The landmark book ‘Collapse’ by American biologist and author Jared Diamond was sub-titled ‘How societies choose to fail or succeed’. Reading the latest book by French academic Louis Chauvel, La Spirale du déclassement. Essai sur la société des illusions (‘The Downwards Spiral: Essay on a society of illusions’), published by Seuil, it seems as if French society is in the process of choosing to disappear. In the book Louis Chauvel, professor of sociology at the University of Luxembourg, cites grim forecasts of environmental collapse, judging that it is “right to extrapolate these ideas to the social environment”.
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