Friday, 4 October 2019

"Poverty is 'sustainable,' prosperity is progressive." #QotD

"Poverty is 'sustainable,' prosperity is progressive...
    "Sustainability" is not a good way to think about things. "'Sustainability' implies that our goal should be repetition: that we want to do something that can be repeated over and over and over.
    "But I think of life in terms of evolution or progress. We don't want to do the same thing over and over and over, we want to find better and better ways of doing things...
If people are free, and they are free to use energy and to use technology, they can have really good lives even in places with naturally inhospitable climates.
    "Is it sustainable [for a society] to live in poverty for 10,000 years? Well, yeah, that's sustainable, but it's not progressive. So I want to be progressive, not sustainable."

          ~ Alex Epstein, from his post 'Poverty is 'sustainable,' prosperity is progressive'


  1. Sustainable progress is how I would put it.

  2. In the 1970s novelist Jerry Pournelle coined the phrase "Survival with Style".

    In a series of essays (later collected as a book " A Step Further Out.")
    Pournelle examined the challenges faced by the 1970s.

    He points out the 'Sustainability' is a zero sum game which would eventually trap our species on this planet with dwindling resources.

    Pournelle offers that:

    a) Technology fixes problems of food production, and pollution,
    b) The only thing inhibiting technology solving our problems is energy.

    Given the oil crisis of the 70s he was obviously concerned about future contraints on fossil fuels, he concluded that nuclear was an excellent medium term solution.

    The insanely suicidal aspect of the environmental Apocalypse cult is that it seeks to make us financially and energy poor at the same time. While raping our environment to produce useless windmills and seas of solar panels, which cause further environment degradation.

    1. Not sure I agree that "the only thing inhibiting technology solving our problems is energy". That implies that progress is inevitable, provided we keep expanding energy consumption. History seems to suggest this is backwards: energy consumption increase is a byproduct of technological process, and not always a byproduct thereof. Many innovations, such as the heavy plow and new ways to produce steel, DECREASED the amount of energy consumed in a task, freeing that energy to be used elsewhere.

      The idea that "technology" and "electricity" are the same is a peculiarly modern one, and one that I think is holding us back. Electric power remains new and exciting, so it gets the press, but there are many other areas in which technological innovation can improve our lives.


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