Table of contents:
- 2020 is not an anomaly. This is a tiny example of what the future holds
- What does the future look like?
- But this is just the beginning
- This is indeed the case
- Let me try to simplify all of the above and summarize
We've already half-watched the 2020 disaster movie. My God, what a year this is! Today alone, the front page of the New York Times printed the names of 100,000 coronavirus deaths while the US president … plays golf. This is the year 2020. Australia and California burned down in January, Asia flooded in February, and a global pandemic broke out in March.
2020 is not an anomaly. This is a tiny example of what the future holds
How many more years do you think our world will be able to survive? Ten years? How about three? Five? One thing was enough to put an end to the life that we have lived in recent times.
This year is not an anomaly. This is just a fragment of the future that awaits us. The next three to five decades will be very similar to the last twelve months: one catastrophe after another, growing cataclysms that happen more and more often, with which it will be more and more difficult for us to cope.
The era of gradual collapse has come. The next few paragraphs of this article are going to be quite dark, but I ask you not to close the page. Our civilization will face three to five decades of unprecedented catastrophes and possibly even death. In each subsequent decade, a new wave of catastrophes will cause economic depression, social upheaval, political incompetence, and chaos. Think about the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic for the rest of our lives.
What does the future look like?
Already in 2030, we will face a climate catastrophe that will entail devastating waves of economic depression, flight, desperate migration and social stratification. This will happen when cities start sinking and continents start to burn. Today you are locked at home wondering if you still have work to do. Tomorrow you will not have a home, and "work" will be a luxury for the lucky few. Today you are wondering whether the government will support you, tomorrow you will be lucky if you still have a functioning government to which you can turn.
But this is just the beginning
Then, in the 40s, the Great Collapse will come. The ecosystems of our planet will begin to perish. As they die, the entire system and structure of our civilization will be destroyed. Supply chains will be destroyed. The economy will collapse as raw materials and supplies become scarce or inaccessible. Financial systems will also cease to exist. They will be followed by social systems that will collapse under the onslaught of ever-increasing waves of poverty and misery.
Finally, in the 50s, the last act of this tragedy will begin. Almost all animals on the planet will die out. The insects that create the soil in which we plant our crops will also disappear. The soil will turn to dust. There will be no more fish in rivers and lakes. Water resources will be heavily polluted. Biodiversity, the creatures big and small that we still rely on for everything from the food we eat to the air we breathe will perish. They, like our civilization, will also come to an end. They simply cannot exist anymore.
At this point, countries will begin to wage a desperate, brutal struggle for their livelihoods. Think about how America tried to intercept a shipment of medical masks destined for Europe, and imagine how much worse the situation would be when water, food, air and money were at stake.
The average person, tired of decades of collapse, will eventually abandon democracy. The wave of demagoguery that began to sweep the world in the 2010s, when neoliberalism failed to provide a decent life for people, whether in India, America, Brazil or Britain, is now permanent and definitive. All that remains is demagoguery, demonizing climate refugees, blaming once-trusted neighbors and allies.
This is a prediction of what the Great Collapse will look like. I am not interested in conspiracy theories or religious doctrines about the end of the world. Now I have to be sober and realistic if I want to do my job, that is, to seriously talk to you about the future. What I see is essentially an apocalyptic vision. And you should see it too. Remember when I asked youdo you want the next three decades to be the same as the last three months? Want another thirty years like the last twelve months?But we, as a human race, are in just such a position. Civilization is now on the verge of collapse.
To survive the Great Collapse, our civilization must begin to use the following socio-economic principle: today's economic incentives must tackle tomorrow's problems… If we don't start applying this principle now, here, on a scale never seen before in history, our civilization will most likely not survive.
This is indeed the case
If you doubt what I'm telling you, consider this fact: One relatively small pandemic has done tremendous damage to our civilization - a small, invisible virus that has already led to economic collapse and social disaster that will last most of the next decade. What about climate change, mass animal extinctions, ecological collapse, a stagnant world economy, growing inequality, growing extremism, politicians unable to do anything about it? The pandemic will disappear within a few months, but these problems threaten permanent disasters on a much larger scale. Our civilization cannot continue in a world of climate change, mass extinction of species, ecological collapse, the economic depressions they will cause, the political extremism they will lead to, and the social chaos that will result.
I want you to really understand the economics of collapse. It's simple enough. Our civilization is currently producing more and more risks than it can prevent or control. Think about how expensive insurance is for you - whether it is insurance for your home, life, health, and so on. Now consider how expensive it will be tomorrow when our systems begin to collapse. What is the price of fire and flood insurance? It grows every year. Hunger protection? Disruption of supply chains? Collapse of society? We cannot afford that. The richest societies in the world cannot afford this. Maybe a few billionaires can survive by buying up acres of land in New Zealand to escape there, or perhaps fly to Mars. But civilization? She will die! The risks that we create - economic, social, political, environmental - are now too great for our civilization.
