Posts Tagged ‘economy’

This was one of discussion questions of the Disasters and Ecosystems MOOC.

Actually the answer is simple. The formula for successful environmental degradation consists of 2 variables – overpopulation and capitalism.

When there are a lot of people – most of them a poor, uneducated and hungry. When you are hungry you will do everything to become less hungry today even if it can potentially lead to negative consequences tomorrow, which you may not even foresee if you are uneducated.

Humans are good in adaptation. When the adaptation is strong enough it leads to abuse (for example, if you are well adopted at the stock market you start abusing it to increase your profit even if it will cost dearly to the other stakeholders – people value their own well-being much more than the other’s and of course much more than the well-being of environment especially when they know that their own impact seems negligible compared to impact of the entire population).  When you live in condition of free market of capitalistic world – you are your only hope for not being hungry (or being more wealthy) now. And as you know from the economic theory – the capitalist economy needs a constant grows of consumption and production – so you need more and more resources to just sustain the economy. In conditions of capitalist market people value today’s profit much more than losses of tomorrow

You see – the capitalist economy needs people to consume more and more; more people – more consumption; more people – more poverty and lack of education; more hungry uneducated people people – more people willing to do anything to survive now and don’t even bother themselves about the future.

Overpopulation and a consumption society (created by capitalist economy) inter-stimulate each other and destroy the environment for the today’s profits or food and doesn’t care much of the consequences of tomorrow because most are either uneducated or doesn’t care at all plus you have to live through today to face consequences of your actions tomorrow (a day-by-day living).

Obviously there are 3 steps to improve the situation:

  • Decrease the population.
  • Educate people.
  • Create new sustainable economy model that would equally value tomorrow’s losses and today’s profits, and would not rely on constantly increasing consumption.

There is a quite interesting article about the corruption level in EU countries was published at BBC recentely. Of course the map is the most interesting part.

The thing that I totally noticed in the very first moment of observing it is that the countries with the highest corruption level have the lowest credit ratings (see this map).

When will all these bastards understand that corruption hurts everyone?

There was a press conference on Tuesday the 19-th about illegal dumping in Leningrad region (Russia). I was asked to be the main speaker there and to present to the press my recent study on illegal dumping prevention. I’ve already had two presentations on this subject recently at the international scientific conference in St. Petersburg State University and at the round tablefor the discussion of the upcoming “Let’s do it. Russia” clean up event.Some video from the press conference:

The main conclusion that I made by investigating possible impacts on illegal dumping prevention (such as penalty increase, chance of being caught increase and waste disposal fare decrease) is that decrease of the waste disposal fare for population is the most efficient way. And I managed to find two other publications that came to the exact conclusion (for example, there is an evidence that 1% waste fare increase leads to 3% increase of illegal dumping cases).

By the way I was able to assess probability of being caught for illegal dumping in Russia. It is about 10-5 (you can die while playing soccer with such probability).

The only way to reduce waste fares is to use waste as a resource. That means that the only way to prevent illegal dumping is to create waste management system that would be able to complete the zero waste goal.

And here is an abstract from my article:

Mechanisms of the land protection were discussed in this article. An algorithm of decision making whether to dump illegally or not was explained. Formulas for determination of profitable ration of expenditures per unit and amount of illegally dumping waste are substantiated. Effect from different types of impacts that can be used for land protection from illegal dumping were discussed (such as fares change, penalties change, penalty application probability change). Decreasing of waste disposal fares was acknowledged as the most effective way for illegal dumping prevention, but it is possible only if «zero waste» concept is implemented.

Public data, GDP and Google

Posted: August 15, 2010 in Economics
Tags: , , ,
There is interesting information source of public data, created by google. It is quite useful ’cause now you don’t have to waste time for downloading data and creation of a graph – google already did it. You just have to customize visualisation for your goals.
GDP per capita (current US$) – World Bank
While in Finland I’m trying to find out interesting facts about country that was too small for me to pay attention to it when I was in Russia. One such fact is that economy of Finland had a serious impact with USSR collapse. You can see it on the graph above. Thanks to trade with Soviet Union GDP per capita in Finland grown fast and was higher than in US in 1990 and then was a sharpen fell for 3 years. Only in 2007 Finland managed to overcome US with this parameter again – it took 17 years.
Now let’s look at graph below. There is GDP per capita too, but from another source – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Graph for US is pretty much the same, but for Finland and Russia it is quite different. Finland does not best US and impact from USSR destroying is less significant, and numbers for recent years for Russia looks more promising than on previous graph. Looks like OECD failed (or didn’t wanted to) to recalculate numbers properly. So you should pay attention to sources and units for data you use.
GDP per capita – OECD Factbook 2009
Hope Google will add more public data soon and develop additional export, import and visualization options like in FactBook eXplorer for example;-)