Sunday, June 3, 2012

Europolitics & Freedom to Brew Beer on my Own Farm in Maryland

New - Freedom to Brew Beer on my Own Farm in Maryland

Remind you of Europe?  Underwhelmed? So was my son, who wrote from California.

Great! What bothers me about this is how oddly specific it all is. This is not in the spirit of the USA where you're free to do anything not explicitly prohibited. The whole line of reasoning that brings us this law is that you have to meekly ask permission to do anything. We shouldn't have ever needed a law saying farmers are allowed to brew beer and sell produce; they've been doing that since prehistory!

Is this indicative of our times, or what?  But what does it really mean, and how could we productively respond?

Yes. Specific lobbies - basically community squeaky wheels - are always convincing communities to do many things that are illogical and/or blatantly abrogate prior policies or freedoms. Once recognized, they could always be undone, but we have these complications in our legal code called precedent and fairness. Mistakes usually get corrected & bad practices deprecated "from this day forward," not retroactively.

What's always needed is a more activist electorate, to notice & correct things sooner rather than later. Our nation survives by adaptive rate, not just adaptation.

That brings us back to our usual rub - people aren't willing to do much, even think, until something affects them directly. Even then, they usually want the problem to go away, rather than becoming involved in recursively tuning a complex system, i.e., their community culture.

It's always gonna be this way, because no matter what we do, we always spawn even more options.  So how is it that we survive?

Every evolving species - even us - is always breeding populations slightly more predisposed to faster change, but ONLY by generating enough friction to actually reduce the proportion of currently defined Luddites. That's always an ugly, competitive process, no matter what's going on. Any evolving aggregate is stuck with titrating - by trial & error - exactly what adaptive rate is required to survive an ongoing adaptive race.

Tribal societies got VERY good at this, given controlled population sizes. Until they ran out of frontiers to flee to, they had plenty of time to talk, at the pace they were able to fully discuss things at. Small groups could migrate everywhere & become anything, with only the occasional family fratricide to contend with.

Uglier experiences come when aggregates are forced to organize on a larger scale. War is just fratricide on another level. Growth requires transitioning even more people to some adaptive group practices, while getting them all to give up some local practices in order to accommodate & leverage the new stuff. That particular discussion always gets heated, & boils down to close examination of various "Why should I have to ..." questions.

No matter how good a given-size group was at examining & exploring group options, it takes novel tools, feedback channels, tolerance limits, and focus in order for an even larger group to be equally or even more agile. Yet that is exactly what's required just to survive!

We really should teach that simple truth to kids, beginning right in Kindergarten.
It's a helluva conundrum. Larger aggregates generate more options, through indirection, but simultaneously increase the demand for novel coordination methods. The cost of coordination is always the highest cost, and the only thing that outpaces the cost of coordination is the return on coordination.

It's Ye Olde Tiger by the Tail Problem. No population comes out un-bloodied, but some do survive it. It's a nice problem to have, if your aggregate can handle the stress.

We're always waiting for our old Luddites to get out of the way, but no one's willing to let you rush things without absolute proof. While waiting for proof, we always miss more opportunities than it's worth waiting for ... but we learn which ones were not worth missing ONLY BY TRIAL & ERROR! It's enough to make you either pull your hair out in frustration, or stand in total awe at the infinite scalability of our options.

For want of aggregate self-motivation, most of our output and adaptive rate is always being sacrificed - as an output gap (proportional to an Adaptive Rate Gap). No adaptive selection appears until new aggregate potential is adequately sensed. Therefore, our rate-limiting challenge is to enlarge our aggregate perception and situational awareness.

To be group aware, or not to be. Aye, that is the question.

Yet to be more group aware, sooner, or not to be! Aye, that is the even bigger question.

What to do about it? Even thinking about that always brings me straight back to making a few simple changes in education, training & practice - all the way back to Kindergarten. A little change in perspective - or as Warren Mosler says, a change in paradigm - would unleash unimaginable output in this country!

It's not enough to have a subset of people aware. For example:
“The world is not coming to an end; rather, it feels as if we are on the doorstep to another major European integration move.”

That's an admirably optimistic outlook, but - for Pete's sake! - did it really have to require 13 years of increasing, lost output to even start raising the question widely enough?

The fact that some actually think so is an indication of how colossal our waste is, and how blase too many of our policy staff are! The USA asked & answered this question over 200 years ago, and reexamined it with impressive pace back in 1933. I can't imagine why it's taking supposedly educated & aware European populations this long to even start asking the right questions!

And is our breakaway thinking receding back into the European pack?   The recent Maryland ruling on farm beermaking is just an indication of how much like archaic Europe we've become. It's not too late to survive, if that's any consolation.

What could be done to make our electorate more agile, before we throw away so many options that the USA collapses? I'm beginning to think that our only chance is faster/cheaper/better catalysts for OpenSourcing more low-margin stuff. That would help us continually accelerate our focus onto higher margin, aggregate options.

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