10 December 2008
I came across Money and the Crisis of Civilization a couple of days ago, and I've found myself going back to it a couple of times. It's a simple explanation of why the current economic system cannot be sustainable and offers an unconventional approach for dealing with it. One sentence in particular resonates with me: In the meantime, anything we do to protect some natural or social resource from conversion into money will both hasten the collapse and mitigate its severity. The thrust of the article is that we'd all be better off if we were poorer rather than richer. I've been saying the same thing myself, though not nearly as directly. I've been feeling ambivalent about the collapse of industrial civilization because I had been operating under the assumption that people will get hurt in the decline. But what this article puts into perspective for me is that people will suffer if things continue the way they are. And of course I knew that already, but I'm giving myself permission to resume my civilization death watch as an interested observer of historic transition rather than fearful victim. After all, if I'm going for a ride, I might as well pay attention and have a good look around.