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At the Brink of Civilisation

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posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 09:17 PM


To anyone who is willing to take a moment to step away from their personal lives and take a look all around us, it is abundantly clear that humanity finds itself in a truly dire state of affairs, today, at the beginning of the 3rd millennium CE.

I think it is safe to say that all of us now can look back at the past mistakes we have made through the things that seemingly divide us, our race, gender, class, religion, nationality, and understand that these factors stand in pale comparison next to the similitude of our shared identity as one species of intelligent and sentient beings upon this same planet. Without denying the many barriers that still do stand in the way of our global cohesion, it is clear that we are all essentially part of the same community that shares a citizenship of this Earth, and indeed the universe at large.

Today, perhaps more than ever in the past, people place a tremendous value on the life of the individual. Personal autonomy and the freedom to express ones individuality are amongst some of our most treasured shared values. We need only to look within ourselves to see how much importance we place on our own personal dreams and aspirations, the plans of our future, and our rights to enact upon these ambitions. And yet we are surrounded by millions of people who have been denied access to these same values wholesale. People who we have somehow managed to ignore, or exclude from the fact of our global communion.

I would like to take this opportunity to express some of the most basic goals that any community would and should aspire to achieve and how easily attainable these goals are to current humanity. Through all of this I will also show the extent to which humanity has failed itself.

Any community should be able to provide the following for all of its constituents:

Adequate food and water for an acceptable standard of basic health

A reasonable living space, ie. a home, for all

Basic education to allow for the pursuit of life ambitions

Provide for the energy needs of its citizens


It is interesting to note how often issues such as global poverty, malnutrition and the like are touted by politicians and the popular media alike, yet they unanimously ignore the feasibility of solving these issues. Indeed it could be argued that the above problems are presented in such a way as to convince the average person in the developed world that these are indeed near impossible obstacles to overcome.

Yet the only obstacles standing in the way are, MONEY and LABOUR. Both of which, we have clearly have an abundance of. Labour is a non-issue, there are more than enough people around to make all of these things happen, you only need to look at the abundance of young people today looking to spend a year somewhere in a foreign country, earning only enough to get by, and working to make a difference.


To get an understanding of how much money is being passed around the world, I will only present to you some of the most superfluous and wasteful of such transfers. I could have included an absence of conflict and war to the list of basic necessities, but look at what is being spent on killing:

  • $5 Billion - the cost of the war in Iraq every month 1

  • $2 Trillion - the combined cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan 2

  • $1.1 Trillion - the amount the entire globe spent on war in 2004 3

  • $379 Billion - annual revenue of Wal-Mart 4

  • $62 Billion - one persons net worth 5


  • $250 Billion - much talked about, little done about, the total of Africa's debt 6.

Less than the annual revenue of Wal-Mart. This debt causes untold suffering for millions of Africans and their economies, and every year huge meetings between the world's powers meet to discuss how to overcome this 'insurmountable' problem.


  • 924 million people worldwide, or 31.6 per cent of the global urban population are living in slums 7.

I do not have a figure that includes all of the worlds homeless, but the vast majority of these do live in urban areas. This is clearly a huge challenge the world must face, because building adequate housing is inescapably an expensive task.

The South African government have in recent times made the housing of the poor one of their prime objectives, and have in so doing build hundreds of thousands of low cost houses that would meet the minimum requirements for a descent, if basic, family home. This is what they look look like:

They cost about R35 000, or $3 700 each to build I believe these costs could be reduced if the model were applied around the world. But assuming this amount, it would cost about,

  • $3.5 Trillion to provide universal housing for those without (at a liberal estimation).

About the cost of the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan plus one years global military expenditure.

...(Continued below)...

[edit on 17-10-2008 by The_Modulus]

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 09:18 PM

  • 100 Million - the amount of third-world children without schooling 8.

It is difficult to estimate the exact amount it would cost to provide universal education for all of these people, but there are numerous examples by which it is possible to build schools from scratch for as little as, $12 500 9 and $10 000 10. Again, these costs could be reduced through human effort and community-tailored cooperation.

Assuming schools can reach an average of 200 pupils per school, we will need 500 000 schools, and if we decide to ensure a sound investment for the future and spend liberally at $25 000 per school we will need,

  • $12.5 Billion for school buildings themselves

If we assign 7 staff members to each school to keep classes under 30 pupils and pay them liberally at $10 000 a year, and spend a generous $70 000 on educational supplies we will need a further $35 Billion.

  • $47.5 Billion - for universal basic education, less than the net worth on one individual.


  • 1 Billion - the amount of people without adequate water supply 11

  • 777 Million - the amount of people who go undernourished 12

The problem of supplying both food and water is one that is a little more complex than just throwing money around. It is well known that global food production itself outstrips global demand. But because these problems need to be solved by local sustainable farming practices, not just aid, it is a problem that requires human labour and planning. This is something the world clearly has enough of.


