Sunday, April 10, 2011

They keep going and going and going ..........

I really like the idea of a one world government and maybe in about 400 years humanity will have matured enough to actually get one. Donal did an excellent series on why complex societies collapse with talks by Dr. Tainter.

This got me thinking (no jokes please) as to why certain societies or rather nation/states seem to go along just fine. With very little internal strife and provide for their citizens pretty well. What is it about them that is different that those that do fall by the wayside ? That appear to get to a certain point and then increasingly become less and less responsive to their citizenry and eventually collapse or get overthrown ?

I have noticed a certain pattern though.

• Regardless of the of government they have or start out with, there are nations/states/societies that do collapse.

• Those that do go through particular stages as outlined by Dr. Tainter and others on the way to collapse.

• One of the last stages seems to be one where the governing body becomes less and less responsive to the population as a whole channeling more and more of the wealth and resources to those in the upper class. Usually the upper 5%.

• After they collapse, what is left is split up into separate autonomous nation/states with their own forms of government. Which maybe but usually are not like the original.

But what is it that seems to keep certain nations/societies from having the political and economic conditions that allow them to continue in a more or less stable manner ?

Is the the economic system ? I would say no. There are capitalist systems that are very responsive the public and socialist systems as well. The Netherlands was one of the first totally free market capitalist countries in Europe. Having originated the idea of selling stock in corporations. Finland instituted a socialist system from the time they gained independence from Sweden. Cuba is a communist system which has been very responsive to their populace.

Is it physical size ? Land area ? Well it seems the most stable and responsive countries are the smallest ones. Like The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Kuwait. But then you also have Canada and Australia. So I would say no to physical size.

Government ? Well representative democracies are in general more responsive than dictatorships but even this is not a hard and fast rule. India is notoriously unresponsive to a number of peoples in the northern areas especially.

Culture then ? This is also not a good hard and fast rule. It does appear that those countries with the least cultural diversity are the most responsive to their populations. But then you have Canada and Australia which have a large aboriginal population as well as a large number of immigrants.

Population then ? I would say no to total population but maybe to population centers. IE metropolitan areas with high concentrations of people. Egypt does not have a very high population but what it does have is concentrated in a small number of metropolitan areas. But I would not say this is for sure the case for unresponsiveness.

Natural resources then ? Well I bring up The Netherlands and Denmark and Belgium which have few natural resources and are the most responsive. And parts of Central and South America and Africa which have abundant natural resources and are not very responsive.

Global location then ? Well it does appear that the most responsive counties/nations/societies seem to be the furthest away from the equator. It would be interesting to do an in depth study on this and see it there is a correlation and what in particular that would be.

I have only just touched on a few areas of thought here. There are of course many others to consider. So be my guest.

1 comment:

Alan said...

I see a couple things here that might be part of an explanation. First, the populations of the nations you describe are all reasonably well-educated, top-to-bottom. There will always be localized variations within that, of course, though it does seem to be a common factor.

Second, and this is far less quantifiable, is in fact a cultural dimension: There is, in the societies mentioned, both an expectation of good governance and a commitment by the people to the society they live in, to maintain it as a society, not simply the collection of individuals or group of competing factions less stable societies seem to devolve to.

I do suspect both of these are contributing factors.