Western Collapse Slow Motion Suicide Moves To Fast Mode
By: Andrew McKillop
Mar 11, 2012
WESTERN CIVILIZATION DECLINE – OR FALL ?
This was a great refreshing read, written by Niall Ferguson, making the point that civilizations tend to decline very fast at their end, like the value of a put/call option as it nears expiry. It is easy to agree with Niall Ferguson but its also easy to disagree, especially as we get down inside his article in MO:
MULTIPLE CAUSES – ONE RESULT
Niall Ferguson says this about environmental and resource collapse: ‘The notion that civilizations do not decline but collapse inspired the anthropologist Jared Diamond’s 2005 book, Collapse. But Diamond focused, fashionably, on man-made environmental disasters as the causes of collapse. As a historian, I take a broader view. My point is that when you look back on the history of past civilizations, a striking feature is the speed with which most of them collapsed, regardless of the cause’.
That is true, but treating man-made environmental disasters as only a fashionable notion, not a prime driver of civilization collapse is wrong: these disasters have a long lineage and track record in causing collapse. Every time, the collapse is man-made. As the number of men and women increase – at about 75 million a year at present – the potential number and range of man-made collapses can only increase, and does increase. The plaintive and fragile populationist argument that for every 100 million extra human beings we get 1 new Einstein ignores the fact we need enough more food, energy, bioresources and other materials for all of them, including the extra Einstein. Some 900 million persons on the planet, using UN FAO data, do not eat enough today and every day, and this is good proof we are failing. But who cares ? We have iPhones, rejoice !