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Working for gas

2008-03-25 09:33:21.66644+00 by meuon 38 comments

This artificial article has me laughing. It shouldn't, but as I read about a guy that makes $240/week (12.5k/year) driving a Firebird spending $65/week on gas, my mental image is of that young man, with a mullet, fat tires, a jacked up rear end, and a sticker in the window saying: gas, grass or ass going home to watch Smokey and the Bandit on VHS. "Going out to eat" means eating inside at McDonalds, or under the porch at the BBQ Shack. Yeah, I'm picking on a stereotype, but they picked Camden Alabama, Population < 3000. I can't help it.

Oh, and when I was 18-21, about 80% of my income went to my ride: gas, insurance, tires, parts, speakers...Did I get any sympathy? No.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 13:24:35.140292+00 by: shelleyp

Artificial article? Have you ever been in this area, to see or meet the people you stereotype, or laugh at from the comfort of your insular life where everyone is just like you, which means cool?

Where you have two choices for a job, both of which will most likely end up in China next year if you protest about the low wages?

Where you do have to drive 50, 70, or more miles to work, because there's nothing closer. Not only drive long distances, but on crap roads where you have a good chance ending up dead because you're too tired to get that corner right coming home from working a 12 hour shift.

I never thought I would read such pompous, bigoted, stupid crap in Flutterby.


#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 13:54:38.619028+00 by: Dan Lyke

Shelley, Meuon lives deep in the heart of such culture. If anyone's got a right to point and giggle, it's him.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 14:54:18.068834+00 by: JT

I think if you replace the word "firebird" with "chevette" you described Meuon's youth in striking detail.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 17:03:49.290032+00 by: ziffle

"I never thought I would read such pompous, bigoted, stupid crap in Flutterby."


she must be talking about the 'mullet'

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 17:07:36.022582+00 by: meuon

Actually, it was a Pinto.

Shelley, glad I struck a chord. I lived such a life (no mullet though) and I made choices to do something different, I joined the USAF, got an education in electronics.. and moved around the country for years. It's how I ended up in Chattanooga TN, 'cause there was a job for me here.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 17:10:35.249615+00 by: JT

Pardon my faux paus... I just remembered it was a car that looked like a pregnant rollerskate.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 17:50:45.575124+00 by: Nancy

Meuon in a mullet...I see Halloween potential here. I had the perfect Goodwill jacket for the look (as stereotyped above) but cut it up for quilting. I can see it now - me in Daisy Dukes and Meuon in a mullet -- we'd be warping minds left and right!

Shelley, god love ya, all I can think to say is: get laid. Please. Life will look SO much better! 'Course that might be pompous, bigoted, stupid crap...but I stand by it anyway.

Meuon is a self-professed and unabashed class-ist and elitist. Me too. I also think --no surprise-- that everyone has a 'right' to point and giggle, regardless of their place of residence or any other qualifier. Heck, I have too much fun pointing and giggling to give it up. Plus, some days it's the only way I maintain my (questionable) sanity. We live in a part of the country where moms say to their kids "I'm so mad I'm gonna pinch yer head off and make ya eat it!"

In fact, I'm pointing and giggling right now. (And it's darn HARD to point and type at the same time...giggling is easy...)

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 18:18:14.170303+00 by: TheSHAD0W [edit history]

Has anyone here read the first chapter of Neal Stephenson's Snowcrash? (Has anyone not?)

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 18:34:30.883719+00 by: shelleyp

I would laugh more if I hadn't spent the last week watching people that Meun would probably find equally funny watch their home get flooded, and think how they're going to fix them because they just lost their jobs at the GM plant three months ago.

The point on this "artificial" article is that high gas prices don't just impact on some fat, rich cat in the Hills who drives a humvee. If they had used Pickup, I'm sure that would strike up other equally funny stereotypes. Perhaps you can tell me what they should drive and where they should live that you might actually get the point of the writing--high gas prices hurt a lot of people who don't have an option to "suck it up or ride a bike".

