Saturday, October 4, 2008

Stupid Geniuses & Other Cliches

What's that old quote? "Some ideas are so stupid only smart people believe in them." Or something like that....

I was all excited about the TEDTalks YouTube channel, so I click the very first video and listen to some old guy talking about how large our population should be....Of course, if only we only had 100-500 million all our problems would just magically disappear. What Zero-Sum Pro-Maltusian bullshit!

It's not about how many people we have, it's about how inefficiently we provide for them! You would think someone considered an expert in their field wouldn't fall prey to the same blinkered thinking that caused so much death and destruction in the last century.

You want to know where Americans get their anti-intellectualism streak? It's from guys saying stuff like this: "There should only be so many people, spread out where they cannot cause trouble....The right ones of course." Dude, where have we heard that one before? You want to convince people to build sustainable healthy societies, how about you not tell 6.1 billion of them that they are unnecessary?

There is no "perfect" amount of people for the world. There is only how many are sustainable at this time with the current level of technology. If you change the level of technology, then you can support more people. And we are constantly increasing the level of technology, a fact you'd expect a robotics professor at MIT would be aware of.

And spreading people out? How dumb are you?! Urban areas are more efficient than rural areas, hands-down. It's easier for people to combine their efforts in sustainable and effective ways in cities. It's easier for them to close loops so resources aren't lost or left un-recycled. It's also more likely people will hold their own reproduction in check when they are in an urban setting versus a rural one.

Let me tell you my completely non-expert opinion: Poor people who become rich have fewer children (Note: NOT poor people who are made rich by government fiat or redistribution schemes). Rich countries more efficiently use their resources so problems like sustainability and resource-shortage become smaller problems over time. As the wealth of the world increases, like it has been, these problems will be solved by people, all those supposedly non-essential workers you don't see any value in.

All I can say is, the quicker we lose these outdated 20th century thinkers from our educational and research institutions, the better off the world will be. I mean compare this view of the world with all of these other people.

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