“Man is a very curious animal. We make things up out of thin air, and then become enslaved to them.”
Scientists discover that there is a Comet on the way they are 100% certain that it is going to hit the earth in five years. But the scientists also have a foolproof plan that they are 100% sure it can save us. The only catch is that it would be so expensive the entire earth would go bankrupt to implement it.
What do you think would happen? Do you really think there would be people saying: “Sorry, we just can’t afford it.” We’d do whatever we had to do to survive. We’d also likely discover that the money didn’t have to “come from” anywhere, any more than the points on a football scoreboard have to come from somewhere.
Whether Donald Trump thinks climate change is real and caused by man is unimportant, most of the world thinks it’s real and will be building a new economic model that doesn’t require the burning of fossil fuels to deal with it. We need to be a part of it.
Climate change along with population growth is likely to create a new economic paradigm built around renewable energy of many forms. Our current economic system has about 20% of the world’s population using a little over 75% of the planet’s resources. Over 70% of the planet’s population lives on less than $10.00 per day. The US, with 5% of the world’s population uses somewhere around one fourth of the world’s energy. These don’t sound like sustainable conditions to me. “Business as usual” is not likely to last much longer. There is not room for several new fossil-fuel driven industrial economies based on either the US or Chinese models. We’d need several more planets. Our economic system fails to take environmental costs into account.
Rapidly advancing technology is also going to change the nature of work itself with automation and AI having a vast impact. 20 years from now, most of the “jobs” we now have will be vastly different and one of the challenges is going to be finding something useful for everybody.
For the last 250 years or thereabouts, the world’s economic system has revolved around an industrial model where the economies of scale favored ever larger factories and the corporate and financial systems evolved around that. Indeed, 8 of the top 10 on the Forbes list of the world’s biggest companies are banks, with Apple and Exxon being the only non-bank entities. Tail wagging the dog. Finance has it’s place, but it shouldn’t be the dominant activity. An economic system should serve the people, not the other way around.
One of the things that new technologies, like 3D Printing and nano technology are going to do is make industrial plants of much smaller sizes possible and reduce the advantage of being “big” and the increased rate of change will make adaptability more important. Increasing transportation costs ae also make it less likely that a large item like an automobile will be able to be manufactured and shipped around half the planet for less than one produced locally.
This is all “future talk”, and the future may not play out this way, but the concept here is it is largely certain things will change drastically, and the rate of this change is only going to increase, barring a worldwide economic collapse.
Investing in technologies and infrastructure that are going to be soon obsolete is not going to make America Great Again. As is clinging to an economic model like it’s a religion and failing to adapt to changing circumstances and at least explore possibilities.
I feel the market itself will support, if not mandate, whatever changes will take place. The ability to adapt will overcome the need for a huge corporate structure, which, rather than increasing efficiency, will be viewed as an encumbrance. World trade will still be important, but I see the ability for a nation to self-generate wealth in a sustainable fashion as a big plus. America used to be filled with many self-sustaining local economies propelled by locally owned and managed businesses.
If such a thing as “American Exceptionalism” exists, it was our ability to quickly adapt as well as implement new technologies. I’m concerned that the financial-industrial complex will try to maintain a favored position by dragging their feet and trying to maximize the investments they have already made. We have a long history of fostering brilliant entrepreneurs, lets figure out how to let them take us into the future, rather than have them looking to preserve a past that’s only of benefit for a decreasingly smaller percentage of the population.