Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Future Gridlock

This is an interesting rant by Neal Stephenson where he poses the possibility that his society (the US) no longer has the capacity to make big changes.

I would tend to agree and suggest that the problem is that there is too much inertia in the structure of the US.  The political and social gridlock has reached a point that there is enough pressure from interested parties to prevent change that its almost impossible to enact large programs of change.  Thus stasis.  And as we know, a static organism rots. 

Other societies have gone through this and if history is anything to learn from its that there is either evolutionary change (slow careful steps) or revolutionary change (rapid and substantial). I have no ability to clearly predict which path or when, but I don't think it takes a genius to realize that there is structural gridlock in most of the so-called "western" nations.  If we look to the "so-called" Arab world at the moment, we can see revolutionary change happening after ( in some cases half a century) of static rotting.  Their infrastructure, public systems, social orders and classes are all in decay and finally the active parts of their society have "renewed" the system by destroying the existing status quo and remaking their society. 

My guess is that the static "western" nations have decades of gridlock to wait out before they reach a stage where revolution can happen. Some more than others.  The amount of urban decay and dislocation has already started to play out in Europe in various place but its only small scale. The US is seeing the first widespread protests about its structural problems but their government and ruling elite have the resources to put that down without much effort at the moment. 

This is not to say that evolutionary change has completely stopped. Its still happening all over the place in large and small amounts. The point is that the amount of big change has slowed notably and is moving toward and average of 0. As more and more gridlock builds up, and the organism looses the ability to adapt.... the amount of mal-adaption the the environment and consequently the amount of damage sustained just by being in the environment increases.  (By environment I mean, social, political, resources, languages etc)

Enough ranting for one day....

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