Why the demise of civilisation may be inevitable

July 6, 2008 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Steve Kurtz for this article. Contemplating the demise of civilization is not for the faint of heart. At least it is fair to say we live in interesting times.

DOOMSDAY. The end of civilisation. Literature and film abound with tales of plague, famine and wars which ravage the planet, leaving a few survivors scratching out a primitive existence amid the ruins. Every civilisation in history has collapsed, after all. Why should ours be any different?

Doomsday scenarios typically feature a knockout blow: a massive asteroid, all-out nuclear war or a catastrophic pandemic (see “Will a pandemic bring down civilisation?”). Yet there is another chilling possibility: what if the very nature of civilisation means that ours, like all the others, is destined to collapse sooner or later?

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