Is this a fair and reasonable prediction?

Right. The part I don’t understand is why did all these leaders all of a sudden start finding success around the same time. It’s not like we’re talking one specific geographic location, one particular religious group, one particular ethnicity or tribe, etc. People in widely varied countries all seemingly went crazy (from my viewpoint) around the same time, and I don’t understand what triggered it. I understand what happened, just not why, which is why I see it as “having gone crazy.”

ETA. The implication is that populism is a dumb strategy for dealing with the problems of the world, and is almost certain to make things worse, likely at a faster rate than even something like not doing anything at all.

And the Religious Wars, also known as the Hundred Years Wars, and the 30 Years War, and the Terror during the French Revolution, and all the shit in Eastern Europe during Communism, and a couple of other more locally circumscribed catastrophes.

I remember 2008 and the ensuing austerity policies as pretty bad. I was not directly affected, but the youth has had no chance since, specially in the South of Europe.

I lived in Berlin (West) in the 80s. Great time to be young! You (the US, together with the UK and France) occupied us and provided security, we partied. I saw East Berlin too, just across the Wall, and it was clear that they would collapse, sooner or later. It was not sustainable. The question was when. When it finally came, in 1989, it happened so fast, even I was surprised. Same thing can happen again. I believe it will. The question is when it starts, but when it does, it can be devastating.
Maybe I’m wrong. Black swans can save us, though they are used as a metaphore in economic sciences for a negative disruption more often than a positive one. Or people will see the light and the better angels of our nature (a book that made me angry, so pollianish!) will prevail. I doubt it. That is not who we are, me included.

I don’t know either, but I suspect the so called social media have played a role (like in the Arab Spring too) and media outlets like Murdock and lobby groups like the Koch Brothers (both as a stand in for a multitude of actors) have become better organised and more influential. Religions are a problem too, but that seems to be normal in times of crisis. Societies have become more complex and interlocked, so a problem somewhere can reverberate farther and with more consequences than before.

They are the primary military force in the northern hemisphere (NA, Western Europe) and I am assuming that global warming is generally going to push people north where climate is better and there is less drout, same as it has been doing to other species.

My perception is that most NATO members haven’t been spending as much of their budget on training and equipping their military as the US does for decades, and Chinese and Russian adventurism near their sphere of influence (South china sea, Eastern Europe) is a result of that.

Right. Nobody with any sort of insight ever thought that any of this would magically smooth out once the pandemic lockdowns ceased. There will be a series of ripples of decreasing magnitude as things adjust and get back to normal. That’s pretty much unavoidable when you have global interdependent just-in-time supply chains. A disruption here causes five more disruptions in other industries, and so on.

But the article author seems to be using all this as a canvas for his personal screed about climate change and sustainability, without really explaining why or how.

I mean, I’m in agreement with him that economies based on sustained growth aren’t sustainable. At some point, the inputs necessary to support the whole thing and keep it growing just aren’t there. But that’s the sort of thing that IMO, isn’t likely to hit all at once; we’ll see it in specific industries and for specific things, as availability decreases and cost rises.

What I see happening isn’t some sort of present-day pandemic logistics issues sliding right into climate change/lack of sustainability fluctuations of the same sort and higher magnitude. I do see the current ones eventually damping out over the next several years, and then we’ll start seeing individual ones that ripple through the global economy as they happen, whether it’s due to overextraction, lack of sustainability, or straight-up climate change. They’re not all going to happen at once; they’ll be spread out over time.

The good news is that unless one of these (or a combination of them) somehow cripple the global economy, it will adapt. This may mean that more inventory is kept, or lead times are calculated differently, or industries are forced to be more efficient, or whatever. I’m not at all convinced we’re facing some sort of collapse of civilization like the chicken-little journalists and dumb-shits on Reddit are saying. We’ll adapt, and things may be different, but it’ll be more gradual than all that hyperbole I suspect.

