In the early 2000s, cities around the country pledged to end homelessnesswithin a decade, drafting ambitious 10-year plans to get all of their homeless people into stable, permanent housing. One Great Recession later and the number of homeless people stands at 565,000, a quarter of them children, according to data released Thursday (and that’s a huge underestimate since the count is based on visibly homeless people and misses, say, anyone who happens to be couch-crashing at the time).
There have been some success stories. Homelessness among veterans dropped 33 percent
between 2010 and 2014, and Salt Lake City shrunk its homeless population by 72 percent in nine years, just by giving homeless people apartments, Mother Jones
reported. But in many American cities homelessness is spiraling out of control and no one in charge seems to know what to do about it.
Rising rents and stagnant wages have led to the unsurprising outcome that many poor people can’t afford rent and end up in shelters, cars, on the street, or doubled up. In New York City, that includes a large population of homeless families with children, many of them crowded into filthy city shelters. In many cities, officials face the eternal dilemma of NIMBYism; how to help homeless people who have nowhere to go while mollifying residents and business owners who want them anywhere besides where they live or have their businesses.
Rising inequality, terrorism, generation of hatred – all seems to be the result of our greed, or, in other words, our human (primate) nature. Are we able to solve these ‘global problems’ or they will wipe us out? I.V.
If I’m to believe what you scientists are continually saying, then there are serious struggles ahead for all human societies over the next 25 -50 years. Climate disturbances. Dwindling resources. Poisoned habitat. Growing inequality and increasing social unrest. And no New Frontier to send population overflows, adventurers, criminals and misfits to. We’re wedded to the idea of endless growth in an environment which is clearly finite and running low. So it’s a ever-growing population with ever-growing needs fighting over continually shrinking resources.
(If this were a Greek play I were writing, what sort of deux ex machina or “DoG-in-the-Box” –would I use to resolve this? Because it’s clearly heading for a Malthusian tragedy the way it’s going now. What could save the human habitat from destruction?
Maybe an energy revolution, like serious advances in thorium research that made it a safe clean source of energy for the next 50 years (I understand there’s a 50 years’ supply) then we will at least have bought some time (50 years) to think about what to do next.
Or if a way is found to transport stored wind and solar power without the use of fossil fuel. Isn’t that what stops the renewables from replacing fossils?
If nothing saves us we could be heading for a “Dark Age” period — a socio-economic contraction period when the old superpowers have fallen and no new ones have yet arisen. It’s a time when middle class kingdoms can prosper because there’s a reduction in war, and also in travel and trade. Everything’s locally made. There’s a rise in plague and pestilence, though I think that’s in the early Dark Age.
Or, as Oskar Spengler might put it, perhaps human civilization on earth has been through a season of spring, summer, autumn, and now is now entering global winter, a time for the land to be left fallow and the exhausted ground to reconstitute.
China will certainly be a major power in the future. I don’t know if China will be quite the unipolar power the United States has been since 1990-now, and certainly will never be the middle class economic state the US has been since 1945, but as the US diminishes other nations will fill in the power vacuum. Clearly both Russia and China are trying to exploit weaknesses in our global power. My main point is that in 25 years I think it is very clear the US will be in a far reduced position, certainly economically and with respect to the power of the dollar, and in the long run this will translate into a loss of military power in the world.