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Debates Forum

  1. Standard member CalJust
    It is what it is
    24 Aug '11 09:53 / 2 edits
    Brian Statham is the Chairperson of SANEA, the South African National Energy Association, affiliated with the World Energy Council (WEC).

    He writes the following in the SANEA Journal:

    I recently had the opportunity to attend a private discussion on energy matters while in London. An eminent speaker declared: "We will not solve the global problems of energy access, energy security and climate change as long as we continue to use democratic processes."

    I was astounded. Surely the democratic thesis is that it is through these very same processes that the interests of all people will be best served. There are so many that have fought bitterly for their democratic rights that surely democracy must be a good thing.

    Since then I have thought a great deal about this proposition. It seems to me that it is not democracy per se that is the problem, but it is rather the human frailty with which we apply it that causes problems. Ideally, democracy would produce a result that is optimal for society as a whole. However, what is optimal for the greater society is unlikely to be optimal for sub-units, and this is where the breakdown starts. Current social behaviour seems to require that the optimal solution has to be achieved at the sub-level of the individual person. Our individuality is precious and we frequently insist on our rights to do what we believe to be in our own best interests, regardless.

    I don't see many of us easily giving up our hard-won comforts for the benefit of others and so I am not sure whether we can overcome this conundrum. The resultant vision of our future is scary indeed. Think about it.

    BRIAN A STATHAM


    I have been following with interest the build-up to COP17, the Conference of the Parties to be held in Durban later this year.

    There seems to be no end in sight to the conflict betwen developing and developed countries as to continuation of Kyoto or any other binding agreement. Another stalemate looms. What an incredible waste of time and resources!

    US, Canada, Japan have already indicated that they have no intention of joining, never mind continuing, with Kyoto. China has surpassed the US as the world's biggest polluter, and is also saying No Thank You!

    Here is my question: If it is true that Democracy won't get us there, is there really an alternative to democracy, and if so, WHAT??
  2. 24 Aug '11 10:11
    Originally posted by CalJust
    Here is my question: If it is true that Democracy won't get us there, is there really an alternative to democracy, and if so, WHAT?? [/b]
    So China is now the world's biggest polluter and the problem is democracy?

    Say what?
  3. Standard member CalJust
    It is what it is
    24 Aug '11 10:17
    Originally posted by whodey
    So China is now the world's biggest polluter and the problem is democracy?

    Say what?
    No, not the problem of POLLUTION, but the problem of addressing CLIMATE CHANGE, either by mitigation or adaptation.

    In the world family of nations, China has a democratic vote just like everybody else - whether it is a democracy itself or not!

    Question: Is THAT the problem??

    I forget who it was that said: Democracy is not a workable solution, but the alternatives are worse...
  4. 24 Aug '11 12:47
    Your question seems to be broader than just climate change. It is more about whether democracy leads to things that optimize earth's society as a whole. But individual nations are not going to forfeit their individual sovereignty to decide issues. We will not have one view on pollution as we won't on abortion, capital punishment, religion, entitlement programs, minimum wages, taxation, personal freedoms or the millions of other issues that face people on planet earth.
  5. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    24 Aug '11 12:57
    Originally posted by CalJust
    Brian Statham is the Chairperson of SANEA, the South African National Energy Association, affiliated with the World Energy Council (WEC).

    He writes the following in the SANEA Journal:

    I recently had the opportunity to attend a private discussion on energy matters while in London. An eminent speaker declared: "We will not solve the global problems of en ...[text shortened]... acy won't get us there, is there really an alternative to democracy, and if so, WHAT?? [/i]
    As long as we remain shackled to an unsustainable and out of control economic model, and as long as big money interests have a vested interest in subverting democracy and profiting from that economic model, then it seems we'll be doomed to continue hurtling down those tracks until the whole train derails in a cataclysmic crash.
  6. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    24 Aug '11 13:56
    Is rwingett the anti-wajoma-bot or is wajoma the anti-rwingett-bot?
  7. Standard member CalJust
    It is what it is
    24 Aug '11 14:13
    Both rwingett and quackquack have underscored my perception that the entire UN effort to combat climate change has no hope in hell of success.

