Theories on the risk of collapse of industrial civilization



” Theories on the risk of collapse of industrial civilization ” are theories about the risks of imminent decline in the contemporary industrial world that include the extinction of many living species, including mankind, and ‘part of a process of global collapse. These conceptions describe a systemic risk of planetary catastrophes caused directly by its mode of operation. These theories of collapse are not based on direct scientific evidence, but rely on measurable indices and documented studies. The apocalyptic warnings (or the end of the world) are part of an old tradition, but the originality of the current theories is that they are based on scientific facts whose reality is recognized by scientific and institutional reports and expertise, such as those of the Club of Rome, the IPCC, international military authorities, the World Bank and the Davos Forum. In addition, the risks put forward are now based on human activity.

There are several definitions of collapse. According to archaeologists, collapse is a rapid reduction in human population and / or political / economic / social complexity over a large area and a significant duration. The American anthropologist Joseph Tainter, in his book The Collapse of Complex Societies, completes this definition mainly in three points: According to Dennis Meadows, Emeritus Professor Emeritus of the University of New Hampshire in Systems Management ,. To explain this feedback loop, he takes the following example: if the population loses its confidence in the currency, it withdraws its funds from banks, which weakens the banks; which worries the customers who, therefore, withdraw their money even more from the banks, and so on. For the defenders of these theories, the factors contributing to the collapse of industrial civilization have the particularity of being interdependent and global, hence the risk of strong global disruptions in cascade. They are studied most often in environmental, economic, social and cultural fields, based on:

Although the fear of collapse has long accompanied the history of civilizations and some scientists have expressed doubts about the durability of industrial civilization (Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck for example), the first rigorous studies and The notion of collapse applied to industrial civilization came in particular from the Club of Rome. He is commissioning Professor Dennis Meadows of MIT to study the state of natural resources around the world. The latter gave rise to the Meadows Report that the Club of Rome published in 1972 under the title: The Limits To Growth, translated into French by Halte à la croissance? . The peculiarity of this report is that it is based on the method of systems dynamics and on computer simulation models. The World3 model showed that if nothing was done to reverse the trend, a collapse would occur during the first half of the year. The revisions of the 1993 and 2004 reports confirm this prognosis. In 2012, CSIRO’s Australian researcher Graham Turner, compiling UN data, showed that the model had proved accurate and robust, confirming the imminence of a collapse, as well as the appearance of the first signs. In March 2014, a study sponsored by the Goddard Space Flight Center showed that strong economic inequalities and a strong predation of natural resources were two key factors in the collapse of a civilization.

In 1973, the French agronomist René Dumont took the conclusions of the Club of Rome and developed the consequences. In his book “Utopia or death!”, He already evokes, in his own words, “the end of civilization” for the beginning of the. In order to escape it he proposes as tracks: the demographic control; energy savings ; international cooperation with developing countries; soil protection and remediation. He defended his ideas and made them discover the French by appearing in the French presidential election of 1974; he is the first ecologist candidate to run for this election. Moreover, already in 1979, the German philosopher Hans Jonas, in his major work The Responsibility Principle, warns against technological drifts and their likely fatal consequences on nature and humanity, and develops the principle of obligation that we the responsibility to protect future generations. It was in 1986 that appeared the landmark essay, The Society of Risk, the German sociologist Ulrich Beck, in which he criticizes to the extent that.

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