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A Good Start - but where does it go from here?,
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This review is from: Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions (Paperback)What is most interesting about this book, for me, is in what it points to further down the road. While it argues for more equal societies, often in the light of rising food prices, I wonder what will happen when food prices bolt due to the disruptions of peak oil and climate change. This will apply to all parts of the world. No nation state can contain food price rises in a global market on an ongoing basis.
While protest and revolution may topple a dictatorial hierarchy, what system could possibly survive in the coming decades? It seems that the methods and energy of interaction, and the creativity of both, will instead be needed in the development of resilient societies.
Hierarchies may have difficulties in asserting themselves over time, when so much emphasis will be needed on food and energy production. The global networks of today are most likely to shrink back to much more local communities. Presiding over these in even some neo-feudal state will be virtually worthless, in that there will be little of material value to effectively stockpile. Wealth will be found only in the wealth of the whole, and the pyramids of power will flatten enormously.
I have begun reading Acemoglu and Robinson's 'Why Nations Fail', immediately after Mason's book. The matter of institutional development is central to their argument over what produces prosperity. Connecting that with the equality argument at the heart of Mason's book gives a reasonably clear picture on ways forward. However, the matter of human nature is always going to allow for disruption in any system.
Culturally, it may take time for the idea of a central ruler to fade, but one would hope that whatever form our future takes, it will be one which is more equal, and better designed to make the most of human creativity, energy and community.