Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Outcomes Based National Evolution - Measured by Nominal Metrics Like GDP, Or By Real Outcomes? (Why Must We Ask The Obvious?)

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

There's a reason why homo-econo-ignoramus doesn't appear on this chart. All those pompous Nobel Prize winners simply don't matter, any more than the methane coming from livestock.

Does GDP correlate with general welfare of the people ... or with national Adaptive Rate?

More to the point, what do we do with all our increasingly possible leisure time?

Oh, maybe quit trying to tell people what to do and how to do it, and instead leave exploration of our expanding options up to their increasingly distributed ingenuity?

Ya think?

Did every one of the soldiers working with General Patton have a defined job? No and yes. Their JOB was to cooperate ingeniously in navigating their dynamic context, AS AN AGGREGATE! The best way to survive as an aggregate is to NOT assign arbitrary jobs to all members, and to instead invest in distributed freedom to increase the net adaptive value of distributed decision-making.

GDP? Jobs? Really?

There are more relevant questions to ask. Start with the fact that no amount of humans is ever "necessary," except in the viewers perspective. Do we know who or what will be asking these questions? Not yet we don't.

The only known reason for separate classes within any species or culture, is as a tool for extending dominance hierarchies, i.e., to use your neighbors before they use you.

To see that, all you have to do is perceive "the value that dominants gain from suppressing their subordinates" - which is right out of biology-101, and presupposes a perspective where competition for over-subscribed static resources exists. What if that perspective itself no longer applies? How? Once an aggregate transitions to a state where the importance of dynamic assets is finally recognized as far outweighing the importance of static assets. That's always been true, of course, ever since the first "better way" was first recognized. It's just that most humans STILL don't recognize that tautology!

Relevant answers, and the data to support them, depends on who defines context, and why. Without a useful definition of our changing context, we don't arrive at an optimal definition of "value." For instance, is the ratio of static vs dynamic value changing rapidly, as the ability of humans to transcend biological niches continues to expand? Unfortunately, you won't hear that question posed in many, if any, economics textbooks, simply because the very perspective of orthodox economics is too primitive to even keep up with the existing range of other human disciplines.

Again, these observations about dominants suppressing subordinates - and WHY - are right out of biology-101, and have been documented out the wazoo, for many social as well as non-social species (despite what these particular authors claim, that it's been proven ONLY for meerkats - they're likely just posturing for tenure in some academic department :( ).

For example, in most "pack" animals, from meerkats to lion prides to wolves, the dominant male & female completely prevent subordinates from reproducing (often over 90% of the time), so all you really have to follow are the boundary conditions - i.e., who's offspring do & don't survive. You can see the same dynamics at every level of the phylogenetic scale, from viruses to human beings. The core system dynamics don't change very much, but the accumulated methods sure do.

Same thing occurs in upper class vs lower class humans and other primates - e.g., chimpanzees. Lots of poor people scrimp on their own child rearing or forgo reproducing, while working to help rear the children of rich people. Offspring of chimps less dominant in their packs don't get the same perks that "yuppie" chimp kids do. But there's a clear reason for that, as long as access to static assets is a point of competition.

Once you look, do you see any difference whatsoever - once you compare fungi, meerkats or humans? (Note also that continual revolutions - in all species - illustrate frequent turnover among which phenotypes are dominant, and which are suppressed. There's no guaranteed permanence, at least not out on the cutting edge of an evolving species or culture.)

But now we're talking about a whole new layer of opportunity, never before exposed (at least to this extent) by any species except human cultures! What happens if OUR context changes markedly, and the prior relevance of dominance hierarchies becomes less relevant, or completely irrelevant? How long would it take humans to even notice, and re-adapt?

If there are countless machines around to solve increasing proportions of support tasks .... then there is a point beyond which there is no longer any previously recognized gain to be had from suppressing subordinate humans!


We've been discussing teamwork, military resiliency, and democracy for over 2000 years, and still not really catching on. So no, human cultures don't instantly re-orient to altered context. Perhaps it's finally time to automate the production of cultural return-on-coordination. How? Perhaps by subtly adjusting K-12 education? It'll take practice, not predictions.

If our survival pressures switch from reproduction of humans to reproduction of increasingly more adaptive human cultures, then the "moment" of adaptive pressure moves even further away from inter-personal competition and towards aggregate coordination, a complete transition in perspective that has actually been underway throughout biological history.

Yes, past transitions equal or greater in scope have already been documented. Apparently, you're not required to learn about them in order to get a degree or even a prize in economics. There have been multiple "singularities." In the big scheme of things, that topic is actually quite passé. We're just taking the upcoming one rather personally, due to our very constrained perspective on context. :)

Here are just some of the known transitions, or past singularities.

