The Near Future: A Picture of “Havoc”
We have referred recently to the economist Peter Pogany’s posthumously published new book Havoc, Thy Name is Twenty-First Century which interprets the near future of the Earth and the world economy through the lens of thermodynamics.
This morning I received one of my regular notifications of new articles published at TomDispatch.com (The Nation Institute). Usually, I leave these missives largely unread, but this one, by John Feffer, attracted my attention because it paints a very clear picture of that near future “havoc” that Pogany anticipated in his book.
“On the Verge of the Great Unraveling” is a kind of thought-experiment on that near term future of global havoc. Although it’s likely that Feffer didn’t have Pogany’s book in mind when he wrote it, the article seems itself to be a fitting footnote to the book. Feffer imagines himself as a “geo-paleontologist” writing in 2050, and the article purports to be an excerpt from his study called “Splinterlands”, an experiment in the imagined contemporary history of the Earth and the course of “globalisation” from 2016 to 2050.
Feffer has done a great job of picturing both Pogany’s “havoc” and Jean Gebser’s anticipation of “global catastrophe” in the present dis-integrative tendency of Late Modernity (and if anything, he may have even understated it). There’s quite a bit in it that I could comment upon further, but I believe it to be a fairly accurate characterisation of the ultimate “endgame” of the present Era, if not the culmination of Nietzsche’s anticipated “two centuries of nihilism”.