Monday, November 26, 2012

The Only Variant of Capitalism That Works is Pass-Through Capitalism

commentary by Roger Erickson

Soros' views on complex systems are passe, of course, to any 1st student in any system science whatsoever (math, physics, chem, ecology, biology, etc), but the article drives home some great points about the separation of theory and operations in the daily life of humans.

'One of Soros's intellectual hallmarks is an ability to quickly size up who wins in such a scenario. This is a useful habit of mind if you run a hedge fund. It also happens to be a very Eastern European way of thinking: Vladimir Lenin famously insisted that the key question of any political agenda was "who whom?" -- as in, who is doing what to whom?'

That question always occurs as part of a series. At one end is the question of group responsibility. What are WE doing to OURSELVES? Enough?

Track the pace of organization by tracking local "frictions?"  That way of thinking is not isolated to Eastern Europe, it's universal in dumb systems.  Going further, catalyzing ways to circumvent distributed frictions is the gateway to scalable Adaptive Rate in smarter cultures - i.e., those capable of more advanced system tuning.  It's also a reminder to view any system of complex operations as following a survival path, by tipping along, via a dynamic, subtly morphing disequilibrium between a great many conflicting forces. Dumb forces, at that, each with their own, blind local momentum that simply continues ... until it doesn't. People tend to forget that, and anthropomorphise collections of simple observations into quite silly projections. Reality is that Human Culture = Alice in Blunderland.

All parasites search for such friction points, to separate the foolish civil combatants from their shared resources. In political terms, prophets and statesmen do so in order to design appropriate tuning catalysts to bypass the frictions. Fusing the crude nomenclature, group Adaptive Rate reduces to the dynamic ratio of parasites/statesmen, which in turn reduces to the expanding perceptive range of the parasites. In bio-political jargon, what's the definition of a statesman? A parasite who finally realizes that there are orders of magnitude more profits accessible post coordination.  Systemic growth always starts with sensing potential, then continues by linking, staging & sequencing steps to access more of that potential.  Obviously, some statesmen are better than others, and some electorates don't always select their best statesmen.   Would Soros make a good President or Prime Minister?  Does talent for perceiving frictions guarantee talent for catalyzing circumventions?  Talent for alleviating distributed frictions?  Talent for system tuning?

This brings us back to a simple axiom stated in various ways in all system sciences.

There is no point of seeming stability in the natural world that is not a dynamic equilibrium between [blindly] conflicting forces.

More accurately: There is no survival path in the natural world that is not followed via dynamically shaped dis-equilibrium between [blindly] conflicting forces.

It's only a question of which group tunes itself to fall down the rabbit hole faster. By definition we never have the bandwidth to reason with situations, only opportunities to shape and survive them. That holds whether training monkeys, or slowly training a human culture. Group intelligence is the OUTCOME of shaping both our group and our situation by practice. It is not the original intent, or even the practice, but the outcome of a ruthless selection process.

Simple logic says that every Automatic Stabilizer used to shore up the base should be matched with another Automatic Destabilizer, exposing citizens to our potential to pursue even greater challenges. Anything less, after all, is boring, and just failure to explore our expanding options.

There is no accelerated Adaptive Rate in the natural world that does not follow the rate of repurposing resource-sink parasites into passthrough catalysts.

Sequestering capital is useless.  Putting it to work for the general welfare is useful.  The only variant of capitalism that works is pass-through capitalism, which is simply tribalism on a larger scale.

If we don't want the kids sitting around the unemployment office, complaining that they're bored, then it all boils down to which of the challenges they propose we carefully select to support. Our selection quality - including rate - is are potentially how we provision our future Adaptive Rate. If we don't select quickly and wisely, someone else will shape situations, and probably not as well as we could have.


Matt Franko said...

"All parasites search for such friction points,"

This is interesting Roger... Steve Roth had a flash on our present circumstances being similar to what occurred during the Cholera epidemics I guess in the mid 1800's...

Roth points out that the public health officials didnt know what was going on and decided to drain the cesspools into the rivers which ended up exacerbating the spread of the parasites....

But then from the wiki on Cholera:

"When consumed most bacteria do not survive the acidic conditions of the human stomach.[12] The few surviving bacteria conserve their energy and stored nutrients during the passage through the stomach by shutting down much protein production. When the surviving bacteria exit the stomach and reach the small intestine they need to propel themselves through the thick mucus that lines the small intestine to get to the intestinal walls where they can thrive. V. cholerae bacteria start up production of the hollow cylindrical protein flagellin to make flagella, the cork-screw helical fibers they rotate to propel themselves through the mucus of the small intestine.
Once the cholera bacteria reach the intestinal wall they no longer need the flagella to move. The bacteria stop producing the protein flagellin to conserve energy and nutrients by changing the mix of proteins which they express in response to the changed chemical surroundings. On reaching the intestinal wall V. cholerae start producing the toxic proteins that give the infected person a watery diarrhea. This carries the multiplying new generations of V. cholerae bacteria out into the drinking water of the next host if proper sanitation measures are not in place....."

