Saturday, November 12, 2011

Strauss Kahn's downfall: "Peak Males"?

To the question "what is best in life?" Conan answers, "crush your enemies, see them driven before you, hear the lamentation of the women" (from "Conan the Barbarian", 1982). This kind of macho style was probably out of fashion already in Atlantean times; surely it is even more so in our times. So, the downfall of powerful "alpha males," such as Silvio Berlusconi (and, earlier this year, Dominique Strauss Kahn) may be a sign of an ongoing change: this kind of aggressive leaders may be outdated.

Modern political leaders seem to have evolved over the years with the ability of leading people into battle. Have you ever been close to a high level political leader? They beam charisma all around. They are aggressive, self assured and often display a strong sex drive - they may well be serial womanizers, like Berlusconi and Strauss Kahn. But we may not need them any more: the development of robotic warfare may spell their demise. With robots doing the fighting, controllers can sit comfortably in air conditioned rooms and drink coffee while they kill people at the push of a button. It is another kind of warfare: more like pest extermination than the kind of glorious activity that war used to be. The people engaged in this activity don't need to be macho types a la Conan and, for them, being serial womanizers is definitely a disadvantage. For Berlusconi, at least, it was the case, although not the only reason of his downfall.

So, in analogy with the concept of "peak oil" we might think of a peak followed by a decline for the presence of this kind of males at the top levels of governments. Perhaps, we can call it "Peak Males."


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)