A brief (and somewhat uninformed) summary of complex systems and their implications for human societies

I need to research more before finalising/formalising a lot of points but here’s the general gist.

Every complex adaptive system is a system that basically generates knowledge from incorporated information, in order to extract more energy from the environment in a feedback loop.

Each level of this system is a holon- both a whole and a part unto itself. This is cool enough by itself but it has a lot of implications for human society.

Basically, specialisation is really important, because more advanced things (and even things that just involve more people) require exponentially more and more information to function. Meanwhile, each person is only able to learn/know so much,so you have to both increase the population and increase the specialisation of the knowledge held within each person.

The problem is that this creates huge transaction costs which brings me to embeddedness.

Formally it’s the number of neighbours shared by the endpoints of an edge in a network, but basically it’s how many friends of your friends you have (or w/e example for the relevant system).

The more people you have in common who vouch for you both, the more you can trust each other (socially, economically, whatever).

The problem is if you specialise like that then… who do you trust? There are fewer and fewer people who’s knowledges are similar to yours. You don’t even know how to know what they know!

So you get transaction sectors-people who specialise in exchange and trust. So like how international banking uses (iirc) basically one set of highly specialised software + trust in order to hold shit together.

So suddenly you have a lot of stuff that social revolutionaries don’t like as a natural consequence of just wanting complex technology etc-

you’re going to need higher education and specialisation,you’re going to need specialised organs of dispute resolution and enforcement.

That knowledge people have is only useful as much as it’s communicable.

Pretty much every complex system mimics this sort of behaviour in some respect-if you look at our bodies, we have organs, not just a random mishmash of cells because, fundamentally, having organs is more efficient.

There are layers and layers of complex systems, but you can see the relative versions of this from simple-complex physiochemical systems all the way up, And that already opens a lot of pandora’s boxes.

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