One of the most significant future transformations in the material sphere will be the development of a carbohydrate economy. This will be a global economy based primarily on renewable material feedstocks—as opposed to our current economy, which is founded largely on the consumption of nonrenewable feedstocks like fossil fuels.
David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reminds us that we used to have a carbohydrate economy: two hundred years ago, Americans consumed two tons of vegetables for every ton of minerals; but thirty-five years ago, we consumed eight tons of minerals for every ton of vegetables. Cambridge professor Michael Ashby has also chronicled humanity’s global journey towards a near-total dependence on nonrenewable materials. The implications of this trajectory are clear—by definition, one cannot base a future primarily on nonrenewable resources. [...]