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

By Stuart Sim | Go to book overview

9
Conclusion: A Post- Progress World

The real threat in our current situation is that the political class will consider the credit crunch as constituting merely a brief hiatus in the onward march of modernity, and seek to find new sources of fossil fuel (still, unfortunately, the most reliable and best- developed source of energy we have at our disposal at present) to rebuild the economy – thus continuing the highly dangerous process of global warming. Politically seductive though the prospect may be to a society brought up on the promises of modernity, and still largely under its spell, it has to be recognised that whatever leads to overheating the economy will only succeed in its turn in overheating the planet too: in which case modernity might well be the death of us not just as a culture but as a species. This will be especially so if we do enter into an age of ‘contested modernity’, as Martin Jacques has claimed is imminent with China’s rise. Global warming sceptics notwithstanding, we cannot go on as before once we have crossed over the threshold into after modernity: modes of living based on considerations other than material progress, and the competitive ethic lying behind that, just have to be developed.

This last chapter investigates what such an adjustment to our priorities ought to involve, and how we can respond creatively to the huge challenge this undoubtedly will pose for us. There is considerable scope for philosophers and critical theorists to make a significant contribution here, encouraging us to re- examine what

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I - The End of Modernity? the Cultural Dimension 1
  • 1 - Introduction- the End of Modernity 3
  • 2 - Modernity- Promise and Reality 24
  • 3 - Beyond Postmodernity 38
  • Part II - The End of Modernity? the Economic Dimension 55
  • 4 - Marx Was Right, but … 57
  • 5 - Diagnosing the Market- Fundamentalism as Cure Fundamentalism as Disease 71
  • 6 - Forget Friedman 102
  • Part III - Beyond Modernity 121
  • 7 - Learning from the Arts- Life after Modernism 123
  • 8 - Politics after Modernity 139
  • 9 - Conclusion- a Post- Progress World 161
  • Notes 183
  • Bibliography 205
  • Index 216
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