Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cultural Development at 31st Week of Democracy

9 Democrats who are selling out on Social Security cuts
  (Hat tip, Al_the_Electrician ‏@aldaelectrician)

So, as usual, things have to get worse before they can get better?

In health science, we'd call that a neuropathy ... a degraded ability to sense pain (until it does significant damage), which is essentially a failure to KEEP rebuilding systemic instrumentation to fit changing contexts.

You can picture that outcome, and even how it occurs, in both human physiology and human culture.

Which Trisequester is YOUR democracy in?

Is there a term for aggregate-neuropathy or even "Cultural-Neuropathy" ?

Organizational degradation?

A slowing ability to detect, parse & adaptively respond to increasing levels of useful feedback?

A constant struggle to see the signals for all the noise?

That describes all human aggregates, all the time? Ya think?

Unless, that is, we take up thoughtful arms against an always rising sea of emerging interdependencies.

I keep coming back to the analogy of adolescent growth spurts. All growing aggregates have to get clumsier before they can regain or increase aggregate agility.

With growth comes a corollary challenge. We always need newer, more refined methods for solving the task of HOW to grow, gracefully. Why? So we can have our growth, and be it too.

It's not a challenge we can ignore ... unless we choose to abort our future.

This was the America we all knew post 1776.

Will there be another cultural growth spurt? Here? In the USA?

If so, what will it look like?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Can't Every Aggregate Afford To Generate Their Needed Diversity ... And Have It Too?

Can anything be extended past tolerance limits?

Sure. Ever heard of "Count" Victor Lustig? He was an ironic crook.

In 1925, "Count" Lustig allegedly sold the Eiffel Tower to a group of scrap metal tycoons.

Sehr lustig, ja ... auf Deutsch!

Victor's example is from a 2-book series from from 1973, on:

Crimes & Punishment. A Pictorial Encyclopedia of Aberrant Behavior

Obviously, a pictorial encyclopedia of all human cultures would look remarkably analogous. Every culture is aberrant to what will come next .... unless everything stops evolving, adapting and changing. But that's beside the point, right?

The C&P book is clearly dated in some ways, but reveals an already mature literature strongly correlating personality dominance traits with various crime statistics, in addition to all other effects more weakly linking outcomes to contexts.

Is that proposed correlation between intrinsic dominance & crime still considered prominent, or useful, in criminology and for cultural adaptation in general? For example, the authors & editors seem infatuated with the psychologist Maslow, some of whose ideas now seem as anthropomorphic as Freud's were outright arcane.

Nevertheless, it's a fascinating read, for yet another reason. Each description of the background of bizarre criminality also implies a strong correlation with prior isolation, lack of constant feedback, lack of belonging, and overall ... failed social regulation in it's most broadest definition.

From the point of view of distributed prevention, one can't help imagine how cheap it really may be to prevent a larger proportion of all types of crime.

In cancer biology, we constantly discuss how much it actually takes to "transform" a given cell into a cancer clone. It's actually not easy, at all, especially when cells remain in their normal context, literally engulfed in a flood of continuous feedback.

This analogy comes to mind when reviewing how much cultural malaise it actually takes to socially "transform" developing youth to even the low % of overt sociopaths we call criminals, whether blue-collar or white-collar.

And, that actually segues seamlessly to a connected phenomenon. Where's the border between the main body of genetic, personality & cultural "diversity curves," and the long tails of those same curves, which we label as either "rare" diseases or fringes outside of acceptable cultural tolerance limits?

This is a rather neglected question in general biology and cultural evolution, not just cultural practices.

A) We acknowledge the primary importance of diversity, and of methods for actively driving sexual, psychological & cultural recombination.

B) Simultaneously, we still seem to try too hard to arbitrarily label that same needed diversity and recombination-methods as something to be "cured" or excised, instead of something necessary but never sufficient, to be embraced, extended, and gracefully accommodated. When in a hurry, no corner looks too short to cut ... until experience proves it to be so, well after the fact.

This oxymoron is highlighted by well known but usually dismissed differences in how physiological/personal/cultural diversity was & is handled in old vs emerging cultures. Historically, the default handling of diversity was clearly more weighted toward community accommodation of diversity. It's only in emerging cultural mash-ups that frictions build to the point of heightened efforts to cut corners & cull the low % of diversity outliers, from schizophrenia & autism on to sociopathologies and the now more than 7000 uniquely defined rare diseases. Unless, of course, the sociopaths transiently gain prominence. Then things soon get worse, even if it looks briefly attractive. Every new random modification is only another tangent, branching from a totally unpredictable future. If that weren't true, recombination wouldn't be the law of reality.

One implication is that we simply needn't be in a hurry to eradicate everything that surprises us. That's not how evolution got us this far.

So, can't every aggregate afford to generate their needed diversity ... and have it too?

What's the distributed cost of recombination, and utilization too?

Not much, it turns out, when coordination costs and the return on coordination are BOTH amortized & distributed across whole democracies. That's the simple logic of adequately and gracefully provisioning most if not all contributors to cultural diversity, as much as possible - with early accommodation and regulation, NOT expensive and pointless late removal. It's what social species do. It's easily affordable, and well worth it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Human Aggregates Everywhere Are Constrained Primarily By Confusing Derived Numerals With Real Feedback Signals

What kind of aggregate is afraid of it's own shadows? Essentially, a moronic one.

We desperately need growing populations to grasp - by mathematics alone - that aggregate capabilities and options are NOT constrained by derived accounting metrics.

"Let's look at the substance, and not the shadow." Marriner Eccles, Fed Chief, 1938

All currencies, by definition, are simply the data thrown off by interacting citizens, not the inverse.
"The substance of our wealth is the production of our [citizens]. The shadow is our money."

