F.A. Hayek On "The Great Utopia"

Tyler Durden's picture

While it is hardly necessary to provide commentary to one of F.A. Hayek's timeless observations from his book, The Road To Serfdom, rereading the chapter titled The Great Utopia, in this year of what could possibly be the most important election in the history of the United States, in which the US public will be promised nothing short of utopia by virtually every candidate except the one who really knows that fixing America would require pain and sacrifice, is everyone's duty. Courtesy of the Center for Economic Liberty we recreate it below in its entirety, and urge all readers, regardless of political persuasion of economic beliefs to consider what F.A.Hayek was saying some 70 years earlier, and how very applicable it is to our current situation.

The Great Utopia

There can be no doubt that most of those in the democracies who demand a central direction of all economic activity still believe that socialism and individual freedom can be combined. Yet socialism was early recognized by many thinkers as the gravest threat to freedom.

It is rarely remembered now that socialism in its beginnings was frankly authoritarian. It began quite openly as a reaction against the liberalism of the French Revolution. The French writers who laid its foundation had no doubt that their ideas could be put into practice only by a strong dictatorial government. The first of modern planners, Saint-Simon, predicted that those who did not obey his proposed planning boards would be "treated as cattle."

Nobody saw more clearly than the great political thinker de Tocqueville that democracy stands in an irreconcilable conflict with socialism: "Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom," he said. "Democracy attaches all possible value to each man," he said in 1848, "while socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."

To allay these suspicions and to harness to its cart the strongest of all political motives—the craving for freedom — socialists began increasingly to make use of the promise of a "new freedom." Socialism was to bring "economic freedom," without which political freedom was "not worth having."

To make this argument sound plausible, the word "freedom" was subjected to a subtle change in meaning. The word had formerly meant freedom from coercion, from the arbitrary power of other men. Now it was made to mean freedom from necessity, release from the compulsion of the circumstances which inevitably limit the range of choice of all of us. Freedom in this sense is, of course, merely another name for power or wealth. The demand for the new freedom was thus only another name for the old demand for a redistribution of wealth.

The claim that a planned economy would produce a substantially larger output than the competitive system is being progressively abandoned by most students of the problem. Yet it is this false hope as much as anything which drives us along the road to planning.

Although our modern socialists' promise of greater freedom is genuine and sincere, in recent years observer after observer has been impressed by the unforeseen consequences of socialism, the extraordinary similarity in many respects of the conditions under "communism" and "fascism." As the writer Peter Drucker expressed it in 1939, "the complete collapse of the belief in the attainability of freedom and equality through Marxism has forced Russia to travel the same road toward a totalitarian society of un-freedom and inequality which Germany has been following. Not that communism and fascism are essentially the same. Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion, and it has proved as much an illusion in Russia as in pre-Hitler Germany."

No less significant is the intellectual outlook of the rank and file in the communist and fascist movements in Germany before 1933. The relative ease with which a young communist could be converted into a Nazi or vice versa was well known, best of all to the propagandists of the two parties. The communists and Nazis clashed more frequently with each other than with other parties simply because they competed for the same type of mind and reserved for each other the hatred of the heretic. Their practice showed how closely they are related. To both, the real enemy, the man with whom they had nothing in common, was the liberal of the old type. While to the Nazi the communist and to the communist the Nazi, and to both the socialist, are potential recruits made of the right timber, they both know that there can be no compromise between them and those who really believe in individual freedom.

What is promised to us as the Road to Freedom is in fact the Highroad to Servitude. For it is not difficult to see what must be the consequences when democracy embarks upon a course of planning. The goal of the planning will be described by some such vague term as "the general welfare." There will be no real agreement as to the ends to be attained, and the effect of the people's agreeing that there must be central planning, without agreeing on the ends, will be rather as if a group of people were to commit themselves to take a journey together without agreeing where they want to go: with the result that they may all have to make a journey which most of them do not want at all.

Democratic assemblies cannot function as planning agencies. They cannot produce agreement on everything — the whole direction of the resources of the nation-for the number of possible courses of action will be legion. Even if a congress could, by proceeding step by step and compromising at each point, agree on some scheme, it would certainly in the end satisfy nobody.

