Thank you all for the answers, yes I know I’m too pessimistic
I think is always good to question ourselves/our beliefs, so we will stay “on earth”.
I’ll try to answer some points.
[EDIT: added citation sources and minor corrections]
In short: innovation. Selfdriving cars and autonomous transport in general, robotics, AI and space industry. To name a few.
AI surely is a disrupting technology, it can change everything.
It seems too far away to me, I don’t have the technical skill to understand how close to it we are?
Regarding Space industry, we are not even close. Not before newer and stronger propulsion (safe/not chemical) and advanced robotics.
If we are all so wealthy, who (skilled) will risk his life to explore?
massive population numbers who are now “poor” but who want to live like the First World. Consumption will still grow for a while due to this catching up.
These groups don’t care about Greta, nor is frugality gonna be trendy for them until a generation of theirs has lived in excess.
Good point, it is in fact the basis why we need growth.
yet it seems to good to be true/positive. If 7 billion people succeed to consume as us, the Earth is surely not enough.
The “huge debt” factor is being addressed more and more by money creation. Basically new debt is just going to central banks in exchange of fresh cash. Central banks don’t need the cash back and can roll over debt indefinitely, so debt is not actually a burden. Of course other problems than debt itself can arise with this method.
Central banks are also more and more active creating growth (on paper at least) and “wealth effect”. People seem to be happy with that. They want to see growth and get it. So, why not? Perhaps it is part of the “decoupling” you are mentioning.
thanks for the clarification , I see the mechanism.
as those are newer financial “tools”, we still don’t know the consequences.
I can guess a debt competition like what happened in 2010-12, Frugal states VS Indebted states
Cheap debt is only good if the money is allocated wisely. If it’s just spent on consumption then it leads to wasting resources.
I do not believe that consumption is the motor behind economic growth. Yes, you can build a bigger factory and achieve economies of scale, but the effect is limited.
It’s mostly new technology that allows more efficient use of resources.
When you have the technological capability you will create an order of magnitude more.
Actually the economic growth of the last 70years is fully based on consumption.
The American way of life, new cars for everyone, newer bigger houses, lot of meat, iphones, newer and better healthcare, fast fashion,…
Facebook/google are making 90% of their profits on ADS, ads of things to be sold.
Yes even services/software but mostly goods.
Software has of course very little marginal cost of replication, so the main cost is only the energy needed to run the server. Instead of needing 1.1 units of resources to have 1.1 X units of goods of services, now maybe you need 1.01 units of resources.
Software can for sure sustain the growth rate and be the main driver for growth.
However it will not resolve the fact that resources are limited. We cannot replace basic needs like Housing,food,transportation… Those are the first things everyone will want to improve their lives.
Regarding energy needs, i am not that pessimistic.
Either solar and renewables will work out (which would be nice), or we will resume nuclear research that was abandoned 30 years ago for political reasons (for instance, thorium-based fission could deliver energy for enough centuries that all this discussion becomes irrelevant).
We’ll need to resume nuclear research for low radiation, but it will take at least 20-30years to have 1 reactor built. In the meantime half the world population will install AC unit, to be like us, and we will need 100 power plant.
Another issue in that democratic nations will stay behind, I think now is really hard to persuade the population for nuclear again. Just look at what happens with 5g…
sorry for the long post