Tragedy of the commons and Ostrom

The Tragedy of the Commons: How Elinor Ostrom Solved One of Life’s Greatest Dilemmas

The design principles for solving the tragedy of the commons can be applied to all groups

Hi David
Everything you write make sense to me, and there is a deeper set of perspectives that you have not made explicit, and I can perhaps understand why given the difficulty demonstrated here of many comprehending even as far as you have taken this.

And to me, several things have become clear over my half century of engagement with the many levels of complexity involve in evolution.

The first key thing to get about evolution, is that it is about the differential survival of variations over time and context.

Variations of what?
What sort of contexts?

Coming to an understanding that evolution works simultaneously at every level of association takes a bit of coming to terms with.

Understanding Axelrod’s work, and the fact that for cooperative systems to survive, they require attendant strategies to prevent cheating, takes a bit of getting used to.

When one starts to view evolution in a complex systems context, with multiple simultaneous overlapping sets of agents, systems and constraints, exploring a possibility space that seems to potentially contain an infinite set of infinities, then all notions of equilibrium disappear.
Complex adaptive systems are permanently exploring new spaces, there is no such thing as equilibrium even potentially possible.

When one starts to look at the history of life through this lens of complex cooperative systems, one starts to see that all new levels of complexity are characterised by new levels of cooperation.

Sure intergroup competition can be a strong factor in evolution when an environment does not contain sufficient resources for all group members to survive.
That is a common context, and it is not a universal context.

As human beings, we live in a time when our ability to automate systems is doubling many times faster than our population, we should be experiencing freedom, security and abundance beyond anything in history.

Does anyone here feel safe and secure?
I most certainly don’t.

Why is that?

That simple question has been one of the central questions in my mind for a little over 42 years.

I am now completely clear (beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt) that the single greatest contributing factor to that lack of security is using markets as a measure of value.

It is the fact that markets always deliver a price point that is some function of utility multiplied by some function of scarcity (inverse of abundance). The more we want something, the higher the price, the less there is of something the higher the price.

Anything universally abundant (zero scarcity) must by definition have zero price, evidence air. Air is arguably the single most important commodity for any human being, yet it has a market price of zero, because it is universally abundant (in most contexts).

Fully automated systems have the ability to produce whatever they produce in universal abundance, but allowing them to do so would remove all profit from the flow of that good or service. Our current economic systems are about optimising profit, not about meeting the reasonable needs of people universally.

When most goods and services were in fact genuinely scarce, markets did in fact serve many valuable roles.
The context has changed.

Automation changes everything, fundamentally!!!

We do now have the tools to allow us to create systems to support universal cooperation, where that cooperation is based in the notions of individual life and individual liberty, in a contextual set of responsible actions including social and ecological contexts.

Indefinite life extension makes it in the long term self interests of each and every one of us to be both cooperative and tolerant, and to be vigilant in searching out and identifying cheating strategies at every level.

Arguably our entire economic system is now a very close approximation to a cheating system at every level. And that comes back to the fundamental conflict between the need of markets for scarcity to deliver value, and the need of individual humans for an abundance of the basic necessities of life to deliver security and empower self actualisation in whatever sets of dimensions an individual responsibly chooses (freedom/liberty).

Like you David, I am involved in may levels of community groups, and currently chair 4 such groups, one for over a decade, and have been involved in other capacities in other groups over a similar period. Consensus can work, and it requires building trust and gaining agreement on shared values, and coming back to those shared values whenever an impasse is reached.

There are many economic forces directly arrayed against all such action, because they are focused on what worked in the past, and have failed to see the sorts of futures that exponential advances in automation are delivering that dwarf anything from our past.

It is time to start acknowledging that for all our many differences we are all much more alike than we are different, and the security of every one of us is related to security of everyone else.

Universal cooperation is not just possible as a result of advances in computation and automation, it is in fact the only path that offers a significant probability of any of us surviving for very long.

