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Comments

benj

Aside from fuel, poor people can also be used for food. Their bones would be inedible, so those are the leftovers that we could use for fuel. This solves the problem of poverty since wealth will exponentially increase per capita with each genocide we take part in.

CaptainDan

What makes you think we don't do this already?

Alfster

Let's cast the net further and say stupid people as well as poor people. Looking at the obesity problem in the US stupid people will be fatter in general than poor people so you get more MPC (miles per corpse).

Also, poor people may not necessarily be stupid and, with the money, could become an asset to society over and above their calorific value.

Start inviting stupid people and you could probably get away with not paying the ones who didn't get chosen nothing by making up fancy clauses to justify not paying them.

Or, of course, just make sure they never meet the other contenders tell everyone of them that they have been chosen to fry. They will hopefully be too stupid ask what happened to the other ones.

This will mean more MPC due to the higher calorific value of their bodies, we will have less strain on education (stupid kids are fat as well and should be included). Obviously, we still need to keep some around for garbage collection and sweeping the roads. We may even reduce their numbers enough to close down MacDonalds as they won't have enough people to staff their restaurants...though that might reduce obesity thus ruining the stupid people eat rubbish and get obese part.

Also, why not just pass a law that everyone who dies also has to be put to the flame? That should offset any carbon footprint they have built up over their lifetime.

Ajay Mishra

Scott, I am a bit disappointed. You didnt cover the most important question! - Now, because I am an IITan - which implies, I am smarter than most: let me make up for what you missed :

Q2: WHAT will we do, when we run out of poor people?

Option A : We DRAFT those 19 others? or - get some rich 'folks' a chance to be "patriotic' ?

Option B : We outsource the war ( sorry Car) to some cheap ass nation?

Did you notice even options are posed as questions? Sorry, makes us THINK.

Scott Dear - what about this : Plan C : What would happen when we exhaust all the 19 drafted - folks?

You should have a post on that. As you are American, who can pose "qualitative questions" - Or did I get it wrong? - some said qualitative stuff should be outsourced to Europe or japan ! ( never mind, the French are going to debate it.. and the Japanese are busy explaining this to voters)... now if you would, please enlighten..

We consult, but you got to post the questions :)

ajay

Rach

Depends on how gory the liquefying process is

Another Scott

Amazing how many people missed the point of this post. (Like it's about fuel - please!)

But you should have made the anology with stupid people instead of poor people, since nobody reading your posts could really be considered poor (but a lot of them could be considered the other thing!) - (Obscure reference here so the ones I'm writing about won't know I mean them.) Then it would have been closer to truth of the matter.

The central question is: Would (Does) this process save more lives than it costs? If so, they are heroes, like the people that fought in WWII (our last just war) making our reaping benifits from their sacrifice morally o.k.

Or will current policy, as most experts agree, cost more lives in the future making the 1 in 20's sacrifice a total waste.

You might also wish to add to your "hypothetical solution to the energy crisis" that in addition to the 1 in 20 Americans deaths there would be "collateral" costs to foreign nationals lives at a rate of 10 to 1 (15?) (20?) (100?) with little or any benifit to the other people in their society.

Sign me: one of your biggest fans (unless that makes me seem crazy - then skip it...)

Stonebear

I believe Mr. Adams is referring to a law of economics (at least it was when I was in college): A capitalist system is an inherently dynamic means of production; it can never attain equilibrium, since its very existence is defined by expansion and recession. The essential requirement for the desired expansion of production by capitalists is energy, which, in our world right now, comes primarily from two sources: Human labor, and oil. To the extent there are (for all practical purposes) only these two commodities to power the capitalist system of production on the scale in which it exists, they tend to have an inverse market relationship. Simply put: When the price of oil goes up, the price of labor must go down accordingly in order to maintain the rate of expansion which prevents recession. Every increase in the cost of oil takes an equal value in food out of the mouths of working families somewhere in the world. In this sense, activities which consume oil, and drive up its value, are also consuming people by simultaneously driving down the value of their labor. Of course, when oil is consumed productively, jobs are created which balance things out by increasing the value of labor, and putting food in the mouths of still other working families. In his unique, ironic way, Mr. Adams laments that working families throughout the world must needlessly suffer hardship for the waste consumption of petroleum generated energy which has become a way of life for many Americans.

