Societal Infrastructure

Societal infrastructure progresses on its on rails, somewhat in parallel with technology. From the first mechanically reproduced books and until today, economic systems too progress on their own rails, somewhat in parallel.

Each at times adds energy into the flywheels maintaining the stability of quality of life, and at others draws energy. Should a flywheel ever falter, the system’s fragility likely increases, jeopardizing humanity’s progress in further cultivating its societal infrastructure.

Observant humans have learned to recognize the indicators, the noises if you will, faltering flywheels emit when either energy is running low or friction is working against humanity’s best efforts. Thankfully, society’s cultivating more and more creative observant humans who can step up to right the system. This growth is quite cool, and perhaps too often overlooked as a point of entry for further improving infrastructure… but I digress.

These observant creative are the leaders. Or should we call the the new leaders. They hypothesize scientifically, experiment and achieve the consensus needed to organize further humans for quests. For example, implementing creative solutions utilizing software and hardware to perform functions previously too complex and/or expensive to make sense pursuing.

Sometimes these new leaders spontaneously emerge, other times they’re individuals and enterprises the populations has already seen in action, though now performing with expanded functionality. They’ve been upregulated, given more agency, thanks to the computing power we have access to, plus the connectivity most of us carry around in our pockets at most hours.

What humanity’s experiencing today across many aspects of our being are the experiments being performed by the new leaders. Their hypothesizing and testing. Some adding energy to the quality of life flywheel, others sapping it for perhaps for purposes that not longer benefit societal infrastructure.

From the social networks that have come and gone, to those still around, participants in the experiments are part of it. The news media, from the newspapers that lost out to the Internet to today’s podcasters and humans uploading videos at protests, each participant is shaping the new machine. Every human, therefore, is a leader when they participate, which is something humanity’s never experience before. So it’s no wonder sometimes the experiments wobble, for example one or more participants game the system, possibly fully sabotaging the experiment, for selfish reasons.

It’s the societal infrastructure that enables the population to evolve and maintain the culture it wants to preserve, or develop it into something better. The power of the connectivity humans share may feel as if it’s fully emerged however it’s possible this is merely the beginning. Learning how to cope with selfish participants is nothing new, the tragedy of the commons is all too familiar of a problem.

Societal infrastructure is the machinery that gives the population control over its destiny. The gears and levers are not made of steel, but rather bits that can fly through the ether, which means the machine is flexible, or better said should be flexible. It’s up to the leaders, meaning creatives really, to take the lead on this.

And because all participants are leaders today, it’s up to each of us to create solutions, share ideas for how to improve the machine. The term democratization is thrown around quite a bit any time matters social are discussed, perhaps there’s more going on than what fits that term, thinking out loud here maybe we need a new word that encompasses the newly realized agency we’ve all been delivered from technology’s rails, for advancing today’s economic systems. There’s something to think about tonight after dinner and into our dream states.

Many are already on it, perhaps it’s merely an leadership problem to expand the quest to others who could be the creative keys. Where is the infrastructure for leaders to advance thinking in this area? Clearly the infrastructure in the world of education is changing, might we be able to direct it away from it’s perhaps suboptimal quest to return to the status quo should the pandemic get out of humanity’s way. Or is the path another, how do humans organize for the types of economic change we as a civilization need to continue with the technological advances we’ve already achieved?

The answer is not to halt technology’s march, that we know for certain. Nor is it to return to or policies of the past, which with 20/20 hindsight we’re suboptimal, or cling to those ready for the shredder. There’s a creative solution out there somewhere, it feels like humanity could grasp solutions sooner and better were we not missing some aspect of societal infrastructure compatible with our big human brains, our software and hardware and our communicators.