No One to Negotiate With
As I sit on a flight home from Seattle on Wednesday March 4th, I am left with no absence of topics to ponder. From the virus, to the interest rate cuts, to the fact that a nation of 1.3 billion people are now legally allowed to trade cryptocurrency, a lot has happened in the past few days. However, what changed? Who changed it? And who actually agreed to these changes? How did we decide on this timing? Even for a pandemic, I do not find these questions entirely crazy. It is really only crazy that one cannot answer these questions for anything that is happening now politically, economically or security wise on a global level. The clarity of these decisions and changes were arguably far more clear in past decades. Political “mandates,” delineations in technical capabilities, who controlled what in the economy, all provided humanity a far more tangible route to understanding how to affect change. When society wanted change, we knew where to go for it or what to do — at the least, we knew what was “within our realm of control.”
However, now, what do we do when we want to enact change? When we want a law passed, removed, or changed? There’s an enormous, laborious route that we imagine will lead to change but it is entirely unpredictable, uncontrollable, and often leads to illogical outcomes. And if government policy leaves you unconvinced, imagine large corporations — how do these behemoths spend billions of dollars on projects and neglect to protect their fundamental IT infrastructure or provide adequate customer service? It is holistically irrational. A careful choice of words — holistically irrational, not entirely. Politicians are seeking to win votes, enterprise is responding to cost and the short term demands of Wall Street — the rationality behind why things happen the way they do does not really escape us. What escapes us is who or what can change it.
I heard a talk by George Friedman today in which he asserted, and I am paraphrasing here, that we are in an era in which there is very little, if any, authority having enough power with which we can reasonably negotiate a change on a macro level. And I started thinking, more than that, we all have different idea now anyways. Many of these ideas we have no method of convincingly validating for our peers on a large scale.
I have a thesis, or at this point, a hypothesis, that I am going to pose here — I commit to continuing to investigate it but I’ll readily admit the assertion is far from robust and ready. (However, I’ve checked with my editor, who coincidently happens to be myself, and she’s fine with it.)
Since we can no longer negotiate change on a macrolevel, change will occur in a decentralized fashion that percolates up to a macrolevel. Furthermore, we cannot change our way into the next technology, economic or political revolution — we are going to have to build it. Reliance on every aspect of existing infrastructure will decrease in favor more resilient, distributed networks with individual rather than institutional redundancies. These changes will occur in power generation, building construction, the food supply, navigation techniques, communication methods, health and medicine, education and our methods of exchange.
More on this to come. For now, this is a good start at 30,000 feet up.