The Nation-States of Denial
The Mississippi river is drying up. But not to worry, as this is the low time of year for that river. Rain should return to the Midwest at the end of the year, and the thousands of barges stuck where there is still some water will move again.
That is why this news is not urgent and is being kept on the back pages of our national newspapers. Things are rough for the farmers in the vast agricultural heartland of North America, but things are always rough for farmers.
Take a careful listen to the Wall Street Journal feature linked above, and you will hear about how this affects food prices because shipping costs are skyrocketing. But why did this happen? Because rain didn't fall in the Midwest, as usual, this year. We didn't have enough hurricanes. Wait, what?
I suspect there are people in Florida who would question the definition of 'enough' hurricanes.
But there is no word about the planetary climate disaster that has dried up nearly all major rivers.
The Loire in France broke records in mid-August for its low water levels, while photos circulating online show the mighty Danube, Rhine, Yangtze and Colorado rivers all but reduced to trickles. Source.
Instead, we hear about people searching for treasure on dry riverbeds. That is a distraction, and that is called denial. Or we hear that this is temporary and has happened before. Everything will soon be back to normal. Denial.
The diversity of variables in these disasters creates many potential distractions. We are not dealing with the single, massive disasters we know and love to watch as movies but a matrix of interrelated bad but still normal disasters. They don't destroy the world, and something like normality returns.
Unfortunately, we are dealing with a new normal far more significant than we are willing to imagine. These are not individual regional events but components of hyperconverged disasters. The individual pieces are harmful enough but are now incremental. The cumulative stress on each society's resources is what matters now.
We also maintain separate categories of natural disasters and social disasters. That is dangerous. Hyperconverged disasters have no such distinctions.
How else can you explain the collapse of England as a functional nation-state searching for yet another prime…