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Materialism & Idealism lecture from September 13, 2010

Materialism & Idealism lecture from September 13, 2010

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  • Red: Macroeconomic Trends; Blue: Social & environmental trends; Yellow: Business & industry trends
  • As a believer and a clergyman, Malthus held that God had created an inexorable tendency to human population growth for a moral purpose, with the constant harsh threat of poverty and starvation designed to teach the virtues of hard work and virtuous behaviour. [8] The issue has occurred to many believers: why should an omnipotent and caring God permit the existence of wickedness and suffering in the world? Malthus's theodicy answers that evil energizes mankind in the struggle for good. "Had population and food increased in the same ratio, it is probable that man might never have emerged from the savage state" [ cite this quote ] . The principle of population represented more than the difference between an arithmetic and a geometric series; it provided the spur for constructive activity:"Evil exists in the world not to create despair, but activity."
  • increasing wealth and technology make more resources available; although supplies may be limited physically they may be viewed as economically indefinite as old resources are recycled and new alternatives are developed by the market. Simon challenged the notion of an impending Malthusian catastrophe 葉 h at an increase in population has negative economic consequences; that population is a drain on natural resources; and that we stand at risk of running out of resources through over-consumption . Simon argues that population is the solution to resource scarcities and environmental problems, since people and markets innovate.
  • Transcript

