Wednesday 25 June 2014

The rise and fall of the Industrial Revolution


Throughout recorded history, it seems that the human population of the world could not exceed (approximately) one billion.

The effects of the industrial revolution - beginning in England and spreading its benefits everywhere else - was to enable the population of the world to increase several-fold and rapidly:

Up to 1804 - world population does not exceed one billion; 123 years later (1927) doubles to two billion; 48 years later (1975) doubles to four billion; (projected) 50 years later (2025) doubles to eight billion.

It seems reasonable to infer that extra 6-7 billion people added since 1804 are a result of the Industrial Revolution.


Or, 6-7 billion people's lives depend on the Industrial Revolution - subtract the Industrial Revolution and you subtract 6-7 billion people.


The essence of the Industrial Revolution has been increased productivity - more production per person especially relating to food and other essentials (at least seven times as much productivity on average per person - but of course in reality it is heavily skewed, and the great bulk of the increase in productivity is mostly due to a small minority).

The major cause of the Industrial Revolution was frequent breakthroughs in the production of food and other essentials.

The reason for frequent breakthroughs was a high concentration of creative geniuses in those fields in Europe (and the European diaspora) - the benefits of these breakthrough diffused to become generally available.

Therefore the Industrial Revolution, and an extra seven billion people by 2025, was caused by a relatively small number of creative geniuses in Europe - plus the fact that societies were able and willing to use (to exploit for increased productivity) the breakthroughs which geniuses provided. 

(Subtract a small proportion of creative geniuses in Europe - and you subtract the Industrial Revolution.)


This picture is pretty much the opposite of that which is disseminated in the West, where the standard notion is that the Industrial Revolution caused poverty, and Europe extracted resources from the rest of the planet.

In fact, if it is tracked by population changes, it can be seen that the Industrial Revolution has primarily 'benefited' the poorest people and the poorest nations - whose populations have been growing extremely rapidly since the Industrial Revolution and continuing; outstripping the richest people and nations who are actually declining - fast (material support for this population increase among the poorest being provided-by the Industrial Revolution generated by richest people and nations).


But creative genius has dwindled to low levels in European populations and the world, and insofar as genius still exists, its output tends to be ignored rather than exploited to enhance productivity.

The rate of major productivity-enhancing innovations has apparently declined considerably since 1970.

Yet the world population continues to grow; billion upon billion...


The life of billions of extra people all over the world depends upon the Industrial Revolution / enhanced productivity which depended on the breakthroughs provided by a very small proportion of European creative geniuses - who no longer exist...

Europe is dying and degenerating, both - subtract Europe and you subtract the Industrial Revolution, and you subtract 6-7 billion people.


But it is worse than that, because the basis of intelligence and personality which created and sustained the industrial revolution have for several generations been under negative selection; and the opposite positively selected - indeed people carrying a high mutation load such that this impairs their intelligence and makes them short-termist and impulsive - and who either avoid education or cannot do it... these 'mutants' have been strongly positively selected-for at a global level... and continuing.

So not only are we failing to innovate - we are failing to repair and maintain what has already been invented.

Entropy (and novel threats) will do the rest: humans need to keep innovating just to stay in the same place.

Stop innovating and we will 'soon' be overwhelmed.


Q: What will happen? A: How long can we continue to live off capital?



ajb said...

"Yet the world population continues to grow; billion upon billion..."

Global marginal cohorts are now declining. I believe this started in 2011.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - Yaas - The good news is that world population will only peak at about 8 billion above agrarian carrying capacity...

George Goerlich said...

I think many conservatives doubt the "doom" line of thought, because it is advocated by the left. The left talks about overpopulation, advocates abortion, makes us fear climate change... the mass media repeats it, so naturally it is a very healthy response to doubt and fear their beliefs and intentions.

At the same time, it is quite obvious that we're living in a very unusual anomaly over the last 100 years, quite different from all of human history, and it is extremely likely it won't continue indefinitely or long. In fact, it's a bit insane to pretend it can keep going on... perhaps purposeful self-delusion?

Ugh said...

When men landed on the moon in 1969 (men European of decent)it seemed anything was possible. A feat clearly the product of genius. We fast forward to the present and it seems space exploration is dead, and so to part of the human spirit. NASA is a climate change agency, who knows what the ESA is doing. China is the only forward thinking space faring nation, but doing it on stolen technology.

Considering the greatest advancement since the 70's we realize that the seeds of modern computing and the Internet were sown in the 60's and 70's with the advent of the UNIX OS and TCP protocols. The innovation and genius spawned out of Bell Labs was sold off and dismantled in the 90's. Western self-hatred was in full swing by then. Today what stands in for genius is the creators of iPods, Twitter and Facebook - a far cry from human beings standing on another heavenly body.

Brett Stevens said...

Are you certain it's the industrial revolution, or the shift toward egalitarian thinking as happened in the West in 1789? Much like the lax immigration law in the USA has encouraged the flood of immigrants, the rise of egalitarianism convinced the lesser spectra of the intelligence hierarchy to breed like rabbits because they knew their children could not be simply allowed to die. They were equal too.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Brett - It seems that almost everybody always bred 'like rabbits' - in the sense that they had several-fold more babies than replacement rate; but most children died 'like lemmings' (mythological lemmings) until 1800.