‘The key to understanding why societies decide to commit economic (and ultimately political) suicide is that these decisions make sense to people who are making them within confines, norms, and conditions prevailing at the time. Although systems are not static, neither is there a requirement for progress. It all comes down to complex interactions between societies, their natural and historical environment, and critical junctures or turning points that then work through culture to create an environment that either enhances or erodes its capacity to grow and prosper. Over the last millennium the world encountered three such turning points, and it is now, I argue, on the threshold of the fourth.’