Perhaps future generations will be fine

Cass R. Sunstein is considered one of the most prominent American legal scholars. He is also a huge fan of science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark. Sunstein believes science fiction can be a useful tool to inoculate people against it Prejudice to the status quoOur tendency to resist anything new and unfamiliar.

“If you like science fiction, you will find it interesting, and maybe a little chill in your spine, when you think about things that you did not dream about until 1990 or 2005, and these things excite you, and maybe they scare you,” says Sunstein in Episode 468 of A Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast.

Sunstein’s New Book Avoid disaster Establishes an approach to assess unexpected threats such as asteroids, Amnesty InternationalClimate change and epidemics. One of the more scientific imaginative ideas in the book is that people may not need to worry so much about the well-being of future generations, an idea Sunstein attributes to the Nobel Prize-winning economist. Thomas Schelling.

“There are a lot of people urging us to do things to protect future generations from what we will catch up to them,” says Sunstein. “Be careful about that,” says Schilling, “because future generations will be richer and better off than we are – if history is any evidence – and if we sacrifice our resources to help them, we will redistribute from our poor to their rich, and where is the justice in that?”

In fact, investing so much time and energy in protecting future generations may actually be counterproductive, if these measures stifle economic growth. “The fact that we are as affluent as we are now is that previous generations did a lot of things that made them healthier, made them richer, and made them better off in countless ways, instead of thinking, ‘Let’s stop innovation and development in order to protect the future,'” he says. Sunstein. “So you can add to Schilling’s view that the future – if the past is the precursor, and people will be better off than we are – you can add that the future depends on us doing a lot of innovative and creative things, and don’t worry too much about them.”

However, realizing that future generations are likely to be wiser and wealthier than we are should not give us the absolute mandate to take actions that even the wisest and wealthiest civilization will find almost impossible to reverse. “We should not take Schilling’s arguments to imply that the value of endangered species or virgin areas should be devalued,” says Senstein. “The idea of ​​preserving valuables for future generations, this is a good idea. If they are richer but do not have wolves, wolves, coyotes and bears, then they are that much poorer, even if they have a lot of money.”

Hear the full interview with Cass R. Sunstein on Episode 468 of A Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some of the highlights in the discussion below.

Cass R. Two years old on Awake:

“The show is about someone who lost his wife or son after a car accident – you can’t know that. Half the time the wife and son are dead, half the son is alive and the wife is dead. These are two different realities in which he lives, and he cannot discover which is real, and neither is the viewer.” And the similarities and discontinuities between the two realities are incredibly fascinating … the idea of ​​parallel worlds is something I find interesting. I really love the writer. Robert Charles Wilson, Because he does great things with that. This is my alley. You can get a bad presentation about it, however [Awake] Good off the charts. “

Cass R. Two years old on The World According to Star Wars:

With th star Wars Book tour, I didn’t expect anyone other than a Star Wars fan – if I was lucky – would attend, but instead what I found was that the people on the tour were like brothers and sisters to me, meaning that there was an immediate sense of confidence and desire to be For real, instead of being part of the crowd. And so they were talking about something that happened in their life, such as a severe illness of a child, and as soon as the child managed to get out of the hospital, the father took the child to star Wars. … in a lot of life our communications with each other have been an inch deep, which is better than nothing, but on my Star Wars tour, I felt like we were all, in some sense, a family. “

Cass R. Two years old on Barack Obama:

“He’s tall and slim, like The most famous of Vulcan, And his ears are not small, like the most famous Vulcan. He also has a very logical mind – he is very capable of discipline under pressure. I saw him under a lot of pressure and I never saw him [act out] Such as Captain Kirk. The difference is, however, that he has a very impressive heart, and although he doesn’t always show it, he is there. I was hit by a car in 2017, and when I woke up in the hospital, he was one of the first people to call me. And while he’s a friend, you know, he has a lot of friends, and to call me after I hit a car – as soon as I woke up – that was very touching. “

Cass R. Sunstein on history:

“I am particularly interested in time travel, alternate dates, and parallel universes, so I thought a little bit about writing about that. … I have written an article on counter history, and it is in a book I recently published titled This is not normalWhich I ended up saying that historians are actually involved in a project that looks a lot like a science fiction book. Some historians hate it, but I’d say it is so in the sense that – in discovering the cause of the cause – they are actually building unreal worlds. It’s more disciplined and not creative than the best science fiction writers, but it’s amazing, and it’s kind of the same. “

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