Of the matters of man for the coming year.
Like countless others, when we look back 12 months and recall what we thought 2012 had in store, we now realise that we didn’t have a clue! As the silly expression goes, “I can predict anything except those things that involve the future!”
So repeating the process is stupid; I have no doubt that 2013 will be brim full of surprises. At all levels: personal, local, national and global. But ….. (You knew there was a ‘but’ coming, didn’t you!)
But a conversation that I had with Peter McCarthy on the 27th December resonated with me to such a degree that I felt the urge to pen some thoughts. I worked with Peter some years ago at Clevedon Hall, we shared an interest in flying a TB20 and both of us studied for our CAA Instrument Rating. We became good friends.
So come with me today for a stroll around the grounds of change, possibly an epochal period of change.
Let’s start with what may be the biggest catalyst of change heading our way – our broken political system.
Christine of 350orbust fame published this yesterday.
The view that many western societies are a very long way from being fair is growing. If you want to dig a little deeper into the appalling statistics of the USA, for example, dip into a recent essay written by Charles Hugh Smith that appeared on Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity blog.
It’s a long essay packed full of powerful facts and statistics. Try this one:
6. The assets that generate unearned income are highly concentrated, and as a result so is the unearned income. The top 1% owns twice as much stock-market wealth as the bottom 90%. This income-producing wealth enables the top 1% to act as a financial aristocracy, buying influence and favors from equivalently concentrated political Elites.
Let me go to Charles’ conclusion:
What few dare admit, much less state publicly, is that the Constitutional limits on the financial Aristocracy and the Tyranny of the Majority have failed. This guarantees a future Constitutional crisis as each political class – the financial Aristocracy, the top 24% who pay most of the taxes, the dwindling middle class and the bottom 50% who depend on Federal transfers – will battle for control as the Status Quo collapses under the weight of its unsustainable promises.
Back to the conversation with Peter. He felt that there was a massive failure of the democratic process in the UK, and by implication in the USA.
Peter continued by saying that many elected politicians, especially at the level of local politics, weren’t smart people. Smart, innovative, entrepreneurial people chose not to go into politics. Those that were elected had too much power and too many vested interests for the good of the societies that they were meant to represent. In the USA the involvement of private money in politics is nothing short of corruption of the highest order; my personal opinion, no less and no more.
In moderation, Churchill’s saying comes to mind. “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
Let’s move on.
No-one can deny that in so many areas of our lives, the degree of change seems unprecedented. Whether we are speaking of the huge social changes at work, enormous technological changes, such as the way that we communicate with each other, medical practises, and on and on. Then add in the consequences of the change in the Earth’s climate, whether or not one sees this as the outcome of man’s activities and …. well, you get the idea!
As hard and gloomy as some of my blog posts on the future of humanity have been, I thought it time to offer good news as to where we are heading. I shall call this the global realignment. Few will disagree that the current activities and ideas of humanity in relation to the environment are unsustainable and point to our self-destruction. History also shows that whenever a crisis occurs traumatic events and the ideas of new thinkers causes a paradigm shift in attitudes and thinking.
Contrary to the fantasy of many people, there will be no celestial champion on a white horse riding forward to save humanity from itself. The change will come from a series of traumatic events and individual thinkers which will plant the seeds of change, which will ripple forward as a tsunami of changes of ideas and attitudes on a global scale.
So much change. So much uncertainty. Such a feeling of being lost in unfamiliar lands.
Or have we been here before?
Have you heard of the Kondratieff Wave?
The Kondratieff Wave (Kondratiev Wave or K-wave) theory is proposing the existence of the extra-long, 50+ years long cycles of growth in the modern market (capitalist) economy. The theory was proposed in 1920s by Russian economist Nikolai Kondratiev.
Wikipedia has a good summary available here. A Google search will find much more material, such as this chart:
The Wikipedia entry has a simpler diagram, see below, that shows the four stages of each cycle.
So how to draw this to a close?
In a sense, in a very real sense, there isn’t a close. The future has always been uncertain and as history shows change is the only constant.
Peter concluded that a better society was ahead and hoped that he would live sufficiently long to witness it. That gets my vote!
Happy New Year to you.
Thank you for taking an interest in Learning from Dogs.