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I'm going to use the results of this poll in a diary during the Social Security Defenders blogathon March 25th thru the 29th. There are 4 major components that hinder or propel GDP growth, Resources, Energy, Productivity and workforce growth. All 4 propelled GDP growth 40 to 80 years ago. Today Resources, Energy and workforce growth are incapable of fueling GDP growth as they did in decades past. Productivity continues to increase but wage growth has been decoupled from productivity since about 1973.

The days of GDP growth of 8%-10%-12% are long gone, easy to find oil and metals fed GDP growth in past decades. Oil is found deeper and isnt the light crude of decades past, crudes are medium and heavy. Resources like Iron ore in the form of hematite, found in shallow formations and of extremely high quality have run out, Hematite mines in the US started to shut down in the early 1970's. Today Taconite is mined from open pit mines a mile deep. Tacnite has to crushed before going into a blast furnace, adding another step that wasnt need when hematite was plentiful.

Our workforce is not growing as it used to, workforce growth was 1.2% in 2012, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts by 2050, workforce growth will be down to .7%.

Economist Dean Baker returned my email invte a couple of days ago and will be publishing his diary about productivity and demographics at 11am on Friday, March 29th.

#HandsOffMySocialSecurity, Dean Baker

Okay here goes:

Poll

GDP growth over the next 20 years will average:

6%3 votes
0%0 votes
2%1 votes
2%1 votes
2%1 votes
12%6 votes
8%4 votes
6%3 votes
14%7 votes
2%1 votes
12%6 votes
12%6 votes
12%6 votes
6%3 votes
0%0 votes

| 48 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:56:54 PM PST

  •  2033, an extinction event baby (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, Sandino

    event not even, Oy.

    ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:00:15 PM PST

  •  Every number is repeated on two (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    subsequent choices. I am confused as to which I'm supposed to select. Maybe you should have made it 1.75-1.99%,  2.00-2.24%, etc. so it would be non-ambiguous.

  •  I Think It's a Meaningless Time Frame Considering (9+ / 0-)

    all the tipping points we're blowing through.

    I'm not sure what "we" means beyond 10 years out. Already GDP is able to rise as the wealth of the people falls.

    I think by 10 years from now when we all talk about America we all realize we're talking "they" not "we."

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:07:22 PM PST

    •  True. Over the next 10 yrs, averaged, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cynndara

      there may still be some growth. After that, not so much. Unless we have breakthroughs on cold fusion, magnetic energy genergy generators, dilithium crystal warp drives, infinite improbability drives, flux capacitors.

      If we could only convert denial into electricity.

      One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Pragmatists are the exception.

      by Words In Action on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:47:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly! The future is going to look so (3+ / 0-)

      different from the past 100 years we won't recognize it at all.

      We're literally blasting through climate change tipping points.  Sooner or later, the permafrost methane or fracking gas releases or the deep ocean methane or CO2 will belch out and boom!  No more food supply.  Ooops....

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:18:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I went with 4%+ (5+ / 0-)

    Here's why:

    There is a second (3rd? 4th?) technology wave coming - primarily, electric / solar and other renewable energy sources that will finally break the back of America's dependence on fossil fuels.  This is going to result in a tremendously positive economic impact on GDP.  Regardless of the rut we're in, there's no country on the planet better positioned to take advantage of these developments.

    On that basis alone, I said 4%+, averaged over the next 20 years.  GDP may be low (or stagnant) for the next 5 or 10 years, but I do believe we're on the precipice of something really big in this regard.  After many decades, we're nearly there in terms of a true revolution in energy production, how we consume energy, and the role that renewables play in every aspect of our lives.

    "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

    by Richard Cranium on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:08:26 PM PST

    •  I agree on the technology (3+ / 0-)

      But I think it may take another 10 years for a majority of people to realize that Republicans are completely wrong about economics and start voting for rational policies again.

