Deep Speed

August 29, 2008 | 1 Comment

Category: Society

The speed of change seems slow and deep.  I almost always misestimate when things will happen.  I’m usually off by at least a factor of 10.  Days end up weeks, weeks become years and years are really decades.

It is not unlike programming.  Programmers inevitably underestimate the time it takes to complete a project.  It’s difficult to fathom the webbing of interconnections developed when executing a design.  As a project progresses, it becomes necessary to bind not obviously connected, subtly interlinking features to create an effective, elegant, seamless whole.

I believed in 1970 that universal environmental awareness was inevitable and soon.  I defined soon as within the next 10 years.  Watching Reagan dismantle Carter environmental initiatives, I was not just appalled, I was confused.  The world seemed to be moving in the opposite direction.

Massive social change progresses in a fashion not unlike what is required to modify a highly complex piece of programming.  Every interconnection needs to be addressed.  It takes times.  Positive change takes time.

Naomi Klein outlines in detail in her book Shock Doctrine how the Right seeks change.  The Right compels transformation though destruction.  Severing connections in as many ways at as many levels as possible, Friedman’s gospel looks for situations where mass destruction can engender an environment where brand new programming can be applied.  Friedman, as a Social Darwinist, looks for opportunities where there are no environmental influences on corporate behavior, allowing corporations to “compete” with one another unrestrained, relieved of having to compete with the demands of labor, consumers, local communities or the environment.  Free markets, a facet of Social Darwinism, are markets free from competing with the portions of societies unable to influence legislation.

Friedman believed that it was the power of his ideas, theories which survived against their competitors, that made his conjectures true.  He refused to pay attention to the power of money to influence government within a larger context of a slow democratization of the planet outside the context of capitalism.  Friedman thought he saw the big picture when all he was seeing was the dollar bill.  It’s as if Friedman was a mathematician that refused to use the number 0 because it was invented by Arabs and then chose not to notice that his computations did not add up.

Radical change in the 60s meant change from the left.  The word has morphed to mean change from the right as it has become the Right Wing that is in favor of severing all connections to accomplish goals.  The radical Left has acquired some wisdom.  It is discovering that deep, systemic, positive change is about societal forces changing slowly and moving forward at one time.

Oddly, the progressive movement has acquired conservative credentials as it offers respect to changing slowly.  Slow change is the new radical.  Deep change is what it’s all about.


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This entry was posted on Friday, August 29th, 2008 at 6:34 am and is filed under Society. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
1 Comment so far

  1. Robert M. katzman on August 29, 2008 12:04 pm

    Andrew,
    I find your bio fascinating and exhausting at the same time. but I respect your low key, but relentless determination to effect change. Your motivation seems to be change for its own sake and not fame as the change agent, and that’s unusual. But good unusual.

    Lastly, the notion of fast expectations of change is a Western concept , but Asian societies, much more mature than ours, take the long view. I think that’s the most realistic and positive approach. Nevertheless, keep at it Andrew, because your work matters. And it certainly is work.

    Bob Katzman

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