In 2006, still a time of prosperity and business as usual,-ish, I argued through a number of writings, including the French Revolution part of the upcoming WAKE OF LIBERTY, that we were heading toward a period of crisis and revolution, even conflict, most likely starting off as a regional issue, then spreading across the globe.
This conflict and the crises it would stem from would come in many guises, went the argument.
It could be a uprising by groups of people feeling disenfranchised and misrepresented, leading to civil unrest. It could be a revolution leading to collapsing governments, chaos, even civil war. Citizens vs law enforcement. The establishment vs the popular mandate. Cities turning wild and the streets becoming daily battlefields. It could lead to clashes between everyone and their grandmother, both within and across borders. It could lead to a war between a few nations, or to a number of wars between many little groups of nations taking advantage of the world’s volatility, trying to settle both old scores and new, maybe even remove an obligation, erase a little debt, undo a few old deals and, in general, take advantage.
The situation would get even more complicated by other kinds of conflict, much of it ongoing, continued the argument. Clashes between civilians and troops in areas of the world where human rights were not top of the list, or wars between criminal gangs and law enforcement, smugglers and customs agencies, you name it, since 2006 it has been evident that the End Of History did not arrive, far from it (sorry Francis Fukuyama — by the way, what the hell was that all about!) the world is currently going through a violent spin, heading toward conflagration, into the kind of conflict it so often enters when the system is abused on both sides, by the privileged and destitute alike.
During this period, and especially since 2008 and the near collapse of the global financial system, I have seen the world head toward the inevitable direction it had drawn for itself, chronicling its progress (or lack thereof), looking for insight to help alleviate the downturns, perhaps even illuminate the way ahead. Learn more about how these setbacks work to better deal with them.
Even so, despite the systemic downturn and all the warning signs about what is yet to come if the problems are not tackled immediately and decisively, I have heard everything there is to hear about how the world is in reality much better off than it was decades ago, how the spreadsheets and stats reveal a world steadily improving — how everyone should remain positive and trust in the power of the markets, of democracy and freedom, enterprise and information — how we are going to innovate and trade our ways out of our national and international stalemates and crises — how the world economy is so intertwined, so unprecedentedly intermeshed, so complicated in its setup and so uncannily interdependent that global conflict is not an option anymore, no siree, and neither is prolonged destabilization. We will not go to war because it will be damaging for everyone, too costly, too catastrophic to even consider . . . I hear these sophistries and banal platitudes being spoken by a huge number of people, some of them really smart, and I’m thinking, what the hell’s in their water — I mean, apart from the Kool-Aid? What the fuck are they drinking?
My guess is, for lack of better terms, a good measure of fear-cum-denial mixed with a spoonful of groupthink and wishful thinking, plus a dash of Fukuyama with his end-of-history, we-are-over-the-past nonsense to round it all off, making one hell of a beverage.
Watch this space for Part 2