This post was featured on Medium.com on Friday 11/11/2016.
Donald Trump, the vulgar bully and questionably successful real estate developer, got elected to the most prestigious and powerful position in the world: President of the United States of America.
I was not surprised.
Now there are demonstrations across the country: People are screaming at the top of their lungs, “Trump is not our president,” and there is a burgeoning movement, Calexit, to separate California from the United States.
I’m not surprised about that either.
If Hillary Clinton had been elected, I believe we would have seen the same phenomenon of street marches against her; this time those who favored Trump would be marching. And if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee and had won against Trump, we would have marches against him too.
It has nothing to do with Trump or Clinton. Or Sanders or Joe Schmo or whoever was elected. It is all due to where America is in the lifecycle.
When a system ages it starts to disintegrate. In our physical life, the heart might stop collaborating with the rest of the body, or a kidney fails. Notice how older people are not as social as younger people either. An old car also falls apart, as does old furniture.
America is falling apart. It did not start with Clinton vs. Trump. The disintegration is now in full swing, but it started a long time ago. I suggest it started with Richard Nixon.
America as a system is aging. Notice that the leading entrepreneurs of this country are primarily foreign-born, or second-generation immigrants. We are importing entrepreneurship. Look at who attends schools of engineering, science, and math. (What are the American kids studying? Global studies, women’s studies, music, and art.) Examine R&D investments and startup company statistics. Entrepreneurship is going down while government machinery is mushrooming. These are all signs of an aging system.
After Aristocracy comes the stage of Recrimination. Major disintegration. That is when companies fall apart. That is the stage when leaders are rejected. The whole body turns against itself and against those who try to make constructive change. In a previous blog, “Quo Vadis, President Obama?” (published March 19th 2010) I said that if you are surprised by Barack Obama’s low popularity, wait and see what will happen to his successor—whoever it is.
The system wants to change all right. It will attract leaders who promise change but, as they do, the system rejects them. That is what is happening here, whether that leader is Trump or Clinton or Joe Schmo.
When aging starts it proceeds quickly to the demise of the system. We grow fast; we also age fast.
America’s disintegration will accelerate. The country’s leader, whoever it is, will try to control that disintegration with a heavy hand. Notice that throughout history, dictators have emerged when there has been a major crisis.
A heavy hand does not stop the disintegration; in some cases, it can even accelerate the disintegration. When that happens, companies go bankrupt. Countries do not go bankrupt; they just disintegrate. Calexit may be the first rain announcing the arrival of winter.
Is there a way back? Can a system be rejuvenated?
Yes, it can. The theory has been documented(1) and tested successfully with corporations.(2)
Not with countries, though.
I am watching and biting my nails. I know why it is happening, I know what needs to be done, and, as it is, I cannot do anything.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes
(1) Ichak Kalderon Adizes: Managing Corporate Lifecycles. Santa Barbara, California: Adizes Institute Publications, 2004.
(2) Ichak Kalderon Adizes: Conversations with CEOs. Santa Barbara, California: Adizes Institute Publications, 2015.