Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"The Collapse of Complex Business Models"

Essay by Clay Shirky,

"Complex societies collapse because, when some stress comes, those societies have become too inflexible to respond. In retrospect, this can seem mystifying. Why didn’t these societies just re-tool in less complex ways? The answer Tainter gives is the simplest one: When societies fail to respond to reduced circumstances through orderly downsizing, it isn’t because they don’t want to, it’s because they can’t.

In such systems, there is no way to make things a little bit simpler – the whole edifice becomes a huge, interlocking system not readily amenable to change."
A correspondent writes,
"The capital-intensive, brick-and-mortar, spoke-and-wheel system that the elites use to distribute their propaganda is collapsing to a level of cheapness and simplicity that makes it possible for anyone with a competing viewpoint to distribute information. So the elites lack the information monopoly they needs to justify the complexity and expense of their other systems. As a result, the public learned that the Obamacare web site cost 600-million dollars, but was duplicated by three programmers in two weeks."
Be sure to ready Shirky's piece on the O'bamacare website.


Taylor Conant said...

It'd be nice if people defined "collapse."

Collapse SOUNDS like something sudden and total.

But how many of the "collapsed" societies that we have only scattered archaeological remains of nowadays become so in a sudden and total manner?

whydibuy said...

Nothing is about to collapse.
CP is bearish about the world but not like Zero brains. They have had a few pieces lately bordering on the stark raving mad. I mean they are waxing apocalyptic with words like collapse, decay and implosion like the Earth is about to fly into the sun. They need help. I mean professional help. I mean like a mega dose of prozac type help. More indication of a strong bull market climbing that wall of worry, or should I say, collapse

CP said...

This is collapse in the Tainter sense, not the Terminator 2 or 28 Days Later sense.

See the upcoming Tainter lecture post for more. And read the book.

Also, sometimes the reasons we don't have a record of older times is because there were no taxpayer supported parasites writing things down.

The final, final collapse of Rome came as a huge relief to the peasants.

Opium War said...


You sound now just like you did in 2005-2006 when you claimed housing would be fine

How much of your original portfolio is left, anyhow? Are you close to even yet?

My favorite quote from whydibuy: "This talk about bubbles is getting quite tiresome. Housing will NOT crash and blow away like an internet stock. Housing bubble blah, blah, blah. I and nearly everybody I know also has a house paid for free and clear or has a modest mortgage. Exactly where are all these bubble people? And finally, its very reassuring perversely that when everybody is fretting over something, its not going to happen. Give it a rest already"

Anonymous said...

One thing I've asked whidibuy for before is his current pound the table long ideas. There must be some?

whydibuy said...

OK, if you want to know....banks.

They will continue to reap the biggest rewards from QE and many are still at very low PEs considering their stability and growth. BAC to 20 in 2014 and JPM to 80. Just a couple but a whole lot will do very well in 2014.

Anonymous said...

BAC has gone nowhere since why'dIbuy posted that. Same with JPM.

Will they make it to his levels by end of year???