Prophet of Doom is a tough sell, as it always has been. Nobody appreciates a prophet in his own time, I suppose. On the other hand, there’s no need for a prophet in these times: the newspapers are filled with far more economic doom than I can keep up with, much less write about. So this post will focus on my personal approach to an economy rigged to fail.
When you’re on a cruise ship, and you have the only window, and you see a tsunami headed your way, what shall you do? “Good” scientists would plead for research to verify the existence of tsunamis. And they would be rewarded for this action with research funding from fellow scientists. The wonks at the Oil Drum, for example, will be trying to access the internet to argue about whether we’ve passed the oil peak long after the electrical grid fails. On the other hand, I believe informed people — even scientists — should sound the alarm when a threat appears on the horizon. I believe we have an obligation to work toward solutions for individuals and, when appropriate, for society. If that makes me a poor scientist, I can live with it, bearing in mind the famous words of Albert Einstein when he found out about Hiroshima: “If I had known they were going to do this, I would have become a shoemaker.”
Do I want to see it all come down? Personally, no. Like everybody else, I do not want to die young after suffering immensely. But I’m wise enough to see beyond myself, and empathetic enough to give a damn about other cultures and species, and even future generations of our own species.
Thus, I trace the demise of political parties as disparate entities to Reagan’s election in 1980. With the 1980 election, the United States embraced a single ideology: economic growth. Political party no longer mattered because the ideology crossed party lines. And this dangerous ideology absolutely required imperialism.