They can't afford new modern vehicles that get 40+ mph, or to live in an area that has a light rail. Yeah, they can move, but what happens to the country when everyone lives in LA, New York, or Chicago?

"Did I get any sympathy?" And there speaks the Libertarian--I got mine and I don't give a crap about you.

I might have accepted your effort at humor, but you lost me when you wrote, "Did I get any sympathy? No." That's not humor--that's smug arrogance. See, I'm better than these twits, you say. You're not laughing with people, you're laughing at people. Not powerful people like Cheney or Bush, but poor people, who don't have much except maybe what little dignity they wrap about themselves. Well, except when sophisticated humorist like yourself strip them even of that.

Sorry, I need to get laid? Perhaps you all need to get a dash of empathy.

I do know one thing--I am not the type of reader you want. I can respect that.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 19:30:17.420786+00 by: spc476

What happens to the country? Um … it goes wild, giving indigenous animals their habitat back and given enough time, old growth forests? An increase in the darter snail population? Larger carbon sinks to counter CO2 increases?

I do know that my friend from Sweden wouldn't have much sympathy for the people in the article. Gas only $3.50/gallon? I won't repeat his language (since, being in Swedish, I don't understand it, and I doubt many people here will) but he'll mumble something about $7.00/gallon and how ridiculously easy it is to get a drivers license here. Gas here in the states is still cheap, compared to most other places outside of OPEC nations.

Also, is GM not allowed to move plants? Once a factory is set up, it must stay up and in operation for the sake of the employees? One thing I have noticed that the Americans in general are more likely to up and move than Europeans (roots? What are those?) The number of people I know who still live in the town they grew up I can count on one hand. So why don't they just up and move?

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 20:09:28.009134+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

Shelley, although the choice and obvious consequences of, by your examples, living in New Orleans or working for GM are less easily tied together, driving a Firebird is clearly a choice with very immediate consequences. Driving a Geo Metro or an old Honda Civic, or even a new Chevy Aveo, and having gas costs be a considerable part of your budget can generate some sympathy from me. Driving a big ol' Pontiac with more engine than is reasonable to have in a street vehicle while complaining about gasoline costs gets derision.

Furthermore, this is exactly what has to happen to shift this country towards lower carbon emissions: Energy has to get more expensive. Yes, this may impact economic classes disproportionately. People who live in cities and have a relatively lower ecological impact and footprint have been subsidizing people who live out in the 'burbs or rurally for quite a while, and we need to encourage the lower impact living. The only way to do that is to remove some of those subsidies to bring higher impact living in-line with its true social costs. It's only if we can put the costs back on those who actually incur them that we can stop the blight that's ravaging inner cities and make living in cities a reasonable economic decision once again.

On GM moving plants, at some point recently it was pointed out to me that if you look at GM's market cap and their manufacturing capabilities, the manufacturing capabilities actually have a negative value. Yep, workers at GM plants are getting such an amazing deal that an acquiring company would want to close all of the GM plants and start from scratch rather than accumulate those liabilities. I find it absurd that GM's executives are pulling any sort of salary or bonuses after making such boneheaded decisions, but if that financial analysis is indeed correct, the right thing for GM to do is to shut down their plants and restart from scratch, in whatever labor markets make the most sense for them to do so. If Target isn't giving you the products you want at a competitive price, you'll go down the street to Wal*Mart. Why should GM be different?

I just got back from a weekend in Fresno. There are a hell of a lot of people out there outside the Bay Area bubble who are making horrendously bad economic decisions, who are driving new cars with bass speakers loud enough to shake my car, so who knows what it's doing to theirs, while spending themselves into oblivion. It is absolutely right that we should subject these people to social ridicule, to disapprove publicly of their behaviors, and to do whatever we can to encourage them to stop their self-destruction. Because their self-destruction carries over to me, it impacts me, it drags me down and make me consider smarmy conceited and privileged actions like "maybe I should move to Canada or New Zealand".

