With only five weeks to go before 2012 arrives, there are several plausible candidates for the “end of the world” that every New Ager has been eagerly anticipating since Mayan calendar fetishism replaced the made-up Kwanza holiday as the favorite diversion of the trendier-than-thou set. Right now the leading threat is the Eurozone crisis. It is looking more and more as if financial Armageddon is inevitable at some point, with the British foreign office warning its European embassies that rioting might break out in the aftermath of a Eurozone breakup.
Meanwhile, the excitable Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge.com observes that what we may be watching is the Germans working a de facto financial Anschluss of the weaker European nations, achieving a sovereign takeover of weaker European nations through banks what they failed last century to do with tanks. Hmm. Puts in a whole new context the breathless comment that some potentate—Merkel??—made a few weeks back that the collapse of the Eurozone would mean war. So: banks or tanks? Take your choice, Europe.
Meanwhile, the weekend mail brings The Economist’s The World in 2012 special edition, which is chock full of predictions and outlooks for the year ahead. The issue is written with The Economist’s typical brio, and concludes that “Contrary to the belief of a small industry that has grown up around a supposed Mayan prophecy, the world won’t end in 2012.” Probably right, but whenever I read the confident assessments in The Economist, I think the old Hollywood saying is surely more accurate: “Nobody knows anything.”
Not all of the special issue is available online, and one of the features not posted is a piece from Rolf Heuer, the director of Europe’s CERN laboratory, where next year they expect the Large Hadron Collider to be ready finally to test to see whether the Higgs boson particle exists. Nervous nellies have worried that the particle smash up necessary to generate a detectible Higgs boson will create a tiny black hole that will swallow the Earth and maybe even our entire solar system, which will certainly upset the Eurozone economy if it does. The New York Times and the Washington Post, meanwhile, will blame the Bush tax cuts for the end of the world, because our supercolliding Supercommittee couldn’t even generate a boson-sized tax increase agreement.