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*** War

War Impact
Economic decline causes warstrong statistical support.
Royal 10 Jedidiah Royal, Director of Cooperative Threat Reduction at the U.S. Department
of Defense, M.Phil. Candidate at the University of New South Wales, 2010 (Economic
Integration, Economic Signalling and the Problem of Economic Crises, Economics of War and
Peace: Economic, Legal and Political Perspectives, Edited by Ben Goldsmith and Jurgen Brauer,
Published by Emerald Group Publishing, ISBN 0857240048, p. 213-215)
Less intuitive is how periods of economic decline may increase the likelihood of external conflict. Political
science literature has contributed a moderate degree of attention to the impact of economic decline and the security and defence
behaviour of interdependent states. Research in this vein has been considered at systemic, dyadic and national levels. Several notable
contributions follow.
First, on the systemic level, Pollins (2008) advances Modelski and Thompson's (1996) work on leadership cycle theory, finding that

rhythms in the global economy are associated with the rise and fall of a pre-eminent power and
the often bloody transition from one pre-eminent leader to the next. As such, exogenous shocks such as economic
crises could usher in a redistribution of relative power (see also Gilpin. 1981) that leads to uncertainty about
power balances, increasing the risk of miscalculation (Feaver, 1995). Alternatively, even a relatively certain
redistribution of power could lead to a permissive environment for conflict as a rising power may seek to challenge a declining power
(Werner. 1999). Separately, Pollins (1996) also shows that global economic cycles combined with parallel leadership cycles impact
the likelihood of conflict among major, medium and small powers, although he suggests that the causes and connections between
global economic conditions and security conditions remain unknown.
Second, on a dyadic level, Copeland's (1996, 2000) theory of trade expectations suggests that 'future expectation of trade' is a
significant variable in understanding economic conditions and security behaviour of states. He argues that interdependent states are
likely to gain pacific benefits from trade so long as they have an optimistic view of future trade relations. However, if the

expectations of future trade decline, particularly for difficult [end page 213] to replace items such as energy resources,
the likelihood for conflict increases, as states will be inclined to use force to gain access to those
resources. Crises could potentially be the trigger for decreased trade expectations either on its own or because it
triggers protectionist moves by interdependent states.4
Third, others have considered the link between economic decline and external armed conflict at a national level. Blomberg and Hess
(2002) find a strong correlation between internal conflict and external conflict, particularly during periods of economic downturn.
They write,
The linkages

between internal and external conflict and prosperity are strong and mutually
reinforcing. Economic conflict tends to spawn internal conflict, which in turn returns the favour.
Moreover, the presence of a recession tends to amplify the extent to which international and external
conflicts self-reinforce each other. (Blomberg & Hess, 2002. p. 89)
Economic decline has also been linked with an increase in the likelihood of terrorism (Blomberg, Hess, &
Weerapana, 2004), which has the capacity to spill across borders and lead to external tensions.
Furthermore, crises generally reduce

the popularity of a sitting government. Diversionary theory" suggests that,

when facing unpopularity arising from economic decline, sitting governments have increased
incentives to fabricate external military conflicts to create a 'rally around the flag' effect. Wang
(1996), DeRouen (1995). and Blomberg, Hess, and Thacker (2006) find supporting evidence showing that economic decline and use
of force are at least indirectly correlated. Gelpi (1997), Miller (1999), and Kisangani and Pickering (2009) suggest that the tendency
towards diversionary tactics are greater for democratic states than autocratic states, due to the fact that democratic leaders are
generally more susceptible to being removed from office due to lack of domestic support. DeRouen (2000) has provided evidence
showing that periods of weak economic performance in the United States, and thus weak Presidential popularity,

are statistically linked to an increase in the use of force.

In summary, recent economic scholarship positively correlates economic integration with an increase in the frequency of economic
crises, whereas political science scholarship links economic decline with external conflict at systemic,

dyadic and national levels.5 This implied connection between integration, crises and armed conflict has not featured
prominently in the economic-security debate and deserves more attention.

This observation is not contradictory to other perspectives that link economic interdependence with a
decrease in the likelihood of external conflict, such as those mentioned in the first paragraph of this chapter. [end page 214]
Those studies tend to focus on dyadic interdependence instead of global interdependence and do not specifically
consider the occurrence of and conditions created by economic crises. As such, the view presented here should be considered
ancillary to those views.

War Impact
Economic wars go nuclear and global.
Kemp 10Director of Regional Strategic Programs at The Nixon Center, served in the White
House under Ronald Reagan, special assistant to the president for national security affairs and
senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the National Security Council Staff,
Former Director, Middle East Arms Control Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace [Geoffrey Kemp, 2010, The East Moves West: India, China, and Asias Growing Presence
in the Middle East, p. 233-4]
The second scenario, called Mayhem and Chaos, is the opposite of the first scenario; everything that can go wrong does go wrong.
The world economic situation weakens rather than strengthens, and India, China, and Japan suffer

a major reduction in their growth rates, further weakening the global economy. As a result, energy
demand falls and the price of fossil fuels plummets, leading to a financial crisis for the energyproducing states, which are forced to cut back dramatically on expansion programs and social
welfare. That in turn leads to political unrest: and nurtures different radical groups, including, but not
limited to, Islamic extremists. The internal stability of some countries is challenged, and there are more
failed states. Most serious is the collapse of the democratic government in Pakistan and its takeover
by Muslim extremists, who then take possession of a large number of nuclear weapons. The
danger of war between India and Pakistan increases significantly. Iran, always worried about an extremist
Pakistan, expands and weaponizes its nuclear program. That further enhances nuclear proliferation in the
Middle East, with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt joining Israel and Iran as nuclear states. Under
these circumstances, the potential for nuclear terrorism increases, and the possibility of a nuclear
terrorist attack in either the Western world or in the oil-producing states may lead to a further
devastating collapse of the world economic market, with a tsunami-like impact on stability. In
this scenario, major disruptions can be expected, with dire consequences for two-thirds of the
planets population.

The impact is the collapse of the international systemconflicts will break

out and escalate throughout the world.
Panzer 7Michael J. Panzner, Faculty Member specializing in Equities, Trading, Global
Capital Markets and Technical Analysis at the New York Institute of Finance, 25-year veteran of
the global stock, bond, and currency markets who has worked in New York and London for
HSBC, Soros Funds, ABN Amro, Dresdner Bank, and J.P. Morgan Chase, 2007 (Geopolitics,
Financial Armageddon: Protecting Your Future from Four Impending Catastrophes, Published
by Kaplan Publishing, ISBN 141959608X, p. 130-138)
With the United States losing its place at the head of the economic table, the energizing force that
has long led the charge for open markets and free trade will itself retreat into isolation and
protectionism. In fact, the American public, spurred by feelings of anxiety, fear, distrust, and paranoia, will likely raise a growing
clamor for barbwire and poured concrete as well as legal barriers. The turnaround in attitudes toward porous borders and the
disintegration of one of the worlds leading marketplaces for other nations goods and services will parallel anti-American sentiment
sweeping across the globe. For many, Americas long-time paternalistic arrogance and self-appointed role as global police officer,
economic authoritarian, and enforcer of the Judeo-Christian ethic was seen as tolerable only when others either stood to benefit or had
little choice.
But with the cult of consumerism crumbling, the economy in a tailspin, the nations financial system being consumed from within,
public finances in tatters, and military resources stretched to the breaking point, outsiders will no longer have an incentive to ignore
the new reality: the end of American hegemony. [end page 130]

Economic and financial shocks will reverberate back and forth between rich and poor, allies and
adversaries, producers and consumers, and mature and developing nations. A siege mentality will

take hold, where survival and gaining an advantage are the primary goals and every man for
himself becomes the guiding principle.
As time goes on, the United States will lose ever more control over its own destiny, especially in
economic and financial matters, a development already apparent in the years after the 1990s boom ended and the equity
bubble burst. In the international energy markets, for example, prices and supply-demand dynamics were increasingly dominated by
speculative interests and governments operating in hotspots around the world. In the financial markets, monetary policy changes in
Japan, Europe, and China often had a more pronounced effect than did the activities of the Federal Reserve.
The war in Iraq and other military operations, which involved spending more than $500 billion per year, will become untenable
burdens. They will also foment widespread anti-Americanism and growing calls to send U.S. troops home and leave the responsibility
to others. With Americas diminishing role on the world stage will come a reappraisal of many points of contention that were either
discounted or ignored when other nations depended on the United States for their good fortune.
Signs of a shift were already apparent in the summer of 2006 amid the collapse of the Doha round of global trade negotiations,
initiated at the behest of the United States after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. In the end, the failure came down
to bitter and continuing disputes over farm subsidies and a raft of tariff measures, as well as a widening gap between America and
others over what the round should achieve, according to The Economist. All of a sudden, more was to be gained from resisting
American impetus for multilateral global accords and focusing instead on the benefits of self-sufficiency and regional alliances. For no
small number of interested parties, the appropriate endgame [end page 131] was a world split into self-contained, protectionist trading
blocks, resembling in some respects the original vision of a European Union with its porous internal borders and common currency.
This reassessment and realignment of international interests, together with a diminished respect for the United States role as global
agenda setter, underscored another transformation that was under way. In a July 2006 article, Russia-U.S. Shift in Power Balance
May Mold Summit, the Wall Street Journal notes that the Bush administrations decision to allow Russia to store spent nuclear fuel
ahead of a gathering of top nations reflected a shifting power balance between a United States facing challenges on several fronts and
a Russia moving to reassert itself on the world stage.

The United States is also losing the ability to influence alliances it might once have anchored or
refused to sanction. Based on common economic, social, religious, or environmental interests, nations such as Russia and
China, Venezuela and North Korea, and even Iran and Iraq are finding potentially dangerous common ground. No small number of
commentators also note that years of relatively strong economic performance in Asia has spurred a shift in influence from West to
East. A period of rising commodity prices, aided in large part by a massive consumption boom in China, has swung the balance in
favor of resource producers such as Iran, Venezuela, and Russia.
In many cases, unstable regimes are no longer willing to play second fiddle to the clique of leading nations such as the Group of Eight.
Instead, they are vying to assume what they believe is their rightful place at the center of the global power nexus. Increasingly, they
assert their rights to protect their own strategic national interests, and they seek to regain control of valuable resources, either through
nationalization or expropriation, by claiming that outsiders are exploiting these resources.
Aided by sizable cash hordes and spurred by the need to source reliable and plentiful supplies of energy and raw materials, many of
the economically awakened nations also seek to invest in businesses and markets outside their own borders. But those efforts [end
page 132] have triggered backlashes from the United States. In 2005, for example, the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation
voluntarily withdrew its bid for energy company Unocal at the request of the White House following a public outcry. Several months
later, a hullabaloo erupted over government-owned Dubai Worlds bid to acquire the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation
Company, which held contracts to manage six U.S.-based port facilities.
In the wake of such moves, legislators in Washington scrambled to introduce measures that would change the process for reviewing
foreign investments in the United States, especially those involving state-owned companies and that would allow authorities to keep
closer tabs on what nonresident investors were up to. But frictions over trade and investment werent the only points of contention.
When Chinas economy was expanding at a double-digit pace and its rapidly rising output was absorbing an ever-greater share of the
American import bill, the Asian nation also faced unwelcome pressure from the United States and elsewhere to revalue its currency,
the yuan, which many believed was fixed at an artificially low level relative to the dollar.
No doubt many of these difficulties can be traced to Americas structural deficiencies and external imbalances, which include large
current account and budget deficits that worsen by the day. There is also the issue of the trillions of dollars held by those outside our
shoresmost of whom have no natural interest in the currency. For the better part of three decades, the United States ran a current
account deficit, an excess of imports and current payments over exports and current earnings. This was the result of a declining
manufacturing base, a rapidly expanding thirst for energy that could only be produced elsewhere, and an unhealthy predilection for
foreign-made goods. By 2005, imports were more than 16 percent of gross domestic product, up from less than 6 percent only three
decades earlier. When the trade deficit climbed to 6.6 percent of GDP by the second quarter of 2006, it had reached a dangerous stage.
Americans had spent way more than they could [end page 133] afford for far too long and had relied on a staggering amount of
borrowed money to pay for it, with much of the financing coming from foreigners.

As attitudes toward the United States change, more foreigners will question the dollars longstanding
role as a global reserve currency and international unit of account, especially when they realize how many of
these paper promises have actually been created and put into circulation. Moreover, those who might once have had an
interest in continuing to hold the currency and perhaps to add to the $13 trillion of stocks, bonds, factories, and other
American assets that foreigners owned at the end of 2005 will reconsider. In a world of intense competition,

heightened protectionism, and collapsing consumer demand, they will no longer have the same
incentive to support the greenback and invest in America as an adjunct to an export-driven strategy as they did
during the upswing.
Already in 2006, there were signs of a sea change. After years of massive purchases, some overseas holders began to diversify out of
dollar-denominated securities. In March, the Wall Street Journal wrote that net foreign purchases of U.S. government securities fell 86
percent to a three-year low, while central banks were net sellers for the first time in a year. Other reports noted that the greenback was
becoming increasingly vulnerable to a reshuffle of dollar reserves by Mideast and Asian nations. With foreigners holding more than
40 percent of U.S. Treasury bonds, 25 percent of outstanding corporate bonds, and 12 percent of corporate equities, the prospect of an
abrupt, widespread exodus could only add to a dismal outlook for domestic securities prices.
More than a few foreign countries also seek to diversify out of the dollar into precious metals and other assets. Russian President
Vladimir Putin, for instance, reportedly ordered the nations central bank in 2006 to boost golds share of its $277 billion of foreign
reserves from 5 to 10 percent, while China, which held only 1.4 percent of reserves in the precious metal, according to the World Gold
Council, was being urged by domestic officials to increase its exposure. There has also been persistent and growing chatter, led [end
page 134] by anti-American oil producers such as Iran and Venezuela, about changing the reference price for crude oil from dollars to
euros, or even to units of gold, per barrel.

As sentiment toward the United States changes for the worse, the advantages of a widely held and
readily tradable but intrinsically worthless and suddenly depreciating dollar will quickly be lost,
transforming a once desirable asset into a liability. Along with this realization will come what many
observers have long feared: a rapid and disorderly unwinding of existing global imbalances and a
plunge in the dollar.
Still, although little doubt exists about the longer term outlook for the greenback, especially given that U.S. officials will eventually be
forced to turn on the monetary spigot full blast, the dollar may well swing noticeably higher versus other currencies in the short run.
The combination of massive speculative bets against the currency; widespread margin calls at major financial intermediaries as
volatile markets boost collateral requirements; unexpectedly tight monetary policy; and frantic efforts to convert assets of all kinds
into cash to service trillions in dollar-denominated loans, bonds, and other obligations will likely trigger a short-term boost in demand.
These moves will ultimately prove unsustainable, however, as the wholesale destruction of purchasing power amid a hyperactive
increase in the supply of the currency proves overwhelming. With the Fed eventually seeking to monetize anything and everything in
sight, those who can will do their utmost to bail out of American currency. Dollar-denominated assets of all kinds, including former
safe-haven investments such as Treasury bills and the debts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, belatedly recognized as unbacked by
government guarantee, will come under relentless selling pressure.

Markets will also suffer from the violent aftershocks of a dramatic increase in capital flight, as the
remaining wealthy Americans and exposed foreigners try to exit before the door slams completely shut. A rash of financial
problems, bank failures, legal [end page 135] proceedings, arbitrary decrees, and rising concern over a
government that seems to have abdicated any semblance of fiscal discipline will further
exacerbate those fears.
Many will wonder whether the United States might renege on some of its financial obligations or
even declare an outright default on its once AAA securities. Likely adding to a widespread sense of panic will be the
exodus from an array of global fiat currencies into gold, silver, property, and other tangible assets, which can hold their value in a
world of government finances run amok. Needless to say, systemic financial pressures and domino-like bank failures will make
preservation of capital the utmost concern.

Rising angst will also wreak havoc with links among markets, financial systems, economies, and
countries. Many people could find themselves subject to stricter government controls or even find avenues closed off as a result of
attempts to stem contagion effects. The widespread urge to withdraw will feed rising xenophobia, already inflamed by illegal
immigration, unfair trade practices, and leaking borders. Playing to populist sentiment, politicians around the

country will respond enthusiastically to calls for restrictions on foreigners. This will further feed a
brain drain, as scientists, students, and other temporary visa holders are left with little choice but
to uproot and go elsewhere, further sapping Americas economic resiliency.
Continuing calls for curbs on the flow of finance and trade will inspire the United States and other
nations to spew forth protectionist legislation like the notorious Smoot-Hawley bill. Introduced at the start of the
Great Depression, it triggered a series of tit-for-tat economic responses, which many commentators believe helped turn a serious
economic downturn into a prolonged and devastating global disaster. But if history is any guide, those lessons will have been long
forgotten during the next collapse. Eventually, fed by a mood of desperation and growing public anger, restrictions on trade, finance,
investment, and immigration will almost certainly intensify. [end page 136]
Authorities and ordinary citizens will likely scrutinize the cross-border movement of Americans and outsiders alike, and lawmakers
may even call for a general crackdown on nonessential travel. Meanwhile, many nations will make transporting or sending funds to

other countries exceedingly difficult. As desperate officials try to limit the fallout from decades of ill-conceived, corrupt, and reckless
policies, they will introduce controls on foreign exchange. Foreign individuals and companies seeking to acquire certain American
infrastructure assets, or trying to buy property and other assets on the cheap thanks to a rapidly depreciating dollar, will be stymied by
limits on investment by noncitizens. Those efforts will cause spasms to ripple across economies and markets, disrupting global
payment, settlement, and clearing mechanisms. All of this will, of course, continue to undermine business confidence and consumer
In a world of lockouts and lockdowns, any link that transmits systemic financial pressures across markets through arbitrage or
portfolio-based risk management, or that allows diseases to be easily spread from one country to the next by tourists and wildlife, or
that otherwise facilitates unwelcome exchanges of any kind will be viewed with suspicion and dealt with accordingly.

The rise in isolationism and protectionism will bring about ever more heated arguments and
dangerous confrontations over shared sources of oil, gas, and other key commodities as well as
factors of production that must, out of necessity, be acquired from less-than-friendly nations. Whether
involving raw materials used in strategic industries or basic necessities such as food, water, and energy, efforts to secure adequate
supplies will take increasing precedence in a world where demand seems constantly out of kilter with supply. Disputes over the

misuse, overuse, and pollution of the environment and natural resources will become more
Around the world, such tensions will give rise to full-scale military encounters, often with
minimal provocation. In some instances, economic conditions will serve as a convenient pretext
for conflicts that stem from cultural and religious [end page 137] differences. Alternatively, nations may
look to divert attention away from domestic problems by channeling frustration and populist
sentiment toward other countries and cultures. Enabled by cheap technology and the waning
threat of American retribution, terrorist groups will likely boost the frequency and scale of their
horrifying attacks, bringing the threat of random violence to a whole new level .
Turbulent conditions will encourage aggressive saber rattling and interdictions by rogue nations
running amok. Age-old clashes will also take on a new, more heated sense of urgency. China will
likely assume an increasingly belligerent posture toward Taiwan, while Iran may embark on overt
colonization of its neighbors in the Mideast. Israel, for its part, may look to draw a dwindling list of
allies from around the world into a growing number of conflicts. Some observers, like John Mearsheimer, a
political scientist at the University of Chicago, have even speculated that an intense confrontation between the United States and
China is inevitable at some point.

More than a few disputes will turn out to be almost wholly ideological. Growing cultural and
religious differences will be transformed from wars of words to battles soaked in blood. Longsimmering resentments could also degenerate quickly, spurring the basest of human instincts and
triggering genocidal acts. Terrorists employing biological or nuclear weapons will vie with
conventional forces using jets, cruise missiles, and bunker-busting bombs to cause widespread
destruction. Many will interpret stepped-up conflicts between Muslims and Western societies as the beginnings of a new world

As events unfold, unsettling geopolitical tensions and the continuing economic collapse will
weigh heavily on the familiar routines of everyday life, forcing many Americans to wonder when,
or if, it will ever end.

Economic decline heightens the risk of global conflictmultiple scenarios.

Harris and Burrows 9 Mathew J. Burrows, counselor in the National Intelligence
Council, principal drafter of Global Trends 2025: A Transformed Worldan unclassified report
by the NIC published every four years that projects trends over a 15-year period, has served in the
Central Intelligence Agency since 1986, holds a Ph.D. in European History from Cambridge
University, and Jennifer Harris, Member of the Long Range Analysis Unit at the National
Intelligence Council, holds an M.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University and a
J.D. from Yale University, 2009 (Revisiting the Future: Geopolitical Effects of the Financial

Crisis, The Washington Quarterly, Volume 32, Issue 2, April, Available Online at, Accessed 08-22-2011, p. 35-37)
Of course, the report encompasses more than economics and indeed believes the future is likely to be the result of a number of
intersecting and interlocking forces. With so many possible permutations of outcomes, each with ample [end page 35] opportunity for
unintended consequences, there is a growing sense of insecurity.
Even so, history may be more instructive than ever. While

we continue to believe that the Great Depression is

not likely to be repeated, the lessons to be drawn from that period include the harmful effects on
fledgling democracies and multiethnic societies (think Central Europe in 1920s and 1930s) and on the sustainability
of multilateral institutions (think League of Nations in the same period). There is no reason to think that this would
not be true in the twenty-first as much as in the twentieth century. For that reason, the ways in which the
potential for greater conflict could grow would seem to be even more apt in a constantly volatile
economic environment as they would be if change would be steadier.
In surveying those risks, the report stressed the likelihood that terrorism and nonproliferation will remain priorities even as resource
issues move up on the international agenda. Terrorisms appeal will decline if economic growth continues in

the diffusion
of technologies and scientific knowledge will place some of the worlds most dangerous
capabilities within their reach. Terrorist groups in 2025 will likely be a combination of descendants of long established
the Middle East and youth unemployment is reduced. For those terrorist groups that remain active in 2025, however,

groupsinheriting organizational structures, command and control processes, and training procedures necessary to conduct
sophisticated attacksand newly emergent collections of the angry and disenfranchised that become self-radicalized, particularly in
the absence of economic outlets that would become narrower in an economic downturn.

The most dangerous casualty of any economically-induced drawdown of U.S. military presence
would almost certainly be the Middle East. Although Irans acquisition of nuclear weapons is not inevitable, worries about a
nuclear-armed Iran could lead states in the region to develop new security arrangements with external powers, acquire additional
weapons, and consider pursuing their own nuclear ambitions. It is not clear that the type of stable deterrent relationship that existed
between the great powers for most of the Cold War would emerge naturally in the Middle East with a nuclear Iran. Episodes of

low intensity conflict and terrorism taking place under a nuclear umbrella could lead to an
unintended escalation and broader conflict if clear red lines between those states involved are not well established.
The close proximity of potential nuclear rivals combined with underdeveloped surveillance
capabilities and mobile dual-capable Iranian missile systems also will produce inherent
difficulties in achieving reliable indications and warning of an impending nuclear attack. The lack
of strategic depth in neighboring states like Israel, short warning and missile flight times, and
uncertainty of Iranian intentions may place more focus on preemption rather than defense,
potentially leading to escalating crises. [end page 36]
Types of conflict that the world continues to experience, such as over

resources, could reemerge, particularly if

of renewed energy scarcity will
drive countries to take actions to assure their future access to energy supplies. In the worst case, this could
result in interstate conflicts if government leaders deem assured access to energy resources, for example, to be essential for
maintaining domestic stability and the survival of their regime. Even actions short of war, however, will have
important geopolitical implications. Maritime security concerns are providing a rationale for naval buildups and
protectionism grows and there is a resort to neo-mercantilist practices. Perceptions

modernization efforts, such as Chinas and Indias development of blue water naval capabilities. If the fiscal stimulus focus for these
countries indeed turns inward, one of the most obvious funding targets may be military. Buildup of regional naval capabilities could
lead to increased tensions, rivalries, and counterbalancing moves, but it also will create opportunities for multinational cooperation in
protecting critical sea lanes. With water also becoming scarcer in Asia and the Middle East, cooperation to manage changing
water resources is

likely to be increasingly difficult both within and between states in a more dog-eat-dog


Extended economic crisis risk protectionism, failed states, democratic

backsliding, and global conflict
Green and Schrage 9Michael J Green is Senior Advisor and Japan Chair at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Associate Professor at Georgetown University.

Steven P Schrage is the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business and a former senior official
with the US Trade Representative's Office, State Department and Ways & Means Committee
[March 26, 2009, It's not just the economy,]
However, the Great Depression taught us that a downward global economic spiral can even have
jarring impacts on great powers. It is no mere coincidence that the last great global economic
downturn was followed by the most destructive war in human history.
In the 1930s, economic desperation helped fuel autocratic regimes and protectionism in a
downward economic-security death spiral that engulfed the world in conflict. This spiral was
aided by the preoccupation of the United States and other leading nations with economic troubles
at home and insufficient attention to working with other powers to maintain stability abroad.
Today's challenges are different, yet 1933's London Economic Conference, which failed to stop the drift toward deeper depression and
world war, should be a cautionary tale for leaders heading to next month's London Group of 20 (G-20) meeting.
There is no question the US must urgently act to address banking issues and to restart its economy. But the lessons of the past suggest
that we will also have to keep an eye on those fragile threads in the international system that could begin to unravel if the financial
crisis is not reversed early in the Barack Obama administration and realize that economics and security are intertwined

in most of the critical challenges we face.

A disillusioned rising power? Four areas in Asia merit particular attention, although so far the current financial crisis has not changed
Asia's fundamental strategic picture. China is not replacing the US as regional hegemon, since the leadership in Beijing is too nervous
about the political implications of the financial crisis at home to actually play a leading role in solving it internationally.
Predictions that the US will be brought to its knees because China is the leading holder of US debt often miss key points. China's
currency controls and full employment/export-oriented growth strategy give Beijing few choices other than buying US Treasury bills
or harming its own economy. Rather than creating new rules or institutions in international finance, or reorienting the Chinese
economy to generate greater long-term consumer demand at home, Chinese leaders are desperately clinging to the status quo (though
Beijing deserves credit for short-term efforts to stimulate economic growth).

The greater danger with China is not an eclipsing of US leadership, but instead the kind of shift in
strategic orientation that happened to Japan after the Great Depression. Japan was arguably not a
revisionist power before 1932 and sought instead to converge with the global economy through
open trade and adoption of the gold standard.
The worldwide depression and protectionism of the 1930s devastated the newly exposed Japanese
economy and contributed directly to militaristic and autarkic policies in Asia as the Japanese
people reacted against what counted for globalization at the time. China today is similarly
converging with the global economy, and many experts believe China needs at least 8% annual growth to sustain social
stability. Realistic growth predictions for 2009 are closer to 5%.
Veteran China hands were watching closely when millions of migrant workers returned to work after the Lunar New Year holiday last
month to find factories closed and jobs gone. There were pockets of protests, but nationwide unrest seems unlikely this

year, and Chinese leaders are working around the clock to ensure that it does not happen next
year either. However, the economic slowdown has only just begun and nobody is certain how it will
impact the social contract in China between the ruling communist party and the 1.3 billion
Chinese who have come to see President Hu Jintao's call for "harmonious society" as inextricably
linked to his promise of "peaceful development".
If the Japanese example is any precedent, a sustained economic slowdown has the potential to open a
dangerous path from economic nationalism to strategic revisionism in China too.
Dangerous states
It is noteworthy that North

Korea, Myanmar and Iran have all intensified their defiance in the wake of
the financial crisis, which has distracted the world's leading nations, limited their moral authority
and sown potential discord. With Beijing worried about the potential impact of North Korean belligerence or instability on
Chinese internal stability, and leaders in Japan and South Korea under siege in parliament because of the collapse of their stock
markets, leaders in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang have grown increasingly boisterous

about their country's claims to great power status as a nuclear weapons state.
The junta in Myanmar has chosen this moment to arrest hundreds of political dissidents and
thumb its nose at fellow members of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Iran continues its
nuclear program while exploiting differences between the US, UK and France (or the P-3 group) and
China and Russia - differences that could become more pronounced if economic friction with Beijing or Russia crowds out
cooperation or if Western European governments grow nervous about sanctions as a tool of policy.

It is possible that the economic downturn will make these dangerous states more pliable because of falling fuel prices (Iran) and
greater need for foreign aid (North Korea and Myanmar), but that may depend on the extent that authoritarian leaders care about the
well-being of their people or face internal political pressures linked to the economy. So far, there is little evidence to suggest either
and much evidence to suggest these dangerous states see an opportunity to advance their asymmetrical advantages against the
international system.
Challenges to the democratic model

The trend in East Asia has been for developing economies to steadily embrace democracy and the
rule of law in order to sustain their national success. But to thrive, new democracies also have to
deliver basic economic growth. The economic crisis has hit democracies hard, with Japanese Prime
Minister Aso Taro's approval collapsing to single digits in the polls and South Korea's Lee Myung-bak and Taiwan's Ma Ying Jeou
doing only a little better (and the collapse in Taiwan's exports - particularly to China - is sure to undermine Ma's argument that a more
accommodating stance toward Beijing will bring economic benefits to Taiwan). Thailand's new coalition government has an uncertain
future after two years of post-coup drift and now economic crisis.

The string of old and new democracies in East Asia has helped to anchor US relations with China
and to maintain what former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice once called a "balance of power that favors
freedom". A reversal of the democratic expansion of the past two decades would not only impact
the global balance of power but also increase the potential number of failed states, with all the
attendant risk they bring from harboring terrorists to incubating pandemic diseases and trafficking
in persons. It would also undermine the demonstration effect of liberal norms we are urging China to embrace at home.
The collapse of financial markets in 1929 was compounded by protectionist measures such as the Smoot-Hawley tariff act in 1932.
Suddenly, the economic collapse became a zero-sum race for autarkic trading blocs that became a

key cause of war. Today, the globalization of finance, services and manufacturing networks and the
World Trade Organization (WTO) make such a rapid move to trading blocs unlikely. However,
protectionism could still unravel the international system through other guises.
Already, new spending packages around the world are providing support for certain industries that
might be perceived by foreign competitors as unfair trade measures, potentially creating a
"Smoot-Hawley 2.0" stimulus effect as governments race to prop up industries. "Buy American"
conditionality in the US economic stimulus package earlier this year was watered down
somewhat by the Obama administration, but it set a tempting precedent for other countries to put up
barriers to close markets.
Nations pushing the bounds of their trade commitments could overload the circuits of a system
that can take two years to determine violations - more than enough time for a global meltdown.
Climate change legislation is also likely to become a stalking horse for protectionism as legislatures enthusiastically embrace punitive
tariffs against Chinese or Indian goods that are produced outside of the framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Finally, competitive devaluation - already being pursued by China in the view of some economists - could intensify

international protectionism and friction. Global trade has already contracted for the first time in
over two decades and governments have only just begun exploring unilateral measures that could
cause further barriers. Meanwhile, trade liberalization has stalled in the Doha Round of the WTO and the
Obama administration has come into office expressing strong reservations about major bilateral free trade agreements already
negotiated with allies like South Korea and Columbia.

Even if the clarion call of protectionism does not lead to the kind of autarkic blocs that
contributed to war in the 1930s, it could still distract governments from collaboration on common
threats and slow the prospects for more rapid recovery.

Turns Hegemony
Economic decline collapses U.S. hegemonythe impact is great power
Khalilzad 11 Zalmay Khalilzad, Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, served as the United States ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United Nations
during the presidency of George W. Bush, served as the director of policy planning at the Defense
Department during the Presidency of George H.W. Bush, holds a Ph.D. from the University of
Chicago, 2011 (The Economy and National Security, National Review, February 8th, Available
Online at, Accessed 02-08-2011)
Today, economic

and fiscal trends pose the most severe long-term threat to the United States position
as global leader. While the United States suffers from fiscal imbalances and low economic growth,
the economies of rival powers are developing rapidly. The continuation of these two trends could
lead to a shift from American primacy toward a multi-polar global system, leading in turn to
increased geopolitical rivalry and even war among the great powers.
The current recession is the result of a deep financial crisis, not a mere fluctuation in the business cycle. Recovery is likely to be
protracted. The crisis was preceded by the buildup over two decades of enormous amounts of debt throughout the U.S. economy
ultimately totaling almost 350 percent of GDP and the development of credit-fueled asset bubbles, particularly in the housing
sector. When the bubbles burst, huge amounts of wealth were destroyed, and unemployment rose to over 10 percent. The decline of
tax revenues and massive countercyclical spending put the U.S. government on an unsustainable fiscal path. Publicly held national
debt rose from 38 to over 60 percent of GDP in three years.

Without faster economic growth and actions to reduce deficits, publicly held national debt is
projected to reach dangerous proportions. If interest rates were to rise significantly, annual
interest payments which already are larger than the defense budget would crowd out other spending or
require substantial tax increases that would undercut economic growth. Even worse, if unanticipated
events trigger what economists call a sudden stop in credit markets for U.S. debt, the United States
would be unable to roll over its outstanding obligations, precipitating a sovereign-debt crisis that
would almost certainly compel a radical retrenchment of the United States internationally.
Such scenarios would reshape the international order. It was the economic devastation of Britain and France
during World War II, as well as the rise of other powers, that led both countries to relinquish their empires. In the late 1960s, British
leaders concluded that they lacked the economic capacity to maintain a presence east of Suez. Soviet economic weakness, which
crystallized under Gorbachev, contributed to their decisions to withdraw from Afghanistan, abandon Communist regimes in Eastern
Europe, and allow the Soviet Union to fragment. If the U.S. debt problem goes critical, the United States would be

compelled to retrench, reducing its military spending and shedding international commitments.
We face this domestic challenge while other

major powers are experiencing rapid economic growth. Even

such as China, India, and Brazil have profound political, social, demographic, and economic
problems, their economies are growing faster than ours, and this could alter the global distribution of power.
These trends could in the long term produce a multi-polar world. If U.S. policymakers fail to act
and other powers continue to grow, it is not a question of whether but when a new international
order will emerge. The closing of the gap between the United States and its rivals could intensify
geopolitical competition among major powers, increase incentives for local powers to play major
powers against one another, and undercut our will to preclude or respond to international crises
because of the higher risk of escalation.
though countries

The stakes are high. In modern history, the longest period of peace among the great powers has
been the era of U.S. leadership. By contrast, multi-polar systems have been unstable, with their
competitive dynamics resulting in frequent crises and major wars among the great powers.
Failures of multi-polar international systems produced both world wars.