      "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

      by atlliberal on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:13:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think there's sufficient change in motion now... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Words In Action, Roger Fox, Vetwife

        ...to carry the weight of it's own forward momentum, regardless of the political climate 5, 10, or 20 years out.  It'll be another 10 years before we really start to see the impact of phasing out fossil fuel dependency on the nation's bottom line, but it's coming, hopefully in my lifetime.

        "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

        by Richard Cranium on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:35:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  20% from wind in 20 years (4+ / 0-)

      Same for solar. I think after 20 years the impact will start to grow exponentially.

      And energy is one of the big 4. Very important it is.

      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:18:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Energy is the biggest of the big 4 (4+ / 0-)

        IMO, it's at the root (or near the root) of every other logistical and infrastructure problem that the U.S. is facing right now.  A paradigm shift in our relationship with energy production and consumption will fundamentally alter the economics of our country in so many ways - all to the positive side, from a GDP perspective.

        "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

        by Richard Cranium on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:32:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed 100% (0+ / 0-)

          ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:56:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Um, I think it's water. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica, cynndara

          I participate in a conversation about Energy that includes some fairly well informed people - from National Science Foundation, US DOD, academia, industry, etc.  On a challenge I spent a weekend researching the determining factors in extinction events.  I used google scholar and wikipedia databases.  I found that water is the limiting factor, not energy.  The problem is ultimately that we don't communicate enough with enough clout to circumvent governments and put in place crowd-sourced solutions to problems like conservation.  This outfit Innocentive does ok but we need more fast.  

           Is it reasonable to think that earth can not sustain a human population of 9
           billion and maintain other forms of life?

           Using Google scholar and Wikipedia as databases I researched the following
           terms:

           Applied sustainability, Biocapacity, Carrying capacity of the earth.
           Convergence, Ecological footprint, Limits to growth, Overconsumption,
           Population growth, Sustainable Development, Sustainability metrics.  I
           limited the search to items published after 2005.

           The takeaways:

           China's food production is forecast to decline by 37% by the last half of
           the 21st century, placing a strain on the entire carrying capacity of the
           world, as China's population could expand to about 1.5 billion people by the
           year 2050.

            Economy, E., China vs. Earth, The Nation, May 7, 2007 issue

           This reduction in China's agricultural capability, and the planet’s, is
           largely due to the world water crisis including mining groundwater beyond
           sustainable yield, ongoing in China since the mid-20th century.

           Nielsen, R., The Little Green Handbook,
           

          This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone may be proud of us.

          by marthature on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 09:51:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  20 years? Half the world's population will be dead (0+ / 0-)

        Well within the next 20 years climate change will start kicking in for real, and the human population of the planet will start to feel the effects. Sea level rise, desertification, freshwater aquifers drying up or salting up, glaciers that feed rivers going or gone. And of course the heat itself, every summer will be a killer.

        There will be wars between nations as resources dwindle and international tensions increase. We could have nuclear exchanges over the dwindling Himalayan water alone, and that's just one example. Not just international, there'll be intra-national tensions too. Water in China is getting scarcer, and what water there is, is getting dirtier. So there may be tension for resources within the country itself. South Asia, same thing. Here as well, for example the dwindling Colorado River, California's vanishing Sierra snowpack, and the Mississippi basin.

        Less freshwater and rising oceans will encroach and deplete farmland. So, less food to go with less water.

        Less food and water will mean failing economies, which will be less able to take care of people who are affected by all this. The third world will feel it first and hardest (as usual) but developed countries won't be immune.

        All this will create more refugees. International agencies say they can hardly handle the one million Syrian refugees today, how will they handle 50-100-150 million who are forced from their homes as the planet changes?

        Bottom line, unless our approach changes very fast, will be lots of dead people. Can we head this off? Sure. Will we actually do it? Doesn't look likely, too many entrenched interests blocking the way. The most likely scenario is too little too late.

        So in 20 years it's quite possible that half the world's current population will be dead. More on the way too, one climatologist friend of mine is projecting that in a hundred years tops the human population will be a tenth of its current level.

