Marc Andreessen Calls Sustainable Development Goals An “Enemy” In Manifesto

In a world where the rhetoric around technology has often leaned towards pessimism and caution, Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, has unveiled a manifesto that unabashedly champions the limitless potential of technology and the boundless possibilities it offers. In his “Techno-Optimist” manifesto, Andreessen asserts that we have been inundated with lies that depict technology as a harbinger of destruction, threatening our jobs, well-being, and the environment.

Andreessen contends that, contrary to these fears, technology is the lifeblood of our civilization, a source of innovation, progress, and the fulfillment of human potential.

“We can advance to a far superior way of living, and of being. We have the tools, the systems, the ideas. We have the will. It is time, once again, to raise the technology flag,” Andreessen wrote.

He makes an impassioned plea for society to shed its pessimism, embrace the boundless opportunities offered by technology, and become “Techno-Optimists.”

The Power of Technology

Techno-Optimists, according to Andreessen, view societal growth as essential for progress. He believes that stagnation leads to zero-sum thinking and societal degradation. Andreessen identifies three sources of growth: population growth, natural resource utilization, and technology. However, he argues that the only sustainable and perpetual source of growth is technology, which has historically driven human development.

Economists measure technological progress through productivity growth, which enables societies to produce more with fewer resources. This, Andreessen argues, leads to economic growth, increased wages, new industries, and improved living standards for everyone. He underscores that technology has consistently solved the problems that have challenged humanity, from famine to pandemics, poverty, and more.

“Give us a real world problem, and we can invent technology that will solve it,” he said.

The Role of Free Markets

Andreessen contends that free markets are the most effective way to organize a technological economy. He champions the idea that the market economy is a discovery machine, driving innovation and wealth creation. The market, he argues, ensures that the seller adapts to meet the buyer’s needs, and it encourages competition.

“The motto of every monopoly and cartel, every centralized institution not subject to market discipline: “We don’t care, because we don’t have to.” Markets prevent monopolies and cartels,” he added.

He emphasizes that markets are responsible for lifting vast numbers of people out of poverty and fueling societal well-being. Markets are also inherently individualistic, driving superior collective outcomes, and there is no conflict between capitalist profits and social welfare programs. In fact, he argues, they are aligned, with the wealth generated by markets funding everything society desires.

The Techno-Capital Machine

Andreessen introduces the concept of the techno-capital machine, where technology and markets work together to drive perpetual material creation, growth, and abundance. He argues that the combination of technology and free markets has led to an upward spiral of growth and specialization.

He cites Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, which posits that technological advances feed on themselves, causing an exponential increase in progress. Andreessen is a proponent of “accelerationism,” which calls for the deliberate propulsion of technological development to ensure this upward spiral continues indefinitely.

“We believe the techno-capital machine is not anti-human – in fact, it may be the most pro-human thing there is. It serves us,” the manifesto read.

The Cornerstone Resources: Intelligence and Energy

According to Andreessen, the cornerstone resources that drive the techno-capital machine are intelligence and energy. Intelligence, he believes, is the ultimate engine of progress, expanding as more people are recruited into the technological ecosystem and forming symbiotic relationships with machines. He hails artificial intelligence (AI) as a universal problem solver and an essential tool to solve real-world challenges like pandemics, car accidents, and more.

“We believe any deceleration of AI will cost lives. Deaths that were preventable by the AI that was prevented from existing is a form of murder,” he added.

Andreessen also added that techno-optimists believe in hold a strong belief in the value of augmented intelligence, on par with the belief in AI. He asserted that smart machines enhance the capabilities of intelligent humans, leading to an exponential increase in the possibilities for human achievement.

“We believe Augmented Intelligence drives marginal productivity which drives wage growth which drives demand which drives the creation of new supply… with no upper bound,” he also said.

Energy, Andreessen asserts, is life. He believes that the world should aim to increase energy consumption to support the growth and well-being of humanity. He advocates for the use of nuclear fission and the development of nuclear fusion to provide unlimited, clean energy.

“We believe a second energy silver bullet is coming – nuclear fusion. We should build that as well. The same bad ideas that effectively outlawed fission are going to try to outlaw fusion. We should not let them,” Andreessen wrote.

The Pursuit of Abundance

The ultimate goal, according to Andreessen, is to create a world of abundance. He defines abundance as falling prices that give everyone a raise in buying power, thus improving their quality of life. He contends that technology’s role is to make both intelligence and energy “too cheap to meter,” leading to the widespread availability of affordable goods and services.

“We believe we should push to drop prices across the economy through the application of technology until as many prices are effectively zero as possible, driving income levels and quality of life into the stratosphere,” the manifesto added.

He invokes Andy Warhol’s idea that in an abundant society, everyone can enjoy the same products regardless of their wealth, and technology can lead us towards a state of “ephemeralization” where we can do everything with nothing. This progress, he asserts, will lead to the expansion of the human population and the colonization of other planets.

“We believe our planet is dramatically underpopulated, compared to the population we could have with abundant intelligence, energy, and material goods,” he added. “We believe the global population can quite easily expand to 50 billion people or more, and then far beyond that as we ultimately settle other planets.”

The Meaning of Life

Andreessen clarified that techno-optimists are not “utopians,” referencing Sir Thomas More’s imaginary island where a just and egalitarian social and political system prevailed. Instead, they are “adherents to what Thomas Sowell calls the Constrained Vision.”

“We believe the Constrained Vision – contra the Unconstrained Vision of Utopia, Communism, and Expertise – means taking people as they are, testing ideas empirically, and liberating people to make their own choices,” he said.

In addition, among the views Andreessen listed, he added that they maintain the view that the United States and its allies should “be strong and not weak.” They contend that the robustness of liberal democracies relies on a trinity of factors: economic strength (financial power), cultural strength (soft power), and military strength (hard power).

“A technologically strong America is a force for good in a dangerous world,” he asserted. “Technologically weak liberal democracies lose to their autocratic rivals, making everyone worse off.”

For Andreessen, Techno-Optimism is not a political ideology but a material philosophy that opens the door to a world of opportunity. He emphasizes that technology allows us to define our lives and decide the kind of world we want to create. He posits that technology liberates humanity, expanding what it means to be free, fulfilled, and alive.

“We believe technology is liberatory. Liberatory of human potential. Liberatory of the human soul, the human spirit. Expanding what it can mean to be free, to be fulfilled, to be alive,” he said.

NBC News reporter Ben Collins pointed out in his post on X (fka Twitter) that Andreessen’s firm “recently pivoted from crypto/Web3 to American military and defense contractor technology.”

The Enemy and the Future

Andreessen identifies stagnation and pessimism as the enemies of progress. He condemns the prevalence of bureaucratic institutions, inefficient regulations, and authoritarianism that hinder innovation.

He listed what he thought are the enemies of this thinking “against technology and against life”: “existential risk”, “sustainability”, “ESG”, “Sustainable Development Goals”, “social responsibility”, “stakeholder capitalism”, “Precautionary Principle”, “trust and safety”, “tech ethics”, “risk management”, “de-growth”, “the limits of growth”.

“Our enemies are not bad people – but rather bad ideas,” he concluded. “This demoralization campaign is based on bad ideas of the past – zombie ideas, many derived from Communism, disastrous then and now – that have refused to die.”

He urges society to “slouch toward Utopia,” working towards a better world and fulfilling our duty to be optimistic and make things better.

“We owe the past, and the future. It’s time to be a Techno-Optimist. It’s time to build,” Andreessen ends the manifesto.

Information for this briefing was found via the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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