A Review of Two Books by John Michael Greer: Dark Age America and The Retro Future

John Michael Greer acknowledges that his aim with Dark Age America is an ambitious one. The book is his attempt to sketch out the likely course of industrial society over the next 500 years, with a particular emphasis on the United States. These days, the word progress has come to mean deterioration far more often than improvement. This is the central tenet of The Retro Future,…

The flight to the ephemeral

The unavoidable tradeoff between efficiency and resilience can be understood easily enough by considering an ordinary bridge. All bridges these days have vastly more structural strength than they need in order to support their ordinary load of traffic. This is inefficient, to be sure, but it makes the bridges resilient; they can withstand high winds, unusually heavy loads, deferred maintenance, and other challenges without collapsing.