Thursday, August 11, 2011
I guess I'll start with saying hi to all the readers of this blog.
I am one of the relatives and I said to LS this spring that I felt like starting to write on this blog - I had so many ideas and things I wanted to share. Well, summer got the best of me and my login got left unused in a dark corner of my computer. But LS latest blog about the future and now really got me thinking, so here goes my first blog entry. I guess the next one will be a proper presentation of myself.
So, regarding the future. I recognize a lot of the same patterns, problems and attitudes here in Sweden that LS describes. And from a lot of the countries I have been visiting too. But what strikes me is that this is only true in the Western countries. If you go to Asia - China, Vietnam and even the really poor countries like Mongolia or Cambodia - you will meet a huge optimism, big beliefs and hopes for the future and lots of ideas for how the world will evolve.
I believe that this is natural in many ways. The 20th century has been marked by a huge increase in living standards in the West - we have moved from large families and low life expectancy to smaller families and a very high age. This has been followed by a rocketing in economy and growth - and with this comes of course optimism, dreams and thinking about the future for humanity.
This is what is now happening in Asia, in South America and in some parts of Africa - they are all moving towards a much better life and feel as optimistic as the West did 50 years ago.
The West on the other hand have in many ways reached a plateau of living standards and we also have to face that more and more people reach the same plateau, thus losing the feeling of having a superior life. With this also comes problems of environment and food for everyone - problems caused by us spending a lot more of Earth's resources than we should.
Our economies and societies also seems to be shaped after always growing. They are made to becoming bigger and when we reach the plateau of economical growth we start facing a lot of problems. This can be seen in US now where a lot of tough decisions has to be made and perhaps even clearer in Greece. The politicians in Greece are heavily pressed by the rest of the world to take some very tough decisions and also extremely pressed by their own people who are pissed off - pissed off by having to lower their standards, their salaries and their way of life, due to no fault of their own. But perhaps that's what it takes when a country suddenly reaches the plateau and is no longer growing? In that case, US and many other countries have some very tough times ahead...
So, what will happen? I believe that we will live with this despair for a while. Until we either come up with a way of society, a way of living and an attitude that can handle not growing and not becoming better - or until the next explosion in living standards. What will trigger this? My guess is when we solve the energy problems for good by really getting fusion to work - and when (not if) that happens I also hope that this jump in living standards will reach the whole world within a decade, rather than waiting more than a century to spread over the continents. And with this I also think we'll restart space flight and start having other dreams for the future of humankind.
So it's really a bright future ahead - as long as we learn to deal with living in the now for a while. :)