Destined for War: Can China and the United States Escape Thucydides’s Trap? – The Atlantic

In 12 of 16 cases [in which a rising power confronted a ruling power] over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

Never before in history has a nation risen so far, so fast. In 1980, China’s economy was smaller than the Netherlands’. Last year, the increment of growth in China’s GDP was equal to the Dutch economy.

As Xi Jinping himself said during a visit to Seattle on Tuesday, “There is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides Trap in the world. But should major countries time and again make the mistakes of strategic miscalculation, they might create such traps for themselves.”

Source: Destined for War: Can China and the United States Escape Thucydides’s Trap? – The Atlantic

 
I looked, but can not be sure that the article’s definition of “rising” includes “surpassing substantially”. That would be nice to know.

Analysis specifically of the post-nuclear age may be more relevant. It is less likely that two nuclear powers will directly engage in a hot war because there would not be 100,000 casualties – it would be trivial skirmishes, or millions of casualties.

It is an interesting article with good support for an argument that we cannot hand wave “oh that’s impossible” – that we will have to actively work with China as it continues to demand a more important and powerful place in the world order, and China’s demands to alter the world order to China’s further benefit and preference.

Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed, you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we not respond impulsively to impressions; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control.

— Epictetus, The Art of Living

Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all solving the same problems – The Verge

Never mind the future, we need more diverse visions of the present

While their approaches and economic models differ, the near future that Apple, Google, and Microsoft perceive is remarkably similar.

True innovation requires the undertaking of significant risk, and the bigger a company becomes the more conservative it inevitably has to be. … Without the dual pressures of both the consumer and the stock market, and without a historic reputation to uphold, small startups are now the best engine for generating truly new and groundbreaking innovations.

The money that has kept flowing into tech over the past decade or two seems to have brought with it an added risk aversion. The wild innovation goes into one silo, the day-to-day moneymaking goes into another. Aren’t tech companies supposed to make money by innovating?

This decoupling of the traditional model for a tech business — where risk-taking and money-making go hand in hand — is leaving us with an uncomfortable degree of uniformity among the products and services offered by the biggest and most powerful companies.

Source: Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all solving the same problems – The Verge

Tom Vanderbilt Explains Why We Could Predict Self-Driving Cars, But Not Women in the Workplace

disappointment in time capsules seems to run endemic

In his book Predicting the Future, Nicholas Rescher writes that “we incline to view the future through a telescope, as it were, thereby magnifying and bringing nearer what we can manage to see.” So too do we view the past through the other end of the telescope, making things look farther away than they actually were, or losing sight of some things altogether.

These observations apply neatly to technology.

But when it comes to culture we tend to believe not that the future will be very different than the present day, but that it will be roughly the same.

And when culture does change, the precipitating events can be surprisingly random and small.

Source: Tom Vanderbilt Explains Why We Could Predict Self-Driving Cars, But Not Women in the Workplace

The Security Risks of Third-Party Data – Schneier on Security

Many people don’t think about the security implications of this information existing in the first place. They might be aware that it’s mined for advertising and other marketing purposes. They might even know that the government can get its hands on such data, with different levels of ease depending on the country. But it doesn’t generally occur to people that their personal information might be available to anyone who wants to look.

Source: The Security Risks of Third-Party Data – Schneier on Security

Microaggressions and the Rise of Victimhood Culture – The Atlantic

A recent scholarly paper charts the ascendance of a new moral code in American life.

When conflicts occur, sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning observe in an insightful new scholarly paper, aggrieved parties can respond in any number of ways. In honor cultures like the Old West or the street gangs of West Side Story, they might engage in a duel or physical fight. In dignity cultures, like the ones that prevailed in Western countries during the 19th and 20th Centuries, “insults might provoke offense, but they no longer have the same importance as a way of establishing or destroying a reputation for bravery,” they write. “When intolerable conflicts do arise, dignity cultures prescribe direct but non-violent actions.”

The sociologists, Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, cited the Oberlin incident as one of many examples of a new, increasingly common approach to handling conflict. It isn’t honor culture. … But neither is it dignity culture … It is, they say, “a victimhood culture.”

The culture on display on many college and university campuses, by way of contrast, is “characterized by concern with status and sensitivity to slight combined with a heavy reliance on third parties. People are intolerant of insults, even if unintentional, and react by bringing them to the attention of authorities or to the public at large. Domination is the main form of deviance, and victimization a way of attracting sympathy, so rather than emphasize either their strength or inner worth, the aggrieved emphasize their oppression and social marginalization.”

complaint to third parties has supplanted both toleration and negotiation

Source: Microaggressions and the Rise of Victimhood Culture – The Atlantic