One issue which has gained much attention lately is that of energy and the perceived scarcity thereof. Our basic goal would be to provide for all of our electric needs (I am excluding non-electric energy needs) with renewable energy sources, so that we neither run into the political problems oil has brought us, destroy our environment, and achieve energy inexpensively.

  • 1.7 Terawatts - the entire world's electricity usage in 2000 13. Although I'm having difficulty verifying this figure, the other I've come up with is that our current usage is 15 Terawatts 14

There is currently a tremendous flush of renewable energy plants being constructed around the world, in particular solar and wind power. Here are some examples of ones that have recently been built, or are in the process of construction:

  • 300MW plant is Spain, costing $1.6 billion 15

  • 154MW plant in Australia, costing $300 million 16

  • 550MW plant in California, costing $3 billion 17

Perhaps even more promising is wind power, which is much more efficient:

  • 520MW farm in Ireland, which is set to provide for a whopping 10% of the countries entire electricity needs 18

  • The US thus far spent about $3 billion on wind power providing a total of 2300MW 19

  • 4000MW farm proposed to be built in Texas for $10 billion 20

If we assume our current needs are around 15 Terawatts, we will need about 3750 Texan-style wind farms, at a substantial,

  • $37 Trillion for renewable energy that could subsequently be made free.

This is clearly a substantial amount of money, and something that could not occur overnight. But electricity is not something that needs to be solved in this way immediately, this is only an illustration as to it's viability of establishing energy independence in about 20 years or so.


I do not wish propose that all of the worlds problems can be solved overnight at the drop of a hat, but i hope that this at least puts the situation into a little perspective. Humanity clearly has many problems that it needs to sort out, and it seems as though we lack only the global will to do so. There is enough money, there are enough people, there are enough ideas and there is enough technology to make this work. There is no reason why anyone should be without these basic, fundamental necessities.

It is no longer a question of whether we can, but a question of whether we want to do something.

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 09:41 PM
it's nice to see someone trying to solve the problems instead of seeing them as an immovable wall.

i think if more people focused on helping the rest of the world we truly could overcome a great deal of the issues that seem so important to us now.

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 09:48 PM
reply to post by The_Modulus

Cloud not have put it better.
A lot of this has been placed on numerous tables, and summarily brushed off like so many crumbs.
No one can answer that question, because we just don't know.
Are we truly beyond saving when we won't get off of the mother f'in couch and do something about the world?
Is American Idol that G'damn important that we sacrifice our free time on stupidity and valueless entertainment while Governments and Corporations all over the word rape, pillage, and execute our very brethren.
I will say this till I die, "Apathy can be overcome by, educating ourselves, becoming informed, sharing what we learn and positive encouragement."
You are on the right path.
One person can have hope enough for us all.

[edit on 17/10/2008 by reticledc]

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 09:49 PM
this a great solution and synthesis to some of our world problems. The problem is, your goal will be harder to realize for exactly the reason you are making this thread, we are not in fact living in an ideal society. We came close in the Renaissance period and then withered away.

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 09:53 PM
I've known for some time that there are many solvable problems in this world that are blind to location, ethnicity, upbringing and so fourth. It's pretty hard to ignore it, but it just always seems to slip by, it's lost in the rhetoric of every day hustle and bustle. There is always a donation cup in every check out line in every super market to help miscellaneous disease(s) or the hunger foundation's cause. It always seems that so much is being done but, so much is being left undone.

I really appreciate you posting this, it did put in retrospect much of the problems we as humanity are going through. Hopefully one day 'the want to do something' can overcome the 'can we do something.'


posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 10:01 PM
Its probably important to realize that the time to act is now, for people that are concerned about these things. Don't wait for the rest of the world to wake up, because who knows when that'll happen. So if you find this is a worthy cause, spend your time and money trying to improve the situation, do whatever you can now to help it. Right now a good deal of what can be done to help these people is sending in money for food, or equipment ect. Don't wait for government money to be thrown at this and contribute your own efforts, however small or large that might be.

[edit on 17-10-2008 by ghaleon12]

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 11:16 PM
i'm mentioned this a real long time ago as well.

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 11:36 PM
If you want to improve an individuals life in a 3rd world country directly, then I suggest you visit I actually have an account with this organization, and I've made a little over 30 micro loans at this point. I recently had my first default loan to an individual in a 3rd world country due to the bank failing. I can honestly say, I didn't care about that default. Great organization, doing great work.

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 11:39 PM
I cant believe I am posting here but a...

we are a helluva lot better then we were 200 years ago...

does anyone agree ?

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 11:49 PM
reply to post by R3KR

I've only been around for 38 years, but I'd have to say NO.

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 11:58 PM
This will be a manner of discipline for the masses, not a hopeless situation. The devil's in the details, and never a moment too soon. Despite my willingness to participate in the biggest revolution facing mankind, I feel I'm much too young to do anything significant, the only worthwhile piece of wisdom with which I can help is to keep myself informed and those around me. However there are those who can make a big difference with expertise and experience, guiding us through with protocols for rigid structuring of new systems and development. Not to mention also the technologies being perfected which surpass our current capabilities.

