The Crisis of Civilization

The Crisis of Civilization

2012, Society  -   119 Comments
Ratings: 8.39/10 from 56 users.

The Crisis of CivilizationThe Crisis of Civilization is a documentary feature film investigating how global crises like ecological disaster, financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages are converging symptoms of a single, failed global system.

Weaving together archival film footage and animations, film-maker Dean Puckett, animator Lucca Benney and international security analyst Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, offer a stunning wake-up call proving that 'another world' is not merely possible, but on its way.

The film reveals how a failure to understand the systemic context of these crises, linked to neoliberal ideology, has generated a tendency to deal not with their root structural causes, but only with their symptoms.

This has led to the proliferation of war, terror, and state-terror, including encroachment on civil liberties, while accelerating global crises rather than solving them.

More great documentaries

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

I have never seen so much negativity in one documentary. This problem, that problem. The sky is falling. nothing is working. I wasn't able to find a date for this film but it seems old and still we continue on. We have all the sustainable energy we need All we need to do is take it. This is proven. "The sky is falling" And still we continue on. Nay sayers abound. The only way to do it is to do it. So do it. Really !

mike m
6 years ago

Sweden is socialist. What's so bad about sweden?

Claire McIlvenna
9 years ago

Brilliant. It's such a shame such 'progressive' thinking has been ignored for decades.

10 years ago

I just wish that All Governments stop medealing in Peoples lifes just to creat a useless Authoritarian - Totalitarian job for some lazy slob, who got his lunch money taken when they were kids .and creat jobs for education, spread democracy, and real freedom (True freedom) om.

10 years ago

help me see the real issues in our world today...what important is-if I cant share directly to the solution of the problems (International level)...I can still do some initiative in solving it...Live it yourself first...and be an influence to your neighborhood.

10 years ago

Excellent Documentary, I will recommend all my friends watch it!

11 years ago

This is a laughable documentary if you could call it that. While the narrator is certainly eloquent, he has very little if any knowledge of economics and the current market economy. He bases his arguments against an extreme form of free market capitalism that has been tempered by regulation and no longer exists (which is presumably why the "archival footage" used to make a point is from before my birth).

The arguments made are short and without proper depth which can be nicely demonstrated in the narrators portrayal of carbon taxes. While yes there is a price put on the carbon, these credits simply do not come out of thin air as he suggest and arn't some money factory for companies. They are part of a cap and trade policy in which the government sets a level of pollution beyond which a high level of taxation occurs. THe pollution below that level is divided into portions which are sold to companies, essentially taxing them for their pollution and decreasing overall creation of pollution by making it more expensive. This is a system that has and is working, nearly 3/5 of the value (measured in GDP) in the world has been created since the 1980s, capitalism has worked, and as the narrator unfortunatley doesn't seem to know or care to mention is that GDP per person is senonomous with an individual's living standard and the growth which he seems to despise, rises it.

If he wants to live in an agrarian society he can move to one, the future will move on and those who wish for it halt or slow down are unfortunately destined to be left behind.

11 years ago

Like usual, no one talk about the most important problem of unsustainably: demographic growth. This is the main problem, and no one say anything about it. To have +2 childrens per women is the biggest source of waste in the world, and this problem need to be solve in order to solve the rest.

11 years ago

Naive is the opposite of what a conspiracy theorist is. If you're going to criticize, use the right word. A conspiracy theorist is cynical, one who doesn't trust what he is told. A naive person would believe exactly what he was told, despite any evidence to the contrary, which is a disservice to yourself and a danger to others.

Jason E
11 years ago

Nature has been pushing us through a long, slow process of evolution. Now we are being pushed into a new state. We're discovering that we are all here TOGETHER in ONE totally INTERCONNECTED global world. If we will only overcome our selfishness we will discover the good life nature has in store for us.

We are coming up against all these crises because we are not aligned with the direction nature is taking us. If we aim towards integration instead of separation, balance with nature instead of overconsumption, and making sure EVERYONE has a good life instead of just me, we will enter this new life painlessly.

I don't believe that political and economic structures are the root of the problem. The real root is our selfishness and disregard for nature. Simply overthrowing these structures will not fix things since they are just a reflection of our egos. We all need to change our understanding and way of thinking and the rest will follow.

