Which seems more likely to you…?
— A smooth decrease in population growth, leading to a smooth decrease in population numbers, over the next 100+ years?
— Abrupt, sharp collapse of human population numbers, possibly soon?
[ 17/July/22 ]
All those ideas are based on sets of assumptions about the technologies used.
Yes, we have based our current civilisation on extracted fossil fuels, and that does give those of us that enjoy a western standard of living the mechanical equivalence of about 200 slaves each (just looking at the mechanical power output of a human).
We are now getting technology that allows us to automate recursively more complex tasks, thus freeing people from the need to do those tasks.
We have over recent centuries had an open circuit economy, extract and dump. That needs to change to one that recycles everything.
We are not short of potential sources of energy – we have the sun and geothermal, either of which could meet our needs, and we should probably develop both (for a host of reasons I will not get into in detail – and they are complex and interconnected).
The biggest problem we have is the ways in which we think about things.
We have a tendency to over simplify at multiple levels, and to ignore the connections present in that process.
We must get past that.
Getting most people past that demands systems that deliver security and freedom. People need to be able to spend most of their time learning (I have done so for over 60 years, and I can see it continuing for as much of the remainder of eternity as I am able to survive through).
Existing economic and political systems are strategically incapable of delivering that outcome. Something else is required. That something else has to acknowledge the deep complexity present, and has to acknowledge that human beings have two sets of natures, one as individuals, and one as members of groups, and that both are necessarily fundamentally cooperative.
Over simplifying games theory is a route to destruction.
Over simplifying the threat space we face is similarly destructive.
We have the potential for security and freedom beyond anything available to our ancestors, and it demands new levels of cooperation and responsibility from every one of us.
It requires understanding the evolutionary reality that every new level of complexity demands a new level of cooperation if it is to survive long term.
We must get past the idea that competition is a fundamental good, and accept that competition is only survivable if it is built on a cooperative base.