It is time for each and every one of us to become as aware as we can of that simple fact, and start taking small responsible steps towards universal cooperation, while simultaneously being tolerant of diversity and alert for cheating strategies.

Not an easy thing, and doable.

I never got to meet Lin.
I am a cancer survivor.
I am deeply involved in a project here in New Zealand that she consulted on some years ago.

A big part of this awareness, is becoming aware that all of our likes and dislikes, at every level of biology and culture, seem to have at their base differential survival amongst available alternatives.
Another part is realising that all our experience is of a model of reality created by the subconscious processes of our brains. We never have direct access to the real thing, the logic and neurophysiology of that is undeniable.

It seems that there does exist the possibility of a peaceful secure future for all, and other possibilities exist also, many of them devoid of human beings.

All of our individual choices do matter.

[followed by]

Hi Peter,

The two concepts are entirely equivalent. It kind of reminds me of the path of development of quantum mechanics, where what appeared to be three very different approaches were eventually shown to be mathematically equivalent.

What you call “division of competencies” is what I call “cooperation” – they are logically one and the same thing, just viewed differently.

Your claim that ‘“Division of competencies” is unknown in biology.’ is however clearly false.
In considering that claim, just consider the human body from a “cell’s eye” perspective. All of the cells share identical genetic material. Yet different lines of cells, as a result of subtle variations in context, develop different expressions of that material into different competencies, delivering all the different organs and functionality one finds in the human body (or the body of any other complex animal or plant).

The essential step that allows such complexity and cooperation (division of competencies) is the development of sexual reproduction, and gene sharing amongst cell lines, which allows bigger collections than just cells to be established.

Once one starts to view systems as being functions of:
the processes present;
the boundary conditions between processes;
the contexts of those systems;
the variations or modulations of these over time and space;
the recursive nature of the systemic incentive sets (as per games theory, theory of moves, and recursive extensions of these principles into higher dimensional spaces);
then one starts to get an idea of what evolution is, and the depths of complexity present in the constantly evolving exploration of the infinite sets of possibilities possible.

Differential survival is exactly equivalent to “loss prevention”.
What is “loss”, if not increased probability of death (reduced fitness in Darwinian terms)?

Don’t get hung up on any particular level of expression of evolution.

Human beings are not a single level expression of evolution.
We are an expression of about 20 levels of evolution simultaneously.
About 10 of those levels are driven off molecular interactions, starting with RNA as catalysts and diffusion gradients as boundary conditions, and working on up through levels of molecular interaction leading eventually to cells, then levels of cellular interaction leading to bodies, then levels of body interactions leading to ecologies.

We humans have these amazing general purpose Turing machine brains, that also come with a vast array of special purpose (hard wired) subsystems. This system has allowed the development of what in the broadest of terms we can call “culture”, as an expression of mimetic interactions and differential survival (division of competencies) over deep time.

It is now clear, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, that our conscious awareness is a software entity, in a human brain, existing in a software model of reality, and that software is the result of about 10 levels of recursive mimetic evolution.

At this level, what survives isn’t the bodies, their survival is irrelevant in a sense, though very important to us as self aware individuals. Our self awareness is a sort of hitchhiker on the system generally. It is a level of system, an emergent property, of a very complex set of levels of system that are entirely based on levels of cooperation (levels of “divisions of competencies” to use your expression of that self same concept). And Axelrod (et al) clearly showed by experiment that raw cooperation is always vulnerable. Cooperation (division of competency), requires attendant strategies to prevent being overwhelmed by cheating strategies (arguably most of our current suite of governance and finance systems).

From where I am looking, we are both saying the same thing, except that you appear to not as yet be able to distinguish the equivalence of my view.
And the history of science (of culture) is replete with examples of such things.
John Gribbin’s “Science a History” is a great introduction (as is Goldmans lecture series), and neither is a replacement for having lived it for half a century. I completed my undergrad biochemistry studies in 1974, and in that year was in the very first undergraduate class on the planet to be taught Wegener’s plate tectonics theory. The computer I had to work on at that time used paper tape, punched cards, and reel to reel tapes, it had no hard drive (that came later in that year).

