In 1798 Thomas Malthus published a theory that predicted that human population growth would eventually outpace food production and thereby push living standards backwards. He based this on a simple mathematical observation that human population was growing at an exponential rate while food production growth was linear.
While Malthus’ theory was mathematically sound, it did not take into account that which it could not predict. Malthus had no way of knowing the impact of the industrial revolution and our increased ability to scale food production at a pace that would keep mankind prospering with enormous population growth.
Doom and gloom predictions about the future are very popular and often substantiated with the available data of the time. However, technology always seems to save the day.
Another example: Remember the “Peak Oil” bandwagon a decade or so ago. Whatever happened to that crisis? Oh yeah—shale and alternative energy sources. Turns out, human ingenuity finds a way.
Is it possible, however, that human ingenuity in the form of technology could create so much efficiency in the system that it actually puts us out of work? Will artificial intelligence replace all of our jobs?
Will technology create so much efficiency that everything will be less expensive than it is today? After all, think of all those mobile applications you use on your phone that we get for free. And when was the last time you had to pay for a long distance call to someone in another state?
Will everyone start working from home and will that essentially eliminate the need for commercial real estate for offices and retail? If all of these things happen, there would be a natural deflationary pressure on the economy.
Is getting stuff cheaper bad? Well..sort of. Deflation is probably the worst thing that could happen to a country’s economy. We live in a debt based economy. We borrow money now and, because of inflation, we can pay that money back in the future when it is worth less.
If we had a true deflationary movement, we would be screwed. We would not be washing away our debt with time but rather amplifying it. That’s kind of a scary scenario.
However, my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast sees this situation coming our way sooner rather than later because, of all things, the exponential rate of technology growth.
Want to know more? Tune in to this week’s show to listen to my conversation with Jeff Booth, author of The Price of Tomorrow: Why Deflation is the Key to an Abundant Future.
Jeff Booth is a visionary leader who has lived at the forefront of technology change for 20 years. He led BuildDirect, a technology company that aimed to simplify the building industry, for nearly two decades through the dot-com meltdown, the 2008 financial crisis, and many waves of technological disruption.
Jeff has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Inc.com, The Globe and Mail, BNN, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, TIME, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2015, he was named BC Technology Industry Association’s (BCTIA) Person of the Year, and in 2016 Goldman Sachs named him among its 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.
He is a Founding Partner of OtioLabs, Co-Founder of addyinvest.com and NocNoc, and serves on the boards of Terramera, SPUD.ca, LlamaZOO, Synthiam and the Richmond Hospital Foundation as well as numerous advisory boards.
He has been a Young Presidents Organization member since 2004 and contributes time as a founding Fellow on the Creative Destruction Lab.
- Jeff talks about how technology is advancing in an exponential pattern
- Don’t we make other jobs as technology progresses?
- Jeff talks about Bitcoin as a lifeboat against the oncoming storm.
- How soon do we start seeing the need for a global reset?