A Thoroughly Modern Way of Living
This chapter discusses four themes: the fragility of the global money economy; the fragility of agribusiness; the fragility of our command-and-control decision-making processes; and the fragility of the cult of the individual. The global economy has been likened to a supertanker with no rudder: an unstoppable force that will sink anything crossing its path. Despite some tentative steps towards a global financial framework, it is now generally acknowledged that no government or institution has control of the worldwide web of instantaneous transactions. The logic of agribusiness is certainly towards greater productivity and efficiency, and the technology that can deliver these ultimately requires increasing scale for both technical reasons (bigger machines cope better on larger, regular fields) and financial ones. Command-and-control decision-making processes imply a high degree of centralization. They are linked indelibly to the arthritic state structures that characterized the economy of the Soviet Union before its collapse.