It's one thing to feel sorry for people caught by bad luck and circumstance, it's quite another to watch people make bad decision after bad decision and continue to express sympathy. Yes, I come from privilege, I'm a white male, but yeesh, why should I be subsidizing people, in this case other white males, who can't choose between a car and groceries? It's true that perhaps my cultural background also has some impact on my economic station, but shouldn't we then also be holding those values up as something to aspire to?

My first job out of high school was slingin' boxes and operating a 'stat camera in a print shop, in the South. Some of my coworkers were paying off a trailer and driving a cheap car while trying to build assets. Some of 'em, mullets and all, were driving Firebirds. A few of the latter complained that I worked too fast, that I was making them look bad. If any of that latter group complained about the price of gas I'd have said the same thing to them then that Meuon's saying now, except the culture of that space was that I'd probably have interspersed words like "dumb-ass" in my discourse (because that was the language of the culture).

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 21:08:58.00298+00 by: shelleyp

Dan, I'm not happy to see higher gas prices, but I actually approve that the prices are rising. But higher gas prices are going to have a disproportionate impact on those less wealthy, and I hope I can least maintain enough empathy to say, "That's rought", when it is.

The Firebird is a bad car, true. It's a muscle car and too caught up in the mystic of being macho in the south. But the Jeep Cherokee that's not necessarily a gas guzzler, and not necessarily a bad option if you live in a southern rural area.

You know, this report wasn't saying, "Oh, these poor people". It wasn't talking about subsidizing the Firebird owner. It was stating a fact--it's not just the rich cats who are going to be impacted at the pump. There's going to be a lot of folks less well off who are going to have to make a choice between eating healthy and driving to work.

I suppose it is all their fault for living in the south, same as it's the fault of people living in the midwest that we have to suffer through floods--by the way, I live in St. Louis. You know, the city that flooded last week? Of course, if people didn't live here, you wouldn't have the wheat used to make your bread, the corn used to feed chickens to give you eggs, and so on.

Flutterby has always been about tolerance, understanding different viewpoints, and lifestyles. Is that all a lie? Is it really only about lifestyles you think are cool? You think are hip? Or is it understanding all the many different lifestyles making up this country. Not approving of, or supporting, understanding.

People aren't going to change if you call them dumb shmucks, and make them feel like stupid hicks. All that does is create yet more insular communities of people banded together by anger, and fear.

It wasn't that meuon cracked jokes about the mullet, I've done the same. It was that last part--that incredible arrogance. "I am right, and you are stupid." That's little different in attitude than Bush, and see what that's bought us.

You know, I had a chance to meet with people who watched as their homes were flooded this last week. These are new areas being flooded, as the climate changes and the rivers grow increasingly higher every year. Some people, though, had been flooded more than once.

Not one of them evidenced any self pity, or asked for a hand out, though there will be disaster aid. Most handled the event with such dignity and even humor. Life throws them adversity and they deal with it.

They aren't all that much different than the folks in Camden, other than living closer to a city, and muscle cars not being very popular in Missouri (it's pickups here). The point I'm trying to make is I do see demographics, I see people. And I may not agree with their lifestyle, but I can sure recognize their fear.

I wonder how the people of California will handle the next big earthquake. I wonder if I should even care--after all, you all made the choice to live in a earthquake prone area.

It's not up to me to lecture, though. I hate that. You're all adults and its up to you to live the life you choose, including how you view others. It's then up to me to agree, or not, to continue reading or not. I'm tired and cranky, or I would have just let it slide. Sorry.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 21:09:44.791229+00 by: shelleyp

Sorry, typo:

The point I'm trying to make is I don't see demographics, I see people

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 21:43:48.555264+00 by: topspin

shelley, I feel you on the looking at people, not demographics, and I live where meuon lives. I work closely with folks who bring home roughly 1/10th of what I do and the impact on them from rising prices saddens me.

