In the introduction we mentioned how we can’t get real solutions in complex systems; multiple solutions are found in areas called attractors. Cultures are such systems and there are no simple solutions like in algebra.
The different cultures we see around the world are examples of these attractors. In complex math if you add more variables to these systems they shift–they are called strange attractors. That is what we are seeing in the world today as we add to our concepts of gender and their social connections. Many don’t like it; change in our paradigms is seen as a threat.
Economy and the “Invisible Hand”
A major part of all cultures is the economy—the work that people do and how they interact and trade. Our model, capitalism, has been very successful over the last four hundred years, but in order to succeed it too has evolved.
When Adam Smith first described capitalism he already saw that it changed and he proposed an “invisible hand” that guided it. Part of this guidance was provided by the “properly understood” clause that seemed always to be associated with “self interest”. Smith seemed to think that the invisible hand was provided by the morals of those participating.
In today’s marketplace, self-interest seems to have lost its constraining clause—greed is pronounced good. We have no problem using others for our own profit without their understanding or permission. Joe Stieglitz argues that the invisible hand has been killed by asymmetric information: where one side of an agreement has information not had by the other, which they use for their own gain. This puts a different spin on the invisible hand idea. We argue here that the choices of the informed consumer are the invisible hand that guides the marketplace.
This view is the basis of how we see capitalism evolving; if the invisible hand is going to guide us in the beneficial way that Smith saw, then we need to focus on increasing transparency wherever we can.
To get an grasp on the big picture of how to start seeing differently, visit our “Idea Behind This” page.
Thinking anayltically has affected many facets of our society. Read more about the consequences of analytical thinking in the following areas: