A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation

And How to Save it

A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation

It often seems that different crises are competing to devastate civilization. This book argues that financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages need to be considered as part of the same ailing system. Most accounts of our contemporary global crises such as climate change, or the threat of terrorism, focus on one area, or another, to the exclusion of others. Nafeez Ahmed argues that the unwillingness of experts to look outside their specialisations explains why there is so much disagreement and misunderstanding about particular crises. This book attempts to investigate all of these crises, not as isolated events, but as trends and processes that belong to a single global system. We are therefore not dealing with a "clash of civilizations," as Huntington argued. Rather, we are dealing with a fundamental crisis of civilization itself. This book provides a stark warning of the consequences of failing to take a broad view of the problems facing the world.

Failing States, Collapsing Systems

BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence

Failing States, Collapsing Systems

This work executes a unique transdisciplinary methodology building on the author’s previous book, A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save it (Pluto, 2010), which was the first peer-reviewed study to establish a social science framework for the integrated analysis of crises across climate, energy, food, economic, terror and the police state. Since the 2008 financial crash, the world has witnessed an unprecedented outbreak of social unrest in every major continent. Beginning with the birth of the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring, the eruption of civil disorder continues to wreak havoc unpredictably from Greece to Ukraine, from China to Thailand, from Brazil to Turkey, and beyond. Yet while policymakers and media observers have raced to keep up with events, they have largely missed the biophysical triggers of this new age of unrest – the end of the age of cheap fossil fuels, and its multiplying consequences for the Earth’s climate, industrial food production, and economic growth. This book for the first time develops an empirically-ground theoretical model of the complex interaction between biophysical processes and geopolitical crises, demonstrated through the analysis of a wide range of detailed case studies of historic, concurrent and probable state failures in the Middle East, Northwest Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. Geopolitical crises across these regions, Ahmed argues, are being driven by the proliferation of climate, food and economic crises which have at their root the common denominator of a fundamental and permanent disruption in the energy basis of industrial civilization. This inevitable energy transition, which will be completed well before the close of this century, entails a paradigm shift in the organization of civilization. Yet for this shift to result in a viable new way of life will require a fundamental epistemological shift recognizing humanity’s embeddedness in the natural world. For this to be achieved, the stranglehold of conventional models achieved through the hegemony of establishment media reporting – dominated by fossil fuel interests – must be broken. While geopolitics cannot be simplistically reduced to the biophysical, this book shows that international relations today can only be understood by recognizing the extent to which the political is embedded in the biophysical. Although the book offers a rigorous scientific analysis, it is written in a clean, journalistic style to ensure readability and accessibility to a general audience. It will contain a large number of graphical illustrations concerning oil production data, population issues, the food price index, economic growth and debt, and other related issues to demonstrate the interconnections and correlations across key sectors.

Genocidal Nightmares

Narratives of Insecurity and the Logic of Mass Atrocities

Genocidal Nightmares

This book offers a novel and productive explanation of why 'ordinary' people can be moved to engage in destructive mass violence (or terrorism and the abuse of rights), often in large numbers and in unexpected ways. Its argument is that narratives of insecurity (powerful horror stories people tell and believe about their world and others) can easily make extreme acts appear acceptable, even necessary and heroic. As in action or horror movies, the script dictates how the 'hero' acts. The book provides theoretical justifications for this analysis, building on earlier studies but going beyond them in what amount to a breakthrough in mapping the context of mass violence. It backs its argument with a large number of case studies covering four continents, written by prominent scholars from the relevant countries or with deep knowledge of them. A substantial introduction by the UN's Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide demonstrates the policy relevance of this path-breaking work.

The Long Descent

A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age

The Long Descent

SeattleOil.com The Internet writings of John Michael Greer - beyond any doubt the greatest peak oil historian in the English language - have finally made their way into print. Greer fans will recognize many of the book's passages from previous essays, but will be delighted to see them fleshed out here with additional examples and analysis.The Long Descent is one of the most highly anticipated peak oil books of the year, and it lives up to every ounce of hype. Greer is a captivating, brilliantly inventive writer with a deep knowledge of history, an impressive amount of mechanical savvy, a flair for storytelling and a gift for drawing art analogies. His new book presents an astonishing view of our society's past, present and future trajectory--one that is unmatched in its breadth and depth. Reviewed by Frank Kaminski Wired.com The Long Descent is a welcome antidote to the armageddonism that often accompanies peak oil discussions. "The decline of a civilization is rarely anything like so sudden for those who live through it" writes Greer, encouragingly; it's "a much slower and more complex transformation than the sudden catastrophes imagined by many soical critics today." The changes that will follow the decline of world petroleum production are likely to be sweeping and global, Greer concludes, but from the perspective of those who live through them these changes are much more likely to take gradual and local forms. Reviewed by Bruce Sterling Americans are expressing deep concern about US dependence on petroleum, rising energy prices, and the threat of climate change. Unlike the energy crisis of the 1970s, however, there is a lurking fear that now the times are different and the crisis may not easily be resolved. The Long Descent examines the basis of such fear through three core themes: Industrial society is following the same well-worn path that has led other civilizations into decline, a path involving a much slower and more complex transformation than the sudden catastrophes imagined by so many social critics today. The roots of the crisis lie in the cultural stories that shape the way we understand the world. Since problems cannot be solved with the same thinking that created them, these ways of thinking need to be replaced with others better suited to the needs of our time. It is too late for massive programs for top-down change; the change must come from individuals. Hope exists in actions that range from taking up a handicraft or adopting an “obsolete” technology, through planting an organic vegetable garden, taking charge of your own health care or spirituality, and building community. Focusing eloquently on constructive adaptation to massive change, this book will have wide appeal.

Culture and Civilization

Cosmopolitanism and the Global Polity

Culture and Civilization

This volume of Culture and Civilization focuses on cosmopolitanism, the global polity, and political ramifications of globalization. The introduction by Gabriel R. Ricci establishes context and provides an overview of the entire work. Topics include the history of globalization, climate change policy, ecological consequences of development, concepts of civilization, human rights, Eastern thought and economics, global citizenship, and travel writing. Within this collection, Carl J. Strikwerda argues that the first era of globalization in modern times was marked by global migrations patterns. Pablo Iannone's history of the Andean oil rush and its ecological consequences looks at the processes of development. Brett Bowden argues that civilization entails both progress and war. J. Baird Callicott provides a philosophical analysis of a moral theory that accommodates spatial and temporal scales of climate change, Sanjay Paul analyzes the United Nations Global Compact, and Ed Chung discusses the role of economic theory in business schools. Colin Butler reflects on E. F. Schumacher's "Buddhist Economics," while Taso Lagos relates parallel polis to the idea of global citizenship. Tony Burns examines the ways in which Aristotle, Hegel, and Kant have been interpreted. Finally, Adam Stauffer explores Charles Warren Stoddard's work South-Sea Idyls. This volume of Culture and Civilization, the first under Ricci's editorship, follows the tradition of the previous four volumes - developing critical ideas intended to produce a positive intellectual climate, one that is prepared to confront challenges and alert us to the opportunities, for people in all fields and of all faiths, of the twenty-first century.

Psychological Cold War

An Intelligence Report

Psychological Cold War

Ian Dunbar was born in Margate, England, in 1936 and educated at Gillingham Grammar School and Aberdeen University. He graduated M.B.Ch.B. in 1961. His clinical interest was in the problems of general medical practice. Investigations took him first to Canada where he practiced in Regina and later to the Distant Early Warning Line in the Arctic. In effect, this was the military front line of the Cold War. After returning to Britain in December 1965 he became a partner in an NHS practice in West London where he witnessed the ferment of the 'swinging sixties'. He later moved to Kent but retired from active clinical practice in 1973 because of the increasing erosion of clinical freedom brought about by the 1969 Health Service reforms. In 1974 he worked on a Middle East oil field becoming acquainted not only with Palestinian refugees but also the clash of Western and Muslim cultures. As an amateur anthropologist, he explored several of the subcultures in contemporary society and in 1976 spent a month in Brazil visiting Sao Paulo, Goiania and Brasilia. An interest in the psychotoxicity of drugs led to his most important discovery. Political abuse of the subtle side-effects of cannabis and the contraceptive pill were being deployed to promote intellectual Socialism and bring about the collapse of capitalism. This created an unrecognised psychological aspect to the Cold War. This monograph outlines how it was done.

