Jakob Sedig (Reich Lab, Harvard) and I wrote an op-ed on the current crises/opportunities that are impacting and spreading across the planet at this moment. You can read it here: The past holds lessons, not warnings, about our current Global Crises.
The short version is that we wrote this after watching a lot of people sounding off about how these are all evidence of impending “collapses” etc.. Jakob and I both work on the archaeology of periods that were incredibly trying and traumatic, but many of these periods showed tremendous innovations in social practices that led to healthier, sustainable, and more just social systems, so we wrote this as a counter to the “fall of humanity” narratives we were seeing from some classicists, historians, and archaeologists re: the Covid-19 pandemic.
Then, while we were shopping this piece around that discusses how these types of crises can be triggers for massive movements towards social justice, the 2020 Uprisings began. So, I think, as we say, these lessons can be valuable. But the main point of the op-ed, besides that yelling “collapse” on a crowded planet should be frowned upon and that person should be required to get a tattoo on their forehead that reads “I implicitly believe in the progressive Band/Tribes/Chiefdoms/States Model”, is that while those looking to increase equability in social systems can use these triggering events to do so, they’re also simultaneously being used by those looking to strengthen their grip on the controls. Naomi Klein has called this disaster capitalism. And we’re seeing that in rampant effect in the US right now.
We’re also watching folks liberalize the Uprisings, and the concurrent decrease in the destruction of property of the protests, to effectively rewire the media, and thus the public’s gaze, away from the protests and on to new topics that aren’t as dangerous to the foundations of power that so many of the folks that control the media and politics in this country stand on. Or are supported by at least.
Anyways, please read. And I hope you enjoy.