The ultimate question hanging over us is whether these multiple crises will contribute to civilisational breakdown or whether humanity will successfully rise to such challenges and bend rather than break with the winds of change. It has been commonly argued – from Karl Marx to Milton Friedman to Steve Jobs – that it is precisely moments of crisis like these that provide opportunities for transformative change and innovation. Might it be possible to leverage the instability that appears to threaten us?

The problem is that so often crises fail to bring about fundamental system change, whether it is the 2008 financial crash or the wildfires and floods of the ongoing climate emergency. So in this essay, based on my latest book History for Tomorrow: Inspiration from the Past for the Future of Humanity (2024), I want to explore the conditions under which governments respond effectively to crises and undertake rapid and radical policy change. What would it take, for instance, for politicians to stop dithering and take the urgent action required to tackle global heating?

Roman Krznaric

Read full article by Roman Krznaric in aeon.com

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