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Complexity, Inflexibility and Collapse

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By Clay Shirky excerpted from his post: The Collapse of Complex Business Models

In 1988, Joseph Tainter wrote a chilling book called The Collapse of Complex Societies. Tainter looked at several societies that gradually arrived at a level of remarkable sophistication then suddenly collapsed: the Romans, the Lowlands Maya, the inhabitants of Chaco canyon. Every one of those groups had rich traditions, complex social structures, advanced technology, but despite their sophistication, they collapsed, impoverishing and scattering their citizens and leaving little but future archeological sites as evidence of previous greatness. Tainter asked himself whether there was some explanation common to these sudden dissolutions.

The answer he arrived at was that they hadn’t collapsed despite their cultural sophistication, they’d collapsed because of it. Subject to violent compression, Tainter’s story goes like this: a group of people, through a combination of social organization and environmental luck, finds itself with a surplus of resources. Managing this surplus makes society more complex—agriculture rewards mathematical skill, granaries require new forms of construction, and so on.

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America’s Artificial Rift: The Two Party System

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Anthony Gucciardi
Infowars.com December 28, 2009

On any given day you can find a news story that focuses on the conflict between democrats and republicans, or Group A and Group B. These groups could be anything, but as long as they are toted as being the opposite of each other, they will clash. When one party supports a bill, the other tends to oppose it. This holds true for both sides, creating a never-ceasing battle over political parties, as opposed to policy.

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The hidden public-private cartel that sets health care prices

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greedIn all the hysterical and industry-directed uproar over health care, few if any conversations focus on the systemic problems which underlie why we spend so much and get so little (other than heartbreak and frustration) from our health care system.

Darshak Sanghav has an article in Slate which details the payment bias which has driven so many into lucrative specialties while a growing number of Americans can’t find a primary care doctor:

We must address the perverse financial incentives that created and continue to inflame {the shorage of primary care doctors}.

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Written by laudyms

September 2, 2009 at 1:19 pm