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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Our Crisis of Competence

Our Crisis of Competence

If this is what passes for competence while we cheerlead “the Roaring 20s”, then our delusion has reached “what looks like a permanently high plateau.”

That America is mired in a crisis of competence appears to be yet another issue that can’t be addressed directly as it might upset the narrative control that all is well and everything is getting better in every way, every day.

And so we sugarcoat the incompetence, the endless delays, the sclerosis and the decline in quality and functionality as if these are all signs of rude, vibrant health rather than signs of systemic decline and decay.

Relatively straightforward infrastructure projects now face years or even a decade of delays / zero real-world progress. I can name several projects in my county where the environmental impact studies and various governmental reports have consumed six years, during which the harbor remains closed, the roads are unpaved gravel, the park is closed and the bridge is awaiting repairs.

When the public rightly complains of years of inaction and foot-dragging, local officials throw up their hands in frustration as all the necessary approvals and funding must wind their way through the impenetrable thickets of state and federal agencies, a leisurely process over which they have no control.

As for the private sector, I’ve often detailed the immense, systemic decline in the quality of everything from the ingredients in packaged food to “stainless steel”, as well as the equally immense burden of unpaid “shadow work” demanded of us all just to manage the complexity thickets generated by “progress.”

Stainless Steal (February 26, 2023)

The “Crapification” of the U.S. Economy Is Now Complete (February 9, 2022)

Digital Service Dumpster Fires and Shadow Work (February 14, 2024)

Is Anyone Else’s Life as Stupidly Complicated by Digital “Shadow Work” as Mine Is? (May 22, 2024)

If AI Is So Great, Why Is Managing the Digital Realm Eating Us Alive? (March 1, 2024)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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