Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Today is World Toilet Day

November 20th, 2013 by Vader

Lack of sanitization is no joke, even if the U.N. is.     I imagine modern sanitation has done more than anything except abundant food supply to increase life expectancy.

Anyway, the window of opportunity for a timely celebration of World In the Toilet Day closed a long time ago.

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Filed under: We transcend your bourgeois categories | Tags: , ,
November 20th, 2013 10:50:32
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Bruce Charlton
November 20, 2013

In his book of genius A Farewell To Alms – Gregory Clark described how excellent sanitation in NE Asian countries such as Japan led to a great reduction in infectious diseases as a cause of death; while the strong central state led to a suppression of violence among citizens.

Under Malthusian equilibrium (such as prevailed everywhere until the industrial revolution) this meant that people toiled every waking hour growing food, and the population became extremely dense until it was constrained by starvation – people having *just* enough calories to stay alive (while always hungry) and always just a whisker away from massive famines.

By contrast, Africa suffered very high mortality due to infectious diseases – and there was a lot of violence (especially between men) – consequently there was plenty to eat and a fairly easy life for the survivors.

Europe was somewhere in between.

Interestingly, Mormonism has only lived in the post-Malthusian world of expanding resources (especially food) and indeed an expanding frontier geography – a world many/ most of the children born would survive to maturity.

Some non-core but generally widespread Mormon attitudes (eg pro-immigration, open-ended need-based poor relief) seem to take it as read that there are, and always will be, more resources on the way sooner or later – but as Clark makes clear this situation is a world historical and local anomaly; and is due to specific factors whose persistence cannot be taken for granted; so if/ when resources per capita start shrinking, there may need to be a reappraisal.

It will be hard for many good modern people morally to justify what appear to be necessities in a Malthusian world of declining productivity and overpopulation – limiting charity, focusing relief, defending scarce resources against vast desperate starving mobs and migrants – and so on.

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