- The key requirements for being a word power
- Is the "superpower" model sustainable in today's age?
- The key ability to leverage resources
- Which country(ies) is most likely to dominate in this century?
In Part 1, we surveyed the nature of power to explore the concept of superpowers. In this Part 2, we look at power as the ability to solve problems.
What Are the Available Resources?
Solving problems in the real world is not an abstract project, though abstract concepts may undergird the solutions. In the real world, we have to use whatever resources are available, with an eye on cost, scale and sustainability.
Alternative energy offers a useful example. Almost everyone agrees that alternatives to fossil fuels would be beneficial, but what is generally overlooked is the tiny scale of alternatives in the current scheme of things. Depending on what’s being included as alternative (hydropower, etc.), alternative energy sources currently comprise a few percentage points of total energy consumption.
To scale alternatives up to even 50% of current consumption will require not just a monumental amount of capital investment; it also requires the invention and manufacture of new systems of energy storage on an equally vast scale.
As has been noted many times, this capital investment includes an extended period of fossil fuels consumption, as we need huge amounts of energy to construct alternative sources and storage systems. Some have characterized this as building an aircraft in the air while keeping your current aircraft aloft.
As Peak Prosperity members know well, capital has a variety of forms, all of which work together: financial, intellectual, social, human, cultural and symbolic. All these forms of capital must be…