The humanity is at the cusp of a great leap forward propelling us to a new connectivity and unity of minds. Thanks, Javier Sobrador for provoking this thought.
A baktun (properly b'ak'tun, is 20 katun cycles of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar. It contains 144,000 days, equal to 394.26 tropical years. The Classic period of Maya civilization occurred during the 8th and 9th baktuns of the current calendrical cycle. The current (14th) baktun started on 188.8.131.52.0 — December 21, 2012 using the GMT correlation. Welcome to the Mankind's new epoch: ''Happy 14th B'ak'tun, yesterday was the last day of the 13th b'ak'tun, and we entered into the 14th b'ak'tun today. From strength to strength mankind moves forward.
The Maya were deeply concerned to locate all events within a cosmological framework designed to insure the regeneration of life. . . . Time past and time future were fixed in a discernible pattern that could be read and predicted. In addition to this nearly five-thousand year cycle [of the calendar] were a series of other cycles, which the Maya marked, celebrated, and sometimes feared in detail.
Negative news sells! Most of us have heard that Thomas Malthus made a forecast in 1798 that the world would run short of food, and that great famine would result. Energy was a major constraint; Malthus was writing just before fossil fuel use started to be discovered. The accessibility of coal associated with internal combustion engine allowed more and better metal products metal plows, barbed wire fences, and trains for long distance transport. These inventions allowed the exponential growth of food and matched the population growth.We crossed the first threshold and reached to the present cross roads where we ave nearly conquered the death of distance.
Often, news is positive over long-term trends but optimistic news don't "sell newspapers". In a world filled with non-constructive and worrying news and events, I wish if collectively we can overcome this gloomy nosiness in slowdowns and start realizing that the planet has lots of good news which are just not being reported.
If we minus the "shock factor "the ground realities are exactly opposite. The 'Death of the Distance' and falling cost of communication, has shrunk our planet, it has freed us of physical presence in one place, our connectivity is one of the biggest tool that has not been fully quantitatively measurable.
Intellect the most important commodity is free flowing all over the borders, needs no visas, have no controls, ideas make money and trade. Steve Job is not an anomaly but a product of global connectivity of talent, yes; Apple is valued at huge price but the value of addition of Apple to global trade is not a quantifiable product, Apple has put the entire global trade on the finger tips of humans who are intrinsically motivated to trade and create value. Information processing and telecoms sharp price falls have helped global trade trends. The new technology has grown so rapidly in the case of the Internet, it has outstripped the fall of prices in previous technologies. If the automotive industry had followed the path of falling prices 'Memory, storage, Information tech' at the same pace, by now consumers could be paying just $25 for a car that would travel at 500 miles an hour and did 1,000 miles to the gallon.
Falls in the prices of new technology is not a new phenomenon: every technological revolution from steam and railways to electricity and cars has enjoyed large cost savings. Electricity prices fell by an average of 6% a year in real terms between 1890 and 1920. But recent price plunges have been much bigger than in those earlier revolutions. Captivatingly the cost of sumptuousness has been increasing with the cost of recreation. People have more time to spend on luxury not survival.
Julian Simon (1932-1998) was a leading proponent of human progress and ingenuity. In 1980 he made a famous wager against the bearish Paul Ehrlich that commodity prices would decrease over the decade, which he won. In 'It's Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 years.' This book overwhelm the nay-sayers, silence the loudest critics. How has the United States changed over the past century?
Is life truly better now than it was in the past? Using statistical reports and other historical materials, Moore (fiscal policy studies, Cato Inst.) and the late Simon (business administration, Univ. of Maryland) argue that for the most part people entering the new millennium are much better off than their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. The areas covered include health, economics, race relations, safety, environmental issues, and women's rights.
From horses to horsepower
The Green Revolution proves Malthus wrong
Safer highways and airways
Lengthening human life
Reducing infant death
Fewer mothers die giving birth
Cars became much cheaper
Eradicating the killer diseases throughout the ages
Winning the race for the cancer cure
Surviving heart disease
The amazing gains in farm productivity
The shrinking workweek
The era of invention
College: No longer just for the elite
Getting more fun out of life: recreational spending
Fighting global illiteracy
In a study by Dr. Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management, pointed to the fact that between 1947 and 1980 real manufacturing output per worker doubled from $35,000 to $70,000, and since 1980 output per worker has more than doubled to almost $150,000 in 2010, a new record high.
There have been 'Doctor Dooms' but very few 'Doom slayers.' It is not fashionable to bring good news. I just looked at the U.S. Patent Statistics Chart for Calendar Years 1963 - 2011 to verify the basic premise of this report. In 1963, 66,715 were granted last year 2011, 247,750, and it is a steep incline since turn of the millennium. “Industrial Revolutions” and advances between 1870 and 1900 shrunk the globe, but the one ensued in 1960 leading to internet has 'killed the distance.' This 'death of the distance' is not fully appreciated by Robert J. Gordon.
The ensuing tryst of mankind in the 14th B'ak'tun. Cheap sustainable source of Energy and Global consciousness:
The next great wave of productivity gains will come from unleashing the forces of collaboration with tools such as unified communications, social networking, Web services, telepresence, video conferencing, and seamlessly moving between communications systems. These tools could drive productivity gains and bring back the gains from the late 1990’s when the rise of the Internet drove strong gains. This new wave would also reverse the stagnant productivity numbers of the past several years. This new age will see mankind's prevalent poverty of energy replaced by a source of 'sustainable solar and fusion energy.' Once we are able to find cheap energy, we will conquer poverty and inequity. Like 'the death of the distance' the near 'free energy' is mankind's Holy Grail, the new challenge as well as the new frontier in this Happy 14th B'ak'tun. It looks distant, far away and part of daydreaming but once we can imagine something we can accomplish that.