A world is coming that was not expected. What the End of Progress Means

Jon Aldous 기자 승인 2023.05.26 20:41 의견 0

Douglas North, a brilliant economist and expert on economic history, once said that "if an ancient Greek had come to Europe in the middle of the 18th century, everything would have been familiar to him except firearms, but if he had arrived in the middle of the 19th century, it would have been a foreign world. And he didn't call 1750 by accident, because from the 1780s began the exponential growth that is ending now.

From the time of the Neolithic Revolution, the emergence of the agricultural economy (for example, in England from 1300 to 1800), the rate of productivity growth, and, in general, the rate of economic growth, was 0.2-0.4. Then came the First Industrial Revolution, 1780-1830, a growth rate of 2%. The Second Industrial Revolution, 1870-1900. - 2,3%. And then everything went down. And now experts are predicting for the 2020~2030 - again 0.4%, if one excludes public services and trade. And for the period after 2030 - the same 0.2 that were before 1750. That is, the world of exponents ends forever. And the world of asymptotes comes into play.
"Between 1913 and 1963, the difference is incredible - in speed, technology, the whole technical environment of man, and yes, his image.
Between 1963 and 2013, the difference is essentially insignificant. Planes are already similar, and cars have not undergone much change. And even people's clothes haven't changed much.
In fact, since the late 1980s, the world has turned in the direction of hedonism, speculative artificial financial instruments and selfish consumption, in contrast to the previous era, which prioritized knowledge and competition with knowledge and technology. And even the IT-industry, which is now one of the main engines of development, spends no less than 4/5 of its possible potential on consumerism, disposability, deliberate stupefaction of the level of software products and deterioration of household appliances - in strict accordance with the priority of increasing the current profit rate." Sergey Sigachov.
"It was a different era, the High Modern. When many were sure of a soon-to-be wonderful new world with cities in the Arctic, Antarctica, at the bottom of the ocean and in space, where millions of strong men and gentle women with wonderful children lived and worked creatively, making the world safe and beautiful, and things beautiful and long-lasting.
But already 60-70 years ago, some American science fiction writers were drawing anti-utopias where things are almost disposable, for it is necessary to ensure the loading of industry with high levels of employment and consumption, and people are absolutely tolerant of each other and therefore there should be no one in society who towers above others in their superior qualities, for this generates mass unhealthy envy and social unrest.

In the 1960's the classical capitalism (modernity) with trade-industrial system and colonialism ended, the crisis of the social system with the USSR as its offshoot to post-capitalism began, the rapid transition to a global consumer society began and the techno-base for curtailing the expansion outside and redirecting NTR into society with progressive virtualization of life for pleasure, not for effective orientation in reality appeared." Oleg Davydov.
The era to which we have all become accustomed and assumed that it would last forever is over. Eternal progress. It is an era that began at the end of the eighteenth century and ends before our eyes. People whose youth came in the 1960s and 1970s thought that only progress was ahead, only the way up. And now, it turns out that these 200-250 years was a brief moment in the cyclical development of the exponent. And it's over. And, actually, that makes sense. Technical civilization can not exist for a long time. By the way, this conclusion was reached at one time by specialists who worked on what seemed at first glance to be an exotic problem.

In the late 1960's, early 1970's in the Soviet Union in Byurakan, Armenia regularly held conferences SETI - "problems of communication with extraterrestrial civilizations. And the discussion, the main argument was about this. Are we alone in the universe or not? And the Soviet mathematician and astronomer Shklovsky proved, in purely mathematical terms, that we cannot be alone in the universe. And the great Polish sci-fi writer and futurologist Stanislaw Lem said, "Nothing of the sort! We are alone." And the question arose. If Shklovsky is right, then why is no one coming to us?

And then came the conclusion, which seemed to many, especially then, in the era of progress, strange. That the technical civilization can not exist more than a few centuries. The fact is that at the moment, if we take the world as a whole, the world uses 16% of the energy potential of planet Earth. And, apparently, there will be no more, because the cost of energy for energy sources can not be higher than acceptable.

There is such an indicator as REREE, the ratio of energy received to energy expended, the energy profitability. So, the peak was passed by the world energy industry in the 1960s and 1970s. Now it is all going downhill. Neither wind turbines nor solar power solve the problem. And energy will become more and more expensive to produce. So, apparently, 16-20% is the limit. That is, in other words, humanity is entering a period in which we will have to give up a lot of ideas about how the world works and what the future holds.

"Cyberpunk of the 1980s predicted a bleak future for humanity: moral decay under the oppression of supertechnology. Yet even the most modest and realistic landscapes of classic cyberpunk remain a pipe dream for us. If progress were to live up to our hopes (or fears), we should already have orbiting cities, full biointerfaces, cyberimplants, etc. Where is the free energy supply for the entire globe? Where are the clone armies, or at least the refrigerators stocked with cloned organs for implantation? Where is even one rejuvenated from 80 to 30 or cured of radiation sickness? So why do so many people believe in exponential progress?" Daniel Bozhin.
Another question is whether this new post-capitalist world will be the bio-techno-fascism that Schwab's masters want. Or will it be something else. In fact, the battle is now being fought over what the world of the asymptote will be. Because the exponent world is over.

It can be said that we have entered a period which, if there is no catastrophe, will last at least a century. We need to prepare to live in such an environment and to act in a very high uncertainty, because this situation is going to last. We are creeping into a state that is very reminiscent of the world after the collapse of the Roman Empire and the crisis of medieval society of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The only task before us is to learn to live with the crisis and to float on its waves like surfers. This requires will and reason. Will to be able to do it, and reason to know how to do it.


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