The Centre for Independent Studies 2010 John Bonython Lecture with Niall Ferguson. Is the rise and fall of empires cyclical or arrhythmic? How does economic profligacy - whether the result of arrogance or naivety - contribute to the downfall of civilisations? Today Professor Ferguson will argue that great powers or empires are in the strict sense of the word, complex systems. Made up of very large numbers of interacting components that are quite asymmetrically organised. In other words, he continues, their construction more resembles a termite hill than an Egyptian pyramid. They operate somewhere between order and disorder. Moreover imperial falls are nearly always associated with fiscal crises, when there are dramatic imbalances between revenues and expenditures. Thus alarm bells should be ringing in Washington DC but what does that for mean for Australia?
Tagged with “collapse” (6)
Neuroscientist and fiction writer David Eagleman presents "Six Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization."
Civilizations always think they’re immortal, Eagleman says, but they nearly always perish, leaving "nothing but ruins and scattered genetics." It takes luck and new technology to survive. We may be particularly lucky to have Internet technology to help manage the six requirements of a durable civilization
Bruce Sterling - reboot 11 closing talk On Favela Chic, Gothic High Tech and where we are heading
Recorded at Webstock 2009
Big economic events — like the one we’re in now — change the map of America. They make winners and losers. They change where we live and work and what we do.
Acclaimed urban theorist Richard Florida says that on the other side of this economic bust, America’s economic geography will be different. Some cities, towns, regions will roar back to new prosperity. Others, he says, may find a reshaped economy passing them by. Some may be history.
With vintage Russian black humor, Orlov described the social collapse he witnessed in Russia in the 1990s and spelled out its practical lessons for the American social collapse he sees as inevitable. The American economy in the 1990s described itself as “Goldilocks”—just the right size—when in fact is was “Tinkerbelle,” and one day the clapping stops. As in Russia, the US made itself vulnerable to the decline of crude oil, a trade deficit, military over-reach, and financial over-reach.
Russians were able to muddle through the collapse by finding ways to manage 1) food, 2) shelter, 3) transportation, and 4) security.
By way of readiness, Orlov urges all to prepare for life without a job, with near-zero burn rate. It takes practice to learn how to be poor well. Those who are already poor have an advantage.