Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Civilizations die from suicide..."


For Toynbee, a civilization might or might not continue to thrive, depending on the challenges it faced and its responses to them.

When a civilization responds to challenges, it grows. Civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and the civilizations then sank owing to nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority. Toynbee argued that "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder."

The economic solution of the past 30 years -- the continuous concentration of income and continuous increase of debt -- was never a sustainable solution. The growth of debt and the concentration of income are self-destructive: Neither can last indefinitely. Toynbee would not have accepted these economic policies as a "creative" response.

1 comment:

The Arthurian said...

From A Special Report on Debt at The Economist:

"Borrowing has been the answer to all economic troubles in the past 25 years. Now debt itself has become the problem..."

Really? Who would ever have thought such things?

Anyway, I offer the quote as evidence that the growth of debt was seen as a solution, and that this solution did turn out to be unsustainable.

Not a creative response.