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Juan Cole
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I’ve got a new structural theory of modern cohesion: the Chaos Coefficient. No, not like this guy whose equation involves pets and kids — my theory is almost single-handedly inspired by the peculiar chaos of Irish society. And in its simplest form, it is this: how much chaos a societal system can absorb and withstand before becoming incoherent, scattered and completely thrown into disarray. How much madness and confusion it takes to completely unhinge a nation or culture — at which point it’ll tip into sheer idiocy. Cohesive and highly organised civilisations like Germany have a high coefficient: it takes more than a few tardy trains and economic crises to shake it up. Low coefficient countries like Ireland fare worse: one minor incident in the train/DART grid throws the entire transport system into disarray. No buses to take up the slack, no advance warning or planning and anticipation, and surprisingly little complaint. The more cohesive a society, the more interdependent and qualitative its services, the more people are aware and involved in the system’s running well: the daily train disasters of Ireland are absorbed by a docile and apathetic community who expect no better and who aren’t in the habit of complaining or lobbying for improvement. The two depend on each other. The lower the coefficient, the higher the imbibing of alcohol to deaden the senses and deal with the idiocy. The higher the coefficient, the greater the sense of democratic ownership and pragmatic intelligence, the higher the ability to deal with economic punches. I’ve got a nary feeling that Ireland’s dodgy wealth distribution, nepotistic streak and fragile economics will be unable to deal with hard core economic adjustments and EU demands and other external factors. A little bit of tax reform (especially for foreign companies enjoying the tax-free ride) and property/real estate restructuring and everything would just crumble from inside. And I’m working on a social side-effect sub-theory of this.

posted by rino breebaart  # 11:29 am
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Alternatively, read about it at: The Slow Review or the long blog. Or even Nurture Health

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