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  1. #1
    Elemental Lord Snowraven's Avatar
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    The world's "poorest" president

    What do you think? I kind of agree with him on some points, consumerism has gone too high for example.

    http://world.myjoyonline.com/pages/n...1211/97322.php

    "It's a common grumble that politicians' lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president - who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay.

    Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside.

    This is the residence of the president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, whose lifestyle clearly differs sharply from that of most other world leaders.

    President Mujica has shunned the luxurious house that the Uruguayan state provides for its leaders and opted to stay at his wife's farmhouse, off a dirt road outside the capital, Montevideo.

    The president and his wife work the land themselves, growing flowers.

    This austere lifestyle - and the fact that Mujica donates about 90% of his monthly salary, equivalent to $12,000 (£7,500), to charity - has led him to be labelled the poorest president in the world.

    "I've lived like this most of my life," he says, sitting on an old chair in his garden, using a cushion favoured by Manuela the dog.

    "I can live well with what I have."

    His charitable donations - which benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs - mean his salary is roughly in line with the average Uruguayan income of $775 (£485) a month.

    In 2010, his annual personal wealth declaration - mandatory for officials in Uruguay - was $1,800 (£1,100), the value of his 1987 Volkswagen Beetle.

    This year, he added half of his wife's assets - land, tractors and a house - reaching $215,000 (£135,000).

    That's still only about two-thirds of Vice-President Danilo Astori's declared wealth, and a third of the figure declared by Mujica's predecessor as president, Tabare Vasquez.

    Elected in 2009, Mujica spent the 1960s and 1970s as part of the Uruguayan guerrilla Tupamaros, a leftist armed group inspired by the Cuban revolution.

    He was shot six times and spent 14 years in jail. Most of his detention was spent in harsh conditions and isolation, until he was freed in 1985 when Uruguay returned to democracy.

    Those years in jail, Mujica says, helped shape his outlook on life.

    "I'm called 'the poorest president', but I don't feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more," he says.

    "This is a matter of freedom. If you don't have many possessions then you don't need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself," he says.

    "I may appear to be an eccentric old man... But this is a free choice."

    The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year: "We've been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty.

    "But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left?

    "Does this planet have enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet."

    Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a "blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world". "

  2. #2
    Mechagnome vastx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arnorei View Post
    Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a "blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world". "
    I believe it has more to do with the earth having 6 billion people. We can't operate as we did a hundred years ago.

    I think it's cool he can still live as he has most of his life. A lot of people think with more money they must change their lives.

  3. #3
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    He is entitled to his own beliefs. The growth of the world, however, depends on having a distinctly different viewpoint of life. We would not be reading his message if his belief system were imprinted on the rest of the world.

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    Elemental Lord Snowraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vastx View Post
    I believe it has more to do with the earth having 6 billion people. We can't operate as we did a hundred years ago.

    I think it's cool he can still live as he has most of his life. A lot of people think with more money they must change their lives.
    http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/
    7 billion.
    But consumerism is destroying the world. Why? Because instead of making good reliable things that would last long, now they're making cheap crappy things that break easily so you buy more. It is a waste of resources. People are also suggested to buy more, given easy credits (which they later can't pay) and such. This is not a healthy lifestyle. Oh, yes, sitting at the country tending crops isn't the best lifestyle either, but here I fully agree with him on consumerism. If indians or chinese people had as many cars as icelandic or german or even american people, what do you think would happen?

  5. #5
    His ideas stem from absolute economic ignorance. There's nothing wrong with choosing to live like a spartan, but to claim economic growth in general as something negative is absolutely idiotic. Consumerism is the end result of a prosperous society.

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    Elemental Lord Snowraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    His ideas stem from absolute economic ignorance. There's nothing wrong with choosing to live like a spartan, but to claim economic growth in general as something negative is absolutely idiotic. Consumerism is the end result of a prosperous society.
    Except... he's not living like a spartan, he's living like with a salary average to the people of Uruguay, while donating the rest. So he's living exactly like his people.

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    Scarab Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    His ideas stem from absolute economic ignorance. There's nothing wrong with choosing to live like a spartan, but to claim economic growth in general as something negative is absolutely idiotic. Consumerism is the end result of a prosperous society.
    But consumerism is not compatible with the eco-system, and we are a part of the eco-system.

  8. #8
    Sounds like a self righteous ass hat that we're lucky has a very tiny minority viewpoint among leadership.

  9. #9
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arnorei View Post
    Except... he's not living like a spartan, he's living like with a salary average to the people of Uruguay, while donating the rest. So he's living exactly like his people.
    And that is his own personal choice, and he is entitled to it. Doesn't change the fact that economic growth is a sign of a healthy economy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daelak View Post
    But consumerism is not compatible with the eco-system, and we are a part of the eco-system.
    Reckless consumerism is not compatible with the ecosystem. There's a difference.

