Serious risks

Meeting the challenge of global extinction
by
March 2022, no. 440
Buy this book

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?: Existential risk and extreme politics by Andrew Leigh

MIT Press, $44.99 hb, 240 pp

Serious risks

Meeting the challenge of global extinction
by
March 2022, no. 440

Most people, and certainly most politicians, don’t spend much time or emotional energy thinking about whether human life on this planet will still exist in one hundred years’ time, or what efforts might need to be made right now if we and our descendants are to avoid extinction.

More Covid-scale pandemics, and the increasingly obvious reality of global warming, are both now being seen – though still not universally – as serious risks demanding serious policy response. They may prove to be game changers. But, here as with other potentially huge man-made risks, complacency generally prevails. Since the end of the Cold War, it has been hard to animate policymakers and publics anywhere in the world about the risk of annihilation by nuclear weapons – and even harder to alarm anyone but a handful of aficionados about developments in artificial intelligence amounting to a measurable threat to our very existence.

Gareth Evans reviews 'What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Existential risk and extreme politics' by Andrew Leigh

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?: Existential risk and extreme politics

by Andrew Leigh

MIT Press, $44.99 hb, 240 pp

Buy this book

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Comments (2)

  • I am much encouraged by Andrew Leigh's book, and others now available, characterised by an intellectual straining after better answers. To name just two others: 'Democracy and Its Crisis' by A. C. Grayling and 'Democracy rules' by Jan-Werner Müller. Both possess this quality. In particular, the latter goes some ways to unpacking the nature of populism. It would be of the most profound regret and to some extent absurd for civilisation to collapse, not because of populism, but because we failed to understand its nature.
    Posted by Patrick Hockey
    11 March 2022
  • A secular federal government would be a good start.
    Posted by Robert Campbell
    01 March 2022

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