The Altarian Dollar has recently collapsed, the Flainian Pobble Bead is only exchangeable for other Flainian Pobble Beads, and last weekend the World Economic Forum met in Davos, Switerland to discuss a single fact: the possible effect of finding life on other planets on the world economy.
Okay, the Altarian Dollar and Flainian Pobble Bead (to say nothing of the Ningi or Pu) are both currencies from The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the WEF is actually about a lot of different issues, but past the colon in that sentence, everything is 100% true. One of the issues discussed by the WEF is the increasing likelihood of discovering life on other planets, and the effect such a discovery could have on the economy of Earth.
“It was only in 1995,” says the WEF’s report, “that we first found evidence that other stars also have planets orbiting them.”
Now, thousands of ‘exoplanets’ revolving around distant stars have been detected. NASA’s Kepler mission to identify Earth-sized planets…has been operating for only three years and has already turned up thousands of candidates, including one the size of Earth… [Discovery of extraterrestrial life] will suggest that life is as natural and as ubiquitous a part of the universe as the stars and galaxies.
What economists feel it is prudent to prepare for is not, then, the scientific discovery itself, but the far reaching impact of the knowledge that we are not alone in the universe, or possibly even unusual; the overturning of philosophical ideas about the nature of humanity; and the inevitable renewal of a conflict between science and religion (although at least the Pope’s astronomer is totally down with alien baptisms).
Other potential threats to the global economy that the WEF discussed included runaway climate change, the costs of humanity’s average lifespan increasing, and the change of scientifically enhanced hyper-cognitive human beings. Sheesh, if they’d wanted more info on these ideas they just could have asked the average sci-fan. We would have know exactly which books to recommend them!