Old 10-03-2014, 00:54   #1
Flagg
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Physics and Governance

Any governance and/or physics SMEs in the room?

I'm wondering if a worthwhile analogy can be made between developing world governance and physics.

Are we living in a world run by those from the Newtonian/Classical Mechanics School of Governance when we may be in need of shifting to the Einstein General/Special Relativity School?

I've been looking at the definition of a black hole:

"A black hole is a region of spacetime from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. The boundary of the region from which no escape is possible is called the event horizon."

What I'm wondering is:

Are current/future mega ghettos the governance analog to the black holes of physics?

Developing world ghettos achieve critical mass via extreme population density and reach the "governance event horizon" point of no return for the sovereign nation in which the mega ghetto is located.

Kilcullen's book "Out of the Mountains" covers slices of this, using a metabolic/biological systems perspective.

Excessive corruption, combined with insufficient tax base, occurring in a region of extreme population density, leads to a void in sovereign governance that has potential to cascade into a state sovereignty black hole.

Are we(the west's "Newtonian School of Diplomacy and Foreign Policy") failing to recognize the growing effects of "mega ghetto mass" distorting traditional "state sovereignty light"?

And if so, do we need to shift our thinking to more of an Einstein General/Special Relativity School of Diplomacy and Foreign Policy?

I recall some folks concerned about the viability of using a biological/metabolic systems approach to referencing mega ghettos......I guess the physics analogy is a very rough and macro one.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-03-2014, 07:23   #2
I am Al
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagg View Post
Any governance and/or physics SMEs in the room?

...

Thoughts?
I'm not a SME in governance or physics. I also don't have experience applying Newtonian models to human behavior, but I do have some experience where people have tried to apply other physical models to human behavior. IMO, it doesn't work the way analysts want them to.

Just for context, analysts use models because the real thing is too complex to deal with. Since the model is a simplified version of the real thing, it's based on assumptions and constraints. Models do well predicting stable conditions that operate within the bounds of the assumptions and constraints, but tend to fall apart when conditions exceed those boundaries.

When the SHTF, there's a tipping point and the follow on behaviors. From my experience, the physical models haven't done a great job identifying the tipping points or predicting follow up behavior. People behave irrationally. Under the same circumstances the exact same group might behave one way one time and completely different the next. With people, a lot hinges on the leadership.

Just my opinion, physical models can help give some insight when they stay within the bounds of the model, but don't do well with erratic behaviors.

In a similar vein, I heard Warren Buffet talking about long term investing in an interview the other day. He said he's never been able to predict erratic behavior in the market (just another form of human behavior). He thinks the best predictor of organizational success is strong leadership and a long term track records of success through good times and bad. I think simple models like that are better predictors of outcomes. Not sure at the ghetto level, but it seems to me Warren's model could apply to the probability of success setting up governments in Iran and Afghanistan, too.
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Old 10-03-2014, 07:56   #3
Quartz_MJC
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One method which is used to varying degrees of success to model internationalrelationships between nation states is game theory.

http://gametheory101.com/International_Relations.html

Game theory is a mathmatical model and is a little heady. The basic assumption for game theory to be applicable is- the actors in a scenario need to be "Rational Actors". A "Rationa"l actor is one that acts in their best interest.

There is a brief and puffy vide on Ted Talks .
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:52   #4
I am Al
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Originally Posted by Quartz_MJC View Post
One method which is used to varying degrees of success to model internationalrelationships between nation states is game theory.

http://gametheory101.com/International_Relations.html

Game theory is a mathmatical model and is a little heady. The basic assumption for game theory to be applicable is- the actors in a scenario need to be "Rational Actors". A "Rationa"l actor is one that acts in their best interest.

There is a brief and puffy vide on Ted Talks .
I can only relate this to business, not international relations, so it may not apply. In a couple roles I've been in, I've looked at game theory and it ended up sounding better than it worked.

Sometimes it's in a persons best interest to act irrationally. At the extreme, during a riot, it may be in your best interest to join the out of control mob, with an unpredictable outcome, than stand up to them and face certain death. With only slightly different circumstances, that would likely be too nuanced to model, it may be in your best interest to stand up to the mob. IMO, those nuances make prediction of the outcome based on a game theory model difficult.

Again, just from a business standpoint, when you look at things like market behaviors, the organizations I've been around have had way better prediction outcomes with empirical approaches like A/B testing and test markets than they have with behavioral models.

