Things are better for the majority of human beings than ever! No they’re not, most local folks will say. Here in Bend, Oregon, most people complain about lack of money to run the city properly and the city park system spends so much money the police department is whining. It’s so hard paying all one’s bills — who could afford voting for more taxes for the police department? The Winnebagos are overpriced, the cost of keeping a horse is outrageous, and many people have trouble finding time to climb all the local mountains in a season. I am not rich enough to have any of those things but I noticed yesterday at the Social Security office that 18 of the 20 vehicles parked outside were some sort of sporting vehicle, or if they were a sedan had racks on the roof for transporting sporting equipment. I drive a 96 Geo Prizm which is a poor man’s Toyota Corolla and that car is usually thought of as a poor grandma’s survival wagon. What it really is, is a super reliable transportation device that gets 51MPG on the highway for the last 17 years. It isn’t perfect; I did buy new tires for it a couple of months ago.
Of course this is America, and things aren’t so good everywhere else, or are they? One proof that life is going along well everywhere is the ongoing population growth. People are being born faster than they are dying and that can only happen in good times when there is plenty of food and all other necessities. Until the last two hundred years, of the hundred thousand years of human existence, humanity lived very close to replacement levels. If that wasn’t the case the population would have grown to enormous size, sooner. The population is presently doubling in about forty years. Some like to say the population growth is leveling off, but in fact the absolute numbers are growing at about eighty million per year and that’s an explosion.
China only twenty years ago was considered a backward third world country, but now it is challenging the United States as the world’s most productive country, and China is projected to pass the US in a decade or two. Those billion people will soon be living an American life style if they possibly can and they are working 60 hour work weeks to get that privilege, while the Europeans are working half that. It is obvious who will soon pull ahead. I may be considered old fashioned or even retarded, but I believe people who work a whole lot deserve more rewards than people who work very little.
The brink the human world is poised upon is the balance of people and resources. Everyone needs the same basic resources to live and those who work the hardest, with the same equipment, will produce the most goods. Those people who have the greatest reserves will be the survivors when our essential human resources start running short. When I say survivors it implies that the others will not survive, but I don’t want to imply that grim reality, I want to state it clearly.
It becomes obvious that those of us who want to enjoy the beauties of the continuing technological boom should do everything possible to pay off all our debts and lay up a secure reserve. It is relatively easy to do at present, but when things start getting really bad, when any one of the many essential resources starts running short, it will become very difficult. When that time arrives the population of Earth will drop precipitously. I can imagine someone sitting in front of a fabulous computer, or even greater device, twenty years from now starving to death. He can’t buy food. Why not sell the device and buy some food? Because, everyone else has already sold theirs and no one will trade you a candy bar for your super-computer, your piece of paper or your old Winnebago. Let me state the obvious:
You can’t eat a computer or a college degree.