Memetic trading networks
This page describes the organizational forces that limit change.  It explains how to overcome them when necessary. 

Power& tradition holding back progress
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The constraints are described. 
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Memetic signals adaptive responses and trade networks

Summary
Matt Ridley demonstrates the creative effect of man on the World. He highlights:

The Rational Optimist
Ridley's book 'The Rational Optimist' contrasts the impacts of humanity with all other life forms and asks what caused the difference?

Ridley identifies a number of facets that support man's impact on the world:
Ridley suggests these facets allowed man to expand the niches that could be competed for successfully, and provided the time to focus on specialized strategies.  The adaptive result allowed man to hunt prey to extinction without paying a price since alternatives still existed.  For the prey the
This page reviews the strategy of setting up an arms race.  At its core this strategy depends on being able to alter, or take advantage of an alteration in, the genome or equivalent.  The situation is illustrated with examples from biology, high tech and politics. 
arms race
that had driven the development of these highly specialized competitors failed and their
This page discusses the mechanisms and effects of emergence underpinning any complex adaptive system (CAS).  Key research is reviewed. 
emergent
cascade collapsed. 

Ridley shows how man has created a
This page reviews the catalytic impact of infrastructure on the expression of phenotypic effects by an agent.  The infrastructure reduces the cost the agent must pay to perform the selected action.  The catalysis is enhanced by positive returns. 
network
that transfers, supports,
Plans change in complex adaptive systems (CAS) due to the action of genetic operations such as mutation, splitting and recombination.  The nature of the operations is described. 
recombines
and instantiates
Plans emerge in complex adaptive systems (CAS) to provide the instructions that agents use to perform actions.  The component architecture and structure of the plans is reviewed. 
memes
, processes and
Tools and the businesses that produce them have evolved dramatically.  W Brian Arthur shows how this occurred.
tools
.  He explains how this
This page reviews the implications of reproduction initially generating a single child cell.  The mechanism and resulting strategic options are discussed. 
sexual recombination
enables the vast variety of new forms that man has innovated. 

He describes how current western civilizations, and early hunter gatherers both invested in skills and specialization over many years of development is a phase during the operation of a CAS agent.  It allows for schematic strategies to be iteratively blended with environmental signals to solve the logistical issues of migrating newly built and transformed sub-agents.  That is needed to achieve the adult configuration of the agent and optimize it for the proximate environment.  Smiley includes examples of the developmental phase agents required in an emergent CAS.  In situations where parents invest in the growth and memetic learning of their offspring the schematic grab bag can support optimizations to develop models, structures and actions to construct an adept adult.  In humans, adolescence leverages neural plasticity, elder sibling advice and adult coaching to help prepare the deploying neuronal network and body to successfully compete. 
, obtaining amplified payback from the network of specialists and the
Tools and the businesses that produce them have evolved dramatically.  W Brian Arthur shows how this occurred.
increasing array of products, components and tools they create
.  Ridley comments "The true measure of something's worth is the hour's it takes to acquire it.  If you have to acquire it yourself, it usually takes longer than if you get it ready made by other people.  If you can get it made efficiently by others, then you can afford more of it".  

Ridley shows how current western societies create a network that enables inter-generational transfers from the productive adults to the developing young.  He points out:
  1. The system must keep moving forward or it will collapse.
  2. The innovation is the economic realization of invention and combinatorial exaptation. 
    achieved by sexual recombination and development of time saving products and service benefits all.  
  3. That using time to borrow from the future rather than invest in innovation creates the risk of stalling progress. 
He suggests time invested in innovation will ensure "the relentless upward march of human living standards".  He is rightly optimistic, and is joined in that position by Jared Diamond, E.O. Wilson and Jeffrey Sachs. 

Innovations reducing stress on the environment
Ridley writes that technological innovation is the economic realization of invention and combinatorial exaptation. 
s are increasing the resources available to man while helping to reduce the stress on the environment.  Building on the leverage of fossil fuels and the Haber process, he shows how genetic variants of crops were initially breed, and more recently engineered to vastly amplify the amount of food stuffs available, from the same amount of land.  As an added benefit the resultant transfer of rural to urban labor typically reduces the human demand for land.  

As he reviews the historical development of trade networks Ridley points out the
This page reviews the catalytic impact of infrastructure on the expression of phenotypic effects by an agent.  The infrastructure reduces the cost the agent must pay to perform the selected action.  The catalysis is enhanced by positive returns. 
amplifying effect of rivers, roads and especially seas with technologies like the wheel and boats
.  Ridley argues that the Phoenicians development of birene galleys, leveraging local cedar & cypress forests, was particularly significant in making the Mediterranean ports key trading hubs. 

He also points out that human replacement rates are dropping in most parts of the world, which can eventually be expected to limit the pressure of exponentially increasing growth rates.  Its a point discussed at depth by Jeffrey Sachs.  As death rates drop couples no longer use a strategy of large families to ensure some adult offspring.  It is clear to them that smaller families have better living standards.  When education and trade are also available women become keen to limit their investment in child rearing. 

