Northern Country Over Consumption

This issue is basically a contest of quantity versus quality. The focal points are that even though a larger population requires an ever-increasing share of the resources, the available resources are not, and perhaps rarely ever have been, equitably distributed. To the point,

Northern countries, due to certain historical outcomes, have managed to control most of the earth's resources as well as the technology for future energy capture. It has been reported that the industrialized nations, which comprise only 22% of the world's population, actually consume 70% of the world's resources (Hartmann, 1995). This favored position allows for a standard of living that far exceeds that of the developing Southern countries. However, there is a high cost that goes along with a high standard. First, currently available resources are being drained to maintain the high standard, some would argue at an alarming rate. Additionally, the very nature of much of current energy conversion and consumption (notably through fossil fuels and nuclear power) yield large amounts of pollution and toxic/radioactive wastes. These effects are hardly conducive to a healthy planet or its inhabitants.

It seems doubtful that a stable, long-term resolution to this "haves versus have-nots" problem would be achieved solely through a more equitable redistribution of resources, although certainly that would relieve the plight of those many who now endure a poor quality of life. Realistically, it does not appear possible to raise the quality of life for all to that high level presently enjoyed throughout the Northern countries. Hence, a more permanent fix calls for a reduction at the high end of the quality of life scale to go along with an elevation at the low end.

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