        The silver lining (gallows humor) here is that dead people don't need much energy. So maybe the modest increases you cite in renewable energy sources over the next 20 years will be enough for whoever is still left.

        Here's the thing though. I don't see where any of these are factored into the premise of this diary. How do you measure the 20-year economic status of a rapidly shrinking population of increasingly desperate people?

        •  Possible. (0+ / 0-)

          The thing about catastrophic collapse is that you never know exactly WHEN it will happen.  It could be within five years.  OTOH, we could hang on for another fifty of gradually decreasing productivity and limited resources.  I might see the end of it; I might not.  My nieces, however (currently 10 and 13) will.  For them, it's a certainty.

    •  We need to deploy all that today and begin massive (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino, some other george

      CO2 sequestration in order to stave off disaster.

      We don't have 20 years to build out solar energy. It will be far too late by then.

      We'll only have a decent economy in 20 years if we address climate change, CO2 and methane in a massive way, today. Right now. (and that isn't happening)

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:20:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd love to. (0+ / 0-)

        But I'm not a Mover and Shaker in this society.  The fact remains that them as has the loot, don't want to invest in ANYTHING that would challenge their domination of society.  They will go over the cliff rather than invest in an alternative world order.

  •  DOOM! (3+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:08:53 PM PST

    •  Mad Max with or without Mel Gibson? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:18:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Much more pragmatic to continue as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan

      we have for the past 25 years: glacially (hehe).

      When objects are approaching rapidly, best to assume they either don't exist or aren't actually moving that quickly. Wouldn't want to over-react.

      One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Pragmatists are the exception.

      by Words In Action on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:54:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It will be the best of times (7+ / 0-)

    It will be the worst of times. It will be the age of wisdom, it will be the age of foolishness, it will be the epoch of belief, it will be epoch of incredulity, it will be the season of Light, it will be the season of Darkness, it will be the spring of hope, it will be the winter of despair, we will have everything before us, we will have nothing before us, we are all going direct to Heaven, we are all going direct the other way – in short, the period will be so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:22:40 PM PST

  •  congrats (3+ / 0-)

    on the "big score" R.F.


    {D.B.}

  •  I sometimes wonder what our (2+ / 0-)

    planet will be like in 20 million years.

    Probably solar powered.

    -- We are just regular people informed on issues

    by mike101 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:15:59 PM PST

  •  Hitting the sack, I'll check back Saturday (0+ / 0-)

    afternoon.

    ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:07:04 PM PST

  •  Probably the usual 2-2.5%. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Fall of the Roman Empire version II (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, some other george

    Your poll suggest you don't have a clue as to WTF is coming down.

    The darkness drops again but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? William Butler Yeats

    by deepsouthdoug on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:09:45 PM PST

    •  Mad Max doesn't cover it? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cynndara, Roger Fox

      You know, the Dark Ages in which previous knowledge, trade routes, economic "stability" and general interconnectedness of societies was lost?

      After that, extinction level events?

      One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Pragmatists are the exception.

      by Words In Action on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:29:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is exticntion level event worse than (0+ / 0-)

        Fall of the Roman Empire II?

        Maybe I got that mixed up?

        ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:54:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rome didn't fall in a day (0+ / 0-)

      either.  And actually, for a lonnnnnng time, its inhabitants didn't realize that it was falling.  Until one day they looked around and realized that it had been gone for quite some time and they just hadn't noticed.

  •  High GDP (0+ / 0-)

    but only if the Koch Brothers get sent to the Guantanamo gulag forever. Otherwise we're screwed.

    "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

    by Crider on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:36:33 PM PST

  •  I used to be in the economic forecasting (5+ / 0-)

    business, for like... oh man... 15-16 years.  I don't mean writing flowery or blustery newspaper columns, but working with massive datasets and models and spreadsheets hour after hour.

