We can lay out a picture of history as in the above.
We get to live out our lives in a special period. Life as it will be 100,000 years from now will not be substantially different than life as it will be 2 billion years from now. Do you think otherwise?
If so, what do you think will change?
What are the limits of what can be done which is fundamentally different?
How about just moving around? What are the limits? Clearly we have a speed limit; the speed of light. We cannot go faster than this unless the presently understood conservation laws are invalid. So that a vehicle that approaches extremely high velocities very quickly (a UFO??) is the limit. How long will it take man to develop such a vehicle given what you presently know about the rate of scientific progress. Obviously, no where's near 100,000 years. All basic principles which can be known, will be known in certainly no more than another one or two thousand years, i.e. if we don't get it by then we'll never get it because it can't be got.
How about the limits of housing? food? manufacturing? medicine? Yes, there will always be new things to do but none of them will make civilization substantially different than it will be several thousand years from now.
Perhaps we will be periodically destroyed by warfare? Picture this "World War #127,366 - The War to End All Wars". Sounds pretty stupid doesn't it?
The concept of infinite fundamental change and variability is found in individuals who absorb a large number of basic principles and assume that the stream will never dry up. It does and rather quickly. 'Geometric mechanics' is a good example. Try to think of some mechanical, materials independent, device, basically different in fundamental concept from that which is already known. It can no longer be done. The subject is exhausted and has been exhausted since the early industrial revolution. Yes, something still may come along but it will be only the exception which proves the rule. It's a gold mine that has 'played out'.
The conservation laws of physics form the 'technological spine' of civilization. They will never change. There is a simple logical proof for this:
If all the parts of a device obey the laws of physics then the device as a whole must obey the laws of physics.Now there are a limited number of things you can do with matter.
You can shake it back and forth real fast.
Make it go straight.
Make it real cold or hot.
Put it under high pressure.
Subject it to extreme magnetic and electric fields.
That's about it.
All this has been done. The conservation laws hold and give no indication of imminent collapse. Not a single atom has gone back in time or into another dimension under the most extreme conditions. Conditions that we could never hope to duplicate in large scale even if an atom did go to another dimension.
One other observation on the nature of history ...The changeover from animal to man is analogous to the rise of a current in a wire, e.g. like a light bulb coming on. History is the time during which the current is rising. The animal phase is when the switch is off and man is when the light is on.
There is an analogous Lenz resistance.
When civilization is brought forward a resistance to that progress is inevitably generated. It is also inevitable that the resistance will be insufficient to stop the rise of civilization since the resistance depends on progress for its energy source. In the short run, the rise of current is chaotic ... anything can happen. If the earth were to be destroyed it wouldn't be the first time that a bulb blew (right out of the box).
But that's what it is. Screw it in, switch it on 'n see what happens ...
Sociology . . .
The fundamental principles of sociology are analogous to the laws of thermodynamics and make sensible the gross interactions between cultures.
1) The analog of temperature is the average intelligence of the individuals in a culture. The lower the temperature the more advanced the civilization. So the term hot blooded, when referring to a culture, indicates a lesser average intelligence.
3) The average distance between members of a culture and the distance between different cultures is also an important factor in their news and history. As a thermodynamic analog, distance between members largely controls the rate of information transfer.
The differences between cultures are both qualitive and quantitive in kind. Therefore, some cultures are superior to others in that they are more advanced along a standard path of development. And, two cultures may display gross differences yet be equally advanced though in the most advanced cases they will tend to similarity because the optimum state of civilization is identical for all.
The foregoing predicts will what happen (in general) in any given situation.If two cultures of similar size but different temperature interact, their temperatures will even out after a time determined by the size of the cultures and the rate of information transfer. The more advanced culture (cooler) will warm up (get stupid) and the less advanced will cool down (get smarter). Both cultures will resent the other since the identity of each is being altered by an outside agency. Imagine your own resentment if you were forced to act dumber or smarter than you actually were. This is a clear loss of autonomy which is the most important possession of an individual or culture.
Nevertheless, because cultures and individuals develop in semi-isolation differences are expected and when the isolation ends temperatures equalize and tempers flare.
It should be noted that this cannot be avoided and the effects cannot be mitigated. Overall, it is not a 'problem' ... it is a natural 'process' despite violent local encounters. One simply manages as best one can until social equilibrium is achieved.
What to do...Worldwide social equilibrium cannot be achieved for perhaps another 1000+ years. So don't hold your breath. Ending isolation helps bring about equilibrium but the price to be paid is increased cultural tension and resulting violence. In the long run, it really doesn't matter what route is taken to equilibrium. It will happen with or without anyones' consent. Do what your own judgement indicates.
This section concerns some observations that I have not seen discussed elsewhere.
Concerning the effect of welfare on free market wages ...Wages decrease, all other things being equal, if welfare is available in unlimited quantities by a replacement mechanism. It operates in this manner:
An employer offers wages at the lowest rate that the market will bear (as is proper).
If welfare is available, the job applicant reasons, "If I can get food stamps in addition to the wages offered, I can support my family with this job."
When he accepts the job, the overall wage rate is lowered because the free market takes into account all forms of wages, including welfare.
Now, if an employee does not wish to go on welfare he has no option but to take a job at less than subsistence wages. If he were to do so, the overall wage rate would decline but he would have to do so at great personal expense. Consequently, wages continue to drop fueling ever greater need for food stamps.
The same is true in other welfare venues.
This process becomes pronounced over periods best measured in decades. The effect is insidious and makes the employee on welfare look like a deadbeat but he has little choice.
On graduated income taxes ...When determining taxes versus wages it is often not recognized that moneys paid reflect the standard of living that people expect in exchange for doing this or that kind of work.
In general, those who make enough money to be affected by graduated taxes are the same people who determine prices in the free market. Therefore, if they are taxed at a greater rate they raise their prices to allow them to live at an acceptable standard of living. It makes no difference whatsoever to them except by way of an insult and the bother of repricing, etc.
Only if the graduated tax is monumental is there any real effect.
On inflation ...In an inflationary economy, those who set prices tend to join in an unworded conspiracy to raise prices. It is a free market effect turned monstrous by the government.
In the free market one is supposed to price to maximize total profit. One juggles the profit per unit and the number of units sold to make the most money.
In an inflationary economy, the buyers judgement is unstable. So the seller comes to realise that he can say "Sorry, price has gone up ... inflation you know". And the buyer lowers his head and says "Yeah ... things are really gettin' tough". This allows the seller to get away with a price hike he otherwise couldn't have because all the other sellers know the same thing. As long as the excess hike isn't too great to where another seller could see a market opening for a slightly lower price (still in excess of inflation).
Another effect is that the seller tries to keep up with inflation. Since inflation represents the theft of money from the civilization by the government by a means other than taxation, someone must lose out. If the seller just stays even, the buyer gets a double dose of loss.
Not enough work ...If people are naturally willing to work around 40 hours per week, what are they going to do exactly?
I mean, if after some number of centuries, the population stops growing and machines do all the work, what will we do for a job?????
I suspect that there won't always be jobs. We simply live in the era of JOB.
A few millenia from now someone will want a translation of a want ad page dug up from the ancient dump site. No one will know what a job was....
Newsflash ... this is already becoming a problem.
There are literally tens of millions of people in this country who contribute absolutely nothing to the maintenance and furtherance of civilization. Here's a short list:
Keeping government out of economics ...If there was a big box and raw materials went in a door on the box and finished goods came out of another door, match column A to column B.