Thursday, August 27, 2015

Extraterrestrial Contact: Economic Turmoil and First Contact

The recent global economic turmoil has been interesting to watch. It shows that there are hidden dangers in global interdependence. In reality the word "hidden" is probably too strong. Much like the U.S. housing bubble and mortgage craziness a few years back, the Chinese economic crisis was hiding in plain sight. There were many top economists and journalists talking about the China bubble for several years now. I even mentioned their concerns on this blog a few years ago. ( I also mention in that post that global economic turmoil could be a reason for altruistic aliens to make contact.)

I missed this Huffington Post article a while back that showed that world economists are considering what might happen in the wake of First Contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. These are not UFO hunters, but rather serious social scientists. It may be one of the first times I have seen the issue of economic impact of First Contact considered in a thoughtful fashion.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in 2013 was the setting. The group called extraterrestrial contact one of the "unheralded dangers that sneak up on us." The type of economic turmoil would, of course, depend on the type of contact. If we discover evidence of life on far-away planets and that life is not capable of communication, that is one situation. Communication with an extraterrestrial civilization is another. The length of time to communicate with such a civilization is also a factor. With our current science communication with far-off planets would take many years. The amount of information shared, and the speed with which it is shared, will have a big impact on the economic reaction on Earth.

The WEF makes a call for social scientists to take up the issue in a serious fashion. Some global institutions are willing to brave controversy to make a stand. The United Nations should take notice.

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