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There some who believe that our global civilization has peaked and we are now beginning the descent into a post-industrial society. "The Long Descent" by John Michael Greer [1] [2] [3] compares our current industrial civilizations to those of ancient Rome, the Mayans, and others. Greer makes several points:

  • We have reached peak oil and other "peaks" are not far behind.
  • Technology will not save us, since it is based on an oil economy.
  • Climate change is linked our technology advance
  • We blew the chance to have alternative energy sources back in the 1970's.
  • Our civilization will not catastrophically fail, rather a bumpy descent called catabolic descent.

Many other share Greer's views and are trying to figure out some way to preserve their own personal security. Some are preparing for an apocalypse by creating bunkers, bug-out huts, etc. The "Zombie Apocalypse" meme could be a humorous way to voice fears of a global collapse of civilization. Survivalism continues to be a popular avocation among some. The new back-to-the-land movement might also be driven by fears of collapse.

Others turn a blind eye to the possibility and continue on: business as usual. Those who are even aware of the descent concept will deny it's possibility stating that technology will find solutions (to energy, food, etc.). Even if the descent theory is not true, it deserves consideration because it is coupled with consumerism, the debt economy, misuse of resources, artificial scarcity, and other topics.

Finally, there is the counter-view that we have the capability to enjoy a society of abundance, perhaps based on a resource economy. The Advanced Civilization group [4]takes this view and documents counter arguments on their website.