Amerika

Our Medium Term Future

Conceptualizing the future has become an industry in itself, with futurists and scenario planners offering different visions and products to match. Some people become conspiracy-oriented while others get euphoric or fatalistic. But within all this chaos, the common theme is that the future is rushing at us in the present.

History helps inform us of are likely to be future trends because patterns repeat in a cyclic pattern as order is created and then dissolved. Every group is a self-interested agency trying to beat down the rest while incurring the fewest losses possible. Even the Church is this way, which is why governments began demanding the separation of church and state.

Whoever and wherever you are, you belong to a group within this context. Your group, like every other, acts in enlightened Machiavellian self-interest alone. If you want to be part of that group, the others in the group will insist that work toward furthering the group as a means of experiencing personal acceptance.

This process, like natural selection, leads to greater competence, which is why in the span of history, humans did fairly well for themselves despite this runaway self-interest; the same reason explains why capitalism triumphed over socialism. Self-interest follows opportunity, where group-interest is backward looking and seeks to control what already is instead of what can be created.

There are signs that things have worked out well under this system of self-interest. A graph of human life expectancy vs actual mortality (via Yaniv Erlich) below depicts an amazing turn of human proliferation: things are going well, all in all, because on average we are surviving longer than ever before.

However, it is not going well for everyone. The following picture compares homicides in most of the world to an outlier known for the frequency of violence that occurs on its streets:

Another metric called competitiveness indicates the productivity of a country. In South Africa, which has many problems, you can see that it is going down, with the disturbing realization that there is no intention to improve.

Why is there no intention to improve? To answer that one must separate organizations from humans, because the singular reason that human life expectancy increased was effective and efficient organization. Once the organization achieves its unintended initial goal, it does not dissolve and/or re-organize as it should, but becomes human-like with its own desires and image. And once that happens, it also adopts the same Achilles heel that humans have.

Human failure is complex and multifaceted. It consists of failure to achieve any of the fundamental human needs but even more, the inability to find some thread that ties them together and creates a sense of existential well-being. Living in Athens or Rome during their glory days would have tied it all together, since to labor for that society was to be part of something significant. Our modern time lacks that greatness and also adds stress in a form where young adults spend six hours each day feeling “stressed,” in part because of the lack of meaning to their existences. Other vectors of failure include neural blocks, SJWs, fatherless homes emancipation leading to emasculation, self-hatred and the Liberal Mind, all of which have the same source as the stress: human failure.

If very few people are able to handle stress, what happens to organizations? Just as humans get defensive, so do organizations.  A dark organization will decline in financial performance while attempting to avoid going bankrupt. This means that the seeds of its own destruction are already in the system despite tremendous initial performance and massive profits, but its owners and employees have turned against the interests of the organization in order to exploit it for their own gain and externalize the costs of their activity to society at large.

This was well researched by Jim Collins, resulting in a clear description of the stages of organizational decline. These stages are now applied to Western Civilization as follows:

  • 1950 – (Hubris) when post-WW2 “winners” established the United Nations.
  • 1990 – (Pursuit for more) came after the Berlin Wall fell.
  • 2010 – (Denial of Risk) caused Americans to elect Obama.
  • 2020 – (Grasp for straws) caused Americans to elect Trump.
  • 2025 – (Capitulation) will come through collapse expected after Trump exits office.

If one considers both organizations and human individuals, it becomes apparent that the seeds of destruction lie within. We like to think that we can fix that by implementing specific stress-avoidance procedures. For example, instead of researching genders, we can spend all that energy on researching stress in humans and their organizations.

However, the question remains: which group do you belong to, and are you really going to empower some “other” group to take over your own group, because that adds even more stress. Existential stress comes from not having a solid foundation of customs and knowledge that even if not winning, your team is holding together. When an organization becomes a dark organization, the human tendency is to break up into smaller organizations which act against the interests of the larger organization but in favor of themselves, essentially consuming the dark organization from within.

Our options to fix this are few. We can imagine immediate solutions like forcing companies to become projects only, with limited time frames. That would make the first group that does it the world leader. But what can we identify that could benefit all groups and therefore all humans, just like in the graph above?

We should research pathologies that affect human performances, because the same will apply to organizations eventually. After that, each group can change its own culture to suit its needs and then the chips will go to the group in power. Instead of having a dark organization composed of groups working against each other, those groups can compete and the best will rise.

That’s nature.

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