Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
Stock Market Uptrend Continues? - 4th Aug 20
The Dimensions of Covid-19: The Hong Kong Flu Redux - 4th Aug 20
High Yield Junk Bonds Are Hot Again -- Despite Warning Signs - 4th Aug 20
Gold Stocks Autumn Rally - 4th Aug 20
“Government Sachs” Is Worried About the Federal Reserve Note - 4th Aug 20
Gold Miners Still Pushing That Cart of Rocks Up Hill - 4th Aug 20
UK Government to Cancel Christmas - Crazy Covid Eid 2020! - 4th Aug 20
Covid-19 Exposes NHS Institutional Racism Against Black and Asian Staff and Patients - 4th Aug 20
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Highly Efficient Systems and Agonizing Death

Politics / Social Issues Jan 08, 2011 - 05:29 AM GMT

By: Ashvin_Pandurangi


"Not one has shown an iota of fear of death. They want to end this agony." - Jack Kevorkian

Perhaps what we need as a society is a better understanding of "efficiency", since it is such a key aspect of all complex systems. Take the human body, for example, which is perhaps the most complex life form that has evolved on Earth. After increasing specialization and inter-connection of various bodily components through millions of years of evolution, the systems of the human body have become extremely efficient at their specific functions. The arteries, veins and capillaries of the cardiovascular system have evolved an intricate fractal design that competently delivers oxygen and nutrients to all of the body's cells as necessary.

What's important to understand is that every systemic component of the body has a specific function that serves to keep the body alive, growing and relatively stable over periods of time. These functions take place without any regard to concepts of fairness or equality. If my individual skin cells had an emergent sense of self-aware conscience (like me), then they would probably be very upset with my brain cells, which are much fewer in number and receive a disproportionate share of my resource intake (the brain receives 20% of the body's blood) [1]. In fact, the comfortable brain cells typically remain alive for a person's entire lifetime, while the average skin cell lasts for about a couple of weeks before it dies off and is replaced.

This systems theoretical framework of understanding applies just as well to our global economic, social, cultural and political structures. These evolved systems are amazingly efficient at keeping the overarching human civilization "alive", growing and relatively stable. Consistent material growth is achieved by exploiting limited resources and concentrating such resources in centralized structures through various mechanisms of action. Just as a biological species must eventually adapt to its surroundings or go extinct, human socioeconomic systems that are inefficient at promoting consistent growth/concentration will be marginalized, modified or replaced.

Of course, socioeconomic evolution takes place much more rapidly than its biological counterpart. Over the last few hundred years, every dominant system of human civilization has evolved to efficiently maintain the status quo processes of material growth and wealth concentration. These systems will almost always sacrifice "fairness" and "equality" for efficiency, because the former have no role in preserving the overarching civilization as it has come to exist. Each one of these systems also has its own unique evolutionary function:

--Economic System - Here is the foundational system of human civilization, as it allows vital resources to be extracted, manipulated and traded between humans. As greater resource pools are generated between diverse economic actors, larger populations of humans can be supported in a given area and more complex forms of social and political organization can be established. The Industrial Revolution took this logic to its parabolic extreme and has obviously allowed immense growth in net wealth and "standards of living". This system, similar to the human cardiovascular system, must deliver a disproportionate share of resources to centralized structures that are vital to maintaining/growing the current body of civilization (i.e. developed countries, large corporations, prominent corporate executives, strategic political groups, etc.)

--Social System - The dominant social structure is best described as one containing hierarchical class divisions determined by levels of material wealth. It is an inevitable byproduct of industrial economic evolution, and primarily serves to reinforce the legitimacy of the naturally-occurring wealth disparity in our world. People in the developed world, especially, are socially conditioned by parents, teachers, public figures, etc. to believe that everyone has an opportunity to be materially "successful", and to look down on those who happen to fall short. The severe stigmas that attach to poverty and homelessness, or even an "average" lifestyle, ensure that the distressing symptoms of economic growth/concentration will be tolerated for some time.

--Cultural System - Many people describe developed societies as having "consumption cultures", and that is probably the most apt description. Material consumption, of course, is absolutely necessary for the consistent material growth of human civilization, and therefore this cultural system is naturally dominant. The need to continually increase wealth concentration (due to limited resources), however, means that only specific segments of civilization can be imbued with this cultural feature, which comes at the expense of the less materially fortunate. A consumption culture provides an extremely efficient mechanism for directing resources to various centralized structures, since economic actors (individuals, corporations, governments) within it deeply believe such a process to be "normal" , routine and beneficial to all.

--Political System - The political systems of Western nations are currently, without a doubt, the most "corrupt" in the world, and this nature is typically criticized as being a disease marked by inefficiency. Corruption, however, could just as easily be described as a highly efficient means of maintaining the structures of global society by promoting growth and wealth concentration. It provides wealthy economic entities with direct access to sovereign power, a sweeping dominion conditionally granted by the people to their respective states. This power essentially allows the elites to force people in a certain direction through physical or financial coercion. It also allows them to use threats of violence or violence itself to obtain valuable resources and economic concessions. No other political system, such as one more "representative" or "democratic", would have allowed human civilization to achieve material growth/concentration at the frightening pace and scale that we have witnessed to date.

Still, there are many different types of economic, social, cultural and political systems that have emerged and/or survived in various regions of the world in the last few hundred years. It is true that not all of these systems have evolved to efficiently maintain/grow the existing civilization, and some of them may even be in direct opposition to the status quo. However, it is clear that systems which have failed to adapt to the dominant environment have been thoroughly isolated or have struggled to survive before simply going extinct. Eventually, they have all ended up as minor infections subject to the brutal mercy of a healthy immune system.

Some may point to China as an exception, since it is a country with a "Communist" economic/political system that has thrived in recent years. While it is true that they have been materially successful, it is only because they have adapted to the dominant economic, social, cultural and political modes of operation. There are many fundamental similarities between their models of speculative financial investment, bureaucratic government, careless environmental policy, pronounced socioeconomic division, etc. and ours. We cannot let simple labels or mainstream conventions distract us from the systemic reality lying underneath. Despite their different and misleading labels, all of these dominant systems in global civilization have evolved to efficiently promote material growth and concentrate wealth.

Of course, the life of every system eventually comes to its material end. The skin begins to sag and lose color, the bones becomes fragile, the blood flow meets increasing resistance and mental processes start to fade. The "immune system" of our global civilization is not nearly as effective as it used to be, and even the slightest infection could bypass its defenses and spell society's demise. Efficient systems will always and forever become fragile and burn themselves out, given enough time. It may take millions of years to occur in large biological or ecological systems, but it only takes a few human generations in socioeconomic ones. The evolved systems of global civilization are absolutely necessary for its survival, and they are all quickly deteriorating now. Given the surety of this impending death, the only thing left to fear is the possibility that our society dies in bitter and painful agony, rather than a state of composed dignity.

Ashvin Pandurangi, third year law student at George Mason University
Website: "Simple Planet" - (provides unique analysis of economics, finance, politics and social dynamics in the context of Complexity Theory)

© 2010 Copyright Ashvin Pandurangi to - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules