Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Collapse of Complex Societies In Action

I've blogged about Tainter's book The Collapse of Complex Societies before and his theory that as a society becomes more complex (i.e., more and more layers of laws/regulations, bureaucracy, taxes, etc.), a society will finally reach a point of negative return on investment where the cost of an added complexity exceeds the benefit it provides. At some point, faced with an emergency it cannot afford (which can be quite mild if the complexity is significant), the society will then collapse until it reaches a stage of homeostasis.

Here are a few stories I came across this past evening and morning that seem to illustrate that we are at or beyond the point of inflection:
      Lamont and the Democrats, with large majorities in the legislature, have delivered more of the same this year, but in higher doses. They’ve raised taxes to fund an increasingly bloated government and given more power and privilege to the politicians and special interests. It is little wonder job creation virtually stopped during Lamont’s liberal legislative binge.
         If Connecticut is in a turnaround, it’s a full 360 degrees. All the mistakes this year are the same type made by liberal politicians over the last 30, leading to stagnant wages and a flatlining population in a state otherwise known as a highly desirable destination.
             With a stroke of his pen, California Governor Gavin Newsom has redirected part of the money you pay at the pump with the state’s gas tax to the railway system and other projects.
             Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-19-19.
               It calls for leveraging billion in annual state transportation funds to reduce green house gases and emissions.
                 The order directs money away from fixing local highways, stalling important projects here in the valley.
              So where did that money go? Who knows. As the non-partisan state staff will tell you, it is impossible to know how the money was spent. What we do know is that education and highway funding did not increase by the amount of increased revenue to the state. Why? Because politicians can change the rules by just passing a bill – and they do every budget cycle.
              • "Dysfunctional Education"--Angelo Codevilla at American Greatness. And not withstanding the every greater amounts spent on education:
              During Word War II, only 4 percent of some 18 million draftees were illiterate. Despite (or because?) of massive expenditures on education over the subsequent two decades, 27 percent of the Vietnam war’s draftees were judged functionally illiterate. Between 1955 and 1991, the inflation-adjusted average K-12 per-pupil expenditure in America rose 350 percent. In 1972, 2,817 students scored 750 or better on each half of the SAT. By 1994, only 1,438 made this score though the test had been made easier. Today, U.S. 15 year olds rank 24th out of 71 countries in science, and 38th in math. In 2018, college students spent less than a third of the time their grandparents did studying for their classes.

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