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Climato-economic habitats support patterns of human needs, stresses, and freedoms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 August 2013

Evert Van de Vliert*
Affiliation:
Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, University of Groningen, Netherlands, 9712 TS Groningen, The Netherlands Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Norway, N-5015 Bergen, Norwaye.van.de.vliert@rug.nlhttp://www.rug.nl/staff/e.van.de.vliert/index

Abstract

This paper examines why fundamental freedoms are so unevenly distributed across the earth. Climato-economic theorizing proposes that humans adapt needs, stresses, and choices of goals, means, and outcomes to the livability of their habitat. The evolutionary process at work is one of collectively meeting climatic demands of cold winters or hot summers by using monetary resources. Freedom is expected to be lowest in poor populations threatened by demanding thermal climates, intermediate in populations comforted by undemanding temperate climates irrespective of income per head, and highest in rich populations challenged by demanding thermal climates. This core hypothesis is supported with new survey data across 85 countries and 15 Chinese provinces and with a reinterpretative review of results of prior studies comprising 174 countries and the 50 states in the United States. Empirical support covers freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of expression and participation, freedom from discrimination, and freedom to develop and realize one's human potential. Applying the theory to projections of temperature and income for 104 countries by 2112 forecasts that (a) poor populations in Asia, perhaps except Afghans and Pakistanis, will move up the international ladder of freedom, (b) poor populations in Africa will lose, rather than gain, relative levels of freedom unless climate protection and poverty reduction prevent this from happening, and (c) several rich populations will be challenged to defend current levels of freedom against worsening climato-economic livability.

Type
Target Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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