This section aims to cover in depth the obstacles to the plan. It is important to cover this in detail because the plan raises the question “if this is such a good idea, why are we not already doing it?”. The obstacles listed below are mostly about how the public at large view the problems and solutions, very few of them are technical or physical in nature.
When we look at the above possibilities we need to carefully consider the global competition we will have for these endeavors. What we decide to do must be world best if we are to have a chance of success. Already Russia, France, Korea and soon China are in the nuclear energy export business. We need to jump step them, and turnkey end to end nuclear power holds this promise.
Let’s look at the information technology startup scene as a simple and known example.
If you are looking to make a global product, you will go where you have the most chance of early success, in the startup game, early money (customers or investors) is what drives growth at exponential rates, it’s the difference between building a company and building a huge company.
The challenge is to ensure we create export industries that are globally competitive. Our track record is not good at doing this, mining and agriculture success was more a function of our location than any specific focus of our governments or industries over the years.
Poor science and maths literacy in the general population really makes discussion using facts and evidence difficult. We need to find ways to overcome the gut reactions that make use of the data but do not solely rely on the data and engage people in inventive and emotional ways.
Catastrophists: The Degrowth Movement
The idea that progress is bad and that to be truly virtuous we need to regress back into our pre-enlightenment or worse pre-agrarian ways of living, as hunter gatherers with no education, healthcare or understanding of the world and the universe we live in is one that has much wider acceptance than it deserves. This neo-Malthusian viewpoint is one of the most dangerous ideas to progress but it is unfortunately broad in its appeal and very difficult to decouple from people’s moral thinking. It is not based in fact but it does makes some of us feel good, like religion before it, it shares many of the same tricks.
Thankfully we have many great thinkers, many of whom are quoted in this essay, that quickly and easily debunk this thinking. For a much more detailed dive into technology and its ability to make our lives better I cannot recommend more “Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper, How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong” by Robert Bryce.
Regardless there is a very large cohort of political and media support for this way of thinking, not to mention that it has now been commercialised in almost every sector. As an example, Australian Ethical Superannuation does not invest in fossil fuels but also does not invest in nuclear energy, the only technology that can displace fossil fuels. Clearly Australian Ethical Super is more interested in the ethics of customer acquisition than it is in the ethics of actually doing good.
Of all the obstacles this is one that will likely take the most effort to debunk, unfortunately like all the previous forms of spirituality throughout human history, ecotheology has a nice narrative, some core true believers and now corporate support. It will be hard, but it must be debunked.