Efficiency and democratization backfiring

March 7, 2022 by Joshua
in Models, Visualization

People who don’t understand systems love small efficiency gains. They say how it benefits all to make technology available to everyone.

When your system produces outcomes you don’t want, improving and growing it get you more unwanted outcomes. You may then try that strategy again, accelerating creating unwanted outcomes. We’re making things available to the poor that impoverish them. Then we do it more.

The diagram below is an early version that needs work, but illustrates many examples of how our economic system making things efficient and more available got the results we should have expected but are likely the opposite of what people wanted.

I offer it as a way to wake up to what we’re doing, what I call “stepping on the gas, thinking it’s the brake, wanting congratulations.” I’m developing it to help us stop digging ourselves deeper.

I’d like to live in the world of the left column. I live in the world of the right column, largely created by people thinking efficiency and making the thing more available would help. We’re doing it with electric cars, drones, and plenty other areas.

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