Why is affluence the way of the future?
"Let me first remind you of the obvious"—wrote John M. Keynes the English economist during the depth of the Great Depression. ' 'The large mass of population in the world is living much better than ever."
The farther back we go in history the poorer we all were. The more we advance into the future the more affluent more and more of us grow.
By the standards of 1850 very nearly everyone in a postindustrial society today is affluent. By the standards of 2050 everyone today is poor—even the wealthy.
Everywhere in the world people are better off today than ever. This is clearly reflected in hard statistics:
Lowest infant mortality in history.
Lowest adult mortality everywhere in the world.
Highest life expectancy everywhere.
Greatest surplus of food in the world.
Slowest rate of population growth in decades.
More telecommunication hardware—even in poor countries.
More people traveling voluntarily around the planet (1.3 billion annually).
If at times it appears that some less developed areas are sliding or standing still—it is because we regard those areas from the vantage point of late twentieth century. Even the poorest countries are making headway. If you have any doubts contact an information outlet—for example the United Nations library—and obtain playbacks of where these societies were thirty or forty years ago. Still there is much poverty in our world. Even one single undernourished person anywhere is one too many.
Anyone who knows the compositions of our continents and oceans and the solar system and the galaxies knows full well that we live in a universe of limitless abundance.
There is still poverty in the world not because of scarce resources— but because we haven't yet developed the psychology and the economics to tap the cornucopia around us.
It is like living on a huge estate overflowing with provisions and riches—yet fighting over the limited provisions in one tiny storeroom.
How ridiculous to fester in poverty and recessions and inflations amid all this glut of resources.
There is no scarcity. Only a psychology of scarcity. Only an infrastructure of scarcity. .
But we are steadily breaking out of these anachronistic loops.
We are moving toward more and more abundance. My projection (first made in the 1960s) is that by around the third decade of the new century all real poverty will have phased out. All humanity—wherever we are—will enjoy abundance.
How will this come about?
Limitless cheap energy: solar—fusion—hydrogen fuel—etc. Limitless raw materials: from the oceans—earth's interiors— moons—planets—asteroids.
Limitless time: indefinite life spans. Limitless space: solar system and beyond.
Limitless vision: postscarcity and postpuritan psychology of abundance.
We have enough resources to insure abundance for every one of us for millions and billions of years. Abundance for as long as there is a universe.
Date: 2015-02-28; view: 504