Re: SOC/ENVIRO: A green view

From: Damien Sullivan (
Date: Wed Apr 25 2001 - 16:22:18 MDT

On Sun, Apr 22, 2001 at 12:35:39PM +1000, Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 06:05 PM 4/21/01 EDT, Greg Burch wrote:
> >All of the thinking here is
> >premised on straight-line projections of current technologies and a deep
> >antipathy to private enterprise.
> Her line of critique states that X *is* now the case, and will yield

Exactly, linear projection.

She complains about GDP growth fixation, and says it'd take 3 planets for us
to all live as Americans.

Didn't Greenspan publicly note that our GDP, although 2 (or 5?) times greater
than that of a few decades ago, weighs the same?

So imagine someone then, saying "it'd take 3 planets to live as Americans now,
and imagine what it'd take to live twice as well! You progress freaks have
your heads in the sky!"

> Against this, transhumanists can offer only hopeful projections of what
> hypertechnological solutions *might* emerge, at best, and--by most people's

Daniel Dennett, and maybe Kevin Kelly, have abstract points here, although
Kelly can sound nuts to normal people in specifics. Darwinian processes are
an algorithm for chugging through design space toward better designs for one's
environment. It's speeded up from Darwin's "breed and die" to Skinner's "try
that and die" to Popper's "imagine that and don't die" to our "did you hear
about the guy who strapped rockets to his car? Don't do that!" But unless
the processes are suspended or supressed -- and people critical of
Anglo-American hegemony are usually happy to criticize us for being overly
Darwinian -- stasis is not an option.

Actually I could drag in Jane Jacobs and her _Cities and the Wealth of
Nations_ to counter my own simplistic argument, but for now let's just say
that people who complain about the inhumanly competitive marketplace and also
extrapolate linear trends blindly aren't being logically coherent. If
something's being too Darwinian for your tastes, it's not going to stand still
in the face of changing circumstances. And you're predicting that
circumstances will change, right?

(I'm reminded of Galbraith's mockery of the Marxist capitalist -- infinitely
subtle and powerful in oppressing the workers, but utterly blind and immutable
regarding his ultimate fate, plunging heedlessly to destruction.)

-xx- Damien X-)

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