We are witnessing the end of an era in history spanning half a millennium; the end of Western dominance in geopolitics. For those who understand the role of resources and energy in economics, culture and politics, it comes as no surprise that this shift in global power has an awful lot to do with resource depletion in particular, and overshoot in general — not unlike the many major shifts in human history. What we are facing here is something akin to the fall of the Soviet Union, but this time on steroids, and with global consequences affecting every nation on the planet to boot.
We live in truly remarkable times. Most people born into a middle of an era expect things to continue smoothly, with the past being a reliable guide for the future. Those who have the “fortune” to born into the very last decades of an age tend to think similarly, and fail to recognize that they are witnessing something which future historians (if there will be any) will commemorate as an end to a period, and a beginning of a new era. Perhaps its no exaggeration to say, that what we see here is the collapse of modernity in two acts, the first being the fall of the West.
Let me start with Erik Micheals and his fine blog Problems, Predicaments, and Technology, where he has recently shared an interesting story about us, Rationalizing, Storytelling, and Narrative-Generating Apes. He closed with citing historian Joseph Tainter, author of the book The Collapse of Complex Societies, on how civilizations end. Incidentally, I also closed my last article with a definition and description of civilizational decline, so I think this is a good place to pick up the thread.
…click on the above link to read the rest…