Keep from All Thoughtful Men: How U.S. Economists Won World War II
(Hat tip to Hoonose at Warren Mosler's blog)
"Jim Lacey has overturned nearly 60 years of sloppy work by historians."
This thread of actively suppressing information comes up repeatedly. From the colonial currencies of Ben Franklin's time, to Abe Lincoln's greenback advisors, to Marriner Eccle's time, to the current time of Warren Mosler, Bill Mitchell, Randy Wray, Wynne Godley, William Vickrey, and countless other, largely ignored authors pointing out obviously emerging operational realities (I've compiled a partial list, but there's still no telling how large it really is - an OpenSource repository of neglected works is sorely needed).
Is our 1-step forward, 2-step regression due to overt conspiracies, innocent frauds, or simply institutional momentum of outdated professional staff refusing to die off fast enough?
Whatever the cause, the time constant for re-acquainting existing theory with emerging operations formerly outside the "pure" theory area is obviously hampering us. And it may kill us.
Our first step should be to OpenSource this book, and many more like it, and invest to send a pdf copy to every citizen in the USA. The delay in distributing needed information is critically harmful. In any social species, the net value of key information is defined by how far and wide it spreads, not by how much static value a parasitic group member tries to extract in return for their participation. Best way to succeed is to keep your team alive and protecting you. We lose track of that.
It's not just that HP doesn't know what HP collectively knows. The "winners" occupying dominant institutional staff positions are actively resisting adequate sampling of already emerging operations that would cause faster turnover of theoretical frameworks. We're seeing a perfect storm of income fears, neglect of basic needs, fueling desperation to hold on to turf. That kind of distributed, institutional panic is exactly NOT what team members in a democratic republic want to see.
In short, the difference between policy-oriented theory and operations is diverging in many if not all arenas. That can only happen if a populace allows itself to be inadequately connected, inadequately practiced at managing change, and simply off the pace of contingency management. Scary stuff.
What are we going to do about it? We have more than adequate precedents for rising to such occasions, from Ben Franklin's famous table talk on to Marriner Eccles forgotten testimony to the US Senate. Our operational problem seems to be that most of the population is missing adequate exposure to these key lessons that would enable rapid development of adequate situational awareness. "We can do it," yet most of us don't seem to know that.
Sending inadequately trained staff into a democratic battlefield is a recipe for disaster.
We don't need cynics saying that any attempt to foster coordination is "paternalism."
We don't need arrogant "theoretical experts" in one field refusing to talk with operational experts in other fields - which they may not even know exist!
We do need trust and will to scramble through the current mess.
Then we need systematic planning to ensure another generation doesn't see themselves in the same situation yet again, this time with 600 million, not just 300 million people.
Seems to me that our problems are largely problems of scale. How do we maintain and actually increase group-intelligence when group size is rapidly scaling? That's a mobilization task, and we have plenty of people already familiar with such tasks. Every system model known says that required inter-connectivity always scales far faster than population size. Lessons from all known examples of development - "ontogeny" - indicate that rapid re-mixing of connectivity patterns is the winning approach, allowing us to formally search for transiently successful "team patterns" while also knowing full well that we must soon disassemble them and re-assemble them in novel ways to meet accelerating change. We've been there & done that, but are acting like we don't have to do it again. Get real!
Future shock already rolled past us. It looks like an intractable problem, yet every intractable task has a solution, and that solution will involve another level of indirection. Our #1 problem is that too many "experts" are actively resisting - not accelerating - indirection. Grandparent hubris & parent stubbornness is putting the kids at dire risk, just when all co-existing generations should be working together more fluidly, not less.
What was the literature major's take? "If we want everything to remain the same, everything must change." Why are we letting ourselves be afraid to stabilize our succession path by accelerating change?