3 Reasons the world sucks now
There is a maxim in the world that is derided when young and regretted when old, and that maxim is “everything was better when we were younger”. Younger people look down on the elders as out of touch, not knowing what’s happening and generally unhip. Elders look down on the youngsters as out of control, reckless, arrogant and lazy. It happens with every generation, and it’s been happening to me lately, so I thought I’d look into it.
1. It’s all too bloody fast
The internet is amazing. It’s changed life beyond comprehension and it’s done it in such a short space of time that there are really two kinds of people on the planet now. Those who are plugged in as naturally as breathing, and those who remember rotary dial telephones and huge phone bills. The expectations have changed, and I’m not convinced it’s for the better. How can you possibly make good decisions about anything when you’re being pinged every three seconds by people you met once about subjects that have no consequence to life? Of course this makes me possibly the hugest hypocrite on the planet, as until about 3 years ago I was one of the hard charging on the cutting edge types maintaining 700 friendships on Facebook. Over the last six months though I’ve realized it just sucks time from your life.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book “The Tipping Point” describes the phenomenon of human social groups ceasing to function effectively past 150 members. A fundamental characteristic of the way our minds are wired seems to be the culprit. It happens in all walks of life. Army units rarely go above 150 members. Corporations typically pay no heed to this and blindly go ahead and grow wildly, puffing their corporate chests in a display of “look how great we are”. Then wonder why their performance levels drop like a stone once the size has gone beyond that where peer pressure is ineffective as a control mechanism and it is is replaced by ever more byzantine command and control systems. In a smaller group where people actually KNOW each other, the implicit contract of those relationships forms the control mechanism of activity because of the powerful need to not disappoint your fellow group member.
What does that mean in the modern world? If you have more than 150 friend anywhere who you rely on for getting thing done, in whatever medium, you’re literally burning yourself out. If those friends are in an online medium, it’s much worse as they interact constantly. This is a tough lesson to learn as an older person, and I am willing to bet that anyone under 30 will read this and conclude it is all bald faced lies. It’s not. Wait until you’re at this stage and you too can have that God awful realization that you’re old.
2. There are just too many bloody people
As a part of my biotechnology degree, I studied population dynamics. It’s governed by a few simple rules. Any living organism populating any given environment will grow in numbers. Driven by the most basic instinct to survive and reproduce, it will do so until something stops it. That something is usually one of three things.
A. It runs out of space and / or physical resources.
Pretty self explanatory really. We need stuff to survive and if the availability of that stuff declines it is harder to get enough to sustain new members of the species. It’s survival of the fittest stuff. War is generally the result.
B. It starts to be affected by its own waste streams.
Most personal waste by definition is stuff that is toxic to the body. That’s why it needs to be removed. As the concentration of that stuff in huge environment increases, it affects each member, reducing their ability to live and reproduce. As the levels increase to toxicity, entire populations die. Only those able to adapt will survive.
C. It is ravaged by a new disease variant.
Bubonic Plague in the Middle Ages? AIDS in the 80’s? We see these all the time, but modern science has fought this battle quite successfully to this point.
So – in 2014 with a population of almost 7 billion people on the planet, looking through these lenses produces a pretty bleak picture. As all these new people consume resources (in disproportionate amounts it has to be said) there is less to go round, it becomes more expensive and economics regulates supply and demand. Until critical resources are threatened and then population groups mobilize to eliminate other groups to ensure their supply. War, basically.
I saw an article yesterday about a giant jumbo tron screen in Beijing that actually shows sunrise and sunset to remind people what it looks like! The pollution is so bad that people can’t see the sun. Radiation, mercury, carcingens…. All rising.
Modern science (aka the pharmaceutical industry) makes huge strides to eradication of disease all the time. Of course we have evolution to battle constantly. It’s not a pretty scenario, unless you happen to run a pharmaceutical company in which cases you’re rolling in cash.
3. There are not enough jobs to occupy the increasing population and enablem them to thrive
This one is at the very root of most economic issues we have today. It’s also the one that is continually batted around like some political football between whichever parties are ruling in your own country. Whenever anyone says to me now “there are too many people on welfare. We have to stop it and get the back to work” I always respond ” Where are the jobs?” Because believe me, I know unemployment, and I know unemployed and the vast majority of people if given the opportunity would jump at the chance of a meaningful job that paid enough for them to live on. Without available jobs, people can’t get jobs. That sentence seems like it must be incontrovertible, but it is in fact avoided endlessly as politicians drone on about “giving tax breaks to the job creators” and “reducing obstructions to development”. Capitalism, and especially the all out American version of it is responsible for the systematic destruction of working jobs in the Western Hemisphere. Technology advances, yielding productivity improvements have enabled us to produce vast amounts of stuff in ever more complicated mixes with almost no people. Problem is, without those people having jobs and disposable income, they can’t buy the stuff being made. Seems like a disconnect there somewhere doesn’t it? Give people work, guarantee their safety with a say in the way their employers are run and a single payer health system not linked to employment and see how things start to improve.
Please don’t ever tell me that people are just lazy and don’t want to work. It’s degrading, and inhuman and quite frankly bollocks. If you really think that, you should have every cent you have taken away for a while so you can experience true poverty and the attitude adjustments that requires,