We talk about choices, but there is a strong cultural, social difference between my co-workers and myself. The delayed gratification concept escapes most of my co-workers; the drastic effect education could make for them doesn't seem to sink in; the suggestion that sinking their tax refund/stimulation check toward an XBOX Elite probably isn't a wise move falls flat on them.

I waver between sympathy and disgust some days. I have lent money to them to bail them out, done research for them toward getting a technical certification which would increase their pay, sought out information for them in other areas which they might pursue which interest them, but it never comes to much. They simply, sadly lack something..... I cannot honestly say what.... which keeps them in the same lifestyle, often the same lifestyle their parents and grandparents chose.

Certainly I commend you for standing by those folks who lost their homes in the floods, but I encourage you to be there with advice, watch their decision making, encourage them to look beyond what is their "birthright" homes and activities. I have watched this for a number of years and it continues to sadden me 95% of the time as I watch folks sink, not just because of circumstances, but also because of a series of badly thought out choices.

The mud doesn't just suddenly appear in a flood, usually, the water rises slowly.....

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 21:50:05.486722+00 by: Dan Lyke

If you've got cookies enabled (and no points off if you don't, the Flutterby system mostly works without cookies), you can directly edit your posts. I also totally understand wanting to post an addendum to point out the correction though, just in case folks read it before the correction.

I used to hang out with hang glider pilots, and they had an expression to deal with the loss of someone auguring in: "they died with bugs in their teeth". They were doing what they loved doing, and knew the risks. Living in earthquake or flood or fire or mudslide or tornado country is no different. If you see someone about to launch without clipping in, say something, and help evac 'em when they crash, but don't ascribe the results to luck and if they keep doing it don't cry too hard when they do crater.

My read on the article Meuon linked had two major points: First, that the reporter had gone out of his way to find a worst case scenario, which justified the "artificial article" comment, but second that several of the people quoted were whiners. If you want to make the trade-offs to live in rural Alabama, that's fine, but if you're choosing between putting gas in your car or buying food for your kids you've either made some bad decisions, or you should move.

So here, I guess, is the real opportunity for learning: Ridicule may just cause polarization, but how else do we tell people "don't have kids you can't afford" and "you're making trade-offs"? After the mumbledy gazillionth time something is said respectfully, we're just being enablers, making self-destructive behavior possible.

I think this is the real problem: It's fine to draw the short straw now and then, but if you're gonna keep cutting them yourself the sympathy is gone. And after seeing quite a few situations up close and personal (which I've largely stayed quiet about on Flutterby 'cause if you can't say anything nice, but email for details...) I'm no longer okay with handing out the scissors.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 22:54:26.661041+00 by: polly

dan said, "First, that the reporter had gone out of his way to find a worst case scenario," it always seems to me that the national news sees the WORST of chattanooga when doing a news report. i have yet to see someone on national news from chattanooga who has their teeth, hair, can talk without a HICK accent, and wearing clothes NOT from goodwill. talk about hillbilly stereotyping, ugh!

shelly, my advice to you is get to know the person before you blast them. being on cyberspace is very limiting. words do not "sound" with emotion, typos can really change the meaning of a word. i'm thinking you have put too much emphasis on the article and meuon's interpretation of it. it is a tiny part of the big picture. gas is going up, there is NO reason for gas to be so expensive, our president sucks and the next one is going to be questionable.

nancy and meuon are really neat and interesting people. get to know them and appreciate the qualities they bring to flutterby. everyone is a friend here.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 23:57:04.783505+00 by: Nancy

"It's not up to me to lecture"

Sure it is! That's what Flutterby is to me...a place where anyone can say anything and everyone chimes in. The more the merrier and the more viewpoints the better. But if you hate to lecture, then for sure don't - it'll only make ya more tired and cranky. Which is a bummer.

"You're not laughing with people, you're laughing at people."

