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Complex Systems, Dysfunctional Industries, and Catastrophic Collapse

ilene's picture





 

My favorite line: "In a nutshell, complex systems arise spontaneously, behave unpredictably, exhaust resources and collapse catastrophically." I think this applies to everything, physical systems, like Universes, financial systems, ecosystems, life. ~ Ilene

Complex Systems, Dysfunctional Industries, and Catastrophic Collapse

Courtesy of John Rubino.

Over the holidays we tempted fate by booking a multi-stage plane trip … and ended up with cancelled flights, missed connections, and blank-faced airline employees who sincerely didn’t care if we spent a night or a week on the terminal floor.

While I wallowed in self pity over this loss of control, my wife noted that it’s not just the airlines. Big Food, Big Pharma, and the big banks, among others, are all just as customer-unfriendly. This distracted me from my rage and I spent some time thinking about how strange it is that in a time when Apple is creating Star Trek-level gadgets that streamline and simplify their users’ lives, and Amazon is making shopping almost supernaturally easy, there are huge industries that seem to go out of their way to make their customers’ lives complicated and hard.

Why do they do this when it makes so many people so mad? A pharmaceutical company CEO, for instance, probably can’t leave the house without someone accusing him of doubling the price of a crucial prescription drug while spending millions marketing erectile dysfunction pills to TV football viewers. An industrial food company exec can’t attend a cocktail party without being cornered by someone who reads labels and is appalled by trans fat, high fructose corn syrup-laden “food”. Goldman Sachs execs must cringe every time they pass a newsstand where the latest Rolling Stone is calling their company a “vampire squid”.

And airline employees, of course, must be abused non-stop by people like me who have had their vacations turned into exercises in enforced patience and asymmetrical negotiation. South Park caught the general mood perfectly with this (warning: very rude) episode:

 

Anyhow, on a different vacation this line of thought might have been nothing more than a way to occupy a pissed-off mind for an hour or so. But this time I had James Rickards’ new book Currency Wars on my Kindle (a device from customer-friendly Amazon that makes my life simpler and easier), and while waiting for a flight I came across this:

The third principal is that complex systems run on exponentially greater amounts of energy. This energy can take many forms, but the point is that when you increase the system scale by a factor of ten, you increase the energy requirements by a factor of a thousand, and so on. The fourth principal is that complex systems are prone to catastrophic collapse. The third and fourth principals are related. When the system reaches a certain scale, the energy inputs dry up because the exponential relationship between scale and inputs exhausts the available resources. In a nutshell, complex systems arise spontaneously, behave unpredictably, exhaust resources and collapse catastrophically.

That’s a pretty good framework for understanding these huge, complex, mostly dysfunctional industries. They’ve spent decades consolidating and concentrating and now have to generate sales on pretty much any terms, no matter how questionable, in order to avoid death by complexity. The customer takes a back seat to the desperate institutional need to survive and the product gets crappier and crappier until the production/delivery system breaks down.

The same dynamic is at work in the global financial system, says Rickards. In the US, a dollar of new debt produced nearly that much in new GDP in the 1960s. But today the return on new debt is negative. From here on, we can borrow as much as we want and the only result will be more debt. Wealth won’t increase at all. But we can’t stop; as with any other Ponzi scheme, the choice is more debt or instant bankruptcy.

This stage is generally followed by catastrophic failure, with the only question being what else the financial system takes down with it. As Rickards puts it:

A considerable challenge arises when one considers the interaction of human behavior and market dynamics. The complexity of human nature sits like a turbocharger on top of the complexity of markets. Human nature, markets and civilization more broadly are all complex systems nested inside one another like so many Russian matryoshka dolls….When you apply this paradigm to finance, you begin to see where the currency wars are headed.

Visit John's Dollar Collapse blog here >

 


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Tue, 01/10/2012 - 23:46 | Link to Comment TradingTroll
TradingTroll's picture

Complex manmade systems need more energy, but complex ecological systems like ocean life have survived for millenia.

