Increasing complex systems have a tendency to collapse in more catastrophic ways.Â Hence, when George Soros and Nassim Nicholas Taleb say that this economic crisis will be worse than the Great Depression, I am not surprised at their appraisal.
However, what does a Depression actually mean, in our current socio-political economic condition?Â No doubt, circumstances across those three areas of analysis do differ from the 1930s and so we have to ask ourselves, what does that mean for us?Â The only viable mass movements of the moment seem to be, at least in the American contexts, religious ones.Â In the UK, I don’t think even that is possible.Â While I think the worries about fascism, at least in parts of the Third World, are valid, platforms explicit about such a program are rejected, and not just because of the negative connotations of such labels.
And how will the internet affect such a Depression, as well?Â Will we see spontaneous protests, or even peaceful urban takedowns, orchestrated via Facebook and Twitter?Â Or will the net become a talking shop, the modern day equivalent of a soapbox, where gripes and despair about our current conditon are aired but little else is actually done?
Obviously, my thoughts turn to recent graduates and attempts to get jobs, for personal reasons.Â Will unemployment and the lack of prospects lead to, as it did in Italy in the 60s, a militant intellectual movement who felt they had more in common with the proletariat than their (usually) middle class backgrounds?Â Or could it breed a new class of cosmopolitan guerrilla entrepreneur, an anti-Davos man if you will.
I could really do with a team of sociologists and cultural theorists right now.