True. That's part of who I am. I laugh with people. I laugh at people. I can't help it. And I actually have a middling capacity for empathy, but I didn't always. Maybe I laugh at people less than I used to..haven't thought about it. Or maybe I need more empathy. I didn't know St. Louis flooded again. I'm sorry you live there. (Okay, that was not my best try at empathy, admittedly.)

"Not powerful people like Cheney or Bush, but poor people"

Not true. I laugh at Cheney and Bush too. I'm a pretty much equal opportunity laugher. And it's not always 'that's so funny' laughs; usually it's 'I can't believe this' laughs. I work with bankruptcy clients nearly every day. And so they tend to provide quite a bit of fodder. The choices they make are truly astounding. And most of it is choice, tho admittedly not all. One lady spent thirty-five HUNDRED dollars on lottery tickets. Oh, and (but?) the checks were bad. But she didn't mean for them to be bad. If she'd actually had the money, it would have gone for lottery tickets.

I go home every day feeling richer and smarter than the day before.

I am an elitist. I am better than other people. (And I think I'm neat and interesting as are most people I encounter, including but not limited to, Polly and probably Shelly if I knew her.) I am privileged. And I'd make a really, really rotten social worker.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 23:59:45.81413+00 by: meuon

"everyone is a friend here" - Actually, we aren't. Some of us have even been sued or possibly assaulted by others here. I do respect and in some cases admire others viewpoints (like Ziffle's) even when we don't agree. Even yours, ShelleyP. But a lot of us ARE friends. Dan has a tradition of bringing together people of many viewpoints for rational intelligent conversations. We are probably ARE all friends of Dan, directly or indirectly.

My points were: 1. It was an artificial article. Those people in Camden probably pay a higher percentage of their income for food and everything else as well. The reporter picked a statistical low point to do a story probably because his editor told him to.

  1. It gave me a very funny mental image. The writer could have talked about the guy driving a Fiesta as well. BTW: Around TAG (Tennessee Alabama Georgia), we often call them "TransMaro's" - cause they often have parts from both GM variants. It's funny.. and quite normal for a young person to pay a large percentage of their income in vehicle expenses.

As for seeing people, I see people all the time, like the large chunk of my family now relocated elsewhere, post-Katrina. Some of them near me. People make choices, and have to live with the results. As for flooding in St. Louis, I used to live in Alton IL, I've seen St. Louis flood quite a few times, and people CHOOSE to rebuild on the exact same spot. People that make poor choices.

And to be fair to all regional stereotypes, and not just pick on Camden Alabama.

Alton/E. St. Louis, Illinois- Descendants of people whom were told to "Go West" and were afraid to cross the big river.

St. Louis, Missouri (Misery): Descendants of people whom, when "Going West", crossed the big river and exclaimed: "We're there!".

Chattanooga Tennessee: Descendants of survivors of the "War of Northern Aggression", Carpetbaggers and Injun killers. - Dispite that, a pretty decent place to live, now. I bought high ground, on purpose. I try to make good choices, but sometimes I make epic mistakes as well.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 01:22:46.841466+00 by: polly

nancy, i think kids would love to have you for their social worker :} you could bring the "magic" back into their lives.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 01:29:05.581844+00 by: polly

OH, by the way, change of subject and speaking of social work...andy & i have three new foster kids. our youngest of the the two sisters we adopted turned 18 and moved out. our new "kids" are 8th grade, 6th grade, and 3rd grade...neat kids, messed up parents. it looks like they will be with us for awhile, makes me feel young :> having kids in the house.

"Carpetbaggers and Injun killers", i guess i could be considered a carpetbagger, my people are from iowa and i don't think andy would appreciate the injun killers, he's cherokee..the eastern band out of alabama. i hear there's a lot of expensive gas in alabama.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 02:09:55.557667+00 by: Dan Lyke

Cool, Polly! There's a pretty strong Mentor program here in Petaluma, there's a kid who joins one of the regular rides mentored by one of the stronger riders, and I've been thinking about participating in that now that the rat boys[Wiki] are off to grander things.

