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Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

2584 words - 10 pages

People tend to focus on the flaws when it comes to humanity’s ability to provide goods and services. News stories on income inequality, lack of adequate healthcare services for hundreds of millions of people, the large number of people who go hungry every day, etc. often capture the attention of humanity better than any other type of story. Combine this with an increasing population, the doomsay predictions about global warming, and the recent economic recession, and it appears that solutions to many of the world’s current and future problems are out of reach. This, though, is not the viewpoint taken by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kolter in their book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. They acknowledge that the world have many problems and has future ones that humanity will need to solve, but they believe that humanity is up to the task.
In their book, these two authors explain how humanity’s lot on Earth has improved at an exponential rate, how humanity can continue to grow to meet the problems of today and tomorrow, and why it is likely that humanity will likely succeed in creating abundance. One of the most striking examples is aluminum, which was once valued more that gold in the 19th century and now is one of the most readily available metals for consumers. This belief in humanity’s ability to create abundance comes from the idea that: 1) technologies in many areas, especially in computers and processors, growing at an exponential rate give humanity tools more powerful and more affordable than ever to communicate, to solve problems, and to educate others 2) The increased power and affordability of technology allows individuals to come up with, test, and ultimately create solutions that before were solely the domain of large institutions; these people are called the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) innovators in the book 3) In addition to technological advances creating cheap and better tools, those who have profited from technology (men like Bill Gates) are pouring their money into solving the world’s problems, a shift from the local philanthropy of men like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, 4) That with the previous three factors, the world can not only help better the lives of poor people, but in doing so, they create a new source of people who can identify, hypothesized and create solutions to their and the world’s problems, only increasing humanity’s ability to create abundance. These factors will allow more people than ever to have their needs met on the abundance pyramid, a construct of the two authors inspired by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, whose foundation is water, food, and shelter, whose next level is energy, education, and ICT (information and communications technology), and whose final level consists of freedom and health.
While they make the general prediction about things getting better for mankind, they tend to avoid making specific and concrete predictions themselves about what solutions people will come up...

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