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 Monstrous Moral Hybrids), 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.
Some of the dichotomy comes from Platos Republic.
Some Monstrous Moral Hybrids:
- Marxism, Socialism, Communism: any case where government (Guardians) take over the operation of commerce, rather than just constraining its behavior through laws. Investment less in agriculture than in an ideology about Agriculture.
- Organized Crime: Mafia, triads, etc.
- Armbruster's Law Of Intractable Systemic Corruption: any significant breach of a Syndrome's integrity - usually by adopting an inappropriate function - causes some normal virtues to convert automatically to vices, and still others to bend and break for necessary expedience... Self Organizing systems become Self Disorganizing.
- International Development failures (from IMF/World Bank programs) - see Patricia Adams)
- corporate Conglomerate-building, LBO-s (when done for Empire Building rather than Commercial Moral Syndrome reasons - Michael Jensen argued that the LBO was a way of using Private Capital to make owners into managers again, because he felt that the separation of those functions was corrupting - Jacobs never notes this position)
- breakdown of the FamilyValues is the result of societal corruption, not its cause
- 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).
- Guardian: posited Game Rule: decree outcome, let private enterprise find process to meet it.
- creating rules to constrain commercial activity (Anti-Trust), constitutions, Separation Of Power, Rule Of Law, etc.
- CAFE standards for improved AutoMobile mileage.
- reduction in CFC use
- Taiwan Land Reform/Industrial Policy - pushing investment from Agriculture to industry
- (I'm not convinced of this example, since there were so many rules created to fight against other investment options like Real Estate that it seems to me like it left little real process choice.)
Two approaches to maintaining separation/symbiosis of the two Syndrome-s
- Caste System - Feudalism
- Knowledgeable Flexibility - Deuteronomy
- by default the less-bad choice
- given constant Change
- where Democracy means more than having the vote, many citizens engage Part-Time in PublicAffairs... This work demands the Guardian Moral Syndrome... yet many (of these people) happen to be Making A Living in Commercial work.
- government agencies are entangled in comerce, even moreso in a Complex Society.
- if it's true we're the only creatures with 2 fundamentally different ways of Making A Living, it follows that to be as fully human as we can be, we should all be capable of using our 2 Syndrome-s well. They belong to all of us because we're human.
- by default the less-bad choice
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.