AxisOfEasy Salon #13: The “Phase Shift” everyone is worried about has already happened

There was a widespread cultural debate over the last week over whether cancel culture is actually a thing or not. It spilled over into the early portion of this episode and we eventually converged the idea of ‘outrage culture’ being a more accurate description for it.

New York Times article referenced was Ross Douthat’s  “10 Theses About Cancel Culture”

While we talk a lot about the end of the Nation State and what comes next (we think it’s The Network State), it never occurred to me that political parties are undergoing the same disruption as The State until Jesse brought it up.

Charles talked about how the underlying driver under everything is resentment and that the solutions that were always ascribed to fix anything were:

  1. Moar Government
  2. Magic Technology
  3. “Free Markets”

I had to put “free markets” in “scare quotes” because it triggered an episode of cognitive dissonance for yours truly, who is desperately clinging to my ideals of free market anarcho-capitalism (because I would argue that free markets aren’t because the size of the government trying to regulate them and because you have to call it something else when you keep bailing out the oligarchs).

The problem today is centrism and moderation are over: the political figures and parties that are winning elections are the fringe parties. I brought up a Pew Research’s work on political polarization that showed the collapse of the center, which was originally here, that I once wrote up here, and discovered via this Ben Hunt article here.

The Foreign Affairs article Jesse mentioned, which he sent to us earlier this week was Charles King’s “How a Great Power Falls Apart: Decline Is Invisible From the Inside “ which looked at the internal dynamics of the collapse and fall of the Soviet Empire. Conspicuous in its absence was even a hint of allegorical reference to the internal crack up of the USA.

We did wax optimistic, if only for a brief moment, about the prospects of the USA “keeping it together” and withstanding these trying times, we just hope if it does happen, it’s not because of some existential unifier, like World War 3. 

Once again, we considered tension between centralization and decentralization (surprise!) as the defining shift of our time, and how Charle’s CLIME concept (as outlined one of his earlier books, and soon to be reprised in his next one) would rebalance the incentives in the Big Three above (governance, technology and markets) in a way where “winner take all” effects are ameliorated and power doesn’t become perversely concentrated.

We surmise that the often posited societal restructuring or “phase shift”, characterized by a transition from linear to non-linear is not something coming at us from an uncertain future: the phase shift has already occurred. 

Books Referenced


Episode Transcript: AxisOfEasy13_transcript

#AxisOfEasy Weekly Tech Digest
#AxisOfEasy Weekly Tech Digest
AxisOfEasy Salon #13: The "Phase Shift" everyone is worried about has already happened

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