Except now two dead whales arrive in Tokyo Bay the past 2 weeks. Not even one has floated in ever before. The Pacific Ocean is dead, and with it goes a free ecosystem that has supplied the world with trillions of dollars a year of seafood protein-for free. At 1% interest, an ecosystem that can generate $1trl in profits (remember its free) is an earth asset worth $100trl.

But a 'complex' human-created system called nuclear power can only survive by destroying free assets. If nuclear power actually had to meet a balance sheet, there is no way it would be viable.

Fukushima was the biggest Black Swan we may ever see.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 23:11 | Link to Comment illyia
illyia's picture

What is with the complexity meme!?

This is the third time I've encountered it in the last two days - and the other two time were profoundly encouraging (next order capitalism) - complete with PhDs and long term thinking...

Something is, indeed, going on...

 

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 07:01 | Link to Comment lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

Wow, what if everywhere, stuff starting breaking down all over? I bet it 7dhfhiskdj then I grabbed 78rjdbcgcfdsju!

 

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 22:57 | Link to Comment Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

I just had a prime example of this in trying to get a prescription filled with CVS Pharmacy (CVS/Caremark).  My daughter had major surgery on her spine a few days ago and she's here at my house with Mom playing nurse.  Lots of pain before she could schedule the surgery, so her tolerance for painkillers is quite high.

Her boyfriend stops by the CVS near their home (about 60 miles away) and presents the pain medicine script.  They say they need to confirm it with the doc because the dosage is outside the "norm".  So meantime we're trying to keep her comfortable with the meds she came home with from the hospital.

So I call the pharmacy & speak to Kathy in the pharmacy to discuss the problem. She says: "We're doing this for your daughter's benefit" I say "Are you doubting the doctor, because she has a high tolerance since she had back pain for a long time before the surgery" I explained.  She says: "Well, we have a legal obligation to confirm the dosage if it's out of our limits". I said "And those limits are set by....."?  She says: "Well, by our company".  And I say: "So it's not really to benefit the patient at all, just to cover CVS's ass?".  And she says: "Is there anything else I can do for you?"

Needless to say, we're still waiting for the doctor to call CVS, and meantime my daughter is in pain.  That's how CVS cares about customers in 2012. The lawyers rule.

A few months ago, I went without landline phone service for 3 days when Verizon prematurely cut off my regular old copper wire phone service in a cutover to Fiber Optic Service (they call it "FIOS").  I actually counted and had to go through 28 customer service reps before 3 days later I found one who actually knew what to do to restore my service.

I swear, trying to intelligently communicate with some of these companies is next to impossible.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 23:16 | Link to Comment Osmium
Osmium's picture

Hope your daughter is doing better.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 22:21 | Link to Comment celticgold
celticgold's picture

Taint ...did somebody say taint her ??

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 22:05 | Link to Comment sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Sorry, but Prof. Tainter most brilliantly described it all much, much bette in this 12-page scholarly explanation:

http://dieoff.org/page134.htm

 

 

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 21:08 | Link to Comment Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Great, now in addition to all our other problems, we're being boson'd...

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 21:01 | Link to Comment Xkwisetly Paneful
Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

Good book out there about the inevitable failure of complex social structure.

In the meantime when all else fails blame it on time travellers coming back from the future.

Is The Large Hadron Collider Being Sabotaged from the Future?

What if all the Large Hadron Collider's recent woes are more than bad luck and technical problems? Two noted physicists speculate that the future may be pushing back on the LHC to avert the disaster of observing the Higgs boson.

 

 

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 07:04 | Link to Comment lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

It would make a great horror movie. "Hello, I'm from the Future government and I'm here to help you."

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 22:07 | Link to Comment sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

While that is conceivable, I really am wary that the whole Big Bang thing may be off and the Higgs-Boson doesn't add matter, instead it's the dimension-changing particle, which would be more in line with the multiverse concept and Rheimann's original treatise on quantum geometry.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 22:56 | Link to Comment Shineola
Shineola's picture

Sarge, I have my doubts about the BB too! Let's see......one day in space, um, some stuff was floating around, and um,... it just went boom! Yeah, makes perfect sense. :) Where did the "stuff" come from? And why did it go boom?