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    Scarab Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasierith View Post
    And that is his own personal choice, and he is entitled to it. Doesn't change the fact that economic growth is a sign of a healthy economy.



    Reckless consumerism is not compatible with the ecosystem. There's a difference.
    Well we are well beyond the definition of "reckless" in the western world.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Daelak View Post
    Well we are well beyond the definition of "reckless" in the western world.
    How so? Presently, there's massive deleveraging of private debt in both the US and Europe. That's pretty inconsistent with "reckless consumerism".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectral View Post
    How so? Presently, there's massive deleveraging of private debt in both the US and Europe. That's pretty inconsistent with "reckless consumerism".
    We consume over 30% of the world's resources yet we are only what, 6% of the world's population? We would need another half Earth for the rest of the world to live like we do.

    Just because we are spending less, doesn't mean we still don't consume products at a psychotic rate.

  13. #13
    Fluffy Kitten Baiyn's Avatar
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    I think it's awesome. Hats off to him. I think displaying altruism is one of the finest things are species is capable of, so to give 90% of what you earn, because you feel someone else could use it more than you, to me, is very impressive. It gets people talking about the status of civil servants' pay too which is always good when so much of modern politics is taken as the unalterable case of affairs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    but to claim economic growth in general as something negative is absolutely idiotic.
    I don't know. In terms of reusable fuel sources, we've got diddly-squat. Sure, there's nuclear power but so many people bitch about it that it's hard to make serious use of it anywhere outside of France. An economy based on growth in a world where material resources are infinite is fine, but that is not the world we live in. Unless some miracle renewable fuel is found within the next few decades, the insistence on achieving growth combined with ever shrinking reserves of fossil fuels, could screw us very hard, very soon.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Daelak View Post
    We consume over 30% of the world's resources yet we are only what, 6% of the world's population?
    I don't know where the figure that we consume over 30% of the world's resources comes from. Granting it for a moment though, the reason for this is largely because of an absolutely massive economy, that provides sufficient purchasing power for people to get things they desire. This isn't actually something that harms poor countries; on the contrary, scaling back consumption and production would almost certainly damage developing nations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daelak View Post
    Just because we are spending less, doesn't mean we still don't consume products at a psychotic rate.
    This seems like a normative statement that's based on a feeling rather than on evidence. We'd have to conclude that the world's at its absolute maxed out capacity of production for this to be the case.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Arnorei View Post
    Except... he's not living like a spartan, he's living like with a salary average to the people of Uruguay, while donating the rest. So he's living exactly like his people.
    My point was that he chose to live in poorer and tougher conditions than he could have, like the spartans did.

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-16 at 03:11 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Baiyn View Post
    I don't know. In terms of reusable fuel sources, we've got diddly-squat. Sure, there's nuclear power but so many people bitch about it that it's hard to make serious use of it anywhere outside of France. An economy based on growth in a world where material resources are infinite is fine, but that is not the world we live in. Unless some miracle renewable fuel is found within the next few decades, the insistence on achieving growth combined with ever shrinking reserves of fossil fuels, could screw us very hard, very soon.
    The economy isn't based on growth. Growth is just the inevitable end result of the species' progress, atleast for now. Maybe at one point we meet a bottleneck and we stop growing our economy. Capitalism will still work in such an environment. After all, the secret to it's success is the way it rations finite resources to their best percieved uses.
    Last edited by Diurdi; 2012-11-16 at 03:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectral View Post
    I don't know where the figure that we consume over 30% of the world's resources comes from. Granting it for a moment though, the reason for this is largely because of an absolutely massive economy, that provides sufficient purchasing power for people to get things they desire. This isn't actually something that harms poor countries; on the contrary, scaling back consumption and production would almost certainly damage developing nations.



    This seems like a normative statement that's based on a feeling rather than on evidence. We'd have to conclude that the world's at its absolute maxed out capacity of production for this to be the case.
    It came from the UN's study they did like in '06 or '07. Putting economics aside for a moment, the rate at which we extract and consume the world's resources is a lot faster than what the world can replenish. So irregardless of what the economics of the matter state, consuming resources at a very inequitable rate, will inevitably lead to global strife.

    You are right, and there is some literature on estimates of fossil fuels, the estimates of fresh water, and an overall carrying capacity of the Earth. The UN study for example, thinks that we are consuming an inequitable amount of the resources, hence the reason for their estimate of needing another half Earth in order for the rest of the 93% to have the same purchasing power for goods.

