Nation-states are dying. They blame this on their citizens, who are defecting from the social contract promised by government. The citizens are not to blame for the instability that ensures; they're reacting to rapidly changing conditions, costs, and styles of living brought about by our old friend, ＴＥＣＨＮＯＣＯＭＭＥＲＣＥ.
The poor citizens, in typical style, blame "the system" (of industrial-era governance/the philosophy of nations, although they can't see it yet), and blame it they should: it sucks. For a while it was benign. But it's grown unwieldy: a tumor too greedy for blood vessels to satiate. Witness debt rising across the globe, borrowed money and borrowed time. But this was destined to happen, given the initial conditions of states and the economic dogma that's ruled since the New Deal.
And yet THEY—you know who—are calling this death rattle, this gasping gurgle from the throat of civilization, billions of voices crying out—THEY spew vomit on this canvas—THEY call it "populism"!
I didn't need to write this. Things are changing and breaking, etc. Nobody sees it happening but us, usw. "Heard it before, champ—some oracle you are." But have you stopped to consider just how many idiots are blind to the rising tide? And how many of those idiots control the axes of contemporary society? More importantly, have you considered the opportunities afforded to intelligent groups of motivated individuals with more information and better strategy than ruling powers? And just how many common people (who want to make it through the week) can be marshaled to administer the terminal chemotherapy? And what a treatment it will be.
Taleb writes in Antifragile (p 106):
The problem with artificially suppressed volatility is not just that the system tends to become extremely fragile; it is that, at the same time, it exhibits no visible risks... Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policy makers is to stabilize the system by inhibiting fluctuations, the result tends to be the opposite. These artificially constrained systems become prone to Black Swans. Such environments eventually experience massive blowups, catching everyone off-guard and undoing year of stability or, in almost all cases, ending up far worse than they were at their initial volatile state.
Seeking stability by achieving stability has been a great sucker game for economic and foreign policies... rotten governments like the one in Egypt before the riots of 2011, supported by the United States for four decades in order "to avoid chaos"... identical to bankers using "too big to fail" to scam taxpayers and pay themselves high bonuses...
Preventing noise makes the problem worse in the long run.
Random but stable noise as an artifact of countless criss-crossing incentives is not an alien concept to our planet: Switzerland, governed more or less flawlessly by tiny communities, is the most immediate national example. The opposite problem, hyperfragile carcinogovernment, is due to the "pro[|trans]gression—the transfer of agency to mere humans [from externally balanced self-organized natural environments]" (more Taleb). The provided example is the random, but generally consistent pay of a taxi or Uber driver, who will continue to make money as long as he drives well and continues working, versus the industry employee's "perfectly stable" salary, which ultimately hinges on the employee's (potentially arbitrary or political) relationship with the company. The employee may be fired at any time, reducing salary to zero in spite of his ability to continue working. So much for job security. But there is good news: it's all coming crashing down.
Rees-Mogg and Davidson, The Sovereign Individual (1997) (p 261) (relevant thread):
8\. As new megapolitical conditions give rise to a new consciousness of identity, along with new, complementary ideologies and morality, the old imperatives of nationalism will lose their appeal. [Progressivism, globalism, and identity politics—not least as a justification for the expansion of the state.]
9\. The nationalist reaction [#MAGA] will peak in the early decades of the new millennium, then fade as the efficiency of fragmented sovereignties proves superior to the massed power of the nation-state...
10\. The nation-state will ultimately collapse in fiscal crisis. Systemic crises typically arise when failing institutions suffer from rising expenses and falling income—a situation that is bound to beset the leading nation-states as retirement benefits and medical outlays balloon early in the twenty-first century.
If you haven't already, buy chaos, sell government. And try to reduce your reliance on its beneficence (and sustained existence). One more Taleb for the road:
Modernity starts with the state monopoly on violence, and ends with the state's monopoly on fiscal irresponsibility.
Bitcoin flirting with $900 last week. Are we witnessing another bubble in the making, or has the market smiled upon the decentralized cybernetic empire to be? Both are possible, especially when stakeholders in mammoth world economies are hedging risk with BTC. And in case you didn't know, what happens on exchanges is only about 25% the dollar amount of large-scale cryptocurrency trading that goes on in the world. Many firms specialize in invisible transactions.
Ironically, it might turn out that an externality of my accurate prediction of the election is a massive investment in one of the many digital assets set to explode upon the coming of the new age—gambling is legal with "monopoly money". As it happens, technologies which synthesize subversive tech with mind-bending paradigm shifts are incomprehensible to those dyed in the old wool. How much bitcoin has the US government bought?
Finally, lest we forget old times, classical populism ("by the people for the people") is rising too, but only as a secondary effect of the "Dead God" phenomenon cross-applied to national borders (as defined by borders, not ethnicity). A candle sputtering before it guts out. There are much better writers covering this angle of the resurgence, so I'll leave it be, but the meatiest analysis is a little higher up the bone. Balkanization (or, alternatively, Helvetication (again, Taleb)) along commercial-zone lines is where sentiment will settle once the people protest and activist themselves out. There's only so much government can do, at this point: the election's over. Although, if you care to sign a petition for a secession referendum, overnight more and more people have begun to entertain the idea...