There are so many social changes taking place right now, things seem chaotic. According to James Gleick, "Chaos: The Making of a New Science", he states that during a period of cultural change, i.e. financial failures, race relations, feminism, LGBT, class warfare, and climate change, anger and frustration boil over and people think everything is going to pieces. A lot of cognitive dissonance occurs with changing attitudes that create the "heat" necessary to bring about desired change. 


A video, "James Gleick on Chaos: Making a New Science"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3orIIcKD8p4

A video, "Mandelbrot (Chaos Theory) Taleb (Black Swan) on markets"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCsLTPGpEfw

A video, "Chaos Theory", http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnlkKdDXk-I.

I don't know if Gleick, Mandelbrot, and Taleb are accurate in their assessments, I just know everything is piling up and topped off by wars, financial uncertainty, political polarization, religious disputes and climate change. There is a highly likely chance a despotic ruler will be chosen by the world's populations hoping to get control over uncontrollable events. 

I believe if we stay calm, and confident in our value system, and live our lives according to our principles, it is possible to influence people to make necessary changes in beliefs and actions. We cannot continue to fear and hate homosexuals, any more than we need fear race, women, or diversity. We can no longer depend on old beliefs and values to pull us through the turmoil facing the Earth. 

I perceive this period of chaos as leading to a higher plane of human existence ... at least I firmly hope so. You and I are horrified by many responses of hate born of dogma because they are worthy of generating feelings of horror. Stupidity, ignorance, prejudice, traditions, all keep people locked in; they fight to maintain and perpetuate the status quo. You and I can not remain silent in the face of such beliefs and behaviors, or we all will pay a price. The good news is, we are up to the challenge.

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Replies to This Discussion

I think questioning our values is part of a constructive process of coping with the overwhelming change. It's not enough to "stay confident in our value system". For example,our respect for the opinions of top neo-classical economists.

Your chaos analogy is apt here. In order to constructively use a chaotic system, a researcher has to understand the dynamics driving the system. Once they're grasped, then a small nudge can control large fluctuations.

Our interconnected financial, political, and climate chaos can only be constructively dealt with by understanding the underlying dynamics. I find William K Black's America Has Become a "Cheater-Take-All" Nation clarifying, at least for one aspect of the US financial/political mess. Corruption has been masquerading as merit.

The constants present in each of our three modern financial crises (the S&L debacle, the Enron-era scandals, and the mortgage fraud crisis) were that the crises were driven by epidemics of accounting control fraud and that during the expansion phase of each crisis neo-classical economists praised the worst frauds as brilliant innovators who understood the importance of technological advances.  The economists assured us that the massive compensation that the fraudulent CEOs awarded themselves was the just result of an emerging meritocracy.  The reality was the opposite.

... when cheaters prosper, market forces become perverse because of the “Gresham’s dynamic" in which bad ethics drives good ethics out of the markets and professions.

... when cheaters prosper, market forces become perverse because of the “Gresham’s dynamic" in which bad ethics drives good ethics out of the markets and professions.

When entry is easy – and becoming a mortgage broker was simple – and the financial incentives to commit fraud are powerful the result is horrific.

“According to an investigative news report published in 2008, between 2000 and 2007, at least 10,500 people with criminal records entered the field in Florida, for example, including 4,065 who had previously been convicted of such crimes as fraud, bank robbery, racketeering, and extortion” (FCIC 2011: 14). [emphasis mine]

If ordinary citizens understood how corrupt practices in finance and accounting created financial crises and how the economists and politicians were complicit, we could create laws and enforce them to stop it. As I see it this corruption is part of the self-destructive spiral manifesting, ultimately, in our inability to cope with Climate Destabilization. Just as a tick-ridden animal is unfit, a parasite-ridden society - based on lying - is unfit to cope with the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.

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