There are more happy, healthy, wise and wealthy people now than ever before. That is wonderful, and what is equally wonderful is that there is a lower percentage of unhappy, unhealthy, uninformed and poor people than ever before. Humanity is presently living closer to a perfect world than at any time in the past, and we would like to maintain that desirable condition for as long as possible into the distant future.
How can humanity face the obvious threats to our future health and happiness in a way which will make us secure? First, everyone wants to have a better life for themselves and their loved ones,and that is what they work to attain. Self interest is the base from which we must approach the future. Second, there are obvious threats to our permanent security, and we must lay up some small portion of our present wealth to recover from the most severe of those problems. At present every human is struggling to attain their maximum benefit and is supporting those social institutions which enhance their benefits. There is essentially no global provision for recovering from a serious global failure of the current wonderful state of affairs. It would appear the only institutional thought would be to see what is left over after a problem and proceed forward from that unfortunate new condition.
In a world where there is obvious abundance and sufficient resources to create a safety net for humanity, it would seem reasonable that we should create that net as quickly as possible. We can never forecast the time of a rare black swan event even though we can easily observe how these events might arise. On a hundred year forecast time scale (the hoped for life expectancy of a newborn child) many unusual events become possible, and preparations should be made to recover from their worst effects. Quite possible and serious are — major war, failure of transportation system, global climate change, loss of a critical mineral, major crop disease, global famine and population crash. It is the time scale of these things which one must consider, and as it turns out I am not the only one worried about these things. Today in the Observer in an article about hedge funds based on farmland ownership, at the conclusion of the article we read:
When asked if this is an end-of-the-world situation, the hedge fund manager replied: “It really is. I tell my fiancée this from time to time, and I’ve stopped telling her this, because it’s not the most pleasant thought.” He pauses for a moment. “We just can’t keep living the way we’re living. It’ll end within our lifetime. We’re just going to run out of certain things. We’ll just have to learn how to adjust.”
He offers no further suggestions on how to adjust, or how horrible that adjustment might turn out to be, but I believe that in terms of numbers there will be many who survive even the worst events, but in terms of percent who survive it will be quite small. Here are my suggestions based on The EarthArk Project – Index page listed by date posted.
Put samples of the essentials of civilization in a permanent deep-freeze in Antarctica.