Reader joebhed provided a link to an interesting paper by this person Soddy from 1921 where he started out in the intro:
"My own point of departure could not be better illustrated than by a quotation from Descartes, and the aspects I propose to examine might well be called Cartesian Economics.
Starting from the forms of knowledge most useful to life, instead of from that speculative philosophy taught in our schools, and knowing the force and processes of fire, the air, the stars and all the other bodies which surround us as distinctly as we know the different occupations of our own workmen, we shall be able to employ them in the same fashion and so render ourselves as the masters and possessors of nature and contribute to the perfection of the human life."So I believe Descartes and later Soddy thought that perhaps because of our ever increasing human knowledge of the physical sciences, we would directly be able to apply this knowledge into "the perfection of human life" and forget philosophy (and perhaps forget faith looks like based on the Soddy quote below).
Soddy then goes on to propose that our political economy could perhaps be best thought of as a "steam-engine", and that all of our economic "problems of life are energy problems":
Let us now leave generalities and concentrate upon the question as to what precisely humdrum mechanical science can contibute to economics. It insists primarily on the fact that life derives the whole of its physical energy or power, not from anything self-contained in living matter, and still less from an external deity, but solely from the inanimate world. It is dependent for all the necessities of its physical continuance primarily upon the prnciples of the steam-engine. The principles and ethics of human law and convention must not run counter to those of thermodynamics. For men, no different from any other form of heat engine, the physical problems of life are energy problems....This is very naive at least in retrospect. I wish this was that easy. In the US today we have PLENTY of energy (we actually WASTE great amounts every day) so whatever is going on, an "energy problem" it is not.
And as for Descartes suggestion that we could one day become "masters of nature" and this would lead us to "the perfection of human life", please spare me!
Earth to Descartes: Humans just sent another unmanned vehicle to the planet Mars which deployed another on board vehicle to roam about this other planet and transmit data back to us here which you can see on your cell phones anywhere you find yourself..... while moron western leaders are all running around back here on earth claiming we are "out of money" and our government issued financial assets represent an impossible inter-generational "debt" transfer.
Our current economic "problems" are certainly not based on a lack of energy being made available to humans or a lack of human technical prowess.