Sameer

yes we are. in many different ways. same for airconditioning, and even eating food.

Puneet

Now I can feel the *free will* concept you have been rambling about since long...

Dalebert

You know, I was thinking about this some more. A pension plan and education might be enough incintive for some not so poor people to take that 5% chance. Roll a die one time and get some free benefits- a nice education and never having to save up money for retirement. Is there some reason this program has to be strictly limited to poor people or can anyone volunteer? Heck, my education was quite a struggle to pay for. I might have gone for it. Of course it would have really pissed off my mom.

jennifer

absolutely. it's clearly my patriotic duty. :)

Paul

As soon as you got to the benefits for the 19, I thought "US Army". Then I skipped the rest and read the bonus. While I don't believe that the war is about oil, I definitely think that there are parallels and I do support the troops and believe they are true volunteers, great people, and heroes, so I'd have to say I'd agree to your proposal. That being said, this is not the same as the Iraq War. At the moment, the war doesn't seem to be doing anything beneficial and if we left, we could still get affordable fuel, so I don't necessarily support the Iraq War, although I do support your fuel, because it seems like in your scenario, it's necessary. As an aside, I am actually a libertarian and see nothing wrong with anarcho-capitalism in principal and believe the government should not take away freedom, so I only agree with using the fuel if it's voluntary, not if the government demands everyone to be in the lottery for being used as fuel. In other words, I don't support a draft or a large government.

Kevin Kunreuther

Killing volunteers to get cheap fuel isn't working because the model is a smokescreen. Petroleum is not scarce at all, despite there being a larger demand than there was twenty five years ago; it is expensive right now because:
1)wily and weaselly speculators drive the prices on light sweet crude on the commodities market
2)refineries call the shots on how much to (over)charge for making gasoline, kerosene and other petroleum products. The profits haven't trickled down to petroleum workers, they stayed upstairs, IN THE BOARDROOM.
From Africa imported new inexpensive reserves of light sweet crude have been more than enough to offset the supposed shortage by the Iraq conflict, but that has not kept oil refiners from legally bumping up the price of their products.

So, my volunteers are dying for a fallacy. The war is not about keeping fuel prices down or affordable. It's about keeping fuel prices artificially high to make insane profits to line majority shareholders pockets. Soon, the conflict will escalate and tumble into Iran, not because the Iranians want a war, but because the current leadership wants the war. The leadership doesn't care about cannon fodder (soldiers) or collateral damage (civilians), it wants to maintain the illusion.
I hope I will be SO wrong about this, but I'm sure within the next three years, this escalation will result in the detonation of crude nuclear devices in either Europe or the United States (targets:Houston, NYC, Newark, Roma, Hamburg, London, Sheffield) - and the war will STILL drag on.
So the correct analogy would be, would you die to line another person's pockets with stinkin' wads of cash?

mnuez

Scott, I can hardly imagine what you must be feeling as you read so so SO many morons misunderstanding the exceedingly simple analogy that you made. Personally, it makes me despair for the race, from your perspective it may make you think that there's small reason to post because no one will understand you anyway. Well, a few folk here (of the forty or so comments I've read) understood your obvious point quite clearly and I have to hope that most of the non-commentors understood you too. On account of the homo sapien species, I apologise for my brothers' unbelievable stupidity.

mnuez


p.s. I never applied for mensa (though my school scores on governmental and non-governmental tests would indicate that I'd likely be accepted) but I think that I get your point mentioned in that age-old post about "not having to repeat yourself" or explain things repeatedly to smart folk. - Hey! Think of the army as "The Darwin Brigade", designed to weed out (1/20th of) the stupid people in our world so that at some point hundreds of years hence humans will no longer have to explain themselves repeatedly!

