Some Monday Links 09/20/202109/17/2021 Michalis Trepas LinksArab culture, China, economic history, Jonathan Sacks, morality, partying, Soviet Union It’s Not in Your Head: The World Really Is Getting Worse (The Walrus) How China Avoided Soviet-Style Collapse (Noēma) The Role of “We” Versus the Role of “I” (Econlib) Party-crashing was a serious business in medieval Arabic tales (Psyche) Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
5 thoughts on “Some Monday Links”
“The World really Is Getting Worse”: Isn’t human progress a historical series of rising and falling cycles?
Good question. If that were true, though, how would we get “progress”? I think we saw a bunch of rises and fails prior to the industrial revolution (and very little progress), but since then, it’s been all progress.
I would guess that the trend of the rising/falling pattern has generally been upward, with each new low marked higher than the previous ones (if this makes sense, since we are talking about “progress”, a somewhat vague concept).
I think that Brandon aims true at the pivotal point that was the industrial revolution
(Brad DeLong guestimates a growth rate of 0.05%/ year, or 5% per 100 years, for the period 8000 B.C.E. – 1500, with “all or nearly all of better technologies” showing up “in Malthusian fashion as increasing population rather than increasing living standards”. He further argues that the “economy” as a central issue emerged only in the 1700s. A worthy longread, btw:
1. Isn’t expanding population a definition of success for most species? To the point of overpopulation, anyway …
2. A rising/falling spiral , with rise diverting sharply upward at the Industrial Revolution – and some uncertainty concerning the next slope downward?
Fair enough. To measure “success”, I particularly like (though I do not have the expertise to actually delve into) those “quality ” indexes, which follow the pure MOAR approach of population, or maybe GDP, growth (for example, child mortality, life expectancy and so on).