This is why existential risks are becoming catastrophically real, faster and faster. The coronavirus has suddenly brought the world to a terrible state and killed hundreds of thousands of people - the result of an inadequate public health system around the world is shocking. Now imagine what happens over the next decade as the planet burns and sinks. What will happen when the ecosystems of our planet begin to die? And finally, life itself begins to wither away.We are moving towards this - and those of us who still retain the ability to think understand this very well.
So, now we have two options for the future of our civilization. Either existential risk gets out of hand and destroys us, or we need to start doing something about it.
I believe that we must live in accordance with the following principle: today's economic incentives should solve the problems of tomorrow. This is the only rule according to which our economy and politics must act in the foreseeable future and nothing else.
Now let's imagine what might happen if we put this rule into practice. 40 million Americans are currently considered unemployed. They are not going to work again anytime soon because many of those jobs are not coming back. What should be done? Nothing? Just turn all this human potential into smoke?
If America were a wiser nation, it would immediately put these 40 million people to work. What to do? Solve the next great wave of problems. Those problems that lie on the path of the coming civilizational collapse. What's the next big risk? Climate change, of course. Hire these 40 million bright, smart, hardworking people to work on the next big problem. Today's economic stimulus should solve tomorrow's problems. Simply put, we must have a Green New Deal that aims to address future challenges that are already on the horizon.
Specifically, today this would mean everything: from complex things - building eco-villages, building solar and wind farms to generate clean energy - to changing the very principles of social governance: creating new indicators of "GDP" and "growth" that will take into account such things as emissions carbon and pollution, development of new ways of calculating "gains" and "losses", which will include environmental impact.
What happens if we start to develop a new economic model focused on environmental safety and conservation of biodiversity? Well, then, the coming climate change problem may not be all that catastrophic. Rather than causing massive chaos, depression and devastation, the effects of climate change may become less apocalyptic.
But let's not kid ourselves: even if we did all of this now, climate change will still cause a wave of chaos in about a decade.
What should we do then? Tackle this urgent problem. What is the problem following climate change, which is destroying our cities, towns, societies, economies? The death of the world's ecosystems. Today, we are preventing the economic depression caused by the coronavirus by adopting greener lifestyles, thereby helping to mitigate climate change. Tomorrow we will begin to work to prevent the Great Collapse of our planet's ecosystems.
What does it mean? We humans are arrogant and stupid. We think that because we know how to build Amazon, Inc., then we are the masters of the world. But how do you restore Amazon? Great Barrier Reef? Ocean? Rich, green rainforest? We have no idea how to do it.
The great engineering challenge for the future of humankind is not about building apps for Android. It is about protecting and maintaining healthy ecosystems. And we practically do not know how to do this, because the amount of money that we invest in the next Facebook is huge, and the amount that we pay to environmentalists and biologists is scanty. How much are we spending to conserve, say, the biodiversity of the Amazon or the oceans or reefs? Something around zero. The tragedy of our situation is not even that sooner or later these ecosystems will die, but that we have no idea how to save them.
This means that all scientists, biologists, ecologists, scientists, as well as economists, managers, entrepreneurs, must come together to develop a model of the economy that will help preserve and maintain the ecosystems on which we humans depend.
A decade later, if we want our civilization to survive, we will need to stimulate the economy, ravaged by climatic chaos, in exactly this direction: the restoration of the planet's large ecosystems. Obviously, we need to start acting now. Today's economic incentives must tackle tomorrow's problems.
But what if we manage to somehow save the large ecosystems that support our civilization, its heart, lungs and limbs?
The next technical challenge for humanity is not the creation of computer applications. This is the restoration of biodiversity on the planet. Do you know what happens if the insects disappear? Agriculture will also disappear. If fish, birds disappear, then we will be next. So how do you bring life back to an endangered species? What do you do with dozens of species, interdependent from each other, one of which we are? We are literally ignorant. Because we spend billions on Google and Facebook - but we spend almost nothing on conservation.
Let me try to simplify all of the above and summarize
If we are to prevent the coming climate chaos, we must act today. If we want to prevent the ecological collapse of the 2040s, which will sweep away the very foundation of our civilization, then in the 2030s we must take a new course in the development of our civilization.
I am not an ambitious idealist, my friend. It is too many who have resigned themselves to continuing to live in the ruins of a crumbling civilization, fiercely fighting for self-preservation. Our civilization is crumbling and hunger, climate catastrophe and disease await us. Can we make this world a better place? May be. However, it is up to you.