I'm tired of pointless work and everyone exploiting each other for the sake of endless self gratification. And I'm excited about discovering what's next together with everyone!

11 years ago

All or most of you talk about Political parties,,,such a sham and im sorry you all dont see the bigger picture,its not about politics,its who pulls the strings,and its not our Govt,,,,,,,,,lest we see that those in power,care less about us,the more we see,,,,

Rocky Racoon
11 years ago

10 yeara ago engineers were saying we would never have computer chips the size of a gigabyte.... I have a 3 gig duo core now at it often operates at 100% so MORE IS needed. Any remewable is better than unconventional crude ANYONE. It takes 3 barrels of water to make a barrel of oil out of Canadian 5 years we will be squandering 9 million barrels a day and the fascists are in control of government to make sure that it happens imagine water is more valuable than oil any day of the week. We are allowing other's to squander this resource....WE have to get much more militant in this country our grandparents were that is how we got what few rights and sevices we do have. They didn't come from an enlightened benevolent capitalist state that is for sure. I can't wait for these portable solar panels to hit the market. I could probably power my tv and puter with it easily and a few other household goods as well. Like lamps.

12345 Dutchy
11 years ago

i like the documentary. Ahmed a smart guy. Clearly .... 9/11 was an inside job but is not mentioned in this docu.

brian rose
11 years ago

Even though I agree with the general narrative put forward the explanations given are occasionally connected by non-sequiturs.This is especially true when he discusses finance and currency creation. He seems to forget that had we not bailed out the banks the entire financial system would have collapsed. Hank Paulson and members of Congress were discussing martial law and food distribution contingency plans in case the bailout didn't pass. Everything for every business is lent on short-term credit. When the financial system crashes goods don't get delivered. Period.

The banks make incredibly risky bets, and deserve to go bankrupt like you or me would, but unfortunately they had to be propped up or far, far worse consequences would have ensued.

We should have done more thorough investigations for illegal activity, and put many of these players in prison. However, this documentary suggests we should simply let the system go under. Good luck investing in renewables, or building a garden AFTER the system collapses. I say let the Federal Reserve keep propping up the system until the inevitable happens because I'll be even more prepared by then. On the other hand, if your not preparing yourself yet you should keep in mind that delaying the crash makes its aftermath stronger.

Then again whoever believes oil prices are high because of magical speculators, evil oil companies, or bad politicians will be caught with their pants down because they lack the critical thinking skills to do basic research and discover that *gasp* prices are rising due to a supply/demand imbalance. U.S. consumption is down, and U.S. production is up. However, global consumption is RISING, and global supply is STAGNANT. This means higher prices. Are people speculating? Of course! But they're speculating because fundamentals are screaming for higher prices in the future. The MSM is somehow blind to this.

11 years ago

Occupy the planet!

11 years ago

yes, we need to face reality head-on
government does it in secret
friends and family dare not discuss it
many prefer robotics to acting out of step
as an individual, one can act

11 years ago

The recurring theme here is the if we came to our senses and 'worked together' for the common good of everybody, we could solve our coming massive crises. I guess he feels good to be talking about it all, as if he is doing his part. And he is doing his part, God bless him. If we could all work together, huh. I'm afraid change will come in a rather more violent manner!

11 years ago

Didn't know you could get a phd with nectar points!

the animation is pretty good though

11 years ago

@Luis. Huntington was hit-or-miss in his worldview. I began reading his works while I was in grad school (Internat'l Relations/Internat'l Economics), and found him to make many flawed statements based on Western Civilization's views on democracy and geopolitics.

"The Third Wave" was flawed in using Portugal as the example of regime change towards democracy. It was a military coup -- pretty democratic wouldn't you say? And I believe during the early 2000's, internal criticism of the regime around economic transparency/corruption was fierce -- even by recognized national news services....

"The Crash of Civilizations" - his defining work - is the 2nd most flawed Poli Sci work I have ever read. Culture is BY NO MEANS the driving behind conflict -- international economics and Western (US) world policing and rhetoric has been the driving force behind world conflict post-WW2. Don't get me wrong - Fukuyama's "End of History" is the 1st most useless theory I have studied as a Poli Sci student.