    Here's one thing I learned:  Keep it simple.  Things change. The more complex your projection, the more difficult (impossible) it is to know what changed and therefore how you went wrong.  :-)

    Ok, here's something useful I learned:  The past is no predictor of the future.

    I agree with your four determinants of GDP growth in the past.  The Future, though, doesn't care.  She brings surprises.  And some of these surprises we can even see right now (if we care to open our eyes and look).

    I believe that climate change is going to profoundly affect humanity and our puny "economics" within the next one to two decades.  We're already setting records.  We cannot withstand a "Sandy" every year or every six months.

    But the "Sandy" events are not the worst.  We've got to worry about food supply.  Oceanic fish population collapses.  Drought and wildfire.

    I guess I'm a Gloomy Gus tonight, but that's what I see.  Until the entire basis of accounting and economics is reformed to take into account our finite and somewhat delicate planet, we're pushing ourselves into a Malthusian end game.

    Today's capitalist economic system assumes limitless growth and limitless raw materials.  It was conceived for a continental expansion in the 1800s, not today.

    Humans have done this over and over, so it shouldn't be a surprise.  Apparently, we have a built-in stupid-gene that prevents us from saving our own butts as we dive headlong into oblivion.  Easter Island. Maya Collapse. On and on.  There are many examples.

    P.S.  GDP is a lousy measure of a nation's success. imho.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:16:00 PM PST

    •  You're on target. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan
      We cannot withstand a "Sandy" every year or every six months.

      But the "Sandy" events are not the worst.  We've got to worry about food supply.  Oceanic fish population collapses.  Drought and wildfire.

      If we get too much farther down the road without serious intervention, the events/factors you mention will be the good parts. It's going to take helluva lot get down to killing the last human being, but, even that is possible; moreover, it won't take that to humble our species for centuries.

      One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Pragmatists are the exception.

      by Words In Action on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:33:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am inclined to agree with the folks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan

      who are saying we are in for another financial collapse by 2015. Also on record for admitting that I can do all kinds of math until you put a $ sign in front of it. Then nothing I figure works out.

      Except in the last year I have found out that all my concerns and suspicions were correct. As the numbers kept showing how the wealthy were doing even better, that the perps would not seriously be prosecuted, that even Elizabeth Warren is going to have a tough time passing effective legislation, my suspicions on the bubble bursting again have grown.

      OTOH, the radio show I was listening to Thursday night switched to another and before I got to change it the first guest came on. Hadn't really paid attention to the subject, but her voice was instantly a mind grabber. Absolutely beautiful.

      She turned out to be an astrologer. I listened long enough to find out that people in my sign and 3 others have been beaten black and blue for three years. That is over and after some recovery time, life will get better.

      So I am trying to forget about all those damned stopped clocks.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:46:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  GDP like a bucket you put dollars into (0+ / 0-)

      It tell you nothing but how many dollars are in the bucket.

      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:51:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Less than 2%, with all wage gains going to the top (0+ / 0-)

    If the last 10 years are any indication, GDP will continue to grow, but employment will stagnate and incomes will shrink for almost everyone.

  •  The days of growth are over (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raboof, Words In Action

    We are in the overshoot phase of an exponential population growth and crash curve. Think of it as the period between when the Coyote runs off the cliff and when he looks down.  The free energy orgy of extraction is reaching fundamental limits while the bills are finally coming due. On the other side, huge strides in nano-tech and computing may let us keep our civilization. The pattern one should expect is mini crashes followed by restabilization at a lower level. We can already see the 'high water marks' of things like (domestic) oil production, real estate prices, fishery productivity and so on.   The watchword should be 'controlled descent', and should focus on decentralized, adaptive solutions. Smart investors would buy up landfills, and in 20 years, mine them.

    OTOH, the GDP is a financialized fabrication so there is no reason why we won't see 4-12% growth reported. Real production has been negative since about 2001, but the GDP was goosed with free money and carte blanche for banksters, so now 'growth' occurs when 2 programs running on the same computer engage in a microsecond bidding war that raises a stock price by 1% and calves off another fee for the house.

