Systems Dynamics Follow Their Own Rules – and Not Groupthink, by Alasdair Crooke

What happens when reality refuses to follow the rules. The decline and fall of the American empire is offering a concrete demonstration. From Alasdair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

While America’s cultural and economic ascendency is portrayed as an End of History ‘normal’, it represents an obvious anomaly, Alastair Crooke writes.

Toward the end of his The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987), “[Yale Historian] Paul Kennedy expressed the then-controversial belief that great power wars were not a thing of the past. One of the main themes of Kennedy’s history was the concept of overstretch – that is to say, that the relative decline of great powers often resulted from an imbalance between a nation’s resources and its commitments”, writes Professor Francis Sempa.

Few in the western Ruling Class even accept that we have reached such a point of inflection. Like it or not, however, great power combinations are fast rising across the globe. U.S. influence already is shrinking back to its Atlanticist core. This shrinkage is not simply a matter of resources vs commitments; that is too simplistic as an explanation.

Metamorphosis is occurring both as the result of the exhaustion of the political and cultural dynamics which powered the previous era, as much as is energised by the vitality of new dynamics. And by ‘dynamics’ is meant too, the exhaustion and coming demise of underlying mechanical financial and cultural structures which in, and of, themselves are moulding the new politics and culture.

Systems follow their own rules – the rules of physical mechanics too – as in, what happens when a further grain of sand is added to a complex, unstable sand pile. Thus, unlike in politics, neither human opinion, nor election outcomes in Washington, will necessarily have the capacity to mould the next era – any more than the opinion of Congress alone can reverse a cascade in a financial sand pile – if big enough – by pouring more sand grains on its top.

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