Lately, I have been listening to Nate Hagen’s weekly podcast, The Great Simplification.
He explains that his podcast explores the systems science underpinning the human predicament. Conversation topics span human behaviour, monetary/economic systems, energy, ecology, geopolitics and the environment. The goal of the show is to inform more humans about the path ahead and inspire people to play a role in our collective future. Guests will be from a wide range of scientists, leaders, activists, thinkers, and doers.
We have spent the last century harnessing enormous amounts of fossil energy to build a world of complexity like nothing seen before. In the coming century, humanity will experience A Great Simplification, beginning with the onset of financial and economic turbulence, followed by contraction. The ensuing simplification will be among the most significant events ever experienced by our species.
Those who look through a systems lens can serve as early visionaries of a simpler life with new ways of relating to technology, to consumption, to each other and to Earth’s ecosystems.
Our system – and the components, processes and interactions that comprise it – is incredibly complex. On this podcast we will try to ‘simplify’ the ‘great’ issues of our time to expand the number of people making sense of our reality.
To see the wide range of experts who have been involved and listen to what they had to say you should spend time browsing and listening to them on the web.
As a result of my browsing, I conclude that there are two outstanding questions. They have been summarized by Nate:
- What does a more sustainable future look like?
- How to get there from here?
The answers depend on your view of the future of the economy Is it growing or shrinking?
I believe that the UK economy is shrinking. But it is seen to be growing. Because Government borrowing is used to prop up the economy
However, the national mindset is oriented toward growth. Which it is assumed will be resumed sooner or later.
So the UK is now flummoxed. “Everyone” – from the grassroots to the establishment – is behaving in a state of fuddle. The plethora of unemployment, strikes, inflation, arbitration, cost of living, et al, previously held together by an underlying belief in growth, is no longer working. A state which will get worse. Heading towards some kind of revolution. Hopefully non-violent.
In the end. The sooner the better. The light will dawn. The growth which knitted everything together no longer works. Which will put a different slant on pay negotiations.
Maybe the Government understands that this is how things are. That would explain the current stalemate.
So, what will a more sustainable future look like?
It will be an evolutionary process.
The continuation of the process that has been underway for the past 20 years or so. Albeit not recognised as such.
A process of endless shrinkage of the economy and everything which depends on it. Including the population.
It is an evolutionary dismantling process of delayering and shrinkage.
It is already happening. The NHS and the public transport systems are dismantling.
The underlying driving force is the declining use of fossil fuels.
Does this mean that a day will come when the global future will look less threatening? Because emissions will come down naturally. Is this a sustainable future?
If so, maybe the focus should be on trying to minimise the dreadfulness of a shrinking world population. A more humane approach than spending money on renewables.
The natural evolution of things will save the world. But not the population.