Monday, May 17, 2010

Meritocracy and feedback

Ross Douthat suggests a pessimistic feedback loop, that complex systems tend to become increasingly complex because they cause ever increasing problems:
This is the perverse logic of meritocracy. Once a system grows sufficiently complex, it doesn’t matter how badly our best and brightest foul things up. Every crisis increases their authority, because they seem to be the only ones who understand the system well enough to fix it.
But their fixes tend to make the system even more complex and centralized, and more vulnerable to the next national-security surprise, the next natural disaster, the next economic crisis. Which is why, despite all the populist backlash and all the promises from Washington, this isn’t the end of the “too big to fail” era. It’s the beginning. 

Found on the Econlog.

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