The Universe is Infinite: Economic Growth is Forever*

Since Dawn of History: Humans Discover Opportunity and Growth

Human progress and economic growth followed a natural — but bumpy and uneven — track. Agriculture led to surplus wealth, cities, specialisation of labour, and trade. Despite thousands of years of conquest, destruction, and plunder, the same cycle always repeats and expands each time around.

Wealth Follows Opportunity

Wealth of Nations from Year 1

Different breeding populations experienced different cycles of government, climate, conquest, and biological advantage. The wealthy became poor, and sometimes wealthy again, as opportunity and advantage swung back and forth.

Exponential Economic Growth: US as Example

The US burst upon the scene out of nowhere around the year 1800, and despite a ruinous civil war (1861-1865) the country went from being a tiny, highly indebted set of motley colonies to being the wealthiest nation on Earth by the year 1890.

Exponential economic growth of this type is best explained by invoking the idea of optimising of opportunity. Minimal government combined with maximal ambition, reasonable competence, and ample resources — along with the rule of law (more or less), combined with property rights.

Impediments to Growth: Ideology

By observing the historical examples of the differential success of parallel economies in communist East Germany vs. capitalist West Germany, communist North Korea vs. capitalist South Korea, Mao’s communist China vs British administered Hong Kong or independent Taiwan or Singapore, etc. the influence of political ideology upon economic performance should be clear.

Even the political/economic ideologies of individual leaders within the same nation can exhibit the same differential on a lesser scale. Consider US president Obama’s economic legacy compared with other presidents:

Mr. Obama is the only president since records were first kept under the administration of Herbert Hoover to fail to achieve annual GDP growth of 3 percent or more.

… Mr. Obama’s performance puts him last among 12 presidents going back to World War II and Harry Truman… Mr. Obama’s demonization of business and his constant swipes at entrepreneurship imposed a psychological restraint on American capitalism. During a talk in Roanoke, Virginia, Mr. Obama diminished successful people by saying no one gets there on his own. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” Mr. Obama said. __ Obama’s Lackluster Economic Legacy

If a US leader follows an ideology that is antagonistic toward trade and commerce, economic performance of the country may reflect his personal antipathy toward business during his reign.

But once he is gone, an economic bounce may occur that is similar in nature to an economic recovery from a recession.

Boundless Economic Opportunity of the Universe

Just as with exponential economic growth in the US since 1800, exponential economic growth in the universe at large will require competent and ambitious beings, ample resources, property rights and rule of law, and minimal government beyond the above.

Many baby steps will be required before humans can interact meaningfully with the bountiful wealth and opportunity of just the cislunar near Earth space environment. The brighter and more ambitious of humans will take those steps and move beyond the limitations of earthbound thought and action.

Humans who choose to be possessed by “doom ideologies” and mindsets will hopefully be left behind, for the most part.

Note: The word “Forever*” in the title is in comparison to the lifespan of the human species, should the species choose to accept the challenge of the larger universe. The word “Infinite” in the title is both in comparison to any imaginable human reach within the lifespan of the race, and it makes allowance for future discoveries of multiple universes accessible from this one.

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3 Responses to The Universe is Infinite: Economic Growth is Forever*

  1. Jim says:

    If the human species increases in population at a rate of 1% per year indefinitely the total mass of humanity will exceed the estimated mass of the observable universe in about 10,000 years…

    [Admin: Your point is irrelevant to the article. Population growth is not mentioned nor is it alluded to. Please keep comments on-topic.]

    • Jim says:

      The universe isn’t infinite. No kind of growth is forever.

      Admin: The article explained what it meant by “infinite” and “forever” in footnotes. In relation to the likely lifespan of the human race and the likely radius of human exploration before human extinction, the universe is essentially infinite.

  2. info says:

    Hopefully as we expand into the universe. We improve the aesthetics of our built structures to be on par or exceeding the classical style especially the palaces of Kings and Emperors.

    Less the Dystopic Bladerunner and more like Star Wars.

    It would be a shame if humanity impoverishes the universe by building poorly as we expand.

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