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 20:10 | Link to Comment tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

"blank-faced airline employees who sincerely didn’t care if we spent a night or a week on the terminal floor..."

anyone who is willing to stand in line barefooted, with a security wand stuck up his ass, and willing to have his baggage searched without cause is a ready made doormat for the i-don't-give-a-fuck airline employees....you have fuck me written all over your forehead.....

on the other hand i applaud you for pointing out that mpd is negative which is why amerika is economically doomed while trillions of dollars are pouring into the coffers of the rockefeller-mic-yale-cia complex.....

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 10:30 | Link to Comment therearetoomany...
therearetoomanyidiots's picture

Try expressing your displeasure to one of the airline 'customer service reps' when you've just been brutalized by one of their employees albeit with the usual anger reserved for such situations..."

 

"Well, Mr. Jones, while you may have been brutally a**-f*cked by our employee, your language to me right now is unacceptable and if you continue in that tone we'll be forced to get security and you will not be allowed to fly and we may have to call the authorities." 

 

"if you continue in that tone we'll be forced to get security and you will not be allowed to fly and we may have to call the authorities" was actually really said to me.   So, now, if you even speak up and are mad at the way you are treated, they'll bring the thugs in and tell you to shut  up and make your life difficult.  

 

I guess in the end I can say I was lucky because I grew up in an era of true american freedom, where you were free to break the law, not prevented from breaking the law.   That was the difference back then...it was your choice.   No one sees that anymore.   Our children are stupid.   Stupid I tell you.  And so are most of their parents.  

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 20:40 | Link to Comment richard904
richard904's picture

Everytime I travel the airline employees look just as hassled as the poor customers flying. When I am finally on board (now 30 minutes or so to board), the overhead luggage racks are completely full, the flight attendants are struggling to seat the final boarders, and the flyers are just praying that some thoughtless fool is not going to cause a problem delaying the flight.  Policy does not emanate from the bottom up.  In this case let us at least blame our cherished and weallthly CEO's for creating a situation that just drains everyone. 

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 20:00 | Link to Comment Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

What's so complex about the reflating the US economy?

  • The Fed offers free money to banks and hedge funds, and to European Central bank(s) with printed money.
  • The Fed buys all the bad mortages and CDOs with printed money, the hedge funds and the banks buy the good ones at depressed prices.
  • The Fed buys all the 10 yr T bonds with printed money.
  • Housing becomes cheaper to buy than to rent.
  • Housing prices go up.
  • The banks make large profits. The hedge funds make large profits. The stock market goes up.
  • Happy days are here again !!
  • If you disagree you are a racist.

What's so complicated? Sheesh....

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 22:08 | Link to Comment sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

The complicated part is getting beyond that kleptocratic-plutocracy.

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 06:57 | Link to Comment lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

I'll take "Bastille Day" for 500$, Alex.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 19:36 | Link to Comment my puppy for prez
my puppy for prez's picture

Go to drudge and vote for RP!  (not rick perry! lol)

http://drudgereport.com/

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 18:33 | Link to Comment malek
malek's picture

It's a logical fallacy to postulate that ALL complex systems run on exponentially greater amounts of energy, and all will collapse for sure, and leaving no alternatives.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 18:13 | Link to Comment lightning_fast_draw
lightning_fast_draw's picture

Where is our financial press during this strange economic adventure? Does anyone else find it odd that a writer for "Rolling Stone" has been one of the few voices in the mainstream media to examine and honestly report on the "Giant Squid" and it's feeder fish? 

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 23:01 | Link to Comment BidnessMan
BidnessMan's picture

The Financial press won't offend their advertisers.  Only positive fluff about "financial advisors" to fill up the space between brokerage firm full page ads. 