    Why not admit it and drop the entire effort

    Save everybody a lot of time and let what will be will be....
  8. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    24 Aug '11 14:20
    Originally posted by CalJust
    Both rwingett and quackquack have underscored my perception that the entire UN effort to combat climate change has no hope in hell of success.

    Why not admit it and drop the entire effort

    Save everybody a lot of time and let what will be will be....
    The problem is not democracy. The problem is big money interests who run roughshod over democratic institutions and pervert them toward their own short-sighted, profit driven motives. The fight may be an uphill one, but our own human dignity demands that we undertake it. Surrender is not an option.
  9. 24 Aug '11 14:27
    Originally posted by rwingett
    The problem is not democracy. The problem is big money interests who run roughshod over democratic institutions and pervert them toward their own short-sighted, profit driven motives. The fight may be an uphill one, but our own human dignity demands that we undertake it. Surrender is not an option.
    We live in a capitalistic society and without producers we have very little. While, I understand that it is vogue to criticize those producers they provide goods and jobs that we want. Democracy is not failing merely because it does not come to the conclusions on certain issues that you or the UN or someone else may desire.
  10. 24 Aug '11 14:28 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by CalJust
    Ideally, democracy would produce a result that is optimal for society as a whole. However, what is optimal for the greater society is unlikely to be optimal for sub-units, and this is where the breakdown starts
    You have hit upon only one of the many failings of current democratic systems.
    In the case of climate change, the real problem is another one altogether - the fact that political systems are mostly focused on the election cycle and thus only plan short term, and only on things that politicians believe will affect the electorate before the next election.
    Add to this that most people are short term planners and are generally not very concerned about problems that they see as only affecting their children, or some distant continent at some distant point in time.

    And lastly, rwingett is correct in that the current model in most countries is not particularly democratic anyway, it is the interests of the rich and corporations that are attended to by governments, not the interest of the populace in general.

    The only time we will start doing something about climate change is when doing so is seen as profitable by large corporations.

    I must add that China, with its somewhat different political system, is probably doing more about climate change than anyone else, but again, probably not because the 'people' want them to.
  11. 24 Aug '11 14:32
    Originally posted by CalJust

    I forget who it was that said: Democracy is not a workable solution, but the alternatives are worse...
    Winston Churchill: It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

    I've also heard it described this way (not from Churchill): Democracy is three wolves and a sheep deciding on what to eat for dinner
  12. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    24 Aug '11 14:36
    Originally posted by quackquack
    We live in a capitalistic society and without producers we have very little. While, I understand that it is vogue to criticize those producers they provide goods and jobs that we want. Democracy is not failing merely because it does not come to the conclusions on certain issues that you or the UN or someone else may desire.
    Would you thank the slave owners for providing a nice plantation for the slaves to work on? After all, if it weren't for the institution of slavery, the slaves would surely starve.

    As with the institution of slavery, neither your capitalistic system nor your venerated "producers" are necessary. I suspect that if we were to do away with both that there would still be plenty of jobs to go around.
  13. 24 Aug '11 15:31
    Originally posted by sh76
    Is rwingett the anti-wajoma-bot or is wajoma the anti-rwingett-bot?
    My guess is if the two ever met there would be widespread universal devistation.
  14. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    24 Aug '11 15:44
    Originally posted by whodey
    My guess is if the two ever met there would be widespread universal devistation.
    It might cause a breach in the space-time continuum, unless... if only we could divert power from the main deflector dish.
  15. 24 Aug '11 15:49
    Originally posted by sh76
    It might cause a breach in the space-time continuum, unless... if only we could divert power from the main deflector dish.
    Yes, but would it be carbon free?