How would politics change if we suddenly found unlimited resources?

Burnedout
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How would politics change if we suddenly found unlimited resources?

Hey everybody,

 

I got to thinking.  Much of our politics and strife is caused over a struggle for resources and which agendas receive priority.  What would happen if suddenly, over night, we actually found a virtually unlimited supply of energy almost free where we had to rely on nobody else?  How would our politics change?


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Burnedout wrote:Hey

Burnedout wrote:

Hey everybody,

 

I got to thinking.  Much of our politics and strife is caused over a struggle for resources and which agendas receive priority.  What would happen if suddenly, over night, we actually found a virtually unlimited supply of energy almost free where we had to rely on nobody else?  How would our politics change?

 

They would try to control what you could or could not do with the resource. Look at food as an example. In the US food is an essentially unlimited resource in that we produce far more food than we could possibly eat and most people have access to more than they eat. So now they try to control it by telling you what you should eat and how much. Excess is a problem they say has to be solved.

 

Politics is about power and control. Right now, resources are the leverage. If that were to change, they would find different leverage.

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

Burnedout wrote:

Hey everybody,

 

I got to thinking.  Much of our politics and strife is caused over a struggle for resources and which agendas receive priority.  What would happen if suddenly, over night, we actually found a virtually unlimited supply of energy almost free where we had to rely on nobody else?  How would our politics change?

 

They would try to control what you could or could not do with the resource. Look at food as an example. In the US food is an essentially unlimited resource in that we produce far more food than we could possibly eat and most people have access to more than they eat. So now they try to control it by telling you what you should eat and how much. Excess is a problem they say has to be solved.

 

Politics is about power and control. Right now, resources are the leverage. If that were to change, they would find different leverage.

I can't for the life of me think of the book title, or the author, but I have read a novel where cold fusion was discovered and was made widely available.  The end result was that the excess eventually destroyed earth.  As Beyond_Saving has pointed out, we would find ways to screw it up, and the leverage becomes the damage control as opposed to the actual resource.  The politics would most likely stay the same.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Burnedout wrote:
Hey everybody,

 

I got to thinking.  Much of our politics and strife is caused over a struggle for resources and which agendas receive priority.  What would happen if suddenly, over night, we actually found a virtually unlimited supply of energy almost free where we had to rely on nobody else?  How would our politics change?

Someone cares for a third opinion? I think it depends on how this energy is accessible. If it is possible to use it easily, like that everyone could have it, probably politics as known today would vanish. If there were no more struggle on the economy, what do I have to regulate to? But I think, as said, that we could die for the excess, so probably that's where a new politics would arise, one that would be like a global moral conscience that would block us from hurt the others -- and there's nothing new here -- but in a different way, which paradoxically would be achieved walking on the same path as the one needed today: awareness. Hope I have not been too philosophical, it wasn't my intent.


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I tend to think there would

I tend to think there would still be those who want to control people and those who want to be left alone....Kind of a new twist to the Utopian/Distopian struggle.  I happen to be Libertarian.  I want minimal government.  I happen to think that the less government involved in my life the better.  

 

Some would want to control people if not the resources.  Some people want to rule themselves.  The resources might be kind of like the air....just there. 


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It'd depend on the source

It'd depend on the source and its accessibility, as well as the inherent difficulty in aquiring and refining it, and what dangers were part & parcel.
If it was everywhere and simple to use and as non-dangerous as water, then it's rather impossible to predict much more than a population explosion, which would eventually result in fighting over land.
If it was controllable or potentially dangerous, then it would be controlled and a new product would debut on the black market. Wars would likely be fought over it.

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Burnedout wrote:Hey

Burnedout wrote:

Hey everybody,

 

I got to thinking.  Much of our politics and strife is caused over a struggle for resources and which agendas receive priority.  What would happen if suddenly, over night, we actually found a virtually unlimited supply of energy almost free where we had to rely on nobody else?  How would our politics change?

