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The Big Answer

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The Great Disruption

an article in The Atlantic Monthly by Francis Fukuyama

(our site's article review)

In this 1999 article, Fukuyama's says the shift to the information age has been accompanied by social disorder throughout the industrialized world. But new forms of stability may already be in the making, he says. " . . . broadly speaking, the technological change that brought about what the economist Joseph Schumpeter called 'creative destruction' in the marketplace caused similar disruption in the world of social relationships. . . . But there is a bright side, too: social order, once disrupted, tends to get remade, and there are many indications that this is happening today. We can expect a new social order for a simple reason: human beings are by nature social creatures, whose most basic drives and instincts lead them to create moral rules that bind them together into communities. They are also by nature rational, and their rationality allows them to spontaneously create ways of cooperating with one another."

Toffler has rightly called for electronic expanded families in electronic cottages
Toffler has rightly called for electronic expanded families in electronic cottages

Toffler’s home-centered, electronic expanded families in electronic cottages are a case in point. Toffler says "For community life, for patterns of love and marriage, for the reconstitution of friendship networks, for the economy and the consumer marketplace, as well as for our psyches and personality structure, the rise of the electronic expanded family would be momentous."

The Great Disruption won't be fixed simply. Some religious conservatives hope, and liberals fear, that the problem of moral decline will be resolved by a large-scale return to religious orthodoxy, but Fukuyama sees this as unlikely. (The polls agree: the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public—and a third of adults under 30—are religiously unaffiliated in 2012, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. [Source: “Nones” on the Rise, 2012, Pew Research Center,])

However, he says, "A return to religiosity is far more likely to take a more benign form, one that in some respects has already started to appear in many parts of the United States. Instead of community arising as a byproduct of rigid belief, people will come to religion because of their desire for community. In other words, people will return to religion not necessarily because they accept the truth of revelation but precisely because the absence of community and the transience of social ties in the secular world make them hungry for ritual and cultural tradition." He says we are asking politics to bear nearly the entire weight of preserving the secular doctrine and practice of universal human equality, and it has done a remarkably good job, with nations built on universal liberal principles having been surprisingly resilient over the past 200 years.

(However, these nations "built on universal liberal principles" are not necessarily preserving equality, freedom, democracy, and community even if the correct principles are in place. And goodbye privacy. The U.S. has slipped out of democracy mode as it slowly became an oligarchy, but the leaders are fooling most of the citizens about this by continuing to pretend it's a democracy—they've even continued to call it one. The Corporatocracy is laughing behind our backs! The correct principles are in place, but what about the actions of the powers that be and the de facto oligarchy? See The US is an oligarchy, study concludes.)

Privacy is a distant memory, and our leaders tell us it's for our own good
Privacy is a distant memory, and our leaders tell us it's for our own good

Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!
Fly #353242252 reporting: Citizen #312,756,972 doesn't seem to be hiding a thing—my conclusion is that she's clean; but just to be sure I think I'll hang around a bit longer!

To Fukuyama, the " . . .reason for hope is the very powerful innate human capacity for reconstituting social order. On the success of this process of reconstruction depends the upward direction of the arrow of History." Our American communities are not webs of connectedness and communitarian spirit, currently, and the transience of social ties and the social symptoms that Great Disruption forces are manifesting have no quick fix. However, there is a sure way to deal with reconstituting social order: See Why Register for an MC? Let us hope that infatuation with Facebook (a big time-waster for most that addictively supplies pseudo-community and undermines the natural groundswell of social energy that would otherwise create more and better real f2f irl communities) doesn't short-circuit community desires permanently. See Why Do We Need Communities?.

Registering for MC search and match
Registering for MC search and match