Systems Research for Real-World Challenges

Systems Research for Real-World Challenges

In a complex and changing world, current scientific approaches to problem solving have drastically evolved to include complexity models and emerging systems. Breaking problems into the smallest component and examining its position inside a system allows for a more regulated and measured technique in investigation, discovery, and providing solutions. Systems Research for Real-World Challenges is an essential reference source that explores the development of systems philosophy, theory, practice, its models, concepts, and methodologies developed as an aid for improving decision making and problem solving for the benefit of organizations and society as a whole. Featuring coverage on a broad range of topics such as complexity models, management systems, and economic policy, this book is ideally designed for scientists, policy makers, researchers, managers, and systematists seeking current research on the benefits and approaches of problem solving within the realm of systems thinking and practice.

World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook

A Reference Handbook

World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook

This book provides a historical background for the world's current energy problems, describing how the Industrial Revolution has led us to the impending end of the "Age of Fossil Fuels," and describes possible solutions for averting a global crisis. • A bibliographic chapter devoted to print and electronic resources on the topic useful to readers interested in continuing their research on world energy issues • Profiles of individuals and organizations with special interests in the world energy crisis • 20 tables providing relevant data, such as a list of the years various countries hit "peak oil" (the maximum amount of oil produced in a single year) • Primary documents relating to the world energy crisis

Crisis and Renewal of Civilizations

The 21st Century Crisis of Ideas and Character

Crisis and Renewal of Civilizations

This book expands on the primary assumption that the human brain is a sense and purpose producing organ; we use it to understand and guide us through chaotic realities in order to impact the course of events and ourselves. Humanity's future will be a direct result of what our brains permit us to do, and this is the reason why understanding how the brain functions is so important to promote its best utilisation. We need to learn how to better benefit from the human brain's innate tendency to establish new connections, which could promote flights of creativity and imagination. A unique feature of the human brain is that it is both diversified and united, allowing for a variety of sensory and expressive functions and, at the same time, for cohesive and purposeful behavior. Our mind's cohesiveness breaks down in the brain's pathological conditions, or in conditions of severe stress and deprivation. Examples of crisis observed throughout history can be understood as a projection by our collective mind of pathological states on reality. Put simply, the human mind is unable to make sense of circumstances to assure stability and continuity. It is obvious that we struggle both to separate and unify ourselves, and that every war or social disruption ultimately ends in peace and the temporary restoration of order and stability.

To Live and to Die: When, Why, and How

To Live and to Die: When, Why, and How

In the 1960's marked changes occurred throughout the world in philosophies and policies related to man's role in life. These changes, prompted predominantly by extensive increases in knowledge and popula tion density, have produced increased pleasures as well as problems. The rising number of people and improved methods of communication and transportation have caused more relationships among people, with their pleasures, competitions, jealousies, conflicts of interest, oppressions, and crimes. Large assortments of drugs have been developed and are easily obtained. There are drugs to speed us up, slow us down, make us sleep, change our perspectives on life, promote propagation of life or prevent it, prolong life or terminate it, and modify the course of life in many ways. Also, numerous mechanical devices have been developed that influence the propagation of life, the termination of life, and the manner in which we live. Many people have changed their overall goals in life, and in par ticular have experienced major changes in attitudes and policies applying to sexual activity, marriage, birth control, abortion, welfare, children, old people, criminals, economics, social status, careers, education, euthanasia, and suicide. There also has been marked enlightenment concerning the effect of the chemical and physical status of the brain upon normal and abnormal thinking and behavior.