Thursday, May 28, 2009
I got thinking about war the other day. Most of us are competitive in nature but are constrained by the social mores of our society. Fortunately, most of us also live in the center of the old Bell Curve. Here we are reasonably competitive with each other without being downright unfriendly. Those on the extreme left of the Bell Curve have self esteem issues / are poor / are unfortunate which most of us try to help to the best of our ability and knowledge should we run across them. Those on the right of the Bell Curve are the more competitive people that accumulate more markers of success which we call money. These people become Titans Of Business / politicians / sports heroes which are the three main relatively safe competitive sports. On the extreme right of the old Bell Curve we have the near and outright dictators. Into this mix we add the uncertain future which comes to us in random events, consequences of decisions and perfect storms. Maturing dictatorships that have finally organized themselves are faced with trying to keep their people content without losing their power. Organizing people through fear and terror is relatively easy in principle but there comes a time that the usefulness of this approach has diminishing results so we have the problem of what to do next. In the old days before the invention of atomic weapons we simply started a war through design or miscalculated brinkmanship. Wars gave the people something to do and rallied them around the dictator / instigator. Wars used up excess capacity in the form of industrial goods and lowered unemployment as everyone went into the armed forces. WW1 is an excellent example of using up the capacity of the industrial revolution which needed markets. WW11 is an example of what to do with unemployment. The invention of atomic weapons meant that war could no longer be large scale. This development encouraged the invention of small scale armed insurgencies which weren’t worth atomic bombs. Beginning / developing dictatorships based on fear / terror / isolation have a natural tendency to believe their own propaganda because no one is prepared to risk death to tell the dictator that he / she’s courting disaster. Most dictators eventually become mesmerized by their own importance and start to push outside people / societies around. In the beginning most outside people / societies are willing to tolerate this behaviour in the hopes that it will go away. The dictator fed by his country’s accolades sees this accommodation as weakness and fear on the part of the outside people / societies. The dictator keeps pushing and pushing until finally the outside people / societies decide that the situation has to be permanently remedied no matter what. If this dictatorship has atomic weapons and if the outside people / societies don’t care about the consequences as long as the irritant is removed then ???? Today we have the perfect storm in the offing. World wide unemployment. Loss of success measured in units of money because of bailouts. North Korea with its’ atomic capacity / large army trying to gain respect in the only way it knows how. China with its’ need to maintain power yet let its’ people prosper because they know their society has matured. The United States as the good guys with its’ resources stretched and its’ beliefs / society being hammered externally and internally. The rest of us in the also ran category. Something has to give but where????