In the past three decades, the world has been witness to three extraordinary “black swan” events that served as structural crossroads for both societies and economies: the 9/11 terror attacks, the 2008 global financial crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly two decades ago, 9/11 unleashed brazen new escalations of state powers over individuals and monetary controls, all in the name of security from terrorism led by the United States and still reverberating around the globe. The 2008 economic meltdown caused by the U.S. housing crisis illuminated the fundamental economic inequality issues that fomented movements like “We Are the 99%” and the “Arab Spring,” and almost directly birthed Bitcoin (BTC) and peer-to-peer cryptocurrencies. The ultimate social and economic outcomes from the COVID-19 crisis remain to be seen, but their impact is already powerfully felt and may very well prove to be the most transformational of all.
Each of these black swan events has spurred repercussions both in the growth of authoritarianism and state control, with a backlash of popular movements centered on individual empowerment in response.
Centralized governments work from their old playbook of centralized solutions, as they must. While few national governments are proving to be up to the task of implementing national policies on testing and contact tracing, evidence-based approaches to combating the health crisis, or using their nation’s industrial capacity to rapidly address the need for lifesaving equipment, most governments at least have the power of monetary policy to build some