To draw up an economic plan in this fashion is even less possible than, for instance, successfully to plan a military campaign by democratic procedure. As in strategy it would become inevitable to delegate the task to experts. And even if, by this expedient, a democracy should succeed in planning every sector of economic activity, it would still have to face the problem of integrating these separate plans into a unitary whole. There will be a stronger and stronger demand that some board or some single individual should be given power to act on their own responsibility. The cry for an economic dictator is a characteristic stage in the movement toward planning. Thus the legislative body will be reduced to choosing the persons who are to have practically absolute power. The whole system will tend toward that kind of dictatorship in which the head of the government is position by popular vote, but where he has all the powers at his command to make certain that the vote will go in the direction he desires.

Planning leads to dictatorship because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion and, as such, essential if central planning on a large scale is to be possible. There is no justification for the widespread belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary; it is not the source of power which prevents it from being arbitrary; to be free from dictatorial qualities, the power must also be limited. A true "dictatorship of the proletariat," even if democratic in form, if it undertook centrally to direct the economic system, would probably destroy personal freedom as completely as any autocracy has ever done.

Individual freedom cannot be reconciled with the supremacy of one single purpose to which the whole of society is permanently subordinated. To a limited extent we ourselves experience this fact in wartime, when subordination of almost everything to the immediate and pressing need is the price at which we preserve our freedom in the long run. The fashionable phrases about doing for the purposes of peace what we have learned.to do for the purposes of war are completely misleading, for it is sensible temporarily to sacrifice freedom in order to make it more secure in the future, but it is quite a different thing to sacrifice liberty permanently in the interests of a planned economy.

To those who have watched the transition from socialism to fascism at close quarters, the connection between the two systems is obvious. The realization of the socialist program means the destruction of freedom. Democratic socialism, the great utopia of the last few generations, is simply not achievable.

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TheSilverJournal's picture

Americans are suffering because central planning of money is destroying productivity. Mis-pricing money causes resources to flow into unproductive areas. The return of market-priced money will expose the malinvestments that have been created by artificially cheap money being pumped into the economy and cause short-term pain, but will also cause a boom in productivity because resources will once again be allocated much more efficiently.


Atomizer's picture

Why don't we just golden shower the Marxists with the lastest Bank of International Settlements Report.

Preliminary international banking statistics, third quarter 2011

In the third quarter of 2011, after adjusting for the effects of the depreciation of most currencies against the US dollar, cross-border claims of BIS reporting banks rebounded by 2.0% following a decline of 0.6% in the previous period, and cross-border liabilities increased by 2.8%. The upsurge in assets was mainly focused on interbank business, which grew by 4.2%, while lending to non-banks contracted by 1.8%. Excepting holdings of securities, which dropped by 3.9%, all other instruments rose on the assets side, and lending in euros increased by 3.8%. Most of the increase was recorded with developed countries and offshore centres, as activity with emerging economies in aggregate was subdued.Reporting banks' international claims on an immediate borrower basis, adjusted for exchange rate movements, increased in the third quarter of 2011 (by 1.4%) after a moderate slowdown of 0.3% in the previous quarter. Local claims in local currency also rose, by 1.3%.

On an ultimate risk basis, which adjusts for net risk transfers across borrowing countries and sectors (but not for exchange rate changes), banks' consolidated foreign claims slowed down by 2.7%, in particular visà-vis the non-bank private sector (-3.9%). Due to the decrease in long term interest rates and the appreciation of the US dollar against almost all currencies during the third quarter, as well as to better liquidity in the market, other exposures resulting from derivatives contracts, excluding credit derivatives, grew by $1.2 trillion after an increase of $800 billion in guarantees in the second quarter.

Data for the third quarter of 2011 are preliminary. Final data, with a detailed analysis of recent trends, will be published in the forthcoming BIS Quarterly Review, to be released on 12 March 2012.

Hmmmmm. 1.2T seems to be the magic number. Wonder why Obama needs that specific number. Hahahahahahahaha.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Hayek Hayek..... tragically for all humans, the true Utopia is only to be found with-in. 

For optimal "outer" conditions, close or close enough to a utopia, think womb. And then look around.

