Those Systems That Aren’t Busy Being Born Are Busy Dying

One way to understand the rising sense of disintegration and discord around the globe is to realize that those systems that aren’t busy being born are busy dying–and virtually none of our primary systems are busy being born.

The line is from Bob Dylan’s song It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding): “he not busy being born is busy dying.”

What does busy being born mean? For both individuals and systems, it means adapting by advancing understanding, flexibility and capabilities.

Systems that are dying are rigid, mal-adapted, resistant to change, obsessed with obscuring their failure and retaining their grip on cronyist privilege and power. Big Pharma: dying. Banking: dying. Governance, a.k.a. political processes: dying. Enforced consensus: dying.

Those slices of the economy that are exposed to competition and innovation have a choice: adapt or die. Everything that is protected by monopoly–private-sector cartels, government, government-managed sectors such as Big Ag, Big Pharma, Military-Industrial Complex, Higher Education and the entire intelligence agency alphabet soup–are focused on maintaining their grip on power.

“Adaptation” for those systems busy dying has been reduced to limiting transparency, PR campaigns aimed at diverting attention from their rackets, devoting resources to protecting their cronyist skims, desperately clinging to the status quo and fighting off innovation that threatens to disrupt their rackets.

What we have is a bunch of sclerotic, dying institutions and systems resisting anything and everything that threatens to disrupt the status quo, and a much smaller, agile ecosystem that is busy being born: crypto-currencies, peer-to-peer networks, automation, software that’s eating the world, decentralized governance processes, localized production and more.

Here’s what happens when the mode of production is dominated by static, self-serving cartels, monopolies and bureaucracies: productivity tanks as adaptation and innovation are limited to narrow bands that exclude the central institutions of governance and the economy.

And here’s how a dying status quo maintains the illusion of legitimacy and solvency: it borrows and blows trillions of dollars to prop up its dying institutions and systems.

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