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Rationing In Our Future?

A new book says rationing—of food, energy and more—is in our future.  We hear the case, and the pushback.

Police direct cars to pumps while people stand in line with containers for gas in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police were at gas stations to enforce a new gasoline rationing plan that lets motorists fill up every other day. (AP)

Police direct cars to pumps while people stand in line with containers for gas in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Police were at gas stations to enforce a new gasoline rationing plan that lets motorists fill up every other day. (AP)

The news on Friday:  an ominous new milestone in global warming, as a key carbon dioxide measure in the atmosphere topped heights not seen on earth in millions of years.

My guest today, plant breeder Stan cox, sees more difficult climate change coming at us than we are anywhere near ready to handle.  One way or another, it’s going to take rationing to get along, he says.  Rationing.  The dread word.  On a big scale.  To survive.  We’ll hear his argument, and a pushback prediction of abundance.

This hour, On Point:  Stan Cox argues for all kinds of rationing, to live.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Stan Cox, author of “Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing.” (@coxstan)

Steven Cotler, co-author with Peter Diamandis of “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Motherboard: Rationing is Not the Enemy — “But when shortages are created by an intentional policy of leaving available resources in the earth, it will soon become apparent that we cannot maintain this hypercharged way of life without them, and there will be constant pressure to give in, reverse the policy, and consume them. Hard experience, in peacetime as well as wartime, shows that efficiency, alternative energy, and technical innovation can’t fill the resource gap, while campaigns for voluntary restraint are unfair and eventually fizzle in the face of the economy’s urge to expand.”

The New Republic: The Case for Less: Is abundance really the solution to our problems? — “That view is simple to state. Humanity’s fundamental problem comes down to scarcity—not having enough of what we need and want. We need food, water, new shoes, new gadgets, and so on, and we suffer when we do not have them. That problem can and will be solved by technology, or—at an individual level—by buying or otherwise gaining access to the objects of our desires. Once our needs are met, we can all live happily ever after. As Diamandis puts it, we must imagine ‘a world where everyone’s days are spent dreaming and doing, not scrapping and scraping.’”

Excerpt: ‘Any Way You Slice It’ by Stan Cox

Copyright © 2103 by Stan Cox. This excerpt originally appeared in Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing, published by The New Press. Reprinted here with permission.

 

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