The End of Modernity: What the Financial and Environmental Crisis Is Really Telling Us

The End of Modernity: What the Financial and Environmental Crisis Is Really Telling Us

The End of Modernity: What the Financial and Environmental Crisis Is Really Telling Us

The End of Modernity: What the Financial and Environmental Crisis Is Really Telling Us

Synopsis

Global financial crisis, global environmental crisis - what connects them? Stuart Sim claims they are both symptoms of the end of modernity, the cultural system that has prevailed in the West from the Enlightenment onwards. In this provocative book, Sim argues that the modern world's insatiable need for technologically driven economic progress is unsustainable, and potentially destructive of the planet and its socio-economic systems. The new landscape this creates - socially, politically, economically, intellectually - is explored through an interdisciplinary approach, providing a wide-ranging assessment of the collapse of modernity and the challenges it poses us. Sim calls for a radical alteration in our world view and for purposeful changes both to our economic and intellectual life: we need to jettison the free market, rein in conspicuous consumption, reinvigorate public service, and develop talents other than the entrepreneurial if we are to reconstruct our society satisfactorily. Key Features • Brings out the broader cultural dimensions of the global financial crisis • Reveals the contradictions at the heart of modernity and its cult of progress • Offers a thought-provoking interdisciplinary analysis of late modernity and its aftermath • Provides a detailed reassessment of the value of postmodern thought in the new cultural situation • Outlines the ideological adjustments we shall have to make in a post-progress world

Excerpt

Financial crisis, environmental crisis: what is the combination of credit crunch and global warming telling us about the way we live? I would contend that such events signal modernity has reached its limit as a cultural form. In consequence, we have to face up to the prospect of life ‘after modernity’ where a very different kind of mental set than the one we have been indoctrinated with will be required. Modernity, my argument will go, has collapsed under the weight of its internal contradictions; the modern world’s insatiable need for technologically driven economic progress has finally been revealed as unsustainable and, even more importantly, potentially destructive of both the planet and the socio-economic systems so painstakingly developed over the past few centuries. We have been encouraged to believe that those systems would roll on into the indefinite future, yielding ever better returns as they went; now, we shall have to think again. In 1989 Francis Fukuyama had proclaimed that the Western system had emerged triumphant from a period of sustained ideological conflict, and that history therefore had ‘ended’. It has, but not in the way he envisaged it: less than two decades later, we can recognise it is modernity as a historical phenomenon that has ground to a halt rather than its competitors. Some commentators are even beginning to speak of ‘the end of the Western world’, warning us that we shall have to plan soon for a very different sort of future than we had been expecting, with a . . .

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