So in one sense, I entirely agree with you.
Yes division of competencies.
And in another sense, we fundamentally disagree where you claim ‘“Division of competencies” is unknown in biology’.
To me, clearly, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, my existence is based upon about 20 levels of division of competencies in two very distinct domains, which open up the possibility of an emergent third class of domains.

What is abundantly clear, is that the signaling systems provided by markets can no longer meet the demands required of it.
Transition is required.
Something else entirely needs to emerge.
All of the required elements exist.
And there exists systemic dangers, existential risk, in the transition.
Nothing is risk free, and the risk profile of the current system is heading into very dangerous territory very quickly.
Managing those transitional risks, minimising them to the greatest degree possible, is what I am about.
There are much safer alternatives, that are of real benefit to every individual (including in the domains of security and freedom), and getting there isn’t a foregone conclusion.

In an economic sense, fully automated processes allow us to “out source” and “replicate” division of competencies. At least in as far as such competencies are necessary for the production of the set of goods and services required for individual humans to survive, such automation delivers liberty to all. And of course there will always remain a sense in which we all have our unique sets of competencies.

[followed by]

Hi Peter,

Put a heart cell in a brain, or a brain cell in a heart, and it wont work.

Those cells have identical genetic material, but due to differences in developmental paths and inter-cellular signalling have developed different morphologies and different competencies. A neuron cannot contract a heart and a heart muscle cell cannot transmit an electrical signal over long distances with high fidelity.
There is very definitely an aspect of competency present.
Sure those competencies are largely developed in a repeatable developmental process, which is why the control of the developmental environment is so crucial to outcomes achieved (take that to as many levels as you like with cultural or pedagogical systems).

Sure, we humans are much more complex than our individual cells, we have new levels of competencies, that is true, and they are competencies.

And just like our cells, we largely develop our competencies as a result of signalling between peers during a developmental process. The signalling is more complex. The competencies more complex. And it is essentially just a variation on a theme. A theme that one finds recursively throughout biology.

Worker bees can and do develop and transmit knowledge, quite independently of the queen, they just don’t breed. Have you studied bee behaviour in detail? I spent some time with them about 40 years ago from both a cybernetics perspective, as well as from behavioural perspectives – looking at the interplay of systems and biochemistry.

Once again, sure, there is a difference of degree, we are much more complex than bees, capable of far greater levels of competencies.

Sure humans have new modes of action and new modes of transmission.
We have writing, and movies and TV and plays and all manner of digital systems to help us communicate, and share competencies.

And as a software developer with over 30 years of developing commercial systems, I am very clear that most people are not consciously aware of the details of their competencies. It is very rare indeed for what someone says that they do to actually perfectly agree with what they do in practice. As an automator of systems, I need to observe very closely what it is that they actually do, then do my best to figure out why, then determine what it is that the company actually wants (by talking to and observing everyone else who actually uses anything derivative of that data, and all of the regulatory and commercial constraints on the systems), then I build a system to do what is needed.

We are complex entities, and we learn to do what works, even if it is different from what we think we are doing. Weird how often that happens!!!

And to be clear – this is multi level abstractions we are working with here – it is all analogy.

[followed by]

Hi Peter

This is getting really complex, and we are talking straight past each other much of the time because the terms we are using mean very different things to each of us.

In terms of evolution, it works at every level simultaneously.
What varies is the impact on the frequencies (the fitness) at each different level or grouping.
The boundary conditions at each level are important too.
What is the frequency of interchange between populations – the degree of boundary, the degree of leakage. Lions and tigers can interbreed, but they don’t normally, in practice.
Evolution always comes down to what happens in practice, rather than what is possible. Such is the nature of reality.
And that is a really complex topic, many levels, many degrees of permeability present in the different levels of boundaries.

In terms of what is evolving, that too is complex.

