A hundred years ago, markets ruled: fortunes were made, workers abused, bubbles blown. The Austrian School of economists, led by Ludwig von Mises, said this was fine: despite temporary messiness, the market knows best.
During the past weeks, the world’s media have been transfixed by the convulsions of the US and global fi nancial system. At stake are billions in bail-outs and trillions in derivatives. The viability of banks and currencies is threatened, and ultimately the savings and investments of hundreds of millions of ordinary people.
Take relentless population growth. Add decades of expanding per capita resource consumption. Simmer slowly over rising global temperatures. What do you get? Traumatic information. That is, information that wounds us through the very act of obtaining it.
On 12 January, chief scientific adviser Sir David King told the Guardian, ‘any approach that does not focus on technological solutions to climate change – including nuclear power – is one of “utter hopelessness”.’