My younger brother has a marvelous, beautiful young child, and through some osmotic process that I don’t understand, came to understand some things earlier than I, despite his being four years my junior. Better late than never.
One thing he and his charming wife do well is to present their child with “natural consequences”. Many parents try to keep their kids in protective bubbles, but this hardly prepares them for real life. Young kids love to test the world, and a favourite activity is to knock things over, drop them, throw them. So Bro came up with a little song…”Da da da da da… Gravity always wins!” And the stuff stayed on the floor. So the kid, sorry, darling child, learned the consequence: if I throw it away, it ain’t coming back of its own accord. Hope I am not that far off the intent of the song, Bro, my own twist on the meaning to get a nice article title.
Yes, gravity always wins. Water always seeps through. Rust never sleeps. In another article here I have tried to help people understand my peculiar notion of systemic rationality, of the principles of self-organization, of an evolved, as opposed to a planned order of, well, anything and everything.
I used to think that there were two types of order, ie you could actually have a forced-order, as opposed to self-order, as the dichotomy indicates. But I was wrong. There is only self-organization, in the long term, only one true order. We try to plan, we try to “create” order, but it is always a losing battle. We need to learn to relax.
I used to think that it was the cost of the arms race that brought down Soviet Russia. But if it wasn’t that, it would have been something else. It might have taken longer. More suffering might have occurred. But it was unsustainable.
You see, coercive order requires constant energy input. The natural order, that that would evolve if there were no coercion in the system, is the lowest possible energy-state of the system. You can’t do better. It is maximally efficient, if you will. For some reason (and we really don’t know why, and never will, though there will be legions of chemists and physicists and economists who will try to explain) all systems seek their lowest energy state. For a society, the lowest energy state is one in which there is no coercion. The Thibetans seem to come pretty close, from what I read and see on TV. They seem to intuitively understand that all value derives from freedom, and that the denial of freedom can only be temporary.
We may try and fight it, we may try to put rules in place, tax people to force them to allocate their resources (including their own time and labour) in particular ways, but in the end, whatever the natural order is, it will be achieved. All we need do is wait.
Civilization has gone through lots of variations of organizational style, administrative structure, societal objectives, from “please-the-emperor or I’m dead” to “live free or die”, but they always seem to collapse in the end. Jared Diamond would tell us it is because we will always, like the bacteria, eat all the resources in our particular Petri dish, and then we die, or move on, assuming there is somewhere left to move to. I’d like to know more about our west coast natives. Some of those more primitive societies (primitive in terms of material, not spiritual wealth) might have been pretty close to optimally self-organized. But then, they had an “infinite” supply of the primary resource, salmon, which makes it easier. It is when a society needs to deal with the scarcity of resources that the inefficiency of imposed order and coercion over self-organization and individual freedom really matters.
There is another reason that societies implode than resource scarcity alone. They are crushed by the energy required to sustain an order that is sub-optimal, excessively rigid, and built the wrong way. That sub-optimal order, if faced with scarce resources, will certainly exhaust them, as it does not allow the individuals’ intelligence to self-organize and become “conscious” of the resource limit with sufficient foresight to avoid total depletion. It is the constant energy input in misguided directions that sucks the society dry, and it withers and dies. This is what we are now witnessing in western society, particularly the United States to our south. This is what happened to Rome, it wasn’t the lead pipes, ok? It was imprudent management that relied on coercive force and currency debasement to continue to enrichen a minority elite at the expense of the common Romans (and, gulp, their slaves). There it is, The Rise and Fall in a single sentence, and wasn’t that easier than reading the whole thing?
The 200+ year social experiment that is the United States was a pretty good shot at a decent set of principles, and initial structure, with freedom and individualism as fundamental tenets of society enshrined in a decent constitution. But the US is failing, has lost its way, and is now rapidly degrading into a fascist state. I hope they can turn it around, especially since we share a 5500 mile long undefended border with them, but without control of their own money I think they are doomed.
I talk about what money really is elsewhere, sufficient here to quote again the prophetic Mayer Amsched Rothchild: “Permit me to issue and control the money of the nation and I care not who makes its laws.” We’ll see how the robo-signing and MERS mortgage scandals work out (let alone COMEX precious metals manipulation, unregulated over-the-counter derivatives markets, and all manner of crazy banking activities), but I think we are now witnessing the banks writing law. One certainly wonders who is at the helm when a privately-owned bank chairman can walk into the US Congress and tell them all what to do. Not what the Founding Fathers had in mind, I don’t think, but that is exactly what happened in the last crash, and will be happening with ever increasing frequency, until finally the American voter, beaten over the head by years of QE 1 through N (as N goes to infinity…) and nothing, in fact, less than nothing, to show for it, either finally votes in some sense, or asserts the second. I have trouble with most (large, male) American’s bare arms, let alone American’s bearing arms. Yikes. Interesting times.
Many people are unaware the Fed is basically a foreign-owned private bank – it just happens to be one that has all its liabilities backed by the US taxpayer, and might occasionally listen to the Secretary of the Treasury once in a while, though that influence is frowned upon by the economists, who chant for the independence of the central banking authority. It’s a big deal up here in Canada, and there have been Bank of Canada chairperson resignations and special legislation put in place stipulating that the Bank can do whatever the hell it wants, nyah, nyah, except, of course, in typical Canadian fashion, we have a “notwithstanding clause” that says if Parliament, really, really, wants to, they can direct Bank policy, but the chair, in this case, will resign. AND THEN YOU’LL BE SORRY! being the implication.
How ironic then, that in the land of the free, with perfectly-balanced governance by legislative, executive, and judicial branches, that basically, now, the Fed runs the show. I was standing in line at the Scotia-Bank gold wicket here in Ottawa in fall 2008 (closed-circuit cameras, Photo-ID, forms in quintuplicate, please sir) when a cammo-clad survivalist introduced me to the moniker “Government Sachs”. I wonder, what will be the pedigree of the next Fed chair?
These guys, these – I hesitate to call them bozos, though I don’t know why, maybe its because “criminals” seems so much more apropos – should step aside, let the crunch happen, do their jail time, and let the world, the world’s people, and the Internet get on with the job of learning how we can all live sustainably in a world of finite resources.
Gravity always wins. Look out below.