The Automatic Earth: is one of my favourite hangouts and has been for a long time. They have been ahead of the economic game for years and right now they are coming under fire because they refuse to resile from their hard line of "it ain't over, not by a long shot".
But in defending their position Illargi touches on something so fundamental that it gives me the shivers to read it. I once suggested to my niece that there is a serious question whether our species is amny smarter than yeast and so far the outlook is not good. But this one nails it. The one fatal trait
People are by nature so hugely biased against the possibility of bad things happening to them, they'll all sign up for the first soothsayer with a story that uses the appropriate words. They’ll choose short-term gratification over the prospect of long-term hardship any time, any day. It matters little to nothing what tomorrow brings, as long as tonight the booze and the music's good enough to make them forget, and to evoke memories of better days.
And the morning after, they'll go look for another smooth voice. If it weren't like that, no-one could ever sell a second-hand car again. Or a good book. Or a detergent or a president. Regardless of the limits the world around us places on us, our hopes and dreams know no limits. That is a beautiful thing, as long as you put it in the right (re:smooth) words.
It also means, however, that we cannot put limits on ourselves, on what we do; maybe as individuals, but not as a species, not as a force of nature. The same need for comfort and redemption that makes us follow the circus, is the one that makes us penetrate ever deeper into the few corners of the world we haven't seen yet, and drag out of those corners what could make us belive that the clown, Bernanke, is our savior.
We can't help it, it’s what we are. There are exactly zero species on the planet that have been outfitted with an inbuilt limiter, and we are no exception. We will continue until the planet, the system, whatever you want to call it, imposes such limits on us. There has never been a need for nature to make species stop themselves, it's the one fatal trait that would destroy the driving force behind evolution.
The driving force behind evolution is the acceptance of species' extinction as the environment changes and the ecological niches shift. As we refuse to confront climate change, as we choose to squint at peak oil and especially as we sprinkle pixie dust on the economic blunders its disheartening in an existential way, to consider that this mad rush at the wall is hard wired.