Perfect people create perfect systems. The majority are stuck in their lowest chakra, a jumble of needs and desires. If utopia came knockling, in all it's simplicity, it would get the door slammed shut in it's face.



akak's picture

No libertarian theorist has EVER laid claim to being utopian, or promised or even hinted that a perfect libertarian society would in any way be a utopian one --- maybe just an optimum one in regard to human satisfaction, but nothing more than that.  No, it is the virulent statists such as Marx, Lenin, and Pol Pot who promised utopia --- and the extent of their utopian promises were always in direct relation to the dystopian Hells they produced in real life.

Oh regional Indian's picture

THat is true akak. I was making the broader observation. Besides, each of those despots was set-up precisely because they were maniacal from the start. 

I've also discovered, to my dismay, that a majority of people actually like to be told what to do. To be ruled.



akak's picture


I've also discovered, to my dismay, that a majority of people actually like to be told what to do. To be ruled.

I discovered that fact quite early in life as well (certainly by the age of 8 or 10), and have never since failed to be astonished, sickened, depressed and outraged by it.  I want to grab them by the shoulders and shake the shit out of them while screaming in their miserable, sheeplike faces "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"

Oh regional Indian's picture

Precisely akak.

Look, even now, and I'm totally serious..... for two years now here and the better part of 7 years outside, I've shown/spoken to people of every hue/level that I have the keys to what is at least close to a tech-no-logical version of Utopia (compared to what we have today).

But most are happy either ignoring or ridiculing a changemaker. ;-) I think if Tesla came and sat in their laps, most people would push him off to go invest in APPL.

Fear of change rules. 


akak's picture

.... for two years now here and the better part of 7 years outside, I've shown/spoken to people of every hue/level that I have the keys to what is at least close to a tech-no-logical version of Utopia (compared to what we have today).

To what are you referring, ORI?  If you used to post a link in your comments (as I perhaps seem to recall), I guess I should admit that I virtually never check out such links, so I would have missed whatever it was.

Oh regional Indian's picture

When you have a few, check out the link above akak. 


economics1996's picture

Our economy resembles a war economy with emphasis on consumption today, and a lack of investment into productive consumer related capital resources.  The war is coming from the over leveraged elites.

Hang eh high, five at a time.  When you get a change don't fuck around and take these mother fuckers down.

Ancona's picture

100% right on Akak.


I work at the periphery of a large government agency as aqn outside engineer, and I witness the daily machinations of absolute hierarchy. I have working relationships with folks holding doctorates who will not make a decision without being given explicit permission. Tragic really, but true.

The removal of critical thinking from educational dockets insures a relatively compliant populace, more easily controlled than a free and open society. PC is another disease afflicting our Republic, because it stifles expression and sharing ideas in an open forum.

economics1996's picture

Here is a blog I did that reflect the economy today from a real growth/jobs perspective.


Milestones's picture

Excellent, intelligent exchange between ORI and Akak. I too sadly came to much the same conclusion about mankind years  ago but still hope for a different outcome. Afraid it is not forthcoming.              Milestones

WonderDawg's picture

I played golf with one of my usual golf buddies today, and we got paired up with another couple of guys. These guys were in their 50's, a few years older than me, but still in my peer group. Lately, whenever I meet strangers and have the opportunity to engage them in a convesation about current events, I do so. Both of them were republicans. I asked them if they knew what the NDAA was. Both shook their heads. These are pretty smart guys, one is an Oracle DBA and the other a business consultant for pharmacies, and they were not aware of the NDAA that was just signed for this year. I explained what it was. I asked them if they knew what Posse Comitatus was. Both shook their heads again. I explained the whole thing about the NDAA, the verbiage that basically repealed posse comitatus, made indefinite detention legal, the ramifications, everything. I expected some outrage, or at least some concern. One of the guys shook his head and said, "Fuckin' democrats." I said, "Dude, more republicans voted for it than democrats." They looked at me, befuddled. I said, yeah, that's right, Hopey signed it with "serious reservations", but thank the republicans for pushing it through.

My point here is, so many people still are not paying attention. Most everyone is still under the spell of the left-right paradigm, and I just can't fucking believe it. Wake the fuck up! I want to scream at them. I did my part, of course, and urged them to do some research, because our elected leaders just laid the groundwork for nationwide martial law. I asked them to think about why would they do this now, after the law had been in place for over 100 years. Just gather the information and ask yourself, why now?

