Manifesto for a Rising Standard of Living


Source of book image: online version of the WSJ review quoted and cited below.

(p. A13) Mr. Diamandis is the chairman and chief executive of the X Prize Foundation and the founder of more than a dozen high-tech companies. With his journalist co-author, he has produced a manifesto for the future that is grounded in practical solutions addressing the world’s most pressing concerns: overpopulation, food, water, energy, education, health care and freedom. The authors suggest that “humanity is now entering a period of radical transformation where technology has the potential to significantly raise the basic standard of living for every man, woman, and child on the planet.”
. . .
Predictions of a rosy future have a way of sounding as unrealistic as end-is-nigh forecasts. But Messrs. Diamandis and Kotler are not just dreamers. They lay out a plausible road map, discussing, among other things, the benefits of do-it-yourself tinkering–like the work by geneticist J. Craig Venter in beating the U.S. government in the race to sequence the human genome–and the growing willingness of techno-philanthropists like Bill Gates to tackle real-world problems.
The biggest hurdles, however, are not scientific or technological but political. There are still too many corrupt dictators and backward-looking governments keeping millions in penury. But as we have seen lately, the misruled have a way of throwing off despotic governments. With ever more people reaching for freedom, countless millions are tacitly embracing the Diamandis motto: “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”

For the full review, see:
MICHAEL SHERMER. “BOOKSHELF; Defying the Doomsayers; Abundance” argues that growing technologies have the potential not only to spread information but to solve some of humanity’s most vexing problems.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., FEBRUARY 22, 2012): A13.
(Note: ellipsis added.)

The book being reviewed is:
Diamandis, Peter H., and Steven Kotler. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. New York: Free Press, 2012.

One thought on “Manifesto for a Rising Standard of Living”

  1. Kind of reminds me of the bet between Economist Julian Simon and neo-Malthusian Paul Ehrlich on the topic of resource scarcity. The economist won out over the biologist, but people have been making that bet in intellectual terms all over the place. I’m glad some more people are picking up onan alternative to the Doomsday Resource Depletion approach.
    Michael Shermer has written some great books himself, “Mind of the Market” being among my favorite books of all time. Having finished Tyler Cowen’s more dismal tome, I’m tempted to grab this “Abundance” ASAP and cleanse my intellectual palate some.

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