Ridley concedes that elites often emerge from the rewards of trading, only to divert the benefits to
This page describes the organizational forces that limit change.  It explains how to overcome them when necessary. 

increasing their power and wealth consequently undermining the effect of the trading


The contribution of fossil fuels
Ridley explains how fossil fuels do not compete for land while providing a flexible energy source. 

He argues that this is of major significance.  Britain's Industrial Revolution was unusual because it did not suffer negative returns to scale.  Ridley shows that this was because the energy needed to sustain it did not require dedication of ever more land, which would not have been available.  Otherwise like all previous technological expansions, the revolution would have collapsed.  Instead by drawing workers from rural to urban life styles the Industrial Revolution reduced their demand for land too. 

In comparison, Ridley complains, most 'green' energy strategies will be damaging since they will have to grab land from natural ecologies. 

Ridley promotes networked innovation is the economic realization of invention and combinatorial exaptation. 
as a bottom up emergent process.  He sees
This page reviews Christensen's disruption of a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism is discussed with examples from biology and business. 
predators and parasites
as a major risk to its continued operation.  He comments "It happened in the past.
Peter Turchin describes how major pre-industrial empires developed due to effects of geographic boundaries constraining the empires and their neighbors' interactions.  Turchin shows how the asymmetries of breeding rates and resource growth rates results in dynamic cycles within cycles.  After the summary of Turchin's book complex adaptive system (CAS) theory is used to augment Turchins findings. 
Empires bought stability at the price of creating a parasitic court;
monotheistic religions bought social cohesion at the price of a parasitic priestly class; nationalism bought power at the expense of a parasitic military; socialism bought equality at the price of a parasitic bureaucracy; capitalism bought efficiency at the price of
Charles Ferguson argues that the US power structure has become highly corrupt. 

Ferguson identifies key events which contributed to the transformation:
  • Junk bonds, 
  • Derivative deregulation, 
  • CMOs, ABS and analyst fraud,
  • Financial network deregulation,
  • Financial network consolidation, 
  • Short term incentives
Subsequently the George W. Bush administration used the situation to build a global bubble, which Wall Street leveraged.  The bursting of the bubble: managed by the Bush Administration and Bernanke Federal Reserve; was advantageous to some. 

Ferguson concludes that the restructured and deregulated financial services industry is damaging to the American economy.  And it is supported by powerful, incentive aligned academics.   He sees the result being a rigged system. 

Ferguson offers his proposals for change and offers hope that a charismatic young FDR will appear. 

Following our summary of his arguments, RSS comments on them framed by complex adaptive system (CAS) theory.  Once the constraints are removed from CAS amplifiers, it becomes advantageous to leverage the increased flows.  And it is often relatively damaging not to participate.  Corruption and parasitism can become entrenched. 

parasitic financiers
.  "  

The application of
This page introduces the complex adaptive system (CAS) theory frame.  The theory is positioned relative to the natural sciences.  It catalogs the laws and strategies which underpin the operation of systems that are based on the interaction of emergent agents. 
John Holland's framework for representing complexity is outlined.  Links to other key aspects of CAS theory discussed at the site are presented. 
CAS theory
represents the economy as a set of
This page discusses the mechanisms and effects of emergence underpinning any complex adaptive system (CAS).  Key research is reviewed. 
emergent
niches.  The facets present in hunters and gatherers created an
This page reviews the strategy of setting up an arms race.  At its core this strategy depends on being able to alter, or take advantage of an alteration in, the genome or equivalent.  The situation is illustrated with examples from biology, high tech and politics. 
evolutionary amplifier
between interacting humans where each specialist gains time from the trades with other
Plans are interpreted and implemented by agents.  This page discusses the properties of agents in a complex adaptive system (CAS). 
It then presents examples of agents in different CAS.  The examples include a computer program where modeling and actions are performed by software agents.  These software agents are aggregates. 
The participation of agents in flows is introduced and some implications of this are outlined. 
agents
in the network. 

The aggregate agents generated within the system will compete adaptively the most successful deploying the best associated strategies that selection provides them.  As such parasites, predators and other niched specialists should be expected.  The system makes itself resilient epistatically. 

Ridley's position of 'Rational Optimist' depending on networked innovation to ensure progress still seems overly optimistic, in a number of ways:

Ridley argues that it is the networking of innovations that makes man so different.  CAS theory sees the difference as being that man's:
While bees use memetic signals when describing where food has been found, they have avoided the cooperative sharing of food between the sexes which Ridley promotes as the initiator of networked trading.  


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This page looks at schematic structures and their uses.  It discusses a number of examples:
  • Schematic ideas are recombined in creativity. 
  • Similarly designers take ideas and rules about materials and components and combine them. 
  • Schematic Recipes help to standardize operations. 
  • Modular components are combined into strategies for use in business plans and business models. 

As a working example it presents part of the contents and schematic details from the Adaptive Web Framework (AWF)'s operational plan. 

Finally it includes a section presenting our formal representation of schematic goals. 
Each goal has a series of associated complex adaptive system (CAS) strategy strings. 
These goals plus strings are detailed for various chess and business examples. 
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  • A business can gain focus from targeting key customers,
  • Business planning activities performed by the whole organization can build awareness, empowerment and coherence. 
  • A program approach can ensure strategic alignment. 
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