A reader asked the mariner how one will know that the new age has arrived, that the chaotic factor drops in stress value (in reference to the post, “On Being Old”).
When the dust of the new age settles, there will be a great, cosmic sigh of relief by the society. Unfortunately, before our relief, we must pass through chaos at its greatest stress. Many stressful situations will move to new, stable states. One that must happen first is redistribution of wealth. This will not be a planned event – either by the wealthy or common man. The nation will experience the bursting of a small dam behind which much wealth is stored. Everyone will suffer the economic disruption but quickly new investments will occur in new social and financial objectives. In turn, this will lead to new (and attainable) careers.
For examples of sudden redistribution, one is reminded of the bloody French revolution; the rapid collapse of the Edwardian Age (where a very few held all the wealth); the emptiness of culture and fall of imperialism in Europe before the First World War and then the Second World War; the American robber baron era that ended with the American economic collapse of 1929. Some say we are in a robber baron era today.
Another indicator will be a change in the way corporations make their money. Increasingly, the age of industrialism is falling by the wayside. Currently, opportunists are taking advantage of outdated legislation and regulations (the U.S. banks in 2007-8) and giant loopholes in global economic regulation – undisclosed corporate profit, arms and oil just to name a few. This will end slowly as a new financial model takes over the economy, which, remember, must wait for the dam of wealth to break and for a new political agenda to emerge.
Some evidence of a new age is visible. Although the current Federal and State governments are a deplorable example of Democracy in action, the battle lines are drawn between status quo financial/social conservatives and new goals/new spending liberals. Looking closely at the liberal agenda – full funding of education, modernizing legislation and regulation, single payer health insurance, funding new research and industry – all harbingers of the event horizon mentioned in the last post. Governmental conflict is a very visible sign of chaos.
Another prognosticator of the new age is a move toward intense restructuring of infrastructure. This is not just bridges and roads but a completely new horizon of utility management, travel efficiency, communication, electronic grids that carry information and power at the same time, and a revitalization of the responsibilities of States to manage ecology as a renewable resource that not only pays for itself but also improves the physical state of the Earth.
However, large international corporations do no play by national rules and have shown there is no concern for labor, health, salary or other employee standards. International corporations use government trade agreements as a method of avoiding the laws of many nations, especially the United States. This process will be difficult to bring under control.
Do not be faint of heart. All this chaos will require resilience.
Oh, for the fifties again! Wait. Have you forgotten the tragedy of acne and thermonuclear annihilation….