In TakiMag Dalrymple considers his modest investments, and thinks of the West’s shaky financial status.
There is a great deal of pleasure to be had from contemplating future disaster, especially when one can claim not only to have foreseen it (unlike most of the blind and benighted people by whom one is surrounded), but when it will be on a vast and horrific scale. Man is the only species that derives consolation and even delight from the contemplation of its own extinction. Who has not thrilled to news of the emergence of viruses of unheard-of virulence, or of asteroids which, should they collide with Earth, will send Homo sapiens the way of all dinosaurs? A film I once saw treated almost with joyous anticipation the period after nuclear war when the insects would inherit the Earth. The problem with global warming as a catastrophe is that it is too slow to capture our imagination. If it takes place at all it will give us time to adapt and might even bring us advantages, such as a long growing season in Greenland. Even if some Pacific atolls disappear, there will be Norwegian vintages and Patagonian tropical fruits; lemons will grow in Siberia. To delight us, disasters must be unequivocally disastrous.