Why Future Generations May Consider Us Barbaric

Factory farming, eating meat, Internet porn, overprescribing antibiotics, obesity, the maintenance of nuclear weapon stockpiles: these are just some of the reasons that future generations may criticize the morals of our present society.

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Factory farming, eating meat, Internet porn, overprescribing antibiotics, obesity, the maintenance of nuclear weapon stockpiles: these are just some of the reasons that future generations may criticize the morals of our present society, just as we object to yesterday's child labor, bear baiting, slavery, and oppression of women. Nick Bostrom, the founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford, UK, argues that our unpreparedness for existential threats most risks the ire of our children's children... "For Bostrom, the question is not simply how we deal with obvious threats; it’s whether we should take seriously even the slight chance of something happening that could end human life as we know it."

What's the Big Idea?

Perhaps even our manner of solving problems--assessing first the harm done to the economy by large-scale moral wrongs--will be viewed as misguided in the future. Indeed translating death and destruction in dollars and cents is a popular way of prioritizing which injustices should be addressed first. What we fail to see, according to Kate Raworth, an economist at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute, is that "[t]he economy is nested within society which is nested within the planet, and these systems are all interacting with each other.” 

Read more at BBC Future

Photo credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

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