Death Spiral – Our Country’s Course?


If you had been watching the big bang begin the universe and you knew of the four forces, the strong and weak forces, the electromagnetic force and gravity, then you could have predicted the form of the current and future universe. You could have predicted that as the sea of particles expanded the original elementary particles, quarks, would eventually combine to form protons, neutrons and electrons and that they would later combine to form hydrogen and that gravity would cause the formation of stars and galaxies. True it was a statistical process so you could not have predicted the location of the galaxies and how many stars each would contain. However the universe is an example of something that from its beginning its unchanging laws or characteristics determined how it would act as it has for 13.4 billion years.

Another example of this type of process is an organism be it animal or vegetable. We know that the DNA contained in the first cell, the zygote, that becomes the embryo that becomes the final organism, contains all of the information necessary to produce the final form of the organism. The DNA schedules the process so that each development is built upon previous developments in a similar manner as the universe developed.

A third example of this type, and the one examined here, is the relationships between actions and priorities of governments, the social and economic conditions of a country, and the response of the populations to the actions and conditions.

In particular, this article asks are the actions and priorities of governments that are established by the people, predicated on a predictable response of the governed to current conditions. Is the response of the governed to social and economic conditions predictable based on unchanging human characteristics?

And most importantly for the discussion to follow, can these actions and priorities of government be made to unfold in a manner independent of conditions and the human response? Or are government actions and the response of the governed to conditions similar to the development of the universe and of an organism defined by DNA. That is, are government actions and priorities linked to the response of the electorate to current social and economic conditions by some unchanging forces in place and beyond outside controls?

What are these unchanging human characteristics that might dictate government actions? Instincts that you are born with probably in your DNA are part of it, and they are extremely powerful. You sense danger and react without thought, your attention is drawn to movement, you form social groups, you (most of you) are attracted to the opposite sex. Did you know beavers in captivity will often go through the motions of building dams even though there is no ponds or creeks to dam?

Those kind of instincts don’t offer much in discussing governments so lets combine them and other behavior characteristics existing at birth into something we might call human nature; the need for security (bodily security, subsistence food, shelter, clothing), the need for substance (creature comforts, cars, private homes, smart phones, big screen tvs… ), and need for liberty ( to chose employment, social contacts, location, speech, what gun to own …). The items within the parenthesis might change over time but the human characteristics, that are likely responsible for our governments at any time, are a result of the relative needs for security, creature comforts and liberty and the emotions they create. These human characteristics are unchanging over time although the relative importance between them changes and that is reflected in the changing priorities of government over time.

With these thoughts in mind, a natural course of events can be suggested. Consider as a starting point an early civilization where wealth is increasing over time. The need for security is reflected in concern or some level of fear in the population that personal security, not always present, would again be threatened. The need for substance, not currently plentiful, is reflected in ambition or the desire to increase one’s wealth, and the need for liberty, not previously known, is shown in a desire for greater freedom and more opportunities for self improvement.

In civilizations where wealth has been achieved and is now stagnant or decreasing, concern or fear for ones security is replaced with apathy since personal security is not a major issue in wealthy civilizations. Since wealth is no longer increasing, the ability to increase one’s wealth is diminished and thus ambition is replaced by jealousy of those who have achieved wealth. The desire for greater freedom and self improvement is also replaced by apathy since the civilization would not have become wealthy without freedom and opportunity. Freedom and opportunity will have been common for so long they no longer seem to be an important consideration. If individual wealth begins to decrease, the number of those living off the benefit of subsidies will increase and will result by many in a desire to spread the wealth to all those unfortunate people left behind. Thoughts turn to those who must be under-privileged otherwise they too would be wealthy.

Our country is transforming from one of wealth increasing to one of wealth stagnation or decreasing wealth. Our low information voters reflect apathy, the Occupy Wall Street movement demonstrates the jealousy toward those that have wealth, and the liberal mentality and their hatred of conservative principles represents the mentality calling for the redistribution of the wealth. These changes in emotions from those of a wealth increasing civilization to a civilization where wealth has peaked and is now decreasing have resulted in our current government and their actions and priorities..

This article asks are the actions and priorities of our current government predicated on a predictable response of the governed to the conditions the government inherits or creates. And is the response of the governed predictable based on unchanging human characteristics? Based on the above discussion and what we have witnessed in our last election we say YES to both questions.

It is the third question that is of greatest interest. Can these actions and priorities of government be made to unfold in a manner independent of conditions and the human response?

Asked another way, the economic and social conditions in a country create the emotions in the populations that lead to the government they elect. It follows that the government put in place by these emotions will attempt to perpetuate the same conditions or enhance those conditions so as to remain in control. Can a portion of the governed change the priorities of the government without changing the conditions that led to that government, or do the conditions and human reactions to those conditions alone dictate the course of the government? For example can a government priority to limit the freedom of the population be reversed by any means if the majority of the population is apathetic, does not perceive any loss of freedom due to current government actions, and fears no future actions that may result in a loss of freedom?

We answer NO to the third question; government priorities cannot be changed without changing the conditions within the country or changing the public’s response to the existing conditions . But as explained government priorities will not change unless the response of the population to the conditions changes and that will not change unless the conditions change. But in today’s world the conditions and their interpretation are mainly controlled by the government. This circular relationship puts the government in charge of its own destiny and a government whose priority is power rather than the wealth of the nation can ensure for itself a long future.

And thus we have the death spiral. The government in place is there because we are a country that has obtained wealth and is now experiencing decreasing individual wealth. To stay in power this government will continue the downward spiral by maintaining or increasing the poor economic conditions responsible for their rise to power. If elected because your party is the champion of the poor, the down trodden, the unemployed, the welfare recipient, the uneducated immigrant, the homeless, then to continue to get re-elected there has to be an increasing number of poor, down trodden, unemployed, welfare recipients, uneducated immigrants, and homeless. There is no incentive to recreate a robust thriving economy lifting all out of poverty?

This spiral to oblivion can only be reversed by changing the public’s understanding of the condition of our country and hopefully changing their response . The are three ways this could happen. One, the people are awakened by raised conservative voices to fact that conditions are not what they have been told. Possible but very difficult. Two, conditions deteriorate rapidly despite government planning causing the population to wake themselves up to the fact that they are on a death spiral. Likely conditions will deteriorate but not likely the public’s response will be constructive. And three, the spiral is completed and the country collapses recreating the conditions of 1776, and then all hell breaks loose again.