Fintan O’Toole: Five big questions for the coming decade

Can we decarbonise the global economy? Will democracy die? Could Ireland unite?

A new era is coming, much faster than the previous ones, whether we choose it or not. Illustration: Getty

A new era is coming, much faster than the previous ones, whether we choose it or not. Illustration: Getty

We are not at the start of a new decade. We are at the start of a new era. We can say for sure that the 2020s will be epoch-making. What we do not know is what kind of epoch we are about to make.

Humankind is at a turning point every bit as significant as the Neolithic revolution about 12,000 years ago, when people began to adopt agriculture, and as the industrial revolution of the 18th century when new technologies and processes created the great boom in mass production and urbanisation.

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