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Is there a realistic approach to provide a "comfortable" way of life to every human being on the word? Can the Earth support it?

I'm sure you have, at one time or another, asked yourself how many earths would we need to satisfy the needs of everyone.
Or a matrix like infinite world will be the solution?
Science fiction has come up with a lot of ideas, but are we really getting closer or further away from eradicating poverty? and I don't mean just to ease the suffering, but to actually make it disappear.
Is money part of the solution or part of the problem?

Or maybe the world can handle us all and more!

What do you think?


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    Mar 1 2011: Humans are individually wired for survival, to Colgan's point below. But the same wiring is probably not suited to human societies and so the physical answer to Javier's question is different from the social answer. But it's easier to come by, so a decent place to start.

    We can't say whether a comfortable way of life is possible until we've defined "a comfortable way of life." I like Jack Canty's overview. And to put some framing around the scope of things, we should posit that "comfortable" is not private jets, mansions and butlers for everyone, nor is it starving naked in the bushes. It's somewhere in the middle, probably the lower-middle (which leaves me some explaining to do to my beloved spouse). Health support, good food, water, access to move-around space, soccer fields, cellos, and decent wine and stuff.

    We also need a definition of "everyone." Let's assume the current population; if we have a methodology to answer the question for that, we can scale up and down as the social issues change.

    With that, I suspect that the planet could support who we have without much more damage, if we approached it in a rational way. There's enough power via solar and wind, there's enough physical space. Yes, that's a guess, but an analytical answer is possible once we have a clear definition (I'll bet someone's done it, actually).

    So, oops - we're right back to social. Will we approach it in a rational way? The physical answer tells where we need to go; what is still needed is an answer to the question: how do we go there?

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