Someone recently told me that I needed to change my attitude about the world. Apparently, it would behoove me to think more positively about humanity, that things will inevitably work out, that the universe unfolds as it should.
Well, the universe does unfold as it should, but not in the positive way you may think. According to a new study that’s soon to be published in ‘Ecological Economics’, our industrial civilization, like the many civilizations that came before us, is inevitably doomed to fail.
Why we needed a study on this is anyone’s guess. After all, anyone can chart the downward spiral of our civilization based on Snooki’s cameo on last week’s episode of ‘Supernatural’.
The author of this study, Safa Motessharrel, states “The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”
Sure, you can look at these great empires as evidence of the inevitable downfall of civilization, but another piece of evidence, I would argue, is what happened to the real planet Earth on ‘Battlestar Galactica’. Bam. Safa, I just saved you years of research and introduced you to the joys of binge-watching.
Motesharrel believes that there are two key reasons why civilization to doomed to fail. One is “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity” and the other reason is “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”)[poor]”.
Hm… I don’t see any Cylons, zombies or reality TV as a reason. That’s no fun.
Based on my understanding, Motessharrel is saying that society is going to ‘Les Miserables’ itself. There won’t be enough resources and the poor will either become or resent the rich.
Montessharrel used a model known as HANDY, or Human And Nature Dynamics, that looks at the relationship between populations and resources available. He mathematically created several scenarios of civilization collapses. For example, if the entirety of the masses were to become members of the Elite, the scarcity of workers would occur and the collapse of civilization would happen in roughly 250 years. There are many other scenarios as well and they all seem to equal to some type of inevitable doom. Cool!
If this post is coming across as bad news for you and your future generations, just know that Montesharrel does argue that there is a way to avoid this disaster. “Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”
So… are you telling me that all we need to do is share and recycle and the collapse of civilization can be avoided? That seems easy enough. Hm. Maybe I do need an attitude adjustment.