It's a two-horse race
(credit: K David Bishop)
Geographical: As well as writing The World Until Yesterday and Guns, Germs and Steel, you are also the author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, so I wanted to ask you if you thought Western society was currently moving closer to, or further away from, collapse?
Diamond: I would describe us as being in a horse race. Usually horses in races set out as fast as possible and keep a steady speed, except for the fact that they might accelerate in the last few hundred yards. But weíre in a horse race with two horses, the horse of destruction and the horse of sanity. And the two horses are going faster and faster and faster. Itís an exponentially accelerating horse race, and whatís not clear yet is whether the horse of destruction or the horse of sanity is going to win the race. All we can say is that both the destruction is going faster and faster, and the forces of sanity are proceeding faster and faster. I canít predict the outcome. And I wonít be here for it. My sons will see the outcome.
Geographical: And are you preparing in any way for collapse yourself?
Diamond: No. Iím acting on the assumption that the world will survive. I think the chances are 51 per cent that the world will survive and Iím devoting most of my efforts to ensuring thatís the case.
Read the full interview with Jared Diamond in our February issue, available now in WHSmith, via subscription or in our digital edition