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 17:55 | Link to Comment SHRAGS
SHRAGS's picture

I'm in the airline industry (Australia)  and this artlcle is spot on.   One way the industry has delt with the increase in complexity is to offload the risk to the passenger where possible.  One of the big costs from an airline point of view is missed connections - having to pay for accomodation, book on other carriers etc.  So now they are driving passangers into the low cost carrier market, with a big caveat, each sector is booked individually.  Therefore missed connections become the problem of the passanger.  The airline still gets its money for the missed flight and the passanger has to pay for another fare.  

That is fine, as long as the passengers understand the risk/reward trade-off that is built into the "Low Cost" fare - but mostly they do not.   The second issue is that many routes have been abandoned by full service carriers, leaving travellers with no choice, they either accept this model or they don't travel.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 17:35 | Link to Comment Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

That’s a pretty good framework for understanding these huge, complex, mostly dysfunctional industries. They’ve spent decades consolidating and concentrating and now have to generate sales on pretty much any terms, no matter how questionable, in order to avoid death by complexity.

Pretty much my company (textiles) in a nutshell.  Buy up other companies as assets, save money as you take those jobs to make the same shit overseas, and reap rewards profits.  Who cares if the crap made over in Asia is 50% worse?  We hit our profit margin this month (but I dont get a raise!!!111).

As I told my buddy Umair over dinner the other night......there is one thing, one variable, that even the "elitiest of elites" always tend to forget.  The French forgot in Haiti and in their own homeland.  The Brits forgot about this variable in colonial America, and in India.  And the USSR and their Communist coffers learns this, too.

Inevitability.  Inevitably....people are going to say, "STOP".  And it probably starts with the people who make the cheap crap we consume; remember folks - they don't have those nets at FoxConn to celebrate the NBA career of Yao Ming:

http://t.co/hfwzwKgb

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 17:18 | Link to Comment JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

 

 

if you cant fly private.. dont fly.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 16:30 | Link to Comment steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

Please give credit where it is due:

Dr. Joseph Tainter "Collapse of Complex Societies"

http://www.amazon.com/Collapse-Complex-Societies-Studies-Archaeology/dp/...

Thanks!

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 16:55 | Link to Comment orangedrinkandchips
orangedrinkandchips's picture

AKA....The Law of Diminishing Returns.......

 

Like a shark..you HAVE to keep swimming or you die.

 

Great point....good article.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 16:29 | Link to Comment Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Anything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 16:19 | Link to Comment Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

Reminds me of an old Radio play about the Chicken Heart that ate America.  In a secret lab in NYC scientists experimented with a breakthrough growth hormone.  The subject was a chicken heart which they kept beating artifically.  To their delight when adding the hormone, the chicken heart became bigger and bigger with every beat.  But soon, it was out of control, doubling in size with each beat.  Before long it had devoured the entire 50 story building and was spreading into the suburbs, down the street and up your block!

Just like a Vampire Squid.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 17:28 | Link to Comment RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

That was a Bill Cosby routine from when he did stand up.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 16:10 | Link to Comment flacorps
flacorps's picture

Assuming that the system is beyond conventional reform and that we are indeed at a fourth turning during Kondratieff winter (I believe they always coincide, regardless), wouldn't a rational player see less harm in an early collapse rather than a later one? And therefore repudiation of debts and taxes and adoption of a survivalist or "prepper" mindset would be the right thing to do. Burt Gummer and all that. You don't have to attack it (the status quo), just stop paying it and wait.

I wrote a book called "Debt Hope: Down and Dirty Survival Strategies" that's basically about how to deal with your defaulted debt from the financial crisis.

It now looks like that's a rather narrow slice of a much bigger picture we're all going to find ourselves dealing with.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 23:07 | Link to Comment The Grip
The Grip's picture

@Flac

+1 for the cover photo.

Wed, 01/18/2012 - 13:06 | Link to Comment flacorps
flacorps's picture

Thanks. Did you mean the lion or the bomb?

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 16:07 | Link to Comment STP
STP's picture

Qoute: The third principal is that complex systems run on exponentially greater amounts of energy. This energy can take many forms, but the point is that when you increase the system scale by a factor of ten, you increase the energy requirements by a factor of a thousand, and so on.

