Wednesday, 6 January 2021

When Good Governments Go Bad: History Shows That Societies Collapse When Leaders Undermine Social Contracts

quote [ They found that when “good” governments—ones that provided goods and services for their people and did not starkly concentrate wealth and power—fell apart, they broke down more intensely than collapsing despotic regimes. And the researchers found a common thread in the collapse of good governments: leaders who undermined and broke from upholding core societal principles, morals, and ideals. ]

This is an interesting conclusion, especially when you take into account the difficulty of comparing ancient governmental systems to modern democracies.
[SFW] [history] [+1 Interesting]
[by takajou@4:12amGMT]


mechavolt said[1] @ 2:08pm GMT on 6th Jan
I've been thinking a lot about this the last few years. Social contracts work because we collectively agree they work. The more authoritarian the contract, the more the norms are codified into enforceable rules. The more liberal the contract, the more it relies on norms being upheld voluntarily. The US has historically favored the latter kind of social contract, and I think the last 4 years have really made clear how much our contract relies on tradition, decorum, and decency. The last 4 years have also really made clear how easily liberal social contracts can be taken advantage of by bad actors. But then the solution to this problem becomes problematic in and of itself. To fix this, we either have to somehow convince/train the population to once again agree to voluntarily uphold the social contract, or we have to shift to more authoritarian methods of enforcement. I don't see the first happening, and the second is distasteful. That leaves the third option, a decline into self destruction.
steele said @ 5:38pm GMT on 6th Jan
Whole lot of non-white, non-male, and/or non-rich people throughout the US's history are laughing hysterically at this comment.
mechavolt said[1] @ 10:01pm GMT on 6th Jan
I'm talking in terms of the collapse of the government, not the quality of the social contract itself. It's very clear that the US social contract is based on the exploitation and suppression of minority groups to benefit the white majority and the upper economic class.
steele said @ 10:40pm GMT on 6th Jan
Okay, but the collapse of the government is not unrelated to the exploitation and suppression of minority groups. The best parts of our social contract came from civil rights activists, from socialists and anarchists. The collapse you're seeing is Late Stage Capitalism working its magic after silencing and destroying those dissenters. We are functionally a Leftless, Pro-Capitalist country and it shows.

mechavolt said @ 11:40pm GMT on 6th Jan
Yeah, I'm not disagreeing with you. The stuff your talking about is how our norms were created and enforced, through social pressure. The current system has been steadily eroding those pressures, which allows norm breaking to happen with fewer consequences. I'd say we're talking about the same thing, but it sounds like you're coming from more of an political/economic standpoint whereas I'm approaching from a sociological standpoint. I think they're both important to understand what's happening, I just have more training/experience in the latter so that's what I default to.
steele said @ 1:45am GMT on 7th Jan
Okay, I get that, but I think my issue with your first comment is that you're looking at the system that even the nazis were like, "that's a bit too racist even for us" and throwing your hands up as if its failure means there are no other options. We pretty much live in the Imperial Core, our country destroys the governments that explores those other options. In a very similar manner to what we are witnessing now.
mechavolt said @ 3:07am GMT on 7th Jan [Score:1 Classy Pr0n]
Ohhh I see now. Yeah, looking at my comment I totally see that. It's written on the assumption of "we should want to preserve the current system, or at least the idealized version of it," which funnily enough isn't even my own personal position. Thanks for pointing that out.
steele said @ 6:20pm GMT on 7th Jan
Word. I know I'm getting crankier around here, but the good news is I'm also becoming more impatient with the world!😅

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