Apocalypse, soon

Frank Furedi writes at spiked-online:

One consequence of Western societies’ obsessive preoccupation with the apocalypse-to-come is that less and less creative energy is devoted to confronting the all too important problems that exist in the here and now. Take the global credit crunch unleashed by the sub-prime home loan crisis this year for instance.

In terms of its material impact, this was arguably the most significant event of the year. After more than a decade of economic stability, the world economy faces the threat of a major recession with important implications for people’s lives. This threat may not make an exciting plot for a sci-fi movie, but it has a direct bearing on the quality of life of millions of people. It also raises important questions about an economic system that is so heavily reliant on using fictitious capital to reproduce itself. Unfortunately, however, today’s future-frightened public debate about economics seems more interested in finding ways to transform capitalism into a carbon-free, green-leaning system than in discussing the steps we need to take to minimise the destructive impact of a global recession on people’s lives and aspirations.

He’s cavalier about global warming, and his argument might be stronger if he dealt with the influence of 9-11 on the popular imagination, yet he scores some solid points against the broader phenomena of apocalypse-mongering. Read it all.

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