You know what this whole Wikileaks-releasing-the-diplomatic-cables thing reminds me of? Facebook, and how Facebook forces account holders to be unitary people, rather than the different faces they like to present to work and family and friends. I propose that this type of exposure, tying words and actions back to their originator, is what the internet inevitably does. Rather than think about the relative power balances between countries, I see this as America and other nations trying to work by the old ways as the far greater force of the internet does what it does*.
The parallel to water is that in our case, the far greater force is the coming scarcity. I think of scarcity as a sticky blob, and all the jostling players trying to push it on to someone else. In the grips of massive forces like this, the daily politiking is fun and interesting, but the people who are thinking about what it means to have that force applied to us are the ones who will be best positioned down the line. I don’t have a great sense of what the other big forces will be. The internet. Rapid onset of water scarcity. Incidentally, I think markets are another big force, with inexorable outcomes. That’s why I don’t love the ideas of water markets here until I know we want a society shaped by the market criteria of economic efficiency. Before we loose big forces, we should decide if we like the way they push us (or that the trade-offs are worth it).
*I have heard the argument that Facebook takes us back to the very small town format, where everybody knows everybodies’ business and reputations are forever. This has been the direction the internet would take us since it was born. Hope you enjoy it, Secretary of State Clinton.