The above chart is dismal. Consider the following:
Adjusted for inflation, gas prices from 1990 to 1999 were cut in half. In the past 8 years they have quadrupled.
Food prices are skyrocketing, causing starvation, disease, and hindering any chance the middle class American, much less the developing world has of breaking through this weak economy.
Malthus was on to something a few centuries ago. The world is already starting to outgrow its resources. in 40 years, the world population is due to increase by 50%; resources will at that point be effectively stripped bare.
What happens then? I can only see a clash of civilizations much worse than any ideological clash Huntington foresees. I can imagine nations warring not over ideals, but over simple access to basic necessities.
We look at the instability in Africa right now and think they are crazy for killing each other over food, but when it comes down to it, life at it rawest is a zero sum game. What your neighbor is eating is food you will never feed your family with. What he wears, you cannot wear. In a land too distraught with poverty to concern itself with public goods, it is hard to imagine we might be in the same position half a century from now.
Green Ventures and African Enterprise are crucial to solving this problem. If we do not want to become Africa, we must help Africa untie its knot of impoverishment and sustained destitution. In order to do this though, we must look at green solutions to fix these problems. The answer is not only to reduce poverty in this area; rather it is to grow wealth.
In order to do this, solutions must sustain themselves beyond the utilization of our most precious resources. If we can create an environment of sustainable growth through the use of green technology and independent energy sources, then we can begin to grow the wealth of a place in need.
By growing wealth in such regions of the world, families will feel less need to war over their property, as they will have the security to know they can survive on what they have. Further, more wealth means less need for labor intensive work – in other words, there will be less demand for large family households to run the house – instead, service sector economies can begin to develop, alleviating the strain of the family, and alleviating the population growth strain on the world.
Such actions are beneficial to us all, as the development of Africa will bring the development of the world in order – allowing our clashes to remain a matter of ideological differences rather than one of necessity.