"The Grim Meathook Future"

Despite the over-wide format and namedropping, this is sublime. Except that it ultimately suffers from the same myopia that it purports to be railing against by taking as a given that “feeding poor people is useful tech” without considering the global view. Globally speaking, feeding poor people, directly, as a project, only serves to make more, poorer poor people. I’m not saying let them starve. I’m saying don’t have the cliched, knee-jerk reaction of thinking that more money means more bags of rice on more transport planes means reduced suffering. I’m saying ask more questions. Ask how so many people came to be living in such poor conditions. It’s not happenstance. It’s an effect of global economy, climate, culture and corruption. This is most certainly a problem that direct address does not fix. If direct address fixed poverty or even starvation, we would have solved it long ago. We need to be looking at indirect address: education, reform, changing mindsets and expectations and senses of morality and fairness and entitlement all over the globe. A person can become poor or suffer through a series of unfortunate events. People, populations, become poor, suffer and stay there through the machinations of huge, complex and often intentional institutions, beliefs and interests. These are what we need to be looking at. These are what really determine what kind of future we’ll inhabit.

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