Robert Wright

A Quote by Robert Wright on war, greed, change, and nonzero-sumness

War has contaned the seeds of its own demise all along. This primal form of zero-sum energy, through the very logic of history that it helped impel, was bound to grow more and more negative-sum until finally its downside was too glaring to ignore. In retrospect, it looks almost like planned obsolescence.

If war can indeed be turned into a relic, then the virtue of greed will recede further. From a given society's standpoint, one big upside of wanton material acquisition has traditionally been the way it drives technological progress—which, after all, helps keep societies strong. In the nineteenth century, Russia ans Germany had little choice about modernizing; in those days stasis invited conquest. But if societies no longer face conquest, breakneck technological advance is an offer they can refuse, and frugality a luxury people can afford.

God knows greed won't vanish. Neither will hatred or chauvanism. Human nature is a stubborn thing. But it isn't beyond control. Even if our core impulses can;t be banished, they can be tempered and redirected.

Robert Wright

Source: Nonzero : The Logic of Human Destiny (Vintage), Pages: 238

Contributed by: Eve

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