We cant go on ignoring inequality, because we have the means to destroy our world but not to escape it
SPTAG 1 TTSPTAG 2 TTAs a theoretical physicist based in Cambridge, I have lived my life in an extraordinarily privileged bubble. Cambridge is an unusual town, centred around one of “the worlds” great universities. Within that township, the scientific community that I became part of in my 20 s is even more rarefied.
RTAG 3 TTAnd within that scientific community, the small group of international theoretical physicists with whom I have spent my working life might sometimes be tempted to regard themselves as the pinnacle. In addition to this, with the celebrity that has come with my books, and the isolation imposed by my illness, I seem as though my ivory tower is get taller.
RTAG 4 TTSo the most recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely is targeted at me, as much as anyone. Whatever we might should be considered their own decisions by the British electorate to reject membership of the European Union and by the American public to espouse Donald Trump as their next chairperson, there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of wrath by people who seemed they had been abandoned by their leaders.
RTAG 5 TTIt was, everyone seems to agree, the moment when the forgotten spoke, observing their voices to reject the advice and guidance of experts and the elite everywhere.
RTAG 6 TTI am no exception to this rule. I cautioned before the Brexit vote that it would damage scientific research in Britain, that a election to leave would be a step backward, and their constituencies or at the least a sufficiently largest proportion of it took no more a written notice of me than any of the other political leaders, trade unionists, artists, scientists, businessmen and celebrities who all committed the same unheeded advice to the rest of the country.
RTAG 7 TTWhat matters now, far more than the choices made by these two electorates, is how the elites react. Should we, in turn, reject these votes as outpourings of crude populism that fail to take account of the facts, and attempt to circumvent or circumscribe the choices that they represent? I would argue that this would be a awful mistake.
RTAG 8 TTThe concerns underlying these referendums about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are perfectly understandable. The automation of mills has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this chore ruin deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.
RTAG 9 TTThis in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms that it constructs possible allow very small groups of individuals to attain enormous earnings while applying very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.
RTAG 10 TTWe need to put this alongside financing of the crash, which brought home to people that a very few people working in the financial sector can accrue huge rewards and that the rest of us underwrite that success and pick up the bill when their greed contributes us astray. So taken together we are living in a world of widening , not diminishing, fiscal inequality, in which many people can see not only their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.
RTAG 14 TTBut it also means that the lives of the richest people in the most prosperous parts of “the worlds” are agonisingly visible to anyone, however poor, who has access to a phone. And since there are now more people with a telephone than access to clean water in sub-Saharan Africa, this will soon entails nearly everyone on our increasingly crowded planet will not be allowed to flee the inequality.
RTAG 15 TTThe consequences of this are plain to see: the rural poor flock to metropolis, to shanty towns, driven by hope. And then often, determining that the Instagram nirvana is not available there, they seek it overseas, joining the ever greater numbers of economic migrants in search of a high quality of life. These migrants in turn place new demands on the infrastructures and economies of the countries in which they arrive, undermining tolerance and further fuelling political populism.
RTAG 16 TTFor me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in its own history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic cancer, acidification of the oceans.
RTAG 17 TTTogether, they are a reminder that we are at the most hazardous minute in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few cases hundred years, we will have established human settlements amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.
RTAG 18 TTTo do that, we need to break down , not be developed further, hurdles within and between nations. If we are to stand a chance of doing that, the worlds leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many. With resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present.
RTAG 19 TTWith not only chores but entire industries vanishing, “were supposed to” help people to retrain for a new world and support them financially while they do so. If communities and economies cannot cope with current levels of migration, we must do more to encourage world development, as that is the only way that the migratory millions will be persuaded to seek their own future at home.
RTAG 20 TTWe can do this, I am an enormous optimist for my species; but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year. To read above all a measure of humility.
RTAG 21 TT The writer launched www.unlimited.world earlier this year
( CNN) A mysterious be pointed out that has baffled scientists for years has been traced to a spot in the sky more than 3 billion light-years away.