Is Humanity Dooomed?

Tentative Andy

I'm in the Meal Deal
It seems to me that there have been predictions of humanity being doomed for almost as long as humanity itself has existed. (Religion has historically been a big factor in this). Sure, it's certainly crap right now, but for better or worse, I wouldn't say it's out-of-the-ordinary crap. There have certainly been more difficult times for humanity in general. Also, of course, the fact that we are able to identify our current situation as bad and complain about it implies that we have some grasp on the conception of a good human life, even if it only exists as an ideal.
 

vimothy

yurp
Let me restate my question in a slightly different way: is there any indicator that might support the hypothesis that humanity is doomed?
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
Is there any indicator that might support the hypothesis that humanity is doomed?
I think "doomed" is a bit of a red herring, implying as it does an existential threat to the human race. I would change it to something like: what we have now isn't sustainable.

Not sure, in your example, if declining air quality really would, on net, increase GDP, though obviously some individual companies could profit from it...But the trends are not unambiguously bad.
But that's a massive problem isn't it? That companies which have the primary goal of delivering profits to their shareholders don't/wouldn't take into account and/or wouldn't foresee the larger consequences of their business practices? Or that they might value short term profit & growth over, y'know, horrendous environmental destruction/hideous labor practices/etc etc. Not that it's malicious even (well, most of the time it's not) which is what's so devastating, that it's just business as usual.

& no, it's not all bad (tho terms like "bad" & "good" become kind of nebulous here). surely nothing is ever unambiguously bad or good. unless you're Ayn Rand :).
 

vimothy

yurp
But is that actually what's happening?

I think another problem with the question is that it could mean so many things. "Humanity" might be capitalism, this level of technological development, the west, everyone, our level of fossil fuel consumption, etc.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
But is that actually what's happening?
well certainly it's not the only thing happening, nor is it happening all the time. tbc I didn't mean to suggest that we're "doomed" b/c of it either - just that it does happen & is a serious problem. I mean I'm aware here - you have to balance things out surely - & also there's no way I would say that ppl in the "developing world" having a better standard of living is a negative thing - just that, you know, bringing up GDP etc is only one side of the coin, as in what are the costs?

I think another problem with the question is that it could mean so many things. "Humanity" might be capitalism, this level of technological development, the west, everyone, our level of fossil fuel consumption, etc.
this is very true. I reckon Josef originally meant it in a more abstract, philosophical way (correct me if I'm wrong).

again I think a better question would be - Is what we have sustainable? "What we have" being all the things you mentioned including the etc. - maybe we could boil down to how we gather resources & make/transport/consume goods, which IMO includes all that other stuff. The bit about "the West" (which confusingly includes Japan) is esp. misleading - as surely the West could fall out of power without humanity on the whole or even the West itself being "doomed".
 

vimothy

yurp
On one level the constraint is having a given, finite set of resources to exploit, but on another level the constraint is knowing how to exploit that set of resources, knowing what constitutes a resource. Which is a different problem.
 

vimothy

yurp
The second problem is a problem of knowledge, it's not binding. The set of resources in the first problem is finite, in real terms it's shrinking all the time, but the set of knowledge is growing.
 
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