) we will be seeing less world travel in 50 years, not more. That doesn't mean everything goes to hell in a handbasket.

So, yeah, some of what was said looks like magical thinking, and I say that as a technology fan with a pretty good idea of what separates magical thinking from technologically possible (and the later from technologically likely). I guess I'm a little senstive to this as there is so much of it about these days, particularly in policy circles.

s.

3:27 PM  
Blogger flamodilbull said...

I suppose this is a general question to all, and perhaps I missed someone's answer in the pages of commentary I recently read, but - after all of this browsing through your thoughts - I am left wondering what the point of this is.
I see the logic in these arguements, but no viable ideas or constructive criticisms... If the earth is over populated, over extended and headed towards being -what was it?- a burned out husk, what are we supposed to do about it... The fastest growing regions in the world aren't likely to start having less children or draining the environment at their current rate because they don't have the luxury of doing so. Will my choosing to shop at a local farmers market rather than kroger actually make a difference? or should I focus more on trying to (or trying to get my government to) influence their government?

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to bring things back to the boring environmental stuff, but...I think that before you talk about living in the "breadbasket of the world" you should note the amount of energy and technology it takes to keep the Central Valley fertile. As you know, much of this area should be an inland sea several months per year, which would make high-productivity agriculture very difficult. Also, there are massive amounts of toxic pesticides and artificial fertilizers used in the Valley.

I agree with a lot of the abstract stuff you said about economics, but I think in the concrete the actual costs of everyone relying on local agriculture would be overwhelming.

Mark's comment at 9:18 is right on as well. I take the Pareto optimality point as a reason to argue for better distribution of societal efficiency gains, not a reason to ignore efficiency gains. The real BS from economists is that any redistribution through the tax or regulatory system is going to lead to massive efficiency losses.

Marcus

P.S. SORRY I MISSED YOUR PARTY, I SUCK!

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I was careless about reading your first post. Yeah, population decline is the way to go, for lots of reasons. It drives me crazy when I see all the policy ideologues talking up negative population growth as a SOCIAL PROBLEM in Europe, etc. when we should want it for the world.

But it will take centuries for the full demographic transition to happen.

Marcus

4:20 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Jim:
They see the work as jobs (i.e. money), and if everyone did as you advocated, many of them would lose their jobs

Then there should be far fewer people, so that the number of people is even with the number of humane jobs.

Mitch:
Humans are awesome, and I romanticize nature less than lots of my hippy friends. But I like other species and Gaia just as much. Except, of course, for people I actually know.

12:11 Anonymouse4:
You are totally right. I’m more outraged by potential Pareto improvements than I am by a “no one is worse off and some are bettered” stance.

TLL:
On my blog and in my secret heart, I am elitist, and I want everyone to adhere to my standards, so that we can all live together in harmony with the earth. People will come to like the agrarian utopia in the long run.

Mitch at 12:43:
Exactly right.

I doubt that developing countries will be able to avoid a consumerist phase.

This and Hotelling’s rule are two of my great fears.

-s at 1:28:
I don’t like extrapolations either, and they aren’t why I think we’re facing a crisis.

Flamodilbul:

The two ideas, eating locally and population decline, require separate recommendations.

I do want people to change their behavior to eat local produce. I think that it can have positive results, the first of which would be directing money toward local farms. That money can be unusually influential, as money for purchases go, because small local farms have a fair amount of flexibility to respond to consumer demand (like, no sprays on your leafy greens, or I would like a different variety of corn next year).

Population decline:
Like Mitch and Marcus said, find out what is behind it (I suspect educating the ladies, access to birth control, lessening traditional gender roles, improving quality of life) and spread that shit far and wide. Hope that we can contract voluntarily fast enough to prevent an involuntary collapse.

Marcus:
A lot of those inputs are substitutes for management and labor. That trend could reverse, and create better farming jobs.

P.S. YOU WOULDN’T HAVE LIKED IT; IT WAS FUN.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous sealionii said...

It always makes me feel a little weird when someone says "What the world needs is...fewer people!"

Because the quickest ways for that to happen are 1) epidemic, 2) war, 3) famine. (In the case of much of sub-Saharan Africa we have all three going at once right now.) And, to my mind, those are all Very Bad Things.

The slow demographic collapse of Europe and Japan is not much better, I think, especially with their high investment in the social safety net. As the number of working adults decreases and the number of retirees increases, the burden on the workers increases very, very quickly; not only that, but one's neighbors whose populations are still expanding look at your territory and say, "Lebensraum!" Which is not ideal, either.

I don't think we need fewer people per se--I think we need a different kind of people. (I agree that consuming less would be one desirable characteristic for the new kind.)

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given your stated view on population growth vs. resource consumption, it seems like you would agree that, for example, the world would be a better place if far fewer people had been born in the past, and the current population was therefore much smaller.

