Socioeconomic change (Was: "Fortune"s of "war")

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sat Oct 06 2001 - 15:03:40 MDT

On Sat, Oct 06, 2001 at 01:05:17PM -0700, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> My question was not so much of the fact that the transition from
> first assembler to full NT production and economy would be full
> of difficulties. What I questioned was that tangent from off
> the URL given which is about repurcussions of 911. The two are
> very different phenomenon with very different causes and
> inherent possibilities.

True. It raises the interesting question if there are any other
analogies that are more suitable? Or is there any aspects that makes NT
qualitatively different from any other technology?

> > I wonder if Francis Fukuyama's thoughts on the industrial-postindustrial
> > transition in _The Great Disruption_ would be applicable here? What
> > happens when the paradigm shifts occur more and more often, so that the
> > system has not the time to settle down?
> >
> I have only begun to read his work thanks to this reference.
> But his views certainly are relevant. The challenge of building
> systems that are resilent during constant major changes is
> great. I do not think any off-the-shelf current socio-economic
> systems are sufficient to the task. It will be a great
> discussion topic.

Yes, it is both interesting and important.

Fukuyama's point (I have also just begun his work, so this will be a
bit of guessing) is that humans adapt and try to create meaningful
social structures even when the underlying rules of economy, technology
and society changes. So if a transition occurs, there will be disruption
but after a while people will have built a new social fabric.

If transitions happen more and more often, it seems they could happen
faster than adaptation occurs, creating a state of constant disruption.
Some people likely think this is what has already happened, but I think
Fukuyama takes a larger picture and views the current situation as just
the reaction to a single transition in the later half of the 20th
century. But our "standard" future model of faster and faster rate
leading up to a singularity would imply such a situation of constant

One factor that could change this is if social adaption could be speeded
up. I don't see any obvious tech fix for this, at least not until we
develop some form of cognitive technology or really efficient net based
community building. But there could simply be an adaptation process
among humans a la the Flynn effect: maybe the ability to create new
social structures when needed is something that can be trained by being
in a state of flux and especially by having media such as the net to
experiment on?

This links to the issues of what kinds of socio-economic systems could
support this. Clearly they have to be adaptive and pluralist, in order
to allow the exploration of new possibilities. At the same time they
need to have enough structure to fullfill their functional duties. This
suggests that the level of adaptability need to be somehow regulated to
fit the rate of change in some dynamic way. The issue is a general
learning problem deep down: how to select the learning rate to maximise
the local benefit as well as ensure that the system is able to always
remain adapted to the environment.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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