2017 is rich with events that expose the complex connections between law, politics, economics, religion and culture. These events will set the course for 2018, even as new actors seek to take manage people, events, states, enterprises and other institutions with substantial consequential effects of the mass. But most of all 2017 was the year of big data, of social credit, and of the realization that the algorithmic institution (state or otherwise) might well replace the regulatory state as the driving force for the management of people, institutions and behaviors. Where once the regulatory state was said to express the will of the people refined through their representatives in government, currently the algorithmic enterprise can be said to build systems for managing people and institutions from the data it harvests from them applied to metrics that both reflect their desires and directs it toward certain ends. But this was also the year of statues, of mass violence and of surprising revelations that both marked and drove significant cultural change.
With no objective in particular, this post and a number that follow provides my summary of the slice of 2017 to which I paid attention through epigrams and aphorisms. It follows an end of year tradition I started in 2016 (for those see here).
This is Part 3. Share your own!
Ruminations 77: 2017 in Epigrams and Aphorisms
5. Building social orders on difference within hierarchies produces its intended effects. [Especially so where the object is to embed difference within the politics of hierarchy rather than as a means to explode hierarchy; yet that may be all there is--a politics of culturally significant differences and the hierarchies grounded in difference. A break-up letter with academia: Not your token guinea pig, show pony, or likable person of color - RaceBaitR]
7. It is never a bad idea to put the best face on unpleasant events but it doesn't change the unpleasant character of the event. [The World Is Better Off if America Leaves the Paris Agreement; The 'Silver Way': An Alternative to 'Thucydides Trap' ("The “Silver Way” — admittedly a name just as made up as the “Thucydides Trap” — offers however a third possibility: continued globalization with neither convergence nor major armed conflict, where the two sides integrate but remain apart. ")]