    •  And that's the good part. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino

      Climate disruptions are also going to cramp markets.

      It doesn't take much in the way energy and food service disruptions to reduce commerce to a crawl.

      One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Pragmatists are the exception.

      by Words In Action on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:35:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Forced localization (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Words In Action, Roger Fox

        The complex web of supply chains that support our society is exquisitely sensitive to transportation, and thus both energy availability and weather. We may eventually consider globalization to be a brief artifact of a period of completely externalized costs for energy, that made it cheaper to ship a t-shirt around the globe than make it in a place where consumers could afford it.

        •  Yup. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sandino, Roger Fox

          The fall of Rome led to societal fragmentation that took what, 7-8 centuries to rebuild?

          We may eventually consider globalization to be a brief artifact of a period of completely externalized costs for energy
          Under the circumstances, the truly serious environmental and ecological reality, that will probably be a good thing.

          One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Pragmatists are the exception.

          by Words In Action on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:59:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I wish these diaries would get more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    participation. You know, it actually would be interesting to see what a statistically significant sample of kossacks thinks about things. Ironically, I believe that those who do not participate do so because they don't put much truck in the results; of course, their abstention so often contributes to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Pragmatists are the exception.

    by Words In Action on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 06:21:08 AM PST

  •  GDP numbers increasingly meaningless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10

    The facts of the last 40 years will be intensified.  Worker productivity will continue to  rise, and all the advantage gained by that greater productivity will be captured by capital.  The neo-liberal order, of austerity, precarity, working class disorganization and dissolution will predominate.  Authority will turn ever more quickly to forceful means of repression of even the slightest of challenges to the hegemony of capital, and those forceful measures will not only be accepted, but actively supported and cheered by all working-class elements not directly on the receiving end of the force.  Divide and conquer will be a total success in a society where working people actively reject social solidarity, and embrace the war of all against all inherent in the culture of "rugged individualism".

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:24:27 AM PST

  •  In the next 20 years technology will radically (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    transform education and politics, as well as the economy. Computers already cost less than printed textbooks except in the poorest countries with the most inadequate textbooks. That means that getting digital replacements for textbooks, preferably under Free Creative Commons licenses, will allow major improvements to education at lower cost, and will allow us to extend digital education to a billion or so children at a time, that is, all of them. We call such Free digital learning materials Open Educational Resources, or OERs.

    Apparently even North Korea will eventually go in on this, although it is currently only thinking about Internet for college students. In spite of pushback from traditionalists, South Korea is well launched on its program for digital textbooks and for computers for all schoolchildren. One Laptop Per Child has reached 4 million children around the world so far. Several countries have other programs for their own school computers and OERs.

    Among the consequences:

    • Children will have access to all of the information on the Internet. (And will have to learn how to sort it out from the misinformation.)
    • Children will have access to each other for friendship, learning, and later business and civic alliances.
    • In countries with any sort of decent economy to start with, almost every child will become qualified for jobs in the real world economy, and we will be able to end poverty. Fixing the business climate in other countries will take some time and  effort.
    • Ending poverty ends its associated ills, including lack of health care, inadequate food and water, oppression of the poor, government corruption, and possibly war.
    • We are talking about tens of trillions of dollars in new economic activity worldwide, and the ability of governments to tax that activity to fund services.
    • Full empowerment of girls and hence of women.
    • A generation gap that will make the 60s look like a childrens' tea party.
    • The opportunity to tackle the hard problems.

    Many schools will have to install renewable energy sources to power their school computers. This will help in teaching children how to deal with Global Warming. We are already reaching the tipping point where renewables have lower long-term costs than carbon fuels. After that it will no longer be economically possible to build new power plants fueled by coal, oil, and natural gas.

    Disclosure: I manage the Replacing Textbooks program for Sugar Labs, the software and OER partner of OLPC.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 10:05:42 AM PST

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