American retrenchment could have devastating consequences. Without an American security

blanket, regional powers could rearm in an attempt to balance against emerging threats. Under
this scenario, there would be a heightened possibility of arms races, miscalculation, or other
crises spiraling into all-out conflict. Alternatively, in seeking to accommodate the stronger powers, weaker powers may
shift their geopolitical posture away from the United States. Either way, hostile states would be emboldened to make
aggressive moves in their regions.
As rival powers rise, Asia in particular is likely to emerge as a zone of great-power competition.
Beijings economic rise has enabled a dramatic military buildup focused on acquisitions of naval, cruise, and ballistic missiles, longrange stealth aircraft, and anti-satellite capabilities. Chinas strategic modernization is aimed, ultimately, at denying the United States
access to the seas around China. Even as cooperative economic ties in the region have grown, Chinas expansive territorial claims
and provocative statements and actions following crises in Korea and incidents at sea have roiled its relations with South Korea,
Japan, India, and Southeast Asian states. Still, the United States is the most significant barrier facing Chinese hegemony and

Given the risks, the United States must focus on restoring its economic and fiscal condition while
checking and managing the rise of potential adversarial regional powers such as China. While we face
significant challenges, the U.S. economy still accounts for over 20 percent of the worlds GDP. American institutions particularly
those providing enforceable rule of law set it apart from all the rising powers. Social cohesion underwrites political stability. U.S.
demographic trends are healthier than those of any other developed country. A culture of innovation, excellent institutions of higher
education, and a vital sector of small and medium-sized enterprises propel the U.S. economy in ways difficult to quantify. Historically,
Americans have responded pragmatically, and sometimes through trial and error, to work our way through the kind of crisis that we
face today.
The policy question is how to enhance economic growth and employment while cutting discretionary spending in the near term and
curbing the growth of entitlement spending in the out years. Republican members of Congress have outlined a plan. Several think
tanks and commissions, including President Obamas debt commission, have done so as well. Some consensus exists on measures to
pare back the recent increases in domestic spending, restrain future growth in defense spending, and reform the tax code (by reducing
tax expenditures while lowering individual and corporate rates). These are promising options.
The key remaining question is whether the president and leaders of both parties on Capitol Hill have the will to act and the skill to
fashion bipartisan solutions. Whether we take the needed actions is a choice, however difficult it might be. It is clearly within our
capacity to put our economy on a better trajectory. In garnering political support for cutbacks, the president and members of Congress
should point not only to the domestic consequences of inaction but also to the geopolitical implications.
As the United States gets its economic and fiscal house in order, it should take steps to prevent a flare-up in Asia. The United States
can do so by signaling that its domestic challenges will not impede its intentions to check Chinese expansionism. This can be done in
cost-efficient ways.
While Chinas economic rise enables its military modernization and international assertiveness, it also frightens rival powers. The
Obama administration has wisely moved to strengthen relations with allies and potential partners in the region but more can be done.
Some Chinese policies encourage other parties to join with the United States, and the U.S. should not let these opportunities pass.
Chinas military assertiveness should enable security cooperation with countries on Chinas periphery particularly Japan, India, and
Vietnam in ways that complicate Beijings strategic calculus. Chinas mercantilist policies and currency manipulation which
harm developing states both in East Asia and elsewhere should be used to fashion a coalition in favor of a more balanced trade
system. Since Beijings over-the-top reaction to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese democracy activist alienated
European leaders, highlighting human-rights questions would not only draw supporters from nearby countries but also embolden
reformers within China.

Since the end of the Cold War, a stable economic and financial condition at home has enabled
America to have an expansive role in the world. Today we can no longer take this for granted.
Unless we get our economic house in order, there is a risk that domestic stagnation in
combination with the rise of rival powers will undermine our ability to deal with growing
international problems. Regional hegemons in Asia could seize the moment, leading the world
toward a new, dangerous era of multi-polarity.

Nuclear War Turns Environment

Nuclear war turns and outweighs any environmental impactthe most
recent studies prove.
Toon et. al 8 Brian Toon is chair of the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and a
member of the laboratory for atmospheric and space physics at the University of Colorado at
Boulder. Alan Robock is a professor of atmospheric science at Rutgers University in New
Brunswick, New Jersey. Rich Turco is a professor of atmospheric science at the University of
California, Los Angeles. [December, 2008, Environmental consequences of nuclear war,
Physics Today,]
Environmental effects of soot
Figure 3a indicates changes in global average precipitation and temperature as a function of soot emission, as calculated with the help
of a modern version of a major US climate model.6,8 A relatively modest 5 Tg of soot, which could be generated in an

exchange between India and Pakistan, would be sufficient to produce the lowest temperatures
Earth has experienced in the past 1000 yearslower than during the post-medieval Little Ice Age or in 1816, the socalled year without a summer. With 75 Tg of soot, less than half of what we project in a hypothetical SORT
war, temperatures would correspond to the last full Ice Age, and precipitation would decline by
more than 25% globally. Calculations in the 1980s had already predicted the cooling from a 150-Tg soot injection to be quite
large.3 Our new results, however, show that soot would rise to much higher altitudes than previously
believedindeed, to well above the tops of the models used in the 1980s. As a result, the time required
for the soot mass to be reduced by a factor of e is about five years in our simulations, as opposed
to about one year as assumed in the 1980s. That increased lifetime causes a more dramatic and
longer-lasting climate response.
The temperature changes represented in figure 3a would have a profound effect on mid- and high-latitude agriculture. Precipitation
changes, on the other hand, would have their greatest impact in the tropics.6 Even a 5-Tg soot injection would lead to a 40%
precipitation decrease in the Asian monsoon region. South America and Africa would see a large diminution of rainfall from
convection in the rising branch of the Hadley circulation, the major global meridional wind system connecting the tropics and
subtropics. Changes in the Hadley circulations dynamics can, in general, affect climate on a global scale.
Complementary to temperature change is radiative forcing, the change in energy flux. Figure 3b
shows how nuclear

soot changes the radiative forcing at Earths surface and compares its effect to
associated with greenhouse gases and the 1991 Mount Pinatubo
volcanic eruption, the largest in the 20th century. Since the Industrial Revolution, greenhouse gases have increased the energy
those of two well-known phenomena: warming

flux by 2.5 W/m2. The transient forcing from the Pinatubo eruption peaked at about 4 W/m2 (the minus sign means the flux
decreased). One implication of the figure is that even a regional war between India and Pakistan can force

climate to a far greater degree than the greenhouse gases that many fear will alter the climate in the
foreseeable future. Of course, the durations of the forcings are different: The radiative forcing by nuclear-weapons-generated
soot might persist for a decade, but that from greenhouse gases is expected to last for a century or more, allowing time for the climate
system to respond to the forcing. Accordingly, while the Ice Agelike temperatures in figure 3a could lead to an expansion of sea ice
and terrestrial snowpack, they probably would not be persistent enough to cause the buildup of global ice sheets.
Agriculture responds to length of growing season, temperature during the growing season, light levels,
precipitation, and other factors. The 1980s saw systematic studies of the agricultural changes expected from a nuclear war, but no such
studies have been conducted using modern climate models. Figure 4 presents our calculations of the decrease in length of the growing
seasonthe time between freezing temperaturesfor the second summer after the release of soot in a nuclear attack.6,8 Even a 5-

Tg soot injection reduces the growing season length toward the shortest average range observed
in the midwestern US corn-growing states. Earlier studies concluded that for a full-scale nuclear
conflict, What can be said with assurance is that the Earths human population has a much
greater vulnerability to the indirect effects of nuclear war [including damage to the worlds
agricultural, transportation, energy, medical, political, and social infrastructure], especially
mediated through impacts on food productivity and food availability, than to the direct effects of
nuclear war itself. As a result, The indirect effects could result in the loss of one to several billions
of humans.4
Because the soot associated with a nuclear exchange is injected into the upper atmosphere, the stratosphere is heated and stratospheric
circulation is perturbed. For the 5-Tg injection associated with a regional conflict, stratospheric temperatures would remain elevated

by 30 C after four years.68 The resulting temperature and circulation anomalies would reduce ozone columns by 20% globally, by
2545% at middle latitudes, and by 5070% at northern high latitudes for perhaps as much as five years, with substantial losses
persisting for an additional five years.7 The calculations of the 1980s generally did not consider such effects or the mechanisms that
cause them. Rather, they focused on the direct injection of nitrogen oxides by the fireballs of large-yield weapons that are no longer
deployed. Global-scale models have only recently become capable of performing the sophisticated atmospheric chemical calculations
needed to delineate detailed ozone-depletion mechanisms. Indeed, simulations of ozone loss following a SORT conflict have not yet
been conducted.
Policy implications
Scientific debate and analysis of the issues discussed in this article are essential not only to ascertain the science behind the results but
also to create political action. Gorbachev, who together with Reagan had the courage to initiate the builddown of nuclear weapons in
1986, said in an interview at the 2000 State of the World Forum, Models made by Russian and American scientists showed that a
nuclear war would result in a nuclear winter that would be extremely destructive to all life on Earth; the knowledge of that was a great
stimulus to us, to people of honor and morality, to act in that situation. Former vice president Al Gore noted in his 2007 Nobel Prize
acceptance speech, More than two decades ago, scientists calculated that nuclear war could throw so much debris and soot into the
air that it would block life-giving sunlight from our atmosphere, causing a nuclear winter. Their eloquent warnings here in Oslo
helped galvanize the worlds resolve to halt the nuclear arms race.
Many researchers have evaluated the consequences of single nuclear explosions, and a few groups have considered the results of a
small number of explosions. But our work represents the only unclassified study of the consequences of a

regional nuclear conflict and the only one to consider the consequences of a nuclear exchange
involving the SORT arsenal. Neither the US Department of Homeland Security nor any other governmental agency in the
world currently has an unclassified program to evaluate the impact of nuclear conflict. Neither the US National Academy of Sciences,
nor any other scientific body in the world, has conducted a study of the issue in the past 20 years.
That said, the science community has long recognized the importance of nuclear winter. It was investigated by numerous
organizations during the 1980s, all of which found the basic science to be sound. Our most recent calculations also

support the nuclear-winter concept and show that the effects would be more long lasting and
therefore worse than thought in the 1980s.
Nevertheless, a misperception that the nuclear-winter idea has been discredited has permeated the
nuclear policy community. That error has resulted in many misleading policy conclusions. For
instance, one research group recently concluded that the US could successfully destroy Russia in a surprise first-strike nuclear
attack.10 However, because of nuclear winter, such an action might be suicidal. To recall some specifics, an attack by the US on
Russia and China with 2200 weapons could produce 86.4 Tg of soot, enough to create Ice Age conditions, affect agriculture
worldwide, and possibly lead to mass starvation.
Lynn Eden of the Center for International Security and Cooperation explores the military view of nuclear damage in her book Whole
World on Fire.11 Blast is a sure result of a nuclear explosion. And military planners know how to consider blast effects when they
evaluate whether a nuclear force is capable of destroying a target. Fires are collateral damage that may not be

planned or accounted for. Unfortunately, that collateral damage may be capable of killing most of
Earths population.
Climate and chemistry models have greatly advanced since the 1980s, and the ability to compute
the environmental changes after a nuclear conflict has been much improved. Our climate and
atmospheric chemistry work is based on standard global models from NASA Goddards Institute
for Space Studies and from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. Many scientists
have used those models to investigate climate change and volcanic eruptions, both of which are
relevant to considerations of the environmental effects of nuclear war. In the past two decades, researchers
have extensively studied other bodies whose atmospheres exhibit behaviors corresponding to nuclear winter; included in such studies
are the thermal structure of Titans ambient atmospheres and the thermal structure of Marss atmosphere during global dust storms.

Like volcanoes, large forest fires regularly produce phenomena similar to those associated with
the injection of soot into the upper atmosphere following a nuclear attack. Although plenty remains to be
done, over the past 20 years scientists have gained a much greater understanding of natural analogues to nuclear-weapons explosions.
Substantial uncertainties attend the analysis presented in this article; references 5 and 8 discuss many of them in detail. Some
uncertainties may be reduced relatively easily. To give a few examples: Surveys of fuel loading would reduce the uncertainty in fuel
consumption in urban firestorms. Numerical modeling of large urban fires would reduce the uncertainty in smoke plume heights.
Investigations of smoke removal in pyrocumulus clouds associated with fires would reduce the uncertainty in how much soot is
actually injected into the upper atmosphere. Particularly valuable would be analyses of agricultural impacts associated with the climate
changes following regional conflicts.
For any nuclear conflict, nuclear winter would seriously affect noncombatant countries.12 In a hypothetical SORT war, for
example, we

estimate that most of the worlds population, including that of the Southern
Hemisphere, would be threatened by the indirect effects on global climate. Even a regional war
between India and Pakistan, for instance, has the potential to dramatically damage Europe, the
US, and other regions through global ozone loss and climate change. The current nuclear buildups
in an increasing number of countries point to conflicts in the next few decades that would be

more extreme than a war today between India and Pakistan. The growing number of countries
with weapons also makes nuclear conflict more likely.
The environmental threat posed by nuclear weapons demands serious attention. It should be carefully
analyzed by governments worldwideadvised by a broad section of the scientific communityand widely debated by the public.

Nuclear war would collapse ag and the environment even small arsenals
threaten humanity.
Toon et. al 8 Brian Toon is chair of the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and a
member of the laboratory for atmospheric and space physics at the University of Colorado at
Boulder. Alan Robock is a professor of atmospheric science at Rutgers University in New
Brunswick, New Jersey. Rich Turco is a professor of atmospheric science at the University of
California, Los Angeles. [December, 2008, Environmental consequences of nuclear war,
Physics Today,]
More than 25 years ago, three independent research groups made valuable contributions to elaborating the consequences of nuclear
warfare.1 Paul Crutzen and John Birks proposed that massive fires and smoke emissions in the lower atmosphere

after a global nuclear exchange would create severe short-term environmental aftereffects.
Extending their work, two of us (Toon and Turco) and colleagues discovered nuclear winter, which posited that
worldwide climatic cooling from stratospheric smoke would cause agricultural collapse that
threatened the majority of the human population with starvation. Vladimir Aleksandrov and Georgiy
Stenchikov conducted the first general circulation model simulations in the USSR. Subsequent investigations in the mid- and
late 1980s by the US National Academy of Sciences2 and the International Council of Scientific Unions3,4 supported those
initial studies and shed further light on the phenomena involved. In that same period, Presidents Ronald
Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev recognized the potential environmental damage attending the use of nuclear weapons and devised
treaties to reduce the numbers from their peak in 1986a decline that continues today. When the cold war ended in 1992, the
likelihood of a superpower nuclear conflict greatly decreased. Significant arsenals remain, however, and

proliferation has led to several new nuclear states. Recent work by our colleagues and us57 shows that
even small arsenals threaten people far removed from the sites of conflict because of
environmental changes triggered by smoke from firestorms. Meanwhile, modern climate models
confirm that the 1980s predictions of nuclear winter effects were, if anything, underestimates.8
The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) of 2002 calls for the US and Russia each to limit their operationally deployed
warheads to 17002200 by December 2012. The treaty has many unusual features: warheads, rather than delivery systems, are limited;
verification measures are not specified; permanent arsenal reductions are not required; warheads need not be destroyed; either side
may quickly withdraw; and the treaty expires on the same day that the arsenal limits are to be reached. Nevertheless, should the limits
envisioned in SORT be achieved and the excess warheads destroyed, only about 6% of the 70 000 warheads existing in 1986 would
remain. Given such a large reduction, one might assume a concomitant large reduction in the number of potential fatalities from a
nuclear war and in the likelihood of environmental consequences that threaten the bulk of humanity. Unfortunately, that assumption is
incorrect. Indeed, we estimate that the direct effects of using the 2012 arsenals would lead to hundreds

of millions of fatalities. The indirect effects would likely eliminate the majority of the human

War Turns Environment

War turns environment/human welfare/disease.
Sidel et. al 9*Victor W. Sidel is Distinguished University Professor of Social Medicine,
Department of Family and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein
College of Medicine. **Barry S. Levy is Adjunct Professor of Public Health, Tufts University
School of Medicine. ***Jonathan E. Slutzman is Medical Student, Albert Einstein College of
Medicine. [Prevention of War and Its Environmental Consequences, Hdb Env Chem (2009):
War and other military activities also cause serious health consequences through their impact on
the physical, biological, economic, and social environments in which people live. The environmental
damage affects people not only in nations directly engaged in war, but in other and sometimes all nations. Much of
the morbidity and mortality during war, especially among civilians, has been the result of damage to or disruption of societal
infrastructure, including medical-care facilities and public health services, systems to provide safe
food and water supply, sewage disposal systems, power plants and electrical grids, and
transportation and communication systems. Destruction of infrastructure has led to food shortages
and resultant malnutrition, contamination of food and of drinking water and resultant foodborne
and waterborne illness, and medical-care and public-health deficiencies and resultant disease.
Preparation for war also can adversely affect human health. Some of the impacts are direct, such as injuries and deaths during training
exercises; others are indirect. As with war itself, preparation for war can divert human, financial, and other

resources that otherwise might be used for health and human services.
Damage to the physical environment water, land, air, and outer space and use of nonrenewable
resources may result from war or preparation for war. Lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers, land
masses, and the atmosphere may be polluted through testing and use of weaponry. Outer space may be
damaged through placement of weapons. Nonrenewable resources may be used in weapons production,
testing, and use.
A nations economy may be adversely affected through diversion of resources to military
activities from education, housing, nutrition and other human and health services and through an
increase in national debt and/or taxation. These economic impacts affect both developed and developing countries.
Governmental and societal preoccupation with preparation for wars often known as militarism may lead

to massive
diversion and subversion of efforts to promote human welfare. This preoccupation and this diversion may be
part of policies that lead to preemptive war (when an attack is allegedly imminent) and to preventive war (when an attack may be
feared sometime in the future). Diversion of resources is a problem worldwide, but is especially acute in

developing countries. Many developing countries spend substantially more on military

expenditures than on health-related expenditures; for example, in 1990, Ethiopia spent $16 per capita for military
expenditures and only $1 per capita for health, and Sudan spent $25 per capita for military expenditures and only $1 per capita for
The social environment may be affected by increasing militarism, by encouragement of violence as a means of settling disputes, and
by infringement on civil rights and civil liberties. In addition, preparation for war, like war itself, can promote violence as a means for
settling disputes. It is not surprising, in this context, that the United States has, by far, the highest rate of gun-related deaths in the
world, with about 30,000 dying each year [4] .
Another indirect impact of war is the creation of many refugees and internally displaced persons, whose basic human needs may not
be met. A substantial number of the 12 million refugees and 2225 million internally displaced persons worldwide have been uprooted
from their homes due to war or the threat of war.

The biological environment may be disrupted in many ways as a result of weapons technologies.
Nuclear weapons production, testing, use, and disposal may release ionizing radiation; shells
hardened with depleted uranium also release ionizing radiation. Conventional and chemical weapons may
release toxic substances during production, testing, use, and disposal. Infectious diseases have been rarely caused by the production,
testing, and use of biological weapons; much more commonly during war, infectious diseases occur due to

inadequate medical care and public health services, lack of safe food or water, unsafe sewage
disposal, forced migration, and crowded living circumstances.

AT: Bennett and Nordstrum

Diversionary theory is true Bennett and Nordstrum conclude aff.
Bennett and Nordstrom 2k *D. Scott Bennett is Professor of Political Science at the
Pennsylvania State University. **Timothy Nordstrom is an assistant professor of political
science, University of Mississippi. [Foreign Policy Substitutability and Internal Economic
Problems in Enduring Rivalries, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 44, No. 1,
Substitutability in Foreign Policy: Applications and Advances (Feb., 2000), pp. 33-61]
The second primary option that we posited for leaders in rivalries in response to economic trouble was rivalry termination. Turning
back to Table 4, however, we observe that poor economic conditions actually appear to hinder rivalry

The probability of a rivalry terminating increases as the rivals move from low to average growth
and from average to high growth, with the highest probability of termination occurring when both states experience high
growth rates in their per capita GDP. The argument that rivalries should terminate as the states involved
experience bad economic times receives no support. Combined with our finding that bad
economic conditions do appear to encourage diversionary actions, this suggests that it is only
when times are good and states do not initiate disputes that hostility can fade and meaningful
progress toward dispute settlement can be made. Perhaps it is only when a country is focused on
forward progress rather than its problems that leaders can look ahead to the additional growth that
might be possible if a rivalry ends.
We also find rather complicated interactions between economic conditions and termination at different levels of relative capabilities
and regime types. We find that the positive effects of high economic growth in state 1 are magnified both when state 1 is democratic
and when it is powerful. From Table 5, it appears that when the more powerful state is also autocratic, rivalry termination is rather
unlikely, although in this case it may be that when growth is bad, the autocratic state may be more likely to make peace. In contrast,
from Table 6 it appears that rivalry termination is most likely when the more powerful state in the dyad is both democratic and
satisfied (growing rapidly). Tables 7 and 8 also suggest that in general it is when there is a power advantage that rivalry termination
can occur. Overall, this may suggest that a satisfied, powerful democracy can make peace with its rivals more readily than can
relatively weak states beset by internal problems. Of course, since these results are rather complicated and based on projections from
data with relatively few rivalry terminations, it may be pre- mature to draw too sweeping conclusions, but they do suggest interesting
interactions to be explored in further research.

In this article, we applied arguments about substitutability to the problem of how economic conditions influence state behavior in
international rivalries. We first developed a general argument about how substitutability might be handled theoretically and
statistically and then explored how states respond to internal economic problems by substituting between diversionary behavior and
seeking rivalry termination. After conducting a multinomial logit analysis, we found significant support

for the application of the diversionary conflict hypothesis within rivalries; we found that states
experiencing slower rates of growth in their per capita GDP appear to be more likely to initiate a
conflict against a rival than do states with higher growth rates. We also found no support for the Blainey
targeting hypothesis; rivals initiated with higher probability against states without economic problems (consistent with the strategic
application of diversionary conflict theory). We also found that diversionary conflict was a more likely

reaction to internal problems than was rivalry termination; rivalry termination actually appeared
most likely in the context of good economic conditions within the rivals. The relatively larger
support for externalization in our analysis compared to previous studies may have been revealed
by our more sophisticated model, which allows for the possibility of another policy choice,
namely, rivalry termination; by our focus on rival states; and by our analysis of economic growth
as a precursor to manifest conflict behavior within states.

Turning inward is the impactcauses global war. We control uniqueness

threats are coming now.
Ockham Research 8Ockham Research is an independent equity research provider based in
Atlanta, Georgia. Ockham covers an expansive universe of stocks mostly in the US, but also from

a variety of exchanges throughout the world. [November 18, 2008,]
The economic turmoil roiling world markets right now brings with it plenty of pain. Jobs are being lost, peoples savings decimated,
retirement plans/goals thrown out the window, etc. Hard times bring with them harsh consequences. However, it is perhaps useful to
be mindful of the geopolitical risks that accompany economic dislocation. Many analysts are eager to compare the
difficulties now confronting the global economic system with those of the Great Depression. While I do not believe that the world is
facing a second Great Depression, it might be worthwhile to recall from history that the Great Depression spawned

geopolitical turmoil that lead to the Second World War. The incoming Obama administrationand Democratic
members of Congress who talk of implementing massive defense cutbacksmay want to
remember the lessons of the past as they stand on the threshold of power.
The hardship and turmoil which impacted the world during the Great Depression provided fertile
ground for the rise of fascist, expansionist regimes in Germany, Italy and Japan. Hard times also
precluded the Western democracies from a more muscular response in the face of growing
belligerence from these countries. The United States largely turned inward during the difficult years of
the 1930s. The end result was a global war of a size and scale never seen by man either before or
since. Economic hardship is distracting. It can cause nations to turn their focus inward with little
or no regard for rising global threats that inevitably build in tumultuous times. Authoritarian
regimes invariably look for scapegoats to blame for the hardship affecting their populace. This
enables them to project the anger of their citizenry away from the regime itself and onto another
race, country, ideology, etc.
Looking at the world today, one can certainly envision numerous potential flashpoints that could
become problematic in a protracted economic downturn. Pakistan, already a hotbed of Islamic
extremism and armed with atomic weapons, has been particularly hard hit by the global economic
crisis. An increasingly impoverished Pakistan will be harder and harder for its new and shaky
democratically-elected government to control. Should Pakistans economic troubles cause its political
situationalways chaoticto spin out of control, this would be a major setback in the global war on
Russia, whose economy, stock markets and financial system have literally imploded over the past few
months, could become increasingly problematic if faced with a protracted economic downturn. The
increasingly authoritarian and aggressive Russian regime is already showing signs of anger
projection. Its invasion of Georgia this summer and increasing willingness to confront the West
reflect a desire to stoke the pride and anger of its people against foreign powersparticularly the
United States. It is no accident that the Russians announced a willingness to deploy tactical missile
systems to Kaliningrad the day after Barack Obamas election in the U.S. This was a clear shot across the bow of the new
administration and demonstrates Russian willingness to pursue a much more confrontational foreign
policy going forward. Furthermore, the collapse in the price of oil augers poorly for Russias economy.
The Russian budget reputedly needs oil at $70 per barrel or higher in order to be in balance.
Russian foreign currency reserves, once huge, have been depleted massively over the past few
months by ham-fisted attempts to arrest the slide in both markets and the financial system.
Bristling with nuclear weapons and nursing an ego still badly bruised by the collapse of the
Soviet Union and loss of superpower status, an impoverished and unstable Russia would be a
dangerous thing to behold.
China too is threatened by the global economic downturn. There is no doubt that China has emerged during the
past decade as a major economic power. Parts of the country have been transformed by its meteoric growth. However, in truth, only
about a quarter of the nations billion plus inhabitantsthose living in the thriving cities on the coast and in
Beijinghave truly felt the impact of the economic boom. Many of these people have now seen a
brutal bear market and are adjusting to economic loss and diminished future prospects. However, the
vast majority of Chinas population did not benefit from the economic boom and could become
increasingly restive in an economic slowdown. Enough economic hardship could conceivably
threaten the stability of the regime and would more than likely make China more bellicose and
unpredictable in its behavior, with dangerous consequences for the U.S. and the world.

Economic hardship invariably has consequences that can dwarf the original impact of those troubles. With the U.S. already at war and
facing an increasingly troubled world, it is probably not a good time to make large reductions to the defense budget. With the U.S.
government carrying massively greater amounts of debt now as a result of the financial carnage of the past few months, there will be
increased pressure to wring savings out of almost every element of government. However, given past experience in tough

economic times, it would be wise for our new government to understand the dire need to maintain
a strong national defense.

AT: KWaves
Kwave theory is empirically and methodologically bankrupt.
North 9Gary North is an economic historian and publisher who prolifically writes on topics
including economics, history, and Christian theology, PhD in history from the University of
California, Riverside [June 27, 2009, The Myth of the Kondratieff Wave,]
Two years before Rothbard published his critique, John Pugsley wrote a detailed critique of Kondratieff's cycle. He ran it in his
newsletter, Common Sense Viewpoint (Nov. 1982). I remember it well, and I contacted him to see if he would FAX me a copy. He
He began with the observation that all of the promoters of the theory were forecasting 30 years of recession and deflation. This was in
1982, the year the Dow Jones Industrial Average bottomed in mid-August, at 777.

Kondratieff had at most two and a half cycles in his two papers. That number was available for
only four data series. Of the 36 data series, he could find evidence of cycles in only 11 of them.
The monetary series and the real series correlated in only 11 of 21 series, all short.
Pugsley then cited extensively from an article by C. Van Ewijk of the University of Amsterdam (The Economist, Nov. 3, 1981). Van

Ewijk noted that Kondratieff followed no consistent methodology in choosing the types of trend
curves that he selected for different data sources. Kondratieff used various statistical techniques
to smooth the curves to make them appear as long waves. "In case after case, no wave could be
identified." He used price data, but these did not correlate with the actual economic output of the
four economies that he studied.
Then the waves that he presented were further "idealized" by whoever created the chart that has
circulated ever since. Pugsley noted: "The upward movement of prices from 1933 to the present has
already spanned fifty years, which is supposed to be the average length of a complete cycle."
So far, price inflation has extended for about 75 years. Yet the deflationists are still predicting longterm, severe price deflation, and some of them invoke the Kondratieff wave to prove their assertion. Pugsley concluded:
In not one case does the evidence corroborate the existence of the wave. Prices and output are not directly
related if anything they are inversely related. The forty-five to sixty-year period of the wave is only
partially evident in the nineteenth century, and then only in the price series. Price moves in the
twentieth century do not correspond to this periodicity, as claimed by long-wave proponents. There is
absolutely no statistical correlation between series of real variables such as production and
consumption, and monetary series such as prices and interest rates. Production and prices of the
four countries studied do not statistically correlate; thus there is no wave operating coincidentally in the
industrialized countries.
In other words, Kondratieff's

hypothesis is simply not supported by any evidence. The long wave

exists only in the minds of a few misguided analysts, but not in the real world. It is pure hokum.

Kwaves have no theoretical backing and are all hype.

North 9Gary North is an economic historian and publisher who prolifically writes on topics
including economics, history, and Christian theology, PhD in history from the University of
California, Riverside [June 27, 2009, The Myth of the Kondratieff Wave,]
Maybe you have not heard of the Kondratieff wave. But if your favorite investment guru is structuring his recommendations in terms
of the Kondratieff wave, you are in big trouble if you have followed his advice.

The Kondratieff wave is a supposed macroeconomic force that creates a 54-year cycle of boom
and bust. There is no explanation for it. The man who discovered it, or thought he had, said that
there was no theory to explain it.
There may be a Kondratieff cycle: a cycle of popularity for this theory-free assertion of inescapable
economic boom and bust cycles. We are now in a boom phase of its popularity. It had a similar boom,

In short, the

Kondratieff wave, like Frankenstein's monster, like Dracula, like Godzilla, like Freddy
Krueger, is back. Like the other four, it offers thrills and chills. It offers excitement. It also offers a myriad of
ways to lose money.
These days, the Kondratieff Wave has a spiffy new name: the K-Wave. (I can almost hear it: "Attention: K-Wave shoppers!")
The K-Wave is supposedly going to bring a deflationary collapse Real Soon Now. The Western world's debt structure will disappear
in a wave of defaults. Kondratieff's 54-year cycle is almost upon us.
The last deflationary period ended in 1933. This became clear no later than 1940. World War II orders from Great Britain, funded by
American loans and Federal Reserve policy, ended the Great Depression by lowering real wages.
In 1942, price and wage controls were imposed by Washington, the FED began pumping out new money, ration stamps replaced the
free market, the black market overcame shortages, and the inflationary era began. That was a long time ago. But the K-Wave is
heralded as a 50 to 60-year cycle, or even more specifically, a 54-year cycle. That's the entire cycle, trough to trough or peak to peak.
The K-Wave supposedly should have bottomed in 1933, risen for 27 years (1960), declined in

economic contraction until 1987, and boomed thereafter. The peak should therefore be in 2014.
There is a problem here: the cyclical decline from 1960 to 1987. It never materialized. Prices kept
rising, escalating with a vengeance after 1968, then slowing somewhat just in time for the
longest stock market boom in American history: 19822000.
OK, say the K-Wavers: let's extend the cycle to 60 years. Fine. Let's do just that. Boom, 193262; bust, 196393;
boom, 19942024. Does this correspond to anything that happened in American economic history
since 1932? No.

Kondratieff admitted a flawed method and limits to his theory.

North 9Gary North is an economic historian and publisher who prolifically writes on topics
including economics, history, and Christian theology, PhD in history from the University of
California, Riverside [June 27, 2009, The Myth of the Kondratieff Wave,]

Kondratieff admitted that there was no theoretical basis for his cycle. He also admitted that some
of the price data revealed no traces in his cycle. He selected two groups of "elements of economic reality," as he
called them. This is from The Long Wave Cycle (Richardson & Snyder, 1984).

The elements of the first group were characterized by the fact that, along with the fluctuating
processes, their dynamic did not manifest any general growth or decline (secular trend), or else that
trend was scarcely noticeable at any rate, for the period under observation (p. 33).
What was he talking about? For one thing, commodity prices. He admitted: "In processing the
statistics on the dynamics of the series of this group, I used simple analytical methods to bring out
the long cycles" (p. 33). In short, he manipulated the evidence until he obtained a pattern.
He said he found patterns in other statistics. But was there an underlying economic reality, "some real trends in
economic development? This is a very big question, and I cannot now elucidate it." Yet this is the
heart of his supposed cycle. "We do not have a method for determining how accurately a
theoretical curve reflects real evolutionary-economic trends" (p. 35).
All that he could find in the pig iron and lead statistics was one and a half or maybe two cycles (p. 52).
. . . we did not succeed at all if finding long cycles in the dynamics of cotton

consumption in
France, and wool and sugar production in the United States, or in the dynamics of certain other series
(p. 58).
As has already been noted, in my own investigation I discovered series in whose dynamics there were no long cycles (p. 62).
As for the pattern of the long cycle,

First, I emphasize its empirical character: as such, it is lacking in precision and certainly allows of
exceptions. Second, in presenting it I am absolutely disinclined to believe that it offers any
explanation of the causes of the long cycles (pp. 6869).
He was frank about the extreme limitations on his data and his findings. His disciples are not.

