Origin Story
Origin Story A Big History of Everything By Christian, David Book - 2018

In the Origin Story, the author provides a straightforward summarization of events from the Big Bang through to the industrial revolution. After that he falters and in the musings regarding the future appears to be adrift. Once past the beginnings of human society from the hunter gatherer to the agrarian based civilization, the narrative given by the author appears to lean heavily on Vaclav Smil, "Energy and Civilization: A History" which is much more insightful and fact based. Where the author goes off in the descriptive narrative: 1) There is virtually no mention of the social transformation due to access to inexpensive energy and the focus on an information-based economy. Now women are released from much of their drudgery work and are participating in large numbers at all levels of the economy. 2) Although mentioned, there is insufficient time given to explaining the advances of medicine and its effect on societal transformation. Only relatively recently do we have the expectation that doctors will cure us. With technological advances, there are possibilities to actually improve our abilities and what is the societal impact for our species on that? 3) According to the author, one of the bad elements of the Anthropocene age is income equality ignoring that income inequality has been with us since the early agrarian civilizations. The author darkly warns of global conflicts arising from Income inequality. Nowhere does the author provide any factual based analysis to back up this claim. Wealth is not a zero-sum game but the creation of wealth generally helps everyone. Income inequality, while an obsession of the leftist political circles (e.g. the 1%), does not form a useful metric of anyone's quality of life. There are much better metrics many of which are cited by Steven Pinker in, “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”
Given that the author's understanding trends in history seems to be limited to that of "like minded" individuals, it is hardly surprising that the discussion on "Where is it all going" is pretty muddled. For example, the author postulates that we could take some pointers from indigenous societies with regard to living within the environment. This is ridiculous on the surface as these societies do not have the processes to manage the capabilities and energy that we have. There are plenty of cases where, some noted in this book, the indigenous societies did not preserve nature (e.g. extinction of the mega fauna, or of the environmental results on Easter island).

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