Progress and disparity not working hand in hand
In one of my books titled It’s Between What They Say, I talked about the environmentalist bubble. I used the term “bubble” here because bubbles can be burst and many children do it just for fun. The point is, it’s a discretionary thing.
The buzzword for today is “sustainability”. Why is that so? It’s because under some matrix there is a presumed limit for growth or that any further growth will cause harm.
There are some areas where the assumption that further growth will bring harm is true, such as the harm caused by the burning of unfiltered fossil fuel, causing smog and air pollution. But it is important to clarify that it is not because there are too many cars, trucks or vehicles; it is because there is too much burning of the type of fuel that causes pollution.
The similar argument applies to the assumption of overpopulation: the problem is not too many people; it’s the inefficient use of space and the lack of management of support services.
What is very interesting is that the world of technology and industry developed indiscriminately with little or no restrictions with almost every imaginable abuse being inflicted on the environment — and it was called growth, renaissance or the industrial revolution.
Never mind the debauchery, the human cost included, it was all called progress. All of that progress has led us to today, when there is now a technological revolution. We are entering the robotic age and artificial intelligence, and an array of sophisticated potentials that is dramatically altering the need for human, hands-on labour.
Yet in spite of the progress, economic disparity is widening and life is not necessarily getting better for everyone in proportion to the advancement of technology. To add fuel to the dilemma, environmental development codes now protect the once-free environment from new predators wishing to enter the market. It is as though the old captains of the industries have said: “OK, I’m in the boat now. You can pull the ladder up.”
So one can ask a legitimate question of whose environment or whose matrix of concern or, simply put, whose bubble would be bust?
I know this is somewhat a Trumpian argument where he believes that the rest of the world is going full steam ahead, ravaging without constraint and making a profit while America is trying to raise the bar on ethical standards and in the process puts burdens on its own economy while leaving others with an unfair operating advantage.
He is not entirely wrong but perhaps the way forward is not to move backward and compete with the degradation, but rather to become more innovative.
Bermuda will have its challenges, too. We have developed almost every square inch of the country, but we have a systemic exclusion of a significant portion of the population. We will have the ethical argument that those who have an abundance are not going to give up what they have earned for the sake of inclusion. Nor should they. But with that being the case, they may have lost the moral authority to set limits on development with respect to the environment, particularly when it benefits the status quo and may be limited in determining codes except to support innovation and efficiency.
If one sector cannot give up space, new space has to be created because the market is all about occupying space.