Thursday, December 20, 2007

A simple kind of life....

"I don't know how it got to this point.
Now all those simple things are simply too complicated for my life
How'd I get so faithful to my freedom?
A selfish kind of life
When all I ever wanted was the simple things
A simple kind of life "

-No Doubt, "A Simple Kind of Life"

Paul Krugman demonstrates the power of "a picture is worth a thousand words" in his blog post which share a graph he created based on the data in this post and I insert it here:

Krugman fails to label the axis but the horizontal axis is years since the Kyoto accord and the vertical is the metric tons of CO2 emissions created by different countries. I won't comment on the graph or what it means. It's pretty self explanatory about the trends. But continuing this theme about lifestyle and the environment the question is why?

The NY Times has a series of series of articles on China choking on growth. One of the culprits in China's industrial drive is to service us and the rest of the world with cheap products. When raw materials are commodities and effectively the same price, the differentiator is labor. And China has a lot of it. I will never forget a conversation I had with a man working on a construction project in China and he described a story of how he was going to bring in some expensive equipment to some excavation and the local foreman said no way. He would call up men in a week to do it and cheaper, and sure enough thousands of men showed up to do the excavation.

China has been industrializing all the dirty things we no longer will do ourselves, and we drive them with our desire for cheap products. And we want more and more, but what's the kicker is as much as they are building for us. They are building for themselves too. They want cheap products too. So production is increased, and all the associated emissions that come with it. Today, a car is the Chinese dream. They are replicating us with the same factories for themselves.

If we're to be able to get them to buy more efficient goods, we have to insist on more efficient good from them for them and for us. All those simple things that we want, they want. Or as No Doubt says "all those simple things are simply too complicated for my life. How'd I get so faithful to my freedom? A selfish kind of life"


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