In a community forum on Linkedin.com, I was asked to explain how Chaos Theory is related to an Information Society and a knowledge-based economy. Here’s my short explanation.
In Inert America: Crossroads to the Future, I suggest that the major social structures of American society - social, philosophical, political, and economic systems – do not align with the macro level trends of an information society and a knowledge-based society. Those three trends are: 1.) The decentralization of production processes; 2.) The elimination of time and space management; and 3.) Individuals as the new owners of the means of production.
Society is a system; as such it must comply with the established natural laws of physics. A political system is an object – a created object that began with an idea. No two objects can occupy the same time space continuum or else they collide. I just stated that these major social structures don’t meet the needs of America in the second decade of the 21st century. That means that for new objects to emerge, the old objects must be destroyed. Actually, destroyed is too strong a word here. Just like the apple that falls from the tree, the object will rot, decay, and eventually dissipate into nothingness. For example, the political system is corrupt – or rotten to the core. It too must decay and eventually dissipate into nothingness.
I suggest that Chaos Theory is applicable to better understand the social changes we are experiencing in the 21st century. Thus, I equate chaos to social change; while it seems random and chaotic, it is really not. I suggest society is deterministic and dynamical. If we accept that society is a system that is deterministic then we can know the next state of this system, because the next future state must flow from its current state. Taking the transition in America from an agricultural society to an industrial society that occurred during the 20s and 30s, we can see how new technology was applied to the old system of production, America experienced a time prosperity which fueled over-speculation, a financial collapse, and then a great depression. When we consider other factors that would influence this, I am predicting a “Mega Depression,” which in part is fueled by an effective unemployment rate of over 40% as baby boomers retire over the next decade.
I have hardly done this book justice with my short explanation here. This is not simple. It is very complex, and it required 2.5 years of research, study and writing to produce Inert America. I would recommend reading the book if you would like to better understand what I have termed the “Inert America” condition.
Gary W. Griffin, Ph.D.