I get it!  An example would be a juvenile Vampire Squid.  It will consume everything within its reach, but as it gets bigger, it has to range farther and farther as the easy pickings diminish.  One day, it got into trouble finding enough to support it's growing girth and a Fisherman Fed felt sorry for the big-eyed beast, so he chummed the waters with plentiful QE from the bait shack.  The Vampire Squid hung around the dock every day, waiting hungrily for his meal and grew bigger.

But the bait shack started operating at a loss and soon the Vampire Squid grew hungry and angry.  The Fisherman Fed was alarmed and appealed to the local wizard at the bait treasury to start creating artificial chum to feed the Vampire Squid.  They had to borrow from all around the kingdom and then some to sate the Squid's appetite.  The Vampire Squid on these artificial ingredients grew even bigger and now started to sprout deformities of alarming proportions!

It grew Too Big To Kill and soon hindered normal operations at the harbor.  Boats couldn't come in or out without paying tribute in chum to the Vampire Squid.  Each day's catch was skimmed off the top, by the Vampire Squid.  The Squid was soon big enough to devour anything in the harbor and even some of the buildings.  The people were too scared of the Vampire Squid's awesome power, but what to do?

The Fisherman Fed said that they'd use all the tools available.  The brave Hawks diminished in number and soon the Doves wanted to placate the Vampire Squid.  They approached the end of the dock and out of the water, arose the fierce Vampire Squid.  It towered over them and it's hot horrible breath flailed them mightily, but they cowered and promised to keep feeding it or else...

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 17:06 | Link to Comment ddtuttle
ddtuttle's picture

One day a taveller came to the harbor and said there s a great harbor a few miles up the coast, why don't you all just move there?  So they did and the vampire squid starved to death happily ever after.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 15:43 | Link to Comment chunga
chunga's picture

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are utterly dysfunctional; and they get called out right here.

For Immediate Release FROM Senator Bethany Moura [R-RI] Jan. 10, 2012

Freshman RI Senator levels serious allegations at Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac - Jan. 10, 2012

snip>

Senator Moura goes on to question the logic behind turning down homeowners who want to repay their loans under revised terms, but are denied and foreclosed on. “Fannie and/or Freddie take an enormous loss up-front and elect to do so.” For her, the alarms went off when Freddie Mac recently asked Congress for $124 Billion dollars. Moura says, “I believe they are intentionally creating these huge losses in mortgage defaults so they can justify on paper their requests for hundreds of billions in taxpayer money. The longer they take to review modification applications, the further behind the homeowners end up, the higher the arrearage gets, the larger the investor loss appears, therefore making a modification that much harder to qualify for. The perfect storm has been created.”

Senator Moura has actively fought for this to stop. She communicates with the Department of the U.S. Treasury Office of the Comptroller of Currency and the policy advisors of the FHFA (oversees Fannie and Freddie). She has met with Senate leadership, the Governor and his policy staff, as well as fellow legislators. “In fact, I’m working on forming a bi-partisan coalition with legislators in both chambers to stop this from continuing in our state”, Moura says. “My intent is to enact change any way that I can, and am committed to being a resource for leadership in the General Assembly. I’ve seen the devastation first-hand, and had my own experience with a dishonest loan servicer and a foreclosure. It’s a battle I’m still fighting, but have turned my frustration and experience into motivation.”

Moura states, “Watching them beat families into submission, to eventually surrender their homes is something you have to see to believe. They rip families and communities apart, destroy property values, and leave in their wake a sea of emotional wreckage that cannot be measured. It is unbelievably cruel and despicable.”

This first-term Senator is so confident in her suspicions, she’s challenging the top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to appear in Rhode Island in a public forum to defend her allegations – head on and face-to-face. Her message to them is simple. “Bring your attorneys and your staff, and I’ll have my notes, files and homeowners from Westerly to Woonsocket. Since you believe you are entitled to their money, I believe they are entitled to your answers”, declares Moura. “In this arena, I am a force to be reckoned with. Whether this fight takes a day or a decade, I will not retreat. They can bank on it (pun intended).”

