On the whole, I like John Robb, his book Brave New War was thought provoking, and his upcoming book on Resilient Communities looks to be good as well.
But then posts like this one anger me to no end. He goes over current world trends in apocolyptic tones and then closes with
Except for the fanatical optimists, market mystics (the divine invisible hand), and the naive/uninformed, the debates over these trends are over.
He always mentions the broad trends with no real mention of where economics might shift the current, instead he just brushes that off with the thesis (this is what I gather from reading him anyway) that practically all of the benevolent inputs are dynamic, whereas the benevolent inputs are static.
I just finished reading John Robb‘s Brave New War and I’m struck by how similar his vision of the future was to David Friedman’s Machinery of Freedom.
I’ll have my review of the book later. On the whole I liked it a lot.
John Robb has a good representation of the current “news” going around my corner of the Blogsphere about private intelligence services. It would seem that they’re being created by Walmart and Blackwater. One thing that came to my mind when I read the post is what a great recruiting ploy it is. “Spend all your time reading foreign newspapers, talking to people you can barely understand, and writing reports!” seems unappealing, but “Join a private intelligence company” has a pleasant air of mystery to it.
What sort of work besides analysis is it possible, or feasible to do in our over-lawyered environment? It remains to be seen what they can do as a private entity that isn’t being done by non-private spy groups like the Rand Corporation and the Associated Press.
From John Robb who predicts a coming privatization of security and the basic functions of the modern state
Security will become a function of where you live and whom you work for, much as health care is allocated already. Wealthy individuals and multinational corporations will be the first to bail out of our collective system, opting instead to hire private military companies, such as Blackwater and Triple Canopy, to protect their homes and facilities and establish a protective perimeter around daily life.
Read the whole thing.
This post from Global Guerrillas leads to much thought. To wit:
As people connect outward onto this platform, they see both threat or promise. In response, they look inward for sources of strength to support them going forward, and in most cases find it wanting. Their states (and corporations) can’t or will not provide them that strength.
The result is an almost pandemic drive towards ethnic/religious identity — and — the increasingly muscular granular forces of clan, sect, gang, and tribe.
That leads to his linked articles of The Melted Map (a thought experiment about how a properly separated Middle East, while The Coming Anarchy chips in with The Real Central Asia.
Like most things, I’m reminded of Eric Hoffer. To paraphrase, changing times make misfits of us all, and those unable to adapt to new times will dream of a glorious past or a glorious future, but will forever resent the present.
All the articles are well worth reading.
Or so it seems. The Blogger site has been out all day.
The big news of the day is that happy occasion of al-Zarquawi’s demise. CNN actually has video.
John Robb has an interesting post about the event, and the meaning of Zarquawi in general. Short version – Zarquawi was more venture capitalist than general or cult leader. RTWT. It provides a lot of perspective about the nature of the conflict.