models of the world

“So the problem here is something which looked to be a very solid edifice and indeed a critical pillar to market competition and free markets did break down and I think that shocked me. I still do not fully understand why it happened and obviously to the extent that I figure out where it happened and why, I will change my views. As the facts change, I will change.”
Alan Greenspan, Oct 2008,congressional testimony

"We are, without question, the strongest and most effective industrial union in the world," We have taken on the most powerful corporations in the world, and, despite their power and their great wealth, we have always prevailed."
Walter Reuther, UAW president, 1970

as humans, we try to make sense of the world around us, both on the mundane, day-to-day level, and, for most of us, on a cosmic ‘why’ level as well. Science, religion, ethics and morality, laws and governance are all means for investigating and promoting a sense of order and meaning in our lives. In current parlance, we create “models of our world”; holistic pictures of how things work, what the rules are, the customary behaviors of the actors or forces within the model that we can expect to see.

our models can be self-reinforcing; the more they seem to prove themselves true, the more likely we are to follow them, to invoke their rules if people’s actions don’t follow, or raise expectations about who the winners or losers will be within the model. we begin to believe that our models equal reality and become attached to our expectations. we are comforted by the predictability of things, and when hard times come, we assume we understand the whys and wherefores, and can fix it.

the 'free market' and auto workers' union models worked in their times as responses to those times. but the thousands of intervening days brought incremental social, economic, political, demographic and natural changes that did not fit into the “model”. the models did not change and now they have collapsed. this is Pluto in Cap; the changes that are coming will be fundamental.

but our universe is not static. change is a constant. models need to remain flexible and open to new input, new conditions or risk diverging from reality. when the gap between our view of reality and true reality gets large enough, we have crisis. we have to change.

it is time to look around and see what’s really happening and make the necessary adjustments and re-alignments. many are having this happen to them through external forces of foreclosure and job loss; they are caught up in the immense realignment of the ‘American’ model. once a beacon of light in the world, the fundamentals of freedom, opportunity and ingenuity have been perverted into recklessness, self promotion and greed. it is time to realign those fundamentals within the reality of limited resources, inequality, and the need for tolerance and sustainability. The US made a huge stride in that direction with the election of Obama and I am hopeful that we can make the needed changes. but there are still dark and difficult days ahead. It is our individual choices that will swing the balance and you should take this opportunity to give your own model of the world a reality check.

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