notes /

Robinson // The Ministry for the Future

Reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future left me with feelings of deep admiration and respect for the amount of research that clearly went into this book – it’s an incredible survey of the failings of the past 50 years or more of modern civilization, the stories (lies) we’ve told ourselves to give ourselves permission to destroy the planet.

Robinson speaks intelligently on geo-engineering, geo-politics, eco-terrorism, economics, MMT, reserve currency status, crypto currency, market forces, carbon credits, the financialization of everything – and so many more things.

Many of these topics are ones that have interested me, inspired me to do my own research – which I feel like has been far deeper than what the average person would do – but Robinson’s research makes me feel like I have just read the first sentence of the Wikipedia article on any given topic.

He packages all of this into a sweeping story of climate disaster. I must confess I didn’t really latch onto any of the characters myself, but I nonetheless really enjoyed the breadth of this book. Think of it as a more entertaining version of a history book for the past 50 years, maybe.

The one advantage this has over a history book is that it does do a nice job of exploring the motives and rationalizations of bad actors – painting us pictures not of super-villains but of rational people, following their incentives, working inside systems that tend towards disaster in the long run but locally (in the short term) often make sense – at least enough for the people within them to justify their own actions.

– re: Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future