Complexity is killing us. Right from the laws that govern us to the institutions which enforce them and the courts who adjudicate on them, our world has become so complex that it is virtually (literally as well as figuratively) impossible to comprehend and manage the mindboggling complexity that is so endemic in our lives. What more, even those who claim to understand complexity and have a grip on how to manage it flounder when confronted with solving problems that arise from complex systems.
Indeed, if not anything, the world is no longer linear and predictable, mainly due to the layers of complexity that have been added over the last few decades. Otherwise, why would the entire Global Financial System come to its knees in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008, triggered by the collapse of the American Investment Bank, Lehman Brothers, which triggered an avalanche in the equity markets worldwide and led to a near collapse of the monetary system. If someone was in control, what was the reason for the mayhem that engulfed all the major economies of the world during the Dark Days of 2008–09.
It need not have to be this way. Our lives were much simpler without technological progress, which ironically was meant to liberate us from complexity and make our lives simpler. However, the opposite happened with all the multilayered and myriad rules and regulations that now govern our online and virtual lives. Moreover, Moore’s Law that defines how advances in semiconductor technologies ensure Exponential Acceleration, governs our lives and leads to a dizzying pace of change that overwhelms us and threatens our fragile and fallible world.
The reason why technology failed to liberate us was due to it being subsumed by the Neoliberal Capitalist machine that governs our economic and financial lives. Ever since Neoliberalism took root as the dominant ideology since the 1970s, it has ensured ever widening inequality and a furious Race to the Bottom that is making the Rich Richer and the Poor Poorer. Indeed, just about every sphere of our lives is now a Neoliberal Infested Swamp where the fittest survive in a cannibalistic orgy of destruction and savagery. No wonder our elites are as clueless as the laypersons since the world that they created is no longer in their control and has become a Frankenstein like Monster, unwilling to be tamed.
The current Covid induced nightmare is another instance of how Complex Systems can be brought to their knees by even small and tiny disturbances sch as any of the many Black Swan Events that appear from time to time. Indeed, just like during the 2008 Crisis, the present Pandemic has shown that Systemic Collapse is just one event away and hence, this is another manifestation of how incapable we are at managing or to use a better term, mismanaging complexity. So, in essence, what we have is a world that defies logic and where the sheer Complexity is leading us to destruction and ruin.
While I am not saying that there is no hope for us, at least now the Elites must wake up and simplify some of the systems and processes that govern us. It is not too late to salvage the situation and all that it needs is more humility and less hubris from our saviors. It is time to rollback some of the Byzantine Mazes of our systems and make our lives simpler with minimalistic design and ways of living. Otherwise, our Never Ending Rollercoster would not stop until it steamrolls all of us, barring a few, if that was the intention all along.
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