Tag Archives: Industrial Revolution

The next economic era is here

The world my children inhabit looks superficially like the world I grew up in during the 1970s. The house they live in, the clothes they wear and the food they eat – none of these would be very strange to the kids of a generation ago (although even here there are notable differences.) But the way they spend their time is completely different to anything I dreamed of doing.

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Scarcity and abundance

We are moving from a world in which resources are scarce towards a world of abundance. Many things that were once scarce are already abundant in developed countries and will soon be abundant everywhere, if trends continue.

There’s a strong counter-narrative telling us the opposite – that the world’s resources are almost used up, that population levels are unsustainable and that we must cut back now or face disaster. But Malthus said the same two hundred years ago, and so have countless others. Each has been proved wrong. Continue reading

Wealth is knowledge – poverty is ignorance

technologyGive unlimited resources to a caveman and he will chop down trees and burn them as firewood.

Give unlimited resources to a Victorian and he will burn coal to power a steam engine. Continue reading

Welcome to Britain!

On 1st January, 2014, the borders of the United Kingdom opened to immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria who want to live and work in Britain. The country’s newspapers are filled with hysterical headlines warning of a tide of immigrants, and populist politicians are promising to “protect” Britain from this “foreign invasion.”

So I’d like to redress the balance and say “Welcome to Britain!” Not just to Romanians and Bulgarians, but to everyone! Continue reading

What is wealth?

moneyObviously it’s the stuff in the photo. It’s money, or it could be real estate or gold or oil or diamonds.

Except, what if it’s not? What if wealth is something else entirely? Continue reading

Are we nearly there yet?

earthThe Earth has a diameter of approximately 12,742 kilometres. Do you think that sounds big? It’s pretty big. In the 16th century, the crew of Magellan’s ship completed the first circumnavigation of the world. It took them more than 3 years, and Magellan himself died during the journey. But now the International Space Station does it every one and a half hours. Continue reading

Wealth + Technology = Freedom + Equality

There’s a lot more to life than material comforts. Especially if you’re fortunate enough to have enough money to live comfortably. If, however, you don’t have enough to feed and clothe your family, then money is probably all you think about.

Wealth frees people from materialism. Poverty enslaves them.

There’s more to life than technology too. Especially if you own some. But if you have to do everything by hand, then there probably isn’t more to your life. It’s all just hard work.

Wealth and technology enable us to live life to the full. But they do so much more than satisfy material needs. They enable human rights and freedoms. Continue reading

The myth of finite resources

The world’s resources. We’re using them up at a selfish, unsustainable rate and we’re all DOOMED! Or are we?

What if resources are not something that we mindlessly consume? What if resources are something that we create? Continue reading

Knowing too much

imaginationismoreimportantKnowledge is power, but it can blind us and shackle us if we allow it.

In the eighteenth century, engineers already knew a lot about steam engines and how to build them. One thing they knew was that high pressure steam engines could never be built. But Richard Trevithick didn’t know that, or he chose not to know it. Continue reading

Preparing for the technology tidal wave

Two million years ago, early humans already knew how to make hand axes out of stone. A million years later they were still making exactly the same kinds of stone axes. Not exactly what you’d call rapid technological advancement.

Fast forward to medieval times and innovations were happening more quickly, but still it was likely that the son of a medieval peasant would do the same job as his father, using the same kinds of tools. Continue reading