Community Stress Metrics

When dealing with communities it’s nice to have some frame works.  For example I like both the one from Collaborative Circles and  this one.  And I often highlight how the common cause that binds a community can be outward facing (defensive) or inward facing (building something).  Here is another one: a dozen metrics for sensing when a nation is going to hell in a hand basket.  The combination of a community of that scale with a failure of that magnitude means the list is full of exaggerated speech.  But clearly it’s useful for smaller communities, for lesser stressors.  It’s kind of amusing in fact to apply for more trivial things:  The death of the goldfish created the demographic pressure that lead to Debbie considering running away from home.

  • Social
  1. Demographic Pressure
  2. Displacement
  3. Group Grievance/Paranoia
  4. Flight
  • Economic
  1. Changing Inequality
  2. Decline
  • Politics
  1. Club losing it’s legitimacy
  2. Deterioration of club services
  3. Arbitrary rules and abuse of member rights
  4. Failed oversight/auditing of those who enforce the rules
  5. Polarization of Elite members
  6. Loss of the club autonomy, intervention by outsiders.

All these pressures ebb and flow in communities.  You get demographic pressure when every you hire or fire employees, or when the students come and go.  Bureaucracies often fall back on arbitrary or abusive enforcement.  Oversight is always spotty.  The elites are rarely always on the same page.  These are always a matter of degree.

When the going get’s rough these all get tangled, so a list helps to tease them apart.    But they certainly reinforce each other.

For example.  Harvard, about whom I have zero personal knowledge, has suffered a substantial decline in it’s economics.  I gather there has been a decline in the services (no hot breakfasts) the university provides to it’s students.  Is talent in flight?  I’ve no idea if any of the other metrics have taken a hit.

Actors seeking to increase the level of discontent, i.e. violence entrepreneurs, can talk up all these to create an impression of pending failure.  For example talk up fear of foreign influences, immigrants, police abuse, battling elites, reduction of public services.  Sounds like the insurance industries and it’s right-wing agent’s battle against healthcare, eh?


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