The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.
- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)
Sunday, February 20, 2011
I actually am not a strong Malthusian, in the sense that I don't think a collapse is inevitable. I think a crash is avoidable, but only if we get down to the business of actually avoiding it.
Many people make much of the failure of Malthusian predictions in the past. I think that observation is not compelling.
It does seem foolish to predict an exact date for the collapse; we have escaped both Utopia and Oblivion nicely so far. But just like mortality, Malthusianism only has to actually operate once.
The story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf has two lessons, recall. The first is that it is not a good idea to raise a panic at the slightest provocation.
The second is that eventually there is a wolf.
Posted by Michael Tobis at 10:45 PM