Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2012, here we come.... (#21)

There's a new movie out in UK cinemas right now, Stephen Sodebergh's Contagion, the subject matter of which is a biological rather than a financial pandemic. I was however interested to hear the director's stated opinion that when the time comes, when thousands if not millions of lives are threatened by some nasty little microbe, we, humanity, will inevitably find a solution.

Broadly the same idea was worked into the teleplay for this week's The Walking Dead (again, not in fact a documentary about a sizeable portion of the world's developed economies) in which a character referred to the zombie apocalypse in rural Georgia as just another one of those blips in human progress which we seem to be able to muddle through.

And this set me thinking how we do seem to have this underlying apprehension that all major problems have some sort of long as we put our thinking caps on and kind of douse them in our collective output of opinion. Yet the euro crisis has all the makings of a properly intractable difficulty.

A last word on the sort of cultural change which might save the day; not, I'm afraid to say, a particularly optimistic word. In Boomerang, Lewis identifies the current euphemism used to describe the kind of miraculous transformation which would make Greek people more like German people: structural reform.

He goes on to point out sagely that this kind of personality about-face can rarely happen quickly enough to be relevant to what actually transpires. I would add that most forms of significant cultural change are organic, which means that individual-level mirror-gazing, combined with promises to be less selfish, myopic, reckless etc. are ultimately akin to attempts to reseed a rainforest by systematically planting individual trees.

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