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I recently finished reading Affluence Without Abundance, about bushmen in Southern Africa https://www.amazon.com/Affluence-Without-Abundance-Disappear.... Their culture survived stably without growth for over 100,000 years. They enjoyed more leisure time with less work than us.

By contrast, in under 250 years since Adam Smith our culture's growth is trashing the planet in nearly every place we measure. The Growth Delusion develops and documents problems with growth further https://www.amazon.com/Growth-Delusion-Poverty-Well-Being-Na....

Many times we make an advance like, say, anesthetics, growth leads to things like opioid epidemics.

You can live how you want, but you may want to reconsider what sounds like an unqualified faith in a pattern that may have worked when we had a lot of empty planet to expand into, but creates problems when we learn that we don't any more.




But they didn't live very long, they died from natural catastrophes, they lived extremely simple lives and most likely in complete ignorance of the world around them, weren't that many of them, if an asteroid had come to hit them they would be wiped out with any chance of doing anything about it and most of importantly, don't live in a world like that any because the same humans that the book seems to glorify evolved into us. So that's kind of a moot point. Also keep in mind it's the same kind of bushmen that would use fire to burn huge parts of vegation.

The fact is that we have gotten increasingly better and better at converting the earth's resources into serving our needs and have been able to effectively optimize and improve our ability to get more out of less. Most importantly wherever you see humans flourish and get wealthy enough the environment improve because we start to care about it and get the power to do something about it.

Humans didn't use to live in harmony with nature, they used to live in fear of nature. Mother nature is brutal to humans and it's only because we have gotten better and better at controlling it that humans could flourish.

I am unconvinced that minimizing our impact on nature is the moral thing to do and unconvinced that what we are doing right now is by any metrics worse than what those bushmen did. Too many people romanticize humans relationship with nature.


Your description of them sounds nothing like my understanding of their culture and lives I got from the book. My point isn't to glorify anything (nor was the book's) anyway.

There is plenty of evidence countering a faith in growth. A culture that has existed for several orders of magnitude longer than ours is strong evidence. It would even if they were as ignorant and fearful as you describe them. That there were the opposite strengthens the case.

I'm not sure if you were suggesting that people in our culture are not ignorant or fearful, but I see a lot of it, or if you're suggesting that past flourishing means it will continue, but I wouldn't bet on it unless we change a lot.


What in my description of their lives is incorrect according to the book?

The culture you are referring to did so for 100.000 years because it couldn't consume enough of its surroundings for it to have to worry about anything.

We don't live in such a world and unless you can give me an alternative to growth that allows all the people who haven't gotten up to our standards of living then I am not sure what you are trying to get at.

Of course, our culture is also ignorant compared to the future that's not the point. The difference is that our culture is learning and evolving, their culture wasn't until they got out of their environment and started exploring the rest of the world.

I am not talking about past flourishing I am saying that the only way (I would welcome arguments for the opposites, the bushmen isn't one) for humans to keep flourishing is growing.




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