Sunday, December 30, 2018

Why the crisis of 2016 will continue for decades to come

I haven’t written recently about why Crisis 2016, sometimes called Crisis-T, happened. For that matter, why Brexit. My last takes were in 2016 …

  • In defense of Donald Trump - July 2016. In which I identified the cause of the crisis, but assumed we’d dodge the bullet and HRC would tend to the crisis of the white working class.
  • Trumpism: a transition function to the world of mass disability - Aug 2016. “How does a culture transition from memes of independence and southern Christian-capitalist marketarianism to a world where government deeply biases the economy towards low-education employment?"
  • After Trump: reflections on mass disability in a sleepless night - Nov 11, 2016. "Extreme cultural transformation. Demographics. China. The AI era and mass disability. I haven’t even mentioned that pre-AI technologies wiped out traditional media and enabled the growth of Facebook-fueled mass deception alt-media … We should not be surprised that the wheels have come off the train.”
  • Crisis-T: What’s special about rural? - Nov 16, 2016: "The globalization and automation that disabled 40% of working age Americans isn’t unique to rural areas, but those areas have been ailing for a long time. They’ve been impacted by automation ever since the railroad killed the Erie canal, and the harvester eliminated most farm workers. Once we thought the Internet would provide a lifeline to rural communities, but instead it made Dakka as close as Escanaba.”

How has my thinking changed two years later? Now I’d add a couple of tweaks, especially the way quirks of America’s constitution amplified the crisis. Today’s breakdown:

  • 65% the collapse of the white non-college “working class” — as best measured by fentanyl deaths and non-college household income over the past 40 years. Driven by globalization and IT both separately and synergistically including remonopolization (megacorp). This is going to get worse.
  • 15% the way peculiarities of the American constitution empower rural states and rural regions that are most impacted by the collapse of the white working class due to demographics and out-migration of the educated. This is why the crisis is worse here than in Canada. This will continue.
  • 15% the long fall of patriarchy. This will continue for a time, but eventually it hits the ground. Another 20 years for the US?
  • 5% Rupert Murdoch. Seriously. In the US Fox and the WSJ, but also his media in Australia and the UK. When historians make their list of villains of the 21st century he’ll be on there. He’s broken and dying now, but he’s still scary enough that his name is rarely mentioned by anyone of consequence.
  • 1% Facebook, social media, Putin and the like. This will get better.

That 1% for Facebook et all is pretty small — but the election of 2016 was on the knife’s edge. That 1% was historically important.

Rupert Murdoch will finally die, though his malignant empire will grind on for a time. Patriarchy can’t fall forever, eventually that process is done. We now understand the risks of Facebook and its like and those will be managed. So there’s hope.

But the crisis of the white non-college will continue and our constitution will continue to amplify that bloc’s political power in rural areas. Even if civilization wins in 2020 the crisis of 2016 will continue. It will test human societies for decades to come.

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