End of the world

End of the world (Photo credit: ~FreeBirD®~)

RT reviews at least 14 “The End of …”-Stories:

Before 2000, only a few books used “The End of …”  as title, but then it started to come out ever more frequently and flooded the market from history to economics, politics, psychology, biology….you name the field there is an “The End of …” – Story. Most have a subtitle with a question mark, telling us: well if you listen to me, perhaps we can avoid that end. What a farce.

Well, the end of what? Take your pick. It all started in 1989 with Francs Fukuyama’ s “The End of History”, which came out as an essay in the National Review and – after praised and criticized –  ended as big book, telling us that after the fall of the Berlin Wall the world was bound to move towards freer markets and freer people, i.e. towards liberal democracies. He was careful enough not to set a time, so we better keep checking in this century if that is going to happen or not.

Last things in, first things out. Just published in April 2013: “The End of Sex” by Donna Freitas. Oh, my God, after we just read “The End of Men” by Hanna Rosin in 2012, this is really serious. What has the world come to? Rosin lets us know, not all is lost yet, “while the modern economy is the place where women hold the cards,” she admits that male power is far from over. As to sex, we are following Freitas through her field study in colleges, where the large majority are telling here about bad and boring sex, drunken and you don’t remember sex. Are we supposed to feel sorry for those spoiled kids and generalize from those experiences? I hope not. So why not reading the “End of Courtship” by Alex Williams, also published earlier this year. May be we can learn from that.

What about politics? With confrontation and infighting instead of compromise and action in the US and Europe, you should expect the experts coming out with their confessions and advice. Based on his own experience and interviews with the powerful of the world, assembling in Davos and elsewhere, Moises Naim considers “The End of Power” arguing quite convincingly that the limits to political power have been tightened, which may be bad for rapid decision making but probably good for real democracy. No doubt the end of power must be closely linked to “The End of Leadership.” By Barbara Kellerman, the reason of which may be found in “The End of Men.”

With the decline in political power and leadership comes “The End of the Free Market” by Ian Bremmer and “The End of Growth” by Richard Heinberg. So, here we have the emerging economies with state capitalism growing much faster than the market oriented economies of the West. While the authors maintain that those systems are threatening free markets and the future of the global economy, they come up with a little inconsistency. “Over time, free markets will probably outlast state capitalism.”

More good news come from such wonderful books as Jeffrey Sachs’ “The End of Poverty” and “The End of War” by John Morgan, and also very welcome are the predictions of “The End of Illness” by David Agus MD. These are falling under the category of you could get rid of those evils, if you follow my ideas or advice, some of which is interesting and some is not that new in order to deserve a whole book.

How about for a possible correct forecast in “The End of White America” by Hua Hsu, who predicts on the basis of demographic data that by 2042, the current minorities will make up the majority of the American population. He does not dare to tell us about the political and socio-economic repercussions, but raises a number of interesting issues regarding race and self identification.

So, why would everybody to jump on “The End of Something” bandwagon? First, I assume, the authors and publishers believe that in this age of self-doubt and cultural pessimism people will grab a copy of the book or essay predicting the end of something good or bad and appreciate it for helping them to understand the world better. Secondly, it will raise immediate reaction, both positive and negative and with it critiques, blogs, public discussions …and of course new books exposing the opposite thesis. After Fukuyama wrote “the End of History,” his teacher and later on colleague Samuel Huntington replied immediately: “No EXIT: The End of Endism.” Great.

So, if you get the urge to write something about “The End of Something” you better inform yourself  first who else has already written about that and secondly use a bit of empirical research which is more convincing than the majority of the above mentioned essays and books.