"Who We Are" is the bastard child of the neo-con worldview. In this work, Huntington moves away from the purely international arena and takes a more isolationist/fear-mongering tactic.... In a country of immigrants -- only ~2 million indigenous people still in their land -- this is hypocrisy at it's greatest....

While I respect your opinion -- very subjective subject with none of us having the exact same outlook when making sense of the world scene. However, I do believe this doc is more pertinent than Huntington's outdated works. From the Reagan thru Bush II regimes I would posit that Huntington was verifying current US policies. However, GW Bush did such a poor job of implementing policy -- and injecting this "cultural war" -- into the minds of most Americans. Xenophobia, selective isolationism, binary worldview, and piecemeal world policing aimed at protecting US interests and resource needs is the current state of US policy.

11 years ago

Well,from an academic standpoint Samuel P. Huntington is more credible than the narrator of this documentary. What the latter is doing is trying to simplify complex issues like international terrorism (which in fact IS a clash of civilization, cultures and values ), global warming and enery shortage and attempting to put them under a holistic umbrella. This is a neat package, but one that misses the point and undermines the complexity of each ISOLATED phenomena. This is not serious academic work and is certainly not objective and not free of ideological bagage.

11 years ago

"all of us are in for a rough ride..." hang on tight. Alarming so much so that I would suggest that conspiracy is the standard operation procedure. Gov't and Corporations will use whatever means is most available to get what they want. And all of these ideas are measurable, predictable, and inevitable. Or you can ignore this and go on with life in the bubble of the WORLD OF TOMORROW.

Localization... produce only the energy that we need for the members on the community and only the food that is needed as well, reduce the size of gov't and create local homogenous groups preferably of populations of 1,000 and LESS, make local currencies interdependent upon all who are of the community, but management and oversight would need need to be very strict and transparent, i.e. reject NEOLIBERAL economic policies, which, btw, is the same as George W. Bush's Neo-Conservative beliefs/practices and Democrats are not free of culpability.

We need only exorcise the demons of unfettered wealth accumulation and all those putrid, rotting neo-liberal ideals from our consciousness.... very difficult so I think we can expect some really rough times in the future until those demons are gone. Everybody's got to learn sometime...

11 years ago

there is a plethora of green technologies that we could be using right now. The people who make a lot of money off the outdated technologies do a lot to suppress said new technologies.

11 years ago

It was an informative .doc., but not very original. Watch "Arithmetic, Population and Energy" also on YouTube.
The graphic analogies were cute, but for me a distraction. Perhaps the intent was to hold the attention of the TV addict.
Treebarhogg mentions the disconnect between research and government, but misses the cause and effect. There are two reasons that government is "erronious". One is simply that politicians have private agendas and are narcissistic like all psychopaths are. The other is the fact that politicians don't do science. They wouldn't be politicians if they could comprehend math and the sciences. Also, it is easier to manipulate the masses with faith than fact.

11 years ago

The film reveals how a failure to understand the systemic context of these crises, linked to neoliberal ideology, has generated a tendency to deal not with their root structural causes, but only with their symptoms.

This has led to the proliferation of war, terror, and state-terror, including encroachment on civil liberties, while accelerating global crises rather than solving them.
''all malfunctions quoted short & sharp!''

11 years ago

Let me see...we could drill into the earth, like we already do, but instead of pumping out oil, we pump in water. Then, when it returns out of another pipe as steam, heated by the geo thermal transference, we could then use that steam to drive electric generators. Of course, you could also then condense that steam and produce clean pure distilled water as a by product. Wow! even a dummie like me can come up with that one.
Come on people, you're telling me that our science leaders can't figure out simple technology that could be green and renewable? lol
Seems to me the world powers at play have us right where they want us, afraid of our own shadows and doing what they want in order to keep us fighting over natural recources, money, religion, politics and power. And we are slowly killing ourselves on a planetary level. The earth will be fine once we greedy selfish parasites are gone.
Nothing has changed throughout history. Someone always wants to rule the world and control the populations. War is slow, and we breed to fast, so they have got us killing ourselves slowly in other ways, so they can get rich while we do it to ourselves and then they will ride out the storm in hidden bunkers when $@%# hits the fan.
They will become the master race that has been dreamed of by many world leaders of past (think Hitler) Not because they are smarter or stronger, but because they have the money and power to crush anyone who believes that there is a way out of this global mess. The ones who have faith in our leaders do not understand the bloody history of man.
OK, I'm ready for most of you to disagree with me now. lol

11 years ago

Give a solar panel and a battery to every African that lives in the Sahara desert and you'll have their problem solved. Build huge panel stations so the energy can be exported to Europe and you solve Europe's problem in Africa. Who gets the money, who is hired to work to build them, who has to live near them, who is it for?

