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  • Christian Armbruester

Finite Resources

The best example of why you can’t please everyone was mostly aptly explained by an episode of South Park, the highly satirical TV cartoon show based on four highly grown up and cynical fourth graders. In this story, their little town, somewhere near Denver, Colorado in the USA, was being invaded by people that came from the future. Rampant over population had made life impossible several hundred years forward and hence with the help of a time machine, people sought refuge in the past. As more and more people showed up from the future, conditions in the present rapidly deteriorated. Until our favourite (cartoon) character finally explained to the people of the future, that if they all come here it is no different than where they came from. So, for the sake of not ruining things for the people in the present, couldn’t they just figure things out on their end?

And here we are, removed from the imagination of a child like character, but very much trying to come to grips with the same problem: finite resources will eventually make enemies out of the best of friends. How do we solve this conundrum? Well, there really is no easy way to decide who gets to live and who gets to die, for someone will always lose. The penguins have an interesting way of dealing with this dilemma: backed up against the edge of a cliff and certain of death, they begin to move about amongst themselves, almost in a circular motion. Every so often, one of them will find themselves at the wrong spot at the wrong time and will be bumped off the cliff. They keep doing this until enough of their kind have perished so that the vast majority can survive.

As we cast our sorrowed eyes towards the billion of us that are starving to death, is this what we are doing when we just put things down to natural selection? Not easy to come to grips with, but you would hope that given a choice, all of us would probably sacrifice a little so that others may be (much) better off. It is the reason charities and philanthropy are thriving and human compassion is a very good thing indeed. But we also know that it is better to teach people how to farm than keep giving them food. So beyond our well-intended acts of giving (a little), the problem needs to be solved.

So what is it that can be done that would strike out hunger for ever, save mankind, the planet and bestow true happiness to everyone forever? Easy, cut out the extremes and give that which people (really) don’t need to those that are literally dying for it. I mean who needs three yachts, five houses, palaces and all that power anyway? But wouldn’t you know it, for some that is just too much to give up and the world will keep on fighting until all of us will be long gone or someone comes up with a better idea.


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