[ExI] Malthus and Marx

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Sun Jul 12 04:57:08 UTC 2020

Quoting BillK:

> The comments on that Nature article quickly degenerate into an argument about
> climate change.
> Two groups shouting 'Yes it is!' versus 'No it isn't!'.

Which has been the normal state of affairs for some two decades now.  
Yes, climate is changing. It has been changing for billions of years  
before man evolved and it will continue to do so regardless of what we  
do or do not do. We don't need to stop it because there is zero  
evidence that we could even if we wanted to. We instead simply need to  
figure out how to survive it.

> By the way, have you noticed that Siberia is no longer
> frozen?  It is literally on fire.
> <https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/siberian-wildfires-cause-record-pollution-send-smoke-us-180975275/>

Meh. It is still better than time that Siberia became molten lava.  
Oddly enough, and quite fortuitously for us, the cynodonts from whom  
all creatures with canine teeth descended survived.


The point is things change. That is the nature of time. It is hubris  
to think that we can hold back the unfolding of the future with  
legislation or even outright revolution. A type I civilization might  
be able to climate control their planet but we are not there yet.

> Currently there is no equivalent cheap resource alternative.
> And it has to be one that doesn't add to the existing pollution.
> There are temporary fixes available, like wind and solar power, that might
> buy us a bit of time.

When it comes to nuclear energy, pretending the genie doesn't exist  
doesn't get the genie back in the bottle. If runaway consumption  
really is the root of problem, then even the dangers of nuclear energy  
no longer seem like a downside. After all, just a few decades in,  
Chernobyl is practically a nature preserve and the only species that  
thinks nuclear contamination of the environment is a problem is us.  
Poor humanity caught between its fear of fire and its fear of the  
dark. If we want to be the cynodonts of the mass extinction that is  
upon us, then we need to become more risk tolerant as a species. Just  
as chemical fires helped our ancestors survive the darkness of night,  
so will nuclear fires help us survive the darkness of space.

> Humanity needs to find a new non-polluting energy resource that
> doesn't require more energy to create than usable energy it provides.
> There will be much disruption as energy resources gradually run out
> and only the wealthy can afford access to energy while dumping the
> resultant pollution elsewhere.
> But now 'elsewhere' appears to be coming a bit too close to home.

Is there something wrong with the market pricing mechanisms for  
relative risks? I echo Dylan's concern that until the perceived risk  
to the environment posed by fossil fuels exceeds the perceived risk to  
the environment of nuclear power, then how can we take climate  
alarmists seriously?

> Space ventures are a possibility, but it is beginning to look like we
> are running out of time.

Space is simply one the most obvious solutions. Come on, we are  
transhumanists here. We could for example use CRISPR to give some  
people gills to save room on land. Plus I imagine that being aquatic  
would lower their carbon footprint, even if they are wealthy. My point  
is that the solution space to the current Malthusian crisis is much  
larger than the simple choice between capitalism or communism. Thus it  
is irritating that climate scientists frame it as such. Money can be  
green too . . . at least ours is. ;-)

Stuart LaForge

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