11 years ago

I live in canada and ive been to the oil sands in Alberta. If you covered just the area used to mine, process and store waste with solar panels I think it would more then equal the total energy output of the oil reclaimed I cant rememeber the exact energy return they are getting but i remember it was a joke something like 1 barrel to make 1.5 but dont quote me on that
@AZ your comment "Imagine the most beautiful hill of your area covered with solar panels or the ocean covered with oil rigs? all in the name of profit!" It happens everyday and i would damn sure rather have solar panels than a coal fired plant or a nuke plant or even a (suposedly safe) biomass burner like the one they are building just down the street from me. Its up to us to guide this runaway system onto a new path. And what the hell we could get hit by a massive CME next week and blow our existing powergrid to hell making this whole topic academic ; )

11 years ago

1 degree temperature rise and that's it the world is fubard, lol this doc is the biggest pile of bs I have ever seen

11 years ago

The energy/electrcity problem is immense. Probably the most interesting, worthwhile and yet least talked about approach is to consume less - that's a paraphrase from a German nuclear engineer. Industry requires baseload to run 24/7 perhaps industry should not be allowed to run like that? On the other hand every one of us in modern developed societies is guilty of heavy over use of electricity which is going to get worse by a factor if and when we start using it instead of combustion engines for transport.

The problem with electricity is it needs to be generated which is basically transforming another form of energy (kinetic/chemical/photo/strong nuclear force) into it. When energy is transformed, some is lost. Consider, that a nuclear power plant uses fission (releasing strong nuclear force) to generate heat - first inefficency, some energy is lost as photons - which then boils water to drive a steam turbine (kinetic) - 2nd inefficiency, more energy lost as heat in friction - to convert it into electricity, which is transported along cables - this is the third inefficiency, more energy is lost as heat through resistance from the cables (the longer the cable the more energy is lost) then the fourth inefficiency comes when as the end users we use the electrical resistance of a heating element in a kettle to boil water (one example), yet more energy lost etc. Consider also that nuclear is singularly the most energy dense and efficient way of driving steam turbines that we have discovered.

By far the biggest loss is in the cables, which means that any power plant be it coal/nuclear/wind/hydro/solar/etc. needs to built suitably close to where it is to be used. This is a big problem for things like offshore wind. Even then the biggest loss will still be through cable resistance as heat. Retrofitting our infrastructure so cables run underneath buildings would be one way to catch some of that lost energy but this would be hugely expensive. Simpler tech like using solar panels on roofs to heat water instead of generating electricity are good and cheap and should really be built into every home - they work even in cloudy weather unlike photovoltaic. They also avoid the chain of energy losses through transformation, however, using it for an open system (where the water is used then replaced) creates serious pressure and containment issues.

Renewables are generally clean (exception photovoltaics require large amounts of heavy metals) , but are intermittent, requiring energy to be stored for times when the generation is off. Storing energy is problematic as yet more energy is lost over time. I think the reality is we need a patchwork effect of all current types of power generation as and where is most appropriate. Photovoltaic in hotter drier climates, Wind turbines in windy places, geothermal wherever available, hydro where there is space for a dam and reservoir that doesn't risk wiping out towns or villages further downstream, Nuclear for baseload and industrial zones etc...

Oh yeah, and we need to keep at least a few oil wells going, for all our roads, plastics and petrochemicals, so burning it at the rate we do to move vehicles is really wasteful, not to mention toxic for the entire environment, air land and sea.

But even doing all this combined with well constructed insulated buildings with solar panels+small turbines on roofs, and heating electricity cables running through the floors will not be nearly enough unless, we keep burning carbon based chemicals for most of our electricty as well or, we all (in our modern 'civilised' societies) learn to use less. In the end however, this will not be a choice, rather an unavoidable truth.

