Monday, July 11, 2005

The Acceleration of Global Violence

There is an ugly economy to violence. It's cheaper to destroy than build, and to take by force than negotiate. And within every segment of the political spectrum there are those who would employ violence to achieve their ends.

Todays coordinated attacks from stateless groups around the globe cost orders of magnitude less than the burdens of rebuilding and forever heightened security.

Present political stability depends on managing wholesale violence with the threat or exercise of still greater violence. Otherwise the political structure dissolves.

The Decentralization of Global Violence

Technology makes increasingly powerful weapons cheaper and gives rise to new ways and means of destruction. And so small innovative groups become capable of increasingly cheap, massive, raw violence. In Madrid, cheap cellphones became sophisticated detonators. They could have been triggered by Email, remotely and anonymously, from anywhere in the world.

Where Is This Taking Us?

Technology democratizes power of every kind; military, political, economic, media, energy production; all of it. Centralized power becomes distributed from the hands of the few to the masses.

I do see the day when politics reflects the conscience of mothers, the security of children and all the things communities really want in order to thrive and grow functionally. There isn't much time though. Weapons of mass destruction are becoming open source, distributed and cheap.


Michael Meiser said...

Interesting. BTW, I'm glad you liked my 37 signals post.

I'm curious as to whether you think violence is spreading in this new era or wether we're just increasingly aware of it because it's becoming more visible? From a communications perspective the world is getting smaller. One of my great hopes is that the transparency and openess of mass communications will mean that violence and injustice will find it increasingly hard to hide from the spotlight of the world. What happens when we come to depend on the internet as we did the TV. What happens when an anonymous blogger in a third world can capture the attention of the world with photographs, a video camera, or their words. Will the widespread visibility have an impact on mobilizing efforts?

In the aftermath of the tsunami I was never happier. It looked like possibly this dream was in some way being realized. But on the other hand in many dark corners of the world including the Sudan remain cloaked from the public eye and the human tragedy continues.

-Mike of

Ted Holmes said...

Hi Michael. It's a pleasure to have you drop by :)

I'm not sure if violence is spreading, growing or shrinking. But the potential for ever great bursts of violence is growing because technology makes smaller and smaller groups of committed individuals capable of greater and greater destruction. Weapons of mass destruction may soon be cooked up by singular individuals in their basement.

Transparency VS Security
Detection for Protection

I'm still mulling the implications of using technology detect those who would take everybody down with them.

It may be a moot point though... I'm not sure privacy *can* be maintained in a fully connected society. But, if not, it's probably safe to assume a social x-ray system would be directed by the connected.

Why? Because the power of social networks connected through modern technology increases exponentially according to the number of connected people. As smart mobs become smart masses, political weight tilts faster and faster towards an irrevocable tipping point in which control is distributed to the connected masses. We are well on the way to becoming a global, grass roots, democratized, increasingly intelligent smart mass.