The Crisis of Civilization
A User’s Guide
It often seems that different crises are competing to devastate civilisation. This book argues that financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages need to be considered as part of the same ailing system.
Most accounts of our contemporary global crises such as climate change, or the threat of terrorism, focus on one area or another, to the exclusion of others. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed argues that the unwillingness of experts to look outside their own fields explains why there is so much disagreement and misunderstanding about particular crises. This book attempts to investigate all of these crises, not as isolated events, but as trends and processes that belong to a single global system. We are therefore not dealing with a ‘clash of civilisations’, as Huntington argued. Rather, we are dealing with a fundamental crisis of civilisation itself.
This book provides a stark warning of the consequences of failing to take a broad view of the problems facing the world and shows how catastrophe can be avoided.
First published by Pluto Press (UK) in 2010.
“This is an important book. There has been much discussion already about climate change, peak oil, the cost of food and overpopulation, the global financial crisis busting neoliberal capitalism, the rise of violent extremism, and the containment of the so-called war on terror. But this is the first book to systematically explore their interconnections and place them within a single comprehensive narrative. That makes it a very worthwhile read for policy-makers everywhere.”
Rt. Hon. Michael Meacher MP –
UK Minister of State for the Environment (1997-2003); Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (1975-79); Under-Secretary of State for Industry (1974-75)
“Few thinkers weave as many threads into a tapestry as Nafeez Ahmed has done so superbly in this book. Those of us who seek to operate within the form of capitalism that has evolved today would do well to ask ourselves a very big question. Are we wasting our time? If it is true that only root-to-branch rewriting of the global economic operating manual can save society from an unliveable future, shouldn’t we be putting our weight behind that re-engineering process before it is too late?”
Dr. Jeremy Leggett –
UK Department of Trade & Industry’s Renewables Advisory Board (2002-2006); CEO, Solarcentury, member of UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil & Energy Security; author, Half Gone and The Carbon War
“This is a staggeringly comprehensive bird’s-eye view of the gaping cracks that are appearing in global industrial civilization. Ahmed weaves a context that makes current economic and geopolitical events comprehensible. If you want to understand why the world is coming apart at the seams and what we can do to lay the foundations for a sane, peaceful, and sustainable society, read this book.”
Richard Heinberg – Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute; author, The Party’s Over, Powerdown and Peak Everything
“This important analysis exposes vital truths and challenges much conventional wisdom. It deserves to be widely read.”
Mark Curtis – Research Fellow, University of Strathclyde; former Head of Policy, Action Aid and Christian Aid; former Research Fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs; author, Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World and Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses
“Dense, brilliant and frightening. [Ahmed] has connected the dots… a truly impressive book.”
Bruce L. Fisher, Director, Center for Economics and Policy Studies, State University of New York