HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Retired » Retired Forums » 2016 Postmortem (Forum) » Want to understand how Tr...

Wed Nov 16, 2016, 09:50 AM

Want to understand how Trump happened? Study quantum physics

Like THAT's going to happen, but a very interesting article.

Stephen Hawking recently remarked that, “The 21st century will be the century of complexity.” Indeed, the physics of classical geopolitics are being superseded by the physics of complexity. The combination of late-20th-century economic integration, the end of the Cold War, the entry of China, the former Soviet Union, and India into the global economy, increased labor and capital mobility, rapid population growth, the surging demand for African, Latin America, and Middle Eastern commodities, and technological explosion has propelled the world system towards unprecedented complexity. The ancient world of disjointed empires gave way to the disorderly medieval world, followed by the modern order of sovereign states, and now the transition to a global network civilization.

Geopolitical thinking, which is still governed by an antiquated, Newtonian logic, should be looked at through a quantum mechanics lens. Currently, it remains anchored in the writings of the 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who saw the world as functioning according to fairly simple mechanical laws. The control over territory trumps all else. When forces collide, one must give way. This is hardly the way to understand our increasingly complex world. It is time for geopolitics to evolve toward a framework capable of grappling simultaneously with accumulating forces beyond 17th-century sovereignty, such as 18th-century enlightenment, 19th-century imperialism, 20th-century capitalism, and 21st-century technology.

Structural change happens every few decades; systems change only every few centuries. Structural change makes the world complicated; systems change makes it complex. International relations among states are complicated, while today’s network global civilization is complex. There is an order of magnitude difference in complexity between hierarchy shifting from one superpower to multiple powers (such as the Cold War) versus today’s system that is constantly reconstructing itself with diverse authorities and networks, with feedback loops across micro and macro scales.
Recent headlines, like Brexit and Trump, have been dominated by stories that require us to trace intangible butterfly effects to fully understand. For example, one of the triggers of the Arab Spring that exploded in early 2011 was the spike in food prices in Egypt and Tunisia. The countries’ main source of wheat imports was Russia, where a drought six months earlier forced Moscow to ban exports for the first time ever. (America’s ethanol-subsidies and global-commodities market speculation also played key roles, not to mention the countries themselves crossing the tipping point of intolerable political and social stagnation.)

As Arab states (especially Syria) collapsed, the refugee surge into Europe deepened a political crisis over migration that tipped the UK’s Brexit vote by just enough percentage points to bring about the most unexpected outcome. And the isolationist populism shared by British midlanders and America’s nativist Trump supporters traces back to the stagnation of incomes resulting from the globalization of industry and finance. And America’s past three decades of trade deficits with China pushed trillions of dollars of capital offshore that effectively subsidized China’s new mercantilism worldwide. The individual acts of outsourcing manufacturing to China and buying more goods from China were not intended to finance African infrastructure and remap its geopolitical loyalties—but they have.


0 replies, 364 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread