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Julian Blanco

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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.

Regards!

JB

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  • Nov 19 2012: In order to solve those problems, in addition to scientific breakthrough in for example artificial nutrition, agriculture and irrigation, we need to literally rethink what it means to be a human being – and that should not be a freely consuming and mating monkey with a large brain. Unfortunately, probably something terrible on a global scale needs to happen first…

    Thanks for the post Julian!

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