Here is an interesting, but seemingly obvious observation I stumbled across –
It’s a short read so worth taking a look. Here’s the gist though. According to the cited article from Financial Times, typically people who grow up with wealth and upward mobility conceive of a world where everything is getting better all the time and there is enough for everyone (abundance). Those who grow up in more challenging economic circumstances tend to view the world as a competition for insufficient resources (scarcity). The latter perspective is described as “Zero Sum.”
(This is a quote from an article by Financial Times) –
“The average response among those in high-income countries has become 20 per cent more zero-sum over the last century. Moreover, two distinct rises in the prevalence of zero-sum attitudes have coincided with two slowdowns in gross domestic product growth, one in the 1970s and another in the past two decades.“
In my experience, people see the world as zero sum or non-zero-sum, and, as we are with most of our perspectives, we’re unlikely to change them once they have developed. I know that I certainly fall into the category of the Zero Sum Experience. I can often struggle to understand how other people can see it any differently.
I can make an argument for my point of view, which largely boils down to – “disregarding local deviations and periods of excessive growth due to the discovery and application of new and easy to access deposits of energy rich material (which represents nothing more than millions of years of concentrated solar radiation), physics is quite clear that you cannot derive infinite growth from finite resources.” (See Our Finite World, Of Two Minds, Surplus Energy Economics, and The Consciousness of Sheep).
I agree with Gail Tverberg’s observation that we are all ignorant of the true zero-sum reality because the powers that be cannot allow it to be expressed –
“The real narrative is that we are running short of fossil fuels that can be profitably extracted, and renewables are not adequate substitutes. However, this narrative is too worrisome for most people to handle.”
I fully accept that almost no one will be able to embrace this perspective. That is as it must be. But I’m pretty sure that it’s one of those things – if you’ve seen it, it is obvious and you cannot ever unsee it, but if you haven’t seen it by now you probably never will (until maybe the day it comes crashing through your front door).
In the words of Upton Sinclair – “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
The Daily Stone
Interesting fact – this stone, found at the local coffee shop, beat out two otherwise more interesting stones with better stories. But how often do you come across a pebble with the beginning of a perfect perforation right in the middle?