An Interview with Max Borders

In this interview originally published at The Advocates, I talk about my new book After Collapse in broad strokes.

Editor: Let’s start with one of the main themes of this book: fear. One of the things I learned in After Collapse is that fear drives social and economic collapse more than the other way around. Can you tell us a little more about that idea?

Max Borders: Human beings are born with certain dispositions that will cause us to act together in different ways to survive. I call these “human systems.” Whole cultures can…

Response essay for Cato Unbound celebrating 50 years of Hirschman’s Exit, Voice and Loyalty

Thanks to Hugo Jehanne for making this photo available freely on @unsplash

The following essay was originally published at Cato Unbound.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. - John Perry Barlow, “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

When it comes to politics, the left-right dimension has become nearly unrecognizable. At one extreme, a mob shouts, loots, topples, and cancels. At the other extreme, reactionaries, theocrats, and trolls cheer a strongman as his agents toss protesters into unmarked vans. …

The Evolution of Governance in 9 Stages

With humanity on the cusp of another great transition, we can learn a lot by taking a look at the ones we’ve already been through.

How did people get from a condition of roaming around on the ancient savannah to looking out of skyscrapers onto Tokyo or Vancouver? What invisible forces drove such change? And if we can begin to see the pattern in those forces, do they offer clues about where we’re going?

The following is a visual overview of nine stages in the evolution of governance.

1. Clans

Humans once lived in family groups as part of extended clans…

A Promising and Troubling Possibility

Art by Sarim Qureshi

Behold the entire cosmos turning within my body, and the other things you desire to see. — The Bhagavad Gita

A human brain is delicate. It’s about three pounds and gray on the outside, with a consistency of firm pudding or Jell-O. That jelly holds a mesh of billions of neurons, which transmit information in fractions of a second. Each of us needs this complex structure because it is responsible for everything we do. We use it to understand the world, to think, to feel, to live in the world, and to dream of worlds beyond. …

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

Business Review Interviews Max Borders

This interview was originally published in Business Review in advance of their MindChain event.

Business Review talked to Max about some of the issues he frequently writes and talks about, such as technology, politics and the challenges of the future.

Tell us a bit about your manifesto, The Social Singularity, and the concept of collective intelligence — how do you see the future of humanity?

In The Social Singularity I make an important distinction between artificial intelligence (which gets all the headlines) and collective intelligence (which gets hardly any). Everyone is so worried about how…

Holacracy Could be the Best Candidate for Global Governance

Image result for holacracy

A version of this article first appeared at

Imagine turning on your mobile device one morning to find only two apps: Red and Blue. It’s bad enough that these are the only two choices. Only one works at a time — and not very well.

And yet this is more or less the social operating system upon which most of the developed world runs. The Madison-style Constitution was a great innovation, but it’s still built atop the 2000-year-old DOS (Democratic Operating System).

“It has been said that democracy is the…

Let’s Get Beyond Technocratic Thinking

A version of this article first appeared at

When John F. Kennedy was president, he planted a stark, powerful image in the minds of Americans.

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.

The Moonshot Mentality

Nations don’t make commitments, of course…

Transcending Hierarchies Means Giving up on Soothing Father Figures

The Great Man complex take many forms. Whether it’s in the soothing oratory of a President Obama or the patriotic statesmanship of a John McCain, many people seek a father figure to calm them during trying times.

You won’t find this complex in the DSM series, or any social psychology textbook. As far as I know I made up the term, but the phenomenon is real.

Here’s John Pavlovitz, author and former pastor who, though perhaps justifiably horrified by President Trump’s lack of decorum, thinks we need someone special to tend…

Well, the book anyway.

It’s been a while since I’ve written. One reason is I’ve been gearing up for the launch of The Social Singularity. If you’re curious about the book, you can get it and help tweak the Amazon algorithm.

If you’d like to know more about it first, here’s some teaser language from the cover:

What if politics as we know it is about to end?

What if humanity soon organizes itself not in hierarchies, but in hive minds?

What if society’s mediating structures — education, media, and financial institutions — are about to be completely transformed?


Triaxial Weaving by Tim Tyler

Weaving Healthy Values Together Beyond Political In-Groups

The first instinct for most partisans or ideologues is to dig in one’s heels and cling to a checklist of group-identity criteria. Identification with one’s group, therefore, tends to come before sound thinking. And if someone else proposes an idea that is not on the checklist — or if that someone belongs to another group — we are biased to look for what’s wrong with what that person is proposing.

But what if we started looking for what’s right?

Those of us who are disciplined and open-hearted will not be so quick to…

Max Borders

Futurist, author, and speaker living in Austin, TX.

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