Can you elaborate on "unlimited resourses". Because just cheap unlimited energy is just one resourse. What about land and minerals?

I think if suddenly science could make fusion power extremely cheap, you'd have an economic boom. But soon you'd have the fighting over other resouces like land due to population preassures.

Suppose we could live in space, recycle everything we use. Without resource limitation preasures population would boom. But if people came into conflict they could just move further out into space. A big part of the problem here on earth is the limited size of the planet. So politics and war is largelty driven by competition for limited resources.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


Burnedout
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EXC wrote:Burnedout

EXC wrote:

Burnedout wrote:

Hey everybody,

 

I got to thinking.  Much of our politics and strife is caused over a struggle for resources and which agendas receive priority.  What would happen if suddenly, over night, we actually found a virtually unlimited supply of energy almost free where we had to rely on nobody else?  How would our politics change?

Can you elaborate on "unlimited resourses". Because just cheap unlimited energy is just one resourse. What about land and minerals?

I think if suddenly science could make fusion power extremely cheap, you'd have an economic boom. But soon you'd have the fighting over other resouces like land due to population preassures.

Suppose we could live in space, recycle everything we use. Without resource limitation preasures population would boom. But if people came into conflict they could just move further out into space. A big part of the problem here on earth is the limited size of the planet. So politics and war is largelty driven by competition for limited resources.

 

I would not say land per se is scarce.  It is land that is capable of being productive.  If we could, at will and at little to no expense make any land we want productive, energy so cheap it would be virtually free, water easily available, be it through creating, finding or producing a limitless supply of drinkable water, even find a way to rid ourselves of all deadly viruses, able to correct birth defects and other afflictions of health cheaply, that is what I am referring to.  How would politics change?


Vastet
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The problem is the Earth is

The problem is the Earth is finite. Two or three generations of unchecked procreation could triple our population thrice over. Especially if medical and other technology spreads increasing life spans everywhere.
Where's the room for 63 billion people? And what happens to the rest of life on Earth when we have apartments and industry covering every square kilometre of land on the planet, or just every square kilometre period?

Infinite resources wouldn't change everything, just some of the needs of society.

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Vastet wrote:The problem is

Vastet wrote:
The problem is the Earth is finite. Two or three generations of unchecked procreation could triple our population thrice over. Especially if medical and other technology spreads increasing life spans everywhere. Where's the room for 63 billion people? And what happens to the rest of life on Earth when we have apartments and industry covering every square kilometre of land on the planet, or just every square kilometre period? Infinite resources wouldn't change everything, just some of the needs of society.

 

Something to note,....a simple perusal of history shows that innovation and human progress does not happen until it is forced.  As populations increase and a demand for resources has forced a change.  Prime example, look back when whale oil was starting to become scarce, along came coal oil and later petroleum.  Likewise, with the innovation came in food production.  Today, there is more production of food grains; more bushels per acre than ever and it is done with fewer people and it costs in relative terms less now than it did 100 years ago.  Likewise if history is any indicator, we will eventually end up expanding one day beyond our planet.  If I am wrong, we are screwed anyway and it won't matter. I tend to think that human beings will solve the problems.  At some point, the technology will exist on a planetary scale to make energy production virtually free, perhaps by using orbiting solar arrays beaming the power to a dispersion point.  As for food production, there are already innovations in such things as Urban gardening and other kinds of food production that are new and showing promise yet are in it's infancy.  I am not gloom and doomer on the long term.  The human race has survived as humans at least a million years and our ancestors have had to be very clever and intelligent to do so.  I have no doubt we will continue to do so.  That doesn't mean we many not suffer setbacks but long term, I would bet the farm on it. 


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I'm one of the few here who

I'm one of the few here who agree with your optimism, but there are certain pitfalls that will accompany human future regardless of resources which must be recognised.

Solar platforms and Star Trek replicators would provide almost everything everyone would ever need. But time and space are not resources which can be created. Population and environmental control will always be an issue, no matter where we go.

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