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.