Suburbia: The Discount Rate Utopia

5 thoughts on “Suburbia: The Discount Rate Utopia”

  1. We could see some surprises. Russia has been written off for dead. But it’s resource rich, physically isolated, warming (more arable land), declining in population, and used to dealing with harsh conditions of all kinds. Of course, by the same token, they’re also our potential protagonist in WWIII! Fun times ahead.

    Other so-called “Third World” countries used to scraping by may weather peak human population better than folks like us accustomed to more “disposable” lifestyles. Hard to say, but an interesting thought experiment.

    1. Jorgen Randers actually addresses the highly likely trajectories of each part of the world in his recent book 2052. Russia, Brazil, and Canada will do very well since, as you state, they have large resource bases and relatively modest populations. Europe, Japan, and the US will grow very very slowly over the next forty years which will mean static economies. Some places will find ways of managing stagnation by redefining quality of life (lots of free time to spend with family, secure health care, education, and retirement) while the U.S. will likely experience increasing income inequality and social tension. The rising middle classes of Latin America and Asia will catch up with today’s wealthy nations, then they will plateau as well. Other parts of the world like most of Africa will see a doubling of living standards, but that’s from a seriously low base, so not much change really.

      I’ve spent plenty of time in Japan and it’s been stagnating for twenty five years as their population continues a steep decline. It’s still a pretty great place to live. I don’t see any of this as the Apocalypse. It’s just the end of a particular set of arrangements which will gradually be replaced by new ones. Beats the pants off Yemen.

      1. The USA is actually by far the most resource-rich nation in the world. Not only do we have far more geologic resources than we actually mine (like Russia, say) but we also have an almost unfair abundance of year-round ports, navigable rivers that go deep into the interior, varied topography and climate, etc. We also have the best infrastructure — our freight train system is the envy of the world, bar none, for example — and our human resources are also the best, perhaps not per captia, but certainly of any large country — most innovation that matters still occurs right here.

  2. The media-driven public reaction to the Club of Rome forecasts is one of the most depressing parts of the followup. It’s ‘conventional wisdom’ that the Club of Rome was proven wrong by events, even as things have played out pretty close to their projections.

    What are examples of the other 11 strategies? It would be interesting to map or graph out the scale of the various “strategies” being attempted as humanity starts pushing up on some hard global resource limits.

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