No empirical support for Kwaves.

North 9Gary North is an economic historian and publisher who prolifically writes on topics
including economics, history, and Christian theology, PhD in history from the University of
California, Riverside [June 27, 2009, The Myth of the Kondratieff Wave,]
It is superfluous for me to wax eloquent on the theoretical and statistical deficiencies of the Kondratieff cycle, when Murray Rothbard
did it so well in 1984: "The Kondratieff Cycle: Real or Fabricated?" Let us begin here:
Business cycles began a mere two centuries ago. Despite the fevered hopes of some enthusiasts who claim to have observed
business cycles going back to Methuselah, before the late eighteenth century there was no such phenomenon.
Kondratieff admitted as much. He had no price data for most of Europe that preceded 1850. He had

some from around 1800 from England and the United States. But I can tell you as a man trained in economic
history, the records are incomplete. When the Nazis bombed London in 1940, a bomb took out part of the British Museum.
My teacher, Herbert Heaton, found that much of the information he needed in his work was destroyed. In one
case, he had to go to centuries-old breweries on the Thames River for records of grain prices after
1780. That's what he told us in the late 1960's. Rothbard continues:
One of the worst things about the "business cycle" is its name. For somehow the name "cycle"
caught on, with its implication that the wave-like movement of business is strictly periodic, like
the cycles of astronomy or biology. An enormous amount of error would have been avoided if economists had simply used the
term "business fluctuations." For man is all too prone to leap to the belief that economic fluctuations are strictly periodic and can
therefore be predicted with pinpoint accuracy. The fact is, however, that these waves are in no sense periodic;

they last for few years, and the "'few" can stretch or contract from one wave to the next. The
periodic notion was unfortunately fed by the fact that the early panics seemed to be ten years apart: 1837, 1847, 1857, but pretty
soon that periodicity broke down.
Then he gets to Kondratieff's cycles.

Kondratieff postulated a "long wave" of business that began somewhere in the late 1780s it
is all very murky since there are almost no statistical data for that period and continues periodically
roughly every 54 years. Well, what about the trough points? No question that the late 1930s a
"Kondratieff trough" was a pretty miserable period. But what about the other three trough
periods? What was wrong about the 1780s, for example? No particular depression there. And if we
want to be generous and dismiss that "first trough" for lack of data or as only starting the
whole thing, what about the alleged second trough? Fifty-four years from 1789 brings us to
the "expected" trough year of 1843, a year in which everything was smooth sailing. Let us be
generous and bend over backward for the Kondratieffites, and give them their admitted 1849
as the trough year. Even so, 1849 was a perfectly fine economic year, and in no sense
whatever comparable to the late 1930s! In 1849, we were in the middle of continuing
prosperity. . . . Let us then look more closely at the long contraction, or "long depression," phases of the Kondratieff cycle. To
make any sense, they should in some way look and feel like depressions, like grim periods of decline in business activity. The
first Kondratieff long depression was supposed to be the period 18141849. But these thirtyfive years were by and large a period of great expansion, prosperity and economic growth for
the United States, England and France, the three countries Kondratieff used for his statistical
analysis. And what of the second Kondratieff depression, the period 186696? Was that in
any sense a depression? For the United States, and to a large extent for Western Europe as
well, this was the period of the most dazzling spurt of production and economic growth in the
history of the world. Production and living standards skyrocketed. How in the world could
three such glorious decades be called a period of secular decline?
Rothbard goes on for pages, peak by peak, trough by trough. He shows that Kondratieff's alleged
dates for the peaks and troughs do not correspond to the general economy in the United States. Then he
delivered the final blow. This, remember, was in 1984, at the beginning of the longest boom in American history.

But the Kondratieffites' problems have only begun. Their real difficulties come after the
alleged Kondratieff trough of 1940 the last trough so far. The entire boom-bust "long" cycle
is approximately 54 years in length. Allow a few years here and there. But still: It has already
been 44 years since the Kondratieff trough. A 44-year boom! So where's the peak? The peak is

getting long overdue. Most of the Kondratieffites confidently predicted that the peak would arrive in 1974, just 54 years
after the previous peak. Previous peak-to-peak stretches had been 52 (from 1814 to 1866), and 54 (1866 to 1920). So where
indeed is the peak? It is now 1984 and counting. We are ten years past the confident prediction and we still

have inflation. The Kondratieffites have been forecasting imminent deflation since the magic
1974 year, but still . . . nothing!
Then Rothbard made a prediction. It has proven to be a bad prediction. It held up throughout the 1990s, but it is no longer accurate.
No, the Kondratieff is dead, and now it is simply a question of how long it will take the Kondratieffites to lie down, to admit
defeat and slip away into the night. How many years will it take before everyone sees that there has not been and will not be a
"fourth peak"? And without such a peak, there can be no cycle.
The old-timers died off. The newsletters that hyped the K-Wave ceased publication. The gold conferences faded into the mists of time.
But a new generation of lemmings is headed toward the cliff.

AT: Growth makes War Inev

Imperialism predates the growth mindset.
Dandeker 92Christopher Dandeker, Professor of Military Sociology in the Department of
War Studies at King's College London, 1992 (The Causes of War and the History of Modern
Sociological Theory, Effects of War on Society, Edited by Giorgio Ausenda, Published by the
Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Social Stress by Boydell & Brewer Ltd, ISBN
0851158684, 1st Edition Published in 1992, 2nd Edition Published in 2002, p. 44-45)
All these arguments presuppose two specious sociological contentions: first that capitalism, as the most historically developed and
dynamic form of class exploitation, is the source of modern militarism, and second, that socialism, preferably on a world scale would
involve the abolition of war. The deficiencies in these views, and indeed of those associated with the industrial society thesis discussed
earlier, can be revealed by drawing on Machiavellian themes which can then be set out more explicitly in the next section.
Despite the fact that industrial capitalism has produced two world wars, as Aron (1954) and more recently Michael Mann (1984) have
argued, there is no 'special relationship' between capitalism and militarismor the tendency to

waronly one of historical indifference. All the pre-dispositions of 'capitalist states' to use
warfare calculatively as a means of resolving their disputes with other states predate the formation of capitalism as
an economic system. Of course, it could be argued that capitalism merely changes the form of militarism. That is to say, precapitalist patterns of militarism were still expressions of class relations and modern capitalism has just increased the destructive power
of the industrialised means of war available to the state. But this argument will not do. Socialist societies in their use of

industrialised power show that the technological potential for war is transferable and can be
reproduced under non-capitalist conditions. Furthermore, the military activities of socialist states cannot be explained
in terms of a [end page 44] defensive war against capitalism or even an aggressive one, as national and geopolitical power motives are
arguably just as significant in the determination of state behaviour. Furthermore, imperial expansion not only predates

capitalism but it is also difficult to reduce the causes of wars then and now to the interests of dominant economic classes (Mann

Imperial wars pre-date capitalism by centurieswar is illogical under

capitalism because it destroys wealth
MacKenzie 3 [D.W. MacKenzie graduate student in economics at George Mason University,
Does Capitalism Require War? April 7th, Available Online at]
Perhaps the oddest aspect of these various, but similar, claims is that their proponents appeal so
often to historical examples. They often claim that history shows how capitalism is imperialistic
and warlike or at least benefits from war. Capitalism supposedly needs a boost from some war
spending from time to time, and history shows this. Robert Higgs demonstrated that the wartime prosperity during
the Second World War was illusory[i]. This should come to no surprise to those who lived through the deprivations of wartime
rationing. We do not need wars for prosperity, but does capitalism breed war and imperialism anyway? History is rife with

examples of imperialism. The Romans, Alexander, and many others of the ancient world waged imperialistic wars. The Incan
Empire and the empire of Ancient China stand as examples of the universal character of imperialism. Who could possibly claim that
imperialism grew out of the prosperity of these ancient civilizations? Imperialism precedes modern industrial

capitalism by many centuries. Uneven wealth distribution or underconsumption under capitalism

obviously did not cause these instances of imperialism. Of course, this fact does not prove that modern capitalism
lacks its own imperialistic tendencies. The notion that income gets underspent or maldistributed lies at the heart of most claims that
capitalism either needs or produces imperialistic wars. As J.B. Say argued, supply creates its own demand through payments to factors
of production. Demand Side economists Hobson and Keynes argued that there would be too little consumption and too little
investment for continuous full employment. We save too much to have peace and prosperity. The difficulty we face is not in
oversaving, but in underestimating the workings of markets and the desires of consumers. Doomsayers have been downplaying
consumer demand for ages. As demand side economist J.K. Galbraith claimed, we live in an affluent society, where most private
demands have been met. Of course, Hobson made the same claim much earlier. Earlier and stranger still, mercantilists claimed that
'wasteful acts' such as tea drinking, gathering at alehouses, taking snuff, and the wearing of ribbons were unnecessary luxuries that
detracted from productive endeavors. The prognostications of esteemed opponents of capitalism have consistently failed to predict
consumer demand. Today, consumers consume at levels that few long ago could have imagined possible. There is no reason to doubt

that consumers will continue to press for ever higher levels of consumption. Though it is only a movie, Brewster's Millions illustrates
how creative people can be at spending money. People who do actually inherit, win, or earn large sums of money have little trouble
spending it. Indeed, wealthy individuals usually have more trouble holding on to their fortunes than in finding ways to spend them.
We are never going to run out of ways to spend money. Many of the complaints about capitalism center on how people save too much.
One should remember that there really is no such thing as saving. Consumers defer consumption to the future only. As economist
Eugen Bhm-Bawerk demonstrated, people save according to time preference. Savings diverts resources into capital formation. This
increases future production. Interest enhanced savings then can purchase these goods as some consumers cease to defer their
consumption. Keynes' claim that animal spirits drive investment has no rational basis. Consumer preferences are the basis for
investment. Investors forecast future consumer demand. Interest rates convey knowledge of these demands. The intertemporal
coordination of production through capital markets and interest rates is not a simple matter. But Keynes' marginal propensities to save
and Hobson's concentration of wealth arguments fail to account for the real determinants of production through time. Say's Law of
Markets holds precisely because people always want a better life for themselves and those close to them. Falling interest rates deter
saving and increase investment. Rising interest rates induce saving and deter investment. This simple logic of supply and demand
derives from a quite basic notion of self interest. Keynes denied that the world worked this way. Instead, he claimed that bond holders
hoard money outside of the banking system, investment periodically collapses from 'the dark forces of time and uncertainty, and
consumers save income in a mechanical fashion according to marginal propensities to save. None of these propositions hold up to
scrutiny, either deductive or empirical. Speculators do not hoard cash outside of banks. To do this means a loss of interest on assets.
People do move assets from one part of the financial system to another. This does not cause deficient aggregate demand. Most money
exists in the banking system, and is always available for lending. In fact, the advent of e-banking makes such a practice even less
sensible. Why hoard cash when you can move money around with your computer? It is common knowledge that people save for
homes, education, and other expensive items, not because they have some innate urge to squirrel some portion of their income away.
This renders half of the market for credit rational. Investors do in fact calculate rates of return on investment. This is not a simple
matter. Investment entails some speculation. Long term investment projects entail some uncertainty, but investors who want to
actually reap profits will estimate the returns on investment using the best available data. Keynes feared that the dark forces of time
and uncertainty could scare investors. This possibility, he thought, called for government intervention. However, government
intervention (especially warfare) generally serves to increase uncertainty. Private markets have enough uncertainties without throwing
politics into the fray. The vagaries of political intervention serve only to darken an already uncertain future. Capital markets are best
left to capitalists. Nor is capital not extracted surplus value. It comes not from exploitation. It is simply a matter of people valuing their
future wellbeing. Capitalists will hire workers up to the point where the discounted marginal product of their labor equals the wage
rate. To do otherwise would mean a loss of potential profit. Since workers earn the marginal product of labor and capital derives from
deferred consumption, Marxist arguments about reserve armies of the unemployed and surplus extraction fail. It is quite odd to worry
about capitalists oversaving when many complain about how the savings rate in the U.S. is too low. Why does the U.S., as the world's
'greatest capitalist/imperialist power', attract so much foreign investment? Many Americans worry about America's international
accounts. Fears about foreigners buying up America are unfounded, but not because this does not happen. America does have a
relatively low national savings rate. It does attract much foreign investment, precisely because it has relatively secure property rights.
Indeed, much of the third world suffers from too little investment. The claims of Marxists, and Hobson, directly contradict the
historical record. Sound theory tells us that it should. The Marxist claim that capitalists must find investments overseas fails miserably.
Larry Kudlow has put his own spin on the false connection between capitalism and war. We need the War as shock therapy to get the
economy on its feet. Kudlow also endorses massive airline subsidies as a means of restoring economic prosperity. Kudlow and
Krugman both endorse the alleged destructive creation of warfare and terrorism. Kudlow has rechristened the Broken Window fallacy
the Broken Window principle. Kudlow claims that may lose money and wealth in one way, but we gain it back many time over when
the rebuilding is done. Kudlow and Krugman have quite an affinity for deficits. Krugman sees debt as a sponge to absorb excess
saving. Kudlow see debt as a short term nuisance that we can dispel by maximizing growth. One would think that such famous
economists would realize that competition does work to achieve the goal of optimum growth based on time preference, but this is not
the case. While these economists have expressed their belief in writing, they could do more. If the

destruction of assets leads to increased prosperity, then they should teach this principle by
example. Kudlow and Krugman could, for instance, help build the economy by demolishing their
own private homes. This would have the immediate effect of stimulating demand for demolition
experts, and the longer term affect of stimulating the demand for construction workers. They can
create additional wealth by financing the reconstruction of their homes through debt. By borrowing funds, they draw idle resources
into use and stimulate financial activity. Of course, they would both initially lose wealth in one way. But if their thinking is sound,
they will gain it back many times over as they rebuild. The truth is that their beliefs are fallacious. Bastiat

demonstrated the absurdity of destructive creation in his original explanation of the opportunity
costs from repairing broken windows. Kudlow is quite clear about his intentions. He wants to grow the economy to
finance the war. As Kudlow told some students, "The trick here is to grow the economy and let the economic growth raise the revenue
for the war effort"[ii]. Kudlow also praises the Reagan Administration for growing the economy to fund national defense. Here
Kudlow's attempts to give economic advice cease completely. His argument here is not that capitalism needs a shot in the arm. It is
that resources should be redirected towards ends that he sees fit. Kudlow is a war hawk who, obviously, cannot fund this or any war
personally. He instead favors using the state to tax others to fund what he wants, but cannot afford. He seems to think that his values
matter more than any other's. Why should anyone else agree with this? Kudlow tarnishes the image of laissez faire economics by
parading his faulty reasoning and his claims that his wants should reign supreme as a pro-market stance. Unfortunately, it is
sometimes necessary to defend capitalism from alleged advocates of liberty, who employ false dogmas in pursuit of their own
militaristic desires. Capitalism neither requires nor promotes imperialist expansion. Capitalism did not

create imperialism or warfare. Warlike societies predate societies with secure private property.
The idea that inequity or underspending give rise to militarism lacks any rational basis. Imperialistic
tendencies exist due to ethnic and nationalistic bigotries, and the want for power. Prosperity depends upon our ability to prevent

destructive acts. The dogma of destructive creation fails as a silver lining to the cloud of warfare. Destructive acts entail real costs that
diminish available opportunities. The idea that we need to find work for idle hands in capitalism at best leads to a kind of Sisyphus
economy where unproductive industries garner subsidies from productive people. At worst, it serves as a supporting argument for war.
The more recent versions of the false charges against capitalism do nothing to invalidate two simple facts. Capitalism generates
prosperity by creating new products. War inflicts poverty by destroying existing wealth. There is no sound

reason to think otherwise.

*** Environment

Growth GoodEKC
Growth is necessary for environmental transitionresource access.
Ben-Ami 11 Daniel Ben-Ami, journalist and author, regular contributor to spiked, has been
published in the American, the Australian,, Financial Times, the Guardian, the
Independent, Novo (Germany), Ode (American and Dutch editions), Prospect, Shanghai Daily,
the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times, and Voltaire (Sweden), 2011 (Growth is good, Ode,
June, Available Online at, Accessed
But is this notion of environmental limits really true? It

is certainly the case that, say, building a factory can lead

to pollution. However, it is also true that economic growth can generate the resources to clean up the
environment and mold it to benefit human beings. That is why, as a general rule, developed
countries are less polluted and cleaner than developing ones.
Typically, countries experience an environmental transition as they develop. In the early stages, cities may
be grossly unsanitary and factories might billow filthy smoke. But as they become richer, these cities clean things up. In London, my
hometown, cholera was widespread in the mid-19th century as raw human waste flowed into the Thames River. Then the authorities
built an extensive sewage system, a pioneering civil engineering project at the time, and the problem was solved.
If anything, todays

developing countries potentially have it easier. They do not need to reinvent

sewage systems or modern medicine. Instead, they just need to generate the resources to be able to
afford the type of infrastructure already available in the West.

Recent consensus proves Kuznets curvegrowth boosts environmental

Tierney 9John, columnist [April 20, 2009, New York Times, Use Energy, Get Rich and Save
the Planet,]
When the first Earth Day took place in 1970, American environmentalists had good reason to feel guilty. The nations affluence and
advanced technology seemed so obviously bad for the planet that they were featured in a famous equation developed by the ecologist
Paul Ehrlich and the physicist John P. Holdren, who is now President Obamas science adviser.
Their equation was I=PAT, which means that environmental impact is equal to population multiplied by

affluence multiplied by technology. Protecting the planet seemed to require fewer people, less
wealth and simpler technology the same sort of social transformation and energy revolution that will be advocated at
many Earth Day rallies on Wednesday.

But among researchers who analyze environmental data, a lot has changed since the 1970s. With
the benefit of their hindsight and improved equations, Ill make a couple of predictions:
1. There will be no green revolution in energy or anything else. No leader or law or treaty will radically change the
energy sources for people and industries in the United States or other countries. No recession or depression will make a
lasting change in consumers passions to use energy, make money and buy new technology
and that, believe it or not, is good news, because...
2. The richer everyone gets, the greener the planet will be in the long run.
I realize this second prediction seems hard to believe when you consider the carbon being dumped into the atmosphere today by
Americans, and the projections for increasing emissions from India and China as they get richer.
Those projections make it easy to assume that affluence and technology inflict more harm on the environment. But while

pollution can increase when a country starts industrializing, as people get wealthier they can
afford cleaner water and air. They start using sources of energy that are less carbon-intensive
and not just because theyre worried about global warming. The process of decarbonization
started long before Al Gore was born.
The old wealth-is-bad IPAT theory may have made intuitive sense, but it didnt jibe with the data
that has been analyzed since that first Earth Day. By the 1990s, researchers realized that graphs of
environmental impact didnt produce a simple upward-sloping line as countries got richer. The

line more often rose, flattened out and then reversed so that it sloped downward, forming the shape of a dome or an
inverted U whats called a Kuznets curve. (See for an example.)
In dozens of studies , researchers identified Kuznets curves for a variety of environmental
problems. There are exceptions to the trend, especially in countries with inept governments and poor systems of property
rights, but in general, richer is eventually greener. As incomes go up, people often focus first on
cleaning up their drinking water, and then later on air pollutants like sulfur dioxide.
As their wealth grows, people consume more energy, but they move to more efficient and cleaner
sources from wood to coal and oil, and then to natural gas and nuclear power, progressively emitting less carbon
per unit of energy. This global decarbonization trend has been proceeding at a remarkably steady
rate since 1850, according to Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University and Paul Waggoner of the Connecticut
Agricultural Experiment Station.
Once you have lots of high-rises

filled with computers operating all the time, the energy

delivered has to be very clean and compact, said Mr. Ausubel, the director of the Program for the Human
Environment at Rockefeller. The long-term trend is toward natural gas and nuclear power, or
conceivably solar power. If the energy system is left to its own devices, most of the carbon will
be out of it by 2060 or 2070.
But what about all the carbon dioxide being spewed out today by Americans commuting to McMansions? Well, its true that
American suburbanites do emit more greenhouse gases than most other people in the world (although New Yorkers arent much
different from other affluent urbanites).
But the United States and other Western countries seem to be near the top of a Kuznets curve for

carbon emissions and ready to start the happy downward slope. The amount of carbon emitted by
the average American has remained fairly flat for the past couple of decades, and per capita
carbon emissions have started declining in some countries, like France. Some researchers estimate that the
turning point might come when a countrys per capita income reaches $30,000, but it can vary widely, depending on what fuels are
available. Meanwhile, more carbon is being taken out of the atmosphere by the expanding forests in

America and other affluent countries. Deforestation follows a Kuznets curve, too. In poor
countries, forests are cleared to provide fuel and farmland, but as people gain wealth and better
agricultural technology, the farm fields start reverting to forestland.
Of course, even if rich countries greenhouse impact declines, there will still be an increase in carbon emissions from China, India and
other countries ascending the Kuznets curve. While that prospect has environmentalists lobbying for global restrictions on greenhouse
gases, some economists fear that a global treaty could ultimately hurt the atmosphere by slowing economic growth, thereby
lengthening the time it takes for poor countries to reach the turning point on the curve.
But then, is there much reason to think that countries at different stages of the Kuznets curve could even agree to enforce tough
restrictions? The Kyoto treaty didnt transform Europes industries or consumers. While some American

environmentalists hope that the combination of the economic crisis and a new president can start
an era of energy austerity and green power, Mr. Ausubel says theyre hoping against history.
Over the past century, he says, nothing has drastically altered the long-term trends in the way
Americans produce or use energy not the Great Depression, not the world wars, not the energy
crisis of the 1970s or the grand programs to produce alternative energy.
Energy systems evolve with a particular logic, gradually, and they dont suddenly morph into
something different, Mr. Ausubel says. That doesnt make for a rousing speech on Earth Day. But in the long run, a
Kuznets curve is more reliable than a revolution .

Growth GoodTech
Technology moderates the environmental impact of development
overwhelming trends prove.
Goklany 9Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D, is the Assistant Director for Science and Technology
Policy, Office of Policy Analysis, US Department of the Interior, and co-editor of the Electronic
Journal of Sustainable Development [Have increases in population, affluence and technology
worsened human and environmental well-being? The Electronic Journal of Sustainable
Development, (2009) 1(3),]
6. Effects of long term technological change on impacts
Table 2 shows for the environmental indicators and areas examined in Section 4, long term changes in environmental impact (I),
population (P), affluence (A), their product (GDP = P x A), the technology factor (T), and technological change (T). T and T are
calculated using Equations 4 or 5, except for mortality, where population is substituted for GDP.
The entries for each of the components of the IPAT equation are their values at the end of the period of analysis normalized to unity at
the beginning of the period. Thus, the first row indicates that in 2006, U.S. population was 3.22-times its 1910

level; affluence, 6.24-times; GDP, 20.08-times. Nevertheless, the environmental impact of U.S.
agriculture, measured by the amount of cropland, was essentially unchanged. T, measured by cropland per GDP, was
0.05 times its 1910 level. Hence, the amount of technological change (T) during the intervening period the percent change in
impact per unit of GDP is minus 95.0 percent (in the second last column). [The minus sign indicates that the environmental

impact per unit of GDP declined, i.e., matters improved.] Finally, the last column provides an estimate of the
annual rate of technological change, assuming exponential change (minus 3.1 percent per year).
As with all trends, results displayed in Table 2 can be sensitive to the starting and ending years used for compiling the data,
particularly for episodic events, e.g., extreme weather events. To avoid bias, in these cases I used the longest readily

available record.
This table indicates that since 1900 affluence has increased faster than population worldwide, and in the U.S., China and India.
Second, but for technological change, impacts would generally have been much higher , in many
instances by an order of magnitude or more. For instance, per

unit of GDP, technological change reduced the

global environmental impact of agriculture by 84 percent from 1950 to 2005. In fact, it has
stabilized the amount of habitat converted to cropland in the U.S. and almost stabilized it globally
(Figures 10 and 11). During the 20th century, it reduced death rates from various water related diseases in the
U.S. by 99.6100 percent. It also reduced the cumulative global death rate from extreme weather events
by 95 percent, while reducing U.S. death rates from hurricanes, lightning, floods and tornados by
1695 percent. Because of technology, U.S. indoor air pollution levels are currently 96 to 99 (+) percent
lower than they otherwise would be. However, while technology reduced the rate of increase, CO2 emissions,
nevertheless, grew substantially.
Third, improvements are apparently

more pronounced for indicators most directly related to human

well-being. Specifically, for each pollutant, indoor air quality improved earlier and faster than
outdoor emissions (which comprise the bulk of emissions), and mortality rates were reduced more than
indicators whose relationship to public health is more indirect. With respect to global warming
related indicators, mortality rates from total extreme weather events declined substantially,
although carbon dioxide emissions increased despite reductions in the carbon intensities of economies. The latter
is true even in India and China, where recent improvements in carbon intensities coincide with
the initiation of economic liberalization, despite generous fuel subsidies to consumers.
For the environmental indicators used to characterize the impacts on land, air, and water cropland,
indoor air quality, traditional air pollutant emissions, and mortality from water-related diseases technological change
generally more than compensated for any long term increase that might have occurred in impact
due to increases in either population or affluence, but not always for the combined effect of the two (i.e., P x A).
The exceptions to this are: (a) U.S. NOx emissions where technology compensated for population increase between 1900 and 2003,
but not for affluence, (b) water withdrawals for the U.S. from 19502000, where technology compensated for population but not for
affluence, and (c) global water withdrawals and consumption from 19001995, where technology failed to keep pace with either
population or affluence.
What the table does not show is that even where technology was unable fully to compensate for the increase

in aggregate output over the entire period water withdrawals and national air emissions are cases in point it

moderated impacts so that, by the end of the period, in most cases impacts had peaked and were
substantially lower than in previous decades (Goklany 2007a, p. 133).
In general, long term environmental trends have not conformed to the notion that, sooner or later,
technology will necessarily increase environmental impacts. Moreover, if one goes sufficiently far
back into the historical record, e.g., for habitat converted to cropland, air pollution emissions or water related diseases, the
initial trends will show environmental deterioration, seemingly validating the Neo-Malthusian
view. But over time this interpretation fails, as the environmental impact is more or less halted
(e.g., cropland) or even reversed (air and water pollution) (Goklany 2007a). Such declines lend credence to the
environmental transition hypothesis and indicate that, in effect, sooner or later technology no longer
acts as a multiplier, but as a divisor for the environmental impact.

AT: Growth Hurts the Environment

Their authors overstate Natures fragilityresiliency empirically checks the
growths environmental impact. Prefer our evidenceit cites the largest data
Kareiva et al. 11Peter Kareiva is a Breakthrough Institute Senior Fellow and chief scientist
and vice president of The Nature Conservancy as well as a member of the National Academy of
Sciences. Robert Lalasz is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy. He is
founding editor of the Conservancy's blog, Cool Green Science. Michelle Marvier is professor
and department chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. [Fall,
2011, Conservation in the Anthropocene, Breakthrough Journal, No. 2,]
As conservation became a global enterprise in the 1970s and 1980s, the movement's justification for saving nature
shifted from spiritual and aesthetic values to focus on biodiversity. Nature was described as primeval, fragile, and at
risk of collapse from too much human use and abuse. And indeed, there are consequences when
humans convert landscapes for mining, logging, intensive agriculture, and urban development and
when key species or ecosystems are lost.
But ecologists and conservationists have grossly overstated the fragility of nature , frequently
arguing that once an ecosystem is altered, it is gone forever. Some ecologists suggest that if a
single species is lost, a whole ecosystem will be in danger of collapse, and that if too much
biodiversity is lost, spaceship Earth will start to come apart. Everything, from the expansion of
agriculture to rainforest destruction to changing waterways, has been painted as a threat to the
delicate inner-workings of our planetary ecosystem.
The fragility trope dates back, at least, to Rachel Carson, who wrote plaintively in Silent Spring of the delicate
web of life and warned that perturbing the intricate balance of nature could have disastrous
consequences.22 Al Gore made a similar argument in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance.23 And the 2005 Millennium
Ecosystem Assessment warned darkly that, while the expansion of agriculture and other forms of
development have been overwhelmingly positive for the world's poor, ecosystem degradation was
simultaneously putting systems in jeopardy of collapse.24
The trouble for conservation is that the data simply do not support the idea of a fragile nature at risk of
collapse. Ecologists now know that the disappearance of one species does not necessarily lead to
the extinction of any others, much less all others in the same ecosystem. In many circumstances, the
demise of formerly abundant species can be inconsequential to ecosystem function. The
American chestnut, once a dominant tree in eastern North America, has been extinguished by a
foreign disease, yet the forest ecosystem is surprisingly unaffected. The passenger pigeon, once so
abundant that its flocks darkened the sky, went extinct, along with countless other species from the Steller's
sea cow to the dodo, with no catastrophic or even measurable effects.
These stories of resilience are not isolated examples -- a thorough review of the scientific
literature identified 240 studies of ecosystems following major disturbances such as deforestation,
mining, oil spills, and other types of pollution. The abundance of plant and animal species as well
as other measures of ecosystem function recovered, at least partially, in 173 ( 72 percent ) of these

Embracing growth is key to conserve the environmentprioritizing

ecosystems over growth will fail.
Kareiva et al. 11Peter Kareiva is a Breakthrough Institute Senior Fellow and chief scientist
and vice president of The Nature Conservancy as well as a member of the National Academy of
Sciences. Robert Lalasz is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy. He is
founding editor of the Conservancy's blog, Cool Green Science. Michelle Marvier is professor
and department chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. [Fall,
2011, Conservation in the Anthropocene, Breakthrough Journal, No. 2,]
Scientists have coined a name for our era -- the Anthropocene -- to emphasize that we have entered a new geological era in which
humans dominate every flux and cycle of the planet's ecology and geochemistry. Most people worldwide (regardless of culture)

welcome the opportunities that development provides to improve lives of grinding rural poverty.
At the same time, the global scale of this transformation has reinforced conservation's intense
nostalgia for wilderness and a past of pristine nature. But conservation's continuing focus upon
preserving islands of Holocene ecosystems in the age of the Anthropocene is both anachronistic and
counterproductive .
Consider the decline of the orangutan, which has been largely attributed to the logging of their forest
habitats. Recent field studies suggest that humans are killing the orangutans for bush meat and
bounty at rates far greater than anyone suspected, and it is this practice, not deforestation, that
places orangutans at the greatest peril.37 In order to save the orangutan, conservationists will also
have to address the problem of food and income deprivation in Indonesia. That means
conservationists will have to embrace human development and the "exploitation of nature" for
human uses, like agriculture, even while they seek to "protect" nature inside of parks.
Conservation's binaries -- growth or nature, prosperity or biodiversity -- have marginalized it in a world
that will soon add at least two billion more people. In the developing world, efforts to constrain
growth and protect forests from agriculture are unfair, if not unethical, when directed at the 2.5
billion people who live on less than two dollars a day and the one billion who are chronically
hungry. By pitting people against nature , conservationists actually create an atmosphere in
which people see nature as the enemy . If people don't believe conservation is in their own
best interests , then it will never be a societal priority. Conservation must demonstrate how the
fates of nature and of people are deeply intertwined -- and then offer new strategies for promoting
the health and prosperity of both.
One need not be a postmodernist to understand that the concept of Nature, as opposed to the physical and chemical workings of
natural systems, has always been a human construction, shaped and designed for human ends. The
notion that nature without people is more valuable than nature with people and the portrayal of
nature as fragile or feminine reflect not timeless truths, but mental schema that change to fit the
If there is no wilderness, if nature is resilient rather than fragile, and if people are actually part of nature
and not the original sinners who caused our banishment from Eden, what should be the new vision for
conservation? It would start by appreciating the strength and resilience of nature while also
recognizing the many ways in which we depend upon it. Conservation should seek to support and
inform the right kind of development -- development by design, done with the importance of nature to thriving
economies foremost in mind. And it will utilize the right kinds of technology to enhance the health and
well-being of both human and nonhuman natures. Instead of scolding capitalism, conservationists
should partner with corporations in a science-based effort to integrate the value of nature's
benefits into their operations and cultures. Instead of pursuing the protection of biodiversity for
biodiversity's sake, a new conservation should seek to enhance those natural systems that benefit

the widest number of people, especially the poor. Instead of trying to restore remote iconic
landscapes to pre-European conditions, conservation will measure its achievement in large part
by its relevance to people, including city dwellers. Nature could be a garden -- not a carefully manicured and rigid one, but a
tangle of species and wildness amidst lands used for food production, mineral extraction, and urban life.

Conservation is slowly turning toward these directions but far too slowly and with insufficient
commitment to make them the conservation work of the 21st century. The problem lies in our
reluctance, and the reluctance of many of conservation's wealthy supporters, to shed the old
This move requires conservation to embrace marginalized and demonized groups and to embrace
a priority that has been anathema to us for more than a hundred years: economic development
for all . The conservation we will get by embracing development and advancing human wellbeing will almost certainly not be the conservation that was imagined in its early days. But it will
be more effective and far more broadly supported, in boardrooms and political chambers, as well
as at kitchen tables.
None of this is to argue for eliminating nature reserves or no longer investing in their stewardship. But we need to acknowledge that a
conservation that is only about fences, limits, and far away places only a few can actually experience is a losing proposition.

Protecting biodiversity for its own sake has not worked. Protecting nature that is dynamic and
resilient, that is in our midst rather than far away, and that sustains human communities -- these
are the ways forward now. Otherwise, conservation will fail, clinging to its old myths.

