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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2019

Alexey Turchin and Brian Patrick Green

Islands have long been discussed as refuges from global catastrophes; this paper will evaluate them systematically, discussing both the positives and negatives of islands…

Abstract

Purpose

Islands have long been discussed as refuges from global catastrophes; this paper will evaluate them systematically, discussing both the positives and negatives of islands as refuges. There are examples of isolated human communities surviving for thousands of years on places like Easter Island. Islands could provide protection against many low-level risks, notably including bio-risks. However, they are vulnerable to tsunamis, bird-transmitted diseases and other risks. This paper aims to explore how to use the advantages of islands for survival during global catastrophes.

Design/methodology/approach

Preliminary horizon scanning based on the application of the research principles established in the previous global catastrophic literature.

Findings

The large number of islands on Earth, and their diverse conditions, increase the chance that one of them will provide protection from a catastrophe. Additionally, this protection could be increased if an island was used as a base for a nuclear submarine refuge combined with underground bunkers and/or extremely long-term data storage. The requirements for survival on islands, their vulnerabilities and ways to mitigate and adapt to risks are explored. Several existing islands, suitable for the survival of different types of risk, timing and budgets, are examined. Islands suitable for different types of refuges and other island-like options that could also provide protection are also discussed.

Originality/value

The possible use of islands as refuges from social collapse and existential risks has not been previously examined systematically. This paper contributes to the expanding research on survival scenarios.

Details

foresight, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 11 March 2019

Seth D. Baum, Stuart Armstrong, Timoteus Ekenstedt, Olle Häggström, Robin Hanson, Karin Kuhlemann, Matthijs M. Maas, James D. Miller, Markus Salmela, Anders Sandberg, Kaj Sotala, Phil Torres, Alexey Turchin and Roman V. Yampolskiy

This paper aims to formalize long-term trajectories of human civilization as a scientific and ethical field of study. The long-term trajectory of human civilization can be…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to formalize long-term trajectories of human civilization as a scientific and ethical field of study. The long-term trajectory of human civilization can be defined as the path that human civilization takes during the entire future time period in which human civilization could continue to exist.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper focuses on four types of trajectories: status quo trajectories, in which human civilization persists in a state broadly similar to its current state into the distant future; catastrophe trajectories, in which one or more events cause significant harm to human civilization; technological transformation trajectories, in which radical technological breakthroughs put human civilization on a fundamentally different course; and astronomical trajectories, in which human civilization expands beyond its home planet and into the accessible portions of the cosmos.

Findings

Status quo trajectories appear unlikely to persist into the distant future, especially in light of long-term astronomical processes. Several catastrophe, technological transformation and astronomical trajectories appear possible.

Originality/value

Some current actions may be able to affect the long-term trajectory. Whether these actions should be pursued depends on a mix of empirical and ethical factors. For some ethical frameworks, these actions may be especially important to pursue.

Details

foresight, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 11 March 2019

Olle Häggström and Catherine Rhodes

Abstract

Details

foresight, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Book part
Publication date: 24 June 2014

Georgi Derluguian

Past predictions of convergence between American capitalism and the Soviet planned economy optimistically assumed that advanced industrial society must also become…

Abstract

Past predictions of convergence between American capitalism and the Soviet planned economy optimistically assumed that advanced industrial society must also become democratic and pragmatic in its choice of economic policies. The Soviets had to become more capitalist. All such predictions proved only partially correct. Russia did become capitalist after a hugely destructive collapse, which obliterated the democratic demands of the 1960s in deindustrialization and enormous inequalities. Only ideological prejudices, reinforced in 1989, prevent most observers from seeing that America and Russia did in fact converge in a similar pattern of socioeconomic crisis. The outcomes of their crisis sequences could seem different in 2012, but these might not be the final outcomes.

Details

The United States in Decline
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-829-7

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