Godel's Proof and The Human Condition - The Basic Essays

Population, Development and Pollution
Sustainable Resource Use and
'Latino (and other) Power'

For many years now, along with the usual news on local events, sports, business and the fights for independence in various parts of the world, major papers have carried articles, sometimes series, on various aspects of 'burgeoning mankind' -poor education, for example, and urban flight from inner city degradation. And for coastal papers more recently, there have been other articles in addition, some dealing with coastal development and pollution, and, in the Los Angeles Times in particular, 'growing Latino power'. These are, generally, discrete articles; they are also however, all of substance-common material, that of population and economic growth and 'life-style and the quality of life'.

The substance of these articles is not unique to the United States, but it is this edge-cutting nation that first experiences some of these problems. It is a situation peculiar to this country in that no other forebears have had the coincidence of 17th century West-European science, technology, political thought (primarily English) and new-world properties of such combination that could spring an 'edge-cutting United States of America'. Because the framework of our experience has so far been solely diasporative however -life-style and the quality of life easily escalating as we develop our vast resources, there has been little impetus to assimilate some of the more important and implicative findings of science.

Skipping over more scientific aspects of this then(*1), the facts regarding population, development and pollution in this context are the following.

1 - Pollution of coastal waters and lands will continue as long as pollutive run-off exceeds classical econiche regenerative capability. That pollution comes from land development (shoreline or other), common sewage (commercial and traffic debris et cetera included), perishables production-and-industry (farming etc) and any activity in general that produces such run-off or sewage that cannot be processed in some way that does not pollute environment.

2 - Productive potential of coastal waters will decrease as long as human population drives or depletes organism populations critical to the stability of those econiches below their critical reproductive mass -by pollution (above) but now also by oil spills et cetera, by over'harvesting' (fishing etc) and by degradation through development of shoreline that is critical to the coastal-water econiche.

3 - The sole source and agency of these run-offs, pollutions, degradations and depletions is (a) human-organism population overwhelming an environment that is unable to regeneratively assimilate it and (b) that population's exploitation of resources for an essentially wasteful, 'consumerist' life-style and quality of life which only further overwhelms classical regeneration.

The economy 'grows', in other words, through (a) coastal lands development as expression of life-style and the quality of life, -which produces run-off and degrades coastal water productivity, by (b) importing cheap labor to maintain those developments -which requires still more development for that increasing population and consequently produces still more run-off and coastal degradation, and by (c) increasing agricultural and industrial production to accommodate that increasing population -ever still more development, run-off and degradation. And population will continue to grow and resources deplete as long as 'cheap' natural resources and Latino labor support 'upward mobility and expanding life-style-and-quality'. The Latino, in turn, influences government-and-economy by his de-facto massive presence, and likewise gets his chance at developing and polluting 'The American Way'.

The Latino, of course, is not the only 'cheap labor'; there is a large and growing Asian population -sometimes better skilled, that likewise supports our affluence and likewise wants a voice. The Asian too, wants to live (developing and polluting) 'The American Way'.

The concerted and eventually political influence of 'cheap-labor' on government, unfortunately, is somewhat more pejorative than that of other Americans. Relatively new to this country, and frequently speaking from the bottom of the pile, 'cheap-labor' Latino's -and those that speak for them, are neither aware nor particularly concerned about the 'overpopulation, development and pollution' that few of even the rest of us may care about, problems not nearly so implicative, relatively speaking, in previous times of massive immigration. The Latino is, in fact, not generally educated to the 'idiom' of life under The Constitution. His activism for equal rights, consequently, is an even less-enlightened activism than those of us born or naturalized under it. And worse, his immigration only protracts the problems of overpopulation, ignorance and poverty of the emigrant nation that he has abandoned and is not obligated to address. We should not for a moment forget that the reason most immigrants come to this country, legally or illegally, is to escape dead-end poverty, but that as new-comers they see and feel nothing of overpopulation, shoreline degradation and pollution problems. They do not understand that there is no 'Latino viability', or any other for that matter, except through sustainable resource use by remedy of those problems.

The Latino should not be fighting for Latino voice in U.S. government, or even for a Latino cultural stamp on the American idiom -inevitably to be homogenized under miscegenation anyhow. What he should be fighting for is rather the education that would make him an American under The Constitution instead of an alien faction. Without that education he will not understand America's 'population, development and pollution' problems or those same ones of his own country to which now add poverty and human rights. He will only add to the problems of both countries. -The consumerist average-American's 'use' of Latino's, it is safe to say (through government and economy), relies upon that ignorance and has always more or less protracted the situation under the mantra, 'The economy has to grow'.

