Existential Risk In Societies

Existential risk works out differently for different socioeconomic classes in the society.

For a poor person, existential risk is almost any event that disrupts regular income, including being unemployed or falling unwell.

For the middle-class, existential risk is the same as the poor person, but with better cushioning. They are able to keep going for shorter periods of time without an income and are also able to absorb temporary setbacks on the health front.

For the well-to-do, existential risk is prolonged strife on both economic and health fronts. The cushioning is provided by accumulated wealth, but they have about two levels of catastrophe to fall through before the risk becomes terminal for their well being.

For the rich, existential risk on the economic front comes from a prolonged inability to grow the considerable wealth at their disposal. They also have a better ability to work through health issues that are not terminal.

Our societies and democratic processes are negotiations between these groups to navigate the daily act of living. While the proxy of a national anthem, a religion, or a flag are handy tools to abstract away this complexity into something that is easily grasped, the underlying mechanics is terribly complicated.

Everyone has different motivations, incentives, and appetite for risk in this game. Which is why systems that promise perfection and absolute fixes are always ones we need to watch out for. What works best is a collaborative framework that allows everyone a seat at the table and at least a minimal ability to affect the outcomes and a system of feedback loops and redressal mechanisms.

Never mind.