Civilization is essentially a business arrangement of convenience entered into by all parties so that each may be better benefited by the expertise, the experience and the contributions (in terms of cooperative and collaborative efforts harmoniously in synergy). A civilization is also very much like a multi-cellular organism, where each cell (i.e., participant) must be reasonably independent and self-managing, but also cooperative in terms of society's "business plan."
If the plan is unclear, if the roles of the participants are uncertain, if there are no policies (i.e., laws and parameters of conduct), or if those policies are capriciously applied without regard to balance, fairness, justice and predictability, and if incentives are not offered for doing things of benefit for society as a whole, the body of civilization disintegrates, as does any overripe, under-managed 'business' that has forgotten or chooses to ignore the reasons for which it was formed.
Every Human Being is a participant in civilization in multiple aspects and capacities.
A bloated system which ignores the notion of contribution and meritocracy, and instead embraces plutocracy, privilege and waste, will lose the faith, initiative and cooperation of its stakeholders (the participants), its employees (the participants) and its clients (the participants).
As the focus of our participants moves away from such once-thought-noble objectives as teaching and helping others; innovating and creating "new" things; gaining and maintaining a reputation for trustworthiness; self-growth; supported entrepreneurship; free and open dialogue and exchanges of ideas; a true opportunity to serve, and direct political elections based upon individual merits of candidates (and not based upon the sizes of their budgets); a streamlined government which does not itself act as an ever-growing parasite subsisting off of the contributions of the participants (hosts) and offering less and less service in exchange for more and more intrusive control at a higher and higher 'commission rate,' extorted in the form of taxes and money creation...we become increasingly (and perhaps preemptively) selfish.
The situation is exacerbated by feeble leadership, increasing inefficiencies, diminished expectations and a lack of positive reinforcement for genuine achievement. When people work for the government but the government doesn't work for the people, when greed eclipses good, when all assessment becomes subjective, the stage is set for a social decline.
Our decline has already begun, and is accelerating worldwide. As a business in the macroscopic sense, civilization neither turns a profit nor justifies, by the decreasing benefits which it bestows upon its participants, its very existence.
As Futurists, we must anticipate a decline in civilization if the implicit trends referenced above are not reversed -- and momentum, combined with typical Human reactivism, are driving us to the brink of some form of neo-feudalism with large enterprises as the warlords who will command us under the guise of protection.
Be prepared. There will be mush more to discuss on the implications, timing, risk mitigation, and intelligent intervention in order to either exploit this coming era of entropy (a seemingly immoral choice), or to plan to surf the coming tsunami.
It is painful to think that this is a generalized trend...poorer service, increased institutionalized lawlessness, de-personalization, diminished expectations and standards, unproductive expenditure and profligate 'bonus entitlement', is, in a sense the triumph of Humankind's animal Nature over the spark of divinity which I believe resides in most if not all of us.
In subsequent posts, we talk about what we need to do as individuals, as families, and as businesses owners and managers.
Douglas E Castle [http://aboutDouglasCastle.blogspot.com]