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Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

That's something we've all heard at some point, right? It's cliche at this point––but that doesn't mean the phrase isn't grounded in some form of truth, as we've learned from today's burning question from Redditor lunayoshi, who asked the online community: "What are some interesting modern examples of history repeating itself?"

"A lot of it happens..."

A lot of it happens in corporations.

Year One: Our vendor billing is way too high! Lets bring this function in house and build a department with new hires. We'll save a lot!

Year Two: This new department is way over-loaded, we need to staff them up.

Year Three: This department needs a unified strategy and process, they are working on stuff all over the place and getting annoyed.

Year Four: The process means we can't get anything done, our staffing costs are through the roof, and due to internal politics we can't get certain jobs done. We're going to outsource some of this work to vendors.

Year Five: We regret that we've had let the entire department go, and we will now be using external vendors to fulfill all these tasks. We thank that team for their years of service.

Year Eight: Our vendor billing is way too high! Lets bring this function in house and build a department with new hires. We'll save a lot!


"In 1982..."


In 1982, after breaking through to stardom on Saturday Night Live by showcasing his prowess as an extremely talented physical comic, which then led to a successful film career, John Belushi was found dead from an overdose of heroin and cocaine at the age of 33.

Fifteen years later in 1997, after breaking through to stardom on Saturday Night Live by showcasing his prowess as an extremely talented physical comic, which then led to a successful film career, John Belushi Chris Farley was found dead from an overdose of heroin and cocaine at the age of 33.


"Streaming services..."

Streaming services such as Netflix are beginning to look a lot like cable where you select and pay for the channels you want... Netflix, Prime, HBO, Disney, Hulu, etc. Pretty soon they'll start packaging them.


"Could just..."

Could just post a long list of invasions of Afghanistan.

[Generic Hubristic Power] invades mountainous and fractious environment, gets bogged in an embaressingly long and expensive conflict followed by an eventual retreat when enough time has passed to maybe save face (big maybe on that one).

Tale as old as time.


"IT company..."

IT company creates simple unique solutions, solutions becomes successful, solutions is upgraded over and over until its immensely hard to maintain, full of bugs, full of legacy code, and user experience declines. Then new IT company comes in! IBM->Microsoft->Apple-> what's next because my iPhone and Mac are full of garbage that 99% of the world doesn't want.


"I read a lot..."

I read a lot of Flannery O'Connor's short stories and a lot of times when I read through them, all I can think about is how they were written in the 50's and 60's, yet a lot of the social issues they touch on are pretty much the same today, especially in parts of the south (where her stories are set) and Appalachia.

She wrote about a lot of people with ugly personalities and how they get away with being so awful. Like there's a story about a farm owner who hires some Polish farmhands to help out, and the original farmhands that still worked there didn't like how hard the Polish folks worked because it made them look bad, so they murdered the patriarch of the harder working family and made it look like an accident.

In the end, the Polish family ended up suffering and the owner of the farm who had hired both sets of farmhands ended up losing all her livelihood due to what happened and being stuck with the crappier set of farmhands. And the crappy farmhands ended up screwing themselves out of their jobs thanks to the loss of the farm.

There's a lot of stark warnings about social issues in her books. Warnings that just were never heeded I guess.


"Democracy can have some major issues..."

Democracy can have some major issues when societies are fragmented. If you look at Italy in the late 19th century, the country was very divided in aspects like religion, language and culture. This made it extremely difficult to introduce policies that would both help push the country forward and appeal to a majority of people. It was a big factor in the rise of Mussolini and his facist ideology that would relentlessly push forward policies without much regard to their popularity.

Now, our society is generally more fragmented than ever. Having such a multicultural society is unprecedented, and it's pretty easy to spot the differences between what different groups desire. This is why far left and right ideologies are being romanticized by so many people, they see these groups as the only ones who can make significant changes in the aspects of life they find important.


"It looks to me..."

It looks to me, as a European, that the winds of war are going to blow again over our lands. Society is more and more divided, the economy keeps getting worse and populism is on the rise.

My only hope is that the war will be purely economical. But I am afraid of what the future holds.


"Late to the party..."

Late to the party, but I would say the sudden move away from international organizations by the nations of the world. Similar to what we saw before WW2.

After WW1 a plethora of treaties were signed that intertwined all the nations of Europe through a series of complex treaties, alliances, pacts, agreements, etc. Furthermore, the League of Nations was formed to bring closer the nations of the world. Then we saw nations dropping these pacts, leaving the League of Nations, ignoring international accords, then we got WW2.

Now we have the EU falling apart, independence movements sprouting up all over, extremely influential groups emerging opposed to the EU, UN, Paris Climate Accord, etc. and furthermore you have nations pulling out of major agreements and accords, for example the USA and NAFTA.

Obviously it would be a long shot to say WW3 is coming, but the parallels of self-isolation are interesting.


"Rinse and repeat..."


People invest in something: THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT

Narrator: it wasn't

Market crashes, greed and recklessness exposed, people promise to be different...

People invest in new shiny thing: THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT

Rinse and repeat for all of human history.


"Both were started..."

Salem Witch Trials and McCarthyism. Both were started by people having baseless accusations against innocent people of them being evil.


"Fear of..."

Fear of automation/new technologies that can replace human labor.


"Around the turn of the century..."

Around the turn of the century, a man named Friedrich Winslow Taylor invented a form of corporate fascism he called "scientific management". It exerts dictatorial control over workers to squeeze as much labor out of them, and to make the job so menial it can be done by low-paid, low-skill replacements. It failed. Miserably. It serves the purpose of prole-kicking, but it's not effective. In this time, workers were put into open-plan, noisy spaces where they were visible to management from behind– all day. This was destructive to health, morale, and effectiveness.

In 2019, neo-Taylorism is called "Agile" and unavoidable in the software industry. It results in a deplorable product. Open-plan offices, something Silicon Valley companies succeeded in spite of, are all the rage. (The truth about Silicon Valley success is that it's 35% marketing and 64.9% outright fraud.)

More generally, we're repeating the mistakes of 1914–39. Ill-managed prosperity caused the last Great Depression. Nitrogen fixation was a game-changer: we suddenly became far better at making food. As a result, people starved. Why? Two reasons. One: to the lords and imperialists and assorted scumbags who profit from violence, food is fuel for war (and was historically a limiting factor). So we had a really long war that is generally considered pointless, followed by an even worse war caused by mistakes in wrapping up the first one. North America fared a bit better, but had a nightmare depression in the 1930s because we got so good at making food that farmers went bankrupt, leading to cascading rural poverty that politicians did nothing about, because the leading political thought supported laissez-faire, trickle-down economics and held (so-called "Protestant work ethic") that poverty was a bitter moral medicine people needed to take, rather than a cancer that spreads.

The parallels to today's mistakes, in the above, are obvious. Instead of farming that is experiencing technological disruption (leading to price collapses) it is all human labor. Scarcity largely persists in 2019 because of an unfortunate defect in the human character which allows the worst people to rise the highest in complex organizations and societies.


"Right now..."

Right now parents are complaining that video games, the internet, and mobile phones are making our generation stupider. One of the main arguments is "having knowledge at your fingertips discourages learning and memorizing."

Around 2300 years ago, Aristotle complained that books and theater were destroying the current generation. His main argument was that "books make it too easy to write down information instead of learning it and memorizing it from speeches."


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