ISBN 978-0-7453-3053-2. “A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization and how to save it” was written by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed and published by Pluto Press in 2010. Also see our review of the “film of the book” here. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is the Executive Director of the London-based think tank the Institute for Policy Research and Development. His previous books include “The War on Truth” (2005) and “The London Bombings” (2006). His previous work (as this suggests) was more closely related to studying the links between Western Security forces and Islamic Terrorist groups. However Nafeez also appear in the film “Oil, Smoke and Mirrors” which covered Peak Oil and the politics of the War on Terror (tag line “there is no war on terror;only a war for oil”). Digging into the murky realities of international terrorism remains his strongest point and the rest of “crisis” is built around his latest research on this one topic.
Since “Oil, Smoke and Mirrors” Nafeez has obviously been busy building in the wider Geopolitical situation and now includes Climate Change, Peak Oil, Financial collapse and Food Shortages into his world model. Again his work is convincing and many activists in the field will nod knowingly during reading this book. Has he unveiled anything new? Probably not. Maybe this will be new to a readership previously familiar with his work on terrorism but there is not much here that you wouldn’t have got from “Crossing the Rubicon” by Michael C Ruppert. Bring in some Heinberg and Hopkins and you probably have all you need already to understand the world we live in. Our Financial system is unsustainable and built on an assumption of perpetual growth derived from ever expanding fossil fuel extraction. Resource depletion is likely to crash the economic system whilst climate change is likely to crash global food supplies. Hence no money, no food, nor energy: all the ingredients for the “crisis” of the title. A society experiencing such a crisis will crack down on civil liberties effecting everyone’s freedom. Grim BUT Nafeez has also done the leg-work now to offer a host of suggestions as to how we solve the crisis. These feel a bit like after-thoughts but we hope he works more with these ideas in future.
So what are his ideas? He doesn’t name “Transition” with a big “T” but he certainly uses the phrase “transition to a post-carbon-economy” which involves limited globalisation. We should all be focused more on our local economies with local supply chains for food and energy. Again – nothing unique or new here for those working in this field. This book is to be recommended for anyone who wishes to join the dots between our political establishment, oil and climate change. It may be a bit too much for some seeming a bit like a “grand theory of everything” of even a conspiracy theory. This would be a mistake but clearly our media is currently reluctant to dig too far beneath the surface. A perfect storm is possible and here we see the ingredients. If you can’t swallow the book at least watch the movie. Recommended.