1. Do you think we are headed for some form of "collapse" due to lack of energy resources? What do you think (including how you envision the "collapse" -- if you do) and why?
Based on Dr. Tainter’s theory of complexity a society must become more and more complex in order to advance, or else would face impending “collapse” which is basically rapid simplification. In a theoretical sense I would disagree that we are headed towards a collapse due to the lack of energy resources. These past couple of years with the increase of awareness for “green” energy ( a renewable and clean energy) , it has dramatically changed this impending doom that was looming overhead. The government has been steadily increasing its budget to encourage more usage of clean energy and 29 states (including California, Puerto Rico, and district of Columbia) have decreed that a minimum of 33% of its energy would be from renewable energy by 2020. The billion-dollar industry in fossil fuel can be replaced by the renewable energy industry. As of 2009 research shows that annual consumption of oil in USA cost close to 780 million to 1 billion dollars. The production of clean energy costs an average annual budget of 150 billion dollars. Throughout the years the difficulty of producing clean energy has cost more that the actual energy produced, however with the new technology green energy has become more viable option to solve the need for a new energy resource. Even though the cost of producing green energy is initially more expensive it is relatively an unlimited resource. Solar, hydro, wind and geothermal power are all pre-existing sources that is merely being transformed into energy. Both energy wise and economically speaking the transfer of using clean energy instead of fossil fuel can encourage economy and create more jobs to aid the current recession and also solve the problem of the depleting source of energy in petroleum.Depending on how the government would proceed with the problem of energy resource we can definitely offset the track of America heading towards a “collapse”.
2. Dr. Tainter described two points of view in his lecture -- The first is that "allocation of resources to research and development can solve our problems (such as the energy problem)". The second is that "Innovation reaches diminishing returns" and hence cannot be a solution. What do you think? Which is correct? Why? Again, support your argument with references and facts
In Dr. Tainter’s lecture he states “allocation of resources to research can solve our problems”. I do agree with this, as a necessity for a new energy is the most impending problem of our nation. Within our society Energy has become a basic need to function as civilization has grown so “complex”. Hence if we are dependent on fossil fuel, a steadily decreasing source of energy we would soon be facing impending doom. However allocating resources to research and innovation can make this problem disappear. By making clean energy more efficient and finding a way to completely replace the use of fossil fuel our problems can be solved.
His second argument stating that “innovations reaches diminishing returns” points towards the fact that one can only create so much before the creation itself is not revolutionizing or making any significant impact on society. In the lecture Professor Tainter had shown examples of this idea through many failed civilizations such as the Roman Empire. As I do agree that eventually “innovations reaches diminishing returns” it is not necessarily the cause of failure in this case. In the last couple of years the technological advancements have been making clean energy more cost efficient, hence innovation has not yet reached the point of “diminishing returns” and more importantly it also proves that this system can only prove to benefit society. Clean energy has started out as a “diminishing return” since it use to cost more to produce less energy but with new technology it has significantly decreased the cost.
"Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy "
"Eergy Policy & the Environmental Report"
"High COst of Fossil Fuel"