Red and Green in Amber

I have limited internet access, through my dodgy old laptop and mother's wireless network card. Enough to check emails and write blog entries.

Tonight was taken up with a recording session and a political meeting.

The session was for the second EP of the Strict Machines. We actually didn't have time for recording, but it was useful as a practice for when we do record the guitar - arranged for Friday.

We also have a possible title. Semantic Christ - anagram of Strict Machines.
The meeting was a discussion between RESPECT, the Peace Council, various small environmentlist and anti-globalisation groups, and of course the Green Party.

The four speakers gave their various takes on why third world poverty exists and how to make it history. They all agreed that the G8 'alternative summit' is a jolly good idea, but were I thought overcautious to avoid arguing with each other.

Soft pedeling on contentious issues is a standard part of building coalitions, but I couldn't help thinking that the anti-globalisation movement has to start having more hard discussions within itself if it is to move forward with definite purpose.

There is a long standing disagreement between Reds and Greens on the causes and cure for world poverty. The argument runs like this:

Green: The world is overpopulated, and a fairly small segment of it vastly overconsumes. To allow the third world to stop underconsuming, the first world must stop overconsuming.

Red: Population is not the issue. Nor really is consumption. The capitalist system of production vastly overproduces some goods, and underproduces others. It creates and maintains poverty in the third world so it can cheaply produce for the first world, maximising profits.

Green: If the third world consumed as much as the first, the world could not support it. But if both consumed sensibly, it could.

Red: This only applies if the mode of production remains the same. A productive system geared toward producing sensible quantities of what is needed, as opposed to massive quantities of what makes the most money, would allow a high level of consumption everywhere.

And this is as far as it ever seems to go. Green repeats that people are the problem - with their excessive number and consumption. Red insists that productivity increases with population and technology - enough to exponentially outstrip any potential demand from an increasing workforce. Greens are fixated on consumption, Reds on production.

Speaking as a failed red going out with a lapsed green, I don't supposed the issue will be resolved before the world becomes a lifeless rock.

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