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2411. Wealth as money or quality of life?
It is obvious that people mean by quality of life their health, the place thy get to live, the security in the sense of long term expectations will hold, that interactions with others will make our day and are meaningful, that we have access to and participate in the culture we are part of. that food and clean water are the norm. Money breaks much of this apart, each into our own house or apartment or under the bridge. Money leads to the sense that the individual with money is self sufficient and has no need to participate with the community nor help to articulate culture. Money should be a small part of the wealth of people but we have made it all and as a result we got colonialism ruining the lives of others, slavery, 80 million dead from ww2, the class division into owners of capital and labor, bad education, and an oligarchy that is willing to let the quality of society deteriorate. We take no responsibility for any of these. They are all measures of how badly we manage our affairs.
It is clear that we are not sure we can survive this. Supply chain vulnerability, inflation, broken families, food and water. The scramble is already intense, but the scramble is made up of people who want abetter society and those who want to exploit the chaos. It is not easy to chart through the churn and its dislocations. We need to be prepared to live with a billion dead and another billion in motion. In the past migrations saved humanity but now the migrants are faced with a wall of private property.
Here is the kind of bad faith logic we face.
The world’s population is expected to grow to almost 10 billion people by 2050, and the global economy is expected to be almost twice as large as today’s. With continued economic progress, more of the world’s population will enjoy better living standards.
More people with higher living standards will require more energy. While it would be ideal if all the world’s energy needs were met with clean energy sources, there simply won’t be enough of it, at least for several decades. In the meantime, carbon-based fuels will remain a key component of the world’s energy sources. This continued use of carbon-based fuels means that ongoing investment in energy infrastructure will be just as critical as ever in supporting growing, developing populations.
As a society we have made so many mistakes. Try to move away from the money system and embrace culture and relationships. But this will be hard because the money and tech will claim to offer us solutions, but those solutions will keep the money system as the measure of wealth, leading to corruption, competition, and greed. Ethics /morality formed around money and ethics formed around community are really different.
I return to the Feynman quote:
We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.
Thi seems very reasonable. Lots to do. Most important is to think through to action that can stop STOP the burning of fossil fuels. Plans for anything else, despite the good intent, help the energy companies continue on.
We need to manage the relationsip of humanity to the earth.