Next generation will not be better off

Child labourers, Macon, Georgia, 1909
A growing population and dwindling natural resources, with rapidly rising extraction costs, implies increasing poverty. And this is also what we are noticing among the general populace, a shrinking economic pie has meant smaller pieces for everyone but the super rich who can bet on government stimulated markets. According to McKinsey (2016), real incomes of some 65-70% of households in 25 advanced economies have been flat or falling between 2005-2014. Crushing the long held belief that "the next generation will be better off than their parents".

As people have started to realise that they are having a tougher time to get by economically, or simply less able to buy lots of stuff, trust in governments and social cohesion has fallen. And that is also why we see the phenomena of populist, extremist, politicians gaining more traction as ordinary people become increasingly dissatisfied with status quo.

The divide between the younger and older generation is also growing as younger people are experiencing a harder time finding good paying jobs, saddled with student debt, while expected to provide for a growing share of pensioners. This at the same time as savers, e.g. pensioners, are suffering from negative interest rates and rising living costs.

Earth Overshoot Day is tomorrow, marking the fact that humanity has used up a year's worth of natural resources in only seven months. This have been made possible only by our discovering of stored fossil hydrocarbons which have provided us with cheap and abundant energy. Up until now. As we have plundered the planet for its resources we have hit limits to what Earth's ecosystems can provide without degrading or collapsing. Transgressing those limits means that we now have less resources available every year. 

It's time to wake up to the fact that the world is changing and old beliefs have to be revised. Having children while wasting the Earth's resources is hypocritical if we now claim to be a species with some skill at foresight. 


Out of the ashes into the fire

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