Monthly Archives: juli 2016

Human enhancement is at least as old as human civilization.

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Hominin evolution has involved a continuous process of addition of new kinds of cognitive capacity, including those relating to manufacture and use of tools and to the establishment of linguistic faculties. The dramatic expansion of the brain that accompanied additions of new functional areas would have supported such continuous evolution. Extended brain functions would have driven rapid and drastic changes in the hominin ecological niche, which in turn demanded further brain resources to adapt to it. In this way, humans have constructed a novel niche in each of the ecological, cognitive and neural domains.

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A world of contrasts and paradoxes; emerging possibilites that arise from the birth of a new type of industrialism

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Some of the most cherished political, economic and social structures have been turned on their heads. In a sense, capitalism remains the dominant economic model, but is now evolving drastically in response to ecological impacts, resource scarcity, demographic trends, technology and a host of other factors.

The endless consumer culture that was prevalent throughout the first world has all but collapsed, as more people and businesses place greater strain on living systems, limits to prosperity are coming to be determined by natural capital rather than industrial prowess. This is not to say that the world is running out of commodities in the near future. The prices for most raw materials are at a twenty-eight-year low and are still falling. Supplies are cheap and appear to be abundant, due to a number of reasons: the collapse of the Asian economies, globalization of trade, cheaper transport costs, imbalances in market power that enable commodity traders and middlemen to squeeze producers, and in large measure the success of powerful new extractive technologies, whose correspondingly extensive damage to ecosystems is seldom given a monetary value. The traditional definition of capital is accumulated wealth in the form of investments, factories, and equipment. Read More

Do we need to prepare ourselves for a more urbanized and, therefore, more depressed world?

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There is an unprecedented global transition happening where the world’s populations are migrating toward urban environments, creating sprawling, densely populated, overloaded, and loosely governed (mega)cities. Urban living is on the rise whereas rural living is becoming the exception – in all parts of the world and at an ever-increasing rate. The rapid pace of urbanization is an important marker of the societal transition at large that has occurred over the past thirty years. This continuous expansion of urban regions constitutes one of the most radical changes in our environment at the beginning of the 21st century. Read More