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05/23/2013

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Brian

Well, it seems to me he's right about the shape that humans want... one pile where everybody is rich.

Of course, on a finite planet whose natural systems and resources are already brutally overtaxed, there is exactly zero chance of that happening. That world will never exist. The world, according to his blocks, will likely look very similar to what it does now, perhaps even worse. There will probably be a single block of the uber-wealthy (the haves) and there will be some number of of blocks representing the poor (the have-nots). There will be little in between. It has been that way for most of human history, probably all of human history, including the fossil fuel era, with only relatively local or short exceptions. It will likely be that way again.

And that's probably the optimistic end of the realism spectrum. In reality, given human nature and our inability to be proactive to long-term, slow-moving problems that have unquantifiable economic impact today, it is entirely likely that we will make a series of "decisions" that will continue (if not exacerbate) our problems until such time as a crisis emerges that cannot be ignored. The question is, at that time, will there be anything that can be done to improve the outlook or minimize the pain? Or will the necessary correction be the same for humans as it is for yeast (and pretty much all other life forms when they exceed the carrying capacity of their ecosystem)?

By the end of this century, Hans might have to have fewer blocks (or smaller blocks that represent millions (?) rather than billions). If you're betting on the likelihood of all those poor people becoming rich by the end of this century, I'll take the over. Big.

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