Self-Destructive Affluence of the First World: The Coming Crisis of Global Poverty and Ecological Collapse

Author: Smith, Joseph W. and Sandro Positano
This study provides a comprehensive and scholarly introduction to the debate around global apocalypse. The work presents an up-to-date overview of global climatic change, while also addressing challenges from climate change skeptics. Issues discussed include, the limits of scientific knowledge, and the capacity for societies to adapt to environmental challenges.


“ . . . a comprehensive and scholarly contribution to the debate, especially following the collapse of the western banking system and the global recession.” - Prof. Glen Reynolds University of Sunderland

"This is a confronting book. The authors argue that we have already stretched our environment to breaking point and that the collapse of civilization is inevitable. Doubt Them. Argue with them. But read what they have to say." - Prof. Katharine Betts Swinburne University of Technology

"This wise, clear, and beautifully do umented book shows that we can cope with the gathering crises confronting humanity if we keep our eyes open and our brains in gear." - Prof. David Ehrenfeld,Rutgers University

"This timely, indeed urgent, book captures the seriousness and rapidity of global climate change. The authors make a compelling call for action, a call to stop the speculation, vacillation and compromise. But more: it is a call for transforming our thinking. Adequate solutions will not come from within conventional frames. Our big brain, once an asset, but currently becoming a liability, has the unusual capacity to foresee and imagine. Those attributes, and a deeper understanding of the true nature and limits of the world around us, could yet extricate us fronl this unprecedented global threat to humanity's future." - Prof. A.J. McMichael, University of Copenhagen

“. . .stimulating and insightful piece of research and argument.” ­ - Prof. Kevin White, The Australian National University

"Twenty years ago, Francis Fukuyama said history was dead. Now come two new coroners whose inquiry yields the same conclusion, thanks to wholly different diagnosis and autopsy. In this book Joseph Smith and Sandro Positano challenge the capitalist gospel of progress by analyzing its poisonous fruits, while prophesying the worst. They reveal that we are on the brink of extinction, with no chance to reverse a deadly flow. This book forces you to examine what you believe, and why." - Prof. Dennis Rohatyn, University of San Diego

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Ted Trainer
Chapter 1. Introduction- Die Off: The Collapse of Civilization
Our World Burns
The Die Off Thesis
Breakdown and Collapse
Why Worry?
The Argument
Chapter 2. Planetary Overload: Climate Change, Peak Oil and the Environmental Crisis
Introduction: Why Life is More Precarious than Most Think
Planet-Wide Death and Degradation
The Coming of Hell on Earth
The Climate Change Cataclysm
Climate Change and Mass Extinctions
Geoengineering to the Rescue?
Heaven and Earth or Hell on Earth?
Peal Oil
Conclusion: Converging Catastrophes
Chapter 3. Logic Negated: Reason at the End of its Tether
Introduction: Refuting Technological Optimism
Intractable Problems
Can Deduction be Justified?
The Illogic of Logic Revisited
Problems with Logical Validity
The Logical-Semantical Paradoxes
The Refutation of Formal Logic
Quantum Physics and the Inconsistency of the World
The Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, Clash
The Fundamental Impasse: The Limits of the Human Mind
Chapter 4. The Twilight of Environmentalism
Introduction: The Creative Destruction of Civilization?
Empty Tanks and Long Emergencies in a World Made by Hand
Holding Hands in Transition Town
The Long Descent into Chaos
The Myth and Paradox of Community
Chapter 5. Survivalism: “Life” After the Collapse
Survivalism: Welcome to the Nightmare
The Debate on Survivalism
Surviving and Rebuilding
Facing Really Hard Times
Keeping Options Open
The Eco-Refugee
Chapter 6. Conclusion: After the Fall: Post-Philosophical Reflections on the Failure of the Grand Project of Reason