Less is more

Great summary of Vaclac Smil’s work in the HBR:

As efficiency rises, so does affordability, putting ever more products within reach of ever more consumers. As a result, the amount of resources extracted for every person on the planet has skyrocketed even as the global population has multiplied.

This is one of those unintended consequences kind of stuff. It’s very hard to predict what happens in some cases and where it will lead. Efficiency leads to more use which means the overall use is more. That is in some sense counter intuitive.

So is the case with policy making. It is hard to predict all the consequences of our actions and its useful to aware of that possibility.


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