Monthly Archives: March 2012

Abundance: Our way out of Crisis

It takes a good crisis to get us going. When we feel fear and we fear loss we are capable of quite extraordinary things.
                                             Paul Gilding, TED February 2012

This quote is the only point I like from Paul Gilding’s talk “The Earth is full”.  His other point in the talk is basically that “we can not have infinite growth in a finite planet.” It is a pessimistic view of our world through the lens of scarcity.

In contrast, I find the idea of Abundance fascinating. The talk of Peter Diamandis is an eye-opening cry of optimism. In this decade we will see the development of the technologies that promise a future of abundance like never before. In fact, it is hard to realize that we are already living that period despite the gloomy news in the media. See his TED talk here:

The technologies with exponential growth that will lead us to abundance are, as listed by Diamandis:

  1. Infinite Computing (Cloud)
  2. Sensors & Networks
  3. Robotics
  4. 3D Printing
  5. Synthetic Biology
  6. Digital Medicine
  7. Nanomaterials
  8. Artificial Intelligence

Those technologies, combined with Open Source and Do-It-Yourself movements are empowering small teams to achieve what a few decades ago only large organizations could. On top of that, techno-philantropist are taking the scene to fund projects that address big human challenges. The Rising Billion of People entering the global economy as they get access to Internet is another force. We should see it as both a potential market and a source of innovation itself, rather than a problem to compete for the “scarce” resources in our finite planet.

More than scarcity of resources, I see two main risks that could jeopardize this extraordinary decade: corruption and social injustice. These are the topics our politicians need to focus on.

  • Put innovation before the interests of lobbies to protect existing industries.
  • Promote social measures to to make sure we all participate of the riches of our era.

There is more detailed information and inspiration in the book written by Diamandis and Steven Kotler.  I find this an inspiring book for these times.