Collapse

Collapse
Jared Diamond

To be sure, environmental factors have usually played a key role in the collapse of civilizations. But in the end (and after an interminable stop-over in medieval Greenland), most of what Jared Diamond says here boils down to the basic economic conflict between short-term, private interests and long-term, public goods. Given our own predicament, facing a seemingly inevitable “declining standard of living in a steadily deteriorating environment,” we are faced with a stark choice: “At what point do we as individuals prefer to die than to compromise and live?” It’s a question I’ve addressed before (most recently in a review of The Story of Stuff), always coming to a pessimistic conclusion. Diamond, however, finds some slim grounds for hope.