In an very interesting piece on Salon, a firm focused on the future is asked to speculate how the US might collapse over the next 90 years or so. Of course, what I found particularly fun was this picture:
You see, one of the things I always tell my grad students is to put things into a two by two matrix. It allows one to see the possible combinations of one's supposedly key variables. Here, the futurists focus on whether the future moves by design or not and whether it is integrating or disintegrating. Of course, it is a bit backwards, as yes should be on the right (by design) and no should be on the left.
My dissertation originally had a 2x3--which, well, is just wrong. So, for the second book, we had a series of 2x2's to clarify the interactions between identification with kin and attitude towards non-kin; and between irredentist inclinations (produced in the first matrix) and position towards the international economy. The challenge, I guess, is to figure out how we can put all of the countries operating in Afghanistan into a 2 x 2. Hmmm.....
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