Archive for January 17, 2010

Questions to Ponder Over: 02

January 17, 2010 5 comments

This post is devoted to discussing my ideas on the fall of the west. I see it as almost inevitable (bar a miracle, such as divine assistance *S*). While this topic has been discussed on many other blogs and newsgroups, my take on this subject illuminates many previously ignored or poorly covered, but important, angles.

First a few definitions:

the west = A socio-cultural concept zeitgeist that is based on race.

western civilization = Another concept whose current incarnation arose in the west, but which can survive (in a functional form) in the absence of the west.

So let us start with the most obvious and discussed problem..

1] Adverse Demographic Profile: It is very obvious that the west has an adverse demographic profile and its current socio-economic structure cannot survive into the next ten years without some major changes to the status quo. The west never had such an extensive demographic decline since the 13th century, and unlike that situation is coupled with factors such as technology, literacy, historical memories and their effects of feedback loops.

While other nations are approaching an adverse demographic profile, the west is at least a generation or two ahead of them (giving a peculiar demographic advantage in numbers and ratios to the “others”).

2] Dependence on Growth: Post enlightenment business practices have been based on an assumption of growth and increase in the market size. Many concepts such as investments, pensions, business expansion strategies only make sense in a world with real growth. For almost 6 centuries (especially ~ 1800 to the mid 1980s) this assumption could be met by the internal growth of the west. To make this assumption work in the future, at least one of two things will have to happen (the other options lead to chaos)

a] The living standard of everyone in the world will have to rise to a first world level (the “star trek” scenario).
b] Money will have to created by means other than debt.

Realistically only a combination of a] and b] can get us out of this hole, or even buy time for any future changes.

3] The “Ape Mind” Problem: But the type of changes necessary to prevent a tragic collapse of the west conflict with the ape-mind zeitgeist of the west. The concept of west is also based on unspoken assumptions such as:

a] Perpetual servitude of the “others”.
b] Trying to deny the “others” a decent human existence.
c] A society where your last name and skin color give advantages and multiple chances.
d] Belief that “we” deserve more than “them”.
e] Attempts to justify chance as manifest destiny.

This conflicts with the need to ensure enough growth to ensure a soft crash landing for the west (best scenario). How can you get adequate revenues (income stream) from people who make much less than you? Those ratios work for a feudal society lording over another feudal society, which brings us to the fourth problem.

4] Systemic Issues: The long term effects of the industrial revolution has created a world where productivity is very high, and there are very few systemic shortages. However almost all of our beliefs, religions and ideologies were formed in a ‘zero-sum’ world, where scarcity ruled. Scarcity does not create character or intelligence, it merely creates mean, uncooperative and treacherous humans (which pretty much sums up human history).

Unlike any other previous epoch in human history, the current system is possible because of high levels of consumption by ordinary people. Though most of human history, most people led very basic lives and made/ extracted/ cultivated most of what they used. Most trade was restricted to important essentials and luxury goods. Local family structures and poor mobility kept most people alive in the absence of jobs and businesses like those we are accustomed to. Such social mechanisms are gone, in no part due to increased mobility, opportunities and technological possibilities.

5] Instability of Jobs: Here I am not talking about instability of your Job in one company, rather about instability of the Job itself. Technological changes and the incessant drive to optimize productivity have, and will make, previously stable jobs redundant (even if you could stop outsourcing). However unlike previous ages, our current jobs require far more training and personal investment than before.

We could of course create new jobs, but the question is- in what? The last two bubbles were driven by hype (not reality). Moreover we have a much older population than in the early 1990s. Even if you could retrain people, what would they learn that could not be made redundant soon?

6] Loss of an Established Life Cycle: Feminism, technology etc has disrupted the default life cycle for most people in the west. No sane person will get married, trust women, expect decent treatment from employers, care about having or caring for kids.

Therefore a rapidly increasing number of people are no longer getting married in their 20s, having a few kids, settling down buying houses, savings for kids etc. However industries that serve those needs also employ a lot of people, who will now face a decreasing number of customers. People are also not innovating or working harder because they know that their sincerity will be rewarded by deceit and treachery.

7] Mitigation Strategies: It is not that the west has not tried to address this problem. But its main efforts are doomed because of reasons that will be explained below. The two main mitigation strategies of the west have been- Immigration and Financial Engineering. On the face of it, immigration is probably the best strategy to soften the impact. However with the partial exception of the USA, most countries have not been able to assimilate non-white immigrants. Their income, social mobility have been subpar even though they (and their kids) are more educated than the native white populations.

Do not count on these people or their kids to help you, or in general give a shit about you. They have no positive incentive to care about you, your kids and grandkids. Given white attitudes towards equally educated non whites (ape mind behavior) neither side will submit, but it is whites who are demographically screwed and need the altruism of “others” than vice versa. Getting more or a fresher batch of immigrants won’t cure the problem, which lies in the secondary/ tertiary reactions of “others” to white attitudes. And even if you miraculously “saw the light and changed”, they would have to have well paying jobs to pay taxes and buy stuff/services to prop up your asses.

Which brings me to next failed mitigation strategy.. Financial Engineering. There is a lot I can say about this, and will in future posts. But the relevant soundbite here is: It works till we run out of greater fools with money.

8] Innovation Deficits: Almost all of the west’s lead was based on innovation and it’s application to create new products and services. However two things have happened in the last 70 (especially last 30 years).

1] The rest have caught up (consider where the stuff you use is made).

2] The west has stopped innovating to any significant extent. A combination of feminism, risk averseness, poor compensation for innovators combined with mechanisms that block innovation (intentional and unintentional) have ensured that innovation is not a western concept anymore. If anything the hard sciences are increasingly dominated by westernized non-whites (many of whom have less than favorable opinions about whites).

This phenomenon also makes any western attempt to reassert themselves by force or cunning potentially suicidal. You are dealing with equals, though you might not like the thought. They can hit you much harder than you can hit them (more complex systems have more points of failure).. and can still rebuild (demography), you cannot.

9] Nostalgia Based Solutions: Most posts that lament the demise of the west almost always try to reminisce or plot about bringing back the ‘good old days’.

Newsflash: The evolution of complex systems is not reversible, because opening one door effectively closes another, while potentially opening a host of others. It is not coming back.. Evolve further or die, it is your choice.

10] Secular Religions: The rise of secular religions and priesthoods from environmentalism, financialism, legalism etc and its new priests such as established scientists, banksters, MBAs, lawyers and a host of other established experts who are busy making a quick buck, distracting people (or preventing useful change) cannot help the situation, especially with the various timelines that threaten to intersect with catastrophic results.

The opportunity for a soft crash landing has already been missed, and it will either be a hard landing or disintegration.