People are waking up, but very very slowly, like a drunk coming off a three week bender. I'm worried about the future of this country, but most of the people around me don't seem to give a shit.


GMadScientist's picture

If you want to find people in touch with reality, stop looking for them on the links.

WonderDawg's picture

I'm not necessarily trying to find people in touch with reality, I'm trying to get a sense of the overall degree of awareness in the population. I talk to people at the gym, on the links, AA meetings, in restaurants, at work. Pretty much all the places I frequent. The lack of awareness is pervasive.

akak's picture

You are correct, but what I find profoundly depressing is not just the increasing degree of unawareness among people nowadays, but the widespread unwillingness to even be aware, or to be informed, or to acknowledge blatant facts that disrupt their cozy cocoons of denial.

greensnacks's picture

Lets hope awareness comes before that loaf of bread reaches $1MM.

MachoMan's picture

No.  It never will.  Until the bread, circuses, distractions, et al, end, there will be no awakening.  Until someone is sat down, looked directly in the face, and told, "it's all over, there is no more free lunch, it's time to realistically make an effort to lead your own life," then he or she will never change.  It's kind of like an intervention, except without a loving family around...  more akin to getting pushed down stairs.  There simply has to be a break of the persistent thought process in order for another idea to form...

There is a directly correlated relationship between political apathy and standard of living...  once basic necessities have been met.  The more needs and wants that are met, the less of a need or want there is for political activism...  if our needs and wants are already met, what do we need from our government?  Why would we bother actively participating in the political process when we don't marginally stand to gain anything by doing so?  (we have football to watch, porn to pleasure ourselves to, and ice to drown).

Of course, fortunately or unfortunately, gravity always wins.  The delusion we create for ourselves (individually and collectively) comes to a screeching halt when finally met with reality...  we're getting closer.

PS, moreso than anything, an understanding of this function is the rudimentary building block for the ascension of power and breaking through the socioeconomic glass ceiling in an era of cronyism (farcism?)...  presuming you dare utilize or otherwise act upon your knowledge.  [it is the assumption from which political chicanery flows].

clymer's picture

Akak / WD~

My experience is exactly the same as yours. I can count on one hand the people I know who are awake (and they are not even close friends). The people I know will vote for Obama (again) come November, or whoever the non-Paul republican is depending upon their affiliation.


We need a miracle, or some extremely profound change in luck in order to facilitate a change of direction nationally / globally from the current fascist model, back to the root of the American experiment; freedom.


Sisyphus's picture

Unfortunately, that change of direction is not gonna happen as long as "their" stomachs are full and they are sheltered from the elements. And even if a few of "them" aren't, the cry for change will not happen until a critical mass is reached. I don't see the PTB losing control over the plebes anytime soon. The only way they lose control of this situation is if Nature throws them a curveball. I don't want anybody to go through pain and suffering, but the only way for anybody to wake us is to hit the absolute bottom. And that will only come through pain and suffering. And the sad part is that might not happen in my life time, and I am quite young. So, find your nest and incubate your eggs.

bonderøven-farm ass's picture

Zeus issued the law: 'Learn through suffering.'

Sorrow enters even sleep, dripping into the heart,

Sorrow which cannot forget suffering,

And even those who are unwilling learn to be wise........

GOSPLAN HERO's picture

Most Americans do not possess critical thinking skills.




Woodyg's picture

That unawareness is By Design.......

The dictator from Nicaragua Somoza was once asked why he had no public education system in his country answered "I want Oxen Not men."

Pretty applicable to today's lack of critical thought.

Mesquite's picture

Sad, but too true...

Milestones's picture

Profoundly depressing is the real phrase. I have had those kind of discussions with many of the "suit and tie" crowd---It was akin to going outside and barking at a tree.                Milestones

Mitzibitzi's picture

Ah, I see you've met my step-daughter!

Me and the wife have explained in detail that the current system is in it's death throes, and while what replaces it may well be a great improvement, getting there is going to cause pain and suffering on a scale somewhere between 'bloody awful' and 'the survivors may envy the dead'.

Intellectually, she understands this, I think. But then goes out and blows her wages (she's at college but works part time) each month on shit she doesn't need. Cos, like, you need to stay in fashion!

