Peter Mitchell

Melbourne, Australia

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Peter Mitchell
Posted over 3 years ago
Clean technology, while a huge opportunity, will not go to scale in time to prevent a global economic and social crisis.
Yes, a grass roots movement is the only way the necessary changes could occur. Government and big business are part of the problem and would need to completely re-invent themselves to provide any real solution. But the nature of fashion has also changed and trends can now start through viral ideas rather than famous personalities. Consider the Occupy movement as an obvious example. But, as shown by the financial crisis, world economies are on a knife edge - a rapidly thinning edge from what Paul Gilding is saying. Economic collapse is inevitable unless something drastic is done. And that something is already being done - as covered in Diamandis' talk. There are new disruptive technologies that completely change the game. My point is that changing the game at this stage and so quickly will invalidate the business model of a number of multi-trillion dollar industries. In this context - what does "too big to fail" mean? What happens to people employed by industries who's whole basis for existence have been removed? Hence economic collapse again. Damned if we do and damned if we don't. The silver lining is that the long term outlook is optimistic once the debris has been cleared away. One other thing: the common aspects in all the new technologies is smaller, localised, distributed. This means less need for large centralised organisations to manage them and the supporting infrastructure (no need for power lines or fuel transport etc.). Big industry is becoming obsolete and those countries that depend most heavily on them, i.e. the 'developed' world, are going to be hardest hit. Like the technology itself, the benefits are distributed, while the damage will be localised.
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Peter Mitchell
Posted over 3 years ago
Clean technology, while a huge opportunity, will not go to scale in time to prevent a global economic and social crisis.
I would think that the technology change in itself will create an economic crisis. The resource limitations are the driving force which require new solutions to be found. But even a relatively small change in technology can result in the complete upheaval of established industries. Consider what is happening to the recording and publishing industries due to the paradigm shift created by the internet. Then think about the impact on power suppliers when everyone can get generate household power in their own backyards. What happens to the board of works when that power is used to extract water from the air. The great abundance mentioned in Peter Diamandis' talk will completely destroy many major industries by making their core business obsolete - almost overnight too given current progress. Even without the inevitable backlash from the entrenched powers, the economic impact on the developed countries would be disastrous. Places like Africa and parts of Asia may actually survive better because they are only a short way down the large scale centralised infrastructure path. Hence they should be able to leapfrog onto much more sustainable technology - if political considerations don't get in the way.