Regards, Sam.

11 years ago

It seems to me that Think Tanks are a waste of time if they don't product blue prints out of the crisis they have analyzed. Half hearted suggestions and transfering responsibility to others do no one any good.

11 years ago

I agree with what he is saying about how the western economic system works: On a middle-management level. There is another factor however that is the on-off switch for these bubble/burst cycles: Here in the U.S. it is Federal Reserve System that decides wealth and its distribution, in Europe it is the European Centralized Bank; same dog, different yard. It appears these ‘centralized banks’ aren’t satisfied with making exorbitant amounts of money using the fractional reserve model, they want even more by sabotaging a healthy functioning economic system by greatly over inflating the amount of currency in circulation, knowing it is not sustainable, and purposely removing massive sums in an extremely short time period, causing the economic collapse. The hidden purpose of this is to get the maximum amount of loaned currency out that the economy can sustain and when the mortgages or collateralized loans get close to being paid off, and more of the monthly payment goes to principal than to interest, currency is recalled, money gets tighter, overtime or second jobs get eliminated and loans are defaulted on. This creates a huge ‘land grab’ opportunity for these mega-banks, there was one in the recession of the 80’s that worked so well they created the opportunity for another one with the Great Recession of 2008. All of this newly acquired land is resold again with the banks acquiring the majority of the monthly payments as interest once again. This isnt by chance, it is by design.

I would have fallen victim to this scam too, except my wife worked in mortgage investigation for 15 years and saw what was going on. After the big refinance craze phased out (I think in the late 90’s), banks were taking applications from people who had two bankruptcies in their past; there was no way these people would get a loan, but her company was getting thousands of these a day, week after week, month after month; at $300 per application (non-refundable). The same scam is being run in Europe with the Euro, countries that bought into this new currency are in dire straits because instead of creating their own currency, they borrow it, like the U.S. does, and have to pay interest on every dollar in circulation. This puts a tremendous tax burden on these countries and the better the economy does, the bigger the tax burden.

phillip wong
11 years ago

BS garbage. Capitalism is the freedom of movement of capital across the global. Capitals are allocated where is there is most effective, and most impacted. What this means is that it can adopt in a peak oil world, since when confronted with economic pressure, capital will be allocated toward things like solar, and other forms of energy.

11 years ago

A well made documentary that explains what motivates the interests of big money, politics and oil in today's fast changing world.

11 years ago

a tank drifting throught the city? i want to be a taliban! (0:55:08)
but seriously im sick and tired of the recent docs that use footage from the 50s, we are not all babyboomers.

11 years ago

I think this doc is good until the point of more expensive oil problems!
We cannot rule out the new synthetic fuels they might have major impact in our future!

Sieben Stern
11 years ago

I am disappointed that when he talked about paring down our lifestyles he didn't mention overpopulation, carrying capacity of the earth, and controlling fertility. just saying the earth can carry 11 billion people, doesn't mean it should, or that it is sustainable.

11 years ago

I think we should have another documentary category based soley on energy.. fossil fuels, electricity, solar, wind, theorectical, etc

I would love to have discussions on peoples experience and education on this. i want to eventually make my entire house energized by alternative sources that are basically free of monthly charges.

11 years ago

Simple solution: hydrogen. Not from water, but from from other materials.

11 years ago

Great doc, especially for those who are overwhelmed by the huge amount and seemingly conflicting information 'out there'. Brings it all together in a non emotive, relaxed and I believe politically unbiased format. xxxx

11 years ago

He asks if climate change is real; almost everyone accepts it is real. The correct question: Is it the result of man’s industrialization of the planet; or the result of the earths Precession of the equinoxes? One Precessional rotation lasts 26,000 years, or one degree every 72.2 years; and the last glacial period ended about 12,500 years ago, which would put us on the opposite side of that cycle.

Huntington says that Islamic countries are resistant to westernization because they come from different cultural traditions. I think it is even deeper than that; their culture is driven by Koranic scripture that says man can have culture and civilization as long as it is not industry based…this planet is not large enough and its resources are not abundant enough to support world-wide industrial based cultures. We are seeing that after a little more than a century of industrialization global resource depletion is a legitimate concern; pollution of the planet’s vast water supply is a legitimate concern as is contamination of vast amounts of soil.

