two takeaway theories from brazil

on my last day in brazil for the colab mel king community fellows convening, i had lunch with a new friend (hi fernando!). at some point during the meal, he asked me what i had learned from the convening; first in general, then about politics. here’s what came out of my mouth:

the first thing i think i learned is towards a theory about democracy and violence. from the different cases and contexts present at the convening, it seems like all democracies are violent but the age and stage determines in which direction the violence flows. in young democracies, the violence is internal. as the rules and societal capacity to run democracy get established, internal groups fight for power. there is usually violence between the groups and it often includes bystanders as casualties.

however, as the democracy ages and things settle, the violence becomes increasingly sanctioned by the state. and while remains internal violence between citizens, most violence is promulgated by the state. that violence is partially internal (to quell forces that would challenge the government’s right to rule), but it’s mostly external (i.e. colonialism and imperialism). note: this may be generalizable to all governments or societies, but the only data i had was from democracies.

second, the political thing i think i learned is about scale. i’m coming to believe that a country’s economic and political model don’t matter that much if the scale is off. whether you have capitalist or socialist, democratic or monarchic (?!?!?), if the system out of scale with land and how humans best handle relationships, the model doesn’t matter; it will break.

i don’t know if any of that is real, but it’s what came out of my mouth when asked. hm!

writing spell-check, research, link-finding, & formatting
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