All Dollars are Food Dollars

4 min readDec 1, 2021
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

Let’s imagine for a minute that civilization of any kind doesn’t exist.
Humans living as animals sparsely populated with only a few predators and accidents, disease, etc to threaten individual existence.

The vast majority of “must do” effort is going to be going to food. Let’s just put that as “Job number ‘everything’” and any spare time can be spent raising children, painting caves, swimming in a clear lake, etc.

In other words, 100% of ‘earned value’ from intentional labor is for food, security and water.

Now, let’s build a civilization on top of that existence so that these goals are met:

1. Less effort is spent on food and survival.
2. Some ‘profit’ can be made by providing water more easily than every person having to go fetch their own.
3. People with a disability (unable to fetch food) are cared for humanely (instead of just knocking them on the head with a rock).

In the modern world, the goal might be added, “to increase the population”. But that has no useful significance unless there are other things to do that don’t naturally occur and require more people than already available.
In the long-term risks that might damage the biosphere beyond recovery and that large numbers of humans might prevent, the only one that we can see now is the threat of an asteroid strike wiping out all life on the surface of the planet. It would require large numbers of people to develop, build and maintain a nuclear missile system that could deflect an asteroid that size from a path intercepting Earth: unless we put people in space on a long-term basis to watch and intercept sooner than we can from Earth.

All of the other threats (climate change is usually not an existential threat to the majority of species, but it is when accelerated by human activities, volcanoes, earthquakes, nuclear war (again, human cause and risk), disease, solar flares, floods) are not existential in nature, and most only threaten human infrastructure, not survival.

As civilizations are built upon cities (that’s the literal meaning), the humans within civilizations adapt to the comforts until they are considered “needs”. Once highways are built, they have to be maintained. Once food is so cheap so that economics are based on money rather than on survival, humans make all decisions according to what creates more money (mostly just inflation, actually).

Many people are convinced that they would die without…


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