Systemic Failure, by The Zman

The money sentences: “What most likely lies ahead is spasms of disorder, followed by increasingly ham-fisted efforts to impose order. Those efforts to set things right will set off new spasms of disorder elsewhere in the system.” From The Zman at thezman.com:

Complexity in human systems often results in properties that have no obvious relationship to the people in the system. The example used when trying to explain complexity is the ant colony. A single ant is not a terribly complicated thing, but the ant colony is highly complex. Further, the actions of a single ant appear to be random, but all of those ants together look like a highly coordinated effort. You cannot learn much about an ant colony by studying a single ant.

Complexity in human systems often results in a disconnect between the user inputs and expected outputs. People who work with large software systems run into this when making changes to the system. If the system has been around for a while, it often has been modified many times by many hands. New changes often result in strange and unexpected downstream consequences. Every new change means the next change will be more costly in testing and error correction.

Ants and software can be interesting, but they are not the best example to use when thinking about the human system known as society. We don’t have the ability to completely stand outside of society, like we do with an ant colony, and objectively observe the emergent properties as a whole. We live in society. Unlike a software system, we don’t have a design spec or documentation. We have to infer the design from the actions we observe, which creates its own complexity.

We have some examples of this over the last year. The great election fraud was not the result of a master plan from grand strategists operating in a secret lair. Like the ant colony, it was the result of thousands of individual actions by people motivated by years of conditioning from the ruling class. For the bulk of the managerial class, down to the entry level clerks, opposing Trump became a religion. Stopping him through any means necessary became part of their collective mindset.

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