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Robb on Radical Privatization

John Robb puts on his futurist hat and engages in some imaginative scenario thinking (PDF) over at Global Guerillas. Note John’s comment:

“The goal of this brief is to get people thinking about the future in a way that helps them make decisions today.”

John has the methodology right. Most experts, habituated to the over-use of analytical thinking, will try to nit-pick scenarios like these to death from the inception , either reflexively or intentionally in order to avoid having to reexamine cherished ideological assumptions, instead of engaging in the thought experiment. This is the major cultural-cognitive reason bueaucracies and academic institutions are notoriously poor at thinking outside the box or anticipating anything other than directly linear outcomes of policies. 

Analytical-reductionism was a reasonable enough epsitemological approach for the 19th and 20th centuries of the “Second Wave”, “Mass Man”  industrial-bureaucratic nation-states. It’s not enough for the more heterogeneous, alinear, high-velocity, “complex networks as evolving ecologies” of the 21st century. We need other cognitive tools in our kit alongside analysis.

6 Responses to “Robb on Radical Privatization”

  1. Dan tdaxp Says:

    I like Robb’s focus on broad, system-wide themes.  I think this allows to meat of his ideas to be digested easier then an overriding focus on small-scale insurgents.

    I think he can gain the same performance by focusing his work a bit more.  The concept of territorial southward migration is interesting, ditto the revised constitutional status of New York, but I’m unsure at how these tie into what he’s really getting at.

    I think John’s essential point is that government-provided goods like security suffer from an inability to adapt to changing conditions.  This is an important & valid claim — it’s why we traditionally had the 2nd amendment and other forms of private distribution of resources built into our society.

    I don’t see how the analysis of this claim is helped by tying-it into improbable "Black Swans," though the market & publicity angles (which are important) are clear.

  2. Lexington Green Says:

    Put this on your masthead:

    Zenpundit:  Heterogeneous…  Alinear …High-velocity!


  3. zen Says:

    Hi Dan,

    New York had city tried something similar at the start of the Civil War due to their connection not only with rising corporate finance and merchant bank capital but with commodity export and the cotton trade.  Tammany Hall too, the Democratic machine, helped Copperhead sentiment along.  The Mormons at the time, also enjoyed de facto independence from the United States for their regional, theocratic, " State of Deseret". When Seward demanded of Lincoln what he proposed to do about Mormon defiance, Lincoln reportedly replied " I propose to leave them alone".

    Hi Lex,

    Much thanks! Unfortunately, in terms of blogging productivity, I’ve not been too "high-velocity" of late, not enough at least to dare rolling out such a boast. :O)

  4. John Robb Says:

    Thanks zen.  You get it.  

  5. zen Says:

    Gracias John !

  6. The Glittering Eye » Blog Archive » What’s the Trend? Says:

    […] Hat tip: Mark Safranski […]

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