Every nonlinear transformation in history has taken people by surprise. As Alexei Yurchak explains in his book about the collapse of the Soviet Union—Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More—systems look immutable until they suddenly disintegrate. As soon as they do, the disintegration retrospectively looks inevitable. Our system—characterised by perpetual economic growth on a planet that is not growing—will inevitably implode. The only question is whether the transformation is planned or unplanned. Our task is to ensure it is planned, and fast. We need to conceive and build a new system based on the principle that every generation, everywhere has an equal right to enjoy natural wealth.
(As Muse put it in 2012, “an economy based on endless growth is unsustainable.”)
For generations now our planet has been suffering large-scale depredation at the hands of a few who care only about themselves and the short term. Well, the short term is almost up.