Who should be held responsible for global poverty?

Who should be held responsible for global poverty?

[ 26/Jan/21 ]

Why would you think that anyone should be “held responsible”?

Isn’t that a rather hubristic notion?

Isn’t it much more likely that it is the ignorance of each and every one of us that is more to blame?

It seems to me to be very complex.

It seems clear to me, as someone who has studied evolution, life, complexity and computational systems for over 50 years that all human beings come with vast sets of subconscious systems that pre-dispose them to simplify complex systems – often beyond the ability of such simplifications to deliver useful results.

Thus we tend to characterize evolution as being all about competition, when it takes a lot more work to realise that the reality is far more complex, with all levels of evolved complexity being based upon new levels of cooperation.

But we have vast sets of people and institutions and rules that are based in the overly simplistic (and false) notion that evolution is about competition and that markets support freedom.

The reality of freedom is much more complex.

Any survivable notion of freedom must include both responsibility and respect for diversity (including social and ecological diversity).

Freedom can never be an absence of structure, as all complexity requires boundaries for survival.

The art of freedom is recognizing what boundaries are actually required in any particular context (any set of “rules” or “laws” is highly unlikely to be an exact fit to any particular context, and with luck they will be some sort of useful approximation in most contexts).

So the answer is: we all need to be.

And that is going to be very difficult, because very few have had the time or inclination to explore deeply the mathematical and logical foundations of the sorts of complexity that we are, and so most are left with overly simple ideas that are in many modern contexts extremely dangerous.

Market based economics is now much more of the problem in respect of global poverty than it can be part of the solution.

Some sort of universal income might allow us to survive our existing market based systems long enough to create more appropriate replacement systems, and that is an extremely complex subject, as our existing systems have many levels of complexity embedded within them.

And ultimately it comes down to each and every one of us, in our choices to cooperate, to respect diversity, to act responsibly, to clean up such messes as we unintentionally create.

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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