Snip>

C'mon Fannie and Freddie slobs...take the challenge and bring your lawyers. We want to stop you before you fuck up the whole country for good.

All so YOUR fat asses can get rich. Dick-heads.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 18:37 | Link to Comment NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

She's an idiot if she thinks they will fight her fair and square. I like her gumption, but I think she's still wet behind the ears, and will soon be educated/marginalized/vilified/etc...

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 19:00 | Link to Comment chunga
chunga's picture

Of course they won't fight fair. I think she knows this. That is why she will need help.

ZH just popped another post that Fannie CEO Michael Williams To Quit After 2 Years, Pockets Millions After Receiving $60 Billion In Bail Out Cash

That is why I also posted it here to Zero Hedge.

There WILL be more to come and we MUST help her.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 15:45 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Awesome a true representitive of the republic.  Now, let's see if anyone shows up.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 15:49 | Link to Comment chunga
chunga's picture

I LOVE Senator Moura.

Notice she is a freshman. The Pig Men have not gotten to her yet.

She will need support.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 17:21 | Link to Comment JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

 

 

butt is she HAWT?

http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/moura/

whazz up! she is a keeper!

well at least for a little while until the Corporations get a hold of her! LULZ!!

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 17:51 | Link to Comment chunga
chunga's picture

She IS pretty JW!

I've only talked to her on the phone but she sounds REAL!

Taking that position is against the grain.

The Jan. 5, 2012 Fed. Court Order has them all FUCKED up!

TBTF don't want to play no mo'

Avalanche! Look out below...

[edit - I sent this to tips at zerohedge dot com; c'mon Tyler you've got the power to create a showdown here]

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 18:20 | Link to Comment AbruptlyKawaii
AbruptlyKawaii's picture

“I believe they are intentionally creating these huge losses in mortgage defaults so they can justify on paper their requests for hundreds of billions in taxpayer money. The longer they take to review modification applications, the further behind the homeowners end up, the higher the arrearage gets, the larger the investor loss appears, therefore making a modification that much harder to qualify for. The perfect storm has been created.” State Senator Bethany Moura [R-RI]

chunga i fully appreciate your informative posts.  read the letter from sen M a few weeks back and was floored. she's a good one, for now. thing is, if she is actually taking care of her people, that doesnt leave any time for making $$$ calls. she might win a few times that way, until they corner her somehow.

 

 

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 18:23 | Link to Comment chunga
chunga's picture

Thanks.

Paging Fannie Mae. Paging Freddie Mac. LOL

Betcha a donut they are reading this right now. :-)

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 12:39 | Link to Comment Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

+1  I second Abruptly's gratitude and am posting the info to my blog.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 15:42 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Complex systems do not "arise spontaneously".  They take years to evolve as it takes several small tweaks (like layers of legislation) to the system to make it unique to an eco-system.  THEY DO, however, take seconds to be wiped out.  Sorry, you got this one exactly backwards, okay, some credit for the castostrophic failure.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 15:58 | Link to Comment ilene
ilene's picture

Hmm, I didn't take "arising spontaneously" to mean arising quickly. I'd still think years to evolve; how many years depending on what we're talking about. (Although some things could happen spontaneously and extremely fast too.) However, if you're talking about systems that involve legislation, that's pretty quick in the big scheme of things. 

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 16:04 | Link to Comment flacorps
flacorps's picture

We need a different word than "spontaneously", which implies a sui generis origin. The words could be "accrete chaotically" or something else to imply a hodgepodge created by multiple patches over time rather than a grand scheme.

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 19:53 | Link to Comment Cloud9.5
Cloud9.5's picture

They evlove.  Darwin's Theory: Things evolve from the simple to the complex.

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 07:14 | Link to Comment lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

I generally agree, but that does not explain Barry or Newt, who are going in reverse.

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