Wendy made a Facebook post about the economy and Covid-19

Wendy made a Facebook post about the economy and Covid-19

[ 15/8/20 ]

Quite a few things written here that are not accurate.

Many people knew decades ago what needs to be done to control pandemic – isolation.

Isolation to starve the pandemic of victims is the only course of action we have available.

The problem is that most people would rather be righteous about their particular set of beliefs, than be willing to stand in uncertainty and to question everything.

And to be fair, it is an extremely complex situation.

It takes a lot of time and effort to learn enough about physics and chemistry to start to understand how evolution actually works, and how all new levels of complexity in evolved systems are necessarily built upon new levels of cooperation, and how every level of cooperation requires evolving ecosystems of strategies to detect and mitigate cheating strategies on the cooperative that maintains that level of complexity.

It is now beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that this reality we find ourselves in is complex beyond the capacity of any computational entity to model accurately in any predictive fashion that is anything other than probabilistic. That is, no absolute certainty, only probabilities – what is most likely to happen, while many things could happen.

Life often demands of us that we respond quickly. Things like big cats or bears or busses tend to approach rapidly, leaving only a small number of seconds (or fractions of a second) to make a survivable choice. Cant do complex in such short times, so evolution has given us brains that under stress simplify everything, and give us actions that did (in the past, on average, over time, at least for our ancestors) allow for survival. Most of those heuristics (useful shortcuts) were very context sensitive. For most of us today, the contexts are very different.

Most people hold on to simple models, and there is a lot of good evolutionary reasons for that to be the case, but it is not actually helping us now.

Right now, the very idea of money is one of the biggest problems we have.

Most people use money as a proxy for value generally, and it is very poor at that, because anything abundant necessarily has zero monetary value; but if you think air is unimportant, just because it has no economic value, then you are unlikely to survive swimming.

Anyone who has had any serious interest in pandemics has known for over a hundred years that to survive them, we must isolate everyone, yet ensure that everyone has all the food and water and other essentials that they need to survive.

Our social systems are not optimised for that reality.

Our social systems are optimised for the needs of a very tiny subset of humanity, and almost all of the economic, educational, political, cultural, social, bureaucratic, religious and judicial systems present are optimised in that way (to the degree that they are optimised for anything).

We live in a very complex reality, and we all necessarily simplify it to make any sense at all of it. And most people simplify it far too much far too often, to be able to make enough sense to see what is required right now.

Right now, we need cooperation.

In New Zealand we are doing that reasonably well, and it is needed globally.

And cooperation is not control.

Cooperation is the willing alignment of diverse agents to an agreed purpose (without coercion).

Alignment of complex systems is a very complex topic, and it always involves something of an eternal dance of many levels of trial and error, amplifying things that seem to be working and dampening down those that don’t, eternally (for each of us internally as well as between us externally).

Right now, we need more people to be sufficiently willing to question things, that they can see that the fundamentally competitive economic and political structures that dominate are not survivable, and we need fundamental cooperation.

And that cooperation does have to actually meet the essential needs of everyone – no exceptions.

And to make that work, those that cheat do need to be caught, and do need to be brought back into cooperation.

In the existing system it is impossible to bring people “back into cooperation” when the system was not cooperative in the first instance.

So we have a lot of work to do.

Forcing people into all out competition to survive cannot end well, not with so much destructive potential in our existing systems.

Anyone who thinks nuclear powered battle groups are not dangerous is insane.
Anyone who thinks those groups are invulnerable is insane in a very different way.

If we value every life, then this virus is relatively easy to defeat, and it does require fundamental reform of the existing monetary systems to make that happen.

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 www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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