Response to 3 Waters reform post

Response to Chris Milne’s 3 waters post

[ 21/September/21 ]

Central control is never a stable solution when faced with fundamental complexity and diversity.

What is required is cooperation and support between diverse sets of agents.

Cooperation is nothing like control.

It is much more difficult, requiring much more respect and acceptance of the real diversity that necessarily results from any and all real freedom. And that must be balanced by accepting that freedom without responsibility necessarily self terminates eventually.

And people generally need to start to accept that the entire financial system of using markets to measure value has past its peak utility, and is now descending steeply into deeply risky strategic territory.

Automation fundamentally breaks the utility of markets.

We need automation to solve a large class of already well characterised long term existential level risks.

We need new sets of systems that are fundamentally cooperative to replace markets, and that is not a trivial exercise. Our current market systems are deeply complex with multiple levels of strategic systems present.

[followed by Chris responded – “aren’t markets ‘cooperative’? Markets are based on free exchange, and an exchange only occurs when both sides benefit” …]

Hi Chris,

While that is arguably true in some discretionary cases, it is not generally really true.

People do not have the choice to not drink, or not eat, or not stay warm in cold climates, or not get medical attention when needed. Failure of any of those leads to death. That isn’t really a “free exchange”. It is a forced exchange.

Water is definitely in that category.

As to cooperation more widely, it is hard to see it being generally a natural incentive of markets.

If some entity can create a way of undercutting what your business does, then you can be out of business, without any sort of security, overnight.

That isn’t exactly cooperative, or safe, or secure.

The value of being “first to market” with a new technology can deliver strong incentives to bypass difficult safety trials.

The exponential advantage that technology can give leads to ever greater concentration (Microsoft in software, Facebook in social media, Google in search, etc). Technology empowers the tendency to both monopoly and regulatory capture to a degree that poses systemic risk to all.

The system is actually broken.

We are all, actually, at great risk from it, even as we also totally depend upon it at present.

Both things can be, and do appear to be, true.

And it is deeply complex.

It does actually require levels of cooperation and acceptance of diversity that are not common at present.

It astounds me how many people claim freedom in one breath, and in the next oppose any sort of real diversity that is the necessary result of any real freedom.

So we need to keep the existing system going, until we have replacements fully tested, and that is not a trivial problem space.

It seems clear to me that some sort of universal adequate income is a necessary step on the path to creating something that actually delivers reasonable levels of security and freedom to all responsible agents.

With automated systems that is not actually difficult to do.

And all agents need to accept the reality that all levels of structure have necessary sets of boundaries required to support that structure (and that can get deeply complex with complex systems). Any level of “freedom” that is not sufficiently responsible for the maintenance of such necessary constraints necessarily self terminates. Every level of freedom claimed has a necessary set of responsibilities that must be accepted by any agent. There is no requirement that reality be simple, that is just a bias evolution has installed in human neural networks (understandably).

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) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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