Are we headed for a revolution?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
With all the various Y2K scenarios on this BB and no answers to what may lie ahead of us, could this be the beginning of the great revolution that we have been hearing about since the 60's? If we believe that the free market as we know it is going to fail along with our pensions and 401Ks gone, what will save us?
-- Bardou (email@example.com), October 11, 1998
The free market will be wounded, but won't die. Government can't take care of itself, let alone the rest of the marketplace. We may see a long period of "rebuilding". Small local & state economies, then national and eventual return to an international economy. My main concern (after taking care of my family) is that the international colapes (which has already started) will lead to a series of wars. We would be one fire department with 12 different houses on fire, without the will to leave the station. Look for massive bailouts of different countries during the next 6 months. Food aid to Russia, Asia, etc... Congress investigates hedge funds and derivitives.
-- Bill (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 11, 1998.
Bill: Where is the money going to come from for bailouts? If we are talking major wars, it takes billions to do that. Also, with technology we have a more sophisticated military. When we speak of war, the words "nuclear and push of a button" comes to mind. Total disaster, millions die, what is left to hold onto or build from? Who will be the winner?
-- Bardou (email@example.com), October 12, 1998.
There are a lot of people and companies with an overwhelming interest in keeping things as they are, and not just in terms of keeping the power grid up and running.
If there were a 'great revolution' I would hope that it would be one of community self-sustainability and a 'less is more' mentality so that this morass of interdependance threatened by a computer glitch wouldn't have the potential for causing such problems as it portends. However, given that the US dumps banned chemicals and devices elsewhere, and that our own USDA is in on the scheme to genetically engineer seeds that will not reproduce more than one crop aimed specifically at third world farmers, well, I don't have much optimism as to how things would turn out in a worst-case scenario; I think if the US has severe problems, the possibilities are wide-open as to what advantage might be taken of the situation. This might be our global come-uppance...
-- Karen Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 12, 1998.
The ironic thing about global wars is that our military and the militaries of most of the highly developed nations will be largely crippled due to their reliance on technology. It's the militaries of the less technologically developed nations that will have an edge, since they're not so reliant on computers for fighting.
Regarding revolution in the US and the power of the government to keep it down, one thing to consider is that our nation developed a strong federal government to protect itself against the predations of (then) powerful countries like England and France. In a post-Y2K world, it may be the case that the US breaks up into smaller "territories" with stronger local governments, since the federal government will have become fairly obsolete. After all, the original purpose of the Federal government was to ensure that the basic rights of the people were not infringed upon. Since then, the Federal Government has become huge, monolithic, and rather than protecting the Constitutional rights of its citizens, it's started taking them away.
It would be very difficult to have a revolution here in the States without a catastrophe on the scale of Y2K, but with it, the federal government may find itself over extended and unable to maintain the critical infrastructure necessary to justify itself. After all, the main reason most people (and this may be an unwarranted assumption) are for a strong federal government is because the federal government positions itself as the protector of the people. It provides welfare, medicare, standardises currency, provides postal services, etc. Post Y2K, it will no longer serve that function, at least not initially. People will have no choice to become self-reliant and community reliant. People will have to become more like the rugged individualists of the preceding century. As a result, people's focus will shift the role of the federal government as protector to themselves and their communities. It may be the case that the majority of the problems are solved and the federal government is ready to assume the mantle that it once bore, the people are not willing to relinquish it. And if that comes about, I believe that the US is too big for the federal government to try to assume it's former role by the use of force. If it should try, then I predict bloody revolution.
The responsible family member in me is frightened by what Y2K bodes for me and my family. The libertarian in me sees this as an interesting experiment in civil and social change. :)
-- Alexander Garrett (email@example.com), October 12, 1998.
But it may look very different than the usual image of a revolution.
-- pshannon (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 12, 1998.
When was the "revolution" that ended the Greek and Roman empires? The Byzantine Empire? The British Empire?
Those all definitely ended, and some historians give a date based on a battle or a king's death.
But for the average Roman, Pict, Franc and Saxon, he just slowy slipped from the "glory" that was the Rome Republic to the decadence of the Roman Empire to the squalor of the Black Ages. The accumulation of many small changes, while you're in the middle of them, may be a Revolution in hindsight.
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (email@example.com), October 12, 1998.
I think what we will see is actually more devolution than revolution per se. Not intended to mince words, just to convey the idea as briefly as possible. For a long time now our direction has been one of centralization, economy of scale, division of labor etc. Those things are supportable in a centralized system that works reasonably well.
If the centralized system stops working reasonably well then about the only alternative to total collapse is for things to begin working 'from the bottom up' rather than 'from the top down.' Won't make most globalist politicians happy. Tough beans. Means strong families, communities, neighborhoods, towns etc. Not so much strong central government. I think if anything the 'free market system' will be strengthened even though the volume of commerce may fall off greatly (sorry 'bout that, Beanie Baby collectors) and change in character to 'real goods.'
I think it does mean "power to the people" though, when it's all said and done. That might be close enough to what you meant by "revolution" in '60s terms.
-- nemo (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 13, 1998.
Hi Bardou, ltns. I tend to lean towards evolution. Western civilization has collapsed from the weight of 30 years of abuse and corruption. From the board room to D.C. morality became optional and this filtered throughout society. After all, the sheeple will only emulate the leadership of a nation or society, whether that leadership is in government or business. Laissez-faire economics will survive. BUT our current form of government is where I have my concerns. If the constitution is just another piece of paper, as the liberals would have it, we will have a revolution and unfortunately a bloody one at that. There are about twenty million hardcore "patriots" out in the hinterland who are ignored by the powers that be. They won't be forever.
-- John Galt (email@example.com), October 15, 1998.
You are all both right and wrong. You are perfectly correct in that we are heading for a revolution, dead wrong in what that revoultion will be. A basic analysis of the curves denoting the abilities people have to protect themselves and so forth shows these abilities are rising exponentially over time since the 1800's or so. Mark Twain was one of the first to notice this, he published a comparision of the number of bullets an infantryman could fire in a given time in 1904 with the number a man in Napoleons army could have fired in the same amount of time and concluded that a single man would have been a match for one of Napoleons platoons. While the govt. has reacted to this by trying to prevent individuals from attaining weapons and devices to protect themselves, new developments occur daily and the govt. takes years to react to them. Thus, esp. as nanotechnology is developed and takes its place in our technical lexicon, people are becoming more and more able to do for themselves what the govt. does for them. This is becoming very apparent to many people, which is the reason we have so many people ticked off at the govt. The true role of the govt. has been reduced to foreign and military affairs, disaster relief and road maintainence. Everything else is just window dressing and attempts to manipulate society. This will become really apparent in about 30 to 40 years, as the implications of nanotech devices are truly mind boggling. For example, any household almost anywhere can be truly self sufficient using nanotools to produce food or tools or machines from garbage or scrap metal. By producing small diamond plates a few hundred microns on a side you could armor a house against almost any concievable violence short of a major blast or military attack with extremely powerful weapons. Currently, polls of the leading chip manufacturers reveal that several of them expect to be building nano devices in less than 20 years, and the tech forecasts (which are almost always too conservative) expect massive usage of nanotools in 40 years or less, with the first major market penetration in the medical field to take place by 2020. That is the real revolution, and when it comes govt. will become very unimportant.
-- Paul Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 15, 1998.