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Of empires and technology

Expansion of empires doesn’t advance by military power alone; it does so largely thanks to technological superiority. In fact, technological superiority might be the primary driver/enabler of imperial expansion. The power of the British Empire grew with the innovation and technological advances that enabled it to “rule the waves,” and also develop new, efficient processes of industrial production. Her ships were by far the fastest and most powerful in the world, which made her “gunboat diplomacy” irresistibly effective. This superiority had an important psychological, as well as PR effect which was in fact exercised in a calculated and deliberate way. Here’s an example:

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Age of abundance is over? But where’d the abundance go?

​Upon returning from vacation at the end of August, French President Emmanuel Macron had a public appearance before his cabinet ministers, warning them that the age of abundance in a care-free world was over: “Some could see our destiny as being to constantly manage crises or emergencies. I believe that we are living through a tipping point or great upheaval. Firstly, because we are living through… what could seem like the end of abundance…” Macron added that, “This overview that I’m giving – the end of abundance, the end of insouciance, the end of assumptions – it is ultimately a tipping point that we are going through that can lead to our citizens to feel a lot of anxiety.” Last week, the CEO of Double Line funds, Jeffrey Gundlach reaffirmed Macron’s warnings. Well, if we’ve reached the end of abundance, where did the abundance go? Did we really exhaust it, and how can that even be possible in today’s highly productive technological societies? I believe that both Macron and Gundlach are wrong. Abundance never went anywhere and we did not exhaust it. It is in fact all around us.

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