I prefer to avoid re-blogging, but Brad DeLong’s entry for March 26th “The Long View” is surely worth disseminating for further contemplation:
If all goes well in China and India in the next generation—and if nothing goes catastrophically wrong in the rich post-industrial North Atlantic core of the global economy—then the next generation will see a real milestone. For the first time ever more than half of the world will have enough food not to be hungry and worry about famine, enough shelter not to be wet and worried about trenchfoot, enough clothing not to be cold and worried about hypothermia, and enough medical care not to be worried that they and the majority of their children will die of microparisites well short of their biblical three-score-and-ten years. The big problems of the bulk of humanity will then be those of finding enough conceptual puzzles and diversions in their work and play lives so as not to be bored, enough relative status not to be green with envy of their fellows—and, of course, avoiding and quickly disposing of the thugs who used to have spears and will have cruise missiles and H-bombs who have functioned as macroparasites infecting humanity ever since the first farmers realized that now that they had crops, running away into the forest was no longer an option.
Matt Yglesias quotes Brad as well, but many of his commenters, worried about collapsing global ecologies, remain unconvinced. And of course if you're a poet, I'm afraid you're screwed no matter what happens.