Month: May 2020

Overcoming Systemic Inequality

We shouldn’t take the actions of the police in Minnesota lightly, but we should also not be blind to the fact that the violence we are seeing is a result of a more systemic injustice and difficulty, exacerbated by current economic conditions. That more systemic injustice and difficulty you can say is based on economic inequality, but in reality it is rooted in a systemic inequality in our education system. In saying this I do not doubt the intelligence – or capacity to be informed – of those rioting and luting (and of course not those protesting). I say this because education is the foundation of economic and social equality and stability, and we have known for some time that we are failing people of color in education.

I say it is a ‘difficulty’ and not simply an injustice, because education is long and it is strenuous. The difficulty is in the length of the eductation process: the ability to see a better world at the end of the study, the patience and persistence needed to complete an education. Even if our education systems changed to address the inequalities and overnight, the actual fruit of this metamorphasis would not be born for decades down the line, while this and that quick-fix promising to heal and now would be proposed to divert those from the necessary hard work to overcome the more systemic issue; some even going so far as to fight the required hard work by undermining the content of that education as not of value to this or that people; an argument which can seem compelling when one senses a need for a fix and now.  Sadly, the process need be slow and steady – even if the start toward change should come quickly.

If there is a good to come out of this challenge to America, let it be in a quick change to educational inequality, and a realization of the need for patience, not chaos, in the long process to follow.

This piece is written on occasion of my cousin Lauren’s graduation – love you and congratulations!

The Call For A New Democracy

It is only with great ignorance that we expect our elected officials to have the intellectual toolset required to grapple with most modern social and environmental issues. Social and Environmental threats and cures represent the height of complexity in decision making, and law makers rarely have the technological familiarity to appreciate the issues nor the mathematical background to comprehend them even if guided. This entails that our elected officials generally cannot be in a position to make the correct decisions on tough issues and must instead defer to their advisors, whether they received credit/blame to the public’s eye or not.

That this disconnect is not readily visible to ordinary citizens is what keeps our current form of democracy afloat. But it is becoming more and more apparent to more and more people, during the current coronavirus pandemic, that there is such a disconnect. It is becoming more and more clear that no amount of informing our leaders will put them in a position to do what they were elected to do: make decisions. But even as this becomes clear, there is probably the false impression that MDs are needed in office. The truth is that MDs as a whole would be more qualified than most politicians, but as a whole they fail to have the training in complex decision making and the technology which makes complex decision making possible.

What is needed is a new kind of toolset, with a new kind of credentials, to complement the current legal system. It is what I have called in a ‘Technology Congress’ and the credentialing – though perhaps initially borrowing from technical professions – would entail familiarity with the requisite technology and mastery of the required mathematics. In point of fact, this Technology Congress would do less to change the way things actually work than it may seem. Today we have an opaque Intelligency Community of de facto decision makers filling the role which our elected officials cannot. But in point of fact, we have no reason to trust these decision makers, because they were not elected by the people – this trust, if I need remind you, is what Democracy is for. Without it we are relying on benevolance of the well positioned, and history often does not speak highly of such people.

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