"if all the worlds resources were shared equally..." (how many cameras would I get?)

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by nick mulder, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    Hi,

    A bit off topic perhaps, but its a hard topic to search for as the related words tend to be be very common in google.

    I'm looking for info relating to any study or discussion regarding the thought experiment which is as follows:

    "If all the world resources were shared equally among its occupants, what would we be each left with ?"

    I know there is a heap of problems with this, like what is exactly meant by 'resource', and how does one distribute it (like space or perhaps even freedom) and I dont want to get into debate re. all the ins and outs as I'm hoping this has already been done elsewhere on the net and I'd like to have a read.

    Anyone found anything recently or otherwise ?

    I often sit in my room surrounded by all my stuff and think I am very privileged indeed, and in the grand scheme of things perhaps I'm being a little greedy. Perhaps it would be interesting to neutralize myself and only own what I 'should' ...

    Its typical of me to think "ah , crap I'd have to give away my cameras" - (maybe keep one??) when in fact many people die for want of something as simple as water...

    excuse the guilt trip, but I better go switch off the wash cycle on my 16mm dev tank... (and get it ready for the next)
    :rolleyes:
     
  2. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    what's your point?

    most us in the 'developed' world don't really care about others

    we ocassionally do something like your posting as a way of saying 'oops i do care', but it doesn't change anything, we are still selfish and inconsiderate
     
  3. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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  4. Byron Worthen

    Byron Worthen Member

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    If all the world's resources were shared equally, I doubt that any of us would have a camera. All the work and materials that went into them would probably be used elsewhere. Same thing with chemicals, film, and paper. Who would decide?
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    They tried it. It doesn't work.
     
  6. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Uh uh; I ain't sharing my cameras, no way!

    You ever share a camera? Damned thing comes back with scratches and dents and fingerprints on the lenses!

    You wanna' "teach the world to shoot" go give them disposables - but Mama, don't you take my camera away! :tongue: :D :wink:
     
  7. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    My friend lost a canon T50 i lent him!
     
  8. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I live in a country where many people buy too many things and throw them away in a 2 to 3 year-cycle. I'm talking about anything from used cars, bicycles, TV sets, video games, cameras, and all other stuff that you can imagine of.

    It's like the large economic system on diarrhea...

    Anyway, many of these thrown-away items are sold to the buyers from certain countries in other parts of the world. So, they are getting distributed worldwide. And maybe some or many unwanted used cameras found here have already in the hands of the people somewhere else.

    But the thing is, this is not a healthy cycle and has to be stopped.
     
  9. noblebeast

    noblebeast Member

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    Bucky Fuller did something similar in the mid-Seventies: He found that if all the wealth in the world (liquid wealth - cash, moola, dollars, pounds, yen) were distributed evenly to every living human on the planet at the time, each would have ten million dollars.

    No mention about cameras though...

    Joe
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    None. You have enough already! (probably).


    Steve.
     
  11. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    No point really, I have my own beliefs and its hard sometimes not to communicate them when trying to justify an action (like posting the question) - it certainly wasn't an attempt to make myself feel better (or at least make myself look better)

    Out of all the forums I have registered with this is the one that seems to have the most well-read pool of users, thought it would be the best place to start...
     
  12. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    great - thanks, thats the sort of info i was after - just a snippet of info is enough to get me started...

    There is an abundance of books on this guy at the local Architecture school, I'll have a sniff around. :smile:

    thanks - also very helpful
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2006
  13. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    Well, maybe I do have a point after all ...

    After finding my (our) 'allocation of resource' - i.e. all things equal and not destroying the planet in the process - I was going to attempt to slowly reduce myself to that level ...

    As in "I" am going to try it - not watch "them" fail
    ...which is not to say it will succeed in this fashion but at least I played my part

    I find when debating, or thinking about issues sometimes its interesting to try on different points of view... sometimes coming across like a right twat so please excuse the self-righteousness here :smile:
     
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  15. rduraoc

    rduraoc Member

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    I think it is simple to get a gross estimate. Simply divide the world's GDP (that must be available in IMF, World bank, or something close) by the earth's population. The 6 thousand millions of them (UN must have those figures).
     
  16. EdR

    EdR Member

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    But how do you take account of public goods? Dividing the world's GDP by the population (or whatever methodology you use) to find your individual share of resource to live on is a bit of a nonsense as most of us have signed up to what the 18th century political philosophers called "the social contract". If we all decided to live on our individual "shares", who would pay for collective resources such as streetlamps, roads, police forces, civic/legal/political institutions etc?

    Also, what if someones "special needs" demanded that they needed a higher allocation to enjoy a similar standard of living to you? What if someones decision to use their allocation in a certain way created public/economic "bads" (e.g. pollution) which had an impact on the rest of us - would we "tax" their allocation?

    I am not saying that egalitarianism is bad, its just complicated :smile:

    Cheers,
    Ed
     
  17. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    I know for income, you would earn appx. $1000-1500 per year (world GDP divided by number of adults).
     
  18. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Why not include the elders and children? They work as well in most countries.
     
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    It seems I am not alone in considering this question (a) meaningless and (b) in poor taste.

    Meaningless for many reasons, but first and foremost because the valuation of public goods and infrastructure is impossible. What is a fighter aircraft worth (new and 16 years old)? Or a still-functioning Victorian sewage system? Or the 1000-year-old donjon (castle keep) a few hundred metres from my house?

