Karl Gallagher (libertarianhawk) wrote,
Karl Gallagher

Managing the Transition

America 3.0 is the book I wanted The End is Near and It's Going to be Awesome to be. Bennett and Lotus take a hard look at the USA's current situation and propose a solid plan to get us out of the mess: the Big Haircut. In short, go through the whole list of the government's debts and programs and slash them down to something affordable, spreading the pain evenly. Defaulting on bonds, means-testing social security, reducing civil service pension, eliminating corporate subsidies and tariffs, ending tax deductions--do it all all. It'd take some brave politicians to push through but it beats the failure modes I discussed in the other book review.

Bennett and Lotus have an interesting take on American politics and culture. They trace our individualism back to the Saxon tribes that would invade Britain and their "Absolute Nuclear Family" structure. The concept that it was normal for children to marry someone of their own choosing and set up a new household of their own is radically different from many other cultures. They make a solid case that this drove the evolution of our society into its present form and explains the similarity of other Anglosphere nations to the USA.

They describe America as going through an agricultural (1.0) phase, then reorganizing as an industrial (2.0) society with the traumas of the Civil War, union struggles, and the Great Depression. Now America 2.0 needs to transition to 3.0, hopefully much less painfully than the last transition. They start out with a detailed scenario of how a 3.0 nation might look. I suspect we're unlikely to come close to that, mostly because there'll be some unexpected event or technology that sends us in another direction, but I think I'd be a lot happier living in their vision than our current set-up.

They make lots of practical suggestions for implementing the transition. I have a mixed response to them. The suggestions to reform defense procurement are solid--then again, almost anything would be an improvement over what we've got now. I was amused to see that some of their suggestions for domestic defense boiled down to the kind of state guard organization I'm a member of. I'd be all for expanding that into widespread militia training.
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