Back to my complaint above: I asked:

Ridicule may just cause polarization, but how else do we tell people "don't have kids you can't afford" and "you're making trade-offs"?

That's not a rhetorical question, that's something I'd dearly like to have the answer to. There are a few acquaintances who need the lesson, and I'm trying to communicate what I see as the answer, but haven't managed it yet.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 03:16:24.996465+00 by: polly

i think the department of children's services would appreciate the answer to that one! they deal with "throw away" children every day. "don't have kids you can't afford"...that is the predicament my "kids" are in. their parents are homeless and can't afford to take care of their kids. they are divorced and it's a very nasty situation. fortunately for these kids, the state stepped in before something really bad happened to the kids. chattanooga has seen more infant and young children's deaths in the past two years than has been seen in a long time. parents were druggies, unemployed, single/divorced, poor...the children are the ones who suffer.

dan, "big brother/big sister" programs are always in need of mentors! :>

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 11:34:37.150898+00 by: DaveP

Saw a sign or T-shirt on the TV yesterday that seems to fit: "If you are what you eat, I'm fast, easy, and cheap!"

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 15:42:47.93152+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

"don't have kids you can't afford"

I'm not familiar with the situation of polly's foster kids, so what I say might not apply to them. Still, when the parent's had the kids, were they homeless and divorced? It's easy to say now that they obviously can't afford the children, but did they know when the children were born what their situation would be like now?

That's the danger of telling people "You obviously can't afford your kids, and shouldn't have had them." Sure, a lot of people make mistakes that way or don't think about the costs of their children but even with every precaution, shit happens, and you can't judge someone's situation from an encounter with them in Wal-Mart (and, no, I'm not suggesting that the specific circumstances mentioned in this thread fall in to the "Wal-Mart" encounter category ... though I've been tempted in those situations.)

For myself, I haven't thought through a lot of the financial consequences of my children, but so far I've been blessed enough to take care of them fairly decently. (Then again, I don't have to drive anywhere to work.)

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 15:44:23.093135+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

... quite normal for a young person to pay a large percentage of their income in vehicle expenses.

Yeah, but the guy is 30. Not a guy fresh out of high school.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 16:04:02.111537+00 by: JT [edit history]

"don't have kids you can't afford"

You need a license to drive a car, you have an age requirement to drink, you need to have a background check to buy a gun. Seems there should be requirements for people to have children as well. Anybody can pump out as many as they want and no one can say anything about it... no matter how poorly equipped emotionally, physically, or mentally they are to have children.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 17:08:11.202702+00 by: meuon

I gotta pick here, it is Alabama after all: Are you sure? he might have graduated high school at 28. - It just adds to that funny mental image for me.

As the human species is reaching population levels worldwide that the planet is having issues supporting, intelligent people are making choices to not have as many kids. At least those not poisoned by bad religious doctrine or arcane social forces to procreate aggressively. This affects, well, just about everything.

It comes down to: The only cure is smarter people. Our educational systems are partially to blame, our parenting skills (mine especially) are to blame, but it comes down to looking at ourselves in the mirror, and making hard choices and an effort to make things better.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 17:22:11.242522+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

"The only cure is smarter people"

Smarter people don't make a better, safer world. It takes something else. At least, I won't accept that "smarter people" is the answer, unless you define "smarter".

Beyond, that it all sounds like eugenics to me ... something I could never agree to, no matter how popular it becomes or how necessary people seem to think it is.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 18:12:24.665643+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

jt: licensing (stupid as I think it is) doesn't ensure that you won't later run into a situation where you become homeless.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 18:21:15.58254+00 by: meuon [edit history]

"Smarter" defined: UUuuhhh. Duuuh... Well, Eugenics wasn't really where I was going, and I understand "smarter" is very broad and leads to lots of sub area's. I'll say "smarter" in this context means able to make better choices, not only for self, but for society on the whole.

