At the suggestion of science fiction author John Ringo, I am reading his book The Last Centurion. I am not a big fiction reader so this book was a good start for me as I like its “bloggy” first person style. The book takes place in the second decade of the 21st century with a world enduring two catastrophes: a mini-ice age and a plague. The book describes a possible future and all the political and military problems and limitations that exist during a catastrophe. As a psychologist, I was struck by how people and society behaved during these crises.

The main character, an American army officer, gives his observations about how important trust is in a society when there is a disaster. “Americans form voluntary random social alliances. Other societies do not. Low trust societies in the U.S. do not.” In other words, in America, groups of random strangers will get together to aid other people for no direct benefit to themselves. In a disaster, it is imperative for people to help each other to get through it and save as many lives as possible.