Ext. Resilient
Overwhelming data supports resiliency theory.
Jones and Schmitz 9Holly P. Jones, Oswald J. Schmitz is the Oastler Professor of
Population and Community Ecology, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale
University [May, 2009, Rapid Recovery of Damaged Ecosystems, PLoS ONE, Volume 4, Issue
Our data set has broad global coverage of seven different aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem types
(Fig. 3) and addresses recovery from major anthropogenic perturbations that these systems face [1]:
agriculture, deforestation, eutrophication, invasive species, logging, mining, oil spill, overfishing,
power plant, trawling, and interactions of those perturbations (multiple perturbations). We also compared
these recovery times with those for major natural disturbances (hurricanes/cyclones). Our evidence does
not support gloomy predictions [3,15], but rather shows that there may be much hope to restore
even heavily degraded ecosystems. Even more surprising, recovery can be much faster than the
centuries and millennia speculated previously (Fig. 4).
We found 83 studies that demonstrated recovery for all variables, 90 studies reported a mixture of
recovered and nonrecovered variables, and 67 studies reported no recovery for any variable whatsoever. Among
studies reporting recovery for any variable, the average recovery time was at most 42 years (for
forest ecosystems) and typically much less (on the order of 10 years) when recovery was examined by
ecosystem type (Fig. 4 top). When examined by perturbation type, the average recovery time was no
more than 56 years (for systems undergoing multiple interacting perturbations) and typically was 20 years or less
(Fig. 4 bottom). Most recovery from human disturbance was, however, slower than from natural causes (hurricanes/cyclones).
Because ecosystem variables (chemical and physical) and community variables (attributes of plant and animal species, including
biodiversity) may operate on different time scales [16,17,18,19], we further evaluated recovery for these two kinds of variable
separately. We found no difference in return times between community and ecosystem variables (Fig. 2), suggesting that on average
they operate on contemporary time scales.

We cite the largest data set.

Jones and Schmitz 9Holly P. Jones, Oswald J. Schmitz is the Oastler Professor of
Population and Community Ecology, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale
University [May, 2009, Rapid Recovery of Damaged Ecosystems, PLoS ONE, Volume 4, Issue
Methodology/Principal Findings: We tested the prediction of irreparable harm using a synthesis of
recovery times compiled from 240 independent studies reported in the scientific literature. We
provide startling evidence that most ecosystems globally can, given human will, recover from very
major perturbations on timescales of decades to half-centuries.

AT: You Overstate Resilience

We dont overstate resiliencetheir authors rely on scare tactics.
Kareiva et al. 11Peter Kareiva is a Breakthrough Institute Senior Fellow and chief scientist
and vice president of The Nature Conservancy as well as a member of the National Academy of
Sciences. Robert Lalasz is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy. He is
founding editor of the Conservancy's blog, Cool Green Science. Michelle Marvier is professor
and department chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. [2011,
Anthropocene Revisited, Breakthrough Journal, Debates,]
Hayward, Martinez, and Suckling fear we overstate the resilience of nature. But the empirical
data -- both modern studies of ecosystem recovery and the fossil record -- demonstrate the ability
of nature to bounce back once a perturbation is curtailed. This hopeful news should inspire positive change.
Wherever people can reduce the quantity and extent of such disruptions, nature will flourish
again. When we argue that nature is resilient, we are proposing a hypothesis that can be scientifically tested. In fact, we are
currently testing, via rigorous analysis, the response of ecosystems to hundreds of major
perturbations. But Hayward and Martinez fear any admission of nature's resilience will give license for unfettered environmental
destruction. Their concerns are a manifestation of conservationists' penchant for doom-and-gloom
scenarios. Suckling claims that our argument is with dead white men, when in fact our argument is with living
conservationists who use scare tactics to justify their unwillingness to compromise.
Suckling accuses us of ideological optimism, while emphasizing the bad news surrounding fisheries and polar
bears. Our point was not to deny the existence of real ecological threats, but to bemoan the fact
that conservationists seem to downplay good news. The six-fold increase in the abundance of the demersal
community cited by Ray Hilborn is a real success, not ideological optimism. And while polar bears certainly are at risk,
scientists have found evidence of them exploiting new food sources5 and of past rapid evolution and
hybridization with grizzly bears.6
We believe we correctly characterized

the failure of conservation, our metrics being the continued

loss of habitat and species. But it is true that species have been saved by the Endangered Species Act
and similar laws elsewhere. And thanks to the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, Americans
live much healthier lives today than 50 years ago. Unfortunately, conservationists had little to do with
the protection of air and water. In fact, modern conservation is notable for its inattention to water
pollution and air quality in places like Beijing and Mumbai, which are seen as largely irrelevant to the
biodiversity mission.

AT: Agriculture Impact

Adaptation will preserve agriculture.
Goklany 11Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D. is an author and a researcher who was associated with
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change off and on for 20 years as an author, expert
reviewer and U.S. delegate to that organization [December, 2011, Project Director: Julian Morris,
Misled on Climate Change: How the UN IPCC (and others) Exaggerate the Impacts of Global
Warming, The Reason Foundation, Policy Study 399,]
The study of agricultural productivity and hunger allows for increases in crop yield with
economic growth due to greater usage of fertilizer and irrigation in richer countries, and decreases
in hunger due to economic growth, some secular (time-dependent) increase in agricultural productivity, as well as
some farm-level adaptations to deal with climate change.33 But these adaptations are based on
1990s technologies, rather than technologies that would be available at the time for which
impacts are estimated (i.e., 2025, 2055 and 2085 in the FTA). Nor does the study account for any
technologies developed to specifically cope with the negative impacts of global warming or take
advantage of any positive outcomes.34 But the potential for future technologies to cope with
climate change is large, especially if one considers bioengineered crops and precision

AT: Air Pollution Impact

Development is necessary to combat air pollutionempirics prove.
Goklany 9Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D, is the Assistant Director for Science and Technology
Policy, Office of Policy Analysis, US Department of the Interior, and co-editor of the Electronic
Journal of Sustainable Development [Have increases in population, affluence and technology
worsened human and environmental well-being? The Electronic Journal of Sustainable
Development, (2009) 1(3),]
5.4 Traditional air pollution

Concern over traditional air pollutants soot, other forms of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and, in
some places, ozone was instrumental in raising environmental consciousness in the U.S. and todays richer
countries. Long term data indicates that air quality for these traditional pollutants has generally
improved, particularly for the substances and in the areas that were of the greatest public health concern (Goklany 2007a). For
these countries, long term air quality trends show pronounced peaks that are generally consistent with
the environmental transition hypothesis rather than with Neo-Malthusian theories that affluence
and technological change make matters worse.
With respect to the U.S., probably a harbinger for other countries, the earliest environmental
transitions apparently occurred for indoor air quality (by the 1940s), followed later by improvements in
outdoor air quality. This is especially significant because the vast majority of people spend the
majority of their time indoors, generally at home. Therefore indoor exposure is perhaps the single most
critical determinant of the potential public health impact of air pollution. Remarkably, these
improvements in indoor air quality, which were enabled by improvements in technology and
greater affluence, occurred voluntarily as households moved away from solid fuels such as coal and
wood to cleaner energy sources within the home oil, gas, electricity.
With respect to U.S. national outdoor air quality as well, the transitions seem to have occurred earlier for
pollutants and locations that were of the earliest and greatest concern. They occurred first for total suspended
particulate matter (around 1957), followed by sulfur dioxide (early-to-mid 1960s), carbon monoxide (midtolate 1960s), lead (mid-tolate 1970s), ozone (mid-tolate1970s nationally but mid-1950s in California, where it was a major early concern), and finally nitrogen
oxides (in the late-1970s). Perhaps surprisingly, many of these transitions also preceded the U.S. Clean Air Act

Amendments of 1970.
For the traditional air pollutants, trends in emissions (an indicator of less relevance to public health and welfare
than either indoor or outdoor air quality), indicate that they too have gone through their environmental
transitions in the US.
Notably, air quality in the currently industrializing (or developing) countries is substantially worse than in
developed countries. Beijing, Mexico City, New Delhi and Cairo, for instance, are among the most
polluted cities in the world. Nevertheless, developing countries seem to have learnt from the
experience of developed countries. In fact, in many respects, they are ahead of where industrialized
countries were when they were at the same level of economic development. For example, the U.S. first
introduced unleaded gasoline in 1975 when its GDP per capita was $16,300, whereas India and China instituted some controls for
lead-in-gasoline by 1997, when their GDPs per capita were $1,600 and $3,000, respectively (Maddison 2003; Goklany 2007a). By
2006, only about 25 countries out of about 200 were using leaded gasoline (Dumitrescu 2005) although the global GDP per capita was
about $7,300. This, of course, is due to the diffusion of knowledge and technology from industrialized to

developing countries.
Analysis of air pollution trends from 19932004 in twenty Asian cities Bangkok, Beijing, Busan, Colombo,
Dhaka, Delhi, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Manila, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore,
Surabaya, Taipei and Tokyo showed that, in general, TSP and PM-10 decreased between 1993 and 2004,
although ambient levels were above limits set by the World Health Organization (Figure 14; CAI-Asia 2006). [Sixteen of the 20 cities
are in developing Asia.] For SO2, levels had been improved to within WHO guidelines. For NO2, the

levels had been stabilized around WHO guidelines. These results are consistent with Hao and
Wangs (2005) analysis indicating that despite substantial emission increases, average
concentrations in Chinese cities for total suspended particulates, PM-10, and SO2 declined by 25, 10 and 44 percent,
respectively, between 1990 and 2002.8

In other words, some

areas in Asia have apparently gone through their environmental transitions for a
variety of air pollutants, and at lower levels of economic development than in the U.S.
There have been improvements in Latin America as well. Figure 15 shows improvements in Mexico City, legendary
for its air pollution, from 19862006 (Molina et al. 2008). Similarly, PM-10 concentrations in Brazils industrial region of Cubatao
among the worlds fastest growing industrial areas declined from 180 to about 80 micrograms per cubic meter from 19841998
(Wheeler 2001). Fine particulate matter (PM-2.5) concentrations dropped 52 percent in Santiago, Chile between 1989 and 2001
(Koutrakis et al. 2005).
The major air pollution problems in developing countries are, however, indoors. Half of the worlds

population continues to use solid fuels such as coal, dung and wood. The World Health Organizations
Global Burden of Disease 2000 (Version 2) study estimates that in 2000 air pollution was responsible for 2.4
million premature deaths (or 4.3 percent of all deaths). Two-thirds of these deaths were attributed to
indoor pollution from particulate matter in developing countries from cooking and heating with coal, dung
and wood and the remainder to outdoor air pollution (WHO 2002a, 2002b; Bruce et al. 2000). On the basis of
disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), a measure which discounts every year of life lived under a disability by the severity of that
disability, indoor air pollution accounts for 2.7 percent of annual lost DALYs worldwide, and outdoor air for 0.5 percent.

If the currently poor inhabitants of less developed countries were to grow richer, they would have
the means to switch out of dirty solid fuels and into cleaner established technologies such as
natural gas, oil or even electricity, which would help reduce the disease burden in these countries
significantly. It would essentially allow todays developing countries to follow the same path so
successfully taken by the rich nations in reducing population exposure to air pollutants. This is
essentially the opposite of the claim made by opponents of affluence.

AT: Bio-D
Growth doesnt kill bio-d.
Kareiva et al. 11Peter Kareiva is a Breakthrough Institute Senior Fellow and chief scientist
and vice president of The Nature Conservancy as well as a member of the National Academy of
Sciences. Robert Lalasz is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy. He is
founding editor of the Conservancy's blog, Cool Green Science. Michelle Marvier is professor
and department chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. [Fall,
2011, Conservation in the Anthropocene, Breakthrough Journal, No. 2,]
Today, coyotes roam downtown Chicago, and peregrine falcons astonish San Franciscans as they
sweep down skyscraper canyons to pick off pigeons for their next meal. As we destroy habitats, we create
new ones: in the southwestern United States a rare and federally listed salamander species seems
specialized to live in cattle tanks -- to date, it has been found in no other habitat.32 Books have
been written about the collapse of cod in the Georges Bank, yet recent trawl data show the
biomass of cod has recovered to precollapse levels.33 It's doubtful that books will be written about
this cod recovery since it does not play well to an audience somehow addicted to stories of
collapse and environmental apocalypse.
Even that classic symbol of fragility -- the polar bear, seemingly stranded on a melting ice block - may have a good chance of surviving global warming if the changing environment continues to
increase the populations and northern ranges of harbor seals and harp seals. Polar bears evolved from
brown bears 200,000 years ago during a cooling period in Earth's history, developing a highly specialized carnivorous diet focused on
seals. Thus, the fate of polar bears depends on two opposing trends -- the decline of sea ice and the potential increase of energy-rich
prey. The history of life on Earth is of species evolving to take advantage of new environments

only to be at risk when the environment changes again.

The wilderness ideal presupposes that there are parts of the world untouched by humankind, but
today it is impossible to find a place on Earth that is unmarked by human activity. The truth is
humans have been impacting their natural environment for centuries. The wilderness so beloved
by conservationists -- places "untrammeled by man"34 -- never existed, at least not in the last thousand years, and
arguably even longer.

The effects of human activity are found in every corner of the Earth. Fish and whales in remote
Arctic oceans are contaminated with chemical pesticides. The nitrogen cycle and hydrological
cycle are now dominated by people -- human activities produce 60 percent of all the fixed
nitrogen deposited on land each year, and people appropriate more than half of the annual
accessible freshwater runoff.35 There are now more tigers in captivity than in their native habitats.
Instead of sourcing wood from natural forests, by 2050 we are expected to get over three-quarters
of our wood from intensively managed tree farms. Erosion, weathering, and landslides used to be the prime movers
of rock and soil; today humans rival these geological processes with road building and massive construction projects.36 All around the
world, a mix of climate change and nonnative species has created a wealth of novel ecosystems

catalyzed by human activities.

Human growth increases bio-dconsensus of studies prove.

Ellis 12Erle Ellis is associate professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a 2012 Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough
Institute. Human Landscapes, blog for the Laboratory for Anthropogenic Landscape Ecology
[January 18, 2012, All is not loss: Plant Biodiversity in the Anthropocene,]

What are we humans doing to biodiversity in the Anthropocene? Causing Earths sixth mass extinction?
(e.g. Barnosky et al. 2011 and others). How about something completely new to biodiversity on this planet? How about a
massive globalization of species leading to the widespread emergence of novel ecosystems
enriched with exotic and domesticated species (Hobbs et al. 2009).
Thats the main message of our study published today in PLoS One, where we present the first spatially
explicit global assessment of plant biodiversity patterns created by humans (anthropogenic biodiversity;
Ellis et al. 2012). We set out on this work more than 3 years ago with the goal of testing a key
hypothesis in my first paper on anthromes (Ellis and Ramankutty 2008): that current global patterns of biodiversity
are better explained by global patterns in human systems (populations, land use) than by the natural
biophysical patterns of the Earth system (climate, geology).
What followed was a journey- starting from the nave belief that global patterns of biodiversity, in terms of species richness (total
number of species), would be well enough described at regional landscape scales (Noss 1990), at least for some taxa, to allow us to
test the hypothesis once and for all. While native species richness data for vertebrates, especially birds and mammals (e.g. Grenyer et
al. 2006, Schipper et al. 2008) are now fairly complete and available, to get a full accounting, we also needed data on exotic species
and could find no appropriate data for these. Moreover, our most enthusiastic collaborator, Holger Kreft, suggested we focus on
plants- much more abundant species than vertebrates (~300K vs. ~40K).
That was the end of innocence for us, but yielded the first conclusion of the work: we still know too little about the global patterns of
plant biodiversity at regional landscape scales- both for natives and exotics- to assess current global patterns of plant biodiversity
directly from measurements. So, we soldiered on and used models for native species richness (Kreft and Jetz 2007), native species
losses caused by habitat loss (classic species-area relationships by biomes; Kier et al. 2005), exotic species invasions (Lonsdale 1999),
crop species (Monfreda et al. 2008) and estimated ornamental species richness based on urban exotic data in the scientific literature.
As with much scientific work, we never did test our hypothesis (the models we used wouldnt allow this). But what we did find really
surprised us.

The big story of plant biodiversity in the Anthropocene is not about loss at all. Our model
predictions indicate that human systems have caused a net increase in plant species richness
across more than two thirds of the terrestrial biosphere, mostly by facilitating exotic species
invasions. Moreover, exotic species increases tend to be associated with native losses and usually
exceed them. Together these coupled processes of species gain and loss may be thought of as new
global biotic process of anthropogenic ecological succession, leading to the widespread
emergence of novel ecosystems. While conclusions from our model results can only be preliminary, they
confirm and build upon the results of many prior studies (e.g. Vitousek et al. 1997, Sax and Gaines 2003,
Stohlgren et al. 2008).
Some caveats are important. Species richness is a primitive measure of biodiversity- the relative abundance of species and their
taxonomic diversity are critical in determining community structure and function (Isbell et al. 2011) . Plants are not like vertebrates,
which, despite their mobility, seem far less capable of hanging on in the margins than most plants (expect the species that love us too
much- like rats, cats and deer). Mass extinctions may still be coming in the long term, especially if our alteration of global climate
continues to accelerate. Finally, it takes generational time to determine whether species are going extinct (Tilman et al. 1994). Plants
are among the longest -lived organisms, and many tree species may already be living fossils- or emerging domesticates- if artificial
propagation is required to avert extinctions.
Nevertheless, the message is clear. While we are losing species from regional landscapes across the

planet- causing very real and permanent extinctions, so far, the main anthropogenic global change
in plant biodiversity is a profound and massive shift of biotic communities to novel forms never
seen before on Earth, with natives relegated to a minor role alongside newly dominant exotics.
Yet even in ancient agricultural villages and urban domestic gardens, the most densely populated and intensively-used anthromes,
the majority of native plant species appear to be sustaining viable populations, though in the
shadow of their more abundant exotic competitors a pattern of change in plant species
assemblages resembling those observed during prior mass extinctions in the fossil record (which are
based solely on losses of Marine taxa; McElwain and Punyasena 2007). As a result, the term extinct in the wild
may already be obsolete and Homogocene may be as good a name for our new geological epoch as Anthropocene
(Rosenzweig 2001, Ellis 2011). Only about 100 of 300,000 plant species are known to be extinct (IUCN red
list; though most extinctions are probably unknown). Moreover, it appears that novel ecosystems enriched in
exotics tend to sustain rather than diminish ecosystem functioning (Mascaro et al. 2012)

AT: DeFo
No impact and growth solves deforestation.
Kareiva et al. 11Peter Kareiva is a Breakthrough Institute Senior Fellow and chief scientist
and vice president of The Nature Conservancy as well as a member of the National Academy of
Sciences. Robert Lalasz is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy. He is
founding editor of the Conservancy's blog, Cool Green Science. Michelle Marvier is professor
and department chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. [Fall,
2011, Conservation in the Anthropocene, Breakthrough Journal, No. 2,]
While global forest cover is continuing to decline, it is rising in the Northern Hemisphere, where
"nature" is returning to former agricultural lands.26 Something similar is likely to occur in the Southern
Hemisphere, after poor countries achieve a similar level of economic development. A 2010 report
concluded that rainforests that have grown back over abandoned agricultural land had 40 to 70
percent of the species of the original forests.27 Even Indonesian orangutans, which were widely thought to be able to
survive only in pristine forests, have been found in surprising numbers in oil palm plantations and degraded lands.28

AT: Ecological Shocks

Resiliency checks ecological shocksempirics prove.
Kareiva et al. 11Peter Kareiva is a Breakthrough Institute Senior Fellow and chief scientist
and vice president of The Nature Conservancy as well as a member of the National Academy of
Sciences. Robert Lalasz is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy. He is
founding editor of the Conservancy's blog, Cool Green Science. Michelle Marvier is professor
and department chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. [Fall,
2011, Conservation in the Anthropocene, Breakthrough Journal, No. 2,]
Nature is so resilient that it can recover rapidly from even the most powerful human
disturbances . Around the Chernobyl nuclear facility, which melted down in 1986, wildlife is
thriving, despite the high levels of radiation.29 In the Bikini Atoll, the site of multiple nuclear
bomb tests, including the 1954 hydrogen bomb test that boiled the water in the area, the number
of coral species has actually increased relative to before the explosions.30 More recently, the massive
2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was degraded and consumed by bacteria at a remarkably fast

AT: Overpop Impact

Growth moderates population sizereduces total fertility rate.
Goklany 9Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D, is the Assistant Director for Science and Technology
Policy, Office of Policy Analysis, US Department of the Interior, and co-editor of the Electronic
Journal of Sustainable Development [Have increases in population, affluence and technology
worsened human and environmental well-being? The Electronic Journal of Sustainable
Development, (2009) 1(3),]
2. Trends in population growth and total fertility rates

The original Neo-Malthusian premise was that population would grow exponentially. Indeed until the
latter decades of the 20th century, these concerns seemed well founded, as technological change increased the rate of population
growth by reducing mortality rates. However, the rate of population increase has slowed in recent decades. In
the five years from 1965 to 1970, the Worlds population grew by 10.6 per cent. By contrast, the

current rate of population

growth has fallen to 6.0 per cent every five years and is expected to fall further (UNPD 2007).
Accordingly, recent population projections show that population should peak during this century, perhaps at less
than 9 billion. Lutz et al. (2007) claim that there is a 90 percent probability that global population will not exceed 11.5 billion in
Nevertheless, while

most experts currently discount the possibility of exponential population

increase, the notion lingers on in the popular mind (see, e.g., Revkin 2008). This tends to color
discussions on environmental matters. In any case, Neo-Malthusians insist that even current population levels may be
catastrophic for humanity, with some suggesting that the earths sustainable limit may be anywhere between 0.5 to 2 billion (Dahl

The onset of the decline in growth rate was more or less concurrent with mortality rate declines in
general, and preceded the appearance of AIDS. The proximate cause is obviously a decline in total fertility
rate (TFR), that is, the number of children borne by a woman, which seems to have occurred worldwide, but to a
differing extent in each country and culture. What are the underlying causes of the decline in TFR?
Figure 2, based on cross country data from the World Bank (2005), shows that TFR

is inversely related
to the level of economic development (as measured by GDP per capita) and falls over time (a crude surrogate for
technological change).2, 3 Goklany (2007a, 2007b) argues that the underlying relationships are more complex, with the conditions
supporting economic and technological development and, significantly, the desire for such development, also important drivers.
First, since lower poverty the not-so-surprising consequence of economic growth means lower infant mortality

rates and higher survival rates, it reduces pressures for more births. This is particularly important
because children are among the few available forms of insurance in poorer countries, which is
one reason why they have the highest TFRs. Richer societies tend to have social security
programs which can reduce the pressure for more children. Second, higher incomes mean greater
access to technology, which reduces the value of child labor. Third, richer societies offer greater
educational and economic opportunities for women, which also increases the opportunity costs of
their child bearing and child rearing years. Fourth, the time and cost of educating children to be
competitive and productive in a richer and more technologically advanced society encourages
small family sizes.
Apart from economic and technological development, factors that contribute to economic growth
and the desire for greater wealth can help create conditions that tend to lower TFR. In particular,
literacy and the amount of education, especially of women, helps propagate good habits of diet,
nutrition, sanitation and safe drinking water. This improves health and reduces mortality, in general,
and infant and maternal mortality, in particular. As noted, this reduces pressures to maximize birth and enables
couples to plan the size of their families. At the same time, improved health leads to greater wealth (or economic

Finally, many couples arguably swayed by commercials and lifestyles depicted by a ubiquitous, globalized and globalizing
visual mass media defer child birth in favor of current consumption (Goklany 2007a).
Together these factors explain why TFR has dropped progressively with both economic
development and time. Thus, in the IPAT equation, P is not independent of A and T: sooner or later,

as a nation grows richer, its population growth rate falls (e.g., World Bank 1984), which might lead to a
cleaner environment (Goklany 1995, 1998, 2007b).
Therefore, while economic development and technological change might initially increase the rate of
population growth by reducing mortality rates, in the long run, they moderate population growth
by helping directly or indirectly create the conditions for many families to voluntarily opt for
fewer children (and lower TFR).

Discount Neo-Malthusian predictionsoverwhelming data sets prove all

indicators of human well-being have risen despite development.
Goklany 9Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D, is the Assistant Director for Science and Technology
Policy, Office of Policy Analysis, US Department of the Interior, and co-editor of the Electronic
Journal of Sustainable Development [Have increases in population, affluence and technology
worsened human and environmental well-being? The Electronic Journal of Sustainable
Development, (2009) 1(3),]
3. Trends in human well-being

Although global population is no longer growing exponentially, it has quadrupled since 1900.
Concurrently, affluence (or GDP per capita) has sextupled, global economic product (a measure of aggregate
consumption) has increased 23-fold and carbon dioxide has increased over 15-fold (Maddison 2003; GGDC 2008; World
Bank 2008a; Marland et al. 2007).4 But contrary to Neo- Malthusian fears, average human well-being,
measured by any objective indicator, has never been higher.
Food supplies, Malthus original concern, are up worldwide. Global food supplies per capita
increased from 2,254 Cals/day in 1961 to 2,810 in 2003 (FAOSTAT 2008). This helped reduce hunger and
malnutrition worldwide. The proportion of the population in the developing world, suffering from
chronic hunger declined from 37 percent to 17 percent between 196971 and 20012003 despite an 87
percent population increase (Goklany 2007a; FAO 2006).
The reduction in hunger and malnutrition, along with improvements in basic hygiene, improved
access to safer water and sanitation, broad adoption of vaccinations, antibiotics, pasteurization
and other public health measures, helped reduce mortality and increase life expectancies. These
improvements first became evident in todays developed countries in the mid- to late-1800s and started to spread in earnest to
developing countries from the 1950s. The infant mortality rate in developing countries was 180 per 1,000 live births in the early
1950s; today it is 57. Consequently, global life expectancy, perhaps the single most important measure of

human well-being, increased from 31 years in 1900 to 47 years in the early 1950s to 67 years today
(Goklany 2007a).

Globally, average annual per capita incomes tripled since 1950. The proportion of the worlds
population outside of high-income OECD countries living in absolute poverty (average consumption of less than $1 per
day in 1985 International dollars adjusted for purchasing power parity), fell from 84 percent in 1820 to 40 percent in 1981
to 20 percent in 2007 (Goklany 2007a; WRI 2008; World Bank 2007).
Equally important, the world is more literate and better educated. Child labor in low income
countries declined from 30 to 18 percent between 1960 and 2003. In most countries, people are freer
politically, economically and socially to pursue their goals as they see fit. More people choose
their own rulers, and have freedom of expression. They are more likely to live under rule of law,
and less likely to be arbitrarily deprived of life, limb and property. Social and professional mobility has never
been greater. It is easier to transcend the bonds of caste, place, gender, and other accidents of birth in the lottery of life. People
work fewer hours, and have more money and better health to enjoy their leisure time (Goklany 2007a).
Figure 3 summarizes the U.S. experience over the 20th century with respect to growth of population, affluence, material, fossil fuel
energy and chemical consumption, and life expectancy. It indicates that population has multiplied 3.7-fold; income,

6.9-fold; carbon dioxide emissions, 8.5-fold; material use, 26.5-fold; and organic chemical use,
101-fold. Yet its life expectancy increased from 47 years to 77 years and infant mortality (not shown)
declined from over 100 per 1,000 live births to 7 per 1,000.
It is also important to note that not only are people living longer, they are healthier. The disability rate for
seniors declined 28 percent between 1982 and 2004/2005 and, despite better diagnostic tools, major diseases (e.g.,

cancer, and heart and respiratory diseases) occur 811 years later now than a century ago (Fogel 2003; Manton et al.
If similar figures could be constructed for other countries, most would indicate qualitatively similar trends,
especially after 1950, except Sub-Saharan Africa and the erstwhile members of the Soviet Union. In the latter two cases, life
expectancy, which had increased following World War II, declined after the late 1980s to the early 2000s, possibly due poor economic
performance compounded, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, by AIDS, resurgence of malaria, and tuberculosis due mainly to poor
governance (breakdown of public health services) and other manmade causes (Goklany 2007a, pp.6669, pp.178181, and references
therein). However, there are signs of a turnaround, perhaps related to increased economic growth since the early 2000s, although this
could, of course, be a temporary blip (Goklany 2007a; World Bank 2008a).
Notably, in most areas of the world, the healthadjusted life expectancy (HALE), that is, life expectancy

adjusted downward for the severity and length of time spent by the average individual in a lessthan-healthy condition, is greater now than the unadjusted life expectancy was 30 years ago. HALE
for the China and India in 2002, for instance, were 64.1 and 53.5 years, which exceeded their unadjusted life expectancy of 63.2 and
50.7 years in 19701975 (WRI 2008).
Figure 4, based on cross country data, indicates that contrary to Neo-Malthusian fears, both life

expectancy and infant mortality improve with the level of affluence (economic development) and time, a
surrogate for technological change (Goklany 2007a). Other indicators of human well-being that improve over time and as affluence
rises are: access to safe water and sanitation (see below), literacy, level of education, food supplies per capita, and the prevalence of
malnutrition (Goklany 2007a, 2007b).

AT: Water-Related Impacts

Water consumption and water related diseases decrease with development
prefer empirics over prediction.
Goklany 9Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D, is the Assistant Director for Science and Technology
Policy, Office of Policy Analysis, US Department of the Interior, and co-editor of the Electronic
Journal of Sustainable Development [Have increases in population, affluence and technology
worsened human and environmental well-being? The Electronic Journal of Sustainable
Development, (2009) 1(3),]
5.2 Water withdrawal and consumption

Just as the diversion of land to meet human needs is the single greatest threat to terrestrial
biodiversity, so is diversion of water the greatest threat to freshwater biodiversity.
For the United States, over the 50-year period, 19502000, the split between surface and ground water withdrawals has stayed more or
less constant at 80/20 percent, respectively (Hutton et al. 2004). The portion of surface-water withdrawals that was classified as saline
increased from 7 to 20 percent between 1950 and 1975. It has since remained approximately constant.

Between 1950 and 1980, while U.S. population increased by 53 percent and, economic
consumption by 191 percent, total water withdrawals increased by 144 percent. However,
between 1980 and 2000, water withdrawals declined by 7 percent despite increases of 24 and 90
percent in population and economic consumption, respectively (Hutson et al. 2004). Moreover, the long term
trend of declining total wetland area in the U.S. seems to have halted and even reversed, with
190,000 acres being added between 1998 and 2004 (Dahl 2006).
By contrast with the reduction in water withdrawals in the U.S., data from Shiklomanov (2000) indicates that while water withdrawals
and use might be approaching saturation globally, they had not peaked as of 1995, although on a per capita basis, they began to
decline in the 1980s. See Figure 12.
5.3 Water-related impacts

Water has traditionally been high on the list of environmental priorities because of the potential
of death and disease from water related diseases. Figure 13 shows that from 19001970, U.S. death
rates due to various waterrelated diseases dysentery, typhoid, paratyphoid, other gastrointestinal disease, and malaria
declined by 99.6 to 100.0 percent (USBC, various years).
These reductions, which preceded the 1972 Clean Water Act, can be attributed to, among other things,
greater knowledge of better hygiene, greater access to safe water and sanitation, and new and
more effective therapies.
Analysis of cross country data indicates that with economic development and time, access to both
safe water and sanitation generally increases in terms of absolute numbers and, more significantly, as a
proportion of total population (Goklany 2007a, 2007b). Because of higher levels of economic
development and technological diffusion, such access, although not yet universal, has never been
higher. Between 1990 and the early 2000s, for example, the proportion of the population with access
to safer water increased from 70 to 84 percent in South Asia and 49 to 53 percent in Sub-Saharan
Africa, while with regard to sanitation, it increased from 16 to 35 percent in South Asia, and 32 to
36 percent in SubSaharan Africa (World Bank 2008b).

AT: Corporations are Evil

Corporations are key to effective conservation.
Kareiva et al. 11Peter Kareiva is a Breakthrough Institute Senior Fellow and chief scientist
and vice president of The Nature Conservancy as well as a member of the National Academy of
Sciences. Robert Lalasz is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy. He is
founding editor of the Conservancy's blog, Cool Green Science. Michelle Marvier is professor
and department chair of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. [2011,
Anthropocene Revisited, Breakthrough Journal, Debates,]
Finally, we find it remarkable that some of our critics maintain the adolescent view that corporations are evil
and not to be trusted, as though they were run by people somehow less ethical and less decent
than conservation organizations. Yes, some corporations do harm and behave badly, but so do
conservationists on occasion. Ecologists know that strongly interacting species such as killer whales,
wolves and starfish determine ecosystem structure and dynamics. In modern ecosystems, those
strongly interacting "species" are often global corporations. A handful of agricultural companies
are responsible for 70 percent of the soy trade out of Brazil. Walmart, through its massive
purchasing power, is able to reshape supply chains in favor of conservation outcomes. Over 80
percent of the Fortune 500 companies issue sustainability reports and have some sort of
institutional effort aimed at sustainability. Of course, corporations have different goals than
conservation organizations. But there are instances where the interests of conservation and
business align, and the critique of capitalism and corporations that seems to infect our critics is a
recipe for ineffectiveness and failure.

Kareiva is a giant among conservation biologists.
Breakthrough Journal Staff 12Breakthrough Journal, a project of Breakthrough
Institute, publishes long-form essays and short articles aimed at challenging conventional
progressive and environmental wisdom in service of creating a relevant and powerful new
politics. Executive editors are Ted Nordhaus and Michael Schellenberger. [April 4, 2012,
Conservation on a 'Spoiled' Earth, Breakthrough Journal Blog,]
So begins a searing indictment by the unlikeliest of sources: Peter Kareiva, chief scientist of The Nature
Conservancy, the world's largest conservation organization.
Kareiva is also a giant among conservation biologists. Inducted into the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences with Al Gore and Spike Lee, Kareiva is coauthor of the landmark 2010 textbook (with Michelle
Marvier), Conservation Science, which begins from the premise that humans are the dominant
ecological force on earth -- and that the pre-human state of the world should no longer be viewed as the "natural" baseline.

