Anyone who invests "substantial portions of their life savings" on the stock market is gambling, and in this case they lost. What would be the response if "mom and pop" had put everything on the roulette table? They would be pilloried as idiots, and rightly so. Would you still be outraged that they won't be getting their money back? I thought not.
This is no different. The only safe way to invest in the stock market is to distribute your risk: different companies, different industries, and a lot of time. Any other strategy may occasionally pay off, but too many people listen to the siren song of the quick buck.
The problem is that modern communication has made geography irrelevant. Political/religious beliefs are not nearly as geographically homogeneous as they used to be. Nations/states/communities have always defined their boundaries as "us vs. them". How do you draw those lines when "they" live all around "us", and most of "us" don't even live withing comfortable driving distance of each other? You'd have to have some sort of mass migration, sorting people into different regions by shared beliefs.
So the answer then is to not worry about the current trends continuing, because something better will come along eventually? Sure, we might develop cheap fusion energy, or solar systems with 1000x more efficiency than today's, or whatever other silver bullet tech you can imagine.
To me it seems the height of selfishness and self-delusion to rely on what might happen someday than to take the tough steps now to mitigate the impact in case that something doesn't happen (or doesn't happen soon enough).
The point of TFA was that consumption on the scale now occurring in the industrialized world is unsustainable.
Did you manufacture your two cars? Or your big house? Or generate the electricity to run your AC at any temperature you choose? Your justification of "living within your means" is laughable. Even if you are a responsible, productive member of society, you are still consuming resources of all kinds at an unsustainable pace.
And that doesn't even consider what is going to happen as all the billions of people living in poverty and squalor today wake up and demand the same standard of living you currently enjoy. Or are you advocating limiting the development of the developing world?
Barring a breakthrough in renewable energy bordering on the miraculous, there is a finite limit to the resources on this planet. Period.
Why can't we use studies like this as a jumping-off point for individuals to take responsibility for voluntarily reducing their own consumption? (Wasn't individual responsibility the point of the parent? Or did I misunderstand?)
Only idiots or ideologues frame historical and social issues in terms of absolutes.
Every government reduced wealth?? Every reduction increased it???
IIRC, it took several generations for Europe to climb out of the midden-heap left behind by the collapse of the Roman Empire. The same Empire (read: big government, one of the biggest ever) that brought global economic trade (i.e. wealth) and unprecedented public services like running water and reliable roads and public education to most of the Western world.
Certainly there are valid arguments against big government in the modern context, but I must have missed those niggling details in your rant.
Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert