How to deal with stupid people breeding?
I think the simplest way would be to spread memes about the social desirability of contraception and the personal benefits of using it (in a way that would appeal to stupid people). Then hand out contraceptives like candy.
Maybe a better question would be: how to prevent the kids of stupid people becoming as stupid as their parents? After all, it's not really their fault that their parents are mouth-breathers. Not easy, but an interesting challenge.
I just have a massive problem with democracy being two wolves (and stupid wolves at that) and a sheep deciding what's for dinner. Your idea about referenda open only to people who know what they're talking about is a good one, but wouldn't that kind of amount to the same thing, and be open to the same criticism as my proposal?
The nature of the question matters. At election time, people are asked "do you want this bunch of incompetent layabouts running the country, or this bunch of venal crooks?". There's no logical "best" solution, so your level of education (or your ability to make sound judgements) is irrelevant. In a gov't consultation, people are asked to detail a nuanced opinion. Stupid people self-filter, because they are (by definition) unable to express a coherent thought. Your method might
have prevented the election of George Bush the Dumber, but not the election of Hitler.
George McDonald Fraser remarked once that his favourite Prime Minister (can't remember who) was one who had openly admitted to having spent one year in office and achieved absolutely nothing in that time!
Yeah, I've heard that one. Like it!
Nothing except that it would mean lower incomes and higher unemployment as the economy entered a long period of negative growth.
Depends what you mean by "growth". The definition is usually circular: growth=higher consumption, and consumption is a measure of growth. Yet quality of life does not, in fact, depend on consumption/growth. General western experience since 1950 has proved that conclusively. It depends on more nebulous things like security, availability of services (health care, education), legal rights (property rights, freedom of speech) and quality of the environment. The maintenance of those things could (in theory) involve very little consumption.
Taiwan would have to go through a shock like Cuba did in the 1990s to shift to agriculture again. Incomes would decline because Taiwan is not competitive in the sector. Countries get rich when people leave the land and move to industrializing cities and then (maybe) become members of a globalized service oriented knowledge economy. They become poor when people have to move back to the land.
You're assuming that: 1) agriculture is an industry like any other, that excludes everything else from the land it occupies and 2) people who "move back to the land" are "nothing but" farmers. As GiT said, it's not a zero-sum game. Farm work happens in bursts, which means people could work on the land (if they wanted to) and
on a primary career. A "distributed city", which I've argued for elsewhere, would use any given area for several different functions, massively decreasing the total human footprint. Greater efficiency in employment, production, and energy use would inevitably make people richer, not poorer. Farmers appear "poor" in pre-industrial societies because they are aggressively excluded from the rest of the economy, yet they must spend the same (large) sums of money on inefficient service provision as anyone else, not to mention expensive chemicals and machinery which they are told will "improve productivity". But yes, I agree there would be a rather precarious transition period, especially if not managed well.
I also thought it more logical that small scooters should be less polluting than cars, just based on their their lower fuel consumption. However, from my experience as a pedestrian and cyclist in Taiwan, I think the 3-4 times more polluting than cars statement sounds about right.
I did say "all else being equal". As you and others have said, scooters don't have an EMS or catalytic converter, and enforcement of scooter emissions is non-existent, so all else isn't
equal. The government could simply legislate for very low tailpipe emissions (comparable to cars) or fuel mileage (say, 100km/l equivalent). There would be no need to explicitly ban anything: the only machines able to meet the standard without great expense would be the electric ones.
It's not possible for Taiwan to be self sufficient all the time, it is a small island with 22 million people packed together.
You're right that self-sufficiency for the sake of it
is not economically sound. Certain things are better grown in Taiwan, certain things elsewhere. However, as GiT said, it's a national security issue. Taiwan should be capable
of self-sufficiency. Taiwan's advantage is that it has a huge range of microclimates, so the possible crop diversity is quite incredible. Likewise with energy: Taiwan's large nuclear capacity is extremely vulnerable, whereas massively-distributed solar and wind (for example) would be very, very hard to bomb out of existence.
If it tried to grow all it's own food one or multiple typhoons could result in hyperinflation and starvation. One typhoon has the potential to wipe out crops over half the island. Drought could do the same. Plant disease, human pathogen epidemics, animal pathogen epidemics, multi year cycles of drought...they happen all the time.
A simple trade blockade by China would have exactly the same effect. The impact of drought, diseases, etc. can be allowed for and mitigated in a resilient design. Broadscale monocultures and animals in cramped, unsanitary conditions are particularly susceptible. Diversity and better land use would prevent local disease outbreaks becoming epidemics.