That we’re getting better at not killing each other because of international trade co-dependence is a double edged sword. It brings a certain type of peace, but also eg economic sanctions which keep people incompetent. Peaceful, yes. Prosperous no.
Not having citizens protest in the streets because they’re resigned to its futility is peaceful, too. But passive hopelessnesss is not a precursor to prosperity.
We need to be careful what we measure. Number of premature deaths per capita is good, but once we’re below a certain threshold (and it is 2015 so we should be), other indicators tell us more, eg social mobility, enfranchisement, equality and equity, health, happiness, number of people with hobbies and so on.
An insightful and well-articulated comment.
I this I has time to do more research on this, but I don’t, so this will have to do. From a quick Google and news review:
A crude but indicative total fossil fuel subsidy in the UK of somewhere between £9bn and £12bn per year. In 2011 just over £3bn was spent on renewable energy subsidies.
Friends of the Earth has calculated that the tax breaks given to North Sea oil and gas in 2012/13 alone were worth around £2bn to the industry.
Renewables are a stronger economic investment. It claimed every US dollar spent on renewable energy subsidies attracted $2.5 (£1.50) in investment, while a dollar in fossil fuel subsidies drew $1.3 (82p) of investment.
At current rates of progress it will take 24 years to insulate all easy to treat lofts and cavity walls.
Subsidies were responsible for 36% of global carbon emissions between 1980 and 2010. They do little to help the poor, since richer folk are heavier energy consumers. In 2008 the poorest 40% of Egyptians received 3% of petrol subsidies.
Especially in non-democratic states, subsidies are seen as crucial to maintaining social stability. But as energy prices rose during the 2000s, so did the cost of the handouts. The value of fossil-fuel subsidies around the world increased by 60% from 2007 to 2013, eventually reaching $550 billion, according to the International Energy Agency. In many countries, they overshadow spending on health care or education.