Is the Earth maxed out, or should we be optimistic about being able to solve our future? At TED 2012, Paul Gilding made the case for the former, and Peter Diamandis argued for the latter, and then they debated.
I am with Blueflames and Peter to a substantial degree.
The earth is far from “full”, and the specific technologies we are using today are pushing hard at some boundaries in some places.
We need to do some rapid change in technology, and neither governments nor corporations are good at rapid change (they are inherently conservative).
It seems to me that the major problem we face is neither corporations nor governments (rather they are symptoms of the root cause).
The root issue seems to be one of a common misunderstanding, that human value and monetary value are equivalent, and that by optimising the one we automatically optimise the other. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Money is a market valuation measure, and as such includes a scarcity multiplier.
The sort of abundance that the billions of poor need, the sort that includes food, sanitation, computers and communication, education, and transportation – this sort of abundance we can easily supply, but not in a way that returns “profit” (that ever expanding proxy for greed).
I spend as little time as possible in the economic system, making enough money to survive on, and as much time as possible in the “voluntary sector” – Lions club, Fishing Club, Golf Club, nature conservation, regional water management, etc.
Money is a tool, and it is a very dangerous tool, to be used with great care.
Letting money become a master in any way, is a very dangerous thing.
Our society is almost pathological in this attribute.
Yet it is “only” a relatively small matter of understanding, of belief, and it can change, very rapidly.
Minds can be freed.
As Neo said – I didn’t come here to tell you how it would end, only how it would begin.