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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Power of Muddle

In 2008 quite a few people looked at the financial meltdown and thought the whole financial house of cards was going to fall down.

By 2008 I'd seen so many “this is it!” moments that I took a wait and see attitude. In the past I've underestimated the power of the system to muddle through. There was the gas crunch in the 70s and early 80s. Then we had the financial mess of 1987. In the 90s the tech bubble burst.

2008 was bad, but as it turned out they had a few more tricks to kick the can down the road. We have some potential bad things in the works, but I would not be surprised to see more muddling in action.

That's not to say people don't get hurt. Many get burned in these upheavals. A few get very very wealthy. Often after things are patched up, the system runs, but just a bit crappier than before.

Complete collapse is usually a combination of things: scarcity of critical resources, loss of political will, drought or other climate change, disease, financial collapse, loss of faith in government, invasion, and even things like erupting volcanoes.

When a goodly number of bad things happen at the same time, that's when things really fall apart. The fun part is guessing when the system is overloaded and really can't take another knock. Be warned, the ability to muddle through should not be discounted.

Then again, sometimes things really do fall apart.



  1. For me, the worst part of our 'muddling about' is that I no longer depend on the future for my kids being better than it was for me. When I was a teenager, I felt like the world was my oyster, and that opportunity was mine for the taking.

    Now, not nearly so optimistic. Job security, housing, insurance - its all a house of cards. Your term 'muddling through' really fits, a person has be very versatile to come out of this unscathed.

    1. I grew up in a dying mill town so I had a different view of the world. However, one of my daughters lives there and her family is doing well.

      It is harder to make a go of it. At least it was possible for my generation to move to someplace that was doing well. Fewer of those places now -and you might not speak the language.

  2. as a boss cam,e to real;ize at being flexible to adapt to changing conditions so your underlings don't frazzle out and perish

    the lack of real leadership is destroying your nation now

    ho hum goes the circus into the sewer pit


    1. Maybe we should stop looking for leaders and find our own way. The track record of recent leaders isn't anything to write home about.