Thursday, April 07, 2005

Dreamer vs. Realist?

TCS: Tech Central Station - Is the World Using Up Its Resources?

"As an example, they often cite Easter Island, whose civilization supposedly failed due to running out of [resources].

... [big gap]

What I do say is that we have some attributes (foresight being one of them) that (for example) the Easter Islanders didn't have, and that they've stood us in good stead for the past couple hundred years."

Stood us in good stead for the past couple hundred years? This author has a much different view of things than I have.

What makes him think the Easter Islanders had no forsight? They were people, just like us, with good brains and evolutionarily derived predispositions. What makes him think that a similar proportion of Easter Islanders didn't foresee their fate as foresee the fate seemingly awaiting humanity now?

I think this author won't agree with me that his economics of individual self-interest indulges the pecking order impulse and leads to the sort of Hummer mentality that is trashing the planet.

I think the Easter Islanders suffered from the same limitations we "modern" humans bear - we're built for earlier times. We're little different from bacteria in a culture dish, oblivious to impending dieoff as a function of the replacement of nutrients with waste in their petri dish.

The difference is that our petri dish is the globe.

Some small fraction of us think we see the eventual consequence of exponentiation against limits. The same must have been true for Easter Islanders. The worriers of Easter Island didn't stand a chance, and neither do worriers today. Human events will unfold subject to now outdated evolutionary impulses.

This author is apparently an economist who thinks I'm with the little red hen. I think we're in the deep shit he's full of.

I hope he's right.

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