Macro and Micro economics normally look at the economics of nations (and I’d think multi-nationals) vs the economics of individuals and smaller corporations. There is less discussion, as far as an outsider like myself, in making similar distinctions about Macro and Micro political theory, that is the theory of the body politic at the small scale (family/village/precinct) vs the theories of the same at the larger scales. In this essay, I’m not going to talk about the continuing dystrophy evident in the micro-political in America and how that anticipates movements towards autocracy at the macro-political level. For there is another “macro” to be discussed. That of time.

If we imagine the goal/end of government is to establish a small subset of Goods for its people, e.g., Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for not just tomorrow but larger timescales. The Ancient Coptic society and it’s form of government lasted for an astonishing length of time, from about 3000 BC through until about 500 BC and Assyrian conquest (although “officially” it really fell in 31 BC when Rome conquered it). The point is, right now our leaders and thinkers about policy and politics do not try to imagine America and its democracy and how their policies might fit into a nation lasting for millenia. Heck, given medicare and social security and demographics and a little math and logic it is hard to imagine that they think much beyond the next election [ed: There is of course the possibility that they do in fact “think” beyond the next election but because of fundamental innumeracy the term “think” deserves scare quotes.] However this is not just their fault for very few people do consider the consequences of policy and praxis, of custom and lifestyle and how that will play out if repeated (and perhaps amplified) for 1,000 generations or beyond.

If one imagines far futures in that way, racial issues in the presence of modern mobility means … race is irrelevant. Race seems like a highly important thing, but skin color for example is a function of a stable population dwelling for thousands of years in regions where evolutionary drift can drive the low-UV/vitamin-D high latitude populations to white and the high-UV/melanin equatorial populations to black. If mobility remains a part of life for thousands of years race will vanish with the vanishing of stable isolated population groups. So in long term considerations of race and possibly even local/driven ethnic bubbles will by and large dissolve from the global scene. Racial and perhaps even ethnic divisions are a short term problem. In 500 generations if the technology driving our mobility remains intact then race will be an issue only dimly remembered and misunderstood by academic anthropologists.

Furthermore if one is to imagine a stable technological civilization existing for many millenia then one might assume any physically possible technical challenge is surmountable. The question then remains, is one which we are implicitly ignoring today, is which technical solutions do we want to solve, which ones are important and can exist within a stable civilization. For example, an expansion and high availability of destructive weapons and technologies for everyone does not seem conducive to a stable lasting civilization. The questions of what technologies are important is more important than we imagine. Some avenues scientific should, I deem, remain Academic and should not be subjected to the technological and engineering challenges related to making those features available outside of the realm of pure investigation.

And this is a crucial point. Today the mantra, the thought of salvation, especially of the left, but also on the right is change. The left hopes and wishes for fast and sweeping social changes. But both yearn and work for technological and the change of things.

There is a fundamental tension when considering policy for the long term between stability and adaptability. Stability in one sense is required for you want a society that is stable and remains intact for the long term. However, too much stability is unable to anticipate and react to changes and becomes stagnation, just look to the decline of the Coptic kingdom for an example of that. Another long term problem, which is beginning to beleaguer our state, is the trimming of bureaucracy. In the Roman empire, Heraclius trimmed provincial government administration and the military organization. It took force, vision, and charism (and an autocratic government). Do we require the accident of charisma tied with a realization that bureaucracy is another fundamental tension like stability and adaptability. Bureaucracy is required but tends to grow and never shrink. Mechanisms for the reduction of beaurocracy was not tied into our Constitution. Perhaps, if we wish our government to survive even another century if not another millenia or more we need to consider more static, dependable mechanisms for trimming the monster and not just continually feed it.

Can democracy as an institution exhibit the stability required? What forms of government has both flexibility and the ability to be stable? Could it be that perhaps those forms are not yet imagined? What features of government are adaptable and stable? What sorts of stable mechanisms can keep bureaucracy trimmed? Consider also the driving desires exhibited by our people, for more pleasure, for longer lifespan, for more material “things.” One might ask how these fit into the long view … and if they don’t are they really the “good” we perceive them to be?

If our states don’t acheive stability, then they won’t survive. Autocracy is a likely stable easy solution to the governmental problem … yet is likely also not, unless ameliorated somehow, is also not conducive to personal flourishing. So it essential for the flourishing of our future generations that we conceive a stable adaptable system of government consonant with personal flourishing to strive for and bequeath to our descendants.

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