Bees are mostly restricted to genes and genetic expression.

Humans seem to have two and sometime 3 different domains present simultaneously.

We are all expressions of genetic evolution, in the shapes and function and potentialities of our physical body.
Part of that physical body is the brain, which is the domain of expression of the other two domains.

Learned behaviour is the next major domain, Mimetics. The ability to transmit a pattern of behaviour from one entity to another.
Many animals do this, but none to the degree or to the degrees of abstraction that we do. We are the only animal we are aware of that has developed language beyond simple verbs and nouns into a set of symbols capable of expressing recursively abstract concepts.
Many animals learn behaviours which are passed on in populations over generations and have significant impact on the survival of those groups – orca, elephants, apes, corvids, mustelids, …..
The dimensions of culture that our ability to use abstract symbols of language allows is exponentially beyond anything else we are currently aware of.
And all of this information can be understood in an evolutionary context, where the groupings of ideas or behaviours are the species, and the human brain is the environment within which they evolve.

And there is a third domain, of individual awareness, that is again recursively abstractable, and is not as yet transmissible. And that is a really complex topic.

And there are linkages between these thing.

What you are calling “division of competencies” in the sense you seem to be using it seems to equate to the evolution of “mimetic species” in the sense I am using.

The rate of the evolution of these “mimetic species” and the complexity of those “species” both seem to be on double exponential trajectories.

These “species” are a major aspect of what we are, and there is something else present also – and that can be tricky, because it is a double abstraction to begin with, and only gets more complex and more abstract from there in its evolution. It is a virtual systems within a symbolic model, within a predictive model of reality within a human brain. And of course it is influenced by all the pre-existing systems of genetics and mimetics including all cultural and emotional systems etc; and it is the biggest part of what we call “I”.

If you attempt to oversimplify evolution, you lose the ability it has to explain what is.
And we are each far too complex to ever understand in detail, only ever in broad brush stroke terms.
We all have aspects that are fundamentally unpredictable, however predictable we may appear to be much of the time.

In this context, our exponentially expanding ability to automate processes is making Ricardo’s theorem completely redundant – in fact making all exchange based thinking redundant.
Yes the theorem worked in practice in its time, and still does in a sense, and automation is overtaking everything.

It cannot be about exchange or comparative advantage any more, it has to be about something else.

[followed by]

Thanks for keeping on keeping on Peter,I do appreciate it.

And we are talking about different things much of the time.

In a very real sense, I have no argument with the core competency formulation you use, or even reformulating Ricardo’s theorem in that way.

Those aren’t the issue.

Yes physicians have medical assistants – at present.
And Watson is going to be a better doctor than most doctors very soon.

Our exponentially expanding ability to automate processes allows us to automate more and more competencies.

And sure, the set of possible competencies is infinite, we will always be able to develop new and interesting competencies – I have no issue with that aspect of being, I enjoy it.

What I have an issue with is the idea that people will need to exchange anything unless they really want to.

When we can fully automate all of the core competencies required to meet the needs for survival, then something fundamental changes in our systems.

Without a requirement to make money to survive, the dynamics of working together in groups can change substantially.

People can have real choice about only working with groups whose values align with their own.

It is something different.
It is an evolution in the way we organise our house.

[followed by]

Hi Peter,
My hat is off to you sir, I could not conduct a conversation like this in any other language – I have enough trouble in English 😉

And for all my efforts thus far I don’t appear to be doing such a good job.

If I go back a post, you stated “You can look with the same attitude at the universe. You can consider suns, planets, moons, asteroids, meteorids, galaxies, cluster of galaxies etc. altogether. But you will not have much success with such a method. If Newton had done this, he never had found his laws of gravitation. He found the laws by reducing complexity.” which is kind of true, in one sense, and false in another.

Yes that is what Newton did, and he did a great job, much improved the old understandings, invented calculus along the way. And my understanding of the the universe today goes far beyond Newton, beyond anything he ever conceptualised. In fact just about everything that he believed true has now been disproven. We now have much better models, much more accurate, much greater complexity. And for certain purposes, Newton’s understandings are close enough. And in the bigger picture, we are way past Newton.

