Perhaps its a function of being an American abroad in Germany, but I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the social contract and the expectations we have for free association and collaboration.
Germany’s democratic socialism is abutting against the challenges of global market capitalism and cultural pluralism. And the strain is evident. Frankfurt is expensive and there are many competing populations from refugees to globo-homo cosmopolitans
I think only one in five people I’ve encountered appear to be native born German. It’s almost enough to make me feel like I’m in America. Which is to say I see the in-group and out-group competition clearly.
Different expectations for a civic polity can range wildly depending on the goal. We enable everything from humanity wide medical breakthroughs to individual physical health through incentives both individual and collective. And yes because I’m American I notice shit like who pays for parks and recreation. I also notice soda taxes. Choices are all around us and the incentives make it look like no choice at all.
Humans live at varying degrees of abstraction. Our capacity to go from whole to parts, and parts to whole, depends on education, temperament, intellect, emotional capacity and preferences.
And that diversity of views is what makes it so hard for us to infer what “chunk” of reality our fellow humans see. No wonder we struggle with collaboration as a species. Your fellow man is as sensitive to elite semiotics as they are to casual racism.
Where our new living history takes us is going to depend a lot on how we design incentives for collaboration that provides benefits to participants that are transparent. Otherwise I’d be strapping in for more civilizational struggles.
My aspirations include us finding ways to collaborate across much wider destinies with as much freedom for all can be managed. I’m hoping AI and crypto go hand in hand. High trust and no-trust are our only options at this scale. But like any reformation it threatens the current powers and worldviews.