    I personally think we are reaching the upper bounds of the carrying capacity of the Earth because of our own irrationality and our self-destructive society that celebrates excess and materialism over real existence.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Daelak View Post
    It came from the UN's study they did like in '06 or '07. Putting economics aside for a moment, the rate at which we extract and consume the world's resources is a lot faster than what the world can replenish. So irregardless of what the economics of the matter state, consuming resources at a very inequitable rate, will inevitably lead to global strife.
    This assumes technology will be stagnant and the only resources that exist are those available to us now.

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    Scarab Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diurdi View Post
    This assumes technology will be stagnant and the only resources that exist are those available to us now.
    There is no political will to invest in technologies that can revolutionize our energy and consumer needs. We are still beholden to the market and a price function, we should be beyond that by now.

    It would take quadrillions of dollars of investment from the entire world to acquire resources that are not on our home planet.

  19. #19
    Dreadlord JSStryker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arnorei View Post
    Except... he's not living like a spartan, he's living like with a salary average to the people of Uruguay, while donating the rest. So he's living exactly like his people.
    Which in my opinion is exactly how all politicians should live

    1. The President/PM/Chancellor/Whatever of a country should be paid the whatever the average annual pay rate is of their nation.

    2. The legislative branch should have a 2 types of pay scales:
    a. Senator/Whatever they are called should be paid the annual average rate of pay of whatever state they represent.
    b. Members of the House of Representatives/Whatever should be paid the annual average rate of pay of whatever district they represent.

    Governors and State Legislative bodies would work under the same system.

    I would almost guarantee you that if we implemented this our representatives would be working their backsides off to bring good jobs back to this country (of course their would be a few that would try to game the system)

  20. #20
    Elemental Lord Snowraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectral View Post
    I don't know where the figure that we consume over 30% of the world's resources comes from. Granting it for a moment though, the reason for this is largely because of an absolutely massive economy, that provides sufficient purchasing power for people to get things they desire. This isn't actually something that harms poor countries; on the contrary, scaling back consumption and production would almost certainly damage developing nations.
    No. Currently the strong powerful countries buy land and resources from poor weak countries while they bring the resources home first. This is why Ethiopia exports cereals while their people starve. This is why Irak exports oil while they lack it. This is why Romania exports natural gas while the romanians get it from Russia. So, consuming less for strong countries would mean the weak countries would use the resources for themselves, and as such they'd grow too.

    But this is also harming the stronger countries. Brazil, for the first time in centuries, these last few years had droughts on the Amazon. Because they cut the rainforests for wood. No more forests, not enough water gathering anymore, less food and water for the communities living on the banks of the Amazon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baiyn View Post
    I don't know. In terms of reusable fuel sources, we've got diddly-squat. Sure, there's nuclear power but so many people bitch about it that it's hard to make serious use of it anywhere outside of France. An economy based on growth in a world where material resources are infinite is fine, but that is not the world we live in. Unless some miracle renewable fuel is found within the next few decades, the insistence on achieving growth combined with ever shrinking reserves of fossil fuels, could screw us very hard, very soon.
    Exactly. There is only so much of each resource we can get. If you make a bad pair of socks, for you as a company it's profitable for people buy them, they break and they need to buy more. For the people working it's also profitable, for they have jobs... but only short term. For in the end you're using too much resources for something that isn't good, something that gets replaced fast. And you're throwing the resources used for the bad socks, you're wasting them. In a society that has limited resources. There's islands on debris floating in the oceans, in the seas, in the rivers. There's mountains of garbage in the forests, in the fields, in the mountains. Yet we waste our resources, we don't even recycle those that can still be useful!

    Quote Originally Posted by Daelak View Post
    It came from the UN's study they did like in '06 or '07. Putting economics aside for a moment, the rate at which we extract and consume the world's resources is a lot faster than what the world can replenish. So irregardless of what the economics of the matter state, consuming resources at a very inequitable rate, will inevitably lead to global strife.

    You are right, and there is some literature on estimates of fossil fuels, the estimates of fresh water, and an overall carrying capacity of the Earth. The UN study for example, thinks that we are consuming an inequitable amount of the resources, hence the reason for their estimate of needing another half Earth in order for the rest of the 93% to have the same purchasing power for goods.

    I personally think we are reaching the upper bounds of the carrying capacity of the Earth because of our own irrationality and our self-destructive society that celebrates excess and materialism over real existence.
    Fully agreed. The world today puts an importance on "having stuff" more then on "doing stuff". You're thought having stuff leads to you living better, but does it truly? If I update a tv from 15 inch to 17 inch is it truly so much better? If I get a Iphone 5 from an Iphone 4.5 is it that much of an update? no. Yet many do it, wasting money, resources, everything for stuff they don't need whatsoever since what they have already works.

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