And my understanding of the universe relies on quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is only possible to understand the distribution of matter, and the makeup and distribution of stars and galaxies, with recourse to QM. Without understanding quantum tunnelling effects, the way stars make heavier elements wouldn’t make sense. Without nuclear fusion the age of the universe is too young, without enough time for evolution. The distribution of the types of stars we see is directly related to quantum mechanics, and the sorts of quantum processes that occur under certain conditions.

In my mind, all these things form necessary linkages.

And Pythagorean geometry is near enough for many purposes, like building houses. But building a GPS network requires both QM and General relativity, Newtonian principles simply cannot deliver a working GPS system.

And evolution is like that for me.
It has so many levels, so many strategic interactions, and they are all very important to the big picture, just as quantum mechanics is essential to understanding the distribution of matter and the properties of the materials that make up this universe and make life possible on this planet.

You stated “With 10 billion people living shortly on the earth I see no possibility to automate the production of the basic resources for everybody, especially as we are already overexploitating the global resources.” I get that is a common view, and in a sense it is real, and it is also false in a much deeper and more important sense.

Yes, certainly, some of the technologies we are using today are not at all appropriate or sustainable – and for the most part we continue to use them for monetary reasons. We know how to do a lot of things much better than we do, but the money system works against such things in many different ways.

If you look at the big picture, the earth is about 500 million km^2. Since I am interested in energy in this paragraph, let’s reduce that to a circle facing the sun for simplicity, giving about 130 million km2. About a third of that is too cold, 2/3rds of the remainder is water, and we want to leave at least half the land in a natural state. That leaves us with 14 million km2, or 1,400 m^2 per person. It takes about 100m^2 of intensive horticulture to feed a person with reasonable redundancy. So if you used only a 5th of the remaining land as solar cells, 20% efficiency, then you have about 50KW continuous power available for every person.
That is enough to sustain a very high lifestyle.
It runs a lot of very smart software running a lot of very powerful machines, doing all the automated manufacturing and service delivery things necessary to feed, house, cloth, educate, and otherwise care for us.

That way we don’t have to do anything for anyone else, and most of us like doing things for other people some of the time, so most of us will continue to do that when both we and they agree it is appropriate.

So no, I see no technical problem in creating technologies that both deliver a very high standard of living to every individual, and take far better care of the ecosystems we share this planet with, than we are at present. But there is no way to do that within the existing money system, as market systems value scarcity and we need universal abundance (which by definition has no market value). The technology is easy compared to getting people to look at things differently.

Money, this system we have of judging value based on scarcity, doesn’t work when faced with technologies capable of delivering universal abundance.
Any such technology has the same value as air (nothing). Yet air is arguably the single most valuable good for every human being.

Money as a measure of value, markets as places where such a measure is defined, are rapidly approaching the end of their social utility, and are posing exponentially increasing risk to every one of us.

Money has been a very useful myth, and like Santa Claus, there comes a time in ones life when one needs to stop believing in such myths.

For me, what is important is individual life, and individual liberty; and those things have to exist in social and ecological contexts, which demands social and ecological responsibility from each and every one of us.

In the past, markets and money have performed many valuable roles, in arbitrage, in coordination, in signal generation and transmission, in risk mitigation, …. And all of those things can now be done much faster and much more accurately and simply by fully automated systems.

Competency loss is a very small part of what evolution selects for.

The layers of strategic systems present in even the most uneducated human adult are amazingly complex.

Competency loss prevention is a simple idea that works well in some contexts, but isn’t actually what is going on in the reality behind the ideas most of the time. Mostly it is much more complex, much more dynamic, many layers of simultaneously operating systems.

In the simple model of the Tragedy of the Commons that you described, the collapse of the entire system means they all die.
Alternatives that don’t die, get to survive – evolution works that way.
Lin Ostrom catalogued a collection that had survived for thousands of years. She modelled that in several different contexts, one of which David wrote of in the article above.

