Galley Skills

Skills which, requiring a lot of talent, learning and practice, eventually trap the skilled person into moving in a direction about which he or she has no say. Examples:

1. There are only limited alternatives for an appropriately trained biochemist other than to work in the field of biotechnology.

2. Molecular scientists are likewise drawn into nanotechnology.

3. There is little nuclear physicists can do other than design, build and operate nuclear power stations.

4. The most able economists are able to build mathematical models of the economy which may be more brilliant than they are useful (Reductio ad Absurdum).

At worst, galley skills can elaborate dominant models which threaten to destroy us. You have to be brilliant for your scientific contribution to the current predicament to be truly catastrophic.


Related entries:

Cognitive Dissonance, Sunk Cost Fallacy, Metamorphosis.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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