AT: Speth
Speth is wrongcapitalism is best for the environment. There is no
Adler 8Jonathan H. Adler is Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law
and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. [Fall 2008, Green Bridge to
Nowhere, The New Atlantis, Number 22, pp. 91-98,]
According to Speth, most environmental deterioration is a result of systemic failures of capitalism.
This is an odd claim, as the least capitalist nations of the world also have the worst environmental
records. The ecological costs of economic statism are far worse than those of economic liberty.
The environmental record of the various Soviet regimes amply bears this out: The Wests
ecological nightmares were the Soviet blocs environmental realities. This is not due to any
anomaly of the Soviet system. Nations with greater commitment to capitalist institutions
experience greater environmental performance.
While Speth occasionally acknowledges pockets of environmental progress, he hardly stops to consider the reasons why some
environmental resources have been conserved more effectively than others. Fisheries are certainly declining throughout much of the
worldsome 75 percent of fisheries are fully or over-exploitedbut not everywhere. It is worth asking why. Tropical forests

in less-developed nations are declining even as most temperate forests in industrialized nations
are rebounding. Recognizing these different trends and identifying the key variables is essential to
diagnosing the real causes of environmental deterioration and prescribing a treatment that will
work. Speth acknowledges that much of the world is undergoing dematerialization, such that economic growth far outpaces
increases in resource demand, but seems not to appreciate how the capitalist system he decries creates the incentives that drive this

Were it not for market-driven advances in technological capability and ecological efficiency,
humanitys footprint on the Earth would be far greater. While modern civilization has developed
the means to effect massive ecological transformations, it has also found ways to produce wealth
while leaving more of the natural world intact. Market competition generates substantial
incentives to do more with lessthus in market economies we see long and continuing improvements in
productive efficiency. This can be seen everywhere from the replacement of copper with fiber optics (made from silica, the
chief component in sand) and the light-weighting of packaging to the explosion of agricultural productivity and improvements in
energy efficiency. Less material is used and disposed of, reducing overall environmental impacts from
productive activity.
The key to such improvements is the same set of institutional arrangements that Speth so decries: property
rights and voluntary exchange protected by the rule of lawthat

is, capitalism. As research by Wheaton College

economist Seth Norton and many others has shown, societies in which property rights and economic
freedoms are protected experience superior economic and environmental performance than those
societies subject to greater government control. Indeed, such institutions have a greater effect on
environmental performance than the other factors, such as population growth, that occupy the
attention of Speth and so many other environmental thinkers.
Speth complains that capitalism is fundamentally biased against the future; but the marketplace
does a far better job of pricing and accounting for future interests than the political alternative.
Future generations cannot participate in capitalisms markets [today], says Speth. Fair enough, but they
cannot vote or engage in the regulatory process either. Thus the relevant policy question is what set of institutions
does the bestor least badjob of accounting for such concerns, and here there is no contest. However present-oriented
the marketplace may be, it is better able to look past the next election cycle than any plausibly
democratic alternative.
Speth pays lip service to the virtues of markets, but he still calls for a replacement of the capitalist system with something else. He
acknowledges that no better system of allocating scarce resources has yet been invented than
capitalism, and yet cant seem to grasp why. He tries to define and dissect the nature of capitalist economics, but is unable to distill
its essence. Quoting neo-Marxist critiques is not a likely path to enlightenment about the market economy. Insofar as firms in the

marketplace seek to externalize the costs of economic activity (such as by polluting) or rent seek to receive special benefits from
government, they are seeking to escape the market discipline fostered by capitalist economics, rather than participate in it. Voluntary
exchange of private rights is central to the market process. When firms obtain goods or services, such as natural resources or waste
disposal, without contracting for them, firms are acting outside of the market process and free from market discipline. If the goal

is to internalize the environmental effects of economic activity, the most fruitful course is to
expand market institutions, rather than impose additional layers of political controls.
While he tries (and fails) to unearth the root causes of environmental degradation, he seems uninterested in diagnosing
the causes of government failure. He observes that governments often intervene in the wrong way when trying to solve
environmental problems, but does not pause to consider why. That government failures may be no less pervasive
than market failures does not seem to cross his mind. Because wealthy industries seek to control government
policy to suppress competitors and enhance their own profitsall the while making markets less freeSpeth thinks the
problem is capitalism as opposed to those who would use government to inhibit capitalist activity
for their own advantage. Its the green version of blaming the victim.

Speth is biased and overplays every impact.

Adler 8Jonathan H. Adler is Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law
and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. [Fall 2008, Green Bridge to
Nowhere, The New Atlantis, Number 22, pp. 91-98,]
In The Bridge at the Edge of the World, Speth argues that all the environmental progress of the past thirty to
forty years may be for naught, as an environmental crisis of global proportions is still with us.
The resource shortfalls and ecological ruin predicted by the Global 2000 report may not have
come to pass on schedule, but they are imminent nonetheless. Thus, he seeks radical change to our economic, political,
and social systems. The end of the world as we have known it is inevitable; the only question is whether we will suffer planetary
ruin or a radically transformed civilization. Speths hope is to point the way to the latter course.
Speths eco-pessimism is not particularly new or original, but his critique of the modern environmental
movement could be. In

his view, the modern environmental establishment has proven itself impotent. It
within the system failed, he maintains, because it did
not seek sufficiently radical change. Saving human civilization from collapse requires more than
minor adjustments, he warns, as environmental degradation is but a symptom of broader social problems, and is linked
has accomplished much, but not nearly enough. Working

powerfully with other social realities, including growing social inequality and neglect and the erosion of democratic governance and
popular control. Reversing course will require a transformative change in the system itself, including an assault on the citadel of
consumption and the remaking of corporations. Our duty, Speth proclaims, is to struggle against the contempocentrism and
anthropocentrism that dominate modern life. A bridge to a sustainable society requires revisiting democratic
capitalism, remaking industrial civilization, and reorienting human consciousness; we must return to
fundamentals and seek to understand both the underlying forces driving such destructive trends and the economic and political system
that gives these forces free rein. Nothing less will do.
Environmental writers have made a cottage industry from warning of ecological Armageddon and calling for greener forms of
economic growth. Yet it is rare to hear so radical a charge from someone with Speths influence, and unusual to hear someone with
his experience offer an ecological assessment that is so misguided. He purports to offer a deeper critique of what is going on, but his
principal complaints echo familiar ones we have heard from other environmental thinkers, his new approach on the
environment seems

quite like the old, and his analysis is ultimately shallow. Speth wants to offer
impractical answersbut the problem is not so much their impracticality as their wrongheadedness.
Speth catalogues an ever-growing list of environmental insults inflicted upon the Earth by human
civilization to document the great collision between the human economy and our fragile planet.
He tries to shock with numbers and graphs illustrating dramatic increases in population or
industrial activity of one sort or another. Such data is easy to find, but trends by themselves do
not substitute for a complete diagnosis. It takes more than identifying recent exponential trends to
demonstrate unsustainability. Exponential growth rarely (if ever) continues indefinitely, and the
same factors that cause growth spurts can cause them to level off. Nor do negative environmental
trends necessarily translate into harmful effects on human well-being. I share his concern for conserving biological

diversity, but merely

asserting that biological diversity is important for economic well-being does not
make it so.
Climate change plays a central role in Speths account, as one might expect. The threat of anthropogenic
contributions to climatic warming is real, and the policy challenge immense. Yet so eager is he to impress upon the reader the
severity of the problem that he embraces the flimsiest of evidence to support his claims. For instance, he cites a largely
discredited World Health Organization report concluding climate change already causes 150,000 deaths
per year, and could reach 300,000 by 2030. Climate change is a serious concernsufficiently so that there is no need
for such hyperbole to demonstrate its importance. Overstating the threat is part of Speths method, all the better
to promote the radical changes he seeks.
The first item on his agenda is the replacement of modern capitalism with some undefined nonsocialist alternative. The planet cannot sustain capitalism as we know it, he warns, calling for a fundamental transformation.
But he does not understand the system he wants to reform, let alone what he would substitute in its

*** Climate Change

Tech Solves Climate Change

Further technological development is keydedev only results in worse forms
of development and condemns billions to poverty and climate change.
Goklany 9Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D, is the Assistant Director for Science and Technology
Policy, Office of Policy Analysis, US Department of the Interior, and co-editor of the Electronic
Journal of Sustainable Development [Have increases in population, affluence and technology
worsened human and environmental well-being? The Electronic Journal of Sustainable
Development, (2009) 1(3),]
8. Conclusion

Contrary to Neo-Malthusian fears, population is no longer growing exponentially. Second, from a

historical perspective, food, energy and materials are more affordable today than they have been
for much of human history. Third, despite unprecedented growth in population, affluence,
consumption and technological change, human well-being has never been higher, and in the last
century it advanced whether trends in environmental quality were up or down.
These outcomes were all possible because of greater economic and technological development,
and, more importantly, the institutions that undergird such development (Goklany 2007a). Together, they
steadily improved human well-being over the last century. With respect to the environment,
however, their record is mixed. Initially, in the rich countries, they exacerbated environmental
problems, but eventually they provided the methods and means for cleaning up the environment.
That is, they went from being part of the problem to becoming part of the solution.
Developing countries, on the other hand, have yet to make that transition for many environmental indicators in
many places, although technological diffusion, combined with a little bit of affluence, has allowed them to move ahead of developed
countries at equivalent levels of development.
In general, the world seems to have made the environmental transitions for access to safe water and

sanitation, and lead in gasoline, and seems to be on the verge of a transition for cropland and
water withdrawals.
So much for the past and present; what about the future?
Humanity needs to improve the well-being of the billions in developing countries that still suffer
from poverty and poverty-related problems such as hunger, malnutrition, contaminated water, malaria, and other diseases,
while, over the next half century, also accommodating an additional three billion people and
containing environmental impacts.
However, just as todays population couldnt be sustained and well-being improved with yesterdays
technology (Table 2), tomorrows population cannot be sustained or its well-being advanced with
todays technology. Economic and technological development have brought us this far, and they
are also necessary to move us forward.
Without them, poverty, and all its consequences, cannot be reduced; the world will have to postpone the
transition for cropland; more land and water habitat will be diverted to meet human needs; and we
will be in a poorer position to cope with new and unanticipated challenges that the rest of nature
may throw our way, including novel or resurgent diseases (such as another AIDS, or worse) or climatic
But neither economic nor technological development is guaranteed. Many policy preferences of
some environmentalists and Neo-Malthusians, founded on their skepticism of affluence and
technology, would only make progress toward a better quality of life and a more sustainable
environment harder. Their fears could become self-fulfilling prophecies. Inklings of this can be
seen in their antipathy toward genetically modified crops which delays progress in reducing
worldwide hunger and malnutrition even as it postpones an environmental transition for cropland
and the development of a more environmentally benign agriculture; in the (fortunately) largely unsuccessful
efforts to subordinate human well-being to environmental quality that were used to justify restrictions on the use of DDT for public
health purposes; in their opposition to the development of natural resources even under strict

environmental supervision, which reduces supplies and increases prices; in the hostility to energy
development whether it is fossil fuels or nuclear, and which legitimizes dubious alternatives such
as land and water hungry biofuels, solar farms, and dams; and at their dismay at the development
of China and India as they finally raise themselves from a poverty that the richer nations escaped
from a century ago (Goklany 2007a; Boqiang 2007).

Development is the best path to environmental sustainabilityevery NeoMalthusian prediction has been empirically denied. Given time, technology
will diffuse to solve every neg impactthis answers the diminishing returns
Goklany 9Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D, is the Assistant Director for Science and Technology
Policy, Office of Policy Analysis, US Department of the Interior, and co-editor of the Electronic
Journal of Sustainable Development [Have increases in population, affluence and technology
worsened human and environmental well-being? The Electronic Journal of Sustainable
Development, (2009) 1(3),]
7. Discussion

Long term empirical trends offer little support for NeoMalthusian worldviews. Yes, global
population has continued to rise, as has affluence, output and consumption, But metals, food and
energy are more affordable today than they have been for much of history. More importantly, human
well-being has never been higher. Moreover, population is no longer increasing exponentially. In
fact, there are signs that it could plateau, and possibly even decline in the coming decades.
Initially in the arc of development, environmental quality indeed suffered, but by virtually every
critical measure hunger, malnutrition, mortality, education, income, liberty, leisure, material goods, mobility, life expectancy
human well-being advanced. In the U.S., for instance, this advance has been more or less continuous
since the 1850s, despite the waxing and waning of a variety of environmental problems in the interim. And this is also
true for the world as a whole, at least since the 1950s (Goklany 2007a).
The improvements in human well-being despite increased population suggest that contrary to
NeoMalthusian claims e.g., Diamond (2005, p. 505), affluence and technology have solved more
problems than they have created.
Historically, in the richer countries hunger and water related diseases were conquered first, then
indoor air pollution, and finally outdoor air pollution. Once richer countries learned to cope with
water related diseases such as cholera and dysentery (through knowledge of basic hygiene, a better understanding of the
causes of these diseases, better access to safe water and sanitation, draining of swamps, and so forth), there was little public
emphasis on other environmental problems. Despite that, private actions for the most part cleaned
up indoor air pollution. These actions, including voluntary switching to cleaner fuels and
installation of more efficient combustion appliances, were enabled by greater prosperity and
technological change, and driven by each households natural desire to advance its own quality of
life (Goklany 2007a, pp. 79100).
Similar economic and behavioral forces were also at work for outdoor air pollution, and the
pollution intensity of the economy declined, but not rapidly enough even though, in retrospect, many of the
traditional air pollutants were in the midst of, or had even gone through, their environmental
transitions (Goklany 2007a, pp. 130139, 146151, 191201). In the U.S., in the wake of the prosperity of the
1960s and early 1970s and once the privations of the Great Depression and World War II had
become distant, the clamor for governmental intervention grew. The resulting regulations helped
maintain the momentum, although they do not seem to have accelerated, the underlying rate of
improvement driven by the imperative of economic efficiency in a relatively free market system,
and compounded by the transition from a manufacturing economy to a service and knowledge based economy (Goklany 2007a, pp.
232234).10 Consequently, environmental quality is much better now than in previous decades.

Carbon dioxide emissions, however, continue to grow. But this is due to the fact that it is a late
arrival to societys list of environmental problems in fact, its importance, given other global

problems, is still contested and, in any case, theres been insufficient time to address it
economically (Lomborg 2004; Goklany 2005, 2007a; Nordhaus 2008).
Todays developing countries have been following the path laid down by the early developers.
Many of them have lower environmental quality than previously, but because of the diffusion of
technology (which includes knowledge) from developed countries, they are farther along than early
trailblazers such as the U.S. at the same level of economic development. For instance, in 2006 when GDP per
capita for low income countries was $1,327, their life expectancy was 60.4 years, a level that the U.S. first reached in 1921, when its
GDP per capita was $5,300. Even Sub-Saharan Africa, the worlds developmental laggard, is today ahead

of where the U.S. used to be! In 2006, its per capita GDP was at the same level as the U.S. in 1820 but the U.S. did not
reach Sub-Saharan Africas current infant mortality level until 1917, and life expectancy until 1902 (estimated from World Bank
2008a; Maddison 2003, GGDC 2008; USBC 2008).

It can not be overemphasized that despite any environmental deterioration that may have
occurred, the well-being of the vast majority of the worlds human population has been
improving continually over the past several decades, as indicated not only by life expectancy, but
by other critical measures of well-being, including poverty, mortality rates, food supplies,
education, child labor, and so forth (Goklany 2007a).
Why does reality not mirror Neo-Malthusian concerns?
First, much of the environmental and Neo-Malthusian narrative implicitly or explicitly equates
human well-being with environmental well-being. While the latter may be a component of the
former, the two arent the same. Few inside and even fewer outside rich countries would rank environmental indicators
among the most important indicators of human well-being,11 except perhaps for access to safe water and sanitation.12 In fact, the
most critical indicators of human well-being life expectancy, mortality rates, prevalence of
hunger and malnutrition, literacy, education, child labor, or poverty generally improved even
during periods when other environmental indicators were deteriorating (e.g., Figure 3), indicating a
lack of correlation between the two over the long term. In fact, long term trends are consistent with
the environmental transition hypothesis in that in its early stages, economic and technological
development is negatively correlated with environmental quality, whereas at high levels of
development the correlation is positive (Goklany 2007a).
Second, as already emphasized, population growth has slowed. It is no longer growing exponentially.
And affluence and technology have much to do with that (Figure 2).
Neo-Malthusians also overlook the fact that in many respects affluence, technology and human
well-being reinforce each other in what has been called the cycle of progress (Goklany 2007a, pp. 7997). If
existing technologies are not up to the task of reducing impacts or otherwise improving the
quality of life, it is possible with wealth and human capital to improve existing technologies or
create new ones that will. HIV/AIDS is a case in point.
When HIV/AIDS appeared on the scene, it was totally unanticipated. It was, for practical purposes, a death sentence for those who
contracted it. It took the wealth and human capital of the most developed countries to launch a response. Out of this came an
understanding of the disease and the development of various therapies. Once among the top ten killers in the U.S., today HIV ranks
nineteenth (counting all cancers and cardiovascular diseases as individual categories). From 1995 to 2004, age-adjusted

death rates due to HIV declined by over 70 percent (USBC 2008). The rich countries have figured out
how to cope with it, and developing countries are benefiting from the technologies that the former
were able to develop because they had the necessary economic and human resources, and
institutions at their disposal.
Third, both technology and affluence are necessary because while technology provides the
methods to reduce environmental problems, affluence provides the means to afford them. In fact,
access to HIV therapies in many developing countries is much higher because of wealthy
charities and governments of the developed countries (Goklany 2007a, pp. 7997).
Fourth, there is a secular component to technological change (see Figures 2 and 4), so that it ought to
advance even if affluence does not, provided we are open to scientific and technological inquiry. Thus, with secular
technological change and the mutually reinforcing advances in economic development, the ability
to reduce untoward impacts and enhance the quality of life has also grown rapidly.

These factors acting in concert over the long haul, have enabled technology for the most part to
improve faster than either population or affluence and helped keep environmental damage in
check (e.g., for cropland) or even reverse it (e.g., for water pollution, and indoor and traditional outdoor air pollution),
particularly in the richer countries (see Table 2).
Table 2 also shows that in the long run, technology has often reduced impacts by an order of magnitude
or more. Thus, notwithstanding plausible arguments that technological change would eventually
increase environmental impacts, historical data suggest that, in fact, technological change
ultimately reduces impacts, provided technology is not rejected or compromised via subsidies (which usually
flow from the general public to politically favored elements of society).
To summarize, population, affluence and technology are

not independent of each other. Moreover,

technology is a function of time. Therefore, in the IPAT equation, the dependence of the I term on the P, A and T terms is not
fixed. It evolves over time. And the Neo-Malthusian mistake has been to assume that the
relationship is fixed, or if it is not, then it changes for the worse.
A corollary to this is that projections of future impacts spanning a few decades but which do not account
for technological change as a function of time and affluence, more likely than not, will overestimate
impacts, perhaps by orders of magnitude. In fact, this is one reason why many estimates of the
future impacts of climate change are suspect, because most do not account for changes in
adaptive capacity either due to secular technological change or increases in economic
development (IPCC 2007, Figure SPM.2; Goklany 2007d; Reiter 2007; Southgate and Sohngen 2007)).

Green Transition Now

The transition is already happening we need more development to solve.
Azar, Sterner, and Wagner 6/18/12 Christian Azar is a professor of energy and the
environment at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Thomas Sterner is a
visiting chief economist at the Environmental Defense Fund. Gernot Wagner, an economist at the
Environmental Defense Fund, is the author of But Will the Planet Notice? [June 18, 2012, Rio
Isnt All Lost, NYT,]
Optimism will be in short supply. Since the first conference, global

carbon emissions have increased by some 50

percent an outcome that those who were present 20 years ago would surely have seen as disastrous. And we are continuing this
sorry trend: As the Arctic becomes ice-free, we can expect that it will be drilled for oil.

But below most radars, and despite the alarming news, the seeds of an energy revolution are
being sown. Given some luck and the right policies, that revolution could yet help us resolve the climate
Solar and wind energy are developing faster than predicted indeed, faster than most people realize.
Europe is showing the way. Denmark gets about 20 percent of its electricity from wind. On a nice
day, Germany, which no one thinks of as a sunny place, gets from the sun over 40 percent of the electricity it
Worldwide, solar and wind capacity now tops 300 gigawatts, three times as much as the total capacity in
Britain, or roughly as much electricity as 50 nuclear reactors, nearly half the number now operating
in the United States. Most of this renewable capacity has been installed in just the last five years. In
fact, over that period, solar capacity has been growing by over 50 percent a year, wind by 25
As these markets grow, costs are plunging. The cost of photovoltaic cells has fallen by two-thirds
in three years. Today, solar energy costs around 15 cents a kilowatt-hour in the United States. In some regions, like
Southern California, the cost of solar power is nearly on par with what consumers pay for electricity now.
To be sure, this sunny picture does not diminish the magnitude of the challenge. In absolute terms, fossil
fuels are growing faster than renewables, and global greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. In addition,
governments continue to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
It wont be easy for the world to kick its addiction to fossil fuels, but it is doable. First and foremost, we need to put a price or cap on
carbon emissions. Every ton of coal, every barrel of oil does more in socialized damage to economies, health and ecosystems than it
adds in value to overall economic output. That cost in simple fairness ought to be reflected in the price of the fuels themselves.
Otherwise, the oil and coal and power companies are simply leaving the tab for adverse consequences from bad health to coastal
flooding to be picked up by everyone else.
Second, we need direct support for research, development and deployment of renewable technologies. Installing

the first solar panel is more expensive than the one-millionth. That cries out for a temporary subsidy.
Governments will not always back the right horses, but we know what direction the horses need to run in. We need to jump-start the
On top of that, we ought to make government rules a catalyst rather than an obstacle for private

investment. That goes for everything from zoning to home mortgages. Putting a solar panel on your roof ought to allow you to sell
electricity to the grid.
This two-pronged policy approach is not some pie-in-the-sky idea. The

European Union already has a cap on carbon

pollution and is directly supporting the deployment of solar and wind technologies. China, which
has aggressively supported its renewable-energy industries, is also implementing cap-and-trade
systems in seven regions and cities, including Beijing. India is pursuing utility-scale solar installations
and has a coal tax raising $500 million a year. Australias government has put a price on carbon.
South Korea has instituted a direct carbon cap. And California is readying Americas first
comprehensive cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, combined with direct subsidies like its
successful Solar Initiative.

The green revolution is happening nowglobal development is moving

towards sustainability.
Kenny 11Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a Schwartz
fellow at the New America Foundation, a senior economist on leave from the World Bank, and
author [August 1, 2011, Greening It Alone, Foreign Policy,]
But before you pack up the kids and move to higher ground to avoid rising sea levels, consider
this: China's fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles are already around 25 percent tougher
than those in the United States. The country generated 667 terawatt-hours of electricity from hydro,
wind, and nuclear electricity in 2009, a 50 percent increase on four years earlier (and 10 percent more
than Brazil's or India's current annual electricity consumption). China already accounts for one-quarter of the
world's installed capacity of wind, small-scale hydro, biomass, solar, geothermal, and marine
power facilities. And the overall amount of energy used to produce a dollar of GDP in China has
dropped 5 percent every year since 1980, according to Qi Ye at the Climate Policy Initiative in Beijing.
China's attempt at a green leap forward isn't entirely new news -- but this isn't just a Chinese
story. Developing countries as a whole accounted for two-thirds of the growth in renewable and
nuclear power generating capacity worldwide between 2002 and 2008, according to my colleague David
Wheeler at the Center for Global Development. The developing world is now home to more than half of the
world's renewable energy generating capacity, and it is likely to extend that lead.
Going forward, Wheeler reports that India is planning to generate 15 percent of its energy from renewable
sources by 2020, up from less than 2 percent today. Ten thousand megawatts of that -- a little under 10
percent -- would come from new solar energy installations (to put that in perspective, that's more than total
global solar photovoltaic capacity in 2007). At the U.N. global warming conference in Cancn, Mexico, last year, developing
countries pledged to restrict their carbon emissions considerably more than did rich country
delegations. In particular, China's promised reductions from what would happen under "business as
usual" were a lot larger than promises made by the United States. Indeed, in the U.S. case, some calculations
suggest the pledge may amount to the commitment to do nothing, which sounds all too plausible.
You wouldn't have guessed developing countries were taking the lead on counteracting climate change
given the caterwauling about harm to U.S. competitiveness that accompanies discussion of greenhouse gas regulation in Washington,
but it is true. They're motivated by a mix of wanting to stave off climate change and wanting to

develop renewable industries, and they benefit from energy and industrial sectors with less
installed capacity as a proportion of future demand -- which means less entrenched opposition to
higher standards. And that's good news, because while the United States accounts for three times
China's carbon dioxide contribution to the atmosphere to date, today China is the largest carbon
emitter in the world. India and the rest of the developing world are fast climbing the ranks, as well.
Without developing country leadership, we'd all be sunk (literally, in the case of Vanuatu).
What's good news for those already baking in the tropics and getting their feet wet on low-lying island nations, though, may not be so
wonderful for America. There is a strong element of self-interest in India's and China's investments --

beyond reducing the effects of climate change on their own people, the scale of their renewable
energy programs is large enough that the countries are becoming leaders in manufacturing green
technologies. China is already the world's largest producer of wind turbines and solar cells. And it isn't just new industries. If the
United States doesn't start to catch up, it will be hard to retrofit American-designed gas-guzzling vehicles to run on the roads anywhere
else -- a real concern now that General Motors sells more cars in China than it does in the United States. The new mileage standards
recently agreed between the White House and auto-makers would help -- but (inevitably), the House of Representatives has already
begun investigating whether those standards will "limit consumer choice."
Surely some will enjoy the irony that American intransigence to act on climate change -- based in part on fears of global
competitiveness -- may itself be a cause of U.S. firms being unable to compete. But it would be better for America, and much better
for the planet, if the United States started to regulate and invest toward a low-carbon future today. Even with developing country
commitments at Cancn, we're a long way from a path toward a sustainable level of global emissions, and the United States will have
to be a part of that path. So most of the world would happily swap out schadenfreude for pleasant surprise were the U.S. government
to act -- and pay its fair share.

But the good news for the planet is that the rest of the world -- including developing countries -isn't waiting on a global agreement blessed by the United States to invest in green technologies.
With the ice caps melting up north, some worry we might be heading toward a unipolar world.

Thankfully, the global response to climate change looks distinctly multipolar. And at some point,
if the United States doesn't come into line, the rest of the planet will start finding ways to encourage
it. One obvious response would be taxing U.S. exports to take into account their carbon footprint -- an approach the United States
itself has suggested with regard to its imports if it ever got its act together to tax domestic greenhouse gas emissions. At that point,
years behind in investing in energy efficiency and facing significant tariffs on exports, coddled American industries would really
understand what it meant to be uncompetitive.

Growth SolvesClimate Change

Growth solves climate changeresources are key.
Ben-Ami 11 Daniel Ben-Ami, journalist and author, regular contributor to spiked, has been
published in the American, the Australian,, Financial Times, the Guardian, the
Independent, Novo (Germany), Ode (American and Dutch editions), Prospect, Shanghai Daily,
the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times, and Voltaire (Sweden), 2011 (Growth is good, Ode,
June, Available Online at, Accessed
Yet for all its enormous social cost, the

strategy of promoting sacrifice will not resolve the challenge of

climate change. On the contrary, it encourages small-scale thinking at a time when solutions need
to be big and bold.
In broad terms, several

approaches are likely to be needed. First, we must decarbonize the energy

supply by developing forms of power that emit less greenhouse gas or none at all. These are likely to
include a mix of renewables, natural gas and nuclear power. Second, we must adapt to climate change through such
measures as building higher sea walls or developing drought-resistant crops. Finally, there may be a
need for even larger scale geo-engineering solutions. One example of many proposed is to build artificial trees that
extract far more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than natural ones.

What all such measures have in common, to a greater or lesser extent, is that they are likely to prove
expensive. To be able to afford them, we will need to generate more resources. As a result, even from
the narrow perspective of climate change, economic restraint is the worst possible path to take.

Growth SolvesCO2
Leading environmental indicators prove development is necessary to confront
Goklany 9Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D, is the Assistant Director for Science and Technology
Policy, Office of Policy Analysis, US Department of the Interior, and co-editor of the Electronic
Journal of Sustainable Development [Have increases in population, affluence and technology
worsened human and environmental well-being? The Electronic Journal of Sustainable
Development, (2009) 1(3),]
5.5 Global warming
Carbon dioxide
Unlike the other environmental indicators examined thus far, carbon

dioxide has only recently been elevated in the

popular mind as a significant environmental problem. Arguably, this elevation did not occur until
around the late 1990s with the passage of the Kyoto Protocol or even the first decade of the 21st century, with
the publication of the IPCCs Third and Fourth Assessment Reports. Even now, some would dispute this characterization, while others
would dispute its importance (e.g., Lomborg 2004; Goklany 2005). Efforts to reduce CO2, therefore, are still

immature. This task is further complicated by the socioeconomic consequences of reducing CO2
emissions (Nordhaus 2008) and the fact that it will necessarily take time, technology and capital to
modify existing energy infrastructure. Accordingly, it is no surprise that empirical trends do not indicate that CO2 has
peaked. However, in many places emissions per GDP (or the carbon intensity) have peaked and are falling
steeply. Indeed, C02 per unit of GDP is a leading environmental indicator (because absent a long
term sustained reduction in it, a growing economy will be unable to bring about a transition with
respect to total emissions; Goklany 2007a).
Figures 16 and 17 show U.S. and global trends from 1820 to 2004 in each of the terms of the IPAT equation and PxA
(=GDP), all normalized to 1900 for C02. I (i.e., CO2 emissions), P, A, and PxA are plotted on the left hand axis, and technology
(=I/PxA) on the right hand axis.
They show that for the U.S., despite a 27-fold increase in GDP since 1900, CO2 emissions

increased 8-fold. This translates into a 67 percent reduction in impact per unit of consumption (i.e,
the T-factor, which is also the carbon intensity of the economy) during this period, or a 1.1 percent reduction per year in the
carbon intensity between 1900 and 2004. Since 1950, however, U.S. carbon intensity has declined at an
annual rate of 1.7 percent. (Arguably, CO2 emissions might have been lower, but for the hurdles faced by nuclear power.)
Globally, output increased 21-fold since 1900, while CO2 increased 13-fold because technology
reduced the impact cumulatively by 32 percent or 0.4 percent per year. Both U.S. and global carbon intensity increased
until the early decades of the 20th century. Since 1950, global carbon intensity has declined at the rate of 0.9
percent per year.
Figure 18 shows the components of IPAT and PxA for China from 19002004, each normalized to 1950 levels. Chinese output
increased by a factor of 27 since 1950, while CO2 emissions increased by more than twice as much (a factor of 63), reflecting its rapid
transition from a rural agrarian society to the worlds manufactory. From 1950 to 2004, improvements in carbon intensity failed to
keep pace with the cumulative output increase. Since 1979, the first year of Chinas economic reforms, carbon

intensity has dropped at an annual rate of 1.3 percent, in part because of the reforms. Nevertheless, this drop has
not been large enough to compensate for the tremendous increase in consumption.

Since improvements in technology mostly preceded general recognition of CO2 as an

environmental issue, they can mainly be attributed to business as usual where all economic
participants seek to maximize private welfare (including profits) via minimization of costs (including
energy costs).

AT: Collapse Solves Warming/Emissions

Degrowth empirically has no environmental benefitsemissions trends prove
the Kuznets curve.
Ausubel and Waggoner 9*Jesse Ausubel is Director of the Program for the Human
Environment, The Rockefeller University. He was one of the main organizers of the first U.N.
World Climate Conference in Geneva. Over the past two decades he has been involved in a
number of research projects ranging from the health of forests to an ongoing international effort
aimed at assessing the diversity and abundance of life in the oceans. **Paul E. Waggoner is
Director Emeritus of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. [April 18, 2009, The
Jack Rabbit of Depression, or Do economic slumps benefit environment?]
We are accustomed to the idea that growth consumes resources and endangers nature. Conversely, the present economic slump made
us wonder could poorer be cleaner?

We considered two sources of atmospheric concern, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from coal,
oil, and gas, for two periods of economic decline, the Great Depression and the Recession that
followed World War II. We found for the United States in these two cases that neither economic crisis
caused a lasting change in the pattern of emissions.
First note the overall pattern of economic growth and emission from 1900-2007 (Figure 1). Since
1900, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the combination of population and affluence (measured as GDP per capita), has
multiplied steadily except for the switchbacks of the Depression and postWar Recession.
Meanwhile, energy use and carbon dioxide emissions gradually loosened their coupling to GDP,
so that an increment of GDP in 2007 elicited a smaller increment of energy or carbon dioxide
than 50 or 100 years earlier. Sulfur dioxide has uncoupled. Sulfur dioxide emissions chart a
century-long arc, a classic case of a Kuznets curve in which environmental damage first grows
with GDP and then symmetrically declines. An increment of GDP now seems to evoke a
decrement of sulfur dioxide.
Zooming into the period 1920-1940 provides detailed evidence of the environmental effect of
poor economic performance on both consumers and producers of energy (Figure 2). Energy use intensity
relates energy consumption to GDP and summarizes the behavior of consumers, while emission per energy use summarizes the
performance of producers. As consumer grew more affluent from 1920 to 1929 they beneficially reduced

energy intensity, a case of the dematerialization that usually accompanies a good becoming less
of a luxury and more like a staple. During 1929-1930 American consumers reversed their energy intensity to the level of
1924, as income fell much more than energy use. From 1930 to 1932, energy use fell even more than affluence, lowering energy
intensity. Trends in affluence and energy intensity then reversed themselves until 1935. Finally in 1935, intensity of use

resumed its beneficial dematerialization while affluence grew.

