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New deadly e-coli strain may shape our future

June 6, 2011

Sometime in the next 20 years a super strain spreads across the planet and all populations are affected. The pandemic kills thousands in the USA but hundreds of millions in the third world. After 2 years the human population is vastly changed: a third of the third world population is wiped out and the planet now has 1 billion less people.

Is this a good thing from the planet’s point of view? Will this be less drain on scarce resources? We need to look at who was wiped out, and how that impacts the world. First of all, these are the poorest, least fortunate people on Earth. They were not treated with antibiotics for a known pandemic.

What did they do and what did they consume? They ate very little meat and had modest housing and did not drive personal cars. So their fate has not saved much in the way of resources. The first world and advanced developing worlds continue marching ahead and quickly consume any savings there. It is what these poor people did while they were alive that matters. They created textiles. They shovelled raw materials to make batteries, and many other material-rich products. And they did this all for very little money.

The price of everything starts rising and we suddenly realise these poor people actually did a lot for us first world peoples. They made our clothes. They gathered the phosphates for our farmers. They did it all for virtually nothing.

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