Archive for October 26, 2010

NSFW Links: Oct 27, 2010

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment
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Complex Systems Can Magnify Events

October 26, 2010 1 comment

Many clever morons believe that the world does not change beyond the predictions of their pathetic, antiquated and incomplete models. Reality suggests otherwise..

Let me explain-

What was the maximal effect that 19-20 guys with gladius-type swords could have hoped to achieve during the roman empire?

Now, what effect did the infamous 19, armed with box-cutters, have on the US economy, zeitgeist and way of living.

So what changed? Clever morons might dismiss it as the effects of “multiculturalism” etc, but what was the real reason for its impact?

Could the real reason be that technology, in all its manifestations, made the system magnify its impact? Would it have had the same impact in a world without computers, cell-phones, cable news and high connectivity? Would that event even been possible without the development of cheap wide-bodied jets? Did that event not set off a whole series of secondary/tertiary events, some related and others not immediately obvious whose impact is now part of our reality?

Would it have had the same impact in the 1970-80s? What about the 1950-60s? See the pattern?

Likewise, the casualties suffered in ww1 and ww2 battles would now be considered unacceptable. Why? Because at that time the system was simpler, much less productive but also more robust. Moreover, such casualties were considered “normal” then. Today we know better, and people have a far more cynical view of governments, war and nationalism. Plus we have nukes.

Once again, the same pattern can be seen.

A combination of developments in technology, communication and social attitudes will always make older assumptions about how people behave and react obsolete. The net effect of such changes will close many older avenues for action while simultaneously opening new ones.

However, perceiving reality requires the ability to be an objective observer. Clever morons lack the ability to be objective, unlike small kids.


Businesses Do Not Create Jobs: 2

October 26, 2010 5 comments

In the first part of this series, I talked about the fact that businesses do not employ people other than as a necessary evil.

Some of you might counter by pointing out companies like the old GE, IBM and Sony as examples who innovated and employed many people. My answer is- that only proves my point.

Old mega-companies like GE, IBM and Sony were run less like businesses and more as organizations.

Got it? They were not run for immediate profit and maximizing shareholder or management gains. Nor did they have extensive managerial (MBA-type) and legal (Corporate Lawyer) interference. Employees had good job security, pensions and were generally treated with a “hands-off” approach as long as the bottom line was not affected.

The mega-companies of old had more in common with government departments than present day corporations. Those old mega-companies were.. socialistic. It also helped that they made real stuff or provided real services as opposed to making most of their “profits” through financial shenanigans and accounting “rules”.

Compare any of them to the typical corporation today. Are they anything more than vaguely similar?

Organisations can innovate, create jobs and improve society. Whether they are public or private is both trivial and inconsequential. They exist and operate for reasons beyond scams, frauds and rent extraction.

Businesses, on the other hand, cannot create jobs nor innovate because their sole purpose of existence is to enrich their “managers” and maybe their shareholders. They have no responsibility to the society they exist in, nor to the people who work for them.

Nameplates can be misleading, but internal mechanism don’t lie.


Asians are Either Idiots or Liars: 2

October 26, 2010 9 comments

In the previous part of this series, I had given an example of how asians failed to capitalize on a massive technological lead in the field of printing. If you ask people from those countries/cultures about the reasons behind that failure, they will give many logical-sounding reasons but miss the obvious ones.

behaviors arising from short-sighted greed aka zero sum thinking

So why did the Chinese never develop a simplified writing system? To protect official jobs from competition? Why did they ignore the west even after they realized that they were being overtaken? Were they that stupid?

Maybe they were too clever for their own good- clever is not intelligent.

You see, clever morons (high IQ fucktards) are very good at fooling themselves that they know it all, and have a vested interest/ego in maintaining that illusion. They will go to great lengths and effort to rationalize and explain what should be abandoned and forgotten.

Their egos/positions/self-image are tied into their make-believe “reality”. It is therefore high IQ morons who are the most uninnovative and resistant to change. Combine that with a culture which respects authority and age. Now is it obvious why they fucked up so badly and for so long?

It takes an intelligent person to accept that he/she was wrong. Clever people merely rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic/Hindenburg.

The chinese were so confident (and are still fairly) about their worldview that they ignored what they saw. It was as if the world around them had never changed, because admitting it had would necessitate accepting that they were wrong. It would also mean accepting that their previous sources of authority were not as omnipotent, wise and all-knowing. The chinese way of looking at the outside world WAS their defacto religion.

So what about Indians?

In contrast to the chinese, indians were not excessively xenophobic plus they had almost continuous exposure to the near east-and west. They also had far fewer qualms about adopting alien ways, language and technology, so why did they not innovate?

They made another series of mistakes, peculiar to their culture. They spent more time screwing each other for tiny gains that co-operate. This behavior is by no means unique to indians, but is especially prevalent in that culture. But why? It comes down to concept of clan (jati) loyalty. If your loyalty is predominantly directed towards your clan, it hard to form stable systems larger than clans. Combined with limited geographical mobility, it created a level of suspicion, paranoia and non-cooperation that made the whole culture ripe for foreign invasions.

Consider that it took islam over 400 years to make any dent in india, but it made huge gains in the 13th century, before being marginalized in the 17th century till today. So why were islamic armies NOT able to do much in India between the 7th century AD to the late 11th century AD? This is something I will write about in some detail in a future post. Lets just say, the culture in 6th century India was far more intellectually open and flexible than in the 10th century.

Essentially, just like the chinese (but for somewhat different reasons) indians also thought that they knew it all. However unlike the chinese, they did want to modernize but on their own terms. Their failure was linked to a social structure/milieu which was not conducive to the amount of change required to do so.

Modernization required more co-operation than the existent social system could provide or adapt to quickly.

A good example of this behavior can be seen in the reasons why indians did not use the printing press, though they have every reason, opportunity and ability to do so. The process of printing requires literate, skilled people who are willing to get their hands dirty. But a society where skilled literate people do not want to get their hands dirty, for fear of clan stigma/disapproval, will not make, use and improve printing presses.

Will write more in a future post of this series.