Meanwhile, the line for carbon emission per energy of producers moved even more erratically during
1920-1940. As affluence grew from 1920 to 1929, the line zigzagged around a favorable direction of
decarbonization. Then, when Depression reversed affluence, carbon emission per energy not only
lost the gains of the Roaring Twenties but rose in 1933 to 1.3 times the 1920 level. The erratic
movements may indicate patchy reversion to use of coal rather than the newer cleaner fuels, oil and gas. Reversion to wood if included
in the calculus would raise the carbon emission per energy even higher. By 1937 US carbon emission per energy had

recovered the 1929 level. The sulfur emission path for both consumers and producers circles back
less jaggedly. By 1940, both consumers and producers attained some of the progress that seemed programmed into the energy
system earlier, having lost perhaps a decade in Jack Rabbit behavior. The suffering of the Great Depression bought
no special environmental benefits in carbon and sulfur emission. With fewer zigs and zags, the story of the
post-War Recession resembles the Great Depression.
Viewed over the span of a century, trends in sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions appear
little changed by economic slumps. While a slump may depress consumption, it also may depress

spending and investments that increase conservation and efficiency. A few years progress may be lost in the
chaos, but mainly the system seems to absorb the shocks and resume its long-term pattern. If affluence now recedes,
carbon dioxide emissions will likely drop in the short-term but their uncoupling will take many
more decades. The 20th century USA experience suggests that, environmentally, we have little to fear but not
much to hope from the incipient depression.

Degrowth wont solve emissions and will crush environmentalism.

Elliot 8Larry Elliott, economics editor, a council member of the Overseas Development
Institute and a visiting fellow at the University of Hertfordshire, author of four books [August 24,
2008, Can a dose of recession solve climate change? The Guardian,]
This may strike some as a strange way of looking at things. Sure, the global economy is slowing. But what's so bad about that? Is

in fact, bad news that the world economy will no longer grow at its recent rate of 5% a year? And
if the answer to that question is "no", wouldn't it be good news if this modest retrenchment was
turned into a full-blown slump? Indeed, why stop there? Shouldn't those who fear for the future of the planet pursue
something akin to the Great Depression of the 1930s?
It's an interesting thought. Logically, if the obsession

with growth at all costs has increased emissions to

the point where rising temperatures pose a threat to mankind's existence (as many experts believe) then a
prolonged period of slow or negative growth will limit the damage to the environment. At the very
least, it would provide a breathing space to come up with an international agreement on how to tackle the problem.

it is not quite as simple as that . My rudimentary understanding of the science of climate

change is that concentrations of greenhouse gases have been building up over many decades, and you
can't simply turn them off like a tap . Even a three- or four-year 1930s-style global slump
would have little or no impact, particularly if it was followed by a period of vigorous catch-up
growth. On a chart showing growth since the dawn of the industrial age 250 years ago, the Great Depression is a blip. Similarly,
There are many reasons why

Britain's trade deficit always comes down in recessions because imports go down, but then widens again once the economy returns to
its trend rate of growth.
Politically, recessions are not helpful to the cause of environmentalism. Climate change is

replaced by concerns about unemployment and stimulating growth. To be fair, politicians respond to what
they hear from voters: Gordon Brown's survival as prime minister depends on how well his package of economic measures is
received, not on what he does or doesn't do to limit greenhouse gases.

Looking back, it is clear that every advance in the green movement has coincided with period of
strong growth - the early 1970s, the late 1980s and the first half of the current decade. It was
tough enough to get world leaders to make tackling climate change a priority when the world
economy was experiencing its longest period of sustained growth: it will be mightily difficult to
persuade them to take measures that might have a dampen growth while the dole queues are
Those most likely to suffer are workers in the most marginal jobs and pensioners who will have to pay perhaps 20% of their income
on energy bills.
Hence, recession does not offer even a temporary solution to the problem of climate change and it is

a fantasy to imagine that it does. The real issue is whether it is possible to challenge the "growth-at-any-cost model" and
come up with an alternative that is environmentally benign, economically robust and politically feasible. Hitting all three buttons is
mightily difficult but attempting to do so is a heck of a lot more constructive than waiting for industrial capitalism to collapse under
the weight of its own contradictions.

Growth O/W Warming

Development is the best way to adapt to climate change. Emissions
reductions wont solve.
Goklany 11Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D. is an author and a researcher who was associated with
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change off and on for 20 years as an author, expert
reviewer and U.S. delegate to that organization [December, 2011, Project Director: Julian Morris,
Misled on Climate Change: How the UN IPCC (and others) Exaggerate the Impacts of Global
Warming, The Reason Foundation, Policy Study 399,]
Discussion and Conclusions

Despite claims that GW will reduce human well-being in poor countries, there is no evidence that
this is actually happening. Empirical trends show that by any objective climate-sensitive measure,
human well-being in such countries has improved remarkably over the last several decades.
Specifically, agricultural productivity has increased;65 the proportion of people suffering from
chronic hunger has declined;66 the rate of extreme poverty has been more than halved;67 rates of
death and disease from malaria, other vector-borne diseases and extreme weather events have declined.68
Together, these improvements correspond with life expectancy in poor countries more than doubling
since 1900.69
While economic growth and technological development, made possible by the use of fossil fuels,
may have been responsible for some portion of GW experienced this past century, they have also
been largely responsible for these improvements in human well-being in poor countries (and
elsewhere).70 The fact that these improvements have occurred in spite of GW indicates that
economic and technological development has been, overall, a very significant benefit to people in
poor countries.
The recent upturn in the rate of hunger is due not to GW but, in large part, to GW policies,
specifically, policies to stimulate the production and use of biofuels in lieu of fossil fuels.71 These
policies diverted crops away from food to fuel production, which increased food prices and,
therefore, hunger worldwide. That, in turn, also pushed a greater share of the population of poor countries into extreme
poverty.72 Although this biofuel production increased extreme poverty in the short term that effect
has been swamped in the longer term by the reduction in poverty from economic development.73
Nonetheless, any increase in extreme poverty necessarily increases the toll from diseases of poverty, which are among the major
causes of death and disease in poor countries.74

It is often argued that unless greenhouse gases are reduced forthwith, the resulting GW could
have severe, if not catastrophic, consequences for people in poor countries because they lack the
economic and human resources to cope with GWs consequences. But there are two major
problems with this argument. First, although poor countries adaptive capacity is low today, it
does not follow that their ability to cope will be low forever. In fact, under the IPCCs warmest
scenario, which would increase globally averaged temperature by 4C relative to 1990, net GDP per
capita in poor countries (that is, after accounting for losses due to climate change per the Stern Reviews exaggerated
estimates) will be double the U.S.s 2006 level in 2100, and triple that in 2200. Thus developing
countries should in the future be able to cope with climate change substantially better than the
U.S. does today. But these advances in adaptive capacity, which are virtually ignored by most
assessments of the impacts and damages from global warming, are the inevitable consequence of the
assumptions built into the IPCCs emissions scenarios.
Hence the notion that countries that are currently poor will be unable to cope with GW does not square with the basic assumptions that
underpin the magnitude of emissions, global warming and its projected impacts under the IPCC scenarios.

Second, GW would for the most part not create new problems; rather, it would exacerbate some
existing problems in some locations (i.e. hunger, disease and extreme weather events). But it would also likely
reduce other problems (i.e. water shortages in some places).

One approach to dealing with the consequences of GW is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That
would reduce all GW impacts, whether good or bad. And at best it would only reduce GWs contribution to the
problem. But GW generally is not now and is unlikely in the future to be a major contributor to
the most important problems facing people in poor countries.75
An alternate approach to reducing the GW impacts would be to reduce the climate-sensitive problems of poverty through focused
adaptation.76 This might involve, for example, major investments in things such as early warning systems, the development of new
crop varieties, and public health interventions. Focused adaptation would allow society to capture the benefits of GW while allowing it
to reduce the totality of climate-sensitive problems that GW might worsen. Focused adaptation could in principle address 100% of the
problems resulting from hunger, malaria and extreme weather events, whereas emission reductions would at most deal with only about
13%. Focused adaptation, moreover, would likely be much less expensive than emission reductions.
Yet another approach would be to address the root cause of why poor countries are deemed to be

most at risk, namely, poverty. But the only way to reduce poverty is to have sustained economic
growth. This would not only address the climate-sensitive problems of poverty but all problems
of poverty, and not just that portion caused by GW. It would, moreover, reduce these problems faster
and more cost-effectively. No less important, it is far more certain that sustained economic
growth would provide real benefits than would emission reductions because although there is no
doubt that poverty leads to death, disease and other problems, there is substantial doubt regarding
the reality and magnitude of the negative impacts of GW, especially since they ignore, for the most
part, improvements in adaptive capacity.
Of the three approaches outlined above, human well-being in poor countries is most likely to be advanced
furthest by sustained economic development and to be advanced least by emission reductions.77 In
addition, because of the inertia of the climate system, economic development is likely to bear fruit
faster than any emission reductions.
This conclusion is consistent with Figure 6, which shows that despite exaggerating the negative consequences of
global warming, net GDP per capita is highest under the richest-but-warmest scenario and lowest
under the poorest scenario. Thus poor countries should focus on becoming wealthier. The
wealthier they are, the better able they will be to cope not only with the urgent problems they face
today and will face in the future, but any additional problems brought about by GW, if and when
they occur. For richer countries, too, economic growth and technological development are
superior to emissions reduction as a means of addressing climate-related problems.

Growth turns warming, not the other way aroundtheir studies are flawed.
Goklany 11Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D. is an author and a researcher who was associated with
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change off and on for 20 years as an author, expert
reviewer and U.S. delegate to that organization [December, 2011, Project Director: Julian Morris,
Misled on Climate Change: How the UN IPCC (and others) Exaggerate the Impacts of Global
Warming, The Reason Foundation, Policy Study 399,]
Figure 6 shows that despite the various assumptions that have been designed to overstate losses from GW and understate the
unadjusted GDP per capita in the absence of any warming:

For populations living in countries currently classified as developing, net GDP per capita
accounting for global warming) will be 1165 times higher in 2100 than it was in the base
year. It will be even higher (1895 times) in 2200.
Net GDP per capita in todays developing countries will be higher in 2200 than it was in
industrialized countries in the base year (1990) under all scenarios, despite any global warming. That is,
regardless of any global warming, populations living in todays developing countries will be
better off in the future than people currently inhabiting todays industrialized countries. This is also

true for 2100 for all but the poorest (A2) scenario.
Under the warmest scenario (A1FI), the

scenario that prompts much of the apocalyptic warnings

about global warming, net GDP per capita of inhabitants of developing countries in 2100 ($61,500)
will be double that of the U.S. in 2006 ($30,100), and almost triple in 2200 ($86,200 versus $30,100). [All
dollar estimates are in 1990 U.S. dollars.]

countries that are today poorer will be extremely wealthy (by todays standards)
and their adaptive capacity should be correspondingly higher. Indeed, their adaptive capacity should
on average far exceed the U.S.s today. So, although claims that poorer countries will be unable to
cope with future climate change may have been true for the world of 1990 (the base year), they are
simply inconsistent with the assumptions built into the IPCC scenarios and the Stern Reviews
own (exaggerated) analysis.
If the world of 2100 is as richand warmas the more extreme scenarios suppose, the problems
of poverty that warming would exacerbate (i.e. low agricultural productivity, hunger,
malnutrition, malaria and other vector-borne diseases) ought to be reduced, if not eliminated, by
2100. Research shows that deaths from malaria and other vector-borne diseases is cut down to
insignificant numbers when a societys annual per capita income reaches about $3,100.23 Therefore,
even under the poorest scenario (A2), developing countries should be free of malaria well before
2100, even assuming no technological change in the interim.
Similarly, if the average net GDP per capita in 2100 for developing countries is between $10,000
and $62,000, and technologies become more cost-effective as they have been doing over the past
several centuries, then their farmers would be able to afford technologies that are unaffordable
today (e.g., precision agriculture) as well as new technologies that should come on line by then (e.g., droughtresistant seeds).24 But, since impact assessments generally fail to fully account for increases in
economic development and technological change, they substantially overestimate future net
damages from global warming.
In other words, the

It may be argued that the high levels of economic development depicted in Figure 6 are unlikely. But if thats the case, then economic
growth used to drive the IPCCs scenarios are equally unlikely, which necessarily means that the estimates of emissions, temperature
increases, and impacts and damages of GW projected by the IPCC are also overestimates.
B. Secular Technological Change
The second major reason why future adaptive capacity has been underestimated (and the impacts

of global warming systematically overestimated) is that few impact studies consider secular
technological change.25 Most assume that no new technologies will come on line, although some
do assume greater adoption of existing technologies with higher GDP per capita and, much less
frequently, a modest generic improvement in productivity.26 Such an assumption may have been
appropriate during the Medieval Warm Period, when the pace of technological change was slow,
but nowadays technological change is fast (as indicated in Figures 1 through 5) and, arguably, accelerating.27 It
is unlikely that we will see a halt to technological change unless so-called precautionary policies are instituted that count the costs of
technology but ignore its benefits, as some governments have already done for genetically modified crops and various pesticides.28

Adaptive Capacity Solves

Growth is sustainable and checks the impact to climate changeadaptation
Kenny 12Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a Schwartz
fellow at the New America Foundation, a senior economist on leave from the World Bank, and
author [April 9, 2012, Not Too Hot to Handle, Foreign Policy,
It's a great time to be depressed about the fate of the planet. The last United Nations confab on climate change, a November meeting in
Durban, South Africa, suggested we're unlikely to see any new deal on greenhouse gasses having an impact before 2020. And it was
over less than a day before Canada withdrew from what is the only current legally binding treaty on climate change -- the Kyoto
Protocol, which expires at the end of this year. The United States never signed up for Kyoto in the first place, of course -- and Barack
Obama's administration has hardly been leading the charge for a replacement.
Meanwhile, we're less than three months away from the next big environmental summit, Rio+20, the U.N. Conference on Sustainable
Development, and it would be fair to say expectations for the event are modest. Which is to say climate change was off the table
before the table was set up, and even the idea of changing the name of the United Nations Environment Program to the United Nations
Environment Organization was considered too ambitious by negotiators.
But for all international diplomats appear desperate to affirm the self-worth of pessimists and

doomsayers worldwide, it is important to put climate change in a broader context. It is a vital

global issue -- one that threatens to slow the worldwide march toward improved quality of life. Climate change is
already responsible for more extreme weather and an accelerating rate of species extinction -- and
may ultimately kill off as many as 40 percent of all living species. But it is also a problem that we
know how to tackle, and one to which we have some time to respond before it is likely to
completely derail progress. And that's good news, because the fact that it's manageable is the best
reason to try to tackle it rather than abandon all hope like a steerage class passenger in the bowels
of the Titanic.
Start with the economy. The Stern Review, led by the distinguished British economist Nicholas Stern, is the most
comprehensive look to date at the economics of climate change. It suggests that, in terms of income,
greenhouse gasses are a threat to global growth, but hardly an immediate or catastrophic one. Take the
impact of climate change on the developing world. The most depressing forecast in terms of developing country growth in
Stern's paper is the "A2 scenario" -- one of a series of economic and greenhouse gas emissions forecasts created for the U.N.'s
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It's a model that predicts slow global growth and income convergence (poor
countries catching up to rich countries). But even under this model, Afghanistan's GDP per capita climbs

sixfold over the next 90 years, India and China ninefold, and Ethiopia's income increases by a
factor of 10. Knock off a third for the most pessimistic simulation of the economic impact of
climate change suggested by the Stern report, and people in those countries are still markedly
better off -- four times as rich for Afghanistan, a little more than six times as rich for Ethiopia.
It's worth emphasizing that the Stern report suggests that the costs of dramatically reducing greenhouse-gas
emissions is closer to 1 (or maybe 2) percent of world GDP -- in the region of $600 billion to $1.2 trillion today.
The economic case for responding to climate change by pricing carbon and investing in alternate
energy sources is a slam dunk. But for all the likelihood that the world will be a poorer, denuded
place than it would be if we responded rapidly to reduce greenhouse gases, the global economy is
probably not going to collapse over the next century even if we are idiotic enough to delay our
response to climate change by a few years. For all the flooding, the drought, and the skyrocketing
bills for air conditioning, the economy would keep on expanding, according to the data that Stern uses.
And what about the impact on global health? Suggestions that malaria has already spread as a
result of climate change and that malaria deaths will expand dramatically as a result of warming
in the future don't fit the evidence of declining deaths and reduced malarial spread over the last
century. The authors of a recent study published in the journal Nature conclude that the forecasted future effects of rising
temperatures on malaria "are at least one order of magnitude smaller than the changes observed since about 1900 and about two orders
of magnitude smaller than those that can be achieved by the effective scale-up of key control measures." In other words, climate

change is and will likely remain a small factor in the toll of malaria deaths into the foreseeable
What about other diseases? Christian Zimmermann at the University of Connecticut and Douglas Gollin at Williams
evaluate the likely impact of a 3-degree rise in temperatures on tropical diseases like dengue fever, which causes half a million cases
of hemorrhagic fever and 22,000 deaths each year. Most of the vectors for such diseases -- mosquitoes, biting

flies, and so on -- do poorly in frost. So if the weather stays warmer, these diseases are likely to
spread. At the same time, there are existing tools to prevent or treat most tropical diseases, and
Zimmerman and Gollin suggest "rather modest improvements in protection efficacy could
compensate for the consequences of climate change." We can deal with this one.
It's the same with agriculture. Global warming will have many negative (and a few positive) impacts on
food supply, but it is likely that other impacts -- both positive, including technological change, and
negative, like the exhaustion of aquifers-- will have far bigger effects. The 2001 IPCC report suggested that
climate change over the long term could reduce agricultural yields by as much as 30 percent.
Compare that with the 90 percent increase in rice yields in Indonesia between 1970 and 2006, for
Again, while

climate change will make extreme weather events and natural disasters like flooding
and hurricanes more common, the negative effect on global quality of life will be reduced if
economies continue to grow. That's because, as Matthew Kahn from Tufts University has shown, the
safest place to suffer a natural disaster is in a rich country. The more money that people and
governments have, the more they can both afford and enforce building codes, land use
regulations, and public infrastructure like flood defenses that lower death tolls.
Let's also not forget how human psychology works. Too many environmentalists suggest that dealing with
climate change will take immediate and radical retooling of the global economy. It won't. It is
affordable, practical, and wouldn't take a revolution. Giving out the message that the only path to
sustainability will require medieval standards of living only puts everyone else off. And once
you've convinced yourself the world is on an inevitable course to disaster if some corner of the
U.S. Midwest is fracked once more or India builds another three coal-fueled power plants, the
only logical thing to do when the fracking or the building occurs is to sit back, put your Toms
shoes on the couch, and drink micro-brewed herbal tea until civilization collapses. Climate
change isn't like that -- or at the very least, isn't like that yet.
So, if you're really just looking for a reason to strap on the "end of the world is nigh" placards and go for a walk, you can find better
excuses -- like, say, the threat of global thermonuclear war or a rogue asteroid. The fight to curb greenhouse gas

emissions is one for the hard-nosed optimist.

Growth mitigates and eliminates negative impacts of climate changethe

data is conclusively on our side.
Goklany 11Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D. is an author and a researcher who was associated with
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change off and on for 20 years as an author, expert
reviewer and U.S. delegate to that organization [December, 2011, Project Director: Julian Morris,
Misled on Climate Change: How the UN IPCC (and others) Exaggerate the Impacts of Global
Warming, The Reason Foundation, Policy Study 399,]
Determinants and Indicators of Adaptive Capacity
Societies that are wealthier, have access to more advanced technology, and have more skilled people will

in general
be better able to cope with a wide array of problems, from heatwaves to floods, than societies that
are poorer, lack modern technologies, and have few skilled people. It therefore stands to reason that among the main
determinants of adaptive capacity are economic development (which results in wealth), access to
technology, and human capital (i.e. skills). Closely related to these determinants are various
indicators of well-being, notably education, health, availability of nutritious food, access to safe
water and sanitation, and investment in research and development.6 Comparative data by country show

that these indicators of well-being generally advance with the level of economic activity, measured as
GDP per capita. Moreover, starting at any specific level of economic activity, these indicators also improve with time,
reflecting secular improvements in technology, i.e. improvements in technology that occur over time. This pattern
is illustrated in Figure 1 for cereal yields, Figure 2 for available daily food supply per capita, Figure 3 for the prevalence of
malnutrition, Figure 4 for infant mortality and Figure 5 for life expectancy.

Both life expectancy and infant mortality capture the aggregate effect on human well-being of
many of the indicators noted previously, such as education, health status, availability of food, lack
of malnutrition, access to safe water and sanitation, and research and development expenditures.7
In essence, they capture the total effect of societies abilities to cope with death and disease,
regardless of their causes. As such, they are not only indicators of well-being but also of adaptive capacity.
[Graph left out here]
Figure 1 shows that as cereal yields increase, so does income. For an average country, every $1,000 increase in GDP per capita, is
associated with an increase in cereal yield of 117 kg per hectare in both 1975 and 2003. The upward displacement of the entire cereal
yield curve from 1975 to 2003 indicates that, because of secular technological change, yield increased by 526 kg per hectare at any
given level of income.8
Since increasing yields should result in higher food supplies, it is hardly surprising that Figure 2
shows the

latter also increasing with both GDP per capita and time. However, as the lines of best fit for the two
relationship between food supply and income is logarithmic, not
linear like it is for yield, probably because wealthier countries can buy food (via trade) on the world market and
even a small amount of additional income goes a long way to meeting food requirements. Figure 2
shows that as annual average GDP per capita increases from $100 to $1,000, average daily food
supply increases by 816 kcal per capita per day. Further increasing annual average GDP per
capita to $10,000 would raise food supply by the same amount because the relationship between
food supply and income is logarithmic. Secular technological change raised food supply at any
particular level of GDP per capita by 166 kcal per person per day from 1975 to 2002.9
dates show (cyp1975 and cyp2003), the

[Graph left out here]

If food supply increases, one should expect malnutrition to diminish. Not surprisingly, therefore, Figure 3
indicates that malnutrition declines with both income and time (the latter as a result of secular technological

Note that malnutrition declines more rapidly with income than with food supply, especially at the
lowest levels of income. This is because while food supplies are critical to reducing
malnourishment, other income-sensitive factors, e.g., public health services and infrastructure to
transport food and medicine, reinforce the resulting reductions in malnutrition. Moreover, lower
malnutrition (i.e. better nutrition) also reduces susceptibility to disease, which means that the amount of
food needed to maintain healthy weight is actually lowered, i.e., better health helps reduce
malnutrition even if food supplies are static.
[Graph Left out here]

Lower malnutrition should also translate into lower mortality rates. And, as shown in Figure 4, infant
mortality, predictably, improves with income and time (the latter because of secular technological change). If
mortality rates decline with income and time, life expectancies should then increase with income
and time. And, as shown in Figure 5, that indeed is the case. These figures illustrate that both economic
development and time (i.e. secular technological change), individually and collectively increase societys
ability to adapt to and cope with whatever problems it faces. Many other indicators of well-being
also improve with income and technological change, e.g., access to safe water and sanitation and
educational levels.10
[Graph left out here]
These figures also indicate that the

compound effect of economic development and technological change

can result in quite dramatic improvements even over the relatively short period for which these figures
were developed. Figure 5, for instance, covered 26 years. By contrast, climate change impacts analyses frequently
look 50 to 100 years into the future. Over such long periods, the compounded effect could well be
spectacular. Longer term analyses of climate-sensitive indicators of human well-being show that
the combination of economic growth and technological change can, over decades, reduce negative
impacts on human beings by an order of magnitude, that is, a factor of ten, or more. In some
instances, this combination has virtually eliminated such negative impacts.

[Graph left out here]

For instance, during the 20th century, deaths from various climate-sensitive waterborne diseases
were all but eliminated in the U.S. From 1900 to 1970, U.S. GDP per capita nearly quadrupled,
while deaths from malaria were eliminated, and death rates for gastrointestinal disease fell by
99.8%.11 From 1900 to 1997 GDP per capita rose seven-fold, while deaths rate from typhoid and
paratyphoid were eliminated and from 1900 to 1998 the death rate for dysentery fell by 99.6%.12
This suggests a need to be highly skeptical of global warming impacts analyses that extend two or
more decades into the future if they do not properly account for the compounded effect on
adaptive capacity from (a) economic growth built into emission scenarios and (b) secular
technological change.

AT: Adaptive capacity wont improve

Tech advances will improve adaptive capacity globally, empirics prove.
Goklany 11Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D. is an author and a researcher who was associated with
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change off and on for 20 years as an author, expert
reviewer and U.S. delegate to that organization [December, 2011, Project Director: Julian Morris,
Misled on Climate Change: How the UN IPCC (and others) Exaggerate the Impacts of Global
Warming, The Reason Foundation, Policy Study 399,]
Overestimation of Impacts from Underestimation of Future Adaptive Capacity

So how much of a difference in impact would consideration of both economic development and
technological change have made? If impacts were to be estimated for five or so years into the
future, ignoring changes in adaptive capacity between now and then probably would not be fatal
because neither economic development nor technological change would likely advance
substantially during that period. However, the time horizon of climate change impact assessments
is often on the order of 35100 years or more. The Fast Track Assessments use a base year of 1990 to estimate
impacts for 2025, 2055 and 2085.39 The Stern Reviews time horizon extends to 2100 2200 and beyond.40 Over such periods
one ought to expect substantial advances in adaptive capacity due to increases in economic
development, technological change and human capital.
As already noted, retrospective assessments indicate that over the span of a few decades, changes in
economic development and technologies can substantially reduce, if not eliminate, adverse
environmental impacts and improve human well-being, as measured by a variety of objective
indicators.41 Thus, not fully accounting for changes in the level of economic development and
secular technological change would understate future adaptive capacity, which then could
overstate impacts by one or more orders of magnitude if the time horizon is several decades into the future.
The assumption that there would be little or no improved or new technologies that would become
available between 1990 and 2100 (or 2200), as assumed in most climate change impact assessments,
is clearly nave. In fact, a comparison of todays world against the world of 1990 (the base year used in
most impacts studies to date) shows that even during this brief 20-year span, this assumption is invalid for
many, if not most, human enterprises. Since 1990, for example, the portion of the developing worlds
population living in absolute poverty declined from 42% to 25%,42 and in sub-Saharan Africa
Internet users increased from 0 to 50 million, while cellular phone users went from 0 per 100 to
33 per 100.43

AT: Your Studies are Optimistic

Our study uses the worst case scenariosthere is still a negligible impact.
Goklany 11Indur M. Goklany, Ph.D. is an author and a researcher who was associated with
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change off and on for 20 years as an author, expert
reviewer and U.S. delegate to that organization [December, 2011, Project Director: Julian Morris,
Misled on Climate Change: How the UN IPCC (and others) Exaggerate the Impacts of Global
Warming, The Reason Foundation, Policy Study 399,]
Note that Figure 6 is intentionally designed to provide a conservative (low) estimate of the future net
GDP per capita because part of the purpose of this study is to assess whether, under the most
conservative assumptions, the costs of global warming will drive net GDP per capita below
todays levels, that is, whether future generations will be worse off than current generations
because of GW. Accordingly, the study uses the Stern Reviews estimates for the damages (in terms of
equivalent losses in GDP) from GW.17 These differ from other estimates in the following respects :
First, unlike most other studies, Stern accounts for losses not only due to market impacts of global
warming but also to non-market (i.e., environmental and public health) impacts, as well as the risk of
Second, in order to develop a very conservative estimate for the future net GDP per capita, this
study uses the Stern Reviews 95th percentile (upper bound) estimate of the losses in GDP due to
global warming. Note that many economists believe even the Stern Reviews central estimates
overstate losses due to global warming: Richard Tol observes, [The Stern Reviews] impact
estimates are pessimistic even when compared to other studies in the gray literature19 and other estimates that
use low discount rates.20
In Figure 6, the net GDP per capita for 1990 is the same as the actual GDP per capita (in 1990 U.S. dollars, using market exchange
rates, per the IPCCs practice). This assumes that the GDP loss due to global warming is negligible in

1990, which is consistent with using that as the base year for estimating changes in globally
averaged temperatures (as is the case for impacts studies that will be employed below).21 The costs of global
warming are taken from the Stern Reviews 95th percentile estimates under the high climate
change scenario, which is equivalent to the IPCCs warmest scenario (A1FI) that projects a global
temperature increase of 4C from 19902085. Per the Stern Review, these costs amount to 7.5%
of global GDP in 2100 and 35.2% in 2200. These losses are adjusted downwards for the cooler scenarios.22

*** Transition/Alternative

Alt Causes War

Alternatives to growth kill hundreds of millions and cause global conflictwe
cant turn off the economy.
Barnhizer 6 David R. Barnhizer, Emeritus Professor at Cleveland State Universitys
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 2006 (Waking from Sustainability's "Impossible Dream":
The Decisionmaking Realities of Business and Government, Georgetown International
Environmental Law Review (18 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 595), Available Online to Subscribing
Institutions via Lexis-Nexis)
The scale of social needs, including the need for expanded productive activity, has grown so large
that it cannot be shut off at all, and certainly not abruptly. It cannot even be ratcheted down in any
significant fashion without producing serious harms to human societies and hundreds of millions
of people. Even if it were possible to shift back to systems of local self-sufficiency, the
consequences of the transition process would be catastrophic for many people and even deadly to
the point of continual conflict, resource wars, increased poverty, and strife. What are needed are
concrete, workable, and pragmatic strategies that produce effective and intelligently designed
economic activity in specific contexts and, while seeking efficiency and conservation, place economic and social justice
high on a list of priorities. n60

The imperative of economic growth applies not only to the needs and expectations of people in
economically developed societies but also to people living in nations that are currently
economically underdeveloped. Opportunities must be created, jobs must be generated in huge
numbers, and economic resources expanded to address the tragedies of poverty and inequality.
Unfortunately, natural systems must be exploited to achieve this; we cannot return to Eden. The
question is not how to achieve a static state but how to achieve what is needed to advance social
justice while avoiding and mitigating the most destructive consequences of our behavior.

The transition will fail to change consumerism and would lead to extremist
takeover and war.
Douthwaite 11 [Richard Douthwaite is co-founder of Feasta, an Irish economic think tank
focused on the economics of sustainability. He is also a council member of Comhar, the Irish
government's national sustainability council. He acted as economic adviser to the Global
Commons Institute from 1993 to 2005, during which time GCI developed the Contraction and
Convergence approach to dealing with greenhouse gas emissions which has since been backed by
many countries. Should the United States try to avoid a financial meltdown? Appendix to the
US edition of Fleeing Vesuvius, April 17, 2011,]
What you are saying, Tom, is that before the people of the United States can rediscover the virtues
of thrift and hard work, they need to pass through the fires of Vesuvius in order to be cleansed of
their false consumerist values. My view is that there is a better, surer way to achieve this result. The hundreds of
thousands of corporate and personal bankruptcies you envisage would destroy incomes, savings,
pensions and asset values. People would become fearful, bitter and possibly violent as a result.
They would look around for scapegoats (the Jews, perhaps?) or turn to crime. Consequently, I just cant see
a period of financial turmoil creating a good basis for building a better society. A worse one
seems much more probable as extremist leaders are likely to emerge in response to mass
unemployment and the rich could well use force to protect themselves and their lifestyle. The
positive things you want like a carbon tax would be much harder to introduce (What, you want to tax the energy that makes me so

productive?) and Dan Sullivans land-value tax ideas was would be rejected outright because people would realise that such a tax
would prevent their property values from ever recovering to whatever they were at their peak.

Transition Fails
Transitioning back to local economies is impossibleglobalization is too
Barnhizer 6 David R. Barnhizer, Emeritus Professor at Cleveland State Universitys
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 2006 (Waking from Sustainability's "Impossible Dream":
The Decisionmaking Realities of Business and Government, Georgetown International
Environmental Law Review (18 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 595), Available Online to Subscribing
Institutions via Lexis-Nexis)
Globalization's ability to produce wealth for a particular group simultaneously produces harms to
different people and interests and generates unfair resource redistribution within existing cultures.
This is an unavoidable consequence of globalization. n62 The problem is that globalization has
altered the rules of operation of political, economic, and social activities, and in doing so
multiplied greatly our ability to create benefit and harm. n63 While some understandably want the
unsettling and often chaotic effects of globalization to go away, it can only be dealt with, not
reversed. The system in which we live and work is no longer closed. There are few contexts not
connected to the dynamics of some aspect of the extended economic and social systems resulting
from globalization. This means the wide ranging and incompatible variables of a global
economic, human rights, and social fairness system are resulting in conflicts and unanticipated
interpenetrations that no one fully understands, anticipates, or controls. n64 Local [*622] selfsufficiency is the loser in this process. It can remain a nostalgic dream but rarely a reality. Except
for isolated cultures and niche activities, there is very little chance that anyone will be unaffected
by this transformational process. Change is the constant, and it will take several generations
before we return to a period of relative stasis. Even then it will only be a respite before the pattern
once again intensifies.

