Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Faith-Based Thinking

While not especially recent news, the statement by Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yanagisawa that women are “baby-making machines” was quite revealing of the mindset that controls industrial governments. Japan’s government wants lots of workers/taxpayers to keep the system afloat. But the mistaken assumption is that the world will continue to have lots of inexpensive energy, and that the world trade in cheap food (made possible by cheap oil) will continue. This assumption is so strong that it’s like a religious belief. People don’t want to believe anything else, and just reject information or arguments that don’t jibe with their belief system.

And now there is “Innovation 25.” Sounds really forward-looking, and promises a wonderful future. Or does it? While acknowledging problems like mounting competition for resources and energy, increasingly aggravated environmental problems, and less food and water, it nevertheless predicts more globalization, and a more energy-intensive technological future. Such contradictions just don’t bother people whose belief system is a religion.

You can find this faith-based thinking all over the place. It is simply a given that we will come up with the energy and resources that will allow billions more people to live as extravagantly as people in the overdeveloped countries now do. Clearly this is absurd, but everybody just keeps on acting as if it can be done. Is this any less than a blindly held religious belief?

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