I have just come back from holiday. We had a family holiday on the Amalfi cost. We ate well, saw cool things, drank nice wine, met nice people and generally had a great time.
I spent a lot of money (Cokes were 4 Euros, beers were 5-6 Euros) but it was worth it because it will be a great memory. An experience like that is worth more than any material possession.
While I was sunning myself on the beach I read a book called The Rational Optimist that had quite an impact on me. It included a lot of history, evolution, psychology, economics and sociology…not usual light reading for a holiday I grant you, but I have learned a new way of thinking:-
- Humans are the only creatures that have “stood on the shoulders of giants” – knowledge and skills have been added to and enhanced over time
- Except where populations are too low, technology increases, never diminishes
- Technology creates prosperity…Prosperity can be measured in terms of time saved
- Specialization also creates prosperity through Ricardo’s law (do what you do best and exchange the output for what someone else does best)
- Pessimism sells…bookstores are full of doom and gloom. These predictions have usually proved to be wrong or exagerated
- Change is accelerating as ideas “meet and mate” – the future will be different to now
- The changes that we will see in the future will, on the balance of probability, increase prosperity
- A more prosperous, technologically advanced future civilization will be better placed to deal with future problems (global warming) than we are now
- Restricting advancement (in terms of technological and energy) in the name of climate change will mire the poor in their existing condition on the premise that something bad may happen sometime in the future
Wow…what a book. I urge you to read it. It changed my outlook and it may do the same to you. Its the first time that I have thought tackling global warming is a selfish act!