Conceptualizing Humanity’s Long Term Survival: Open vs. Closed Systems

During this March 2, 2021 lecture to a class at the Moscow National Research Nuclear University hosted by Dr. Edward Lozansky, the Rising Tide Foundation’s Matt Ehret introduces the two opposing options for conceptualizing systems both in general terms and with concrete examples in human economics.

Whether we choose to assume that boundaries to our growth potential are fixed or variable and whether we presume the system as a whole (of which each of us is but a part) is defined as 1) a sum of parts or 2) something more, will affect more than is often realized.

If the system intrinsic nature is presumed closed, and boundaries absolute, then fascism, zero-sum thinking and depopulation will be an unavoidable consequence. If on the other hand the system is presumed open, with relative boundaries to our growth potential, then society may yet have the ability to overcome many of the gravest challenges pressing upon our species going into a future of win-win cooperation, multipolarism and creative reason.

The three primary case studies which I explored during this short presentation include 1) the Arctic as a platform of cooperation or war, 2) the middle east under bombs, drones and regime change or the New Silk Road and finally 3) Space exploration.

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