Manifestations of The Long Emergency
It will unfold from the periphery to the center. Breakdowns of nations (as we see now in Tunisia, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon). Migrants, migrants, migrants.
For decades, the Darién Gap, a roadless, lawless stretch of jungle linking South America to the north, was considered so dangerous that only a few thousand people a year were daring, or desperate, enough to try to cross it. But the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic in South America was such that in the first nine months of this year, Panamanian officials say, an estimated 95,000 migrants, most of whom are Haitian, attempted the passage on their way to the United States. They made the journey in shorts and flip-flops, their possessions stuffed in plastic bags, their babies in arms and their children by the hand. It’s uncertain how many made it — and how many didn’t. And yet tens of thousands more are gathered in Colombia, eager for their turn to try.
We should, of course, do everything possible to address, alleviate, mitigate. But it will be a tsunami. And the crisis will slowly creep from the periphery to the center.
(Pinker is simply dispositionally disinclined to imagine what the future is portending.)