Eventually the bacteria start to secrete chemical compounds that start an osmosis across the human cell walls that starts a "leakage" of water from within the closed system of the human body that dehydrates the body to fatal conditions... Is this the "friction point" do you think?

Who is the parasite in our present scenario? The morons who make policy dont seem like they are the parasites? Just like the ignorant pumped the contaminated water into the river ways back then... these morons actually facilitated things for the true parasites which was the bacteria...

Trying to get this analogy straight in my mind...


Roger Erickson said...

"Trying to understand the human predicament of being born into a world that exceeds our capacity to fully understand," he told me, "is what I am most interested in and most preoccupied with."

Too bad Soros never met Darwin, or any existing biology/ecology student.

Roger Erickson said...

@ MFranko
"Who is the parasite in our present scenario?"

Any & all capitalists who, like Soros or Buffet, diverts capital from buyers/sellers into their hoarded cache.

Savings beyond immediate liquidity needs only slows the exploration of our expanding options. The border between liquidity & excessive savings is one of the tolerance limits all adaptive cultures must stay within survival distance of.

Innocent Fraud is, by definition, at least a transiently acting parasite. Our plastic behavior allows us opportunities to minimize our time spent in parasitical activities. It's one form of variance which we can't eradicate, only try to keep within tolerance limits.

Roger Erickson said...

"Eventually the bacteria start to secrete chemical compounds ... Is this the "friction point" do you think?"

The friction point I'm talking about is the transactions between our own cells that require a given molecular receptor for efficient execution. (The receptor in this case normally regulates inter-cellular fluid conditions required for various intestinal functions, from drier to wetter to flushing out toxins.)

The clumsiness of receptor/agonist binding, and competition for the flow of energy it exposes, is one of the "friction points" I'm describing as any/all transaction processes.

The cholera bacterium, acting in this case as a parasite, capitalizes on the existing liquidity transaction by diverting the otherwise regulated outcome unlocked via that receptor.

To the cholera bacterium, we're no different from any other barrier standing between it and nutrient-rich fluids. It just statistically "recognized" the correlation between extra-production of a given protein and unleashing of otherwise sequestered nutrient soups. Hence, those bacteria who happen to produce extra amounts of that protein in the right situation ... outgrow those who don't happen to.

Given enough pressure, some human variant will be selected which doesn't just block the cholera bacterium, but captures & controls it or it's protein, and uses it to transition expression of the prior parasite functions to a newly efficient catalyst allowing the human to more flexibly explore emerging options.

Useful parasites routinely get "domesticated." You could describe every domestic animal as previously a parasite, until we chose to control the parasite for our own use.

Ditto for bankers. Their time is coming, and their process perversions will themselves be adaptively subverted to social utility. Someday. Once we get bored enough to more closely scruitinize their actions.

It always comes to whom is controlling whom. Can YOU control a Control Fraud? :)

Roger Erickson said...

"Vultures are circling the carrion of sovereign debt"

Our constant opportunity is to repurpose these parasites - through re-regulation. Just do it.

Matt Franko said...

Looks like we humans need to exchange.

Just as the cells have to exchange fluids via the osmosis.

So flows between humans is necessary.

The Cholera (parasite) seems to corrupt the biological flow for its own purposes that end up counter to those of the human host. (Creates high concentrations of electolytes on outside wall of the human tissue that starts a osmosis flow of water from inside to outside of the body)...

The parasite uses the action of the osmosis flows to benefit itself at the expense of the host...

Looks like a physician would reestablish the flows to the host via a saline IV as a first step, cutoff the supply of the tainted water sources and then seek to help the human body eradicate the parasite....

I still dont think I have this analogy nailed down but may be getting closer... this was an interesting analogy Roth brought up with the Cholera imo....


Tom Hickey said...

Just as the cells have to exchange fluids via the osmosis.

So flows between humans is necessary.

Yes, and economic rent and externalities are parasitical on the healthy exchange.

Matt Franko said...

Roger I'm confused as to whether the parasite is these "vultures" or the arrangements of law that facilitates their extraction?

Or are what you are saying is that our laws/regulations are like "osmosis" in the Cholera example and these vultures are the parasites that can use these laws to benefit themselves at the expense of their host?

and re-regulation would be like "changing osmosis", which we cant do in science but we CAN do within our own legal authorities/laws?


