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comment by veen
veen  ·  414 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit - David Graeber

    When you go further back, when you read Tamim Ansary or Jared Diamond or the Durants, you get the perspective that technology is always deployed only when it is beneficial to the deployer.

Interesting! Trowing Rocks at the Google Bus touches on this but not explicitly. It argues that technology that's good for customers doesn't work in companies dictated by quarterly earnings and shareholders - in other words, not beneficial to them. Put bluntly, the book's two thirds 'here's why growth-based capitalism is bad' and one third 'blockchain and B-corps can save us'. I thought it was a nice read even though he misses the mark sometimes. At the same time I wouldn't be surprised if you can name half a dozen authors who cover the same ground as Rushkoff.

I hadn't considered energy efficiency in this way. Something like the steady decline of solar energy costs definitely supports that idea.

kleinbl00  ·  413 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Bill McKibben has written a few books by now where he lays out, chapter and verse, the idea that Postwar Economic Boom growth was only possible because places that weren't Western Europe and America weren't doing it... and that places like China and India won't ever push that hard into it because the environmental and social costs are too high. He does a pretty good job of arguing that the future is likely to be smaller and more modest and that's just fine because there are plenty of happy people all over the world that don't consume energy at anywhere near the rate we do; he doesn't quite go as far as pointing out that the much reviled hipsters, with their stay-at-home ways and lack of consumption, are the wave of the future but he implies it.

I'm halfway to hypothesizing that the difference between an economist and a historian is the historian accounts for externalities. As society integrates globally and it becomes harder and harder to ship your garbage to Somalia, economics becomes a much more social, much more integrated study and energy is neither created nor destroyed.