Sunday, September 18, 2022

Peering Into the Crystal Ball, We See... Instability Leading to Collapse

We can only choose one: open, dynamic stability (evolution) or autocracy (instability and collapse).

When the fundamentals of life change, every organism must evolve or die. This is equally true of human organizations, societies and economies.

Evolution requires conserving what still works and experimenting until something comes along that works better. We call the fundamentals changing selective pressure and the process of experimenting with mutations / variations natural selection.

In genetic and epigenetics, this process is automatic. In human organizations, those in power influence the choice of what is conserved or replaced and what it's replaced with. Those who benefit from the current arrangement will fight to conserve it as is, while those being weakened by selective pressure and those hoping to gain advantages with a new arrangement will fight for replacing the old with the new.

Longtime correspondent Ron G. recently shared an insightful economic characterization of this dynamic: wealth defense vs wealth creation. Those holding the system's wealth have few incentives to risk changing the system, as those changes could undermine or erode their wealth. They have incentives to limit evolutionary forces that threaten their wealth as a means of defending their wealth.

Those who have lost wealth and those with little wealth have incentives to change the system to favor wealth creation.

We can describe the first as orthodoxy--evolution threatens the stability of the status quo, so limit evolution to the margins--and heretics being the second option that tosses out the status quo in favor of a more advantageous variation.

This isn't either / or, of course. As Ron points out, corporations have incentives to both conserve stability and embrace variations that increase revenues and profits by expanding the markets for the company's products. In Ron's words: "The function of orthodoxy or corporate policy / rigor is to mitigate variations that would decrease stability."

In other words, there's a danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Dynamic equilibrium is based on a constant flux of variations and experiments--that is, low-level instability--continually modifying the system to maintain core stability.

Without this constant flux of low-level instability, sources of instability pile up, unnoticed and uncorrected, until they become consequential enough to destabilize the entire system. The system implodes, crashes, unravels, etc.

We can understand this flux of variations and experiments as evolutionary churn, and this churn requires two things: a steady flow of mutations / variations to feed the process of experimentation, and transparency so advantageous variations aren't suppressed. In a transparent evolutionary system, data and information about each variation and experiment flows freely between all nodes in the system.

You see the problem. Those benefiting from the status quo are threatened by variations that could replace whatever is defending their wealth. Those in power benefit from the status quo, so their Job One is to suppress evolution by limiting transparency and variations, which include dissent.

Theoretically, those in power favor evolutionary advances that enhance their power and wealth, but anything that powerful is generally a two-edged sword: modified slightly, it could disrupt the entire status quo and fatally undermine their power.

So the safe bet is to suppress all evolutionary churn except those improvements which can be used to further cement their power. These are by definition autocratic.

You see the delicious irony: autocrats suppress evolutionary churn and transparency as threats, but evolutionary churn and transparency are the essential forces maintaining the system's dynamic equilibrium. Once the system's dynamic equilibrium decays, systemic instability builds up and eventually brings the entire system crashing down.

Because this process is obscured by authoritarian suppression of transparency, "nobody saw it coming."

As those in power adopt ever stronger authoritarian measures to limit the potential threats of evolutionary churn and transparency, they accelerate the fatal instabilities building up within their self-serving, kleptocratic social, political and economic systems.

By suppressing the evolutionary churn and transparency that maintain the system's dynamic equilibrium, they doom their regime to collapse.

The crystal ball isn't cloudy, it's crystal-clear: rising instability leading to collapse. "Nobody saw it coming" except those who understand evolution requires evolutionary churn and transparency.

Collapse is a perfectly good evolutionary solution. Stability is either dynamic or it's not actually stable; it's merely a simulacrum of stability sliding toward instability and ruin.

The better option is to embrace evolutionary churn and transparency and accept the trade-off: we can only choose one: open, dynamic stability (evolution) or autocracy (instability and collapse). Choose wisely, for once systems collapse there's no turning back the clock.



This post was based on an essay published as a weekly Musings Report sent exclusively to subscribers and patrons at the $5/month ($54/year) and higher level. Thank you, patrons and subscribers, for supporting my work and free website.


Recent podcasts/videos:

Roundtable Insight: Charles Hugh Smith on the Insanity of Central Banks in Addressing Inflation (38 min.)


My new book is now available at a 10% discount this month: When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal.

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.



My recent books:

Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $9.95, print $24, audiobook) Read Chapter One for free (PDF).

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 Kindle, $8.95 print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 Kindle, $15 print)
Read the first section for free


Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Keith B. ($5/month), for your marvelously generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Frank V. ($1/month), for your much-appreciated generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Terms of Service

All content on this blog is provided by Trewe LLC for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.


Our Privacy Policy:


Correspondents' email is strictly confidential. This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative). If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly. Websites and blog links on the site's blog roll are posted at my discretion.


PRIVACY NOTICE FOR EEA INDIVIDUALS


This section covers disclosures on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for users residing within EEA only. GDPR replaces the existing Directive 95/46/ec, and aims at harmonizing data protection laws in the EU that are fit for purpose in the digital age. The primary objective of the GDPR is to give citizens back control of their personal data. Please follow the link below to access InvestingChannel’s General Data Protection Notice. https://stg.media.investingchannel.com/gdpr-notice/


Notice of Compliance with The California Consumer Protection Act


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising. If you do not want any personal information that may be collected by third-party advertising to be sold, please follow the instructions on this page: Do Not Sell My Personal Information


Regarding Cookies:


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by third-party advertising networks such as Investing Channel may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative) If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly.


Our Commission Policy:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn a commission on purchases of precious metals via BullionVault. I receive no fees or compensation for any other non-advertising links or content posted on my site.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP