Talk: Failure Modes of the Modern Rational Utopia

Decentralising Society
Sunday 11th of November, 2012
Room 2

by Smári McCarthy

High-modernist idealists, when given unfiltered power to act on their ideologies, have a tendency to try to enact their vision through authoritarian means - the creation of laws and regulations, the manipulation of the major consensus narrative, through socioeconomic restructuring and societal design. As with the sudden introduction of any large scale perturbation to a chaotic system, the results are often unpredictable. There is plenty of evidence of historical flawed attempts at constructing rational utopia, where the perceived ability to control society leads to disaster, but the modern rational utopia - in its technologically superpowered glory - promises to fail in ways we have not yet fully fathomed. I'm going to talk about how authoritarianism is changing its nature, how rational utopias come about, look at how they fail and why fail, and try and figure out what we can do about it.

In more ways than one, this is an independent sequel to last year's talk ("Privacy or welfare: Pick one")

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