The End of an Era

I found an amazing article that perfectly describes the current state of political dialogue.

The one thing that people of all political colors can agree on is that we have some serious economic and fiscal problems to work out. The question of “how” is where the disagreement begins.

Ask Paul Krugman or Barak Obama, and they’ll both say we just need to spend more. We just need to put more money into the services and programs that are failing, and then they will have enough resources to provide a good product. We just need to modify the regulations a bit, tighten them here and there, force everyone to do things in a better way, and then we’ll have control over our economy. But the thing is, the progressives haven’t had a new idea in 75 years.

Our education system sucks, and they say we need to increase spending, but that’s what we’ve been doing. It doesn’t work.

Our infrastructure is falling apart, our big cities are in decline, and they say we just need to increase spending, but that’s what we’ve been doing. It doesn’t work.

Our health care system sucks, and they say we just need to increase government control of it, and then we won’t be wasting so much money on competitive profit-based system. It doesn’t work.

The thing is, a lot of smart people like Krugman just can’t seem to accept these simple, hard facts. They can’t get their heads out of the overly simplistic thought constructions of “more spending => better products” and “more control => better engineering.” They’re stuck. But when we reach a point where even the simplest, most widely-held ideas like “increasing educational spending increases education,” turn out to be wrong, a new kind of thinking is required.

The thing is, when it comes to something as complicated and reactionary as an economy, evolutionary development is far superior to rational design. It’s impossible for anyone to ever be sure of what the economy needs at all levels of organization. More often then not, our elected leaders will be wrong about something in their attempts to rationally design a well-engineered economy. It doesn’t matter what party they’re in- it’s just a fact of chaotic complexity that it cannot be fully understood with perfect predictive power.

Consider the example of the horse-drawn carriage in the article I linked to. If you rationally design every part equally well, then when something goes wrong in a way that would destroy one part, all the parts will have the same chance of breaking, and you’re in danger of a total collapse. On the other hand, consider evolutionary development. If one part fails, it is soon replaced by something else which can do the job better. Big crises pose less threat to a system which is more adaptable and capable of recovery.

It all comes down to this simple phrase: If we all live in the same way, then when crisis hits, we will all fail in the same way.

Hence, we should completely decentralize control over economic decisions. Take the government out of the economy. Let the economy evolve on its own. When one business fails, it will have little impact on other businesses which are doing things completely differently. And those businesses which survive will learn from the mistakes of the failed ones, and continue on with their own more successful business model. This is how the economy evolves to become stronger.

The same is true on an individual level. When one individual fails, everyone learns from it. They all continue on, having a better idea of what the correct decisions are. The entire community of individuals adapts to its needs. We don’t need a military-backed government to impose a certain lifestyle. That only harms innovative adaptability. We can choose our own lifestyles, and the entire community will benefit if one of us finds a new formula to success.

We’re at the end of the era of progressive thinking. It’s time to move on to something better- something that actually works. This new decentralized economy- this is the face of the new era.


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