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Collapse and the creation of "parallel institutions."

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posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 10:33 PM
I've been reading about the French Revolution recently and one of the things that struck me was the way what I've chosen to call "parallel institutions" developed as the old order decayed piece by piece. For example, the old "Estates General" system was supposed to function as a kind of national forum (like a precursor to a parliament), but when the lower classes didn't like way it was working, they just simply set up a new institution -- the "National Assembly," which was more equitable in terms of representing their interests. The Estates General continued to exist (for a little while), but what went on there was increasingly irrelevant. And wWhen the old military guard in Paris broke down, a new and more independent "National Guard" was set up, with the latter gradually subsuming the duties of the former piece by piece. And so on.

We are used to thinking of "revolution" as a change that comes first, in which the old ways are swept away at one stroke, following which new institions are created from scrap. But that's not quite how it happened in France. There were certainly violent episodes and radical changes (like the beheading of the king), but changes went on alongside these events in more of a piecemeal system stopped functioning properly, but rather than be formally disbanded, it was just sort of "ignored" and slid into obscurity as another parallel system arose beside it and gradually took over.

It seems that change could be effected this way in the modern world quite easily...a good example is the way the Internet is gradually taking over from the mainstream media. It's not like one day there were only newspapers, and the next day all the newspapers shut down and everything was internet-based. Rather, it seems to be a process of the introduction of the Internet as a "parallel" institution that flourishes ALONGSIDE the mainstream media for a time. (This is where were are now). The authority of the old Press as opinion-shapers is gradually weakening, while "blogs" and other forms of news (ATS?) are slowly gaining more strength, respectibility, and legitimacy.

I wonder if we might see a total revolution in this way...for example, one could imagaine an entire "paralell government" being set up alongside the "official" the old way broke down, rather than be officially disbanded, the new system would simply take over more of its functions gradually. Or a paralell economy: imagine if people stopped using only the dollar and credit cards exclusively and began to use local "coupons" or gold and silver "rounds." For a time shopkeeepers would accept both, say, with use of the dollar gradually being phased out as more and more people turned to hard currency. Or it could happen with a new "virtual currency" or some other token (doesn't have to be gold or silver).

Just thinking seems like many recent changes are along these lines. Rather than sudden "one minute its here, the next its gone," we see bits and pieces of the old system gradually being replaced by more robust yet initially "unofficial" institutions.

[edit on 6/14/09 by silent thunder]

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