The Collapse of Complex Systems (Part 2) | Nathan Wilson


This is the second of two essays by The Mallard’s Nathan Wilson on the collapse of complex systems. Part one can be read here.

The UK | Managerial

The UK is very interesting because our collapse in some ways has been the most crushing, and lethargic in nature. As noted by The Mallard’s own Samuel Martin, given that our system is a mixture of managerialism and declinism, we are run by managed-declinists (I used that quote far too many times).

If America has a wild heart, then the UK (and Europe by extension) has heart disease. We lack any ability to do anything because of our slow and broken bureaucracy. These problems will only compound into further collapses within the nation. Like the Qing dynasty in China, which also suffered death by bureaucracy, our system refuses to adapt. Without honest self-assessment, failure not only becomes an inevitability, but a part of the system itself.

Britain desperately needs a post-globalisation Prime Minister. At the very least, we require someone who is not completely ignorant of global-structural conditions. Unfortunately, the attitude of managed decline amongst our current elites means it matters not who is Prime Minister.

Neither Truss nor Sunak was going to fix any of this; they are pre-Covid people in a post-Covid World. We need live players in this new game, instead of trying to play tennis with a badminton racket or turning up for a cricket test match with a chess set. Something drastic needs to occur to the UK government and its civil service, a flamethrower will need to be taken against the entire post-war system, NHS included.

Our continued demise remains both confusing and tragic. A nation not vanquished in war, nor from natural disaster, instead a nation that chose to become irrelevant.

The Rest of the West and Aligned Nations | Demographic

Following on from this, we can observe the biggest and most permanent of trends leading to collapse of our complex systems. If you had to predict a dystopian future, one throws out 1984 or Brave New World, when in reality we are going to go through Children of Men. This next line will be the defining one for the next few decades: It is not that we are running out of children, (we already have) it is that we are running out of working-age adults.

In truth, we passed the point of demographic stability years ago. Even if we went all-out and all had children right now, we would not see the fruits until nineteen years later at minimum. Forget communism, this is the biggest structural failure in world history – period, end of story. If, as the saying goes: a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in, we have done the opposite. We have planted no trees of our own, and shall sit, helpless and without company, in the shade of trees planted by those long before us.

The nations with the lowest fertility rates are the ones set to find new solutions and philosophies for systems in which retirees outnumber working-age adults, nevermind children. I suspect we will look to nations like Japan, Poland, and especially Singapore and Hungary for solutions in the years to come. That said, one thing is certain: because our existing structures are still based on a pre-Covid mindset, we have no idea what to do next. Any nation that does is lying.As it stands, mass immigration is being used to kick the can further down the road, instead of being placed straight in the bin, where it belongs.

A quick sidenote, whatever you believe about China and its demographics, it is worse than you could possibly imagine. The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences team (China’s oldest think tank) “predicts an annual average decline of 1.1% after 2021, pushing China’s population down to 587 million in 2100, less than half of what it is today”, (1.4 Billion). It is also reasonable to assume that “China’s total fertility rate slips from 1.15 to 1.1 between now and 2030, and remains there until 2100”.

If this is remotely true, the nation will collapse by the end of the decade. No matter what system or what changes the country brings in, the collapse is inevitable and unavoidable. No new philosophies, no new impetus to change can halt that train. We will witness the collapse of the Chinese civilisation-state, one of the biggest complex systems and it will be like nothing ever witnessed on this planet.

Regarding demographic security, it remains very simple: things are indescribably bad. Even a Cassandra-like figure could not describe what this will mean for nations of the world. With all these collapses in mind, what solutions are there? For that I have no direct answers outside of the common-sense ones (kick out the bureaucrats, have more kids, do not tolerate political corruption, etc).

In conclusion, our pre-existing systems are failing and subsequently are no longer relevant. We, therefore, are presented with three choices; return to tradition (what has worked), invent new systems, or a combination of both.

Traditions act as a cure to the problems that we forgot we had. When we get rid of the traditions, the problems remerge. Maybe it is time to return to the ways of old and accept the flame of modernity will just continue to slowly burn out.

As such, the future is a period of widespread uncertainty. Our pre-existing systems are going to slowly break down and collapse because they lack relevance for the present. For many nations, this will mean implosion. For others, this will be their best shot for the top, whilst many others will slide into irrelevance. We have emerged from a great nap, a period of managed decline marked by relative stability (1945-2020) and hurtle towards history-defining decades (2020-present).

It is because of this, I leave you with a fitting extract from Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 State of the Union Address:

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”


Photo Credit.

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