Complexity and Empires

It begins today
January 21, 2017
Thread
February 10, 2017

In a world optimized for humans to flourish, ideally, we’d want the smartest*, most brilliant minds to have the greatest influence, on the greatest amount of people. I don’t mean book smart, I think that ‘smart’ should include compassion, empathy and humility.

Whomever the smartest people on the planet are right now, ought to lead the planet.

The smartest person in your town should be mayor.

Trump offers us ample illustration that this isn’t the case, and the question that I’m posing today is why not?

Did we not put enough safeguards in place to prevent this?

Did we fail to implement those safeguards to stop the very thing they were designed for?

I’ve come to the conclusion that complexity is the problem.

The more complex civilization becomes, the more we are inclined to codify rules of law and norms.

The more rules and norms we create, the more damage can be done when they are flouted.

To put this another way, we need to be very wary, and very cautious, about the rules we create.

There is an argument that empires fail because they become too complex, and that complexity cannot be sustained.

If we lived in anarchy, perhaps the least complex model, the rules would be scant, and the consequences for breaking them would be trivial, within the context of that system. Nobody in an anarchy would have the ability to wipe 600 million people out with the press of a button, build pipelines that threaten the entire planet, or extort the middle class to enrich themselves.

There’s no doubt that under that system of governance (or lack thereof) some form of society would emerge, but it’s not one I advocate, it’s not a model that optimizes the greatest wellbeing, for the greatest number of people.

For that to happen there have to be some rules, but I’ve come to the conclusion that as dangerous as too few rules might be there is also danger in having too many

We can’t pick and choose when we enforce these.

If we do, anomalies occur.

We need fewer rules, more strictly enforced, if we want the best and the brightest to rise to the top.

It’s pretty clear to me that in an election the person who gets the most votes should win.

If the rules make it possible for the loser to win, then the rules need to be simplified.

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