Top Obama science adviser John Holdren’s Malthusian philosophy combined with the White House income equality-based wealth redistribution agenda have apparently found a new taxpayer-funded messaging partner. A so-called NASA-sponsored University of Maryland study has concluded that unfair exploitation of Earth resources by prosperous nations may lead to the collapse of modern civilization.
Making matters worse, more efficient “sustainability” practices will promote even more greedy consumption.
First, let me point out that much of the media hype about the credibility and significance of this study — and there has been a lot of it — is greatly overblown. Some of those reports refer to the lead author, Safa Motesharrei, as being with National Science Foundation.
Actually he’s a graduate research assistant at a small academic think tank called the “National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center” (SESYNC) which has been in operation less than two years.
As for NASA sponsorship, although the agency through its Goddard Space Flight Center did contribute funding to the University of Maryland which has supported SESYNC, it’s unclear (and doubtful) that they would wish to take credit for funding the study or would endorse its findings. At least let’s hope not.
Perhaps most remarkable about any of this is that some prominent news agencies, including NPR, have regarded the assertions seriously. So for that reason alone, let’s take a closer look.
The expressed intent of study was to address “widespread concerns that current trends in resource use are unstainable” and examine this problem as reason for the collapse of great societies throughout history.
Answering this, it observes: “Two important features seem to appear across societies that have collapsed, the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity and the economic stratification of society into Elites and Masses.”
According to the study, collapse in unequal societies is difficult to avoid because “Elites grow and consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society." Then as limited resources plague the working class, the wealthy, insulated from the problem, "continue consuming unequally" and exacerbate the issue.
If you thought that more efficient technologies might come along to improve matters, we’re not supposed to give that expectation much credence. Instead, conclusions warn, for example, that “an increase in vehicle fuel efficiency technology tends to enable increased per capita vehicle miles driven, heavier cars, and higher average speeds, which then negate the gains from the increased fuel-efficiency.
And the salvation from this doom and gloom? The authors offer some solutions. They tell us: “Collapse can be avoided, and population can reach a steady state at the maximum carrying capacity, if the rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed equitably.”
If any of this tends to sound familiar, perhaps you read it in the introduction of White House science policy adviser John Holder’s 1971 book, “Global Ecology” that he co-authored with Paul Ehrlich.
It states: “Only one rational path is open to us — simultaneous de-development of the [overdeveloped countries] and semi-development of the underdeveloped countries (UDC’s), in order to approach a decent and ecologically sustainable standard of living for all in between. By de-development we mean lower per-capita energy consumption, fewer gadgets, and the abolition of planned obsolescence.”
Later, in another book, “Population, Resources, and Environment” (1977), Holdren and co-authors Paul and Anne Ehrlich advocated a subsistence-level anti-growth philosophy put forth by Robert Malthus in the late 1880s. They wrote: “We find ourselves firmly in the neo-Malthusian camp. We hold this view not because we believe the world to be running out of materials in an absolute sense, but rather because the barriers to continued material growth, in the form of problems of economics, logistics, management, and environmental impact, are so formidable.”
They continue: "The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.”
Holdren and the Ehrlichs then put their anti-growth philosophy into a mathematical equation where a negative environmental impact is correlated with a combination of population growth, increasing affluence, and improving technology.
Interestingly, the University of Maryland SESYNC group did the same. In fact their entire study based upon a primitive computer program concocted by the study authors is premised upon an early 20th century “predator-prey” mathematical formula they call the “Human and Nature Dynamics” (HANDY) model. The process correlates population change between predators (wolves . . . or rich opportunists) and prey (rabbits . . . poor victims) over time to demonstrate out-of-phase equilibrium values leading to population collapse.
However there’s one big problem. Those wolves in that laughably simplistic model never developed scientific and technological advancements to feed more rabbits, provide alternative bunny-free diets, and keep both populations healthy and flourishing.
Larry Bell is a professor and endowed professor at the University of Houston, where he directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and heads the graduate program in space architecture. He is author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax,” and his professional aerospace work has been featured on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel-Canada. Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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