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Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's
war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars"
defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make
the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an
application of science be successful? Is a militarized space
inevitable, necessary or impossible?
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(219 previous messages)
- 02:53pm Mar 5, 2002 EST (#220
An index, and a taxonomy, and a sense of how the human beings
involved live -- in all the ways that matter -- and what one might
do, practically, in a way acceptable to almost everyone involved, to
move things step by step to better patterns.
Assistance needs to be timely, appropriately focused, and work
for the people as they are, in the sociotechnical systems involved.
And at some level - over some time -- the patterns that improve
things have to "pay their way" -- and be sustainable, and on
balance, rewarding or satifying to all major players.
How do you make a society better - in really practical ways, for
the people involved, and for where that society is?
- 02:56pm Mar 5, 2002 EST (#221
I've been worrying about the following question, since it is very
connected with wars and other horrors.
How do you avoid situations where fictions work very well, for
the internal organization of a society -- for a while -- but do so
on the basis of fictions and conventions that have terrible results
I find the question compelling -- because there are patterns that
work "well" for economic growth, and for "social welfare" within
restricted groups -- that are dangerous -- and the Nazis knew them
THE CASE AGAINST THE NAZIS . . . Week in Review January 13,
One of the leading United States investigators at
Nuremberg, Gen. William J. Donovan — Wild Bill Donovan of the
O.S.S., the C.I.A.s precursor — collected and cataloged trial
evidence in 148 bound volumes of personal papers that were stored
after his death in 1959 at Cornell University.
At Cornell, I spent perhaps 1,000 hours looking at those
documents, and had just about any questions I asked about the Nazis
answered. I wanted to know what could be used by Americans, to make
things work in the national interest.
One thing that interested me a great deal is how the Nazis used
the mechanisms of government power, propaganda, and inter-relations,
financial and social, many informal, between political and business
At the level of corporate, government, and cultural relations,
there are many similarities between countries -- many of the
patterns that worked in Germany apply, at the level of structure, to
the United States, too. Corporate and political forms were and are
similar - and patterns of system control did and do have many
"Command economies" or parts of economies, are very similar from
place to place, because the social arrangements and technical jobs
to be done are similar from place to place -- and to answer
almarst's questions about the US
military-industrial-political complex, I've been thinking hard about
previous such combines - including some before WWI, and those of the
combattants during WWII.
I'm not sure anyone, no matter how much they learn, will ever be
able to achieve much more sustained economic growth than the Nazis
achieved from 1934-1941 . That fact isn't pretty, but it is a fact
Fictions, including insanely dangerous ones, can hold societies
together for limited but still extended times -- and work very well.
Wars, horrors, and muddles always include a severe imbalance, or
mistake -- based on one or more fictions.
A problem is that all societies, at one level or another, have
unproven assumptions that can be, and often are "fictions." An open
season on "fictions" isn't humanly workable. All societies would
fall apart without "fictions."
But consideration of the consequences of assumptions needs
to happen much more often than it does, if people are to live
together, in prosperity and peace.
. . .
It would be much safer and better, for the US and other
countries, if the assumptions behind "missile defense" and our
nuclear arrangements were matched against checkable facts - - and
made more clear, to all concerned.
- 03:08pm Mar 5, 2002 EST (#222
My computer got shut down for me . . I feel this happens at
- 03:17pm Mar 5, 2002 EST (#223
The North Korean government is the monstrosity and horror that it
is in large part because of fictions - - and is also an
example of how people, when challenged, will fight, even when more
peaceful alternatives would be far, far better.
Iran and Iraq are dangerous to us, and bad for their own people,
for reasons that essentially involve fictions.
Al Queda is only sustainable by fictions .
And people all over the world are worried about some of the
disproportions that have worried almarst , and that worry
people at the New York Times MD150 rshow55
The Uses of American Power http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/03/opinion/03SUN1.html
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