As world population tops 9 billion we have a number of examples of the limits of technology:
- Feeding the world–food stocks are limited in many areas such that small dislocations, weather changes.
- Shortages of resources cause us to push the limits. Bigger oil shale, coal mines, deeper oil wells, consideration of atomic energy. This has consequences we are now seeing in the gulf o Mexico, and yes increasing CO2 in the atmosphere and global warming. Medicynical note: Yes there have been warming periods in the past but never before, NEVER, with more than 9 billion people on the planet.
- In medicine there are limits as well. ife extension is limited. Don’t believe the live to over 120 nonsense. The human being has limited expectancy that is in the range of an average age of 80 with a relatively few people living to over 90 and a very few to 100.
Medicynical Note: Spending several hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain a few months while it may seem important to the afflicted at the moment is a recipe for collective bankruptcy. People indeed should have control but they should also have more responsibility for the financial consequences of these extreme efforts. On the other hand we need to find a way to assure access to the basics without financial penalties. That’s of course the challenge of health care reform. We can’t have and really in the end don’t want everything.