A hypothetical altruism project:

Total posts: [11]
OK, so here's my idea.

Let's imagine one man, living on his own in a forest. He is educated, and has no materials with him. On his own, he should be able to build a home, acquire food, stay warm, and keep relatively healthy.

Now let's settle two other people on him. These people don't do jack other than eating, sleeping, and otherwise being needy. Though difficult, the man should be able to provide for them as well.

So what do we gather from this? One person should be able to more than provide for themselves, in virtually every way. And given modern technology, one man is worth more than just three, but should be worth upwards of twenty.

At least, in theory. However, such is not the case. Due to some fault of organization, this doesn't happen. We should be positively swimming in supplies right now, the poorest among us should be able eat to their heart's content.

Where are the flaws that prevent this?

In my idea, individual squares of poverty are isolated from the surrounding area, and those individual locations are reorganized and changed until they are overflowing with resources, and are completely self sufficient, having no need to act or be acted upon by the surrounding economy.

After a square has been made healthy, the project would move on the the next plot of land.

The following is a list of problems, and their solutions which would be pushed by the project. I would encourage criticism and an addendum or two from others.

  • Renewable resource production. This would include:
    • Foods.
    • Energy. (Specifically for heating and cooling)
    • Water.
  • Population control. This one is extremely important, the world over. (I'd elaborate, but I don't want to go wall of text here.)
    • Sex education.
    • Contraception.
    • Voluntary sterilization. {insert wall of text here}
  • Organization of functions. In a society, different people do different jobs. Ideally, each person would be able to focus on what they are good at, and provide accordingly, in exchange for the services of everyone else.
    • Free trade. Because money is absent from a poor community, trading goods and services directly would be immensely helpful. Plus you can dodge taxes this way *grin*.
    • Education. People need to know how to do things, in order to accomplish them, obviously.
    • Elective education. Perhaps one could organize workers who know how to do certain jobs as mentors, and have the people choose a function they wish to perform, if they lack one.
  • Cleaning of the environment & reduction of waste. A healthy community isn't swimming in trash, now is it?
    • Motivation of the people to clean. How would one go about this? They would have to be led to an extent by people who specialize in this sort of thing, I suppose.
    • Recycling. No green Aesop would be complete without it.
    • Repair of damaged buildings and the like. This would include dealing with infestation, fixing leaky pipes, eradicating mold, and so on.
  • Stability. The final and most important aspect to cover.
    • Multiple skills. If all you can do is fix, say, clocks, what are you going to do when nobody needs their clock fixed? People need to be good at more than one or two jobs, otherwise a stiff wind will knock them over.
    • Economic education. Also wildly important (which is strange. Do I really have to tell someone not to "invest" in the lottery?).
    • Time management education. A common complaint amongst those in poverty is a lack of time. This is something that can be fixed, I believe, if only an effort is taken to do so. It requires a lot of trial and error to figure out, thus education for it would be very helpful.
    • Non-practical skills. If everyone has their needs accounted for, then the trade of things like art will take place.
  • Other odds and ends:
    • Basic needs. (Like clothing and blankets.) This one is really cheap, so it's easy to include.
    • Counseling. Poverty isn't exactly good for a tranquil mind, so this might be beneficial.
    • Basic medical needs. More expensive stuff would be out of the question for such a project as this, but simpler things might be accounted for in this.

I slapped this together in a rather short period of time, so I'm sure it's brimming with mistakes. In any case, opinions?
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
How big would this project be? Just for poverty stricken areas?
Power corrupts. Knowledge is Power. Study hard. Be evil.

What I'm curious about is whether or not it would even work in theory.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
~shrugs and is of no help whatsoever~


edited 3rd Mar '11 9:17:04 PM by ViralLamb

Power corrupts. Knowledge is Power. Study hard. Be evil.
Your basic premise is flawed.
So what do we gather from this? One person should be able to more than provide for themselves, in virtually every way.
This is only true of wealthy people. Poor areas, the ones that need help, are not wealthy by definition.

Is there enough wealth on the planet to give everyone on Earth a decent standard of living if it was redistributed? Probably, I don't actually know. But good effin' luck actually making that happen.
6 del_diablo4th Mar 2011 08:12:23 AM from Somewher in mid Norway
Den harde nordmann
There is another flaw: We could always ship of the poor to farm camps where they could get their own wage.
To be selfsufficiant you need a patch of dirt to grow a large amount of food in, where do you get that?
A guy called dvorak is tired. Tired of humanity not wanting to change to improve itself. Quite the sad tale.
The other problem, related to what Del Diablo said, is that most poor people live in slums. It would cost a lot to bring the projects up to self-sufficient status, particularly the larger ones, where cheap apartment rates can mean that there are hundreds or thousands of people crammed into a couple hundred square feet of land.

For example, Harlem is a little less than four square miles, but has a population of over two hundred thousand people. This means that there's ten people per square foot.
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
Uh, your math is pretty off there. Four square miles is about a hundred million square feet. That's about 2 thousandths of a person per square foot.
9 Deboss4th Mar 2011 10:43:48 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
There are 27,878,400 square feet in a square mile.

edited 4th Mar '11 10:43:58 AM by Deboss

Like I've said before, I fail at math.

Point still stands.
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
That's the main issue I had in mind. How does one enable a slum to produce? That is the obvious difference between the forest man and the poor man.

If the people had the education and the ingenuity, they would at least be able to fix up their slums, but even then there is still no production of what they need. And it's not like they'll suddenly become educated anyhow.

So the question remains. How does one turn a dense splotch of humans and concrete into a source of supplies?

The one thing I can think of thus far is project that I've already heard of, which would consist of using tall buildings and hydroponics as a source of food. Even then, with such dense population, it isn't enough.

Perhaps then, one could focus on elimination of waste, in addition to the previous item. Other notable concepts include using rooftops as gardens, which doubles as insulation.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
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Total posts: 11