This is true, and worth more thought than it’s received so far.
America’s new court prophet explains:
We live in an increasingly volatile and primal era, in which history is speeding up and liberal democracy is weakening. As Vladimir Lenin wrote, “In some decades, nothing happens; in some weeks, decades happen.” Get ready for the creative destruction of public institutions, something every society periodically requires to clear out what is obsolete, ossified and dysfunctional — and to tilt the playing field of wealth and power away from the old and back to the young. Forests need periodic fires; rivers need periodic floods. Societies, too. That’s the price we must pay for a new golden age. […] If we look at the broader rhythms of history, we have reason to be heartened, not discouraged, by these trends. Anglo-American history over the past several centuries has experienced civic crises in a fairly regular cycle, about every 80 or 90 years, or roughly the length of a long human life. This pattern reveals itself in the intervals separating the colonial Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and World War II. Fast-forward the length of a long human life from the 1930s, and we end up where we are today.
Despite a new tilt toward isolationism, the United States could find itself at war. I certainly do not hope for war. I simply make a sobering observation: Every total war in U.S. history has occurred during a Fourth Turning, and no Fourth Turning has yet unfolded without one.
The dark tide:
Ultimately, democracy itself will be called into question. A remarkably small number of people will be contributing anything in terms of technological progress or economic growth. In the post-work world, the vast majority of people will simply be consumers, passively absorbing increasingly degraded cultural products which cater to their worst instincts. But because of universal suffrage, these masses will still have the political power to direct more public goods their way, even as the entire System becomes financially unsustainable. A major crisis is all but inevitable. …
Greer’s analysis has its questionable idiosyncrasies, but at its level of maximum abstraction it’s hard to contest:
As 2017 dawns, in a great many ways, modern industrial civilization has flung itself forward into a darkness where no stars offer guidance and no echoes tell what lies ahead. I suspect that when we look back at the end of this year, the predictable unfolding of ongoing trends will have to be weighed against sudden discontinuities that nobody anywhere saw coming. We’re not discussing the end of the world, of course; we’re talking events like those that can be found repeated many times in the histories of other failing civilizations.
He systematically underestimates the contribution of unprecedented positive-feedbacks, in the opinion of this blog, but — perhaps ironically — factoring those in only strengthens the broad prognosis. It’s mostly night now.
A little illustrative sang froid:
Naemi has heard all the predictions of the dam’s imminent demise. “Sure, we have problems,” he says. “But the Americans are exaggerating. This dam is not going to collapse. Everything is going to be fine.”
I mean, come on, it’s not as if the 2016 effect could actually escalate.
If this is a realistic left re-emerging, bring it on (it’s a feast of insight and sharp sentences). The conclusion in particular, if a little repetitive, is radically sound:
Under such [impending] conditions, the future of progressive and future-oriented mass politics of the left is very uncertain. […] In a world set on objectifying everybody and every living thing in the name of profit, the erasure of the political by capital is the real threat. The transformation of the political into business raises the risk of the elimination of the very possibility of politics. […] Whether civilisation can give rise at all to any form of political life is the problem of the 21st century.
Depoliticization is the only thing the right should be serious about doing.
A committed Clinton supporter (really) outlines the bright prospects for her administration:
… The rest is just a blur. There was so much violence in so many places across the country. […] Then the stock market crashed. Trillions of dollars were lost, mutual funds tanked, and Occupy Wall Street was instantly revived — in New York City, most spectacularly (the day after the crash, 75,000 people effectively shut down the city south of Chambers Street), but also in other cities and on college campuses across the country. […] The violence escalated from there over the following weeks. And then came martial law. …
(“The State of our Union is Strong.”)
James Lovelock stirs things up in The Guardian:
… The most sensible energy solution would be to cover 100 sq miles of the Sahara in solar panels. “It would supply the whole of Europe with all the energy they needed,” but it won’t happen “because it would be so easy for terrorists to go and bugger it up”. So for now, nuclear energy is the only viable option. […] But all this, he clarifies cheerfully, is more or less academic. “Because quite soon – before we’ve reached the end of this century, even – I think that what people call robots will have taken over.” Robots will rule the world? “Well, yes. They’ll be in charge.” In charge of us? “Yes, if we’re still here. Whether they’ll have taken over peacefully or otherwise, I have no idea.” […] … when Lovelock outlines this vision, his tone is so matter-of-fact that for a moment I wonder if he’s joking. He isn’t. “We’re already happily letting computers design themselves. This has been going on for some time now, particularly with chips, and it’s not going to be long before that’s out of our hands, and we’ll be standing aside and saying, ‘Oh well, it’s doing a good job designing itself, let’s encourage it.’” Computers will develop independent volition and intuition (“To some extent, they already have”) and become capable of reproducing themselves, and of evolving. “Oh yes, that’s crucial. We’ll have a world where Darwin’s working.” Darwinism doesn’t work now? “Oh no, we’ve temporarily turned Darwinism backwards. I mean, we preserve the ones that would not have survived.” […] He pauses, and adds quickly: “Don’t let’s get dangerous on this one. I don’t want this appearing in the Guardian that he just wants all the dumb and the lowlifes wiped out.” …
There’s a complete lack of theoretic elegance — or even basic structure — to this, but it still strikes me as basically right.
The image is over two years old. but I’ve only just seen it (via). The text pinned to it is from February this year, and also makes a solid forecast. The basic direction of capital teleology hasn’t been this pronounced for a century (at least).
Fairly sure this isn’t intended to be funny:
… if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100. […] Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond …