Most tech #books are frustratingly incapable of predicting the future, and 2006's #Code 2.0 is no exception. But it holds up better than many, and identifies four key #cyberspace themes still relevant today: #regulation - by states, and by code - competing #sovereignty, and latent ambiguity.

Next book is "Thinking in Systems", by Donella H. Meadows, because eventually I'll have to back up all my mutterings about "self-reinforcing behaviors".

"Resilience is not the same thing as being static or constant over time. Resilient #systems can be very dynamic. Short-term oscillations, or periodic outbreaks, or long cycles of succession, climax, and collapse may in fact be the normal condition, which resilience acts to restore."

Forest fires?

"And, conversely, systems that are constant time can be unresilient. This distinction between static stability and resilience is important. Static stability, is something you can see; it's measured by variation in the condition of a system week by week or year by year. Resilience is something that may be very hard to see, unless you exceed its limits, overwhelm and damage the balancing loops, and the system structure breaks down."

"Because resilience may not be obvious without a whole-system view, people often sacrifice resilience for stability, or for productivity, or for some other more immediately recognizable system property."

"Loss of resilience can come as a surprise, because the system usually is playing much more attention to its play than its playing space. One day it does something it has done a hundred times before and it crashes."

"Since Adam Smith, it has been widely believed that the free, competitive market i see one of these properly structured self-regulating #systems. In some ways, it is. In other ways, obvious, to anyone willing to look, it isn't. A #freemarket does allow producers and consumers, who have the best information about production opportunities and consumption choices, to make fairly uninhibited and locally rational decisions."

"But those decisions can't, by themselves, correct the overall system's tendency to create monopolies and undesirable side effects (externalities), to discriminate against the poor, or to overshoot its sustainable carrying capacity."

The best explanation for "the tragedy of the Commons" I've seen.

Each actor in a system gets the full benefits of exploiting the Commons but share only a fraction of the effects of erosion. Bounded rationality dictates that all actors will overuse a resource.

"If you define the goal of a society as GNP, that society will do its best to produce GNP. It will not produce welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency unless you define and regularly measure and report the state of welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency."

"The world would be a different place if instead of competing to have the highest per capita GNP, nations competed to have the highest per capita stocks of wealth with the lowest throughput, or the lowest infant mortality, or the greatest political freedom, or the cleanest environment, or the smallest gap between the rich and the poor."


@Argus Rutger Bregmann argues that the GNP war a useful device during WW2, as governments needed to know how productive the war-machine was but it's not usefull to value a society in peace. The GNP grows when one company poisons the water and another one cleans it up.

@Argus He also says that the alternatives like the happinessn index are also to be taken with a grain of salt. But maybe you can't turn the state of society and economy into just one number. How about we select several statistics?

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