There are moments in time when deep, fundamental change, even though it has not yet occurred, has become inevitable. This is because the overall configuration of our reality in all of its dimensions: social, spiritual, economic and political--in conjunction with the deeper, underlying dimensions of climate, energy, and resources have come to possess a particular configuration of interrelationships in which the existing ordered structures of society and economics cannot continue much longer, but rather, are compelled to undergo precipitous, discontinuous, change and restructuring. We have arrived at such a time as I will briefly explain just below. If we choose to drift along on the rapid current of events we will certainly end up in a place where we will not want to be. However, if we can creatively take advantage of the opportunities offered by our onrushing crises, we will arrive at a much better historical outcome than otherwise.
A picture (or graph at any rate) may be worth the proverbial 1,000 words of explanation as to why our looming crises must be so very transformative--whether for good or ill:
This graph comes from research I published over a decade ago in the journal Systemica. It depicts a fitness landscape representing the historical evolution of a simplified version of human civilization. I use it here only to illustrate my central thesis which is that change is coming. This landscape is a 3-D rendering of a complex many-dimensional reality. We appear to see hills, valleys and plains. This intuitive rendering contains much useful information.
During long historical eras, represented by flat plains, deep change is nearly impossible. Things continue on pretty much as they have in the past. The hills and mountains represent cultural, religious, economic, and/or, material constraints on change. Finally, the valleys represent basins of attraction into which any system which approaches it too closely tumbles down into a new state. Getting out and going "back" to where the system was previously, is difficult, to impossible, depending upon the "slope" of the valley. Finally, this fitness landscape is not fixed, as is a real world landscape. Rather, it is constantly changing its contours depending on the choices we make as we go through time.
So to get back to my thesis: why is fundamental change now inevitable? There are multiple reasons each of which can be thought of as a rapidly deepening basin of attraction pulling our civilization rapidly ever farther away from the broad flat plains of stability upon which is has developed for generations. Each such attractor is merging with the others to produce a yawning chasm into which we are being inevitably drawn. These crisis-attractors include:
1) Human civilization is now global in extent. Whereas previously the collapse of say, The Roman Empire, would have profound regional transformative effects, its effects on contemporary China were negligible to nonexistent. No longer. Now we live in a global economy within which disruptions, of any sort (economic, environmental etc.), anywhere, affect all of us, everywhere.
2) Though our civilization remains divided into multiple competitive nations states, a single form of organization based upon an integration of corporate and state power has become well entrenched. The 2008 US presidential election proved how deeply this system is entrenched in the US. Barak Obama, faux "liberal reformer" has proved himself over and over and over again to be nothing but the head errand boy for our ruling financial and corporate elites.
Mitt Romney, if President, would be as subservient a knee bender to our self-anointed ruling class as was Obama. Nothing meaningfull would change in the USA. Abroad, the EU has demonstrated through its handling of the ongoing Eurozone crises that it exists to enforce the will of European corporate and banking interests. China has developed a unique state led version of capitalism in which state and corporation are seamlessly integrated. Ditto for Japan, Brazil, for all major nations on the planet.
3) Our global economy REQUIRES unending growth to avoid collapse. However, we have now hit up against hard environmental, energy and resource limits to that growth. This means that our current economic crisis will NEVER end--rather it will intensify. Although there will be ever shorter periods of partial recovery followed by ever deeper depression, the trend is down, down, down. Our present economy, our economic system, all are being forced into crisis after crisis leading inevitably to collapse by attempting to force its expansion in the context of these environmental and resource constraints.
4) Government, having been completely captured by the oligarchs at the national level, cannot even make any meaningful attempts to respond rationally to these multiplying crises. In recent months, weeks, and even days, the current stooge in the White House has concentrated instead on expanding Presidential powers. US Presidents now have the unconstrained, self-proclaimed power to kill anyone anywhere on Earth upon their sole, unchecked, decision to do so. They have the power to suspend any and all rights, and to appropriate any and all property of anyone upon their unilateral say so.