Friday, October 29, 2010

To be a pyramid.

Society can appear as a great Ponzi scheme at times. In the days of flat population growth this was still true in the tiers of classes or castes. Today in the unindustrialized nations it is also in age demographics, many more young supporting the dream of their future prosperity in the form of the elderly.

In a society that claims "social mobility," residents must see more desirable positions as attainable, though few may have them, so even fewer may actually make such a shift in their lifetimes. In these conditions we see the motivation for striving for improvement, as there is something to strive for and strive one must against competition.

A similar thing could be said regarding the practice of expansionist market economics. More so, as class determinants shift in dynamic societies. If wealth is not the primary factor or tied for first, a class structure may not be a Ponzi scheme at all. The dominant economic scheme is predicated on the fact that the flows of value get mired at the top, forming cow bend lakes. However, if the flow is mired that means the people at the bottom have less to pass back to the top, thus the hunger for new markets. This is what the old colonial system was partially motivated by. The end of it and the bipolar order of the second half of the twentieth century meant the United States was able to experience disproportionate growth, only one other major player was competing for markets. Additionally, the South has been allowed to grow in this "neo-colonialism" and add to the global wealth flow. Now more places have become repositories for wealth and there are more people, such that expectations of material prosperity in the U.S. cannot be maintained.

It is time for us as a society to review or concepts of class and success. How much material comfort do we need to feel fulfilled?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Social Evolution

In the last six centuries we have seen enormous social change; creation of the collection of societies known as the West. For the creation of modernity, spiritual values were usurped by the secular. In fact, "modern" in the historical context refers to the time when the view of the material world, and humanities ability to manipulate it, creates a sense of progress.

To do so required overcoming nothing less than fear of death and an opinion of impracticality regarding abstract thinking. In contemporary years there is another evolution, the pace of which has accelerated. This time, the primal senses of self-worth and identity are being challenged. We've seen this in the debates over the rights of homosexuals, in the running for political office by non-traditional phenotypes, and immigration and migration.

The flow of change in the last two hundred years has been one toward inclusion. The development of national constitutions declaring the rights of all citizens protected from their government. On one hand, these reactionary movements against inclusion appear to be contrary to the constitutional legacy, yet many reactionary policy movements co-opt the unwavering support of these primary sources of both jurisprudence and national identity by the populace.

To move forward, encouraging individual sense of accomplishment will de-emphasise the desperate act to preserve self-value. Using the pride in a government constitution , a group identity can be formed around it which includes the different phenotypes. It will be fascinating to watch unfurl; we live in interesting times.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Game On

Way back in my mis-spent youth, as opposed to my mis-spent adulthood, I found a subculture periodic that inspired me. Unfortunately, I don't recall the name of it, this was in the late '97 to early '98 range when I was spending a lot of time browsing Barnes & Nobles' non-fiction and periodicals. The issue was dedicated to play as a social resource and I was both awed and inspired by the author's bold novelty. As testament to its motivational power, it was how I learned of Burning Man, and my impetus for going to the event later that year.

Recently, there have been many expounding on how fun and play are the basis for the Next Big Thing. I am sure they are right, but I think the frequency is interesting. Examples include the success of World of Warcraft, major companies putting a presence in Second Life, Chinese virtual gold harvesters, Charles Stross' Halting State, Institute for the Futures' simulation series, and the young man whose ideas were award some significant venture capital and the focus of a New York Times article on making a game interface for brand awareness and loyalty.

Play is not merely hip, it is the next Wave, in the strategic forecasting sense. Leisure time is prolific in the Industrialized zones of the world, and being industrialized means having the largest employment sector of an economy be service oriented. What can be more service oriented than entertainment? And when we create entertainment, like this blog entry, we stop being mere spectators and cross the line as collaborators. So, please write a comment and play with me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Personal Liberation: First Principles

Freedom is what you do after you've been done to, paraphrasing Jean-Paul Sartre. Old JP certainly felt "done to," being a student in Germany, then to have to defend and rebel against invasion and occupation, respectively. After, he didn't call for German punishment. Instead, a talked about the absurdity of the human condition and called for independence, Algerian sovereignty being an example.

It is very easy to become angry or appalled; read the news. If asked why we feel this way we are liable to point to someone else's action, like what was reported by the media. That may very well be what we are reacting to, but that isn't why we are feeling that way. The feelings we have come from within, nothing external is an arbiter, though it maybe influential.

You have freedom after another has acted. Given a choice, I work toward a world of respect and harmony. Don't cede your freedom to another's short-sightedness. Let the basics of psychology and natural law be guide posts and be humble enough to recalibrate.