Friday, January 15, 2010

Some Civilizational Thoughts

Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them

- Whitehead, AN
Well, sometimes we do need to think when there is a collapse.As like every year Bruce Sterling comes up with very thought provoking and interesting thoughts on 2010 and society in general

Some excerpts

*"Where I'll end up living." You're a Canadian always in California who's married to a Briton who's always in Japan. Obviously you're not gonna "end up" anywhere. Forget about that. What are you worried about, your IKEA furniture? There is no "end up." Someday they're gonna bury you someplace -- that's likely relatively permanent -- or
they might lock you in a prison or a clinic where they won't let you out. Other than that, you have made your mobile bed and you oughta lie in it.

Basically we've got an emergent, market-driven global financial systemthat was all about a faith-based market fundamentalism. It was deprived of oversight for three good reasons (a) it rapidly brought prosperity to billions (b) under globalization, money is inherently global while governance is inherently local (c) complete regulatory
capture of the system -- nobody but bankers understands how to bank.There's no caste of regulators left anywhere who have the clout or even the knowledge to do anything usefully stabilizing. No, not even if you give them guns, lawyers, money and back issues of DAS KAPITAL.

*India's better. Fantastically better. India used to be in more or less the same cramped livestock-stall as Sri Lanka, Myanmar (okay,"Ceylon" and "Burma" -- this need to rename cities and nations is a sign of mental illness) Pakistan, East Pakistan "Bangladesh" --nowadays the Indians get all kinds of juice and respect from the "international community," and better yet, all their local rivals are
in the charity ward without the Indians even firing a shot.

*It's hard for anyone from Texas to find the chutzpah to complain about California's state politics. For instance, Enron, a Texas company,basically decapitated California by illegally gaming the natural gas pipelines, and then getting a surprised and hapless Gray Davis run out
of office. Ever since then, they've been stuck with Schwarzenegger,who's a cartoon figure. California's never done anything half that wicked to Texas.

You look at all the statistics that technocrats use to determine where people are doing just great, where society is thriving,and Sweden's been in the top five percentile for decades.  Sweden does everything perfectly from a technocratic policy perspective, Sweden's like Oz, apparently.

And then you ask Swedes about their future and so forth, and they're like: "Bring the razor and the bathtub!  When can I die?"  There are penniless, vitamin-deprived guys in the Dharavi slums of Mumbai who are upbeat and perky compared to Swedes.

You get stretched by the experience and you grow.The good life is like that.

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