We don't all have to be rocket scientists, but choosing to drive a Firebird (even with an i4 or v6) 80 miles each way as a daily driver might be his only choice (for now), hopefully Corey is considering options ranging from moving closer, to creating or finding a better job closer to home to trading "down" to something with lower operational costs.

I've made lot of hard choices lately, and am currently working 12+hrs a day for a while because of them. I think it'll pay off, eventually.. hopefully soon.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 18:22:07.97462+00 by: JT

No, however letting population run rampant doesn't do much for anything. Being able to provide for a child at the time of birth doesn't guarantee you'll be able to always provide for it, but it is a start. Allowing unmarried teens with no education, propensity to provide care, or dependable income to have children isn't such a bright idea either.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 19:02:47.9846+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

meuon, great, I'll agree people need to make better choices. And I'll agree that Corey really needs to examine his choices. But "better choices" is pretty subjective. Especially when you say someone needs to make better choices for society as a whole.

I mean, I'm for the concept of more people making overall better choices. I'm just not sure I want to put any one person or group of people in charge of deciding which choices to encourage and which to punish. I'm not all that comfortable with our current criminal justice system. I would hate to see how it had to be expanded to enforce "better choices ... for society on the whole."

Still, "choices" is, in my opinion, the operative word.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-26 19:04:26.93876+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

jt: tell us how you would enforce child-bearing licenses. I'm not very interested in any of the enforcement ideas that spring to mind.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-27 00:21:01.685701+00 by: JT

I wasn't pointing out a solution, just stating a problem.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-27 00:55:23.646032+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

jt: what's the problem? "People I think shouldn't have kids are having them"?

And you did mention licensing, which sounds like at least the beginnings of a proposed solution.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-27 13:17:32.310702+00 by: JT

No, I'm mentioning that the world is overpopulated. It seems our population density is a little higher than the planet can handle. Couple that with me handling ten years worth of child abuse and neglect cases, and it gives me a rather bitter outlook on the types of people that have the potential to have 6 children in their trailer or government sponsored apartment while they depend on government and public programs to protect those children.

If you're saying none of this is a problem, that's fine. I'd like to see, although I'm not proposing a way to do this, a way to train mothers and verify that people are emotionally, mentally, and financially capable of bringing another human being into the world before they do so.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-27 14:19:47.47725+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

Problem or not, the world population isn't expected to peak for a while. The estimates I've seen say somewhere around 10 Billion. So if we have too many now, just wait!

I'm sympathetic with your concerns. This past month I went to Rwanda and saw women with children everywhere. The population of Rwanda is expected to double by 2020. When I was traveling through the country, it seemed like 80% of arable land was used. But then, most farmers are subsistence there. Agriculture is going to have to rapidly advance and urbanization grow if the population is to double.

FWIW, the organization I'm working with is involved in family planning programs through out Africa and parts of Asia. One thing I've noticed is that FP has historically focused on women and left men out of the picture. "Training Mothers" is great, but what about the (potential) fathers? They are, as report put it, "the forgotten partner." In researching FP and men, I was surprised at how much the US neglects men compared other countries ... including programs that USAID funds in other countries. There are some pretty dire consequences to the myopic focus on (poor) women when it comes to family planning.

While I agree that more prepared parents would be a good thing, I don't think there is a platonic ideal when it comes to parenting. Which means that we will always have (relatively) bad parents with us.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-27 16:37:20.18578+00 by: JT [edit history]

According to this http://www.ibiblio.org/lunarbin/worldpop we should reach 10b people around Dec 17th, 2034. If I remember correctly, when I was a kid, we were told that humans would reach a balance with the environment at around 5b people. Over that and we would consume more resources (water, land usage for agriculture, O2/CO2/CO balance, etc) than the earth could sustain. Looks like we're pushing 6.8b and starting to hit major droughts and odd environmental anomalies. I wonder what it'll be like when we're close to 10b.