But I think (and I bet most people would agree) that the world would be a far worse place if Mozart, Bach, or Shakespeare had never been born. What about the discoverers of quantum mechanics, or penicillin, or the structure of DNA?

The fact of the matter is, people on average produce far more than they take in. Decreasing the number of people who exist, or the number of people who will exist, means decreasing the amount of artistic brilliance or scientific genius in the world just as much. Not a consequence I would willingly accept.

Phil

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I share Jens's perspective that we aren't going to agree on basic assumptions. If I had a science fictional choice to make between massively disrupting Earth's ecosystem (say by moving it to a different orbit, to go really science fictional), or allowing humanity to become extinct, I would preserve humanity and not think of it as close. I still value the environment and ecosystem, but I come closer to seeing it as a very large capital asset which will provide future benefits to humanity and therefore shouldn't be lightly harmed (or greatly altered without full understanding of the consequences) rather than valuing it entirely for its own sake.

Because we are coming at the environmental question from different perspectives, I won’t try to debate the tradeoffs between the environment and other human goals, but I do think that you’re making distant food producers appear much more faceless than they really are and in the process choosing an ineffective way to protect the environment even if that’s your only goal. Information technology gives even very distant farmers and companies the ability to adapt to your preferences, and the accountability which comes from wanting to protect brand names is a mechanism by which you can control the way large organizations behave overseas. It’s one thing to say that you want your food producers to behave a certain way, but quite a different one to limit your choices to local ones.

A farmer in Brazil with access to wealthy, environmentally conscious Western consumers has strong incentives to invest in sustainable techniques so that Californians will be willing to buy his crops. In contrast, if he has no export markets (and especially if he is just farming for subsistence), there is much less disincentive for him to just slash and burn. Since most of the world’s environmental harm (e.g. large scale deforestation in interior Brazil) is happening in the third world, wouldn’t you rather influence the environmental decisions there, than the decisions made in California where things are, relatively speaking, quite good.

Also, a third world farmer who chooses to grow crops for a multinational which exports to California clearly prefers to be able to export to his available alternatives or he wouldn’t be doing it, so let’s not pretend that this is for his benefit.

Telnar

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to propogate your ideas into the future, you have to reproduce (as a society). If all the green people decided no babies because the world is over-populated, guess what? no greenies in a few decades. The best way to make a green future is for those who want it to breed like bunnies.

It is very unlikely that anything but nature (famine/wars/epidemics) will have an impact on human population anyway, the rest is just posturing. Government controls could play a role, but that ALWAYS ends badly.

Megan - I am curious about how you obtain processed foods, spices, etc.. How does a gal like you buy a box of organic crackers? I am ridiculed daily for my food choices - and I just try to buy food that isn't full of chemicals , chemical preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. I find THIS to be challenging, and I imagine most of the food I buy is not local, so those that follow your line impress me.

-dithers

10:53 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

If you're so keen on declining population, why do you want to have children? Why not truly live up to your ideals and get yourself sterilized instead? Or is not having babies just for those other people, whereas you get to hypocritically and selfishly have all the babies you want?

I'm also starting to get a pretty good idea why you can't find a boyfriend.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't completely disagree with Megan here. I think it's cute. I don't see why her position here would dissuade anyone from wanting to date her. Ideals are nice.

I used to have similar views. I thought we should take everyone with an IQ less than 130, tie them up in burlap sacks and drown them in the lake like kittens. But, then I realized smart people annoy me too, so I stopped caring.

Ok, not exactly the same thing, but really, the same premise, too many people, every where I go, people, it's much worse in California, I can't even wander off into the woods and be alone. Except when it's raining, I love when it rains. Californians will melt if it even gets too cloudy outside, so at least I get the parks to myself on those days.

Justin

12:53 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Phil:
I think genius only manifests when people are relieved from the stresses of fear and hunger. More people may mean more geniuses, but at some population threshold, which I believe we are above, additional yields from having more geniuses are cancelled by more of them turning all of their skills towards staying alive in incredibly difficult situations.

Telnar:
Even highly motivated Brazilian farmers have, at best, indirect and proxy indicators of my preferences. The guys I talk to on Sunday know exactly what stage of ripeness I like my melons picked at. I don't pretend that my policy is for the direct benefit of Brazilian growers, who would like me to buy their grapes. I think it is for the benefit of Californian growers, and that Brazilians should look after their farmers in the same manner.

-dithers:
The best way for people to share my opinions is for them to have the same experiences and education I got. Other people's babies can reach the same conclusions, if they want.

I only manage to buy local produce/eggs/milk. If I trusted local branding/labeling campaigns, I could send my money that way. When I can't know where my food is from, I don't worry about it.

