Saturday, January 16, 2021
That was the opening Kelly had been waiting for. In the final pages of his Luddite book, Sale had predicted society would collapse “within not more than a few decades.” Kelly, who saw technology as an enriching force, believed the opposite—that society would flourish. Baiting his trap, Kelly asked just when Sale thought this might happen.
Sale was a bit taken aback—he’d never put a date on it. Finally, he blurted out 2020. It seemed like a good round number.
Kelly then asked how, in a quarter century, one might determine whether Sale was right.
Sale extemporaneously cited three factors: an economic disaster that would render the dollar worthless, causing a depression worse than the one in 1930; a rebellion of the poor against the monied; and a significant number of environmental catastrophes.
“Would you be willing to bet on your view?” Kelly asked.
“Sure,” Sale said.
Then Kelly sprung his trap. He had come to Sale’s apartment with a $1,000 check drawn on his joint account with this wife. Now he handed it to his startled interview subject. “I bet you $1,000 that in the year 2020, we’re not even close to the kind of disaster you describe,” he said.
I'm not a big Kirkpatrick Sale fan, but it seems he might have just been early with his predictions. He might have been wrong about the environmental catastrophes (or perhaps not). But his other two, collapse of the dollar and a rich-verus-poor war, well surely it's too early to tell.