Friday, June 16, 2006

Waiting for the lights to go out...

Considering that it was published in one of the more respected and conservative of papers, the London Times, this article is shockingly on-point, well written, and wide-ranging:

Waiting for the Lights to Go Out

Here's a short quote: "If Huebner and Jones are right, our problem goes way beyond Windows. For if innovation is the engine of economic progress — and almost everybody agrees it is — growth may be coming to an end. Since our entire financial order — interest rates, pension funds, insurance, stock markets — is predicated on growth, the social and economic consequences may be cataclysmic."

Not a new article (October, 2005), but I just noticed the link today at The Oil Drum. An excellent read--it may not cover much new ground, but it is a very accessible synopsis of the problems that humanity is facing. My only complaint is that it doesn't mention Joseph A. Tainter's "Collapse of Complex Societies," which if you haven't read, go buy a copy TODAY.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

First, he makes the crucial concession that, though a society may progress, individuals don't. Human nature does not progress at all. Our aggressive, tribal nature is hard-wired, unreformed and unreformable. Individually we are animals and, as animals, incapable of progress. The trick is to cage these animal natures in effective institutions: education, the law, government. But these can go wrong. "The thing that scares me," he says, "is that these institutions can misfire."

ew. yeah, it is a well written article, but there are some fundamental faults of assumption, like that, above, combined with the 2nd or 3rd paragraph waxing romantic about how much better off we are than our stone-age ancestors. ?

neighbor.

Oh, hey Jeff - any chance the links to archives might someday be fixed? I'd like to read your past stuff, too....

Jeff Vail said...

Good points neighbor--certainly not a perfec article. I was just blown away by the open discussion of these "fringe" topics in the London Times...

As for the archive link problems, I appologize, both for not noting this earlier in response, and for not getting it fixed. I really wish that I knew how to fix the problem, but right now Blogger and I are engaged in battle over making it do what it is supposed to do! I've tried re-publishing the blog, changing the archive settings and then changing them back, etc., but no luck. I will keep giving it a go, but in the mean time your best bet it to either use the search bar on my site, or go to google (or similar) and do a site search...search for site:jeffvail.net, or just use this URL: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3Ajeffvail.net&btnG=Google+Search

Sorry!

Jeff Vail said...

OK, it looks like the archives pages are now fixed (my fault, as expected--an incorrect FTP file path).

Anonymous said...

oh, hey, that's great! I'll be off for a while, reading :-)

Yeah, I probably hadn't given enough credit for the fact that it was intended for a general audience; and I'd forgotten that a lot of people actually think that way and may need an introduction to the idea that glorious progress is questionable. I guess I've gotten kind of myopic lately, reading ONLY things that are on-topic for culture change, with only a little MSM thrown in there for details on current news.

Thanks for your work on this site - your clarity and depth of research make for a great read - one which I find educational.

neighbor