[ 16/May/21 ]
Within sustainable budgets for energy and materials.
Exactly what such a budget would look like depends very much on the environment and the technologies employed.
If you can live as a vegan you need about 1/10th the land that a meat eater requires to grow food (I have been vegan for 11 years now). The less diverse the diet the lower the requirement for land.
How much energy one requires depend very much on the the environment in which you live, the technologies you wish to employ, and what seems sufficient to you.
There is nothing simple about doing such calculations, as even something as simple as a pencil requires an amazing amount of cooperative complexity to produce it. And as fully automated systems come onstream we should be able to produce systems that fully automate the production of all the goods and services that most people reasonably require, and that is some seriously complex software and hardware, and will take time to develop, and will need to be deployed at scale with multiple levels of redundancy for security. And all that is doable.
So it is entirely possible for everyone on the planet to live in a lifestyle that over 95% of those in the most developed nations would consider reasonable and sufficient. And that does require some major changes to how we do things now – full recycling of all materials, design of goods for longevity rather than throw away or planned obsolescence etc.
And some things it makes no sense to replace in a year.
A well designed dwelling should be able to last for centuries (even millennia) with reasonably minimal maintenance.
And all such things are contrary to the notions of capital and profit, as profit requires constant activity and constant turnover. So there is now, in the presence of the possibility of fully automated systems, a complete conflict between the incentives of markets and capital and the reasonable needs of the vast majority of people. And that is a deeply complex issue because currently many of the systems essential for our survival are deeply embedded in the current economic system – so transition is not a trivial problem, and it is one that needs to be addressed with some urgency. Contrary to popular dogma the use of markets to measure value is now one of the greatest threats present to both life and liberty; and that was not generally the case in the past, and it is so now – the presence of fully automated systems does in fact have such a profound impact.