The state of the world in the year 2050, in 1000 words
The only kind of dignity which is genuine is that which is not diminished by the indifference of others.
To understand the dilemma the world faces as we reach the midway point in the twenty-first century, we must accept the mistakes made in failing to promote moderate capitalism and its potential to improve both standards of living and social justice for the world’s population in general. This would have required that developed countries gracefully accept a shift towards predominantly market and service economies while encouraging the industrialisation of developing countries and assisting them in the avoidance of making the same mistakes in terms of exasperating the pollution problem. Essentially, this would have required an abandonment of the idea that it is in one’s own best interests if other countries are much poorer than yours. A purist capitalist philosophy would promote the reality that the more developed the rest of the world becomes, the more money they have to buy ‘your’ goods and services.
Politicians failed in their responsibility to society as a whole by ignoring humanist economists like E. F. Schumacher in favour of an economical philosophy born out of Cold War paranoia. By following the cynicism of Game Theorists, along with the influence of Neo-Darwinian ideology, a presumption was reached that by embracing our inherent selfishness we could somehow create a better world for all. The idea that capitalist economies could self-regulate efficiently proved to be an irresponsible blunder, contributing towards the humanitarian disaster we are now confronted with.
A major flaw in extreme capitalism is that economic growth requires constant population expansion, hence the situation we face: ever-expanding markets equal too many people to share the Earth’s dwindling resources. Many developed countries did in fact attempt to address the population issue in the 1960s, through family planning incentives, but the economic growth factor cancelled out such efforts. As any corporate entrepreneur would state, ‘Greed makes the world go round, it’s just a fact of life.’ A perceived solution to this problem was provided by migrant workers, the influx of people from less industrialised countries helping to sustain growth. A truly global community with people free to travel and live anywhere, according to employment opportunities, would have been something positive to aim for; however, the displacement of people through economic and political desperation did nothing to assist the countries where those migrant workers originated. The result of all this has been unrestrained economic and population expansion but very little global development or improvement of living standards for the majority of people, without which we could never efficiently address the issues of overpopulation, pollution and the general degradation of the ecosystem our future prosperity relies on. Poverty only compounds the problem, and in terms of fairer distribution of wealth and resources, we have indeed returned to a virtual state of feudalism. The modern day barons now have the serfs begging for work.
Although we have at last achieved the goal of preventing major powers from unilaterally invading other countries without a UN mandate, factional conflicts within states have increased, resulting from the lack of egalitarianism, guerrilla warfare becoming endemic in the world today. As stated in Haille Selassie’s speech to the UN in 1963, without equality and justice for everyone, including economically, there will always be war. Added to these conflicts in developing countries is the increasing social unrest in the westernised world, manifested in the virtual state of apartheid existing between the affluent and the poor. By retreating into heavily defended enclaves protected by the security forces, the privileged are simply accepting that their children’s children have no real future. This was the inevitable outcome of taking the merit system to ridiculous extremes, a minority of people earning far more money than they could ever reasonably spend, along with the existence of tax havens, allowing them to avoid putting anything back into society. Those well-meaning individuals who use their business acumen and wealth to create jobs and boost economies are doing the right thing in relation to how the world is, but that doesn’t help make it how it should be. It will no doubt be the epitaph of the human race that we perished through the embracement of our inherent selfishness, along with our petty-minded patriotism. We learned to walk before we could run, so to speak, ending up in a race against time to develop the world before it became too late to concentrate on learning how to manage its resources responsibly, without stealing from future generations. But then, who really cares about a future that would have belonged to others?
A general consensus of opinion has now been reached by the majority of the scientific community, regarding projections of the not-too-distant future. The Earth will no longer be able to bear the population burden we have imposed, leading to starvation and suffering of biblical proportions. Eventually, the masses will be abandoned by the influential, the wealthy and the most respected scientists, who will withdraw to fortified positions sustained by the latest technology. There will be an official recognition of the fact that a mass extinction of life is inevitable, along with the depopulation of the vast majority of the human race. A waiting game will ensue, the privileged biding their time until the population burden has resolved itself through natural selection. Only once the depopulation is complete will it be possible to start over again, avoiding the mistakes of the past. It is ironic that the rich will no longer have any use for their wealth and the skill for accumulating it, with the masses no longer presenting a threat, the security forces will then become obsolete also, and as there will be no states left to govern, the same will be true of politicians.
If the scientists are able to resist the vulnerabilities presented by a diminished gene pool and inherit the Earth, they will be in a position to say that it was all simply inevitable – an ultimate validation of Darwinian Theory.