Picked-up on this BBC Magazine story from the memetic “fashion” angle, but the second quote is telling too.
“The fear of nuclear war has diminished partly because the risk has receded significantly with the end of the Cold War,” says Nick Bostrum, director of Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute. “But another factor might be simple changes in risk fashion – it becoming more popular recently to worry about global warming, for example.”
More immediate worries are terrorist attack, pandemic disease, and economic meltdown. Robert Harris in his recent novel The Fear Index examined the modern anxiety that fuses the threat of powerful technology with unbridled financial markets. The main character, who runs a hedge fund, remarks:
“Fear is driving the world as never before… The rise in market volatility, in our opinion, is a function of digitalisation, which is exaggerating human mood swings by the unprecedented dissemination of information via the internet.”
Another case of less is more when it comes to free communication.