When limited energy flow constrained innovation

Since the Industrial Revolution, human life on this planet has changed dramatically: spurred by technological progress, society escaped the Malthusian Trap to become ever more numerous and ever more prosperous, while energy consumption increased by several orders of magnitude, both collective and per capita. Throughout this stormy development, energy played a double role: on one hand, increasing […]

Energy for innovation

As the key resource that defines our standard of living, energy has shaped the evolution of our culture not just for decades or centuries, but since the beginning of human society. A wide variety of investigations in cultural anthropology took a deep dive into the effect of energy in the development of human culture. To give just a few examples: In 1959, Lesley White […]

How much innovation can society cope with?

Earlier on I posted that innovation essentially is change that generates value for society. From that perspective, society should just embrace every bit of innovation it could get hold of, shouldn’t it? However, there are two fundamental obstacles. The first elephant in the room is of psychological nature, I’d call it “change fatigue”: the very […]

Is growth inevitable?

We all tend to believe that mankind is on a path of continuous progress and ever-increasing prosperity, driven by good fortune and human ingenuity. Is that just wishful thinking or could it actually be true? I started looking into this question from a macro perspective in my previous post. I talked about the work of […]