"For the past few years, a tide of optimistic thinking has held that conditions for human beings around the globe have been improving. Wars are scarcer, poverty and hunger are less severe, and there are better prospects for wide-scale literacy and education. But there are newer signs that human progress has begun to flag. In the face of our environmental deterioration, it’s now reasonable to ask whether the human game has begun to falter—perhaps even to play itself out."


There's also a very good line about how the planetary impacts of today's actions will last longer than human civilization has been around. I can't help but think there are certain issues (probably most issues) that our mental frameworks can't really handle.

On top of pointing the finger at Exxon, the article talks about the role Ayn Rand (and her type of thinking) may have played in this, and I think that that criticism is fair, but the broader question is if it's even possible to get society's feedback loop more in line with what's good for society and not the individual. And, beyond that, more in line with the benefits of long-term thinking over short-term thinking.

The root of conservative resistance here may not just be that certain corporate interests find it more convenient to talk about shifting the bread basket north (thanks, Rex) than engage with the actual issues; it could also be that acknowledging there are issues where Randian I'm-here-to-get-mine-ism breaks down could cause the whole ideological facade to crumble.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Is Exxon really at the root of so much of this, as the writer claims? Seems like it can't possibly be that simple.


a year ago

There's an ideological angle here, but I think a lot of the damage was done over the course of the past few centuries. Why? Because countries tend to put economic growth first, and once developed or developing countries have the option to choose short-term thinking over long-term thinking, it's very likely they'll do so.