Matt Franko said...


I'm having trouble with this Cholera analogy but I think there is something valuable there....

I'm just having trouble going back and forth between nature and human authority in the analogy...

In the cholera epidemic the humans involved didnt "change osmosis" they eradicated the parasitic bacteria...

but I also see Rogers point here where I believe Roger is suggesting that we can actually "change osmosis" via OUR laws/regulations...

Having trouble here... rsp,

Tom Hickey said...

Think of the authority as the immune system. The financial crisis was largely the result of a compromised immune system that allowed the parasites to take over the host.

Roger Erickson said...

'I'm confused as to whether the parasite is these "vultures" or the arrangements of law that facilitates their extraction?'

The vultures are the parasites. Laws etc are just situation attributes that they manipulate.

'Or are what you are saying is that our laws/regulations are like "osmosis" in the Cholera example and these vultures are the parasites that can use these laws to benefit themselves at the expense of their host?'

Every word in all language has multiple, context-specific meanings. For here, let's agree that [Osmosis = the potential driving a flow]. Receptors & other physical regulation points modify constrain & direct flows. Laws are virtual receptors & modifiers in a human culture.

'and re-regulation would be like "changing osmosis", which we cant do in science but we CAN do within our own legal authorities/laws?'

Re-regulation is equivalent to altering the properties and/or distribution of membrane receptors in a physical model.

Whether in physical or virtual models, every component in all complex systems is the result of a cascade of prior physical and/or virtual regulatory steps.

Via embryogenesis or culturogenesis, every human individual or group culture is the ongoing outcome of a incredibly deeply nested prior flow of steps.

Matt Franko said...

" let's agree that [Osmosis = the potential driving a flow]. Receptors & other physical regulation points modify constrain & direct flows. Laws are virtual receptors & modifiers in a human culture."

OK I think I get that...

From the Cholera wiki:

"Researchers have discovered a complex cascade of regulatory proteins controls expression of V. cholerae virulence determinants. In responding to the chemical environment at the intestinal wall, the V. cholerae bacteria produce the TcpP/TcpH proteins, which, together with the ToxR/ToxS proteins, activate the expression of the ToxT regulatory protein. ToxT then directly activates expression of virulence genes that produce the toxins, causing diarrhea in the infected person and allowing the bacteria to colonize the intestine."

So the osmosis or "potential" is always there driving the basic flows .... the parasite can turn off and on certain regulatory parameters so the flows are directed/changed so itself benefits to the deteriment of the host...

So the parasites today are probably manipulating regs/laws to an extent in order to benefit themselves to the detriment of the "host" which I guess is humanity...

So when we change regs/laws, its like we are changing the relationships between these proteins? And basic osmosis (human exchange) remains unchanged?


Matt Franko said...

Roger and Tom,

I think this analogy is important and valuable to fully understand...

Questions we should work out (on BOTH sides of the analogy):

Who or what is the:

MMT Economists?
Immune System?
Adaptive techniques?
System Authority?

This list is not exhaustive...

I believe IF (big "if") we could make these analogies and look at how our scientific/medical community works in conjunction with the scientific FACTS/TRUTH and our immune system to prevent this parasite Cholera from harming humans, it may give us better insight into HOW to go about correcting/preventing the current "malady" in our economies...

Related scriptures (I have) in view:

"14 And Jesus, coming into Peter's home, perceived his mother-in-law prostrate and with a fever.
15 And He touches her hand, and the fever leaves her. " Mat 8:14

(He had the authority to deal with the biology directly, but WE DO NOT)

"4 "Now they are binding loads, heavy and hard to bear, and are placing them on men's shoulders, yet they are not willing to stir them with their finger..." Mat 23:4

(There can appear to be human "parasites" among us..)

"12 for it is NOT ours to wrestle with blood and flesh, BUT with the sovereignties, with the authorities..." Eph 6:12

(rather than physical confrontations, we have to deal with these destructive human "parasites" via the just/righteous authority we HAVE been granted... btw which the morons among us assist in the denial thereof: eg "free market", "We're out of money", etc..)

We, as always, have the backdrop of nature to provide us insight into what is REALLY going on and should seek to fully understand this analogy imo...


Roger Erickson said...

Tom nailed it:

"Think of the authority as the immune system. The financial crisis was largely the result of a compromised immune system that allowed the parasites to take over the host."

The "authority" is always the "face" of a huge series of feedback loops. One that has to CONSTANTLY self-tune into adaptive vs mal-adaptive permutations for succeeding situations.