Systems Of Survival

In Systems Of Survival ISBN:0679748164 Jane Jacobs defines Civilization as a society with a reasonably workable guardian-commercial symbiosis, meaning a combination of two opposing (Culture War) Moral systems/syndromes. Not that you just mush them up (which leads to MonstrousMoralHybrids), but rather that you follow one Syndrome when acting in that capacity. (Society Design)

Book is written in the form of a dialogue among 4+ people. Kinda a salon gathering initiated by one person concerned with commercial breaches of the Web Of Trust.

(A big frustration with this book - no index!)

There are 2 distinct moral syndromes because there are exactly 2 ways of Making A Living: Taking (Guardian) and Trading (Commercial).

  • and Man is the only animal that does Trading (hmmm, I wonder whether that's really true...)

  • and not everything we do/are falls into Taking/Trading. Personal Love is different, and not bound by either moral Syndrome.

The Commercial Moral Syndrome and Guardian Moral Syndrome are also defined here

Virtue-s accepted across the syndromes: cooperation, Courage, moderation, mercy, Common Sense, foresight, judgement, competence, perseverance, faith, energy, patience, Wisdom.

Some of the dichotomy comes from Platos Republic.

Some MonstrousMoralHybrids:

Similarly, cases of Systemic Moral Corruption (Corruption)

Thoughts on the origins of Trad Ing: not a village market, not a post-Agriculture invention, but used by tribes of hunter-gatherers (Tribalism).

  • An example: trading among tribes of NativeAmericans. At the time Europeans encountered them, the territories of the trading Indians were supporting higher concentrations of population than the territories of simpler foraging bands. ref: Carmel Schrire, ISBN:0126291802.

    • related: Agriculture is a Commerical, not Guardian, activity... subsistence farming is far harder work, for poorer and chancier returns, than hunting and gathering in the wild... Farm households everywhere struggle to get something to market if they possibly can... (self-reliance, refusal to trade) is so impractical it's a guaranteed recipe for poverty.
  • Peru: 3500 years ago, Agriculture for trade (cotton), not for food. ref Jeffrey Quilter, "Subsistence Economy of El Para-so, Peru" in Science 251 (1991).

Demands for new Sovereignty/Land Reform as conquered peoples break free of the ideologies brought with conquest. In 1904 there were only 50 sovereignties in the world. (Now roughly 200.)

Syndrome-friendly inventions - new Game Rule-s that stay within the morals and functions of the one syndrome involved

Two approaches to maintaining separation/symbiosis of the two Syndrome-s


Chris Phoenix posits a 3rd Information Syndrome. I have said that Guardian ethics are best for dealing with Zero-Sum or negative-sum situations, and Commercial ethics are best for dealing with Positive Sum situations. The invention of computers has created Unlimited Sum situations. Nice comparison table.


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