06 March 2006

A Short History of Progress by Roland Wright

A good read. Basically a wake-up call, asking everyone to stop carrying on like our civilization is sustainable. Illustrated with a range of historical case studies in which Wright points at thoughtless progress as the culprit in the collapse of pretty much every collapsed society.

It's hard to argue with this stuff. Wright's work isn't supported by statistics, but the fact is that humans are really bad at making good decisions about the future. This is really what he's on about - we need to stop thinking "it will be okay" and start thinking "what do we need to do right now to keep things under control?"

The depressing part about it all is that we may have missed our chance. Wright thinks we still might be able to save ourselves, but the rate of climate change currently seems to leave the possibility that it's too late. The other problem is, of course, that individuals can't really make much of a difference. Which is not to say that you shouldn't try, but in the end anything I do is going to be irrelevant when compared to the policy decisions made in the USA, Russia, China and India over the next decade or two.

Conclusions? The book is worth a read. Global civiliazation needs improvements.
Filed as:

No comments: