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 Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy

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PostSubject: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:12 pm

I suggest that we have over-shot the runway in our acceptance that the World is full of complex problems. We have made all solutions and systems into complex solutions and systems.

Examples of where this is so:

1. Legislation and the law generally - particularly employment related legislation and tax legislation. There are so many procedural requirements in employment law and so many organisations dealing with it that the employee/employer has to go to a specialist for help. All tax legislation is permeated with ever more complicated requirements and procedures in an effort at anti avoidance that, again, people need to go to rpecialists and spend huge amounts of time and money just to ascertain what tax is due.

2. Financial Systems including different types of investment products, accounting rules and standards, disclosure requirements. Products are so complex that nobody understands them or can assess their true value!

3. Commercial Contracts - the complexities in every type of contract with input from banks, insurers, regulation and lawyers. This leads to intractable negotiations, skewed deals, risk on citizens instead of institutions and corporations, and money down the drain on the administration of all this crap.

Perhaps it is impossible for everyone to be productive and these complex systems are just a method of redistributing the wealth of production amongst the populace. I think though that the culture and education system and work environments that such systems necessitate rob people of their vitality, spirituality and of all understanding of the nature of life. I also think they slow the pace of scientific change and innovation within a nation and lessen its ability to adapt to crisis and changed cisrumstances.


What alternatives are there to Complexitism?:

1. Vague all-embracing laws, e.g.,

"All employers must act fairly when dealing with employees" and

"Citizens shall be obliges to furnish all relevant details of any taxable or tax related matter with the revenue commissioners including the completion of the relevant Revenue Form specified in regulations [limited to one or two forms to give the basic details for the database, e.g. PPS nos., possible tax types affected, date, any tax liability.]"

While the law would be less certain for lawyers, employers and employees would be no worse off as they don't understand the law now anyway.

2. Commercial and Financial instruments to conform to pre-set state drafted documents and perhaps optional clauses. People would be restricted in how they could vary these arrangements though theey would have complete freedom in relation to price.

The fact is the law is already there to deal with all sorts of liabilities as things are and it is only the complex documents and one sided agreements that powerful parties put in place that cause confusion. An example might be that a matrix of obligations must be filled out for different types of transactions and instruments.

My only worry is that if this solution succeeded then we might not be happy with the results, i.e., a severe decline in employment in the services sector and a consequent reduction in the distribution of wealth to the more intelligent citizens.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:36 pm

don't see that happening.

what you are doing with those "catch all" statements enshrined in law is conferring an absolute power to the state bodies who can pick and choose their interpretations and implications on a case by case basis.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:48 pm

**** there is a post above this one.

Complexity in law and plethoras of laws and licences for restaurants and where and who is responsible etc. surely all these things and corners and nooks and crannies of law impede many things from happening including business expansion or new business entries.

Even hillwalking is fraught with liabilities and don't get me started in the complexity somewhy involved in local authorities for one - why are there so many?

The problem is that it's not immediate or self-evident either but on the other hand, the more you as an employee for example, have a vested interest in your work or affairs then the more immediate a lot of complexity might become. Somehow the mind is focused (I'm thinking of the insurance policy details of my car in the event of an accident) by the likes of emotions such as anxiety, fear and worry and by hugely positive emotions too.

Isn't there a book called 'Simplexity' which argues that complex systems could be simplified? At least also we are looking at complexity which is a start. Maybe it's a good start that we are even using the word at all - words give power to ideas.

I've no doubt that complexity hampers industry in the generic sense of the word and favours the few.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:05 pm

zakalwe wrote:
don't see that happening.

what you are doing with those "catch all" statements enshrined in law is conferring an absolute power to the state bodies who can pick and choose their interpretations and implications on a case by case basis.

You would still have a separate Courts system and Judiciary for to ensure separation of powers. The interpretation would be in line with court decisions including those that already pontificate on what fairness means.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:09 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
**** there is a post above this one.

Complexity in law and plethoras of laws and licences for restaurants and where and who is responsible etc. surely all these things and corners and nooks and crannies of law impede many things from happening including business expansion or new business entries.

Even hillwalking is fraught with liabilities and don't get me started in the complexity somewhy involved in local authorities for one - why are there so many?

The problem is that it's not immediate or self-evident either but on the other hand, the more you as an employee for example, have a vested interest in your work or affairs then the more immediate a lot of complexity might become. Somehow the mind is focused (I'm thinking of the insurance policy details of my car in the event of an accident) by the likes of emotions such as anxiety, fear and worry and by hugely positive emotions too.

Isn't there a book called 'Simplexity' which argues that complex systems could be simplified? At least also we are looking at complexity which is a start. Maybe it's a good start that we are even using the word at all - words give power to ideas. I've no doubt that complexity hampers industry in the generic sense of the word and favours the few.

There are some things that need to be very prescriptive - say the building regulations that make building safer in the event of fire. There are other things that don't need to be prescriptive - the colour of the front door. I think when there is deregulation there is a risk of the baby being thrown out with the bath water.

Unneccessary regulation should not be brought in in the first place. There is a stupid EU reg that required plastic work surfaces in catering areas. It cost a fortune to retrofit and drove small food processing firms out of business. The science says that traditional wood chopping boards are more hygenic than plastic.

The EU is finally ditching the "straight fruit and vegetables" regulation that led to vast amounts of good food being destroyed.

Cull the stupid bits, keep the good bits and make sure that regulations aren't made unless they are science-based and necessary for public good.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:10 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:

Isn't there a book called 'Simplexity' which argues that complex systems could be simplified? At least also we are looking at complexity which is a start. Maybe it's a good start that we are even using the word at all - words give power to ideas.

What do you think the chances are of "complexitism" becoming a stock phrase? Smile

I think it is less intimidating and clearer than "postmodernism" and more focussed than "pragmatism" which is sometimes used to excuse complexitism!
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:13 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
zakalwe wrote:
don't see that happening.

what you are doing with those "catch all" statements enshrined in law is conferring an absolute power to the state bodies who can pick and choose their interpretations and implications on a case by case basis.

You would still have a separate Courts system and Judiciary for to ensure separation of powers. The interpretation would be in line with court decisions including those that already pontificate on what fairness means.

thereby going full circle where you need tax specialists, accountants and lawyers to full advantage!
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:13 pm

cactus flower wrote:
....There are some things that need to be very prescriptive - say the building regulations that make building safer in the event of fire. There are other things that don't need to be prescriptive - the colour of the front door. I think when there is deregulation there is a risk of the baby being thrown out with the bath water.

Unneccessary regulation should not be brought in in the first place. There is a stupid EU reg that required plastic work surfaces in catering areas. It cost a fortune to retrofit and drove small food processing firms out of business. The science says that traditional wood chopping boards are more hygenic than plastic.

The EU is finally ditching the "straight fruit and vegetables" regulation that led to vast amounts of good food being destroyed.

Cull the stupid bits, keep the good bits and make sure that regulations aren't made unless they are science-based and necessary for public good.

Regulation as to the specification of building materials and how specialist trades and activities are to be carried on is one thing.

It is the regulations that impose upon everyday aspects of our life such as tax, hillwalking (cheers A#9) and employment that I consider counter-productive and dangerous to the national character and culture.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:16 pm

zakalwe wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
zakalwe wrote:
don't see that happening.

what you are doing with those "catch all" statements enshrined in law is conferring an absolute power to the state bodies who can pick and choose their interpretations and implications on a case by case basis.

You would still have a separate Courts system and Judiciary for to ensure separation of powers. The interpretation would be in line with court decisions including those that already pontificate on what fairness means.

thereby going full circle where you need tax specialists, accountants and lawyers to full advantage!

Not necessarily. At least there would be an over-arching argument that something was fair or not, a system akin to equity. That would be an improvement on the raft of regulation, legislation, loopholes and catches, multiple authorities and fear that pervades the employment relationship now.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:27 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:

Isn't there a book called 'Simplexity' which argues that complex systems could be simplified? At least also we are looking at complexity which is a start. Maybe it's a good start that we are even using the word at all - words give power to ideas.

What do you think the chances are of "complexitism" becoming a stock phrase? Smile

I think it is less intimidating and clearer than "postmodernism" and more focussed than "pragmatism" which is sometimes used to excuse complexitism!
Is the antedote then "Simplicitism" - the more we keep using "complexitism" then the more it will become a stock phrase. We should also use "complexity" a lot to let more people know that they are kindred terms - for some, that's enough complexitisation for one day Shocked

Now, aren't some systems naturally complex - biological systems like the flagellum me and cactus were looking at on the Darwin thread? Such systems developed over a huge long period of time. There are probably other natural systems which have evolved over a huge long period of time and are very simple - isn't the amoeba one of these?

Human systems tend to be a mixture too - engineered systems tend to be complex but social set ups shouldn't be though to me they overly are. Maybe it's necessary to establish what complexity is first. Maybe it's necessary to ask how we establish what's complex and what's not first too ??

Lastly, some complexity cannot be uncomplexified. The Intel Pentium chip is an example. Thus such complexity is a black box about which the layperson should know nothing but be confident that they aren't being duped. A lot of science tends to be that way, naturally. For some the engine of their car is overly complex and for them it is enough that it goes. The control panel of both your car and your computer however, should not be so complex. Should human systems that interface with people then be uncomplexificated? Some operating systems are now becoming more like mobile phones so they will be sold - that's good. Shouldn't this happen with political systems too, not to mention infrastructure? Local authorities and councils could be collapsed into more logical units and this is an interesting thread opening up on p.ie about re-drawing the city boundary of Cork.
http://www.politics.ie/viewtopic.php?f=120&t=37754

p.s. Should Law be a black box too? I have a feeling it should. I also feel that maybe it should rule on complexity itself What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:16 pm

I am a bit of a postmodernist myself in that I agree that many problems and systems are complex. I also agree that it is scientific fact that the physical world is complex.

You are correct in pointing out that there are layers of complexity in Nature and in the human invention. Each different layer has an "interface" with other systems: the raindrop lands on the leaf, the cat drinks the milk, the atoms form molecules, the driver drives the car, the computer user opens an application and uses menus.

I suggest that the inventors and nature have got it right in that they have matched the interface to man's (and other animals') level of understanding. On the other hand, I suggest that the law makers, legislators, bankers and bureaucrats have got it wrong in that they have designed systems for use by, and the regulation of, people which require a greater level of expertise than people are capable of. Such systems will hinder men (as individuals, peoples and states) in the long run.

Law (rather than echnical regulation) which affects people directly should not be a black box as law is the interface (or user interface in MN language!) for the individual's reaction with society, his fellow man and the state.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:03 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:


My only worry is that if this solution succeeded then we might not be happy with the results, i.e., a severe decline in employment in the services sector and a consequent reduction in the distribution of wealth to the more intelligent citizens.

There'd also be a field day for the legal profession. They could twist those all-encompassing laws to their client's devices and get them off on what are potentially massive loopholes. The complexity exists in law to anticipate as many eventualities, interpretations, definitions and derivations as possible. We need complex laws to suit as many people as possible and reach the best deal available.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:14 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:


My only worry is that if this solution succeeded then we might not be happy with the results, i.e., a severe decline in employment in the services sector and a consequent reduction in the distribution of wealth to the more intelligent citizens.

There'd also be a field day for the legal profession. They could twist those all-encompassing laws to their client's devices and get them off on what are potentially massive loopholes. The complexity exists in law to anticipate as many eventualities, interpretations, definitions and derivations as possible. We need complex laws to suit as many people as possible and reach the best deal available.

Be under no illusions, the complexity of laws and agreements are already a field day for the lawyers. employment law with its nooks and crannies and loopholes is becoming more and more lucrative. Even more of a bonanza is the multiplicity of formats of forms of commercial documents and agreements and the endless negotiation that can take place (necessitating 24 hour sleep in drafting/negotiating sessions) in putting virtually any kind of commercial deal together.

Lawyers love complexities and they will have more time to focus on them now!
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:09 pm

Do you think the body of Law that exists can be streamlined in any way? Isn't it possible to represent yourself if you want to? Doesn't Ard-Taoiseach have a point that the complexity of law and the number of precedents and cases that are already there are there to try to be suitable for as many scenarios as possible?

I wonder if there have been projects to try to streamline laws - surely some of them could be collapsed into single laws an simplified over time? Again I'm thinking of practical examples - perhaps the laws which apply to rules of the road - aren't they simple enough already? Doesn't everyone generally feel the rules of thumb - speeding, bad; overtaking on continuous white lines, bad; if you go up someone's arse then you're at fault etc.

Couldn't this type of thing be employed for other quarters - general rules of thumb. For instance, if you want to buy something like a new broadband package or get a new credit card or mobile phone package then the obligation is on the seller to make sure that person buying your service knows fully what they're getting. By Law. Telephone conversations are recorded, questions get asked, scenarios presented - if someone doesn't understand then a contract can be nullified. Like interest on a loan - some of us need to be told exactly what we'll be paying back.

I think there might be a degree of advertising out there that is not exactly false but not exactly transparent either.

There are so many areas with complexity besides Legal processes.
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PostSubject: Re: Complexitism - The Pervasive Political Economic Philosophy   Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:01 pm

I agree that legal processes are only one manifestation of complexitism.

Another example might be the job application forms and human resources procedue for recruiting people. My experience is that a basic CV and an interview does the trick fine. Questions on a form as to what you hope to achieve in 5 years time are a nonsense as a bit of googling can give you the type of points to make. The complexity is unnecessary and dehumanising.
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