Planning Out the End


“The idea that economics will aid us in thinking through the problem of the destruction of the natural world… commits us to the assumption that our world ought to be governed and guided by technicians. It is part of the thinking that says, “If only the politicians would listen to what we scientists have to say!… The scientists will save us if only we’d listen to them, respect their authority, follow their instructions.”

They can maintain this while gloriously ignoring the fact that the world we presently inhabit was conceived by science, designed by engineers, and implemented by technicians. It starts with the rapidly beating heart of the four-stroke engine inside your automobile, and then radiates out in what is laughably called urban planning, the world as designed for the convenience of the automobile …  Of course, behind all this there is the global energy infrastructure, burning off methane waste, spilling its toxic cargo on land and shore, and destroying the people who have been cursed with “oil wealth.” Looming over everything, guaranteeing it, is the grim visage of the warrior, the global oil police known as the military…”

Curtis White in an article on “sustainability’s seemy underbelly” at Tin House. (via Harper’s)

Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →