Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Open Society (continued)

I have no words to describe the evilness of a vertically integrated society (VIS). The worst kind always wins. Not only that equals sabotage each other as well as possible, but the person in power does not feel safe unless it is able to prove his power again and again. This proof takes all negative shapes one can imagine: it is the power to destroy, to impose absurd public decisions, to arrest change, all to make the powerful person feel a bit more secure in his position of power. Even if the powerful person was well educated before he took the power, he will be forced to change if he wants to survive. There are no rational arguments in a VIS, only declarations of loyalty. A rational argument requires a civic society able to listen and judge that argument. This phenomena takes place at each and every level of a VIS, starting with groups of two people and ending with the whole society. This situation describes a stable social equilibrium. Besides the reason and the experience which soon teaches every person the right strategy to survive, this attitude is also sown into every individual since birth. I watched a three year old being taught not to acknowledge the presence of neighbors.

Vertically integrated societies have a tendency to change unexpectedly, when one single person, usually deprived of any free intellectual challenge, suddenly decides to change policy, or when rather regular but always unexpected popular uprisings erupt. These uprisings always fail in the long run, as people do not cooperate with their equals on a regular basis, but simply choose new leaders to solve their problems, and preserve the social structure. A VIS is unable to enforce contracts beyond the discretionary and always unexpected will of the great leader. This renders the economy hopeless, but also it gives to every international treaty involving a VIS the value of the paper on which it is written – and nothing more.

Horizontally integrated societies (HIS) show a few defects themselves, as follows:

- Racism: as problems can be solved within the community, where people know and control each other well, and the community is defined by small but overwhelmingly important details like the accent, body positions and eyes color, efficient HIS's are usually hermetically closed. Larger scale problems require larger scale cooperation, but such problems are delegated to remote high rank politicians and many of them fail to be solved.

- Inertia: a problem needs to sink in before people tear off from their valuable private time to solve it. In a HIS, a problem is postponed until it becomes stringent, and then it is dealt with it very intensively over a short period of time. The solution, generated by the very middle class people who are affected by the problem, is usually good and feasible, such that people can ignore such problems over a long period of time, after which the problem resurfaces in a new form.

- Flattening: it seems that societies which are well integrated horizontally have a tendency to censor people who are well above or well below the average from the point of view of competence and performance.