Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Europe, the Eurozone Crisis, Complexity and Systemantics

The laws of systemantics are said to be pseudo-science. Fair enough. A few of these laws are listed below. They apply to highly complex systems. Think of these laws and then think of the EU and of the Euro.

• Le Chatelier’s Principle: Complex systems tend to oppose their own proper function. As systems grow in complexity, they tend to oppose their stated function.
• A complex system cannot be “made” to work. It either works or it doesn’t.
• A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.
• A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.
• The Functional Indeterminacy Theorem (F.I.T.): In complex systems, malfunction and even total non-function may not be detectable for long periods, if ever.
• The Fundamental Failure-Mode Theorem (F.F.T.): Complex systems usually operate in failure mode.
• A complex system can fail in an infinite number of ways.
• The larger the system, the greater the probability of unexpected failure.
• As systems grow in size, they tend to lose basic functions.
• Colossal systems foster colossal errors.

The flawed "design" of the EU and its currency is now widely recognized. One wonders how can such a bad design actually go "into production". However, we ought to recognize a few things:

• The EU is a super-huge system, no matter how you look at it  (size, population, economy)
• A system of such proportions has never been conceived before - this is the first time, therefore, there is very little experience
• The components are extremely heterogeneous - taking this into account is a fantastic problem. Imagine a system of 27 equations with thousands of variables. How can there not be conflicts and constraints?
• Those who designed the system did not have any system-specific BI technology to assist them
• Those who designed the system had no means of estimating and managing the resulting complexity - there we no tools to measure and manage complexity in those days
• When the system was designed and when it went into production nobody had any clue as to its dynamics. Today the same may be said.
Systemantics may not be science - although our QCM confirms many of these laws in a quantitative fashion - as they do sound a bit like extensions of Murphy's laws. However, just read again the F.I.T and F.F.T laws. Looks like the EU, doesn't it?

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