In any society there are ‘elite’ positions that command a high income and, more importantly, high status. Unsurprisingly, there is intense competition for these positions. But what happens when a society turns out more people qualified for these roles than the number of roles actually on offer? On this week’s podcast, the IEA’s Head of Education Dr Steve Davies discusses what he calls the ‘over-production of elites’ in society. The problem, he explains, is that elitism, unlike many things, is a zero-sum game – to be in the elite means you are not like 90 per cent or more of the population as a whole. As a result, the ever-increasing number of UK university graduates or American PHDs students leads to bitter resentment towards those with similar qualifications, who have managed to secure elite jobs. Steve talks about how elitism affects our views of a fair society, what it means for the concept of meritocracy, and how societies go about addressing perceived issues of unfairness.
Almost everyone is in favor of advancements in green energy. But we’re still a long way off from cleaner sources being able to take over from more traditional forms of energy, like fossil fuels. If we were to make the switch now, it would inevitably mean moving from a high-energy society to a low-energy society. But what would this mean in practice?
Today we’re speaking with the IEA’s Head of Education, Dr Steve Davies. Steve paints a picture of radical changes that would have to be made in order to adapt to a low-energy society. Two major changes include a return to agriculture focus in local areas, with over 30 per cent of the population needing to return to the farms to make sure communities could be fed. Furthermore, it would almost certainly mean the return of traditional gender roles, as it was the many advancements in energy in particular, that enabled women to liberate themselves out of the home and into the workforce. And while many people who advocate for a low-energy society seem to think that the things they like will continue, while the things they loathe will be scrapped, Steve argues that many conveniences, and indeed miracles, of modern society – like international plane travel and use of the internet – would be wiped out almost completely, with only the world’s elite having access to such luxuries.
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