Saturday, February 21, 2009


Collapse Collapse Collapse

Collapse is the in topic this year - with climate change, peak oil, the credit crunch, the oncoming recession, terrorism, etc. etc. people are primed to talk about collapse:

Bruce Sterling: 2009 Will Be a Year of Panic, and he lays out seven domains in which we're still deep in delusion, giving us plenty of reason to think that things are going to get worse before they get better. I especially like his comment about climate change: "Unlike mere shibboleths of finance, this is a situation that's objectively terrifying and likely to remain so indefinitely."

Kevin Kelly: The Technium: Collapsitarians, he documents six different breeds of collapsitarians. Clearly I'm part Conservationist and part critic of American super-power-dom.

Barry Schwartz: The real crisis? We stopped being wise. Both regulation and incentives (the stuff Obama is doing) have nefarious secondary effects, resulting in the erosion of virtue. Our task should be returning to wisdom... doing the right things because it's the right thing to do.

Dimitry Orlov: spoke at Long Now last week, I was there and it was an awesome combination of 'collapsitarianism' and Russian black humor. He mentioned three essay's that he published: Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century, Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US, The Five Stages of Collapse.

KMO: C-Realm Podcast, interviewing people about the coming collapse (among many other things) for years now.

My views on collapse? Fairly moderate, compared to some of the above. I think we're in for a pretty good depression in the US, which will trigger large public works projects by Obama. He'll do the massive renewable energy overhaul America needs. Technology will continue to advance - providing new industries which do most of the heavy lifting into the next boom cycle. The US Federal government is going to have to cut back on military investment/adventures for a decade or more - reducing it's military advantage somewhat compared to rapidly advancing nations such as China. Climate change will start having serious effects by the time Obama is out of office - especially precipitation and snow pack - parts of the US and China will start to suffer like Australia. Overall I'd say my views do not approach collapse - I am confident in the continued human ability to "muddle through".

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