A Sci-Fi Thought Experiment
Imagine a sci-fi novel or movie that begins with an advancing society that is similar to our neo-capitalistic one. Markets are being created to solve the issues that other markets are producing. For instance, a fossil fuel market is polluting the air and water and creating a market for water purification and mitigation of atmospheric carbon.
Imagine that over time, the markets were essentially, generally focused on solving the issues that the markets had previously generated; excepting necessities like subsistence, healthcare, communications etc.. Now the accelerated advancement that has brought about the accelerated returns via more efficient tools and systems is coupled with more frequent crises; due to the dwindling spans of time between the beginning of the growth period and growth maximum and finally collapse. The frequent succession of crises becomes a significant environmental pressure and the currency systems and financial paradigms lose support and are driven into extinction with more coherent economic models.
This brings about a new era of enlightenment that promotes higher education, environmental stewardship and unprecedented unity. The only problem is that the state of the environment is in such disrepair that the unity is required for a mass revitalization project; due to existential risk factors. So now, the entire population that isn’t busy with the before mentioned necessities is working toward equilibrium and homeostasis. The state of the biosphere is so bad now that it takes about two hundred years of diligence to achieve the desired effect. During this time, this way of life is habituated as a social heuristic. So when homeostasis becomes a reality, the population is lost as to what to do then. All the living members of this society know is endeavoring to fix the environmental issues that previous generations had caused.
Now this is a bit out there; however there are enough loose correlations with our condition to make it humorous. Not so much in the form of what we might expect in the future; but with the effects of “Monetary Economics” on today’s society. We were unable to scale the environmentally cooperative economic models that we developed as hunter gatherers to something that could have been implemented in large states. Generally, we now know only what we have done for the past ten thousand years or so. We are in a rut of incoherence; but it’s not just that. Even the probable playing out of the 5/40 job market has many of us feeling lost; as jobs are entangled with one’s place in society and thus to some degree one’s identity. This is exacerbated with the natural will to contribute that evolution has endowed us with via the before mentioned factors and game theoretical behaviors etc.
It’s not clear to most that the larger mistakes that we make are likely to be cleaned up by an innocent descendant. With an issue such as climate change there really is no accountability for the ones that made the bad decisions in the first place as the span of time between the decision and the appearance of the empirical evidence that it was indeed a bad decision.
Consider ancient society. Imagine that instead of having jealously guarded trade secrets that protected the wealth of artisans and essentially created slavery, general education and work ethic were the heuristic. What then? Imagine that instead of crime and punishment, spoils were shared in the same way of their ancestors. Imagine that instead of centralizing decisions and overwhelming a well paid authority figure, a well informed public could make the task light through collective intelligence and an efficient system.
The state that we are in is likely due to a large number of poor decisions; rather than the necessity that the closed minded often tout. Unfortunately we humans like to be absolved of implication and like to think that what is is just the way that it is. We are poor at Epistemology by nature; and are quick to make excuses for it… and future generations will likely pay for that.
“We don’t inherit the land from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.” ~ Seattle