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According to DeLong you need teh invention infraestructure.. and you can not have afull invention infraestructure in a high-technology system.

teh problem with cyber-punk sci-fi is the rpoblem of who sustains the whole research-apply-mantainence system. You need a good chunk of the population ofr that. That's makes feudalism impossible.

Antoher proof is that the second industrial revolution destroyed the feudalism structure.. and I think the reason is exactly the same. The invention of invention destroys feudalism. DeLong has a full course in his webpage. I think he has there all teh links regarding the transition and how it would have been with a new research structure.

This is not to confuse with high unequality..which you can have (what percentage of the population you ned to sustain th system.. Brazil an ohter countries give a hint..a round 50%..you can certainly have the rest living on begging) but I would say that then the system is highly unstable.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 03:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're in uncharted waters.

The last time the industrial world went belly flopping it was pulled out by a combination of the destruction of plant by bombing and other destruction during WW 2 and an immediate rise in non-working population, the Baby Boom.  

Now we've got excess industrial capacity out of our ears and a workforce slowly losing, or having in the first place, any ability to purchase the goods produced.  

And we can't continue to endlessly throw cheap energy at the problem.

I can see the potential for industrial feudalism to arise.  I don't see it persisting as there's too many contradictions between the non-innovative mind set one has to inculcate in any highly stratified society and the "inventing invention" nature of a technological industrial economy.

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:00:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You and I live in a country whose national motto is let others do the inventing... I am not very hopeful.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My cynical opinion is that is a continuing result from the internal war Spain had in the 1930s.  Fascism is ultimately the ideology of the status quo and the mind set it engenders is actively hostile to innovation.

Couple with the cultural and intellectual deficiencies of Roman Catholicism and one has the recipe for stagnation.
 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:21:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears to be an anti-European quip by Unamuno in a debate with Ortega y Gasset in 1906 (Spanish wikipedia).

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:25:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we accept that I only see it as ruling out a high-tech feudal society with a high rate of innovation. A pretty much static society with current high-tech reserved for the new nobility and their direct servants would still appear possible. All you need is a small technical caste to serve the machines.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 07:02:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That wouldn't be stable if the technical caste found itself some politcal ambition.

I have a doomery view, and assume we'll see another major war, which will be a game changer for people's attitudes. I'm not even sure the neo-aristos are the problem - it's more about how they have mindshare than the fact that they exist.

And in Toobz world, mindshare is going to be an increasingly fragile thing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 07:35:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That wouldn't be stable if the technical caste found itself some political ambition.

The modern corporate structure and the narrow specialisation of technical specialists has been quite successful in suppressing political ambition (and not teaching the relevant political skills to those who may have any such ambition).

Yes, the technicians can make the system stop working. But why should they? Their feudal overlords provide them with a steady income, access to their favourite toys and enough excuses to ignore the huddled masses.

The crucial point would be to isolate the technical specialists from direct exposure to poverty - as long as they, their families and their immediate surroundings are kept pretty, it is a simple matter to instill the kind of smug superiority and/or convenient excuses for inaction that permit people to ignore widespread human misery.

Oh, it would not work perfectly - there would be dissenters. But the genius of modern managed democracy, from the perspective of the feudal elite, is that dissenters are alright, because the oppression is not sufficiently self-evident that individual dissent can cause a cascading reaction.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:06:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debt slavery is also a powerful force. Once your tehnicians have mortgages they have to pay for the next 25 years they will be very reluctant to put their stable salary in jeopardy.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:28:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They've been very successful at suppressing politcal instincts.

But it's a feature of feudal systems that repression spreads, and status differentials continue to increase.

It goes against every leadership caste instinct to give mere technical underlings a decent slice of the pie, for the same reason that it goes against their instincts to pay workers a decent wage so that can continue to participate in the economic game.

MBA culture is inherently authoritarian. It buries the motivation under economic rather than racist or political rhetoric. But whatever the language, a key motivation is that it hurts to share.

So I wouldn't expect leaderships caste members to be capable of the self control or strategic thinking required to keep a technician caste fat and happy - not for long, anyway.

This is already happening in the US, where science, engineering and IT jobs have virtually no security.

Now - imagine the possibility of adventurous technical types building trap doors or dead man switches into critical systems.

The means to do a lot of damage are already there. So far, it's only the false rhetoric of inclusion that's preventing actual rebellion. And in the US at least, that rhetoric is unlikely to still be convincing by the end of the decade.

 

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an interesting idea. But looking at the amount of pressure that has historically been required to induce spontaneous (let alone organised) acts of sabotage, I'd say that we're quite a way from that yet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 09:38:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rather than acts of sabotage I was pinning my hopes on the ability to build some sort of "free" shadow network piggybacking on the official infrastructure and bypassing the "closed" "official" network almost entirely.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 10:37:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting idea. Any more.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:54:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's implicit in cyberpunk lore...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something like Freenet?
Freenet is a decentralized, censorship-resistant distributed data store originally designed by Ian Clarke.[4] According to Clarke, Freenet aims to provide freedom of speech through a peer-to-peer network with strong protection of anonymity; as part of supporting its users' freedom, Freenet is free and open source software.[5] Freenet works by pooling the contributed bandwidth and storage space of member computers to allow users to anonymously publish or retrieve various kinds of information. Freenet has been under continuous development since 2000.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 03:37:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I completely agree here.

And again, there is a big difference between large inequalities and a feudal system.

In a feudal system you can not have 20 % with very good resources and 30% more with proper working conditions. In a feudal system, the cast is 5% of the population and all the services and goods are performed by the masses.

So afeudal system is jsut not possible.

The reason why I think the inequality system is unstable is precisely because the cast is not smart enough to keep the unequal system under control and because aggregate demand fluctuates strongly leading to large changes in the power structure of the elite. I only ahve to look at the inequalities in the US at the beginning of the century or Brazil in the 80-90... they al finished.

On the other hand , the semi-feudal system in an economy based on agriculutre is going smoothly in Central America.. an the rich there atre just not that rich.. and they always emigrate. So tehya re not really the global elite... imagine a feudal lord in El Salvador without a place like Houston or europe to go for the medical treatment, the computer updates...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 06:32:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
we'll see another major war,

the one on gaia isn't enough?

where do you think, TBG, and is it a WW? obviously our little skirmishes in afpak and iraq don't count...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 03:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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