2008-08-25

The coming insignificance of the West

I'm only halfway through Physics for Future Presidents, so I haven't yet made it to the part about global warming, but just seeing the energy numbers I quoted in my previous post, and putting that together with the other books I'm reading about the prospects of the American economy and China's, causes me to reach the following conclusions.

The fight against global warming is ridiculous. The fight is being conducted by a minority of the world's population, the West, who currently think that we're the shit, and who think that we have some kind of leadership role and some kind of global responsibilities to uphold.

In reality, we, the West, are 1 billion people in a world that has 6. Our Don Quixotic efforts to counter global warming ignore India and China, who can't be persuaded to give a flying turd about the issue, and who are building coal-fired power plants like crazy. The Chinese add the power-generating equivalent of a large European country in a single year, most of it burning coal.

In coming decades, Asian currencies will slowly appreciate against the dollar and the euro. The standard of living in China and India will rise, and the West will slowly come to see where it now stands. What is currently the West, will then represent about 1/3 of the world's "more or less" developed population. Certainly not enough to assume boastful "leadership roles", or to boss anyone around.

Europe, Australia, and the USA, with our paltry hundreds of millions of people each, will come to seem smallish and less important. The Chinese, Indians and Russians already anticipate this. The full realization just hasn't quite dawned on us yet.

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