The Rise And Fall

of a great something.

Adding more money will not fix the problem; it may even make it worse because things have just gone over their heads. The expansion of private activity into outer space will create a still bigger challenge for the 20th-century state. Latencies in communication imposed by the limited speed of light mean that real-time control from the center will become impossible in principle. Even the Mars copter is largely autonomous.

Taken together, these developments suggest that the collapse we may be feeling — if one is in fact occurring — is not the fall of a hegemon but the crumbling of hegemony itself. It is probably driven by the drastic increase of complexity in the 21st century, represented by an ever-lengthening flood of bits which, if not understood, is psychologically indistinguishable from entropy. The world, like a team of wild horses, may have gotten away from the UN, Xi, Vladimir, and Joe because it’s gotten too dang complicated to control. Going back to historical metaphors, humanity may be reliving, not the fall of Rome but the fall of Babel.

Vernor Vinge, Neil Stephenson, and others saw this coming.

7 thoughts on “The Rise And Fall”

  1. Government spending is top-down driven management on steroids. And if it was so wonderful the Soviet Union would still be in business and putting out those wonderful 5-year plans that hit every milestone right on time.

    Infrastructure bills that send billions down rat holes typically get ignored by the electorate as just part of the government economy and the noise therein at the margins. But what is different this time is inflation. If inflation gets too out of control, the fed will start to step on the brakes by raising interest rates. This will stall out the economy. You don’t want to be the administration in power when that happens.

    I think items like the Green “New Deal” and other fantasy programs of the Left are about to be stricken a fatal blow when inflation, stagflation, high interest rates, impossible mortgage rates and un-affordable cars and higher prices for everything hits home. The pain will get worse next year, enough likely to flip the Congress. Then it will be back to finger pointing between the Executive and Legislative Branches. I fear there are too many ideologues in the Biden Administration to be willing to compromise with Republicans in Congress in order to correct the situation. I hope I’m wrong.

    1. See here’s the deal. I’m counting on the incompetence of the Biden Administration to actually being able to *spend* the money being allocated. By the time they start to get their ducks in line they’ll get hit with an election. I hoping that this massive infrastructure spending will take at least 3 years to *begin* to implement. Time enough for a new administration to rein it back in. Not before billions have disappeared. But hopefully less than 10% of the billions allocated.

  2. It seems like nothing do bureaucracies other they are killing the golden goose. Or bureaucracies claimed credit, but they never worked.
    Bureaucracies are always a parasite.
    Or NASA didn’t get to Moon, it was the US economy [not government, not huge corporations, and certainly not politicians- other some may have got slightly less, in the way- perhaps solely because they were too lazy].
    So, getting ever greater a pile of laws, which mostly about using government to prevent competition.
    Since China is killing the golden goose, it has failed.
    Only the Chinese ruling class imagine they doing anything useful.
    Only Washington imagines it’s doing something important.
    Both are parasites, as everyone knows.

  3. Read the history of the Chinese and ponder: when the Emperor and his ministers are incorruptible the empire flourishes. Taxes are fair and the justice is distributed appropriately. When the Emperor is weak and the ministers are corrupt everything falls to chaos.

    Our current problem is that there are just not enough people that are trustworthy — we will always have the venal and corrupted among us. The size of the system is not the biggest problem…

    1. “Our current problem is that there are just not enough people that are trustworthy — we will always have the venal and corrupted among us. The size of the system is not the biggest problem…”

      And so I maintain the the problem are not enough voters with a clear understanding of the Consitution, how it’s supposed to prevent a lot of what we are seeing, with a clear understanding of history and how government entities are no different than Feudal lords with some shackles, and how the government people thwart, avoid or try to eliminate those shackles.

  4. As far as we’re concerned, I hope David Spain is right, Biden administration incompetence seems like too easy of a bet to miss. But then I remember Obamacare. Republican gutlessness and corruption are also strong competitors and hard to bet against.

    China seems to be on the cusp of a collapse that will make the Japanese collapse in the early ’90’s look like a minor glitch.

    They might easily be much more dangerous in their death throes.

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