a16z Podcast: The Environment, Capitalism, Technology

It used to be that the only way for humanity to grow — and progress — was through destroying the environment. Sure, the Industrial Revolution brought about the growth of our economies, our population, our prosperity; but it also led to our extracting more resources from the planet, more pollution, and some nightmarish human conditions as well. But is this interplay between the two — of human growth vs. environment, of protection vs. destruction — really a zero-sum game? Even if it were true in history, is it true today? How about for developing economies around the world today — do they have to go through an extractive phase first before entering a protective one… or can they skip that phase altogether through better technology (the way they leapt to mobile)?

And if capitalism is not responsible for environmental degradation, than who or what is? Where does technology come in, and where doesn’t it — if you believe we already have the answers to saving the environment? Marc Andreessen and Sonal Chokshi interview MIT economist Andrew McAfee about all this and more, given his new book, More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources — and What Happens Next.

So what does happen next? From nuclear power to dematerialization to Tesla and the next cleantech revolution (or not), this episode of the a16z Podcast brings a different perspective to an important discussion around taking care of our planet… and also ensuring human progress through the spread of human capital and technology.

 

image: Kevin Gill / Flickr