Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Inconvenient Truth about any inconvenient truth

I have a backlog of work to attend to, so I plan on being scarce today. However, I wanted to bring this link up from the comments and submit it for your consideration because it nicely illuminates the scholastic and propositional nature of the national political spectacle unfolding all around us.
Technological illustrations of the inconvenience of any inconvenient truth relating to global governance

The simplicity, comprehensibility and communicability of an inconvenient truth is well-illustrated by:

* automobiles: which few are capable of making or repairing, although many (but not all) claim an ability to drive, and an aspiration to do so -- despite their dependence on non-renewable resources and their impact on the environment

* electronic consumer products: despite extremely widespread use of radio, music players, TVs, and computers, who is capable of understanding their operating principles to a degree enabling their design, development or repair, in contrast with the number whose familiarity with their use in practice obscures their inability in those respects? The classic example of "inability to program a VCR" is now matched by "inability to use a computer", let alone to program one.

* space rockets: whilst "reaching for the stars" has been promoted as a comprehensible ideal justifying allocation of resources as a priority to that end, who is capable of comprehending the complex control systems that renders them viable, and of developing the technology in practice? How was this allocation of resources rendered credible to those without that understanding?

In the light of such various degrees of engagement with technology:

* who is likely to to be able to envisage the requisite new "technologies" of governance appropriate to the challenges of the times?
* who might understand how to design and develop them in practice?
* who might comprehend their significance sufficiently to allocate resources to that end?
* who might have the skills to use them?

Again, the convenience of the explanation of any technology depends on it being significantly shorter than that required for its operationalization in practice -- implying that any remedial technique is necessarily both a challenge to implement and to justify funding for its development.

What inconvenient truth does this imply about the democratic global governance desirable for the future?
I believe this line of inquire also has direct applicability to the religiously themed exchange sparked by the questions I posed on Monday