Saturday, December 31, 2011

The world in 2012

The climate in 2012 I am traveling to Bulgaria to celebrate New Year Eve and since I calculated to spend six hours traveling I got myself a copy of The Economist's The World in 2012. 24 hours later I am still traveling and so i could read it twice if I wanted. Which I might. The Economist is one of my favorite English language publications, and I am a big fan of the way the combine insight with a great prose. This time I feel a little let down. The 2011 I lived through was a year not so much of politics as of deep transformations. It was climate change, peak oil and #occupywallstreet. We have yet to see what comes out of that movement, and I did not expect the Economist to sympathize with a movement saying that the interest of 1% is contrary to that of 99%. But I was eager to read some analysis of the return of street politics in the western world. There was none, just a one sentence speculation that US Left wing populism might gt violent in 2012. Did they use a NYPD white shirt officer to edit the paper, or what?
Demonstration on October 17, 1905 by Ilya Repin (adumbration 1906)
Peak Oil is discussed in one article, that actually hopes that OPEC will use its influence to lower oil prices and boost global growth. Are there people at the Economist who actually believe that the current oil prices are inflated by greedy sheiks? During my 2011 countries like Saudi Arabia struggled to meet demand, and will continue to do so in 2012. As for climate change, the treatment of the issue was disheartening. The buzz phrase was sprinkled over the text were appropriate, but in every occasion described as a political choice, e.g. what will it mean for UK politics when the government tries to curb co2 emissions? That is a valid question, of course, but not at all what I expected from the Economist. If someone accepts climate change as a reality, it is also clear that it will have tremendous effect on all kinds of social and economical life. Floods might disrupt industries, or new crops can become profitable. An initiated analysis of how climate change will affect the global economy would be among the most relevant reading right now. How sad that the Economist fails to deliver that. The writers seem to presume that business and politics can exist somehow independently of the physical world they exist in, something that they know very well is not true. But I guess some graphs predictions about how severe weather will affect the US economy would cause furore, and anger the papers' readership. In publishing, you give the people what the people wants.

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