Weak signals and systemic social processes
(January, February, 2011).One of SoL’s France associated networks, initiated by Alain de Vulpian, is periodicallyproducing a note on Weak Signals and Systemic social processes observed by itswatchmen and women.A selection of recent observations:
1. An atmosphere of revolution
The idea of revolution or metamorphosis was in everyone's mind at our last meetingWeak Signals (25 January). It's not a new idea. It was already in the air at the end of 2007or in early 2008 at the Club des Vigilants when we created the Bascule ("Tipping Point”)group. The great financial crisis had made the economy topple. The coordinated actionsof governments provisionally avoided a collapse but without our returning to any sort of equilibrium. Every day we feel that power and influence in the world are beingredistributed, radically modifying the geopolitical game. We know that our productionsystems and our ways of life will rapidly have to change if we want to meet the ecologicalchallenge that faces our planet. The conviction that a radical metamorphosis in businessis becoming indispensable is spreading and has even reached the United States (e.g.Michael Porter with "shared value" and Kalar with "Employees first"). Western societiesare in some places close to apoplexy, and the IMF is drawing attention to the increase indisequilibria and inequalities that are feeding tensions with the risk of overflowing intocivil wars. In France we have the enormous success of "Indignez- vous !" and the exampleof SNCF travellers refusing to buy tickets, or the teachers who refuse to follow therequirements of the national education system. Frans De Vals thinks that humanity isundergoing a change of era, and that we are now entering the Age of Empathy. EdgarMorin has just published his book on "The Way for the future of Humanity".But at the end of this month of January we owe the presence of this idea of imminentrevolution above all to the revolts that the younger generations have triggered in Tunisiaand Egypt. They exploded out of nowhere, and nobody in the West saw them coming.They risk spreading. We hardly dare hope for a switch in the Arab world from seculardictatorships to equally secular democracies. Even if, here and there, the revolution wasrecuperated by Islamic extremists, the proof is there, of the existence of a modern anddemocratic tropism among the younger generations of Arab peoples.When thinking of possible revolutions in Arab countries, westerners fear beardedrevolutionaries from whom we are protected by the rampart of dictatorships. But in fact itwas modern young people, many of them graduates, who rose, armed with theirsmartphones. Then, seeing their success and shedding their fear, older people in themiddle and working classes joined them. The modern character of these revolutionsincreases the chances that they will result in relatively democratic socio-political regimes.The great waves of transformation of the second half of the 20th century liberated LatinAmerica, the people's democracies, the non-Arabic Muslim countries from Indonesia toTurkey, but had not touched the Arab countries. Their eventual democratisation could bea major event for planetary equilibrium analogous to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.