Please forgive the digression, but all of this discussion of financial and social breakdown, overpopulation and impending water and energy shortages, lead me to make the following observations.
As a scientist with interest in just about everything, I have come to the conclusion that the underlying cause for most, if not all, of these problems is that our psychology and cultures have not caught up with the Scientific Revolution.
I will begin with that statement that science has emerged as the most useful method of determining fact, if not truth.
However, like our cousins the Great Apes, we still waste resources when they are plentiful, with no thought of the future. We still generally pick our leaders as the most virile male, i.e. the silverbacks, rather than their ability to actually solve problems.
And we still insist on pre-Enlightenment thinking, as is demonstrated by this piece from DC's Improbable Science 'blog:
A recent report by the King's Fund in the UK on complementary medicine contains the following passage:
“This report outlines areas of potential consensus to guide research funders, researchers, commissioners and complementary practitioners in developing and applying a robust evidence base for complementary practice.”
In other words, if we spend enough money, we will find the stuff that works, and best way to use it.
However, the US National Institutes of Health has spent over $1 billion in the past decade on carefully researching these practices. Not a single one was found to be of benefit. This was so distressing to some there, that each new report resulted in a slew of resignations.