Posts tagged with "future"

100 scientific academies around the world say that wide-spread famine, drought, disease, and war lie ahead if population and consumption are not curbed


Tomorrow’s cover today: there are benefits in the melting of the Arctic, but the risks are much greater.


Tomorrow’s cover today: there are benefits in the melting of the Arctic, but the risks are much greater.

Scientific American | Has Civilization Passed the Environmental Point of No Return?

Remember how Wile E. Coyote, in his obsessive pursuit of the Road Runner, would fall off a cliff? The hapless predator ran straight out off the edge, stopped in midair as only an animated character could, looked beneath him in an eye-popping moment of truth, and plummeted straight down into a puff of dust. Splat! Four decades ago, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer model called World3 warned of such a possible course for human civilization in the 21st century. In Limits to Growth, a bitterly disputed 1972 book that explicated these findings, researchers argued that the global industrial system has so much inertia that it cannot readily correct course in response to signals of planetary stress. But unless economic growth skidded to a halt before reaching the edge, they warned, society was headed for overshoot—and a splat that could kill billions.

Don’t look now but we are running in midair, a new book asserts. In 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years (Chelsea Green Publishing), Jorgen Randers of the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, and one of the original World3 modelers, argues that the second half of the 21st century will bring us near apocalypse in the form of severe global warming. Dennis Meadows, professor emeritus of systems policy at the University of New Hampshire who headed the original M.I.T. team and revisited World3 in 1994 and 2004, has an even darker view. The 1970s program had yielded a variety of scenarios, in some of which humanity manages to control production and population to live within planetary limits (described as Limits to Growth). Meadows contends that the model’s sustainable pathways are no longer within reach because humanity has failed to act accordingly.

Is There a Future for Socialism? | The Jacobin

Earth faces a century of disasters, report warns


World population needs to be stabilised quickly and high consumption in rich countries rapidly reduced to avoid “a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills”, warns a major report from the Royal Society.

Contraception must be offered to all women who want it and consumption cut to reduce inequality, says the study published on Thursday, which was chaired by Nobel prize-winning biologist Sir John Sulston.

The assessment of humanity’s prospects in the next 100 years, which has taken 21 months to complete, argues strongly that to achieve long and healthy lives for all 9 billion people expected to be living in 2050, the twin issues of population and consumption must pushed to the top of political and economic agendas. Both issues have been largely ignored by politicians and played down by environment and development groups for 20 years, the report says.

“The number of people living on the planet has never been higher, their levels of consumption are unprecedented and vast changes are taking place in the environment. We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption … or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future”, it says.

At today’s rate of population increase developing countries will have to build the equivalent of a city of a million people every five days from now to 2050, says the report. “Global population growth is inevitable for the next few decades. By 2050, it is projected that today’s population of 7 billion will have grown by 2.3 billion, the equivalent of a new China and an India.”

But the sheer number of people on earth is not as important as their inequality and how much they consume, said Jules Pretty, one of the working group of 22 who produced the report. “In material terms it will be necessary for most developed countries to abstain from certain sorts of consumption, such as CO2. You do not need to be consuming so much to have a long and healthy life. We cannot conceive of a world that is going to be as unequal as it is now. We must bring the 1.3 billion people living on less than a $1.25 a day out of absolute poverty. It’s critical to slow population growth in those countries which cannot keep up with services.”

Apr 9

Freedom or Slavery? Thoughts on the Future of Technological Society

Apr 2

Hot, crowded, and running out of fuel: Earth of 2050 a scary place


A new report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development paints a grim picture of the world in 2050 based on current global trends. It predicts a world population of 9.2 billion people, generating a global GDP four times the size of today’s, requiring 80 percent more energy. And with a worldwide energy mix still 85 percent reliant on fossil fuels by that time, it will be coal, oil, and gas that make up most of the difference, the OECD predicts.

There seems to be a serious dissonance between contemporary Leftist writers and philosophers and the emergence of radical new technologies which will re-shape the way our political economy is structured.  Hopefully, this is just due to my limited scope of spaces where I access Leftist writings, but everything I’ve seen on the subject of technological progression—trans-humanism, neurotechnologies, bio-genetics, cybernetics, etc.—have been restricted to vague hand-waving on the general theory on the subject (usually some archaic quotations from Marx).  

The consequence is that it seems as though the current “debate” over futurist technology is dominated by scientists and engineers of the liberal-utopian mentality.  For example, the whole transhumanist movement seems purely utopian, unwilling to reconcile technological progression with the capitalist super-structure that propels it—and which will surely incorporate technology into its framework of exploitation and hierarchies.  

That’s the pessimistic view, anyway—but the one that I feel is the most likely outcome of the emerging bio-genetic revolutions and similar technologies.  And pessimism is surely justified insofar as such technologies are dominated by a corporate economy, rather than one in which all knowledge is given to the public domain, where all growth is communized.  

Just sayn’.  Anyways…. 

Russia in talks to build a permanent base on the Moon

Canadian Arctic nearly loses entire ice shelf