Everyone else is before me. I am ready, whatever it takes.

posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 12:06 AM
Nice post ..I am of the opinion that it needs to start with each one of us ..
We can start in our own neighborhood ...
There are so many neighbors in need around my area that I know if everyone would just go and help even in a small way would help alot ..I cannot do it all myself I have too many neighbors who are in need ...(And I know there are others who are trying to help everyone while everyone else just stands by and does nothing) >...We need more people to just go next door and do something they may need you to do if not that then take over something freshly baked to a bachelor or some family who eats nothing but canned goods ..(They would love that )..give money to someone who needs it unanimously even if you want to .... ...My other neighbor who trys to help people...mows yards for those who cant in our neighborhood ..he takes in the stray cats and dogs even LOL Yeah I know thats so sweet ..

Remember the movie PAY IT FORWARD>.
I wished that movie would get played a few times a week and that it touched enough people to really see how that in itself could work ..If everyone did something for another in times of need .it would already be a better world ..
We need to get off of SELF ...and onto those who are truly in need ..
Not just of money and food ..but in any way you can ...especially love though .that is really what this world is lacking these days more than anything else.Put ourselves in anothers shoes ..that will make us all want to help in anyway we can to anyone we can .............

posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 01:29 AM
As long as there are humans there will be greed. Greed is a characteristic of almost every human being. Greed is the reason that we are living in a world that knows such social differences. And my friend, greed will never disappear as long as there are humans.

posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 02:17 AM
Great post.

However, someone mentioned that the "devil is in the details." And I agree. Forgive my cynicism but most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom while trying to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own.

Tell me how we can accomplish your vision without bureaucracy, centralized planning, theft, socialism, dependence, pauperization, inefficiency, greed and waste? How do we do it without converting the world into a nursery of policemen and self-serving busybodies?

I believe with all the fabric of my being that if our goal really is mankind's well being, we can accomplish it one-way and one way only. The Bill of Rights– and that is all. It may be flawed, but it's a whole lot better than what we have now.

[edit on 18-10-2008 by METACOMET]

posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 03:45 AM
Great thread! Good research. It can be done but untill now we won't. Thanks for this

The water problems can be tackled with desalination plants like they are doing in Spain.

I will follow this topic from now on, once again, thanks.

posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 04:59 AM
No disrespect meant to Op, but this looks like something straight off the Alliance of Civilizations homepage.

posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 05:23 AM
You forgot medical assistance (tooth ache, glasses...) and means of security (a gun, police, security service or whatever

posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 06:16 AM
While your goals are admirable, I have to disagree. We are not an honest species. We are not a species that cares about others outside our family group.(as a whole).

What you are asking is for the most rich nations in the world, to tax there citizens in order to provide cash to solve the worlds problems.

1.) this is unconstitutional in the U.S., It is NOT the responsibility of our government to eliminate poverty ANYWHERE, but in the U.S.A.

2.) Even if it was to pass, you would have to get around the corruption in our government, the company that manages it, and government of the place you are going into, the local government, and finally, the people themselves. That eats up alot of money that would have worked to help this.

3.) you are assuming that everybody on earth deserves the right to live in a first rate nation. The simple fact is that if this were to happen, it would be globally catasprophic.

The simple fact is a saying comes to mind,
"you can help all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can't help all the people all the time."

That principal applies here. If you want to donate, I think thats great, you should be able to, and you should have some awesome karma because of it, but, to force others to donate is wrong, and thats what you are doing by using our taxes to do it.

I liked the link that got provided above, I'll look it over with my wife and probably do it. A loan under acceptable terms is what these people need, not a hand out.

"Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish feed him for the rest of his life"

Peace love and all that.


posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 07:01 AM
While the goals are amridible, and good natured.

It is simply not the place for the US to be the Govanors of the world, or the world police...

Much less be the Worlds:
Health provider
And supplyer of water...

It is not the place of the US to control the world.
As it is now, the US is in other countries business too much...

Then, even in practice, how would it work?
Who is paying for all this?
Should John Smith pay for everything in some african nation...

I belive that every man should have the oppertunity to better ones self.
Thru thier own hard work, and not thru a goverment hand down.

The plan you layout is a great plan, a wonderful talking point.
But, basicly, it boils down to a one world goverment that uses socialism as its driving force.

As an American that still has respect for this nations founding documents, i find the prospect of a 1 world goverment REVOLTING, and the notion of socailism equaly bad.
Now, this makes me one unpopular person when it comes to politics now... With both of Americas presidentail canidates way off to the left, and wanting to embrave socialism in all parts of our goverment.

So, in theory, its a nice idea, in practice, it would be terrible.

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