Half in love with easeful death

There was a little piece in the Lex Column of this weekend’s FT

Market stages of grief”- that used Kubler-Ross’s “Stages of Grief” as a hook

“With tottering eastern European economies throwing an emerging markets crisis into the financial and real economy turmoil and trade levels collapsing in Asia, investors are not yet ready to move on to acceptance.”

That, and a fortuitous (for me, if not for you, gentle reader) unearthing of a scrap of paper suggesting that I compare the ‘stages of dealing with your own mortality’/grief thing that Elizabeth Kubler Ross formulated and the Issue Attention Cycle of Anthony Downs, leads to this;

Kubler-Ross’s “Stages of grieving”

Downs’ Issue Attention Cycle



1. The pre-problem stage.

We’ve heard (and some have felt) the signs for a long time (20 years plus), but have stuck our fingers so far into our ears that they’re now just about touching.


2. Alarmed discovery and euphoric enthusiasm.

A lot of the victims are getting angry. (Anyone taking bets on a vengeful nuke sometime in the next 25 years?) A lot of the perpetraitors (sic) are too deafened by the “ker-ching” sounds as they think about the carbon trading/money making scams that they see in all this to hear the mutterings.


3. Realizing the cost of significant progress.

The poor have nothing to bargain with. Within a few years we in the West will realise quite how much adaptation costs. For us that is. Screw the poor- we always have…


4. Gradual decline of intense public interest.

A lot of environmentalists (including some famous names who’ll remain nameless) are battling a sense of hopelessness in themselves. And that’s even before the inevitable clusterfuck of Copenhagen. The public has “gotten” climate change as much as it ever will, and moved on to the credit crunch and losing their jobs and houses and so forth


5. The post-problem stage.

Well, we are going to have to “accept” reality, at some point. Mother Nature doesn’t do accounting tricks, or bailouts, after all. Post-problem stage? The only problem is that the public hasn’t even really got its head around climate change. Properly I mean. You know, the feedback loops, the methane burp etc. We Don’t Do Non-linear. We just don’t. WAAGTD.


Kübler-Ross model

Up and Down With Ecology: The “Issue-Attention Cycle”


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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