I think what you can say is that people (individually or groups) that have a long track record of acting rationally, have a high probability (but not a certainty) of acting rationally in the future. People that have a track record of acting irrationally, have a high probability of continuing to act irrationally in the future. At a high level, isn't that what things like credit scoring are about - quantifying long term rational behavior?
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Old 10-04-2014, 15:31   #5
Flagg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I am Al View Post
I'm not a SME in governance or physics. I also don't have experience applying Newtonian models to human behavior, but I do have some experience where people have tried to apply other physical models to human behavior. IMO, it doesn't work the way analysts want them to.

Just for context, analysts use models because the real thing is too complex to deal with. Since the model is a simplified version of the real thing, it's based on assumptions and constraints. Models do well predicting stable conditions that operate within the bounds of the assumptions and constraints, but tend to fall apart when conditions exceed those boundaries.

When the SHTF, there's a tipping point and the follow on behaviors. From my experience, the physical models haven't done a great job identifying the tipping points or predicting follow up behavior. People behave irrationally. Under the same circumstances the exact same group might behave one way one time and completely different the next. With people, a lot hinges on the leadership.

Just my opinion, physical models can help give some insight when they stay within the bounds of the model, but don't do well with erratic behaviors.

In a similar vein, I heard Warren Buffet talking about long term investing in an interview the other day. He said he's never been able to predict erratic behavior in the market (just another form of human behavior). He thinks the best predictor of organizational success is strong leadership and a long term track records of success through good times and bad. I think simple models like that are better predictors of outcomes. Not sure at the ghetto level, but it seems to me Warren's model could apply to the probability of success setting up governments in Iran and Afghanistan, too.
I hear what you're saying about simplicity.

For me, I'm stuck around the idea of insufficient governance(sovereign state public infrastructure & security combined with excessive levels of corruption) combined with exceptionally high population density.

Something akin to a point of no return where a persistent "sovereign governance black hole" develops.
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Old 10-04-2014, 15:36   #6
Flagg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz_MJC View Post
One method which is used to varying degrees of success to model internationalrelationships between nation states is game theory.

http://gametheory101.com/International_Relations.html

Game theory is a mathmatical model and is a little heady. The basic assumption for game theory to be applicable is- the actors in a scenario need to be "Rational Actors". A "Rationa"l actor is one that acts in their best interest.

There is a brief and puffy vide on Ted Talks .
I have to admit to giving Game Theory a crack a while's back........but not making much progress in adding value to my understanding.

I think I may have to try it again, but next time better hydrated/rested/medicated.
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Old 10-04-2014, 15:45   #7
Flagg
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Originally Posted by I am Al View Post
I can only relate this to business, not international relations, so it may not apply. In a couple roles I've been in, I've looked at game theory and it ended up sounding better than it worked.

Sometimes it's in a persons best interest to act irrationally. At the extreme, during a riot, it may be in your best interest to join the out of control mob, with an unpredictable outcome, than stand up to them and face certain death. With only slightly different circumstances, that would likely be too nuanced to model, it may be in your best interest to stand up to the mob. IMO, those nuances make prediction of the outcome based on a game theory model difficult.

Again, just from a business standpoint, when you look at things like market behaviors, the organizations I've been around have had way better prediction outcomes with empirical approaches like A/B testing and test markets than they have with behavioral models.

I think what you can say is that people (individually or groups) that have a long track record of acting rationally, have a high probability (but not a certainty) of acting rationally in the future. People that have a track record of acting irrationally, have a high probability of continuing to act irrationally in the future. At a high level, isn't that what things like credit scoring are about - quantifying long term rational behavior?
When I try to apply business principals and history to compare/contrast to the sovereign state, it seems a bit counterintuitive, or maybe we are just passing through a previously unseen political/sovereign "business cycle".

We are seeing some increased risk from the deconstruction of sovereign states.

In business we have typically seen mergers & acquisitions in maturing industries to achieve relative superiority and greater efficiency via economies of scale over competitors.

But it would appear that we are currently seeing a trend towards what is effectively sovereign corporate spin-offs that are both hostile and benign.

And concurrently, we are seeing sovereign corporate "employees", effectively creating competitive "semi-sovereign start-ups" in opposition to their "non-compete agreements".
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