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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Through A Crystal Ball Darkly: Are We Repeating History? (Part 2)

Economic difficulties.  Populations frustrated with government institutions that don't seem to reflect or care about their realities.  Those same governments playing the populist, vehemently nationalist "charity starts at home" card.  A diminished interest in rising tensions and violence against minorities abroad - partially because those tensions strike a chord with a watered-down version of the same tensions here at home.

You don't need to be a Hari Seldon to see where this path tends to lead; there still people alive today who've been down it before.

I disagree with Kinsella on the "we never learn" part, though - there are new dynamics at play that can and will alter the game board (though to what degree remains to be seen).

Western nations are much more diverse than they were before.  Social media has made real-time information transmission, especially visual, that much easier.  Citizen journalism is co-opting main-stream (sometimes government-controlled) narratives.  Individual norm-disrupters ranging from Kai Nagata to Edward Snowden have built precedents for citizens to buck trends in a way that wasn't as virulently recognized in the 1930s.

Then, there are nascent resistance groups like Occupy, Arab Spring, etc. that are global in scope.  Also - Anonymous, The Mule in the plan.
With communications clamp-downs, attack ads, hate propaganda and of course, enough firepower and fear-factor, all these potential mitigations could be quashed.

They won't, though, for the simple reason that a hate-and-protector based organizational model invariably consolidates power into the hands of a few, who inevitably make mistakes and miss key trends.

That's not the risk.

The real risk is an expansion of what we're seeing in Syria or Iraq on a broader scale - in other words, anarchy (briefly) and then a consolidation of neo-feudalism.

Despite the stringent, Big Brother-like security and surveillance Russia is putting in place to keep order in Sochi I'd be surprised if violent confrontations don't happen.  When has building a bigger mouse trap (or decapitating a few mice) ever worked in the past?

There are far more converging, troubling trends out there then our message-track leadership appears capable of distilling and planning against.  Fortunately, at the same time, there is an emergent collaborative process being catalyzed through the global Open Government movement.

It's far from clear what will happen next, whether 2014 will be the year of the burning platform or is there is enough wisdom out there to ensure we have a strong enough second foundation to pivot to.

What is safe to say is that we live in interesting times.

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