Yes, we can do something about this; we can close down immigration in general. And we can start doing for ourselves -Latino's already here included, 'what we import cheap Latino labor to do'. And we can start thinking more about what population size of what 'life-style and quality of life' is in fact supportable under 'sustainable resource use'. There are those who will argue that some immigration is good, that it is 'new blood' with which this country was born and upon which it grows -that 'The economy has to grow'. This is not true: the economy will grow regardless -but intellectually, and coastal pollution and development, in turn, will start decreasing as we start reevaluating our affluences and reconstituting our lives without the warp of 'cheap natural resources and labor'. As it is instead, we abuse our freedoms, underrate our capabilities and ignore the good that closing down immigration will do to elevate those freedoms and set a powerful example -perhaps standard, for the rest of the world.

The Mexico's and China's of the world have much the same coastal problems we do. What they have in addition -coasts are not the issue here- are the unemployment and poverty of populations they cannot employ or carry with or without continuing natural resource depletions and environmental degradations. The sooner the United States stems immigration, in other words, the sooner those countries are driven to address that one basic and inevitable problem of population and sustainable resource use, and we can indeed and must in fact help them. And we can begin by educating our American immigrant underclass to these facts of 'Population, Development and Pollution; Sustainable Resource Use and Latino and Other Power'.

Classical econiches display a certain dynamic stability as species populations vary within some range of genetically-regulated food-chain interactions. Man, on the other hand, is not only the organism highest on the food-chain, but one of intellectual capabilities that avail him a unique straddle and manipulative power over ALL food-chains. The American, consequently -citizen or not, the rest of the world emulating- is a peculiarly consumption-oriented organism that 'only worsens otherwise more classical evolution of world/econiche-whole well-being and viability'. -Which takes us to 'population, development and pollution'.

(*2) We do not ordinarily think of intellectual evolution as Darwinian, but science advances and as it does, societies reflect natural selection by incorporating discovery: civilizations mutate, interact and supercede each other like the organisms of all econiches. The nature of civilization so far however, of rationale underlying both personal relationships and government operation, remains relatively unchanged since New Stone Age Man learned enough to 'begin' civilization: 'An earth here to serve us' and 'Go forth and multiply' -evolution under human influence. We have now a production, distribution and consumption of goods and services of such proliferating momentum that we just may not be able to undertake sustainable resource use before major, irreversibly pejorative effects on future life-style-and-quality set in-

1 - Population continues to grow, and we have no idea either where that population will 'stabilize' or how the availability of oil (representative energy source) will affect that stability in return.

2 - We know that the actual amount of oil is 'geologically fixed' -but we don't know how much there is; we do know however, that the more oil used, the less there is, and the more oil energy it takes to get successively less oil out.

3 - There is no way to know in advance of econiche damage due to oil exploitation what that damage may mean in our relationship with the environment, but we do know that the less damage incurred, the better our understanding that relationship.

4 - We do not know 'exactly' what the implications of global warming are, but we do know that oil use by humans is factor of 'potentially great global warming consequence' -the point being that the less 'undisciplined oil consumption', the better our understanding of global warming and its implications.

5 - The 'human phenomenon' is a physical phenomenon of mass-and-velocity momentum. What this means is that whatever we do to 'resolve' the situation, 'some element of earthly habitational degradation will continue well beyond our best opinions'.

Add to this then, the overall most exacerbating unknown-
6- We know that American lifestyle effectively sets the economic goals of the world, but we have absolutely no idea how much of our 'convenience-based consumerism' diminishes 'the best well-being and viability of the organism-whole' that we will inevitably have to face.

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First posted: October 18, 1999; Last Updated: November 16, 2001.2

*1 - Except for the influence of humans or of certain geological or meteorological events of a (similarly?) 'catastrophic' nature (a matter of scale), life on earth constitutes a system of stably evolving econiches in which we can identify at least two modes of evolutionary process: one of human influence, and another, 'classical', without it. The distinction is important because future 'life-style and quality of life' depends upon and is in fact measurable by the classical-sense well-being and viability of the econiche -for humans, the whole earth.