Solutions for Self-Reliance

Weekend Edition: The Failure of Central Planning

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Networked resilient communities aren’t only a great hedge against the global system run amok.  Networked resilient communities are also the future of the global system.

Here’s a very simple reason why this is true.

The decentralized social and economic configuration of networked resilient communities — communities that produce most of what they need locally and network for the rest — brings the management of the world down to a sensible human-scale.

It shrinks the world down to a level to where things make sense again.  Where its possible to actually make choices on important decisions and be reasonably sure what the costs and the benefits are.

Meet the Central Planners

In contrast, we currently are dependent on a global system that is beyond comprehension.

A system, which for the first time in all of history, is globally interconnected.  A super system so large, so fast, and so complex that it can’t be understood or managed.

Behaims Erdapfel

Yet, despite this, we give an incredibly small and increasingly concentrated group of people the authority to centrally manage our future.  This group uses the following ‘knowledge’ to manage our future:

  • Soviet type administration and regulation for governance.
  • Wall Street equations for finance and corporate governance.
  • “Harvard” academic knowledge for economics and other social endeavors.

 

Where the Central Planners Fall Short

Hopefully, you can see the problem here.

The knowledge these central planners use to run the world isn’t the same as the simple ancestral, experienced-based, and ecological rules we learned the hard way over thousands of years.  You know, the rules that we use every day to make good decisions.

In contrast, the knowledge used by our global central planners is newly minted and highly contingent social science.  For example, think of all of the narrow assumptions that underlie modern economic analysis.

Further, the rules of these central planners are using are mind numbingly complex and lack a meaningful track record.   Ask yourself:  Do these theories produce results consistently over decades let alone centuries?  Do they really reflect reality?  If you aren’t willing to bet your life on either answer, that’s hardly a body of knowledge we should be betting the survival of the species on.

Yet, we do.  And it goes even more wrong with each passing year as we find ourselves unable to control the system we have built.  Unable to mitigate the disruptions that are occurring.

We saw this in 2008 with the global financial system and today in the US and the European Union with sovereign debt.  We are seeing it in inexorable global climate change and rapid resource depletion.  As we are seeing it in warfare with the rise of drone technology and in near misses with global pandemics.  The list goes on and on and on.  Disruption after disruption….

 

So, what’s the best solution?

Reduce the decision-making process that controls our lives down to a human scale.

How?  By building and living in a networked resilient community.

A community where the systems we depend on to get through the day, can be managed using common sense.

A life not dependent on any flawed central planners using Soviet, Harvard, and Wall Street pipe dreams.

 

Your willing to build a world that makes sense with you analyst,

 

JOHN ROBB

 

PS:  Nassim Taleb, the author The Black Swan, just sent me a draft of the new book he is writing Antifragile: Things that Gain From Disorder.   So, although I didn’t directly pull quotes/charts from this work, Nassim’s ideas are inspiration for today’s letter.

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