Another great article! It's really great that a deep thinker and scholar of your calibre is writing on Medium ... and yes, this is partly a response to your article "The Sophistical Fiasco of Positive Thinking". I'm being truthful but I also want to encourage you to continue. This is partly for a selfish reason, which is that I enjoy your articles so much and I'm learning a lot.

As for this article, I think you underestimate the role of simple rules that sometimes get introduced by happenstance. Simple rules like when feudal lords allowed small-scale merchants to operate, eventually overturned the feudal system and laid the foundation for capitalism. Stephen Wolfram showed that very simple rules can lead to arbitrarily complex structures. The way the Mandelbrot set is constructed is a striking example.

In societies, as well as in most engineering systems, tiny positive feedback loops can eventually destroy a system. In biology, the cells with positive feedback but no negative ones are cancer cells. You must eliminate every single cancerous cell to safeguard a biological system. I think societies are like that. The main problem is developing social systems that can avoid positive feedback loops or temper them with strong negative feedback loops (like highly progressive taxation). You must eliminate or control every single positive feedback loop in a system, otherwise, pathological patterns reassert themselves in different ways.



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