Now, as in 1938, the heads of our banks and banking organizations are the LEAST systemically educated of our citizens, and it remains for us to explain to them the difference between shadow and substance, between nominal and real.

Human aggregates everywhere are constrained primarily by confusing derived with real feedback signals. It is up to all of us to systemically educate our many specialists, so that they may keep sight of growing context, and not get lost entirely within their various data streams which are producing as many incidental shadows as relevant feedback signals.

Any naive or isolated person can be easily impressed by big numbers. It requires education, training and practice to keep track of what those mean for real contexts.

Imagine how good it will feel when the moronic aggregate stops pounding it's head against it's own fiat!

Let's look at some real examples.

Scary Numbers, example #1.

Soon after you started as a single egg cell, if someone had told you that your "Inter-cellular Signalling Debt" would soon be overwhelmed with the responsibility for 40 Trillion new cells, would you have stopped growing, and laid off all your cells?

In what order? Red blood cells first, then all the other 300 subtypes, in some imagined order of aggregate value? Some humans saw this dis-unity problem coming long before we were even aware of cells to count but never quite enough to assuage our aggregate fear of aggregate shadows.

Scary Numbers, example #2.

Currency supply.

How does a currency supply work? It "denominates" all the transactions citizens can and will muster. Hence, currency supply has to grow, as a derived "shadow" (record keeping) for real citizen transactions. When any & all desired transactions can be denominated without spurious constraints, then the return on coordination is truly stupendous, as Benjamin Franklin noticed early on. OVERLY constraining a currency supply has, of course, dire consequences, then and now.

Given simple realities, what currency supply might we need today, with the many types of our 330million residents? The answer clearly depends entirely upon:

1) the rate of transactions,

2) the number of transaction types, and

3) the unconstrained distribution of transactions (so that any novel transaction chain can be created, upon demand).

As a start, just imagine that every citizen did execute just ONE sort of $1 transaction with every other citizen - per year. In that case, the year-to-year currency supply REQUIRED for rapidly denominating aggregate transaction completions would be N-factorial dollars (i.e., each citizen does a transaction with 3.9 million others in 1790, or 330 million others in 2015).

Population N-factorial in 1790 would be 3.9million factorial, (a truly big number).

Population N-factorial in 2015 would be 330million factorial, an even far larger number.

What would 330million factorial be? Awfully big. So big we don't even have everyday jargon for naming numbers that large, which are way past the $10-to-$75 trillion commonly described as circulating dollar-denominated assets (M2 + debt).

A fiat currency system addresses this scalability task by continuously & asynchronously creating & destroying "dollars" (denomination units), in multiple, dynamic ways, including loan creation, loan-repayment, fiscal spending, and taxes, while (supposedly, pending national policy) placing no control over the absolute number of transaction units available to denominate transactions.

The only thing we have to fear is fear of the number of accounting numerals we use? Seriously?

In fiat currency, we have found a way to make our IOUs, and count them too!

That final task, accounting, is essentially all that a banking system is required to do. It's very simple, actually. Bankers & economists are the only ones who can't seem to see their function for their imagined complexity!

Yet we clearly are not growing our currency supply anywhere as fast as we could, if we removed all constraints on citizen interactions and transactions. That's a problem.

We are holding ourselves back, essentially withholding fiat (public initiative). What are we afraid of? Our aggregate shadow? Afraid of what our kids may invent next? (If we LET them, anyway.)

What kind of fool tries to save (too much) initiative, aka, fiat, aka, fiat currency?

That's like accumulating energy, or fat, unused, in the hope that you can make better use of it later. As with all things, there are rather tight tolerance limits on the utility of hoarding initiative. The more of a resource you hoard, the less agile you are in wielding it's use. Yet if you have none, you're also not agile. 

It's the dynamic tolerance limits, stupid!

Our aggregate limitations are organizational limitations, imposed by lagging technical capabilities and aggregate training and practice, but NOT by the size of the numbers used to count the ongoing interaction messages, or "currency" units we use.

So, in 1790, what if someone had pointed out the colossal number of dollar bills we'd be responsible for managing one day, once our population reached 330 million, today? Should we have panicked at the sheer size of that fiat number, laid off all workers, and decided to stop all population growth (or cultural evolution) right then and there, at 3.9 million?

Lay off workers? Isn't that what we routinely do? In which order? We have thousands of types to choose from. All necessary but not sufficient, and all must be adequately provisioned if we're to increase national resiliency as well as agility. Is laying off workers a sign of aggregate intelligence?

Not if, like the proverbial egg cell, we wanted our culture to keep growing.

If there's one thing that defines American Exceptionalism, it is our historical ability to almost maintain an understanding of the power of fiat currency, and return on coordination.

Note that maintaining that perspective was a constant battle, waged largely as class war. The US currency supply was highly politicized from the onset, in two key developments, notably championed by Alexander Hamilton and the largely British Banking Lobby. The politics of money is, in reality, inseparable from class war, clan competition and frictions between individuals.

Whatever the class politics, in 1790, ~4 million citizens started our post-war currency system, printed and circulated, out of thin air, what we can call (for the sake of argument) the first $80MILLION dollars of IOU notes for prior debts alone, ignoring everyday transactions. Today, we're afraid of denominating another trillion dollars of transactions? So afraid that we're instead limiting our real interactions and NOT exploring our emerging aggregate options?

What should we be more afraid of?

Such people are a threat to themselves, as well as to their own aggregate. To evolve, we have to save them from themselves, as part of saving ourselves.

After all, what's more valuable, current fiat, or future options? Isn't the point to optimally combine the two? It boils down to what your definition of "value" is. Possessions here & now, or future survival of your lineage.