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Do You Believe Official Numbers and Statistics?

May 7, 2011 3 comments

No government, or large business, in human history has a perfect record of honesty. Having said that- some embellished and falsified less than others.

It has been an article of popular faith that communist, fascist and other totalitarian regimes are far bigger liars and frauds than democracies. While that is still true, the course of events in western countries within the last 30-odd years has caused considerable reduction in their credibility within their own populations, and abroad.

Consider the state of official statistics about economic matters. Do you really believe that we are in an economic recovery? Ever wonder what happens to those who stop looking for jobs? Do you really believe in the official inflation numbers?

This unfortunate phenomena is not restricted to economic matters. Do you really believe that we are winning the war on drugs? What about the war of terrorism? What about nation building in the middle-east?

Do you really believe in peer reviewed scientific research- especially biomedical research? How is the war on cancer working out? What about treating Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s? What about slowing or stopping aging?

To make a long story short-

Can you believe in the system around you enough to defend it or work for it in good faith?

Remember that the real difference between a third-world country and a developed one is the level of trust people have in the entire system, and it’s various component parts.

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Are We There Yet: May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011 4 comments

Empires become fragile and susceptible to external events once average people who make up it’s core constituency start getting harmed and exploited by the very system which was once beneficial to them.

The US system ceased to be beneficial for the average person starting somewhere in the late 1990s-early 2000s. It tried to maintain some semblance of normalcy till 2006-2007, however it is now quite obvious to a significant minority of people that something is very wrong and things are not working in their best interest.

In previous eras, the lack of inexpensive communication technology made the dispersal of contrary information functionally impossible. The ease speed and depth of information transmission create feedback and feed-forward loops which have no real historical equivalents. We are already seeing these new realtime communication/news/opinion loops affect events in other parts of the world.

I have written many posts about the effects of these new information loops on older systems. Since these systems are often run by older individuals with an older world-view, their ineffectual responses to crisis frequently speed up the unraveling rather than stop it.

So here is my question-

Has the US, and a large part of the world, reached a point where the responses to otherwise insignificant events will cause the system to unravel?

I am not a doomer or survivalist, but there are multiple converging conditions (demography, economic trends, social changes, cost of communication etc) that have undermined the old system’s integrity to the point where it is now a matter of WHEN not if. Having said that, it is hard to predict the event/s which will trigger the unraveling.

Who would have guessed that one assassination would start ww1 and lay thereby lay the foundation of ww2? Who would have guessed that one suicide would trigger the changes we are now seeing in the middle-east?

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NSFW Links: May 7, 2011

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