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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 2, 1975)
WHAT did you 00 ovtR
VACATION , MLPH ?
X WENT SKIING
World facing era of crises with no solutions
We are at the beginning of an era in which crises
overlooked until quite recently are now occurring
with such rapidity that our ability to deal with them
is being shaken.
Almost without exception, we barely decide that a
problem should be resolutely faced, construct
solutions, and finally find out that conventional
wisdom and solutions are woefully inadequate, before
a new crisis intrudes.
That problems seem to arrive in groups is hardly a
mere coincidence. Instead, it is a clear indication that
various crises are different interrelated aspects of a
more basic ill.
To view each crisis as a separate case, with scant
relationships to the others, and with its own
particular solution, is to completely misread the
situation and thus waste valuable time on hopeless
solutions. One cannot successfully alter one facet of a
complex problem if other facets remain the same, for
the patterns are interdependent and reinforce one
For instance, hunger might be eliminated within
10-15 years if all available resources were directed
into a single-minded, all-out effort to increase food
production. But, obviously the costs ' would be
prohibitive. The same type of effort could be made to
meet energy needs-with the same results. Clearly
such single-minded, all-out approaches to problem
solving would be disastrous. Yet, such approaches are
the only way that our present piecemeal efforts could
completely ease a particular problem.
Crisis must be dealt with not as an isolated
phenomenon, but as a larger complex of problems
that together constitute the crisis of modern life.
On the one hand, modern industrial nations, and
all those underdeveloped nations which aspire to such
status, pursue fallacy through their commitment to
ever increasing economic growth in a world where
resources are finite.
In a finite world such as ours, each nation is in a
viciously competitive zero-sum game. That is, for an
industrial nation to have the necessary economic and
raw materials at its disposal to support increasingly
higher levels of growth, other nations must give up
those resources. When the United States wins, others
Taking food as an example, industrial nations
heavily depend upon oil-base fertilizers and herbicides
to support their agricultural system. Abundance and
variety of agricultural products is a keystone of
growth economics-one need only Jook at the glut of
"junk foods", tobacco products, alcoholic beverages,
cotton-based paper and fabric, wood products and so
on to realize the importance of fertilizer and
herbicides to industrial growth.
rhymes end reasons
Fertilizer and herbicide prices in the past two
years have skyrocketed, due mainly to increased oil
prices. When oil is expensive, only the richer
countries can afford it thus rising prices put fertilizer
and herbicides out of the hands that need them the
most. Gluttonous consumption supports economic
growth while other nations struggle to produce the
bare necessities. .
Industrial nations can no longer aim for yearly
increases in the gross national product and a
continually rising standard of living.
This will mean that industrial economics will have
to seek a new level of equilibrium away from the
growth Tor growth's sake mentality. Cuts in the
present living standards will be a likely consequence,
but increased efficiency and less waste would
minimize these cuts.
Of course, world-wide problems are not entirely
caused through economic exploitation by industrial
nations. The root problem of demand for resources
outstripping supply is a two-headed monster.
Beyond the disproportional use of resources by
some nations, is the problem of burgeoning
In 1850, world population was one billion; in
1920, two billion; in 1975, four billion; and prospects
are for the population to reach eight billion by 2010.
The positions of some underdeveloped nations and
the Pope are today as untenable as those of industrial
nations which were discussed above. Birth control
and population planning is rapidly moving beyond
the stage of individual preference and into the realm
of necessity. At least elementary population planning
can no longer be rationally opposed by either the
Church or poor nations.
On the short-range basis, mankind must recognize
that shortages are unavoidable and must be dealt with
through conservation and more efficient recycling
But the critical question is whether we. can face
the fact that the crises that afflict us are not separate
problems, but merely aspects of a greater
problem-that of exponential growth in a finite
Exponential growth in both economics and
population are at the heart of our problems.
Because the world has so eagerly agreed to
insanely disregard any limits for either economic or
population growth, all have had to convince
themselves that this willingness is right and good. Any
change in their positions would mean that someone
was wrong-and we all know that the Pope is
infallible. . .and Americans. . .and Indians. No one
can or will admit that long-held commitments have
outlived their usefulness and are increasingly
dangerous. As in dramatic tragedy, overweening pride
seems likely to bring tragic results.
GET OUT YOUR, CRAYONS, WYS i GIRLS
m ME WE U.S. WINES.
(color "them khaki)
7rtoEY ARE RAISING THE FLAG
II (color it red vrih
wnan counTru'st iaa ts
wtih a callow star?
1 vr 7fefj--v
If l S wwVY II
Ati?Y2SI TO e3l9N h
Wednesday, april 2, 1975
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