1) Transition from "inorganic" chemistry to self-replicating organic molecular assemblages (there may have been prior ones, this is just an arbitrary start to our list, for now; and don't forget quantum physics & the prior Big Probability Events; they're candidate singularities too)

2) Transition from self-replicating molecules (autocatalysis) to self-replicating template structures (i.e., appearance of condensed methods for "directed" construction; e.g., protein catalysts and the incredibly old rna-based ribosome enzyme)

3) Further transition from partially to fully template-driven self-replication - i.e., the dna/rna/protein based replication sequence common to prokaryotes, archaeryotes & eukaryotes

4) Even further transition from unicellular to massively multicellular template-driven self-replication
("layers" of self-replication, where only "germ cells" replicate, and trigger the build-out process we call embryogenesis)

5) Yet another transition is known? Yes! Various "social" - and very few "Eusocial" - species already exhibit various stages of passing another transition, where "germ members" dominate replication to various degrees (including humans), and the rest of an entire social culture divert increasing proportions from hyper-local to more indirect reproductive efforts.

Many people are asking what the next transition might be, and how soon?
There's no freaking way to know! The race is to PARSE what's happening, and adjust while it happens, not to predict it.
Compared to the known history of biological diversity, the entirety of economics writing is just pure BS, incredibly boring, noise, of no adaptive consequence whatsoever.
The truth is, Economics Lacks Imagination.
We gotta be on our toes, and think harder about what's coming down the pike OUTSIDE of the brain-dead dung-box we call orthodox economic theory. It's always time to move on, or we won't be among those moving on.

At what point is the entire human species "needed?" Depends on who or what is asking, and how the questioners define need. If robots become self-replicating, will it actually be far easier to advance "culture" by doing away with humans altogether. SciFi folks have been imagining & discussing that for many decades.

However nothing yet, from dying planets to SuperNovas to the BigBang has extinguished biological evolution, so it's doubtful that anything we can imagine can hold a candle to the real options. Consensus is that some variety of carbon life would undoubtedly colonize and live off/in/within any robotics we can build.

Relevance is obviously a moving target.

Jerrit Erickson writes:
"Ten billion humans are no more or less necessary than any humans, or
life itself for that matter; we don't know why we're here, if there
even is a reason. That hasn't stopped everyone from acting like
there's a plan up to this point."
Precisely. The whole point is aggregate resiliency through net diversity, either static or generated on demand. Hence, in our human cultures there are countless competing plans, each becoming obsolete as fast as contexts change.  Plus, all our plans are soon replaced by even better plans, which are made obvious just by observing unpredictable change. So a corollary point is to never stop SELECTING from all those proposed plans.

We navigate contexts by reacting and adapting, and NOT just by blithely predicting.

Zero predictive power, seemingly unlimited adaptive power (so far, at least), that's what we have.

What would General Patton have said about telling people HOW to manage GDP, or to "get a job?" Here's my 1st guess: "@#$%^&*! Don't be a fool, Cultural Soldier! Now what's our situation?"


Matt Franko said...

Roger sounds like we should be examining these people within the context of "germ members"? I think we need more examination of this aspect of biology to perhaps better understand how these morons really tick....

I'm going to look into this... rsp

jrbarch said...

Nice graphic Roger. There was a highschool kid that made a little 2 minute video depicting the human segment you might like:

Roger Erickson said...

Attempts to rely upon "germ members" apparently simply doesn't work -outside of the social insects.

Sexual recombination among a few just doesn't generate the diversity humans & most other eusocial animals require for their cultural resilience.

That's apparently why there's so much inter-class turnover, whenever you look closely. People touted as geniuses for newly emerging tasks come from unpredictable backgrounds and lineages.

Gauss? (his dad was a peasant bricklayer?)

Tesla? (his dad was an orthodox priest?)

On and on, to the USA, where our best successes were from flouting class-based sexual recombination, and ramping up faster "cultural-recombination" rates.

Class warfare is pretty stupid, from the view of cultural adaptive rate.

Roger Erickson said...

Thanks, jrbarch,

I do remember that one. There are countless similar examples. Most students see at least some printed version if they take high-school biology. Or maybe even a history class.

Can't imagine what the heck went wrong with orthodox "economics" education.

On second thought, I can.

Orthodox Economics is the result of aristocrats paying dishonest academics to rationalize attempts at social dominance schemes.

It's all a waste of time.

jrbarch said...

Yes! Seventy laps around the sun (on average) is the socially dominant scheme.

What makes a human being different to the animals and everything else is not the atoms we are made from: - its our potential to be fulfilled!

Not through the mind or what is on the outside; but through an energy centre we recognise as the 'heart' (all atoms resolve themselves in energy).

These are the simple bases of being human. Ever since the caveman looked up at the stars and wondered why he was here? This energy of longing within the human heart, this thirst - is the engine that drives both the morons and the enlightened, from birth to death.

That never changes ....

Roger Erickson said...

The real kicker here is that the vast majority of both Innocent Frauds and Control Frauds are nowhere near bright enough to sense the aggregate outcome of their personal compulsions.

Group intelligence is always held in the BODY OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE, which we have to generate, before we can tune and leverage it.