JMPP:
I want people who don't want babies to not have them. I love the idea that there are forces at work that lead people to the decision that they can have better lives without kids. Those forces wouldn't work on me, because I happen to be very maternal. The best part about this phenomenon in Europe and Japan is that people are getting what they want. Their preferences in procreating are being authentically and voluntarily changed or expressed; they evidently want fewer kids and that may yet save us.

Justin:
I totally melt in the rain. That is because I am made of pure sugar.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally melt in the rain. That is because I am made of pure sugar.

What happened to the spice and everything nice?

Iron Rails & Iron Weights

1:43 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"I don't see why her position here would dissuade anyone from wanting to date her. Ideals are nice."

This post is part of a general trend of posts that makes her come across as very rigid and intolerant. Who wants to date a woman who is going to make them feel guilty for eating a banana? Most guys are not going to put up with that sort of shit from a chubby girl.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, does she really care about this to the point that she's trying to push these beliefs on others? It didn't come across that way to me.

She's talked about going out to eat, so presumably she'll let her beliefs slide under certain circumstances.

She might be too picky, I don't know. I mean, if she's only interested in someone who has the exact same beliefs, and background as her, then that would be an issue. But, I don't see that going on either. The worst I've seen is her refusal to give a picture out online.

Justin

4:15 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

JMPP:
I am seriously and genuinely asking, and won't be offended by any response you give:

How come you think I am chubby?

4:21 PM  
Anonymous jens said...

This item kind of reminds me of that cointoss of yours.

By the way, can't speak for JMMP, but I am guessing she got her impression from your Boyfriend Quiz: "During the season, when I play a lot, I get tanner and thinner. During the winter off-season I put on about ten pounds. I am always athletic and proportionate, but I am never slim."

There is a distinction between "not slim" and "chubby", but this distinction might not be universally recognized.

As for me, the amount of shit I am willing to put up with is not directly proportional to the thinness of the shitslinger. I would not look kindly on my wife if she lost 20 pounds and this made her feel she could be just that much less loving to me!

12:36 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"How come you think I am chubby?"

Note that I said "chubby" and not "fat" or "obese". By your own admission in several posts you are over the weight that most men find attractrive:

http://fromthearchives.blogspot.com/2006/01/take-my-boyfriend-quiz.html
"I am never slim."

http://fromthearchives.blogspot.com/2006/05/i-wouldnt-trade-it.html
"“That’s it? That’s all I have to do? Work out three hours a day, six days a week, for months? Not eat for a week? Hurt all the time? And for that, you’ll think I’m pretty?” It is not worth it."

http://fromthearchives.blogspot.com/2006/06/options.html
"Something has to change, and there are some obvious options. My appearance? Dress like a girl and go back to my fighting weight? Oh please no, being there hurt all the time."

etc.

From other posts it sounds like you don't make much effort to make yourself pretty in general. If you've chosen to be plain and chubby, you need to make up for it in other areas of your personality if you're going to get and keep a man. But on this blog, at least, you come across as not a lot of fun to live with.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous jens said...

Anyway, all women think of themselves as either too fat or too thin.

See this cartoon

1:24 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

HEY FRIENDS:

NO responses to JMPP until I get a chance to think this through.

Thanks.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

No need for hurt feelings; JMPP isn't really trying to be horrid. Clearly, she's just a Hayley Mills fan cleverly dispensing circa 1963 advice to the ladies. Oh, the memories. Now I'm going to have this song stuck in my head all day.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Still thinking, folks, in between having a great time in L.A. Still thrilled that I am not hosting a contentious debate on whether I am chubby. Thanks for your restraint.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Meg's defender said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

You can delete this mean spirited post, but someone has to defend your honor.

That last comment was deleted by the mutual agreement of me and the commenter. As a rule, I very much do not want to delete you comments.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous jens said...

Whenever you are READY to host such a debate, you really have to give us a bit more to work with than your own self-evaluation.

I recommend posting a series of pictures in an assortment of poses, with few or no clothing articles to distract us from the issue at hand.

(Can't believe I didn't suggest this ages ago ... I guess twenty years of marriage kind of dulls the instincts...err, I mean the readiness for objective contemplation!)

8:54 AM  
Anonymous mattH said...

If I had a science fictional choice to make between massively disrupting Earth's ecosystem (say by moving it to a different orbit, to go really science fictional), or allowing humanity to become extinct, I would preserve humanity and not think of it as close.

I just have to say, this is a bad analogy. Because humans and the rest of the natural world need a similar environment, this certainly wouldn't be as detrimental as letting things run it's course, whereas I would hazard a guess that the argument here is that we aren't as certain that letting things run its course would be detrimental to both.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can somebody link to the original post? I came across this page I don't remember how (something to do with pareto fallacy and voting) and I'm curious to read the original post against globalism, but I can't figure out blogger...(you're smart, I'm dumb, you're handsome, I'm...not attractive -- happy gilmore)

11:44 AM  

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