Limits to Growth in the 21st Century
September 30, 2010
Laurence C. Smith
This book was recommended to me and I recommend it to others, but with the following observations:
1) Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update was there in the 1970's. It troubles me, as much as I read, how I seem to see the same books every ten years as someone reinvents knowledge that was known before and then either not read, or forgotten.
2) I completely agree with the Deep North concept (the Pacific Northwest Passage is opening, Iceland is now independent of Denmark, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories, along with Alaska, stand to be the main beneficiaries. Similar benefits will acrue around the South Pole, if Chile and Argentina get smart and throw Wall-Mart out of their oceans and off the continent.
3) The scientific ideas represented in books such as The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology and Joel Garreau's more readable Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human will certainly have an impact but I believe that both those books, and books such as this one, severely underestimate the power of the human mind and the impact of educating five billion poor one cell call at a time.
4) There is also the human factor centered on the corruption of governments and corporations, and the emerging clarity, dignity, and integrity of the indigenous people and their knowledge as relevant to sustainability. This was discussed most ably in 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and in a more round about way in The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution.
I continue to be troubled by most authors failing to have a grasp of what others have done. The UN Report on the Ten High Level Threats to Humanity (poverty, infectious disease, environmental degradation, inter-state conflict, civil war, genocide, other atrocities, proliferation, terrorism, and transnational crime) is essential and also free online but see it here at Amazon as well: A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. A World Brain and Global Game are slowly taking shape, and we are wiling ten to fifteen years of connecting all human minds to all information in all languages all the time. That will be a game-changer.
So, enjoy the book, it is a tiny slice of the kaleidoscope that I use–see all my reviews in 98 distinct categories at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog, and see especially, in the middle column under reviews my remixed lists that were developed for my latest book, free online as are all my books, but also here at Amazon: INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainaabilty.
See also, fiction but too close to the truth to be ignored, The Shell Game.