There is an economic theory that says this:
Our capitalist system relies on the ability to continue to expand. We no longer can expand without wars or unethical trade agreements with underprivileged societies. Therefore, we will fail.
Those who subscribe to this theory point out that we on planet earth live in a “closed system”, meaning that there are only so many resources, and that as our population grows, this necessitates that more and more people will have less and less.
This economic is close enough to true to be appealing. We do, indeed, live on a planet with limited resources. As a nation, we can no longer expand our borders across the continent – we ran out of continent a while back.
As children, we heard about the “boom times” when men with adventurous spirits were told, “Go West, young man!” Those with fortitude and brains could make a fortune, either panning for gold or by farming cheap land. However, these opportunities are done, right? Prices for limited resources will now spiral upwards until no one can afford necessities, and global warming will kill us all.
Like I said, this theory is appealing. It has some truth to it – but not the whole truth. I came to this conclusion after reading an article by Father James Schall in which he made an excellent point. He said, “Our society suffers, not from a lack of resources, but from a lack of ideas.”
After reading this, I realized that if our human potential were fully realized, we would solve the problem of resources. We would discover or create new energy sources and eradicate our polluting and ultimately doomed reliance on fossil fuels.
We are now entering a new frontier – in has limitless space in all directions – and by exploring it, we will save mankind’s future. Those of us who apply fortitude and intelligence to solving the problems of this new frontier will make a fortune – in the same way as did the participants of the gold rush – without the risk of being shot or crushed by mining accidents.
We are now entering the frontier that has been created by near-zero cost electronic storage and ubiquitous computer and internet access – the frontier of the information age.
Moving forward, those of us who can create valuable information and create easy ways to find this information will form new empires – Google, Facebook, Amazon… yet, the most amazing thing about this new frontier is that it has no physical limits at all. It has the potential for infinite expansion – and the potential to accommodate the needs of everyone.
Why do I say this? Because as we create newer, more efficient ideas on the idea plane, the available resources on the physical plane will be used and conserved in ways that will ensure there are enough physical resources for everyone. Utopian? No. Look at the ideas that have created better standards of living for the entire human race – ideas such as the printing press and the weaving loom issued in entirely new standards of living for a tremendous number of people… yet even these do not compare to the potential of a society in which the production is measured in terms of valuable ideas.
I am looking forward to the next 25 years. As our society grows to reward those with ideas more and more, I believe that our natural abilities and potentials will shine light on many of the problems that we as a race now confront.