Just because we can imagine alternatives to growth doesnt mean we can

implement themtheir authors are nave.
Greer 8 John Michael Greer, certified Master Conserver, organic gardener, and scholar of
ecological history, current Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, and
author of The Archdruid Reporta blog covering peak oil and environmental sustainability
issues, 2008 (Looking for Roong Thisdara, The Archdruid Report, November 26th, Available
Online at, Accessed 11-27-2008)
A double helping of irony surrounds all this flurry of planning. If

the crisis we face could be met by making plans,

wed have little to worry about; the difficulty is that making plans is the easy part. Go digging in the
archives of most American municipalities and youll find an energy plan drafted and adopted, after extensive citizen input, in the
1970s, calling for exactly the changes that would have made matters today much less dire: conservation standards, public transit
projects, zoning changes to reduce the need for cars, and so on. Youll have to brush a quarter inch of dust off the plan to read it,
though, since nobody has looked at it since the Reagan years, and not one of its recommendations was still functioning when the
housing boom began in the early 1990s. A certain skepticism toward another round of plans may thus be in order.
Yet theres a second dimension to the irony, because the recurrent gap between plan and implementation is not the only difficulty that
has to be faced. The assumption common to all these plans is that its possible to anticipate the

process of transition to a deindustrial society in enough detail to make planning meaningful. I

suggest that this assumption is badly in need of a hard second look.
There are two widely held beliefs these days about how we can deal with the end of the age of petroleum. The first claims that we
simply need to find another energy source as cheap, abundant, and concentrated as petroleum, and run our society on that instead. The
second claims that we simply need to replace those parts of our society that depend on cheap, abundant, concentrated energy with
others that lack that dependence, and run our society with them instead. Most people in the peak oil scene, I think, have caught onto

the problem with the first belief: there is no other energy source available to us that is as cheap, abundant, and concentrated as
petroleum; the fact that we want one does not oblige the universe to provide us with one, and so we might as well plan to power our
society by harnessing unicorns to treadmills.
The problem with the second belief is of the same order, but its much less widely recognized. Toss

aside the parts of our

society that depend on cheap, abundant, concentrated energy, and theres nothing left. Nor are the
components needed for a new low-energy society sitting on a shelf somewhere, waiting to be
used; weve got some things that worked tolerably well in simpler agrarian societies, and some
promising new developments that have been tested on a very small scale and seem to work so far,
but we have nothing like a complete kit. Thus we cant simply swap out a few parts and keep
going; everything has to change, and we have no way of knowing in advance what changes will
be required.
This last point is often missed. One of the people who commented on last weeks post, a software designer by trade, pointed out that
he starts work on a project by envisioning what the new software is going to do, and then figures out a way to do it; he argued that it
makes just as much sense to do the same thing with human society. A software designer, though, knows the

capabilities of the computers, operating systems, and computer languages his programs will use;
he also knows how similar tasks have been done by other designers in the past. We dont have
any of those advantages in trying to envision a sustainable future society.
Rather, were in the position of a hapless engineer tasked in 1947 with drafting a plan to develop
word processing software. At that time, nobody knew whether digital or analog computers were
the wave of the future; the handful of experimental computer prototypes that existed then used
relays, mechanical linkages, vacuum tubes, and other soon-to-be-outmoded technologies, while
the devices that would actually make it possible to build computers that could handle word
processing had not yet been invented, or even imagined. Under those conditions, the only plan
that would have yielded any results would consist of a single sentence: Invest heavily in basic
research, and see what you can do with the results. Any other plan would have been wasted
breath, and the more detailed the plan, the more useless it would have been.
The difficulty faced by our imaginary engineer is that meaningful planning can only take place
when the basic outlines of the solution are already known. A different metaphor may help clarify how this
works. Imagine that you suddenly wake up in a hotel room in Edinburgh. A mysterious woman tells you that you have been drugged
and brought there secretly, its now December 30, and you have to get a message to someone you will meet beneath the statue of
Nelson in Trafalgar Square in London at midnight on New Years Eve. If you succeed, Earth will be saved and you will get 100
million Euros. Since you know where you are, where you have to be, and how much time you have the clock by the bed says 10 am
you can easily make plans and carry them out.
Now imagine the same scenario, except that the hotel room could be anywhere and you have no idea what day or time it is. Until you
know where you are and how much time you have, planning is impossible. When the mysterious woman leaves, rather than heading
for the door, the first thing you might logically do is to throw open the curtains. The results determine your next step. If you see the
familiar skyline of Edinburgh, you can proceed at once to make and implement plans; if the vista before you is the clutter and bustle of
an industrial town in Asia, you may need to learn more before planning becomes possible; if you see two moons setting in a pink sky
above a cityscape of glittering domes, and the beings walking alongside the canal nearby have pointed ears and green skin, the one
thing you know for certain is that the trip to Trafalgar Square is going to be interesting!
Now imagine the same scenario, except that the landscape outside has the pink sky, two moons, and alien promenaders, and the
mysterious woman tells you that you have to get to the local equivalent of Trafalgar Square by the local equivalent of New Years
Eve. All hope of planning has just gone out the window. Your only option is to improvise as you go, try as many options as possible,
collect tidbits of information, and attempt to piece together what you learn into a workable mental model. Nor will you have any way
of knowing whether your model is right or wrong until you fling yourself out of an ornate airboat, sprint up to the giant bas-relief of
Gresh the Omnivorous at Roong Thisdara right at the purple of the high red of twelfth Isbil past Eshrey of the rising calendar, and find
the person you need to meet waiting there for you.
Conventional ideas of planning tend to assume situations like the first scenario Ive just outlined, where the problem and the potential
solutions are both clearly visible and the only issue is how to connect them. More innovative ideas of planning and its to the credit
of the peak oil scene that these latter have been very well represented there tend to assume situations like the second scenario, where
investigation must precede planning, and then follow along the planning process to keep it on track, rather like a herdsmans dog
trotting alongside a flock of sheep. As I see it, though, the situation we face at the end of the petroleum age most resembles the third
scenario, where all we have to go on is a relatively vague idea of what a solution might be like, success or failure can be known only
in retrospect, and improvisation is the order of the day.

we are trying to invent here a society that can support some

approximation of modern technology on a sustainable basis has never existed on Earth. We
have no working models to go by; all we have, again, is a mix of agrarian practices that seem to
have been sustainable, on the one hand, and some experiments that seem to be working so far on
a very small scale, on the other. Our job is to piece something together using these, and other
things that dont exist yet, to cope with future challenges we can only foresee in the most general
terms. That leaves us, in terms of the metaphor, looking for Roong Thisdara when the only thing we know about it is that its
The core fact of the matter, after all, is that what

roughly equivalent to Trafalgar Square.

course its quite possible to imagine post-industrial communities and societies in a fair
amount of detail, and several imagined futures of this sort have found enthusiastic followings.
The fact that something can be imagined, though, does nothing to prove that it will work. Its not
too hard to envisage a perpetual motion machine, say, or an investment that keeps on gaining value
forever, and as weve seen, its quite possible to build a substantial social movement around belief in
the latter, only to find out the hard way that attractive visions and passionate beliefs can rest on
foundations of empty air. I recognize that many people find belief in such visions a powerful source of
hope in a difficult time, and I sympathize with their feelings, but if we allow the desire for emotional
comfort to trump the need to face unwelcome realities, we are in very deep trouble indeed.
Now of

The transition is impossible, but attempting it causes disastertheir

argument is wishful thinking.
Barnhizer 6 David R. Barnhizer, Emeritus Professor at Cleveland State Universitys
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 2006 (Waking from Sustainability's "Impossible Dream":
The Decisionmaking Realities of Business and Government, Georgetown International
Environmental Law Review (18 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 595), Available Online to Subscribing
Institutions via Lexis-Nexis)
Some advocates

of sustainability think they can slow the world down to a point of elegant stasis. n48
simply do not understand the consequences to
human societies and the ordinary residents of those societies that would flow from their positions
if the nightmare that they mistake for a dream were accomplished. The naive attitudes underlying
[*614] such positions are similar to the "deep ecology" movement where nature is accorded only
benign intentions. n49 The fact that we inhabit a savage and unheeding natural world in which
species consume each other, earthquakes destroy, tsunamis overwhelm, and volcanoes spread ash,
creating years without summers, is conveniently ignored.
Because such people are invariably humane, I conclude they

Sustainability represents a wide and diverse variety of functions, methods, and values that on
many levels are incompatible. On the idealized plane this includes the values of ecological,
economic, social, and political harmony. These values are used to support an argument in favor of
a form of economic and social stasis writ large on the global stage. As an ideal, this form of sustainability
stands for such principles as the precautionary principle and embodies the warnings about overuse of resources found in Garrett
Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons, the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth, or Lester Brown's Twenty-Ninth Day, where Brown argued
that an exponential progression in abuse and overuse of natural resources will generate a catastrophic collapse of systems. n50 These

predictions of disaster are well worth heeding, but there are countervailing social disasters that
can result if we take too aggressive a stance in our efforts to prevent the ecological harms. These
trade-offs include the need to generate wealth sufficient to sustain existing social justice and
equity obligations and the need to create jobs and opportunities to alleviate the tragedy of abject
poverty and denial of fair opportunity.

Transition Turns the Environment

The transition ensures environmental destruction from population shifts.
Lewis 93 Martin Lewis is a lecturer in history and director of the International Relations
program at Stanford [Apr 8, 1993, Green Delusions, Duke University Press, p. 8-9, Google
Finally, the radical green movement threatens nature by advocating a

return to the land, seeking to immerse the human

Given the present human population, this is
hardly possible, and even if it were to occur it would result only in accelerated destruction.
community even more fully within the intricate webs of the natural world.

Ecological philosophers may argue that we could follow the paths of the primal peoples who live in intrinsic harmony with nature, but
they are mistaken. Tribal groups usually do live lightly on the earth, but often only because their population densities are low. To

return to preindustrial harmony would necessarily entail much more than merely decimating the
human population.
Yet unless our numbers could be reduced to a small fraction of present levels, any return to nature
would be an environmental catastrophe. The more the human presence is placed directly on the
land and the more immediately it is provisioned from nature, the fewer resources will be available
for non-human species. If all Americans were to flee from metropolitan areas, rural populations
would soar and wildlife habitat would necessarily diminish.
An instructive example of the deadly implications of returning to nature may be found when one considers the issue of fuel. Although
more common in the 1970s than the 1990s, split wood not atoms is still one of the green radicals favored credos. To hold such a
view one must remain oblivious to the clearly devastating consequences of wood burning, including suffocating winter air pollution in
the enclosed basins of the American West, widespread indoor carbon monoxide poisoning, and the ongoing destruction of the oak
woodlands and savannahs of California. If we were all to split wood, the United States would be a deforested,

soot-choked wasteland within a few decades. To be sure, the pollution threat of wood stoves can
be mitigated by the use of catalytic converters, but note that these are technologically
sophisticated devices developed by capitalist firms. If the most extreme version of the radical green agenda were
to be fully enacted without a truly massive human die-off first, forests would be stripped clean of wood and all
large animals would be hunted to extinction by hordes of neo-primitives desperate for food and
warmth. If, on the other hand, eco-extremeists were to succeed only in paralyzing the economys
capacity for further research, development, and expansion, our future could turn out to be reminiscent of
the environmental nightmare of Poland in the 1980s, with a stagnant economy continuing to rely
on outmoded, pollution-belching industries. A throttled steady-state economy would simply lack
the resources necessary to create an environmentally benign technological base for a populace
that shows every sign of continuing to demand electricity, hot water, and other conveniences.
Eastern Europe shows well the environmental devastation that occurs when economic growth
stalls out in an already industrialized society.

Collapse causes biosphere destruction and extinctiontry or die flips aff.

Rubin 8Dani Rubin is Earth Editor at Peace Earth and Justice (PEJ) News. [January 9, 2008,
Beyond Post-Apocalyptic Eco-Anarchism, PEJ News,]
Unlike twenty-five years ago, people

are now publicly, saying that our global civilization is a disease and
that mankind is a plague, a planetary scourge. I admit that I find these sorts of metaphors alluring. There is finality, a
sense of epistemological certainty in the notion that our species is cancerous due to its avaricious proclivities. It does seem that
we are busily destroying the Garden of Eden. But this metaphor is incomplete, as are many metaphors.
What are we? Monsters, machines, animals, angels, humans...? Of course, these are all possible answers, varied and complex
patterns lurk in our self-definition. For me the best answer is, We are the part of Nature that has forgotten that we are a part of
nature. (Some might say that we are in complete denial.)

We fool ourselves. No matter how man-made our immediate environs, we are still a part of nature deeply and richly so. We are a
part of the pageant of life, and as I said at the start, I love life. We are part of an extraordinary flowering in the universe.

Unlike twenty-five years ago, increasingly, people are adopting the anarcho-apocalyptic,
civilization-must-fall-to-save-the-world attitude. It is a fairly clean and tight worldview, zealously
bulletproof, and it scares me. I want the natural world, the greater community of life beyond our species, with all its beautiful and
terrifying manifestations, and its vibrant landscapes to survive intact I think about this a lot.

A quick collapse of global civilization, will almost certainly lead to greater explosive damage to
the biosphere, than a mediated slower meltdown.
When one envisions the collapse of global society, one is not discussing the demise of an ancient Greek city-state, or even the
abandonment of an empire like the Mayans. The end of our global civilization would not only result in the

death of six billion humans, just wiping natures slate clean. We also have something like 5,000
nuclear facilities spread across the planets surface. And this is just one obvious and
straightforward fact cutting across new radical arguments in favor of a quick fall.
We have inserted ourselves into the web of life on planet Earth, into its interstitial fibers, over the
last 500 years. We are now a big part of the worlds dynamic biological equation set its checks and
balances. If we get a fever and fall into social chaos, even just considering our non-nuclear toys
laying about, the damage will be profound. It will be much more devastating than our new
visionaries of post-apocalyptic paradise have prophesized.
If one expands upon current examples of social chaos that we already see, like Afghanistan or
Darfur, extrapolating them across the globe, encompassing Europe, Asia, North and South America, and elsewhere,
then one can easily imagine desperate outcomes where nature is sacrificed wholesale in vain
attempts to rescue human life. The outcomes would be beyond ugly; they would be horrific and enduring.
That is why I cannot accept this new wave of puritanical anarcho-apocalyptic theology. The end-point of a quick collapse
is quite likely to resemble the landscape of Mars, or even perhaps the Moon. I love life. I do not want the Earth
turned barren.
I think that those who are dreaming of a world returned to its wilderness state are lovely, naive romantics dangerous ones.
Imagine 100 Chernobyls spewing indelible death. Imagine a landscape over-run with

desperate and starving humans, wiping out one ecosystem after another. Imagine endless tribal
wars where there are no restraints on the use of chemical and biological weapons. Imagine a
failing industrial infrastructure seeping massive quantities of deadly toxins into the air, water and
This is not a picture of primitive liberation, of happy post-civilized life working the organic farm
on Salt Spring Island.
I agree that we must change our ways. We desperately need to change our ways. Our global society is exploitative, unsustainable, and
abuses the biosphere. We are in big trouble. However, coping out by calling for a hastened end to civilization is

suicidal, and like all suicides, it does not fully consider what comes after it is marked by a
surplus of self-absorbed willfulness and a short-fall of thoughtful consideration.
There is, however, a more reasonable sub-strain of eco-apocalyptic anarchism that makes a truly heartfelt argument: The End is
coming anyway. If we hasten it, we may save species x that is currently on the verge of extinction. We should accept that our
species is doomed. Must we take everything down with us in a long, slow death?
I find this rhetoric particularly appealing because it awakens deep personal notions of romantic heroism in me. These are noble,
caring thoughts.
Unfortunately, life just isnt quite so simple. Sure a quick crash might save a couple of emblematic species

from extinction, for a while, but the near certain trade-off would be the desertification of whole
continental areas of the planet, wiping out thousands of complete ecosystems.
So, what are we to do?
I think our best shot at stopping the destruction of our biosphere and retaining a maximum number of intact eco-systems is powerful,
irresistible gradualism. Nature herself operates gradually. It is Mankind that has been impetuous. If we work diligently and
intelligently then we just might save civilization through massive cultural transformation. And if we fail then we might at least
succeed in preserving enough of the life-world that those species that follow us will be able to continue the flowering of life on our

Those who hold Hollywood images of deer and wolves happily roaming the derelict and
abandoned streets of New York City in 50 years are hopelessly optimistic. If civilization crashes
quickly then the whole of the Eastern Seaboard, an area the size of the Sahara desert, will be a
dead zone for 10,000 years, minimum.

AT: Mindset Shift

Psychology makes the drive for growth inevitablepeople arent satisfied
with accepting less.
Friedman 5 Benjamin M. Friedman, William Joseph Maier Professor of Political Economy
at Harvard University, former Chair of the Department of Economics at Harvard University,
holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, 2005 (Rising Incomes, Individual
Attitudes, and the Politics of Social Change, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth,
Published by Knopf Publishing Group, ISBN 0679448918, p. 80-82)
The key is that while

everybody of course wants to have more income [end page 80] so as to enjoy a higher
standard of living, better health, and a greater sense of security, our sense of what constitutes
more for any of these purposes is mostly relative. Whenever people are asked how well off they
think they are, they almost always respond by comparing their lives to some kind of reference
point. 4 Further, whether most people think what they have or how they live constitutes more or
less depends on how their circumstances compare to two separate benchmarks: their own (or their
familys) past experience, and how they see people around them living.
The principal driving force underlying the positive influence that economic growth has over
peoples attitudes, and through the political process therefore over the character of their society, is
the interaction between how each of these two respective points of comparison affects peoples
perceptions. Obviously nothing can enable the majority of the population to be better off than everyone else. But not only is it
possible for most people to be better off than they used to be, that is precisely what economic
growth means. The central question is whether, when people see that they are doing well (in other words, enjoying more)
compared to the benchmark of their own prior experience, or their parentsor when they believe that their childrens lives will be
better still they consequently feel less need to get ahead compared to other people. If so, then the reduced importance

they attach to living better than others leads in the end to more wide-ranging benefits, for the
society as a whole, whenever general living standards are increasing.
Happiness depends, of course, on more than just money and the things money can buy. In surveys, most people say that their sense of
satisfaction with their lives depends most on the strength of their family relationships and personal friendships, or their health, or their
education, or their religious attachment, or their feeling of connection to a broader community beyond their own family, or their sense
of being engaged in purposeful and productive work, or even on their everyday work environment. 5 In many surveys the single most
important influence on adults happiness is whether they are married. (People who are, or who are living together as if they were, are
typically happier.) 6 People with extrovert personalities also tend to be happier on average, perhaps simply because they have more
friends. 7

Money matters too, however. People with more income typically enjoy not just a higher standard of
living in terms of food, clothing, and housing but also better health (in part because of better access to
medical care, but also because they drink and smoke less and get more exercise). They also have better educations and a
stronger sense of security in the face of major life uncertainties. Familiar popular images of the business rat race [end page
81] notwithstanding, people with higher incomes on average also have more leisure time, and they mostly
spend it in activities that foster the friendships they then say (in surveys) matter far more than money. Having at least some financial
resources is even helpful in maintaining marriages, perhaps because it allows young couples to live on their own instead of with their
parents. 8 At any given time, within a given country, people with lower incomes are far more likely

to say that they are unhappy. 9

But the essential point is that how

much income it takes to enjoy advantages like these is a relative matter, and
live better now than they did before, or better than they recall their parents living, are likely to
think they are doing well. Those who look back on better times better for them and their families, that is
think they are not. As a result, psychological studies have repeatedly confirmed that peoples
satisfaction depends less on the level of their income than on how it is changing. 10 But rising
incomes are, in turn, what economic growth is all about.*
the most obvious benchmark people have in mind when they draw such comparisons is their own past experience. People

* (footnote) The idea that satisfaction depends primarily on changes in economic well-being (to the extent that economic factors are
important in this regard) is hardly new. Adam Smith observed that all men, sooner or later, accommodate themselves to whatever
becomes their permanent situation. Hence between one permanent situation and another, there [is], with regard to real happiness, no
essential difference (The Theory of Moral Sentiments, p. 149). Moreover, Smith claimed no originality for this view but attributed it
to the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece.

Post-industrial civilization will be ecologically unsustainable too.

Penn 3 Dustin J. Penn is director, Konrad Lorenz Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences,
Vienna. [September 2003, The Evolutionary Roots of our Environmental Problems: Toward a
Darwinian Ecology, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 78, No. 3,]
When attempting to explain why humans are ecologically destructive, environmental scholars have long attributed the problem to
Western culture, especially the anthropocentric and scientic worldviews (White 1967). Subsequently, many argue that addressing
our ecological problems requires a rejection of the materialism of science, and an embrace of the animistic and spiritual beliefs of nonWestern religions and traditional cultures. Aboriginal peoples, such as Native American Indians, have been represented as the major
role model for the modern environmental movement because they are widely thought to have lived in harmony with nature before
Western contact. Environmentalists often quote a famous speech by Chief Seattle of the Susquamish tribe who reportedly stated that
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people . . . the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth (Gore 1992:259). Just
as Jean-Jacques Rousseau thought that people in traditional cultures live as noble savages, environmentalists often

assume that humans lived in harmony with nature as ecological noble savages until they became
corrupted by Western culture (Redford 1991). The idea that our modern environmental problems are
due to Western science and culture is central to modern environmental movements and philosophies
such as Deep Ecology (Devall and Sessions 1985; Sessions 1995) and ecofeminism (Merchant 1980).

Evolutionary researchers have been uncovering a very different picture of the conservation
behavior in traditional and other nonWestern cultures (Smith and Wishnie 2000). Increasing evidence
indicates that preColumbian American Indians and other traditional societies are not the conservationists
often assumed (Edgerton 1992; Ridley 1996; Krech 1999). The low ecological impact of people in traditional
cultures does not appear to be due to conservation practices per se, but simply their low population densities
and inefcient technologies (Hames 1987; Alvard 1993, 1995; Kay 1994; Stearman 1994; Vickers 1994; Low 1996a;
Alvard 1998; Miller et al. 1999; Ruttan and Borgerhoff Mulder 1999). Among the Piro Indians in Ecuador, hunters do not pay the
opportunity costs of passing up prey for conservation; instead their hunting behavior follows optimal foraging principles (Alvard
1993, 1995, 1999). Nor is there is any association between societies that hold beliefs about the

sacredness of nature and having a low ecological impact (Low 1996a). It turns out that the widely quoted speech
by Chief Seattle is just a myth, a story created for television, that has been perpetuated by uncritical and wishful thinking
environmentalists (Ridley 1996).
Furthermore, increasing evidence indicates that our species has a long history of causing ecological

destruction (Diamond 1988, 1992, 1995; Redman 1999). As humans have moved around the planet, they have
caused massive extinctions in various ecosystems. For example, the megafaunal extinction in the
Americas during the Pleistocene (in which 57 species of large mammals went extinct, including
mammoths and mastodons, in a sudden ecological collapse) is usually attributed to climate change. Alfred
Russell Wallace suggested otherwise: I am convinced that the rapidity of . . . the extinction of so many large
Mammalia is actually due to mans agency (cited in Leakey and Lewin 1995:172). Much evidence now
indicates that the Pleistocene extinctions in North America correspond to the time of arrival of
human migrations from Asia (Martin 1978; Martin and Klein 1984). This major extinction event does not
appear to have been due to climate change; other places experienced climate change at this time,
but did not have similar extinctions. Instead, it appears that it was due to the vulnerability of North American fauna to a
newly introduced and highly effective predator, Homo sapiens (Alroy 2001). This Pleistocene overkill hypothesis is somewhat
controversial; it is still debated whether the Pleistocene extinctions in North American were due to human hunting alone, climate
change, or some combination of these factors. Yet, the major extinctions that occurred on many South Pacic

islands (Steadman and Olson 1985; Steadman et al. 2002), such as the disappearance of elephant birds in New
Zealand, cannot be attributed to climate change and they coincide precisely with the arrival of
humans who hunted them extensively (Anderson 1989; Diamond 2000; Holdaway and Jacomb 2000; Roberts et al.

Once humans began to settle down and organize into larger and more complex societies, entire civilizations appear to have collapsed
due to the overexploitation of their resource base (Diamond 1988; Ponting 1992). After arriving to Easter Island, the Polynesians
turned a lush forested island into a treeless landscape, exhausted their resources, and their population and society collapsed (Diamond
1995). The sudden disappearance of the Anasazi Indians in North America, the Maya in Central America, and other non-Western
civilizations may have been due to an ecological collapse (Culbert 1973; Deevey et al. 1979; Diamond 1992; Redman 1999; Stuart
2000). The precise causes for the demise of the Maya and Anasazi and other ancient civilizations are still unclear and controversial.
Their downfall is still usually attributed to internal social turmoil or hostile invading groups (except Easter Island), though such events
may have just provided the nal coup de grace after resource depletion already undermined economic and political stability, as we are
seeing today in many societies (Homer-Dixon 1999).
Thus, humans did not live in harmony with nature until the spread of Western culture, and these

ndings about our species actual conservation behavior offer several extremely important
implications. First, they indicate that environmentalists are not merely overreacting alarmists; we have very good reasons to be
concerned about our species potential for causing ecological destruction. Second, they indicate that achieving
ecological sustainability may be more difcult than is often assumed and that we cannot simply
abandon Western secularism and science for mysticism. Third, they show that we must be wary of
romantic myths and wishful thinking about human nature. Becoming more critical, though, does not imply that
we should not be open to new possibilities or try to learn from other cultures. Many societies have successfully managed their
resources (Smith and Wishnie 2000), so there is room for optimism. What is needed is more research into how people in various
societies have successfully managed their natural resources, and to determine how to apply this knowledge toward designing adaptive
strategies for dealing with ecological problems (e.g., Ostrom et al. 1999).

Growth mindset inevitable tragedy of the commons.

Penn 3 Dustin J. Penn is director, Konrad Lorenz Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences,
Vienna. [September 2003, The Evolutionary Roots of our Environmental Problems: Toward a
Darwinian Ecology, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 78, No. 3,]
The tragedy of the commons has become central for understanding our ecological problems: why
people tend to overexploit common-pool resources, such as public grazing lands, sheries, and aquifers, and why they pollute (Hardin
1968; Hardin and Baden 1977). This model suggests that people are unlikely to conserve common-pool resources

when they lack condence that others will show similar restraint. As a resource becomes
overexploited, prudent restraint only yields opportunity costs, and so users have incentives to get
their fair share before it is all gone (i.e., this model extends the classic prisoners dilemma to a multiperson game
theoretical problem). Each individual faces a dilemma in which they ask themselves, Why should I sacrice
and minimize my reproduction and environmental impact if others do not do the same? The
tragedy of the commons was rst suggested as a general explanation for ecological overexploitation by the evolutionary
ecologist, Garrett Hardin (1968). It has subsequently been corroborated by evidence from various elds and
methods (Dawes 1980; McCay and Acheson 1987; Berkes et al. 1989; Ostrom 1990, 1999; Ostrom et al. 1999; Borgerhoff Mulder
and Ruttan 2000; Wedekind and Milinski 2000; Milinski et al. 2002). This research is helping to integrate evolutionary approaches
with economic approaches (via mathematical game theory) to address conservation and other collective action problems (Hawkes

AT: Collapse Causes Transition

Economic decline reinforces capitalism, they weaken other alternatives
prefer empirics.
Mead 9Walter Russell Mead is Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on
Foreign Relations [February 4, 2009, Only Makes You Stronger: Why the recession bolstered
America, The New Republic,]
Perhaps--but the long history of capitalism suggests another possibility. After all, capitalism has seen a steady
procession of economic crises and panics, from the seventeenth-century Tulip Bubble in the
Netherlands and the Stop of the Exchequer under Charles II in England through the Mississippi
and South Sea bubbles of the early eighteenth century, on through the crises associated with the
Napoleonic wars and the spectacular economic crashes that repeatedly wrought havoc and
devastation to millions throughout the nineteenth century. The panics of 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893, and 1907 were
especially severe, culminating in the Great Crash of 1929, which set off a depression that would not end until World War II. The
series of crises continued after the war, and the last generation has seen the Penn Central
bankruptcy in 1970, the first Arab oil crisis of 1973, the Third World debt crisis of 1982, the S&L
crisis, the Asian crisis of 1997, the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2001, and today's global
financial meltdown.
And yet, this relentless series of crises has not disrupted the rise of a global capitalist system,
centered first on the power of the United Kingdom and then, since World War II, on the power of the United
States. After more than 300 years, it seems reasonable to conclude that financial and economic
crises do not, by themselves, threaten either the international capitalist system or the special role within
it of leading capitalist powers like the United Kingdom and the United States. If anything, the opposite seems
true--that financial crises in some way sustain Anglophone power and capitalist development .
Indeed, many critics of both capitalism and the "Anglo-Saxons" who practice it so aggressively have pointed to what
seems to be a perverse relationship between such crises and the consolidation of the "core"
capitalist economies against the impoverished periphery. Marx noted that financial crises remorselessly crushed
weaker companies, allowing the most successful and ruthless capitalists to cement their domination of the
system. For dependency theorists like Raul Prebisch, crises served a similar function in the
international system, helping stronger countries marginalize and impoverish developing ones.
Setting aside the flaws in both these overarching theories of capitalism, this analysis of economic crises is
fundamentally sound--and especially relevant to the current meltdown. Cataloguing the early losses from the financial crisis,
it's hard not to conclude that the central capitalist nations will weather the storm far better than those not
so central. Emerging markets have been hit harder by the financial crisis than developed ones as
investors around the world seek the safe haven provided by U.S. Treasury bills, and commodityproducing economies have suffered extraordinary shocks as commodity prices crashed from their
record, boom-time highs. Countries like Russia, Venezuela, and Iran, which hoped to use oil revenue to mount a serious political
challenge to American power and the existing world order, face serious new constraints. Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, and Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad must now spend less time planning big international moves and think a little bit harder about domestic stability. Far
from being the last nail in America's coffin, the financial crisis may actually resuscitate U.S. power relative to its rivals
The biggest loser of the financial crisis thus far seems to have been Russia, a country that stormed into 2008 breathing fire and
boasting of its renewed great-power status. After years of military decline, it put its strategic bombers back in the air; sent its fleet to
the Caribbean; and reintroduced displays of martial power to Kremlin parades. Petrodollars filled government coffers, and political
dissent at home had largely disappeared. Russia's troubles had been eased by the effective suppression of the Chechen insurgency,
while America's troubles remained severe, with the U.S. military mired in two wars. When its troops invaded Georgia, Russia seemed
once again to be acting like a great power--and not a very nice one.
But the Georgian invasion may have been the high point of Putin's "New Russia" rather than a portent of things to come. Historically,
Russian power has rested on four legs. Its immense agricultural territory made it a granary of Europe. Timber, fur, and other products
gave Russia a profitable niche in world trade. Its enormous territory, stretching from the remote steppes of Asia well into Europe,
brought it into the heart of continental politics. Its enormous population--as recently as 1989, greater than that of the United States-gave it awesome military potential.
Today, a much-diminished Russia cannot realistically aspire to fill the shoes of czarist Russia, much less those of the Soviet Union. In
Europe, the post-cold war loss of the Baltic republics, most of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and above all Ukraine has pushed
Russia back to its boundaries at the time of Ivan the Terrible, leaving Russia shorn of half its population and most of its agricultural