    • 1. “If you don’t like the world the way it is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” --Marian Wright Edelman
    • 2. Materialism & Idealism Jeffrey D. Sachs “Common Wealth” Lecture #1
    • 3. “ The Future’s Uncertain and the End Is Always Near.” “ Roadhouse Blues” Jim Morrison, The Doors
    • 4.  
    • 5. Futures Thinking
      • The future is uncertain.
      • We create major aspects of the future by what we do or fail to do.
      • Futures thinking enables wiser actions by…
        • Stimulating the imagination,
        • Encouraging creativity,
        • Identifying threats and opportunities,
        • Allowing us to relate possible choices and consequences to our vision and values.
      Clement Bezold; Quality Progress 7/1996
    • 6. Stimulating the Imagination…
      • Change in Germany’s population over the age of 75 from 2005 to 2015: 33%
      • Increase in the tax burden needed to maintain current benefit levels for Germany’s future generations: 90%
      • Change in Japan’s population over the age of 75 from 2005 to 2015: 36%
      • Increase in the tax burden needed to maintain current benefits levels for Japan’s future generations: 175%
      • Number of U.S. tax returns prepared in India:
        • 2003: 25,000
        • 2005: 400,000
      • Muslims as a percentage of the global population:
        • 2000: 19%
        • 2025 (estimated) 30%
      • Number of coal-fired power plants China plans to build by 2012: 562
      • Probability that a company in an industry’s top revenue quartile will not be there in five years: 30%
    • 7. McKinsey’s Ten Trends To Watch in 2006
      • Centers of economic activity will shift profoundly, not just globally, but also regionally.
      • Public sector activities will balloon, making productivity gains essential.
      • The consumer landscape will change and expand significantly.
      • Technological connectivity will transform the way people live and interact.
      • The battlefield for talent will shift.
      • The role and behavior of big business will come under increasingly sharp scrutiny.
      • Demand for natural resources will grow, as will the strain on the environment.
      • New global industry structures (will emerge.)
      • Management will go from art to science.
      • Ubiquitous access to information is changing the economics of knowledge.
      • McKinsey on Strategy:Commentary (January 2006)
    • 8. In thinking about the future, it’s common to project too little change. Clement Bezold; Quality Progress 7/1996
    • 9.  
    • 10. “ Are our current predictions about the future any smarter?”   Maybe those concerns about the health implications of nano-materials or genetically-engineered food aren’t quite as unwarranted as the manufacturers would have us think.  And perhaps the grand expectations of how genetic technology will improve humankind and extend our lives by decades aren’t nearly as imminent — or likely — as popular books and articles predict.  Michael Rogers, The Practical Futurist, MSNBC, 10/11/2006
    • 11. “ In other words, each generation seems to inherit not only new knowledge but also new ignorance. Thus far, our generation has been supremely confident about our new knowledge.  The really interesting question that remains is the exact nature of our ignorance.”  
    • 12. Some Predictions Are Wrong
      • “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible” (Lord Kelvin, 1895)
      • “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”  (Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corp., 1977)
    • 13. Some Shouldn’t Come True
      • Lead…the answer to the alchemist’s dreams.
      • Amazing asbestos...grows tougher with age.
      • Vita Radium Suppositories…bombards tissues with health-giving atoms.
      • The Ford Nucleon (1958)…a reactor in every trunk.
    • 14. Even the World’s Richest Man Gets It Wrong Once In A While
      • “ Spam will be a thing of the past in two years' time.” BBC News (24 January 2004)
      • “ There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed.” Focus Magazine No. 43 (23 October 1995)
      • “ What's a network?” Question by Gates in the early 80s, as quoted by Hermann Hauser of Acorn Computers in speech at the University of Southampton (1 May 1996)
      • “ It's not manufacturers trying to rip anybody off or anything like that. There's nobody getting rich writing software that I know of.” Interview with Dennis Bathory-Kitsz in 80 Microcomputing (1980)
    • 15. Lack of money is no longer the major hindrance to solving many of the world's most intractable social problems. Philanthropists such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, and Joan Kroc now make gifts in the billions. Charitable giving overall has jumped 23% in the past four years. And there's growing interest among investors eager to fund for-profit businesses that have both social and economic impact. Rather, there's a paucity of creative ideas. "It's all about innovation," says CEO Tim Brown of Ideo, who advises Acumen. "The money is there, but the solutions aren't. Designers can contribute. We're pretty good at taking a bunch of disparate components and figuring out the solution." Beyond the success of Acumen companies, Novogratz is creating a laboratory to design new business models…drawn from University of Michigan economics professor C.K. Prahalad, whose bottom-of-the-pyramid theory holds that there's great untapped market potential among the 4 billion people, more than half the world's population, who make less than $2 a day. Business Week 11/10/2006
    • 16. “The Dismal Science”
      • Thomas Robert Malthus
      • Economics meets demographics
      • Population growth precludes utopia.
      • Why? Population grows exponentially while resources grow linearly.
      • This causes disease, distress and poverty.
    • 17. What To Do?
      • “Positive” Checks Raise the Death Rate:
        • Hunger, disease, poverty, war.
      • “Preventative” Checks Lower the Birth Rate:
        • Abortion, birth control, prostitution, postponement of marriage, celibacy.
      • Elimination of “Poor Laws.”
    • 18. “The Cornucopia”
      • Julian Simon, author of “The Ultimate Resource.”
      • Population growth and natural resource exploitation are benefits, not threats.
      • People and markets innovate, bringing solutions to global issues.
      • Long-term trends in resource prices are downward.
      • As recently as the 1970s, global cooling was the issue.
    • 19. Nic Marks: “The Happy Planet Index.”
    • 20. “Limits To Growth”
      • The Club Of Rome
      • Too many people, too few resources.
      • “World Dynamics” - Jay Forrester
    • 21.  
    • 22. “ It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.” --Yogi Berra
    • 23. Things are different today, (Sachs) writes, because of four trends: human pressure on the earth, a dangerous rise in population, extreme poverty and a political climate characterized by c y nicism, defeatism and outdated institutions. These pressures will increase as the developing world inexorably catches up to the developed world. (NY Times Review of “Common Wealth)
    • 24. Six Trends
      • Convergence
      • More people & higher incomes
      • The Asian century
      • The urban century
      • The environmental challenge
      • The poorest billion & the poverty trap
    • 25. I-PAT
      • Human impact on the environment (I)
        • Total population (P) 40%
        • Income/person (A) 4x
        • Environmental impact/dollar of income (T)
        • I = P x A x T
      • Or is it I = P x A/S
        • S = income produced/unit of environmental impact or sustainability
    • 26. Individual actions have collective impact.

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