Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, foreign policy analysts have struggled to find a term to characterize the epoch we now inhabit. Although the "Post-Cold War Era" has been the reigning expression, [..] (o)thers have spoken of the "Post-9/11 Era," as if the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were defining moments for the entire world. But this image no longer possesses the power it once wielded -- even in the United States.
I propose instead another term that better captures the defining characteristics of the current period: the Post-Abundance Era.
If there is one thing that most inhabitants of the late 20th century shared in common, it was a perception of rising global abundance in virtually all fields: energy, food, housing, consumer goods, fashion, mass culture, and so on. Yes, there were pockets of poverty in many areas, but most people in most places around the world were seeing a rise in their personal income and an increase in the number of things in their possession, along with the supply of energy with which to move or power their many personal goods.
[..B]ut the sense of abundance that characterized the late 20th century is likely to evaporate for the great majority of us. One day affordable luxuries like overseas vacations and meals out will become unattainable, and even basic necessities like energy, electricity, water, and food are likely to become less plentiful and more expensive. Read on...