No member of NATO has spent ever as much on their budget as the United States, and that has been a situation that the US has used to its advantage as an justification for placing and maintaining bases in foreign countries all over Europe. All of the recent whinging about it is ignoring former policy that encouraged this in the past. “Russian adventurism” in the Crimea and the Ukraine is primarily about Vladimir Putin making a big show to the Russian people that post-Soviet Russia is still a superpower even though it really isn’t in any way except for its nuclear arsenal and patron of proxy wars.

NATO has fuck-all to do with containing China (that is what we now have aptly named AUKUS for) and China’s interest in being the dominant regional military power is really tied to ensuring that its status as the primary economic superpower, something the US actively contributed in by giving China “Most Favored Nation” trading status back during the Carter Administration and since maintained regardless of concerns about massive human rights violations.


Yes climate change is going to hit us hard. There will be war, famine, floods, plague the whole nine yards. But humanity will adapt and wherever we end up will be the new normal and we will get used to it. It will be a big step back, life is going to be significantly worse than it is now, but it will still be better than it was for over 99% of human history, unless the climate wars lead to nuclear armageddon.

I think Covid is a shining example of just how adaptable we are. Despite all the denialist anti maskers, anti vaxers we are actually doing remarkably well. If I was told two years ago that there would be a massive plague that killed 1-3% of those it infected, I would assume that we would be looking at 1-3 million deaths by now. I would not have expected that we would have everyone shifting from work to home, and generally wearing masks when they go out, that a year later we would have a vaccine, and have 188 million fully vaccinated.

SARS-CoV-2 has an infection fatality rate of less than 1% for the 64 year old and under brackets; it only exceeds 1% at 65 and above. We are actually approaching 5 million dead worldwide, which is actually an understatement, possibly by a factor of 2. Although in comparison to pre-21st pandemics (smallpox, polio, yellow fever, typhus, Spanish flu) we’re doing okay, but in absolute terms of preventable deaths we’re actually doing quite badly with many nations and local regions doing very little to contain the spread of contagion and overall denialism of factual information and data.

We are, of course, doing approximately fuck-all to even prepare for expected impacts of climate change such as prepared for mass migrations or shifting to more robust agricultural systems, much less taking substantial efforts to curb emissions and prevent climate conditions from veering toward the “Much Worse” predictions. Aside from dog-and-pony shows of carbon capture and sequestration (CC&S) and extracting an insignificant fraction of atmospheric carbon out of the air at enormous cost, most nations aren’t even making “Potemkin village” efforts to prepare for or ameliorate the effects of climate change, and many nations are essentially thumbing their nose at the “naysayers” warning of the impacts predicted by increasingly well-validated global climate circulation models and satellite-based global temperature data.

The notion that people will be living “better than it was for over 99% of human history,” assumes the Hobbsian “nasty, brutish, and short” view of life in pre-Industrial civilizations even though archeological evidence shows generally different circumstances. The optimist perspective is often used as justification for not doing anything today, which is a toxic and self-undermining approach to what is potentially the most radical existential hazard that humanity has faced within written history.


Good death rate data is hard to find I settled on this one.

My point is that we managed so self impose a massive change in culture, lifestyle and expectations in just a couple of months as a result of changing circumstances, and settled down to a new normal. As circumstances change over the coming decades we will adapt as best we can. I’m not saying its not going to be bad, death tolls in the billions is possible, But it won’t be a sudden change from one dynamic to the other. It will be a slow accumulation of individual crises each of which we will do our best to mitigate and will come to accept as normal until the next one hits. The better we can do to in terms of mitigating climate change the easier the fall and the better off our landing spot. The above analysis in no way excuses inaction. But given human nature I think its pretty clear we will do fuck all until the shit is actually in contact with the blades of the fan, and only then with regard to the individual pieces of shit flying back as us.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mortality Rate
Last updated: May 14, 22:00 GMT

That is, May 14, 2020.