The End Times and Science Fiction
Who would have thought that in an essay on an online Science Fiction site which is closing would be focused on the end of civilization as we know it (and what it means to Science Fiction writers)?
This is in the same line of thought as many of the intersections between the “Peak Oil” crowd and the demise of the nation-state crowd.
If Wallerstein is right, the next 50 years of human history will be a period of breakdown and chaos. It won't be a comfortable period. It's likely to be dangerous. It's also likely to be full of possibility. A stable system is almost impossible to change, according to Wallerstein. Huge efforts produce very small results. The system always tends to restabilize. But when a system is breaking down and off-balance, a small effort can create large changes. I think Wallerstein is influenced by chaos theory here, and the gentle flapping you hear in the background is the famous Amazonian butterfly.