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May 11, 2022
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Mikhail Delyagin: Seven Laws of Social Transformations

In the photo: Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy Mikhail Delyagin

In the photo: Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy Mikhail Delyagin (Photo: Mikhail Tereshchenko / TASS)

Modern humanity (and even more so for us as its thinking and feeling avant-garde) will have to act all its life in conditions of unprecedentedly high uncertainty.

New technologies create a new society. The information revolution of 1991 (when in the United States the cost of acquiring information and information technology exceeded the cost of acquiring production technologies and fixed assets) was replaced by a new stage already in 2020, when we moved from the world of exchanges and the open Internet to the world of social platforms. Man’s main business was no longer changing the world around him, as before 1991, and not transforming his consciousness, as since 1991, but developing a “digital footprint” for training artificial intelligence – a new basis for competitiveness.

All our norms are developed for the old reality and at least need to be tested (and at the most they can be killed).

The condition for the survival of humanity (that is, Russian civilization, because without our combination of humanism, the ability to abstract thinking and messianism, it will degenerate in a generation) is our development of strategic complex thinking, the identification of new relationships of social development and the overcoming of old structures of knowledge (related not only to industrial age, but also to the information age of 1991–2020, which, ironically, is still perceived by “everyday yesterday” as the future).

The most universal is Marxist-Leninist dialectics (of course, in the form not of scholasticism and dogmatism, but of historical materialism, which studies the patterns of change by society of the rules of its own activity): its application to society of three laws Hegel – the unity and struggle of opposites, the transition of quantitative changes into qualitative ones and the denial of denial – the same foundation of social forecasting and planning, which the three laws are for physics Newton.

But these laws are too general and serve only for comprehension, while in practice their applied manifestations are important.

Of these, it should be noted first of all law of conservation of risks: while minimizing the risks of individual elements of the system, the total amount of risks is not reduced, but sublimated to the system-wide level and can lead to its qualitative change (including destruction).

Outstanding Historian A.I. Fursov identified four more key laws of public administration.

Law Wiener-Shannon-Ashby postulates that the control system should be superior to the controlled one in terms of power and complexity.

Law Anokhina – Beer provides that the condition for the effectiveness of the control system is advanced forecasting of the development of not only the controlled system, but also changes in the external environment.

Law Sedova – Nazarethyan establishes that in a complex hierarchical system, diversity at the top level can be provided by the restriction of diversity at the lower levels, that is, antientropy at the top level can be provided by conscious “entropization” (chaotization, simplification) by the tops of the lower levels.

On the example of the late USSR, the operation of this law is described SE Kurginyantoday it manifests itself in the all-embracing primitivization of societies by the global ruling class.

The consequence of this law is one of the mechanisms for the implementation of “creative destruction” Schumpeter: faced with uncertainty that is excessive for its cognitive abilities (usually “at the turning points of history”), the control system primitivizes the controlled society, thereby reducing its competitiveness (and hence its viability) and increasing the likelihood of collapse and renewal through destruction.

Finally, A.I. Fursov tirelessly recalls the law Barrington Moore: “Revolutions [в значении нового общественного устройства, а не социального катаклизма — М.Д.] are born not so much from the triumphant cry of the rising classes, but from the dying roar of those layers over which the wave of progress is about to close.

The fear of death, awakening the instinct of self-preservation, is a powerful tool for social creativity, and it is precisely for those groups that, by virtue of their position in a moribund system, have the resources necessary for it.

Thus, the future is born not by its enthusiastic adherents, but by the influential groups it kills: the future is created by the dying, reborn into it. This is a harsh lesson, the manifestation of which we are now seeing in the dying financial speculative capital, the most advanced part of which has already created social platform capital and is flowing into it before our eyes.

An important consequence of Barrington Moore’s law is that the future is fighting with old forces and interests: it has not yet had time to develop its own structures and realize itself.

A classic example is the First World War. Financial speculators in the face of the American Fed fought to destroy empires and fragment the world in the interests of financial speculation at the hands of the empires themselves – so much so that the brilliant contemporary of this Lenin saw only the suicidal struggle of empires “for the redistribution of markets.”

Crucial for understanding global competition (and for intellectual hygiene in a memoir howl about universal betrayal) Smirnova: in order to maintain the stability of complex competing systems, their stable structured interpenetration is necessary with the help of specially dedicated communicators that let an alien element into their system to interact with its system and penetrate their element into an alien system to interact with it. The stability of a system of such communicators, including institutional stability, is a categorical condition for the stability of a macrosystem that unites competing systems (in periods of a bipolar world, the USSR and the USA, then China and the USA).

The first consequence is that the competition is primarily for the re-recruitment of these communicators: for others to become yours.

The second consequence is that since this will happen sooner or later in bipolar competition, it is unsustainable; to achieve sustainability, an active and independent third participant in competition is needed (which opens up additional prospects for Russia).

Finally, the seventh and most important applied law of social development is that the main factor of competition is the long-term will of the governing system to win, exceeding the life of a generation. Regrettably for an economist, the main content of the competition of global projects is competition of “long wills” and, accordingly, (intra)social organisms capable of producing, maintaining and modifying them.

It is in the creation of such organisms that the main task of social engineering is seen.

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