Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Even Elon Musk is Worried
As this cnbc.com article indicates, Mr. Musk is worried that we won't take the steps now to get some of our eggs out of this one basket we call earth before a cataclysmic event makes it impossible. In this instance, though, he sees world war three as the event.
One has to admit at the get go that this is certainly a possibility. I would argue, however, that a new global war would likely be the result of the pressures on all societies because of a combination of resource competition (with so many dwindling away, as in potable water, fuel, and food producing land, to name just a few), as well as the economic dislocations of these shortages, and the ever increasing effects of extreme weather. Throw in environmental refugees in numbers to make the current refugee problem look tame and you really see why even the Pentagon has indicated that environmental factors are now a threat to national security.
The interesting thing here, at least for me, is that Mr. Musk's input on this topic clearly indicates that more than a few of the movers and shakers in the world of economics see the threat ahead, and yet they still cling to the notion the the economic model that created it will be the way to save us. Whereas simply recognizing the power of applied information, and organizing the will to use it, without the constraints of net gain, eludes them.
You also have to wonder at what they think a Mars colony would survive on in a purely economic sense; the kind of consideration any new community would have to consider in order to provide paying jobs and all. Science, and the creation of new technology would be worthwhile in their own right of course, but if you cling to the Capitalist credo you've got to provide a marketable product; something so valuable that it would warrant the logistics costs involved.
I know, people are talking about the possibility of metaphorical gold out in the asteroids, but to make that viably cost effective it may well have to be done either with little human labor, or labor exploited to the point of near slavery. Ether way you aren't going to be creating much in the way of jobs with a living wage. What you may well end up with, however, is simply bringing the same conditions that cause human strife here out into the vastly more unforgiving environs of endless vacuum.
If Mr. Musk is truly worried about global catastrophe I wish he would take a more integrated approach to addressing it, rather than simply showing concern for a pet project he fears won't get started. He's a smart guy. There's no end to what someone like him could do in solving a bunch of problems at the same time if he could just come to accept that the current operating system is no longer viable.