For a while I've had the unwelcome feeling that we're living under occupation by Martian invaders. (Not just here in the UK, but everyone, everywhere on the planet.) Something has gone wrong with our political processes, on a global scale. But what? It's obviously subtle — we haven't been on the receiving end of a bunch of jack-booted fascists or their communist equivalents organizing putsches. But we've somehow slid into a developed-world global-scale quasi-police state, with drone strikes and extraordinary rendition and unquestioned but insane austerity policies being rammed down our throats, government services being outsourced, peaceful protesters being pepper-sprayed, tased, or even killed, police spying on political dissidents becoming normal, and so on. What's happening?
Here's a hypothesis: Representative democracy is what's happening. Unfortunately, democracy is broken. There's a hidden failure mode, we've landed in it, and we probably won't be able to vote ourselves out of it.
Invaders from Mars
"Voting doesn't change anything — the politicians always win." 'Twas not always so, but I'm hearing variations on that theme a lot these days, and not just in the UK.
Why do we feel so politically powerless? Why is the world so obviously going to hell in a handbasket? Why can't anyone fix it?
Here's my (admittedly whimsical) working hypothesis ...
Basically, Stross's hypothesis is that the world is run by amoral, sociopathic, amnesiac corporations with no loyalty to anything but their own immediate self-interest. Read the rest.
(via Fabius Maximus)