The New Political Vocabulary: Part 1

Abandoning the grounded ship of state

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Understanding Historical Paradigm Change

My original areas of focus, in my years of graduate work in history, were revolutionary change in East and Southeast Asia, history of technology, and intellectual history. That was all an effort to understand what drives modern revolutionary (disruptive) change particularly change in social structure and intellectual understanding of the justifications of that structure. Social, political, and economic change is a product of ways of seeing the world that allows the solution of problems that are unsolvable under existing or previous world views dependent on your perspective in the process of change.

Dealing with this kind of change is the very definition of disruptive.

I, and many, many other people, consider our current period an equivalent or larger shift than the scientific revolution leading to the Enlightenment and, incidentally the founding of the United States. I think it is larger. But we know that because we understand what has happened in the different stages of these kind of intellectual transformations in past. What happens, simply, is that societies split into increasingly uncommunicative groups (see my Long Tailed Rat of History) based on their individual perceived world which is a range of stations from an earlier world to today’s cutting edge. To people this means that other people begin to not make sense. Some people kind of make sense and people begin to adjust because the new ideas begin to explain things in life that were not well explained before. On a day to day basis this is very pragmatic. The new way of seeing the world works in more ways than the old way. Or, most commonly, problems that could not be clearly understood let alone solved become understandable and then solvable. That is the only reason that people make changes unless they are forced to make them by conquest. That sometimes works, too, but is not how very large changes are made. (We can argue about Alexander and the Hellenic conquests that created the Graeco-Roman world of which we are a direct product. The old doesn’t go completely away but the understanding of it changes.)

The New Political Terms of the Old Paradigm

The terms citizen, nation, republic, capitalist, socialist, democracy were once new or newly redefined as part of the previous major paradigm shift. Some of these were ancient having been originally invented by the classical Greeks of the Athenian Republic and having gone through various iterations over time but mostly as exceptions to the normal aristocratic, authoritarian rule. The rise of the first wave of globalization in the wake of the European Age of Discovery found new meanings for these words and then invented newer words to deal with the acquisition of wealth in foreign trade and/or conquests. The need for capital to fund expeditions to Southeast Asia for spices or to the New World for gold and silver caused the evolution of joint stock companies and, eventually, representative government.

But in any case the changes driven by technology (IT/AI,/Social Media/Mixed Reality) have been shifting us to intellectual property as the base value system.

I really don’t know what the end changes will be but I’m pretty sure, based on the last fifty years of history that the basic concept of capitalism, i.e. capital as value based on natural resources, manufactured goods, and finally services, is no longer viable. The entire structure of capitalism is based on growth in order to support increased population, build value (wealth), and make up for the inherent problem of the steady consolidation of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. The even bigger issue, unknown until about thirty years ago is the destruction of our climate that makes a system based on unlimited growth deadly. There are many other issues having to do with the quality of life that are factors in this also. But in any case the changes driven by technology (IT/AI,/Social Media/Mixed Reality) have been shifting us to intellectual property as the base value system. This is a very different model and this is what we should be talking about.

New Names, New Systems

We don’t have new political terminology yet but we are beginning to see the nature of what will come if we manage to avoid killing ourselves in escaping the old. At the simplest level we need to focus on new political structures and ideas. Here are some topics for thought and discussion:

Using public social media general administrative performance can be continuously reviewed and general administrative guidelines can be surveyed with new proposals solicited.

If we take just these two changes, unhappiness with democratic systems and urbanization, we can begin to see the problem for millennials. Why not shrink (?) our administrative areas (government in the old terminology)to the metropole level and make it direct rule by continuous vote? Most of the role of government is purely administrative managing all the public services that already make up the majority of work in many regions. Using public social media general administrative performance can be continuously reviewed and general administrative guidelines can be surveyed with new proposals solicited. As a resident you would be required to review and discuss public issues. The point is not big votes on big issues but constant participation on many issues. This could provide a constant sense of direction for public services and important issues. While political groups would form to advocate certain types of issues they would be less likely to have positions on everything but only on the things that a group of people felt important.

Written by

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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