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Peace out

The drive back to Tokyo from Nozawa Onsen takes about three or four hours, and it seems longer if you left your iPod at home. So there was plenty of time for me and one of my fellow snowboarders to have a long debate about globalization.

He works on the Peace Boat, which is "a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages." Its purpose is "to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment."

Now, he's a really cool guy, and I like hanging out with him. But as you might expect, his ideas on economics are... interesting.

Key points:

(1) Capitalism is unsustainable because natural resources are limited.

(2) Wealth cannot be created, because it derives from possession of limited natural resources.

(3) To make poor people less poor, we must make rich people less rich.

(4) America is not really a land of opportunity, and immigrants who go there thinking it is are mistaken.

Where to start?

With the concept of free-market capitalism being the most efficient system for rationing limited resources?

With the idea that advances in technology increase productivity and create wealth?

With the fact that poor people benefit when rich people give them jobs?

Or with an immigrant who instantly became one of the wealthiest Americans?

Perhaps the best place to start is with the irony of an anti-capitalist, pro-environment group taking rich tourists around the world on a massive fuel-burning cruise ship.

Fossil fuels for me, it would seem, but not for thee.


Anonymous said...

this is where I wish you had gone into more details, your skimming the surface gives a taste that you have differing world views, but I would have liked more. How does he figure the U.S. is not the land of oppurtunity. More on why he feels capitalism is unsustainable. Doesn't sound like a disagreeable self righteous extremist. Maybe he was all mellowed out from the nice weekend snowboarding. I talked with a snowboarder today, nice guy, three sentences in to our conversation about snow quality in Washington state vs Colorado state, and I could declare with confidence "you are a Republican." Because we started talking about how some scientist predict some of the closer to the coast ski resorts will be effected in the coming years (20? i forget) by global warming. I like the many Republican stands on things, but the way things have to be sold packaged deceitfully sometimes just strikes a warning cord. Same thing with the extremist enviromentalists. A little less chest beating, a little less slickness and packaging all around would be nice. 

Posted by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

(Fasteddie, is that you? Under my new comments system, you have to type your name in the "Name:" field.)

I never said the guy was an extremist, and he is definitely not disagreeable. To the contrary, I specifically said I like hanging out with him.

Basically, it seems to me that his view, at least in part, is that if rich nations agreed to use less of the earth's limited resources, poor nations would be better off. I think he is neglecting things like gains from trade, using limited resources efficiently, and the ability of technology developed in rich nations to help people in poor nations.

About the U.S. being a land of opportunity, I think he is confusing "opportunity" with "guaranteed success".

Beyond that, it is hard for me to explain the logic of his views because I think they are incorrect. 

Posted by GaijinBiker

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't sound like a disagreeable self righteous extremist" yes exactly, he sounds just politically differant then you.
See me coming here is an education. Thing is granolas really have "some" points that are legit, and you "hard hearted" business types have some good points too.
Of course lately the main export of our rich good heartedness amd high technology, is the high tech fire power we've been generous to "export" to the poor nations in the Mid East. Juries out if it will work.

And by the way I just discovered a pretty neocon book I want to read: the Pentagon's New Road Map, by Thomas B M Barnett, then i want to read Neoconomy by some left of center economist who went to Harvard. i am a grass hopper who seeks understanding. This Barnett cat had a neato, enjoyable presentation featured on He almost makes our U.S. brand of fascism appealing. I'm being facetious of course. There may be light at the end of the tunnel, but I don't know if 10- 15 years of bloodshed(worst case?) in Iraq is sustainable. Maybe all the talk of this being another Viet Nam in the making will effect policy. Barnett's vision seems a little more the future I'm interested in. Peace and goofy or regular?


Posted by fasteddie, yes it is I kemo sabe.

Anonymous said...

The latest big export of our goodness and hi tech would seem to be the massive conveyance of relief aid to tsunami victims.

Only America, with its wealth, resources and technology, is capable of acutally delivering (not just pledging) so much tangible aid so quickly. 

Posted by GaijinBiker

Anonymous said...

goofy or regular? how are you an analyst with such attention to detail? Good news PLO says stop attacking Israel. Now what? 

Posted by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Because I pay more attention to my job than to your comments.

And if you think Abbas saying "stop the attacks" really means the attacks will stop, I have a bridge to sell you.

There was a fresh Palestinian attack on Israelis on Tuesday. 

Posted by GaijinBiker

Anonymous said...

that's just sad. i neve said I believed anything, just that it would seem to be a sign of hope, the urging, or what ever the statement was. Good news where there is little. Those people are just fools. The only way to get anything near what they want, or need is to stop the killings.
and fair enuff, but still curious I say regular. :)


Posted by fasteddie



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