p.p.s. on the subject of your post, my actual point of view is currently somewhere in the socialistic universe. I think that, for the greater good of all, none should live too terribly or be forced to risk life and limb (even if they are poor, even if they are poor because they're stupid or nono-talented) or sooner or later they'll realize that laissez faire actually includes freedom to use fists and guns as well and the rich and/or intelligent won't fair too well either. ~ m

www.mnuez.blogspot.com

Bill

There are lots of alternatives to the military if you just can't afford college. The members of the US Millitary are nobody's victims. These are men and women who have chosen to take a stand for the defense of themselves, their loved ones, and their country. These are not lemmings that blindly go where the president tells them to go. Indeed we regularly read about those that are refusing. These are men an women who made up of the same moral fiber as those who wrestled flight 93 to the ground before it could kill more people.

Your analogy is incomplete and the death rate is wildly inaccurate. It would be complete if you said that without the poor people being fed to the cars, the cars would occasionally take out buildings, bridges, subways etc. And the death rate should be compared with the death rates for fishing, farming, or truck driving. I think you'll find the risk vs. reward proposition to be compelling. Give me increased national security for the same number of dead people it takes to put surf and turf on Scott Adams plate any day.

Nacho

Original! Here's original. For once, stop picking on poor people. Let's use politicians and CEOs. Not while we need them, of course, but once they finish their service to the country or company they are supposed to serve. This has two added benefits:
- We can use their retirement fund and assets to feed a lot more than 19 poor people
- We can renew the old dinosaurs of the world's political class at no cost (with benefit actually)
In that way also we ensure that everybody who tries to get elected for anything really does it out of devotion for this country and not because he has some promise to Bin Laden to honor.

Monstah

Does it only work for people, or could pets be enlisted too? That way we would also solve the problem of families throwing their unwanted pets in the streets to live off garbage and spread diseases.

And think of the old ones. It's a lot more exciting than Bingo, plus you get to choose (sorta) when to get the hell out of this life.

It would probably do a lot to improve the general view of eating meat. Hell, if people are lining up to get killed and processed for human (machinery) consumption, why would anyone bother if cows are being treated the same way?

By the way, I've been reading this for some time now, but it's my first time commenting on your blog. Keep up the good polemics (both here and on Dilbert). Regards from Brazil!

Mike

Scott,

Of course I would use poor people for fuel. I do not discriminate based on one's economic class.

Real Live Girl

I wouldn't use poor people and persuade them to participate in this kind of a lottery.

However, I don't see the harm in allowing prisoners (lifers, death row inmates) or terminally ill people requesting death (assisted suicide) to volunteer for this service.

I know - it's a lame workaround answer to your question. You can keep the bonus question too; I don't need the extra credit.

Will

Arby wrote: "Your post is a not so veiled analogy that is anti-war, anti-Bush and anti US capitalist/imperialism"
----
Uh, Scott Adams is as pro-capitalist as they come (and there's nothing wrong with that). If you think otherwise, you've never read his comics strip, books or blog.

Dalebert

I don't see a moral problem with it, but wouldn't you be able to get a lot more bodies just by getting people to sign over their bodies for after they die of other causes? Of course, I'm defeating the point of the analogy with that, aren't I? OK, I'm sure there is some made-up reason why you have to start with a reasonably healthy living person for this made-up "fuel" you speak of, so NM.

ender

i could spare some human sludge out of my basement to forward this cause. a healthy collection of other small mammals as well

mendel

Mickle wrote: OIL IS REALLY, REALLY OLD CORPSES.

Well, only in the sense that when you put a log into the fireplace you're burning THE CORPSE OF A TREE! ;)

Chief of the Cubicle Police

Would I fuel my vehicle with poor people?

Of course, and without hesitation.


I'd even do it without the 1 in 20 scenario, and likely even if it wasn't voluntary.

Rich

Can we use illegal immigrants instead?

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