The New old Normal

The Elephant Stairs at Case Western Reserve University
When I was living up in Cleveland Ohio I had a friend that went to CWRU. He was an Engineering major and lived in one of the dorms up the hill from University Circle.  To get to the dorms you had to climb these stairs that were call the Elephant Stairs. They were called that because they looked like there were designed more for elephants to use than humans. It was a bit of a hike.

Since the turn of the 20th century we have lived in a period of unequaled technological and scientific advances that had not been seen before then. With the birth of the industrial revolution there seemed to be just one advance after another.  With steam power, electricity, electric lighting,  telegraph, telephone, radio, television, vacuum tubes, transistor and integrated circuits. Satellites and men in space. Nuclear power and computers. All happening in the space of a little over 100 years. The previous 100 years did not have half or even one fourth the number of advances.

Before all this we were primarily and agrarian society and economy made up of yeoman farmers and hunters and fishermen.   When the industrial revolution took off this began to change and change rapidly. New wealth and ways to accumulate it all based on the next advance. The next new discovery. Industry became the main ingredient to fuel the economy. People investing the these new growth areas. All of which depended on the previous discoveries. Vacuum tubes on the electric light. Radio on vacuum tubes and the telephone and telegraph. Transistors on vacuum tube lab equipment. Integrated circuits on transistors. Computers on integrated circuits. And on and on.

But like the elephant stairs above, each new advance was a step and unlike them, each new step has become further and further from the last and the steps becoming higher and higher. Requiring greater and greater effort to achieve.  We are now at a plateau technology. The next new things are still in the research labs and years away from becoming something that can be available to the public at large. Some have yet to be developed since the underlying technology itself has yet to mature.

Which gives investors  fewer and fewer areas to invest and requires more investment to bring to fruition.  Our growth economy is returning to the rate it was before the industrial revolution but those who have come to expect the continuation to the past economic situation refuse to accept this. So they try to create it out of thin air and like champagne bubbles from the Old Lawrence Welk Show, they all pop.

This is the new old normal.

4 thoughts on “The New old Normal

  1. Yea, you’re right. We are so high up, so advanced that we wouldn’t know how to live normally. If society collapses right now, who would make our soap, who would make our butter? If natural gas delivery stopped how would we heat our homes? Oh yea, wood; with chain saws that run on gas. Everyone should have an organic garden right NOW. Even those that live in the deepest parts of the city. There’s more to say but I’ve said enough. Thanks for the post. Keep Blogging, Keep Writing.

    1. cmaukonen

      Thanks. It’s like a lot of other things. Not all that noticeable when you are in the middle of it. But in retrospect it becomes a lot more obvious.

  2. Steps are typically viewed as an analog of progress. In our case we have progressed in some things. Unfortunately we’ve modified how we measure progress, with a number of the metrics being completely redefined to suit a particular goal. There is no question that reality is being altered at every turn with disastrous results. This is mostly reflected by a dramatic departure from the plain truth of so many things. It’s beyond evident that this is self destructive.

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