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Human Longevity or Unbridled Growth -
The Fog of Economics
Posted Facebook, The New York Times, Room for Debate - January 22, 2013
The Fog of
War. Long after the Viet Nam war ended, Robert S. McNamara, in his reflective book, lamented
about the grave intellectual mistakes made by the country’s brightest and best.
Many lessons were defined, but ultimately all roads lead to shortcomings in the
way our cognitions work and understand reality. Unfortunately they were not
recognized before these failings caused thousands of unneeded deaths and
injuries to Americans and many others abroad.
Today. Today, we face a more profounder and critical issue. Should we not take to heart,
the underlying lessons conveyed by Robert McNamara, regarding the limitations existing
in our cognitive functions – then the human costs will go beyond thousands, and
even millions. In fact, the very existence of our species is now a concern that
can no longer be washed away by rhetorical denials. For it is imminent, without
So the fogs
we face today are not just in war, but they clutter the other areas of concern
that have guided us to our present predicament; namely, the conventional
beliefs of economics and theology. In both cases, their intentions share a
desire to do good, but also share the fundamental flaw of promoting unbridled growth
in population and human activity, that leads to a head-on collision with
existential physics and exponential mathematics. Our finite planet cannot
accommodate such algebra, and such beliefs are doomed to bring about a biblical
die-off of our species, when the abstracts of these positive-sum games breach
the concrete realities of the negative-sum game that defines our existence.
A few months
ago I wrote and emailed Mr. Paul Krugman, specifically dealing with the
concerns pertaining to economics, and the inability of the brightest and best
of this field, to reconcile their beliefs with the physical certitudes of
finite resources, expanding populations, climatic chaos and hard exponential
mathematics. While Mr. Krugman did not respond; others did, including, Al
Bartlett, Professor Emeritus, Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder, who fully supported and commended its content. I also
believe many others who read this letter under the blog titled, “InvisibleGenocide; Fallacy of Economic Growth,” would also provide similar support. And moreover, it is a genocide that may be
closer than we think; one that may even confront the current generation in
their lifetime. The Fog of Economics?
How close is
it? While peak everything is certainly upon us, it is also much more than oil
and the other fossil fuels. As Christopher O. Clugston sets out in his recently
published book, “Scarcity –Humanity’s Final Chapter,” within less than fifty years we will
economically run out of about 90 per cent of the elements needed to run an industrial-military-consumer complex,
(Remember Ike?) supporting the livelihoods of more than seven billion people.
Churchill’s gathering storm compares better to a mere cloud burst in this
Soros’s former partner; seasoned investor, Jim Roger’s recent remarks, “shortagesof raw material will lead to wars” and one can plainly see that it is just not
liberal academics, scientists and greenies that comprehend the global human
adversity that we will soon face. Consider further, that his constantly advised
and recommended top “Conservative Investment” pick is: “Buy a Farm.” We get his
message in no uncertain terms.
should you. As we cut through The Fog of Economics, humanity comes to the fork
in the road. To decide, whether or not, we now take the one less traveled depends
on the overall goal we set, which is a decision between two concepts – “human
longevity or unbridled growth.” It is utterly impossible to simultaneously
pursue both, as they are in nature, physics and mathematics directly opposing
recent commentary from an affiliated blog explores this debate further and
calls upon all of us to consider, decide and act upon the choice you believe to
be best. Keeping in mind that there are not only fogs in war - but they also
exist in economics, theology, politics and many other areas of human concern.
Let us not narrow the areas of our concern, forget our limitations nor act in
arrogance. Let us instead cleanse ourselves of these fogs, taking the road less
traveled, so that we continue to pass on to all future generations; not an
invisible genocide, but the human spirit embodied in the richness and diversity