potential. Now Russia is struggling, with only partial success, simply to maintain its Soviet-era infrastructure and educational system,
unable to build the base for a modern economy. Pushed from the center to the far fringes of European geography, lagging well behind
Western norms in economic and social productivity, and challenged by the rising powers to its east, Russia retains only shards of the
power potential that once made it a credible rival of the United States.
It was in this context that the financial crisis hit last fall. The Georgia invasion itself had already spooked foreign and domestic
investors into pulling their money out of Russia. That capital flight only accelerated as the price of oil and gas fell by more than twothirds. Soon it became apparent that Russia's vaunted economic recovery rested on little more than the high price of petrochemicals. In
2007, oil, fuel, and gas exports accounted for 65 percent of Russia's export revenues. With its currency falling, its export earnings
crashing, and its foreign exchange reserves melting away, an increasingly cash-strapped Russian state now faces enormous difficulties
in maintaining its military spending.
The assertive foreign policy propounded by Putin and Dmitry Medvedev was presented as the consequence of a rising Russia; in
actuality, it was a high-stakes bluff by a ruling elite which knows that its power base continues to erode. During Bush's second term,
Russia had a rare opportunity: The prices of oil and gas were rising; the United States was, apparently, bogged down in a losing war in
Iraq and needed Russian help at the Security Council to deal with Iran; and the gap between Europe and the United States was wider
than at any time since World War II. With the future looking bleak, Russia chose to assert itself at this moment of maximum strength.
But now the Russian economy looks shakier than ever; foreign investors have lost faith in the country's legal and financial systems;
Washington has drawn closer to European capitals; the United States appears headed for an honorable and timely exit from the war in
Iraq; and rising European concern over Iran may enable the United States to address its nuclear program without Russian support at
the United Nations. The fall in oil prices, Chavez's own political troubles at home, and the economic troubles in Cuba make the
Russian fleet's presence in the Caribbean a curiosity rather than a threat of any kind. Russia has or can develop additional
opportunities, perhaps in Ukraine, but its weak economic base and dismal future prospects suggest that the natural limits of its power
are easily reached. The much touted "Russian renaissance" is likely to be counted a casualty of the Panic of 2008.
The damage to China's position is more subtle. The crisis has not--yet--led to the nightmare scenario that China-watchers fear: a
recession or slowdown producing the kind of social unrest that could challenge the government. That may still come to pass--the
recent economic news from China has been consistently worse than most experts predicted--but, even if the worst case is avoided, the
financial crisis has nevertheless had significant effects. For one thing, it has reminded China that its growth remains dependent on the
health of the U.S. economy. For another, it has shown that China's modernization is likely to be long, dangerous, and complex rather
than fast and sweet, as some assumed.
In the lead-up to last summer's Beijing Olympics, talk of a Chinese bid to challenge America's global position reached fever pitch, and
the inexorable rise of China is one reason why so many commentators are fretting about the "post-American era." But suggestions that
China could grow at, say, 10 percent annually for the next 30 years were already looking premature before the economic downturn. (In
late 2007, the World Bank slashed its estimate of China's GDP by 40 percent, citing inaccuracies in the methods used to calculate
purchasing power parity.) And the financial crisis makes it certain that China's growth is likely to be much slower during some of
those years. Already exports are falling, unemployment is rising, and the Shanghai stock market is down about 60 percent.
At the same time, Beijing will have to devote more resources and more attention to stabilizing Chinese society, building a national
health care system, providing a social security net, and caring for an aging population, which, thanks to the one-child policy, will need
massive help from the government to support itself in old age. Doing so will leave China fewer resources for military build-ups and
foreign adventures. As the crisis has forcefully reminded Americans, creating and regulating a functional and flexible financial system
is difficult. Every other country in the world has experienced significant financial crises while building such systems, and China is
unlikely to be an exception.
All this means that China's rise looks increasingly like a gradual process. A deceleration in China's long-term growth rate would
postpone indefinitely the date when China could emerge as a peer competitor to the United States. The present global distribution of
power could be changing slowly, if at all.
The greatest danger both to U.S.-China relations and to American power itself is probably not that China will rise too far, too fast; it is
that the current crisis might end China's growth miracle. In the worst-case scenario, the turmoil in the international economy will
plunge China into a major economic downturn. The Chinese financial system will implode as loans to both state and private
enterprises go bad. Millions or even tens of millions of Chinese will be unemployed in a country without an effective social safety net.
The collapse of asset bubbles in the stock and property markets will wipe out the savings of a generation of the Chinese middle class.
The political consequences could include dangerous unrest--and a bitter climate of anti-foreign feeling that blames others for China's
woes. (Think of Weimar Germany, when both Nazi and communist politicians blamed the West for Germany's economic travails.)
Worse, instability could lead to a vicious cycle, as nervous investors moved their money out of the country, further slowing growth
and, in turn, fomenting ever-greater bitterness. Thanks to a generation of rapid economic growth, China has so far been able to
manage the stresses and conflicts of modernization and change; nobody knows what will happen if the growth stops.
India's future is also a question. Support for global integration is a fairly recent development in India, and many serious Indians remain
skeptical of it. While India's 60-year-old democratic system has resisted many shocks, a deep economic recession in a country where
mass poverty and even hunger are still major concerns could undermine political order, long-term growth, and India's attitude toward
the United States and global economic integration. The violent Naxalite insurrection plaguing a significant swath of the country could
get worse; religious extremism among both Hindus and Muslims could further polarize Indian politics; and India's economic miracle
could be nipped in the bud.
If current market turmoil seriously damaged the performance and prospects of India and China, the current crisis could join the Great
Depression in the list of economic events that changed history, even if the recessions in the West are relatively short and mild. The
United States should stand ready to assist Chinese and Indian financial authorities on an emergency basis--and work very hard to help
both countries escape or at least weather any economic downturn. It may test the political will of the Obama administration, but the
United States must avoid a protectionist response to the economic slowdown. U.S. moves to limit market access for Chinese and
Indian producers could poison relations for years. For billions of people in nuclear-armed countries to emerge from this crisis
believing either that the United States was indifferent to their well-being or that it had profited from their distress could damage U.S.
foreign policy far more severely than any mistake made by George W. Bush.
It's not just the great powers whose trajectories have been affected by the crash. Lesser powers like Saudi Arabia and Iran also face
new constraints. The crisis has strengthened the U.S. position in the Middle East as falling oil prices reduce Iranian influence and
increase the dependence of the oil sheikdoms on U.S. protection. Success in Iraq--however late, however undeserved, however

limited--had already improved the Obama administration's prospects for addressing regional crises. Now, the collapse in oil prices has
put the Iranian regime on the defensive. The annual inflation rate rose above 29 percent last September, up from about 17 percent in
2007, according to Iran's Bank Markazi. Economists forecast that Iran's real GDP growth will drop markedly in the coming months as
stagnating oil revenues and the continued global economic downturn force the government to rein in its expansionary fiscal policy.
All this has weakened Ahmadinejad at home and Iran abroad. Iranian officials must balance the relative merits of support for allies
like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria against domestic needs, while international sanctions and other diplomatic sticks have been made
more painful and Western carrots (like trade opportunities) have become more attractive. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and other oil states
have become more dependent on the United States for protection against Iran, and they have fewer resources to fund religious
extremism as they use diminished oil revenues to support basic domestic spending and development goals. None of this makes the
Middle East an easy target for U.S. diplomacy, but thanks in part to the economic crisis, the incoming administration has the chance to
try some new ideas and to enter negotiations with Iran (and Syria) from a position of enhanced strength.
Every crisis is different, but there seem to be reasons why, over time, financial crises on balance

reinforce rather than undermine the world position of the leading capitalist countries. Since capitalism
first emerged in early modern Europe, the ability to exploit the advantages of rapid economic development
has been a key factor in international competition. Countries that can encourage--or at least allow and
sustain--the change, dislocation, upheaval, and pain that capitalism often involves, while providing their tumultuous market
societies with appropriate regulatory and legal frameworks, grow swiftly. They produce cutting-edge technologies that
translate into military and economic power. They are able to invest in education, making their
workforces ever more productive. They typically develop liberal political institutions and cultural
norms that value, or at least tolerate, dissent and that allow people of different political and
religious viewpoints to collaborate on a vast social project of modernization--and to maintain
political stability in the face of accelerating social and economic change. The vast productive
capacity of leading capitalist powers gives them the ability to project influence around the world
and, to some degree, to remake the world to suit their own interests and preferences. This is what the United
Kingdom and the United States have done in past centuries, and what other capitalist powers like France, Germany, and Japan have
done to a lesser extent. In these countries, the social forces that support the idea of a competitive market

economy within an appropriately liberal legal and political framework are relatively strong.
But, in many other countries where capitalism rubs people the wrong way, this is not the case . On
either side of the Atlantic, for example, the Latin world is often drawn to anti-capitalist movements and
rulers on both the right and the left. Russia, too, has never really taken to capitalism and liberal society-whether during the time of the czars, the commissars, or the post-cold war leaders who so signally failed to build a stable, open system
of liberal democratic capitalism even as many former Warsaw Pact nations were making rapid transitions. Partly as a result of

these internal cultural pressures, and partly because, in much of the world, capitalism has appeared as an
unwelcome interloper, imposed by foreign forces and shaped to fit foreign rather than domestic
interests and preferences, many countries are only half-heartedly capitalist. When crisis strikes,
they are quick to decide that capitalism is a failure and look for alternatives.
So far, such half-hearted experiments not only have failed to work; they have left the societies
that have tried them in a progressively worse position, farther behind the front-runners as time
goes by. Argentina has lost ground to Chile; Russian development has fallen farther behind that of
the Baltic states and Central Europe. Frequently, the crisis has weakened the power of the merchants, industrialists,
financiers, and professionals who want to develop a liberal capitalist society integrated into the world. Crisis can also strengthen the
hand of religious extremists, populist radicals, or authoritarian traditionalists who are determined to resist liberal capitalist society for
a variety of reasons. Meanwhile, the companies and banks based in these societies are often less

established and more vulnerable to the consequences of a financial crisis than more established
firms in wealthier societies.
As a result, developing countries and countries where capitalism has relatively recent and shallow
roots tend to suffer greater economic and political damage when crisis strikes--as, inevitably, it does.
And, consequently, financial crises often reinforce rather than challenge the global distribution of
power and wealth. This may be happening yet again.

*** Sustainability

Growth Overcomes Scarcity

Growth overcomes scarcityingenuity outweighs finitude.
Ben-Ami 11 Daniel Ben-Ami, journalist and author, regular contributor to spiked, has been
published in the American, the Australian,, Financial Times, the Guardian, the
Independent, Novo (Germany), Ode (American and Dutch editions), Prospect, Shanghai Daily,
the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times, and Voltaire (Sweden), 2011 (Growth is good, Ode,
June, Available Online at, Accessed
There are many reasons why the notion of scarce resources is mistaken. Take energy as an example. For
almost a century, authorities have warned that oil is on the verge of running out. Yet the
exhaustion of oil supplies is still a long way off. New sources of oil have been discovered, including
under the seabed, and extraction techniques have been improved. In the future, it may also be possible to extract
huge amounts of oil from tar sands or produce plentiful gasoline from coal.

Perhaps one day, oil will be close to running out or it will be considered too dirty to use. That still leaves
plenty of options. As technology improves, electric cars could become much more viable. It is also
already possible to generate huge amounts of energy from nuclear fission, the process that powers the sun,
while in the future, nuclear fusion could provide unlimited energy.
Perhaps other technologies will turn out to be better, but the point is that apparently
insurmountable resource shortages can be overcome. Human ingenuity is unlimited. It is not a
question of needing, say, three planets to sustain humanity, but of making this planet more

Growth is sustainable through technological expansionempirics prove

human systems are adaptable.
Ellis 11Dr. Erle Ellis is Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Cornell University [Fall,
2011, The Planet of No Return, Breakthrough Journal, No. 2,]
Over the last several decades, a consensus has grown among scientists that humans have become the dominant ecological force on the
planet. According to these scientists, we are now living in the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch

shaped by humans.1 While some have hailed this forward-looking vision of the planet, others have linked this view
with the perennial concern that human civilization has exceeded the carrying capacity of Earth's
natural systems and may thus be fundamentally unsustainable.2 In this article, I argue that this latter notion
rests upon a series of assumptions that are inconsistent with contemporary science on how
humans interact with ecosystems, as well as with most historical and archeological evidence.
Ever since early humans discovered fire and the benefits of collaborative systems such as collective
hunting and social learning, human systems, not the classic biophysical limits that still constrain other
species, have set the wider envelope for human population growth and prosperity. It was not
planetary boundaries, but human system boundaries that constrained human development in the
Holocene, the geological epoch that we have just left. We should expect no less in the Anthropocene.

Humans have dramatically altered natural systems -- converting forests to farmlands, damming
rivers, driving some species to extinction and domesticating others, altering the nitrogen and
carbon cycles, and warming the globe -- and yet the Earth has become more productive and more
capable of supporting the human population.3 This process has dramatically intensified in recent
centuries at a rate unprecedented in Earth's (and human) history,4 but there is little evidence to date
that this dynamic has been fundamentally altered. While the onset of the Anthropocene carries new ecological and

social risks, human

systems such as agriculture have proven extraordinarily resilient to environmental

and social challenges , responding robustly to population pressures, soil exhaustion, and climate
fluctuations over millennia, from a global perspective.
Though the sustainability of human civilization may not be at stake, we must still take our responsibilities as planetary stewards more
seriously than ever. As the scale and power of human systems continue to increase at accelerating rates, we are awakening to a new
world of possibilities -- some of them frightening. And yet our unprecedented and growing powers also allow us

the opportunity to create a planet that is better for both its human and nonhuman inhabitants. It is an
opportunity that we should embrace.
1. Long before the Holocene, Paleolithic human systems had already evolved powers beyond those of any other species, managing to
engineer ecosystems using fire, to innovate collective strategies for hunting, and to develop other tools and techniques that
revolutionized human livelihoods from hunting and foraging.5 The extinction of megafauna across most of the terrestrial biosphere
demonstrates the unprecedented success of early human engineering of ecosystems.6 Those extinctions had cascading effects (trophic
downscaling) caused by the loss of dominant species, leading to forest loss in some regions and forest regrowth in others.7

Paleolithic humans, with a population of just a few million, dramatically transformed ecosystems
across most of the terrestrial biosphere and most coastal ecosystems,8 demonstrating that
population size is not the main source of the transformative power of human systems.
The onset of the Holocene, which began with the end of the last ice age, roughly corresponds with the start of the Neolithic Age of
human development. During this period, agricultural human systems began to displace earlier Paleolithic

human systems,9 and human systems became dependent upon the entirely novel, unambiguously anthropogenic
process of clearing native vegetation and herbivores and replacing them with engineered ecosystems populated by
domesticated plant and animal species.10 This process allowed available land and resources to
support many more people and set the stage for massive and sustained human population growth
way beyond what was possible by Paleolithic systems. In ten millennia, the human population surged from just a few million to
billions today.11

While the warm and stable climate of the Holocene is widely credited with enabling the rise of
agriculture, more complex forms of human social organization, and the general thriving of human
populations to a degree far exceeding that of the prior epoch, it was not these new climatic and biophysical
conditions themselves that brought the Paleolithic era to an end. Rather, Paleolithic human systems
failed to compete with a new human system built upon a series of profound technological
innovations in ecosystem engineering.12
The dramatic, sustained rise of agricultural populations, along with their eventual success in dominating Earth's
most productive lands, demonstrates that the main constraints on these populations were not
environmental.13 The Malthusian model holds that populations are ultimately limited by their
environmental resources -- primarily the ability of a given area of land to provide adequate food.14 But this model
makes little sense when engineered ecosystems have long been the basis for sustaining human
Throughout the world, food production has risen in tandem with the density of agricultural populations.
Populations work harder and employ more productive technologies to increase the productivity of
land only after it becomes a limiting resource. This results in a complex interplay of population
growth, labor inputs, technology adoption, and increased productivity -- a process of agricultural
intensification that still continues in many developing agricultural regions today.15
Until the widespread commodification of agricultural production over the last century or so, agriculturalists -- and likely their
Paleolithic hunting and foraging predecessors -- used the minimal amount of labor, technologies, and other resources necessary to
support their livelihoods on the lands available to them.16 In most regions, yield-boosting technologies, like the plow and manuring,
had already been developed or introduced long before they became necessary to overcome constraints on local food availability for
subsistence populations.17 Improving agricultural productivity facilitated rising population growth and

density and placed greater pressure on food production, which, in turn, induced the adoption of
more productive agricultural technologies.
While this steady increase in the productivity of land use in tandem with population seems to
conflict with the environmental degradation classically ascribed to human use of land,18 the
theoretical explanations for this are simple and robust. The low-density populations of early
farmers tended to adopt long-fallow shifting cultivation systems (rotations of 20 years and longer),
progressing through short-fallow shifting cultivation, annual cropping, multiple cropping, and the
increasing use of irrigation and fertilizers as populations grew and land became scarce.19

Cultivation of agricultural land has resulted in all manner of environmental degradation at local
scales. Although agricultural productivity inevitably declines after land is first cleared for
agriculture and in agricultural systems without intensive management, there is little evidence of
declining long-term productivity in agricultural lands that have been managed intensively for
millennia.20 Indeed, the overwhelming trend is quite the opposite.21 Increasing demands upon the
productivity of agricultural lands have resulted in an increasing demand for technological inputs
(and labor, in the preindustrial era) in order to maintain and increase productivity, which continues to rise
in most agricultural regions.
2. The long trends toward both the intensification of agricultural cultivation and the engineering of
ecosystems at increasing scope and scale have accelerated as more and more of the world transitions
from rural and agricultural societies to urban and industrial ones. The exponential growth in population,
resource use, technologies, and social systems over the past half-century marks the most rapid and powerful transformation of both
Earth and human systems ever.22

In the past two centuries, fossil energy has mostly replaced biomass for fuel and substituted for
most human and animal labor,23 revolutionizing the human capacity for ecosystem engineering,
transport, and other activities. Large-scale industrial synthesis has introduced artificial compounds almost too numerous to
count,24 including a wide variety used to control undesired species.25 Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers have helped to
both double the amount of biologically reactive nitrogen in the Earth system and have largely
replaced the use of native soil fertility in sustaining human populations.26 Genetic engineering has
accelerated gene transfer across species.27 The waste products of human systems are felt almost
everywhere on land, water, and air, including emissions of carbon dioxide rapid enough to acidify the oceans and
change the climate system at rates likely unprecedented in Earth's history.28 Wild fish and forests have
almost disappeared,29 receding into the depths of our ancestral memory.

At the same time, advances in hygiene and medicine have dramatically increased human health
and life expectancy.30 Industrial human systems are far more connected globally and evolve more
rapidly than prior social systems, accelerating the pace of social change and interaction,
technological innovation, material exchange, as well as the entire tempo of human interactions
with the Earth system.31 Over the last two centuries (and especially the past fifty years) most humans have enjoyed longer,
healthier, and freer lives than we ever did during the Holocene.

There is no sign that these processes or their dynamics are slowing down in any way -- an
indication of their resilience in the face of change.32 As far as food and other basic resources are
concerned, we remain far from any physically determined limits to the growth and sustenance of
our populations.33 For better or for worse, humans appear fully capable of continuing to support a
burgeoning population by engineering and transforming the planet.

AT: Biophysical LimitsAdaptation

Adaptation solves biophysical limits to growth.
Ellis 11Dr. Erle Ellis is Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Cornell University [Fall,
2011, The Planet of No Return, Breakthrough Journal, No. 2,]
4. With urbanization shaping the Industrial Age, and as we move rapidly into the most artificial environments we have ever created,
the decisions we must make are ever clearer. Indeed, even as urbanization drives advances in some forms of

agricultural productivity, the trend is rapidly spelling an end to some of the most ancient and
productive agricultural human systems the world has ever seen -- the ancient rice paddies of Asia are being transformed
into factory floors. As we did at the end of the Paleolithic, most of humanity is defecting from the older ways,
which will soon become hobbies for the elite and nostalgic memories for the rest of humanity. Just
as wild forests, wild game, and soon, wild fish disappear, so do the human systems associated with them.

While there is nothing particularly good about a planet hotter than our ancestors ever experienced
-- not to mention one free of wild forests or wild fish -- it seems all too evident that human systems are prepared
to adapt to and prosper in the hotter, less biodiverse planet that we are busily creating. The
"planetary boundaries" hypothesis asserts that biophysical limits are the ultimate constraints on
the human enterprise.1 Yet the evidence shows clearly that the human enterprise has continued to
expand beyond natural limits for millennia. Indeed, the history of human civilization might be
characterized as a history of transgressing natural limits and thriving. While the Holocene's relatively stable
conditions certainly helped support the rise and expansion of agricultural systems, we should not assume that agriculture can only
thrive under those particular conditions. Indeed, agriculture already thrives across climatic extremes whose

variance goes far beyond anything likely to result from human-caused climate change.
The Earth we have inherited from our ancestors is now our responsibility. It is not natural limits that will determine whether this
planet will sustain a robust measure of its evolutionary inheritance into the future. Our powers may yet exceed our ability to manage
them, but there is no alternative except to shoulder the mantle of planetary stewardship. A good, or at least a better, Anthropocene is
within our grasp. Creating that future will mean going beyond fears of transgressing natural limits and

nostalgic hopes of returning to some pastoral or pristine era. Most of all, we must not see the
Anthropocene as a crisis, but as the beginning of a new geological epoch ripe with humandirected opportunity.

AT: UnsustainableEnvironment/Climate Change

Human systems are resilientgrowth will be sustained despite ecological
limits and climate change.
Ellis 11Erle Ellis is associate professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a 2012 Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough
Institute. [2011, Paradigm of No Return, Breakthrough Journal, Debates,]
Ronnie Hawkins likens my thinking to that of "a sentient bacterial culture confidently asserting" that "perpetual growth" is possible
"while sucking dry its petri dish." In transferring this textbook biological metaphor (the inevitable collapse

of exponentially growing bacteria populations) to the dynamics of human systems, we see a perfect
example of the failures of old-school environmental thinking.2
It is not "glib," "cheap," or "cheerful" (McKibben) to point out that the old-school environmental model fails to
describe the dynamics of human systems over the long term. The classic biological paradigm
simply cannot explain how human populations were able to reach one billion by 1800 and how
they will almost certainly reach nine billion by 2050. Human populations have been sustained far
beyond their "natural limits" for millennia -- not by benevolent nature, but by increasingly engineered
environments and increasing use of energy. It is not Earth's ecology, but our humanity -- in the
form of human systems3 -- that has enabled Homo sapiens to emerge as the single most powerful
species on this planet. The transformative power of human systems has grown and developed over the long term as the
cumulative product of increasingly larger scales of social and environmental interaction and experience, innovation and learning and
the accumulation of social and material capitals. It is this long-term process of human system growth and development that has
changed the game for Homo sapiens and the entire planet.
My essay did not state that human population growth and societal development will be unlimited and continuous, will never
experience collapse, or that social systems or other technologies will always enable humanity to overcome all biophysical limits.
Indeed, the dynastic nature of human history argues that periodic social disintegration and re-emergence built on the gains and ruins of
the past may be an inevitable dynamic of human systems.4 Nevertheless, the claim that human civilizations facing

environmental limits or rapid environmental change must inevitably collapse simply fails the test
of time.5
As I argued, it is time to shift our focus from hard biophysical limits and insurmountable environmental stressors to the resilience and
adaptability of human systems.6 This is not a new idea: ancient scholars determined that famines associated with

sustained droughts and the fall of dynasties were caused primarily by social failures -- corruption
and decline in the management of taxes and granaries. I couldn't agree more with Francisco Seijo that it is the state
of our human systems that determines our future even more than our powers to transform nature. Social power can
overcome environmental limits, and this power underpins both the present and future state of
humanity and the planet.
Understanding the dynamics of the past and the present cannot entirely predict the future -- to answer all of the "questions about our
particular, and pivotal, time" (McKibben). Global climate change caused by fossil fuel combustion will

almost certainly diminish potential agricultural productivity in many regions while

simultaneously increasing productivity in others.7 Climate change is indeed an unprecedented
challenge to human systems, together with the increasing demands of our larger and wealthier
populations. Yet humanity has never been better prepared to respond to this major global
restructuring of agricultural opportunities. Just as famines are not caused by drought but by social
failures,8 recent dynamics in weather are not the cause of changes in food security. Instead, access to
food will continue to be determined by social systems. As in the past, there will be winners and losers, and the
more powerful human systems will tend to adapt and thrive, while weaker systems will struggle. This is not a new problem, but an old
one: How can we continue to improve the availability of food and other resources for all of humanity?
Finally, a word about my "positive" message about the Anthropocene. As I noted, there is nothing particularly good

about a much warmer world (or the loss of wild fish -- my apologies for not being clearer -- the loss of wild freshwater fish
as part of our diet.9) That human systems tend to thrive in proportion to their ability to transform and
use ecosystems is not to say that altering ecosystems is good or that altered ecosystems are better.
That Paleolithic humans may be happier or better off than Agricultural or Industrial humans (Dello-Russo) has no bearing on whether

some of these human systems are more capable of sustaining larger, wealthier and more powerful populations that tend to outcompete
the others when resources become limited. Nor is it wise for us to test the hypothesis that anthropogenic climate change will make the
planet less "hospitable to human life" (Hawkins). Yet I am convinced that human systems have the ability to

adapt to this change, and perhaps even avoid it by transforming our energy systems away from
fossil fuels (Gilman), a process that will inevitably take half a century or longer, no matter how fast we want
it to come.10 This does not mean that I am advocating "the increasingly centralized, fossil-fuel subsidized, engineered road"
(Hawkins), but merely recognize that this is the current state of human systems and the planet, and that

there is no immediate alternative to support nine billion and more on Earth.

Even with recent dramatic acceleration in our numbers, energy use and transformation of the
Earth system, including current and future changes in climate, the history of human systems is
excellent evidence of their adaptability and resilience in the face of environmental challenges. It is
essential to recognize that even as we increasingly transform the planet, not all of these changes are for
the worst, and some processes, like rapid urbanization, agricultural intensification and
globalization are potentially good news. It is time to accept that our challenge is not to avoid
environmental catastrophe, but to improve our ability to guide human systems towards better
outcomes for ourselves, our progeny, and our ecological heritage.

AT: Malthus/Ag Crisis

We are past the tipping pointtechnology is key to prevent mass starvation
and deforestation.
Thompson 11Dr. Robert L. Thompson is a senior fellow for The Chicago Council on
Global Affairs and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He
previously served as the Gardner Endowed Chair in Agricultural Policy at the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dean of Agriculture at Purdue University and Director of Rural
Development at the World Bank, and is a former president of the International Association of
Agricultural Economists [May 13, 2011, Posted by Pamela Ronald who is Professor of Plant
Pathology at the University of California, Davis, Proving Malthus Wrong: Sustainable
Agriculture in 2050,]
Over the past few months, we've watched as governments have been overthrown in Tunisia and Egypt, as governments across North
Africa and the Middle East promised reforms, some even handing out cash to pacify angry citizens, and as demonstrations in Libya
intensified into outright civil war. Although a number of issues have come to a head, one constant across

countries is the rocketing prices of basic commodities, and the increasing need for more, and
more efficient, food production. Fortunately, a solution is available: research-driven sustainable
In February 2011, global food prices were the highest ever reported by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. The
extreme poor - who spend over half, and sometimes as much as three-quarters - of their income on food, are the most vulnerable to
these prices.

The 2008 food price spike increased the number of people going to bed hungry from 925 million
to over 1 billion, and the World Bank estimates that 44 million people have been driven into
poverty since June 2010 because of rising commodity prices. This, in turn, has led to widespread
political instability. In 2008, food riots broke out in at least 20 countries, and one government head was deposed. We are seeing
more of the same in 2010.
On top of this, the world

population is projected to grow past 9 billion by 2050, forcing even more

people to compete for available food supplies, potentially driving up prices further. And
population growth is just one factor. As incomes and purchasing power in the developing world
rise, food consumption will also increase. This is because extremely low-income people spend most of the first
increments of their additional incomes on food, first to attain adequate caloric intake and then to reduce nutritional deficiencies. Their
diets come to include more resource-intensive food products, such as meat, dairy, eggs, fruits and vegetables - unleashing rapid
growth in raw agriculture commodity demand.
By 2050 the world population will have grown by the equivalent of two Chinas - one by 2025 and the
other between 2025 and 2050. As

incomes of the world's poorest people rise, consumption of more

resource-intensive foods will increase as well. When one adds the growing demand for
agricultural commodities as industrial raw materials, especially biofuels, we can easily see a scenario in
which the world's farmers are asked to double their output over the next 40 years. They must do
this with little, if any, more land, and less water.
Compounding this formidable challenge is the fact that there is at most 12 percent more land realistically available for agriculture,
mostly located in remote areas with inferior soil quality. Furthermore, as urban populations swell, they will likely

outbid farmers for use of available fresh water - suggesting that farmers may need to triple water
productivity. In addition, all agro-ecosystems will shift due to global climate change, meaning
additional research will be needed simply to sustain present crop yields.
So to both reduce poverty and help farmers contribute more to the global food supply, we must
help farmers in low-income countries do more, with less, in places that need it most. The solution?
Research, development and distribution of technologies that produce more agricultural output
using less land and water.
Tools available today, including plant breeding and biotechnology, can make presently unusable
soils productive and increase the genetic potential of individual crops - enhancing drought and stress
tolerance, for example - while also producing gains in yields. Existing tools can also internalize plants'

resistance to disease, and even improve a plant's nutritional content - meaning consumers can get
more nutritional value without increasing their consumption. Furthermore, modern high-productivity
agriculture minimizes farmers' impact on the environment. Failure to embrace these technologies
will result in further destruction of remaining forests.
Adoption of technologies that produce more output from fewer resources has been hugely
successful from an economic standpoint: prior to the price spike in 2008, there was a 150-year downward trend in the
real price of food. The jury is still out on whether the long-term downward trend will resume, prices will flatten out on a new higher
plateau, or they will trend upward in the future. The key is investing in research in the public and private

sectors to increase agricultural productivity faster than global demand grows.

Long ago, British scholar Thomas Malthus predicted that the human population would eventually outgrow
its ability to feed itself. However, Malthus has been proven wrong for more than two centuries
precisely because he underestimated the power of agricultural research and technology to increase
productivity faster than demand. There is no more reason for Malthus to be right in the 21st
century than he was in the 19th or 20th - but only if we work to support, not impede, continued
agricultural research and adoption of new technologies around the world.

AT: MalthusPopulation Growth

Population growth isnt the cause of unsustainabilityMalthus is wrong.
Kenny 11Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a Schwartz
fellow at the New America Foundation, a senior economist on leave from the World Bank, and
author [May 23, 2011, More People, Please, Foreign Policy,]
So why all the anxiety about a growing population? We all enjoy friends and family, and generally the more, the
merrier -- but our friendliness toward humanity can be selfishly local: when it comes to people we don't know, some argue less is
more. Fewer teeming masses in Africa (the population of which the U.N. projects will triple by 2100) would be a

good for our fragile planet, according to people in the United States. More people today means a worse life for
tomorrow, and more people tomorrow means a catastrophe the day after.

Such thinking has persisted despite being fundamentally misguided. Malthus sparked these
concerns 200 years ago when the global population was around a billion, and frankly it's easy to
see why he was depressed: back then, rising populations really were often associated with
declining health and incomes. But the centuries in the interim have seen the global abolition of
slavery, advances in communication that render the vast majority of the planet instantaneously
interconnected, stunning improvements in global health, the unprecedented spread of education
and political and civil rights -- and the most dramatic expansion of global population, to boot. Even
at the family level, the evidence for a "quantity-quality tradeoff" -- more kids meaning a worse life for each one of
them -- appears weak.
Yes, threats to global sustainability are clear and present dangers. But the 10,760-fold increase in
aluminum production reported by environmentalist Clive Ponting, or the 380-fold increase in oil production,
or even the 24-fold increase in global GDP over the course of the last century isn't driven by
population growth. It is growing consumption per person that is the problem. And that, of course, is
not the fault of Africans. The blame lies with wealthy countries that do nearly all of the consuming. The poorest 650 million
people on the planet live on about 1 percent of the income of the richest 650 million. Each year, we add 1 percent or more to the
incomes of those richest people - GDP per capita growth rates in wealthy countries are at least that high. And that 1 percent growth
has the same impact on global consumption as would doubling the number of people living on the income of that bottom 650 million
of the world's population. So, those people sitting in rich countries pontificating on unsustainable global

populations might want to start off with the bit of that population they see in the mirror every

UQWorld Improving Now

We control uniquenessthe world is improving in all measures because of
Kenny 11Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a Schwartz
fellow at the New America Foundation, a senior economist on leave from the World Bank, and
author [May 9, 2011, Some Horsemen, Foreign Policy,]
Mayan mythology enthusiasts, Christian evangelicals, and assorted conspiracy theorists all have their reasons to believe the world is
going to end the Saturday after next, May 21. We will know that this particular date is wrong soon enough -- or we'll be too busy
being flambed to care. But it's worth engaging the generally apocalyptically inclined, nonetheless, if just to prove that, even on the
terms of their own dystopian visions, the end of days are nowhere close to being near. All the things that should be

happening as we approach the final reckoning -- contagious disease, starvation, mass violence,
that kind of stuff -- have never been rarer planetwide. That's a success of global development, of
course -- but you wouldn't know it from either the placard-bearing apocalypsta or the tin-cup-waving
development agencies. And it is a sign that both need a new marketing strategy.
In the Bible, plague, famine, war, and death arrive at the end of days in order to pave the way for the judgment of the quick and the
dead. The Hindu Bhavishya Purana, meanwhile, suggests that near the end of the world the age of human beings will be reduced to 10
years and height will be reduced to 2 to 3 feet. Watch the evening news, and you might get the sense the apocalypse is near upon us. In
fact half of all news stories concern violence, conflict, and suffering, according to Roger Johnson, a professor emeritus at Ramapo
College. But if those are our markers for the end times, the world needn't expect the Last Judgment anytime

soon: Plague, famine, war, short life expectancies, and stunted people are increasingly rare. Rather
than heeding or ignoring the many popular calls to repent our sins, we should be asking what everyone is so worried
Let's take the signs of apocalypse in turn. The tragedy of AIDS has created a new plague in sub-Saharan
Africa, but the original -- pneumonic plague, known by its acquaintances as the Black Death -- is everywhere in retreat.
A disease that killed more than a third of the population of Europe in its heyday is now defeated by a simple course of antibiotics.
More broadly, deaths from all kinds of infectious diseases are on the decline thanks to rapidly

climbing vaccination rates and the development of a range of simple cures. Famine only affected
three-tenths of a percent of Africa's population between 1990 and 2005, according to William Easterly of
New York University -- reflecting a growing global availability of food and increased agricultural trade .
Meanwhile, the number of wars ongoing worldwide fell from 24 to five between 1984 and 2008. As
a result of better health and nutrition, average heights in India (and a lot of other places) are increasing.
And Death is being forced to bide his time like never before. Of all the people in human history
who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now. In 1990, nearly 12 million children worldwide
died before they had reached their fifth birthday. Today that figure is below 8 million.
So, overall, we've been reining back from the gallop to Armageddon. What, then, explains the
widespread sense of crisis? For a start, statistical analysis of news stories on developing countries in
particular suggests a focus on the apocalyptic rather than the positive. Peaceful elections or
declining mortality rates in Africa are apparently of little interest to the U.S. or European news consumer. And
that's not surprising -- narratives of death and destruction are a far more powerful source of interest than
stories about things that have happy endings. Want people to pay attention? Show them tragedy.
It works for Hollywood, just as it works for TV news.
And, of course, it also works for well-meaning nonprofits and aid agencies trying to raise attention
and funding to respond to development challenges. Worldwide progress is largely about the
absence of exciting stuff going on -- fewer people shot or felled by disease: the four horsemen staying in
their stable. But things not happening don't endear themselves to compelling calls to action.
Remember Tolstoy's maxim: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

So much do development agencies, NGOs, and the media see crisis as a valuable motivator of
interest and action that they are quite willing to label even unprecedented success as failure. Over
the last 30 years, for example, Burkina Faso has seen primary school enrollment climb from 14 percent to 63 percent of primary-age
kids. That's far more rapid progress than managed by the developed world in the past -- or by the vast majority of developing countries

more recently. But Burkina Faso will fail to achieve universal primary school completion by 2015. According the U.N. Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs), which lay out targets for development progress to 2015 in areas from health and gender equality to
enrollment rates, that means Burkina Faso is a failure -- and it joins a number of countries trumpeted as "off track." And despite the
fact that the developing world as a whole has reduced child mortality by a third between 1990 and 2008 alone, meaning millions of
kids are alive today who would be dead if we had the health conditions prevalent at the close of the Cold War, the world as a whole
will surely fail to meet the MGD for child mortality -- and the many successes will be condemned as part of a

losing effort.