Drives me up the fucking wall!

tired1's picture

The 'reality' of the system is just too ugly for folks to face, call it CD. "It just cant be happening here.... And then: what are one's options? To change one's habits after a lifetime of conditiong? A, given that one finally awakens, just specifically what is the flight to safety?

In the days of the Soviet Great Terror those that suspected that they might be subject to arrest pulled up stakes and fled to the relative safety of Siberia, where they could at least retain some sense of freedom.

The cattle of the US are in for quite an awakening.

DanDaley's picture

Right. Several years ago, I'd be playing golf and a little voice inside my head kept saying What in the hell are you doing out here? You should be spending this money and time on getting ready -buying the necessary stuff, getting training.  It got worse and worse until I just quit. Golf's fun, but like the Bible says, When I became a man, I put away childish things.  Or if you like a quote from the Godfather: Women and children can afford to be careless, but a man cannot afford to be careless.  Lots of women and children out there these days.

DanDaley's picture

Put another way, you'll find an awful lot more people in touch with what is going on at a rifle range than you ever will on a golf course.

WonderDawg's picture

You completely missed the point. I wasn't searching for people in touch with what is going on, I'm trying to get an overall sense of the level of awareness in the community. I go to the gun range, too. Last Sunday, at the indoor range, there was a 45 minute wait for a lane. That was encouraging.

And by the way, what makes you think that since I took 4 hours out of my weekend to enjoy myself, that I don't also look after my own survival? Yeah, I'm watching what's going on and making my own plans, but we also have to try to get some pleasure where we can. I walk around doom and gloom all day and I'm no good to myself or anyone else. Don't be so fucking presumptuous.

Oh regional Indian's picture

WonderDawg, I also think that in the world there are Golfers and ther are golfers. Perhaps you are a Golfer getting a lot of pushback by golfers. I'm a Golfer. It's a sacred sport.


WonderDawg's picture

Yeah, I guess I'm a Golfer. It's one source of pleasure that I find in my life. Yesterday was not the best game I've played, but I was outdoors, getting some fresh air, enjoying the company of my friend and making the acquaintance of a couple of other Golfers. During the course of the day, I related some information and urged them to take some action. Maybe I got through to them, and maybe I didn't, but I damn sure didn't consider it a waste of time. We all need to decompress at times, and it's our own responsibility to find a way to do it. I also write fiction for a creative outlet, and this is another passion. I do a lot of research for the stories I write. So I'm learning as I create. Even if I never make a penny from my work, I'm a better man for the effort.

DanDaley's picture

Holy cow, punkie, nobody was critizing you.  I was just talking about my own situation, talking about coming to awareness.  I guess you just wanted to get mad at somebody and use a multi-syllabic word.  

WonderDawg's picture

Or if you like a quote from the Godfather: Women and children can afford to be careless, but a man cannot afford to be careless.  Lots of women and children out there these days.

Sorry if I took that the wrong way. I wasn't trying to pick a fight, it just sounded like you were challenging my manhood with that quote. Maybe with all the ignorance I see around me, I've grown overly sensitive. If so, my bad.

DanDaley's picture

That's cool.  Actually I love golf and wish I had more time to play.  After accidentally hitting an hole-in-one in 1968 with a 5 iron over a 130-yard water hole in Salt Lake City, I took it up again in 2002 and went from 180 for 18 to an honest 84 on a 119 slope rating 5 years later.  I worked hard and do appreciate the game, it's just that after 911, it took me a while to start thinking about other things.  No harm, no foul, I think is the expression.

GernB's picture

It's amazing that the Bush era did not wake up more conservatives to the idea that neither Democrats nor Republicans want more individual freedom. They both believe in a large all-powerful government. They just disagree with what that power should be used to do. This is the scary part of this election cycle. We still have the establishment Republican party trying to assert itself into the process and nominate an establishment Republican that wiill preserve the nearly absolute domination of the US Government over the individual so that once they have control that power is theirs. We the people want that power back in the hands of the individual where it belongs and there are more and more people awakening to that fact, but we litterally have to fight two parties to take back our individual freedom.

