The Sci-Fi About Population Has Stopped

In his new book One Billion Americans, political reporter Matthew Yglesias paints a hopeful picture of a future in which America sustains itself through its triple population. He argued that a much larger, younger America would be more competitive on the world stage and better able to solve economic and environmental challenges.

“I think Americans should believe in ourselves,” Yglesias said in Episode 465 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast “We need to believe in our country and strive for greatness-and more people, a more humane vision of self, but also a patriotic spirit that wants to remain the leading nation in the world.

This vision is in stark contrast to sci-fi books and movies like Soylent Green and The steel caves, which presented population growth as a recipe for disaster. Yglesias says that the terrible futures depicted in these stories are not based on reality.

“The whole theme of robot novels so there are these incredibly low living standards on Earth, that is [Asimov] describes, if I remember it correctly, as having a population of 8 billion people, ”he said. “And they’re all for some reason living in underground cities and eating moss on almost the population that is here today.”

Dystopian scenarios can be made for exciting stories, but often their predictions are so terrifying that they inspire despair rather than resolve. “I think there is a perception that if something goes wrong, if it’s a real problem, that the best thing to do is to tell the problem in the darkest possible terms, because it will motivate of people to act, “said Yglesias. “I don’t think that’s right as a theory of human motivation. People act to avoid minor damage on a regular basis. ”

Instead he thinks we should take a cue Star Trek, and working towards a future where people’s problems are slow, continuously overcome with the help of technology. “If technology continues to evolve, you’ll get even better, even if there are some shortcomings, and that’s the actual path we’re seeing on our planet,” he said. “There are more people, people are better, living standards are higher. Problems can really be solved.”

Listen to the full interview with Matthew Yglesias in Episode 465 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Matthew Yglesias in Spock and Data:

“They’re the more memorable, original creators of the show, because in an interesting way they’re a kind of audience substitute for the characters. But they’re not usually audience leadership characters – characters substitute for listener for nerds.You’re someone who thinks you’re probably a little more reasonable than most people you know, but maybe you don’t really get emotional and social. [characters] making significant contributions to the crew, and other people who like and respect them. Sometimes they would joke with Spock, but they wouldn’t make fun of him. He doesn’t bully in the way that someone like that in the real world situation. ”

Matthew Yglesias on Superman:

“I thought a lot about the story DC done then where Lex Luthor became president of the United States. … A big part of where Superman fights there is that there’s this villainous guy in the White House, and he’s doing bad things, but you can’t just fly the White House, drill the Oval Office, and use the vision of heat the president of the United States. It would completely undo the legitimacy of the hero of society, the strength of the American government, all that is different from these things. And so he faces these problems that his superpowers have not solved. He has the ability to do many things that a normal person doesn’t want, but that always puts him with the question, ‘What should I do? What are my obligations as this super man? ‘”

Matthew Yglesias of Spider-Man:

“I can’t think of any time in my life when I can help someone when I have spider power, but because of my lack of spider power I can’t use it. And if I want to think about situations that are almost here come on, it’s really little things. Like, I can help friends move quickly. A friend asks four friends to help her move, and I can say, ‘Forget it, I can do it solo .I have so much energy, I got these webs. It’s great. ‘… I mean, I live in a town where there is a decent amount of crime – in Washington DC – but I haven’t witnessed it yet. that someone kills someone right in front of my eyes, and if I had a web shooter I could have stopped him but since I don’t have a web shooter I can’t. ”

Matthew Yglesias in publishing the book:

“It may not be possible for the book publishing and media industries to strictly reflect the political beliefs of the races of people who want to live in New York City.… Politics has become increasingly polarized along the lines of large population and attainment of education, so if you can get a large group of college graduates living in a big city, there is nothing wrong with college graduates living in a big city, but their agreed -upon political opinions that could be channeled to the left of the national center – which is fine, but as a business proposition, you can’t run a book publishing house like that.It doesn’t make commercial sense, and neither it also means intellectual. There are a lot of conservative people in America. They write and buy books. There is no point in trying to stop them. “

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