The past decade will be remembered as the period when the global underclass revolt snowballed into a movement with political bite. From Occupy Wall Street to Brexit to Donald Trump’s election, these post-financial crisis years have featured many unsynchronized awakenings that are forcing a renegotiation of the terms of governance and globalization. Our politics needs to adjust to these demands. The reverse is impossible.
Could we have seen it coming?
Donald Trump’s election victory is only a shock if you have been looking at the world through simple equations. Classical physics is rooted Newton’s three laws, where an action has an equal reaction, objects at rest tend to stay there, and force equals mass plus acceleration. Newton describes the observable world in ways that are logical. But long ago, scientists showed the underlying physical world can’t be explained with algebra. To understand the universe, classical physics had to incorporate quantum mechanics, which describes a micro-world of uncertainty and ambiguity that is harder to measure but defines our true reality. Likewise, as recent geopolitical shocks are have proven, outdated methods are no longer capable or sufficient to explain global society’s complex and interconnected systems.