In the first of a three-part series, Nate and Daniel outline the macro risks and pathways for civilization to ‘bend’ and avoid ‘breaking’ in coming decades.
In the Part 1 conversation, Schmachtenberger flips the script to interview Nate about the urgent problems his research and work on energy, money, and growth confront. Nate explains how we can come to understand energy blindness and the overlooked role of oil in consumption, production, and progress since the Industrial Revolution. The dominant narrative of human progress prioritizes capital and labor — but the omission of energy and materials leaves out a key component to understanding how the modern human ecosystem functions.
Further, Nate discusses how a growth economy will inevitably lead to increased energy production and consumption, and how new energy technologies like renewables end up creating more energy output, not less. Putting everything together, in outsourcing our decisions and planning to a market dependent on growth, we have not so metaphorically become an energy hungry superorganism.
Finally, Daniel and Nate look forward to answering: What are ways for us to prepare for a post-growth economy? How can we stay balanced in the face of existential crises? What type of policy can help shape a future that is yet to arrive, and how can we get ahead?