“The chief cause of problems is solutions.” –Eric Svareid (shamelessly stolen)
“The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” –Sun Tzu
Looking at the world through a caloric lens, complexity increases economic cost. To further explore this please see this talk by Dr. Joseph Tainter. Please keep the volume control handy as there are audio anomalies. It is long but well worth your time.
This is important because it deals with what collapse looks like. Rome didn’t collapse as some sort of surprise or in a vacuum. It suffered from growing and unsustainable complexity. Civgene can provide the ‘why’ for this problem. Why did complexity occur? The most obvious answer is corruption. Why does corruption continuously increase? Civgene indicates increasing proportions of psychopaths. Rent seeking correlates to a genetic pool that grows over the life of a civilization and then collapses once that civilization dies.
As corruption increases complexity, economy of scale multipliers provide diminishing returns. Further as rent seeker revenues fall, they add complexity simply for the sole purpose of seeking additional loopholes to graft from. The only mechanism for ending corruption created by adding complexity is adding yet more complexity in the form of additional laws.
If you are familiar with legal distribution you can see where this is going. There needs to be a way to reduce this complexity to spare limited resources. No historical law making process can provide this. The video lays out the need for a new kind of legal mechanism, to cope with the real problem behind complexity.
A growing pool of rent seekers grafted onto the core of the system. The law making rent seekers find marginal problems to combat in public, while their real goal is to seek new revenue from the hidden effects and loopholes of the new law. Instead we should reduce complexity by distributing laws. This should create competition for programs that have grown pointlessly bloated solving small scale locally addressable problems. Naturally reducing the jurisdiction of laws should be under a populist control, since the vast majority of the population are still good economic actors, with the desire to protect the system from the graft at the center in a selfless way. So while overall “the process of increasing complexity is inexorable”, we don’t need to make things more complex than necessary for the time.
Dr. Tainter calls political ideology a faith. He is correct! All politics are based at least in part on faith, because testing political theories on humans is impossible (without an epic immoral cost). Faiths are critical to reason and therefore civilization, but without recognition of the risks of cult that faith brings, they are simply a collar to click a leash onto.
He does equate logic to ethics saying “Everything the Roman emperors did was a logical response to circumstances.” While explicitly true this is not complete. This again proves logic is NOT a panacea. Sociopath stage psychopaths are perfectly logical, to their own needs. Markets need to be protected to provide good data to build sound logic on. Reason (the logical mind + the metamind) is available reliably only from the public, away from the center of power. The public and their subconscious risk management are needed to keep destructive needless complexity from harming those markets. Logic and subsequently reason can’t accomplish good law without good data. Unchecked, complexity and graft slowly smothers true cost.