I like large messy governments that compete internally with smaller messy governments in a kind of federal vs confederate manner with some division and awkward overlap of duties that tells citizens what they think citizens should think while being checked by messy media that compete for eyeballs and agreement from across the spectrum all with the JUST barely enough cooperation to function with most of its actual work that gets done being inbetween the lines of hierarchies. [hierarchies are useful things to work around which makes them useful as structure if not always function]

I like large messy governments that compete internally with smaller messy governments in a kind of federal vs confederate manner with some division and awkward overlap of duties that tells citizens what they think citizens should think while being checked by messy media that compete for eyeballs and agreement from across the spectrum all with the JUST barely enough cooperation to function with most of its actual work that gets done being inbetween the lines of hierarchies.

[hierarchies are useful things to work around which makes them useful as structure if not always function]

I’m not strongly wedded to what I said either. Mostly I was giving my interpretation of how I see some of how the USA seems to operate usually. It’s messy and inefficient which I think is probably a strength oddly.

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US is designed from the start to be bloated, slow and inefficient. It’s never operated like a well-oiled machine – neither do most businesses (except some Japanese factories once upon a time) – and that’s bloat and slowness is what makes them strong.

Agile and nimble works for smaller areas but things that are big, act big, not as one-voice but as a mess of internal conflict that somehow manages to get large scale things done anyway

It works the opposite of how we’re usually taught: “efficient good inefficient bad” but an inefficient system generates work in tangental areas, like rhyzomes spreading under the soil, and it helps support the plant invisibly. …

That’s a very special example. It HAS to work as perfectly as possible because its trying to do an impossible thing: keep people alive 20000 feet in the air. Should be physically impossible.

It’s also a better example of global cooperation than national.

while a lot of our political ideas differ, I think we’re more or less on the same page with this stuff. Systems can function well even if all the individual parts are broken So long as they work together to fulfill the functions the system-as-a-whole is designed for, it works.

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Yes and even the bloat is usually necessary. A common 80/20 myth is that if we get rid of the inefficient 80% then the 20% becomes 100% and you get 100%.

But what happens instead is a new 80/20 starting from a smaller base. Sort of Zeno’s paradox like.

Of course 80/20 is just an aphorism but it gets the point across. It’s important to work on efficiency of a system but to also have real world expectations.

Machinery is different of course and high-stakes systems out of humans that function-like-machines ARE possible but you get human operator burnout after a time as humans don’t work at 100% and can’t. But a well designed system will take humans into account by design.

I’d redesign govt with a Zipf’s law thing built into it with plenty of leeway for invisible connections while keeping a hierarchy. I believe the Rule of 150 to be true: that any organization over 150 will form the rudiments of a a chain-of-command – unofficially – even if there’s explicitly intended to be none.

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If you’ve got human ergonomics in mind (which includes proper life/work balance stuff built-in, which isn’t rocket science), they could be operators or fire-walkers and all that’s left is a binary good work/bad work. But without the ergo stuff and life/work stuff built into the system, problems that arise from humans being a part of the system will get n the way of good operations.

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Jobs that require more creativity and are less scripted, like Finance or b2b or legal are going to be messier, chattier, subject to mistakes because the parameters are in constant flux and usually involve things like “making somebody happy with the report / the contract / etc.

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