And the carbon credit scam is an “it looks good on paper” solution for bureaucratic approval, but exacerbates the problem. Just like modern medicine’s approach to most physical maladies; instead of addressing the real causes for the ailment, give a pill to mask the symptoms and allow the patient to keep doing the same destructive behavior that is causing it.

I agree with him that our ultimate dependence on renewable energy will change our societal definition of freedom i.e. ‘unlimited growth’ and unrestrained environmental damage. Unless we get enough forward thinkers in key political positions in time to gear up these new sources of energy before their initial setup costs become prohibitive, we will be one step behind, instead of keeping abreast of, ‘reasonable’ energy demands.

Agricultural issues are a discussion in their own right. Chemical fertilizers address only the plant’s need for green plant growth, root growth and fruit/vegetable production; it does not address trace elements like boron in beet production and the unfortunate result is most of our modern truck farms grow nutrient deficient produce.

This video is a little corny, but just as parts of the video are outdated, I think the message is that our thinking on these important topics is just as outdated. These are my thoughts on the first 29 minutes of this video…I like it so far. I hope he goes as far as to show how the Federal Reserve Bank and the European Central Bank are involved in keeping these issues unresolved.

11 years ago

We should switch our currency to pebbles and just farm. They did it in the islands where they used small seashells as money. If we could get our heads around the fact that crops and food are the name of the game we could get down to the real nitty gritty of life on earth. That being to harvest those crops for potent and soothing cocktails. Imagine if we all stopped this bullsh*t modern lifestyle we could all have beautiful rows of grapevines to eat and make wine with. Nice long golden fields of barley for earthly brown pops. Sprouting green, full bushes of raspberries that could be plucked like tiny gems while humming a sweet song as the sun kisses your face. Everyone on earth could do this. Have this little piece of land to till for your own health and enjoyment. Planting, harvesting, singing, eating, drinking etc. Then at the end of the day when you have been given what the earth has provided for you, pour you and the lady of your choice the nectar of the grape fields. Build a cherry wood fire under the summer stars and maybe roll a wee sneaky bit of the green stuff from that plant you have tucked near the corn field. Now relax, look up at the stars, remember the old days of sweeping up at a fast food joint filled with synthetic food. Look at your favourite little honey sitting fireside with you and whisper softly in her ear. "Lets bone." Go Ron Paul!

11 years ago

Yes! A Chevy Monza! at 7 minutes in...

11 years ago

Really good doc - Dr. Ahmed brings it all together. If you are a denier of all things bad, don't watch. I buy the whole thing.

patrick watson
11 years ago

I'm a Canadian , well an earthling at best ,we come out of the shoot and our feet hit the ground ,WE have no other place to go !!! Got that !!!
You , me the fly on the wall , we all have a right to be , to live , to eat , to breath . The world we are born on to and into is home to to us all ,there is no bank and there is no credit in nature .
When we spend all the tree's there is no wood left to make our home's with , When we spend all the water we will die for the lack of it , For it is then as we lay dead on the ground that the gold will fall through our decaying fingers ,back to the ground from where it came .
And we will have spent our time unwise and we can not make more of it .

11 years ago

I'd just like to point out that, no matter how good things are, or how much worse they could be, people will always complain about something. People will always find problems.

11 years ago

They use money to control and manipulate people and country's, that's the negative take on it

Marian Helsby
11 years ago

Excellent film that uses the specialized knowledge of someone who has been able to source information across a very wide spectrum and put together a global picture that makes sense historically and holistically. The future is not hopeful when we continue to remain blind to all the forces at work which serve the interests of a very few. The future is hopeful when enough people can refuse to participate in systems that are failing us and seek solutions that are transparent and which benefit everyone.

Anthony Williams
11 years ago

Community, family, well-being, save the earth, holding hands... someone needs to remind this guy that human history has been largely characterized by human misery, slavery, torture, war and genocide.

11 years ago

socialist tosh

11 years ago

Skipped through it, nothing you haven't heard before just someone new saying it. Ah well, could be worse, you could be down and out in Swansea. Going to cheer myself up with The Style Council :)