Competition and Co-operation
22 Apr 2009
Why are the dominant civilizations at the present moment "First past the Post" competitions ?
Answer : to encourage co-operation .
Non-Darwinnian selection is more important than Darwinnian selection .
( Non-Darwinnian selection is for co-operation .
Darwinnian selection is for competition .)
See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com "Why genes?" for a discussion at a very low level .
Sociological systems are more distinct in certain ways and more complex
Do I compete , co-operate or drag my feet ?
This is a question every individual sophont in every society across the universe asks himself every day .
Competition carries the risk of failure . Failure is an error , with penalties.
Can you survive the draw-down resulting from the error ?
This brings the powerful arguments of Reserves to bear .
See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com "New tools : Infinite Probes : reserves"
In this context , reserves can be interpreted as Co-operation .
So does dragging your feet .
Co-operatives like organizations and families enables individuals to compete 62% - 72% of the time , and survive the experience . Learning from it .
Losing a competition is not fatal .
This is the major advantage of societies and multicellular organizations .
The probability of succeeding in a competition is not spread evenly .
Eg The fastest runner will win most of the time . But , he will get older .
Most organizations promote by seniority . People who have learned to co-operate . An essential bedrock for any high-flyers .
Another way of putting it , is that a society that does not promote by seniority will not last long . One of the driving forces of the present economic crisis is the selfishness of the managers .
They are not being co-operative in the basic sense of the word .
1. Too much competition .
Historical examples :
Xenophon's " Anabasis" . It is difficult for a circa 2100 AD Western person to understand how a military system could function where any commander at any level could be voted out and replaced at any time .
Yet , function it did . And very effectively too .
They survived by simply robbing anybody nearby who was weaker .
This is an instance where Co-operation is far below the 28% level .
"Bare is the back without a brother to guard it" says it all .
The Havamal should be required reading for any wanna-be savage .
Another instance is the Fuehrer-prinzip of Nazi-Germany .
Every post was competed and fought over .
Competition was driven to levels below reserves .
This led to a huge explosion of innovation , as each individual drove his idea to the exclusion of everything else .
The ancient Greeks , Vikings and Nazi's were some of the most innovative eras . As each Fuehrer drove his idea forward .
The price was social cohesiveness , by definition .
A Nazi , a Viking and an ancient Greek would have understood each other perfectly , while competing to death .
2. Too much co-operation and too little competition .
Reserves more than 38%
This is better known from "Rights of Kings" , aristocracy and class-systems . The death of the European nobility .
The death of the Nomenklatura .
An interesting aside :
The British India Civil Service .
Another "first-past-the-post" exam .
But what happened to the losers ? They stayed behind to rule Britain .
And ruined the British Empire in the process .
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot .
What happened ?
Each yearly echelon of graduates (at least thirty echelons between 1870 and 1900) tried the exams . About fifty per year were chosen .
The remaining thousands had to learn to co-operate in the Civil Service . But all still very smart cookies ,
The civil service slowly gelled into an co-operative enterprise , with little competition .
This fixed the English Class-system . Politicians like Churchill didn't help .
The Indian Gambit , with a vengeance .
Class mobility decreased , and so did the old Victorian innovation . So did economic innovation and growth .
Orders were blindly obeyed , instead of queried .
The result was the Somme .
Non-Darwinnian selection .
The losers do not die or vanish in a convenient puff of smoke .
They might not win the first prize , but that is true of 99.99% of any species by definition of "first-by-the-post".
They survive by co-operating .
It forces co-operation . The whole point .
The winners take 1/3 of the resources as reserves .
The co-operatives then split the remainder in a fractal series of competitions and co-operations .
The co-operatives compete inside their group and co-operate against any outside interference .
Sound familiar ? This is a civil service . Or a Family .
If you sum the portion of resources taken (ie not open to competition by others ) it looks like this :
After 0 administration : 33% (the winners at the start)
After 1 administration : 56%
After 2 administrations : 70%
After 3 administrations : 80%
And it rapidly increases after that in geometrical proportion .
Can you see the problem ?
After two administrations , less than a third of the system's wealth is left over . This is a critical limit for reserves for the remainder of the population . The society starts destabilizing as all the remaining classes realize that their grand-children will not have sufficient reserves to live .
The US solved the problem in a hit-or-miss fashion by changing the whole civil service every two administrations . A nearly optimal solution . No wonder they are numero uno .
And here I thought that a civil service lends stability . It does , but only for two administrations . After that , it starts to destabilize the whole system . Now that we know what to look for , the effects can clearly be seen in the Roman Empire , British Empire , Ottoman Empire , etc .
The solution ?
A Sovereign solution is tax . Tax the future . Inheritance taxes saved Britain by forcing the indolent capitalists to get off their lazy butts and do something .
Ridiculous as it might seem , taxing inflation would do something similar . Think it through . (This is a Beth(1) argument .)
So what is a person to do today ?
Compete when young .
If not a winner , then co-operate completely .
(The old paradigm called for competition within the co-operation groups , but there are greater rewards in a small slice of a big pie than in big slice of a small pie. See Wallmart) .
If you see a good-looking bird , don't twitch . Twitter .