    In poor taste because of the flippant 'how many cameras would I have?' My wife and I have had friends who were genuinely poor. How about Tibetan refugees living 6000 feet up in the Himalayas, their only water a shared stand-pipe, their WC a choice between a communal latrine (no flush) and a rocky area favoured by the local monkeys for the same purpose? A friend whose daughter was withdrawn from school because she couldn't afford the few dollars a term in fees? Who didn't mention this to us because you don't beg from your friends (we'd have paid happily)? Tsering Youdon, her daughter, was withdrawn from school between the time we last saw Ama-la before her death, and the next time we saw Tsering-la.

    The simple answer is, you'd have no cameras at all, chum. Nor would any other private individual. We are all staggeringly lucky to be born into, or to have migrated to, rich societies. You can ascribe it to karma or science or capitalism, I don't care: the question, at least as phrased, should not have been asked.

    Sorry if this comes across as hopelessly puritanical but I was born in Cornwall, one of the poorest parts of the United Kingdom. A hundred years before I was born -- an eye-blink in human history -- there were apparently years when it was too expensive to buy the salt that was needed to salt the fish on which most Cornish people lived. Poverty -- true poverty, the fear of no roof over your head and not enough to eat -- has been the lot of most of mankind for most of human history. The 19th and 20th centuries saw enormous improvements. It is impossible to distribute wealth and income equally, or even fairly, but at least we can try to drag the poor up with the rich.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  20. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    Last time I checked elders are adults.

    But if you want to be picky - substitute "working persons" for adult.
     
  21. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    HI Roger -

    I would tend to agree - with a family with roots in Appalachia (looks like the equivalent of Cornwall and remote parts of Wales and Scotland in the UK), I know what you are talking about.

    My first instance of viewing real poverty was there (over 30 years ago) and in SE Asia about 6 years ago.

    There is very little real poverty in the US, but it is shocking to folks that have not seen it before. It sure was for me.
     
  22. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I too have been to many of the poorest places in the USA. Everywhere from some Native American reservations in the middle of nowhere, to rural "hill billy" dirt farms, to inner city slums. One thing for certain is that no "redistribution" of wealth would cure the ills that plague the residents. The economics of these areas are symptoms of personal, social, political, and governmental failings in various combinations.
     
  23. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    I believe that trying to give the poorest some sort of minimum opportunity to improve one's lot in life (I do not believe the sons and daughters of the Bush family have the same opportunities as a middle class family - so "equal opportunity" is a misnomer, I think offering good opportunities will be the best way)
     
  24. kb244

    kb244 Member

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    In the grand scheme of things, a lot more would have more would have to be done to make it where every one is living in a utopia. The problem is, we as humans are imperfect to our needs and wants. There are plenty of social differences if not let alone government allowed differences. As humans we tend to corrupt the very nature of generosity at times. Not to say that we would all be corrupt, but that a handful of people in the masses of thousands can easily shift the benefits. It sadly goes to confirm "No good deed goes unpunished".

    It helps not to try to solve the entire world's problems, but rather to take it one step at a time, you can start small and local and perhaps those small effects you make will cause those affected in turn to make their own small effort. We have to live our lives, but help when we can. While it may be sad that you cannot save everyone, its also not going to help if you put yourself into a pit of despair because of such.

    And not to sound harsh, but while there are large places of poverty abroad, and all the effort generously performed to help get them out of the rut, there are plenty of people of need in the local area.

    As far as the camera thought.

    There are always folks out there that'll "hook up" someone with a camera, or enlarger, or processing, etc if need be. Usually for those actually interested in the craft. But as far as sending a camera say overseas somewhere, theres a good chance it'll end up in a pawn shop somewhere within a week.
     
  25. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I would not disagree. The problem is what kind of opportunity, and what to do when it is not taken? Having money is a great precursor to having more money, but many of those who have none, have no idea how to handle it if they get some. The same goes for opportunity.

    It is a deep and complex problem that concerns us all, and behooves all to get involved.

    Here in america there are now huge numbers of people of all classes, who have no idea what is even important or necessary for survival and advancement. How did we manage to convince someone that can't pay their rent, that they need $250 tennis shoes? How did we convince someone that working around the clock to pay for an $80,000 car was more important than having a $10,000 car that is functional, and spending time on community and family?
     
  26. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    ...OR WORSE Amen! ... and the same problem with photography books.

    It took me several unfortunate experiences to learn this. I went from being a 'nice guy' to being called 'selfish'. But it has happened to my equipment and books 100% of the time I've lent them out, so now ---unless it's something I really don't care too much about-- no way. The downside is . . . now, I don't borrow stuff either. It wouldn't be fair, considering my 'no loan' policy.

    I call this, "rental mentality". It ain't mine so I don't care. Reminds me of the comedian who used to do abit about his dad threatening him with, "Why, I'll beat you like a rented mule!"

    Regarding books --since I collect nice "coffee table"" editions of photography books ('collect' means that I receive them as Christmas gifts after giving pointed hints!) -- whenever someone wants to "thumb-through" one of these books, I've found it useful to give a couple of minutes of instructions in book handling...ridiculous as it may seem. I have to be careful not to insult the person, as everyone assumes they already know how to do this (probably the same people who assume that anyone can be a photographer!).

    This policy came out of an incident where I handed a supposedly book-knowledgeble friend my copy of Adam's "Yosemite and the Range of Light".
    I ended-up with a chocolate coated fingerprint on one of the glossy white pages and cringed as he turned pages at the top-center part of the book, almost ripping the pages. I finally took the book out of his hands and tried to diplomatically show him the book myself, as when you read to a child. He was miffed and accused me of being "sensitive", but I don't give a hoot. Some people don't seem to know the difference between a good quality artbook and the daily newspaper!

    "Share" equipment? No more than I would share my toothbrush! Better to give equipment. That's what I've done with certain beginners.

    .