Re: What will be changed forever
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 2020 08:17:32 -0700 (PDT)
> On Apr 18, 2020, at 12:47 AM, Brian Bartholomew via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l 
> [at]> wrote:
>> ] Technological advances have not increased
>> prosperity because population growth has cancelled out the
>> advantages of innovation. Innovations have just kept more and more
>> of us even on the treadmill of history.
> Then these innovations have not increased prosperity:
> dentistry
> trauma surgery
> cellular phones
> air conditioning
> I don't believe these technological advances are worthless. If the
> article gets this wrong, what else does it get wrong?

They aren’t worthless — they balance one end of the scale. Only a small 
percentage of the world’s population can afford these things. In many countries 
universal health care is the only thing that allows surgery to be possible at 
all. Even in the United States 50% of people live at an income level that 
doesn’t allow them to have anything more than basic access to a dentist or 
doctor. No annual visits or twice a year cleanings.

A quote from the NYTimes says:

> While 90 percent of American households have air-conditioning, “When we look 
> in fact at the hot countries in the world, in Africa, Asia, Latin America and 
> the Middle East, where about 2.8 billion people live, only about 8 percent of 
> the population owns an air-conditioner.”

The number of people who do not have air conditioning around the world is much 
higher than those who do. Billions more. That is Clark’s point — For every 
technological advance, the population that doesn’t have it increases to such an 
extent that the same balance is maintained. He’s looking at the whole. 

And article in the NYTimes today gives some incredible numbers about what the 
coronavirus will do to Africa. 

> 10 African Countries Have No Ventilators. That’s Only Part of the Problem.
> Basic supplies like oxygen and soap are needed first to slow the spread of 
> the coronavirus.

One country of 11 million people has four ventilators. In the US people are 
fighting over thousands. Some countries and whole populations of other have no 
soap or running water. No soap. No running water. 

One hospital has 2 oxygen masks and one is broken. And they don’t have oxygen. 
20% of coronavirus patients need oxygen.

Well before they have any reported cases, some African countries have started 
strict prevention measures and are taking temperatures at airports. But how 
much does that matter if there are no masks, no soap, no running water, no 
oxygen, no medical staff to run ventilators even if they had them.

That is the issue. 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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