Hot, Flat and Crowded Question Set #2: Chapter 5, p. 85-109.
1. What does Friedman mean when he makes the following claims, “Doha and Dalian show what happens when flat meets crowded”? And, “Remember: the metric to watch is not the total number of people on the planet—it’s the total number of ‘Americans’ on the planet”?
2. What is one “Americum”? How many exist on Earth currently? How many are projected to be on Earth in 2030? So what?
3. Pages 89-92 demonstrate why France cannot afford a 35-hour work week and how China has become the main player in what Friedman calls “consumption volcano”.
4. How were communism and socialism effective at limiting the growth of Americums?
5. Note how China’s demand for iron in 2004 resulted in “the Great Drain Robbery”. Poor economies don’t exert much of a global demand for resources like scrap metal or metallic ores. Economies in which are growing rapidly and steadily creating Americums exert profound influence on global resources.
6. Be sure that you understand Diamond’s “relative per capita consumption rate”. What happens to world consumption rates when a person emigrates from a country with a low relative per capita consumption rate to the “first world”? Why? How does our “relative per capita consumption rate” compare with China’s? What will happen to demand for resources like oil and metal if China’s “relative per capita consumption rate” reaches the same level as ours?
7. How might recent rapid increases in rates of per capita consumption rate in OPEC countries influence the global supply of petroleum?
8. Which “commons” fueled previous “economic spurts”?
9. So, how does Friedman propose that we change the model of economic growth? What resources will be required?
10. Why did Friedman’s visit to the “green” Wal-Mart depress him?
11. Pages 105-107 demonstrate how exceedingly consumptive our lifestyle is. In pages 107-109 Friedman re-states his case that Earth can’t afford many more Americums and then challenges the US to create the model that will lead to a new model of economic growth that does not depend on exploitation of finite natural resources and such high rates of pollution.