With any luck (good and bad) 2009 has started as it means to continue. The new years bash I was at ended up in a violent brawl (left) and I spent the first few hours of 2009 nursing a burst gum infection while my niece was sick all night.
I took it as an omen of the impending things to come.
So a quick re-cap on 2008- the world financial banking system melted down, the stock market collapsed, un-employment started to soar, house prices started to crash, commodity prices insanely thrashed up and down, famous high street institutions went insolvent, personal insolvency went into record levels, businesses are dropping like flies, the largest financial frauds of all time were uncovered, the Greeks (and some Swedes and French) have taken to the streets already, hostilities with Russia and the west resumed, Israel launched the biggest attack ever on Gaza, relations between Pakistan and India are deteriorating and the majority of people in the UK still believe we are in a normal recession. Ignorance is bliss.
I am hoping that the consequences of environmental and socially destructive policies of the last several decades has finally come to a head. Unsustainable societies are not called unsustainable for no reason- 2009 should illustrate this point. Gordon Brown and the Queen have both said that 2009 is going to be tough- (the establishment were even denying we were going into a recession this time last year) and for them to admit things are going to be tough means a lot more than just tough.
The process of systemic and fundamental change can be traumatic, but an inevitable part of evolution. Global systems are not stable- they continuously evolve. Some of that evolution is gradual, some of it is sudden. This is sometimes referred to as punctuated equilibrium. A combination of catastrophe and slow change.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion (a cheap pop). My opinion (more of a hope)- We are in some ways fortunate (but in other ways very unfortunate) to be witnessing a fundamental and catastrophic paradigm shift in modern history. There will be great losses that lead to great gains- Britain is heading for financial ruin and social collapse which leads to rescue from Europe, Europe will coalesce with a stronger and more powerful G20, the US and Obama will become more unified with the ideology of the UN and G20, climate change and environmental policies will move higher up the political agenda, the re-distribution of wealth will move to top priority, the age of aggressive capitalism and the super-elite is over, the immediate future will be a scramble towards more socially minded policies- greener and pinker than ever before. The road to this is going to be difficult and there will be inevitable great loss on the way. It is the time that every self respecting hippy, environmental nut, green loony and eco-warrior has been praying for.