The Unspecialized Will Inherit the Earth

Why is it that our whole economic and political system has tended recently to become so sluggish and inflexible? Why have we become resigned to the idea that nothing substantial can ever be done in less than ten years? Obviously there are many reasons. But I believe the principal reason for this sluggishness is that our whole society has fallen into the same trap as our nuclear industry. Not only in the nuclear industry but in many other industries and public institutions, we have pursued economies of scale which turned out to be false. One of the most fundamental false economies of scale is the overgrowth of cities. At one time it looked economically attractive to cram millions of people together into huge agglomerations. The biggest cities everywhere are running into social problems which indicate that this was a false economy.

When we turn from sociology to biology, we see the same historical processes at work. So long as no sudden changes in {149} the rules of the game occurred, all through the soft swampy sluggish 100-million-year summer of the Mesozoic era, the dinosaurs pursued their economies of scale, growing big and fat and prosperous, specializing their bodily structures more and more precisely to their chosen ecological niches. Then one day, as we learned from the observations of Luis Alvarez and his colleagues at Berkeley, a comet fell from the sky and covered the Earth with its debris. The rules of the ecological game were changed overnight, and our ancestors, the small, the quick, the unspecialized, inherited the Earth.


Folksonomies: economics adaptation

/technology and computing/software (0.353887)
/finance/investing/futures trading (0.347926)
/law, govt and politics/government (0.302072)

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Economics (0.954041): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Economy (0.908397): dbpedia | freebase
Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event (0.743403): dbpedia | yago
Sociology (0.728288): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Reason (0.718367): dbpedia | freebase
Aristotle (0.710876): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Ecological economics (0.683422): dbpedia | freebase
English-language films (0.680140): dbpedia

 Infinite in All Directions
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dyson , Freeman J. (2004-07-22), Infinite in All Directions, Harper Perennial, Retrieved on 2012-04-25
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: religion