And in all of that complexity, I am clear beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, that the long term self interests of every individual (even the most wealthy and powerful in the current system) is tied up in us delivering security of life and liberty to every individual.

And if you think things are diverse now, wait until the economic brakes come off and every individual has the freedom to self actualise and explore whatever sets of possibility spaces they responsibly choose (where such responsibility includes conscious risk mitigation for all significant risks to others and the environment we all share), in whatever self selected groupings arise.

In this sense, I am all for evonomics, which to me means evolving our economic system (in the classical sense of economics being the management of our household, in the largest sense of our joint house, this planet we live on), beyond its current myopic focus on markets and money as management tools.

And I see that being in the nature of the systemic playing fields we create, the sorts of boundaries and incentives, at recursive levels.

Actually doing that will require a detailed knowledge of all the strategic levels of highly evolved systems, as well as a sound knowledge of complex systems, ecology, quantum mechanics, automation, biology, engineering, and many other disciplines.

That is as simple as it gets.
Try making it any more simple, and it aint going to work!

This is not a trivial issue.
And it is a real issue.
And it does seem to me to be an issue that has real solutions that will work in the real world.

[followed by]

This is not the Land of Cockaigne.
I am not for a moment suggesting that all comforts and pleasures are immediately at hand.

I have survived a terminal cancer diagnosis by essentially ignoring all of the deep biological demands for comforts and pleasures and doing what seemed most likely to optimise my survival probabilities.

I am suggesting that survival needs for all would be met, with a reasonable margin.
I am suggesting that such is in fact a requirement if anyone is to be serious about exploring any of the infinite sets of possibilities available to be explored.

I am not suggesting that freedom is without constraint.
I am suggesting that we are continually doing our best to optimise freedom within the constraints of social and ecological responsibility.
And that is not a simple exercise.

I am also clear that the incentive sets delivered by markets are not compatible with universal abundance of anything.

Put another way – poverty for many is a systemic feature of any market based system.

I live at 42 deg South, the cells on the roof of my house operate at about 16.8% efficiency and deliver a little over 230 KWhrs/yr/m^2.
Higher efficiency cells in equatorial desert regions can do a lot better.

Put simply, in a strategic sense, multi national corporations tend to be cheating strategies on the general cooperative framework that most people live in. The entire finance and political systems tend to be generally characterisable as cheating strategies.

Games theory is clear, unless there are effective mechanisms in place to detect and punish cheating strategies, all cooperative entities are vulnerable to cheating, and that gets ugly quickly.

Cheating strategies have taken over.

That makes the entire system unstable, for everyone, cheats and cooperators alike.
If the cheats are too short sighted to see where their long term interest lies, then the results will not be pretty.

I am still cautiously optimistic that enlightened self interest will prevail, and we will all benefit from automation.
After 30 years of running a software company, I know it is possible, and I also know it is not a trivial set of projects.

[followed by]

Hi Peter

I see how difficult this is to get.

I agree that for most of history markets did provide high social utility in terms that promoted the general welfare, as long as there were sufficient strategies present to prevent dominance by cheating strategies. I have said that consistently.
I am not focused on the past, but on the future.

And the legal systems are now so dominated by the interests of the money systems that no other systems are possible in practice. One cannot control land without a source of money to pay land taxes. One cannot travel without paying travel taxes, etc.

Competency loss prevention is simply another name for short term self interest in an environment dominated by short term incentive systems (quarterly profit statements).

At the deeper level human behaviour is dominated by two major strategic classes which are context sensitive.
In groups where there are sufficient resources for all to have a “fair” share, we can be highly cooperative.
In groups where there are insufficient resources for all to have a fair share, we become very competitive.
That can vary, over context, space and time, and we can display multiple simultaneous modalities in situations with multiple simultaneous contexts.
We have many levels of subconscious context identification and behaviour/strategy selection mechanisms.
We have many levels of subconscious systems that prevent us from consciously anticipating our own behaviour in competitive situations (for to do so would make us vulnerable to exploitation by opponents capable of reading hints of choices – basic games theory, theory of moves stuff).

