Invented traditions Hi David, I very much enjoyed reading this part of the Meaningness Book. Since you posted the link to it you already know it’s similar to thoughts I’ve had about our modern traditions. I think you leave out another important countercultural force from your account though. And that is the Neolibertarian conservative business men and women, especially in the USA, sometimes called Neoliberals (though they are thoroughly illiberal), or NeoCons. They were rebelling against the liberalisation of America since it brought with it new constraints on doing business (for example environmental legislation or minimum wage) that threatened their profits and dividends - hence the way of the future is mythical “free markets” that magically set the right price for commodities without “interference” from government or bleeding heart liberals (and ignoring the $billions spent by business in lobbying government). Sadly the Neolibertarians were rather more effective than the politically ‘left’ leaning counter-cultures and now dominate politics and economics. They were successful partly through imitating the organisational structures of the left, partly through using wealth as leverage (endowments to universities, think tanks to employ graduates and keep their favourite memes in the media; and crucially ownership of media), and partly because, when it looked like the might be overwhelmed at the ballot box, they made common cause with previously apolitical Christian fundamentalists (united by a hatred of secular liberals and not much else). When, for example, NeoCons adopted “family values” they were harking back to a past that never existed (Jesus broke up families and encouraged children to rebel against their parents). It would be interesting, in particular, to look at how these businessmen redefined debt and indebtedness, thereby completely changing the economic landscape. It was a social evil until the 1970s and then it was rebranded. Banks make money by charging rents on notional money (money not backed by reserves, but simply agreed to exist by everyone involved). Since the 1970s personal indebtedness has increased exponentially from a very low base. Banks and others parasitic on this process have become fantastically wealthy. When Wired Magazine trumpeted the “Long Boom” back in the 1997 (http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/5.07/longboom.html) , they were recycling propaganda from the High Priest of Debt, Alan Greenspan (Sect of the Treasury and former Goldman Sachs executive). They subtitled the article “A History of the Future”. The long boom was a kind of time worn future (maybe?). In any case the popular view was that this boom fuelled by unlimited indebtedness would go on forever, that the art of economics had been entirely reinvented. In fact they were mining future wealth and spending it now - and the logic can only mean that the future is impoverished. Japan discovered this earlier than most places as they have been in economic recession or stagnation more or less continuously since 1990 precisely because of the scale of individual and business indebtedness. After a long hiatus following WWII, recessions became regular features of our economies in the 1970s; each was worse than the previous one, because each time some residual debt would carry forward. The one we’re still recovering from (with roots in the collapse of Lehman Bros from too much debt sold to those who could not afford it) is not the last. Debt bubbles are building again in the industrialised nations, China is heading down this route much faster and the conditions for a much worse recession/depression are almost systematically being put in place. In the sense of your “modes”, I suppose we could say that globalisation has meant that large multinational companies no longer belong to nation states. Most Zaibatsu pay minimal tax anywhere in the world and have no loyalty - moving capital and plant to where labour is cheapest (often the third world). Atomisation in the sense that corporations become laws unto themselves. Also in the Ayn Rand inspired “everyman for himself” ethos that many of these business types express. I gather Rand is still very popular in Silicon Valley. One more thing there is a broken link from “1960s–80s countercultures”.