SofaPapa's picture

Having only newly awakened myself, I will say it was the exact opposite which woke me up.  From Bush, I expected what we got; if nothing else (and he was indeed nothing else that had even an ounce of good to it), he told people what he was going to do.  Then he did it.  True, it's unbelivable what they did, but he announced it all.

But what woke me up was Obama.  To see someone with the perfect opportunity (a crisis) to make genuine change, having prepared the population for exactly that with the rhetoric he had used, then turn around and pursue virtually carbon-copy policies as Bush?  That was my eye-opener.  This system is disgusting.

We need an evolution, and we need it fast.  Revolutions are bloody and lead to exactly the same results.  Pray to fate that we evolve way faster than any species ever has.  I woke up.  Maybe more are behind me?  I sure hope so.

Rainman's picture

Allen Simpson says a terrified Obama walked away from the deficit issue. A full retreat from hope and change.


fiftybagger's picture

"It's amazing that the Bush era did not wake up more conservatives"

It's really quite simple actually.  Republicans are stupid upper middle class and rich people,  Democrats are stupid lower middle class and poor people.  Their commonality?  stupidity.


dhengineer's picture

Actually, there are more democrats on Wall street than you realize.  I am a private chef for a Citigroup bigshot, and he and all his buddies have Owebammy's ass-prints on their faces.  The idea that Repubs are the fatcats is so 1960's thinking.  Look at the slime oozing through the Goobermint Sacks/Fed pipeline:  rubin, summers, geithner, virtually everyone who made the leap from wall street to DC is a dumbocrap.  Owebammy got most of his campaign money last time from Wall street.  But you are correct in one thing:  whatever their party affiliation, they are all STUPID and they are really the useless eaters of the world.

HD's picture

Chef - now I realize you have a code of ethics as a professional and I respect that - but for all of us who will never have the golden opportunity that you do....

PLEASE sneeze in that man's food.

Thank you in advance.

GernB's picture

It's amazing that the Bush era did not wake up more conservatives to the idea that neither Democrats nor Republicans want more individual freedom. They both believe in a large all-powerful government. They just disagree with what that power should be used to do. This is the scary part of this election cycle. We still have the establishment Republican party trying to assert itself into the process and nominate an establishment Republican that wiill preserve the nearly absolute domination of the US Government over the individual so that once they have control that power is theirs. We the people want that power back in the hands of the individual where it belongs and there are more and more people awakening to that fact, but we litterally have to fight two parties to take back our individual freedom.

Colonel's picture

9-11 provided alot of pretext for government expansion during the Bush administration.

HD's picture

Nothing will change. People live in bubbles because they are comfortable there - they will never deal with problems unless they show up on their own doorstep...and often not even then.

Intelligence is a burden. The ability to reason and comprehend beyond the superficial is a millstone around your neck. The happiest people I know are largely unaware or dismissive of anything outside their bubble - and get frightened and angry if anything disrupts it. However, to be fair, I must admit most of them are in truth "happy". They spend countless hours on facebook doing god knows what, they eat what they want, and buy a lot of crap they don't need and can't afford - but again...happy.

Ignorance is indeed bliss. There are days I wish I could switch my mind off and float through life like the rest of them...



UgglyBetty's picture

Great comment HD, and cheers to the ORI/akak preceding discussion.

Who needs to know when somebody will provide for you?
Who cares where the resources come from to provide for you from the "State"? Even better... what do we care if the "State" will take other people's resources to give them to us??? "The others" don't deserve to have more than us, we are all equal, all resources belong to "we the people", so it's fair that the State take them from those who have more than us to give them to us... That's what the welfare state has taught us, right??

IMHO, those that care to know and be informed and critical are those who do something for their lives, who take risks and bear the consequences of failing but in any case don't want to be told what to do.

Libertarians are enemies of the State for central planners... and soon to be prosecuted as terrorists if you want to protect what is yours.

FEDbuster's picture

I would argue that a great many people have had their bubbles burst through job loss, home loss, pension loss, inability to find a job with debt and college degree, etc....  The "dream" for many has become a nightmare.  The pressure cooker created by the last bubble bursting is still rising.  Some said the Rodney King decision was just the straw the broke the camel's back in LA, that the pressure had been rising for a long time.  I think that is what is happening to the Country as a whole.  At some point, with some event, the whole thing could explode and the matrix will collapse.