Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Overextension in Action

As explained before, it is not often flawed policies that cause corruption and state failure, but the lack of feedback mechanisms to prevent doubling down on them. The top cause of failure for superpowers and powerful polities historically is not being able to compete, or funneling resources for adaptation in the wrong direction. For example, the transition from battleships to aircraft carriers as the chief warship in the early 20th century was stalled by "battleship admirals." The Romans could not adapt to steppe and Germanic barbarians due to political corruption.

Like a hyper-extended elbow in an arm bar, a state may seem broad, but is at the mercy of forces beyond its control. Over-extension means that territory cannot be held, bills go unpaid, promises are not kept, and institutions fail. People in the system may individually realize what is going on, but political momentum keeps them from implementing significant changes or making the wrong ones.

A lack of meaningful discussion (the point of free speech and political transparency) serve as key feedback mechanisms. When there is excessive secrecy, democracies and republics can become just another self-serving polity. Their increasingly desperate actions, however, serve to further undermine their legitimacy even faster. The system becomes a positive feedback loop, amplifying the process of failure. There comes a point when the most pragmatic response is to dismantle the surveillance state machinery (or turn it on those who created it), but do not count on sanity from patient with a neocon fixation.

No comments:

Post a Comment