TED Conversations

Julian Blanco


This conversation is closed.

Do we really want free/cheap energy?

Do we really want free/cheap energy?

Let’s imagine that one of the current alternative energy efforts where wildly successful and energy cost turned to virtually zero, what would happen then?

My hypothesis is:

The price for stuff would sink
Consumption would multiply exponentially
Earth resources would consequentially be drained exponentially faster as well
We will likely have an environmental catastrophe (possibly threatening our existence)

Today the economic limit of production is the energy price (simplifying here), what if the energy cost didn’t matter?
You could fish the seas faster, build larger boats to do so nonstop, as the steel to build them will be cheaper because the machines to extract ore will be less constrained, and so on.

I would love to hear the perspective of the TED community.

On the other hand, if we use this to expand outside earth, then resource consumption and environmental issues are gone.




Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 3 2012: So yes, I advocate free energy, enabling the education of all people (I mean being able to think for oneself and being empowered to take responsibility and realize creative endeavors, not cramming rhetoric to pass standardized tests) and allowing us to invert Maslow's pyramid so self-actualization consumes more of our time. This could result in widespread joy, purpose and progress for humankind.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.