At one level we each have these mechanisms encoded in our DNA, in the structure of our brains.

At another level there are recursive elements of these strategic systems encoded in many levels of culture, from simple punishment systems, to concepts like sins and virtues, through many levels of legal and “cultural” and economic and ethical and strategic systems.

At every level, in every one of those systems, individual action is a complex mix of strategies across contexts.

We are capable of generating recursively more complex abstract “spaces” but many do not.

All of these many levels of strategy in action exist simultaneously. Plato explicitly identified two such levels in the Republic.
I am clear that there is no potential limit on the levels available – the set is potentially infinite, though in practice most people only explore very small numbers (0 and 1 being most common, with very few people making it to double digits, and I am not aware of anyone having made it to triple digits – I have only personally explored into the low double digits).

Plato also explicitly states in the Republic that there are situations in reality where one level can “trump” another. That appears to be recursively true through all levels, at least in logic and in my limited explorations of the first few levels.

I am also clear that boolean logic is but the simplest of a potentially infinite class of logics and truth values.

I am also clear that hard causality is but the simplest class of possible probability spaces (with only two possibilities 0 & 1).

QM clearly indicates that the reality we live in is not hard causality, and it does approximate it at some levels.

Newton’s idea of gravity is a very simplistic approximation. It works in practice to within degrees of accuracy. It is simply an inverse square relationship of radius to area of a sphere (flux density in a sense).
That works where space is reasonably flat, but fails at higher curvatures – hence the need for relativity when doing GPS systems. Time also seems to be a local, not a universal phenomenon, but we are all in roughly the same place going at roughly the same speed, hence the common concept of universal time (it is a useful approximation in practice).

We are way past the utility of simplistic notions like “competency loss prevention”.
Agent based modelling of actions within perceived value sets works.

Most people inherit their value sets from genetics and culture. Very few are aware of the depths of either. Fewer still make personal choices that go beyond either.
Few develop competencies to allow conscious level override of all of them and develop conscious influence over the context selecting subsystems of brain. Fewer still develop models that go beyond any culture.

When one does get into that space, one becomes very conscious of the heuristic nature of all knowledge, and the depths to which evolution (differential survival of populations of variants) defines who we each are as individuals, in our probabilities of formation and expression of habits of thought, in the probabilities of the levels of models of reality that can arise in such internal environments, with resultant probabilities of strategies and phenotypic actions etc).

I have had some amazing conversations, with very interesting people, in many different social contexts. And over the last 6 years I have personally seen that most people would rather die than change basic habits like food preference (and more than half are willing to make a start, but less than half stick to it with the level of consistency required – so it is a very interesting, and changing, distribution).

I am not particularly political, emotional, religious, or reliant on conspiracies. And in complex strategic environments, conspiracies happen, and not everything is a conspiracy.

Once one starts to build a catalogue of experience with the infinite set of classes of unpredictable systems, it does have an impact on strategies.

There is often a very uncertain territory between enabling freedom and descending into life threatening chaos.

I am all about risk mitigation – to threats to both life and liberty, applied universally.
I make no claim to infallibility (quite the converse).
All I have is the probabilities I have.
In my world, anyone claiming anything harder than that simply displays their ignorance of the infinities of possibilities surrounding us.

In that context – competency loss prevention isn’t sufficient – much more is required. It is Newtonian. We are already well into relativistic quantum spaces.

[followed by]

Hi Peter

Agree – the conversation is not going where either of us intends, the language barrier is too high I suspect. I am not certain what you mean, and I am very confident you have not understood what I wrote as I intended.
Your assertions about me are false, and it seems likely you believe them.

So yes – it seems likely it has gotten too messy to clean up in the time either of us has available.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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