Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Something I said 3 years ago

"The notion that I got from reading the original quote (from the interview, excerpted below) was more about how it could be a metaphor for an economy. That is, the more dynamic an economy becomes, perhaps there is a threshold at which it is TOO dynamic...goes too fast to allow a economic actor to react rationally to it (and it just becomes a series of random success stories).

Furthermore, I could see how the dyamicism introduced by global free trade could potentially, POTENTIALLY, push the rate of change beyond this threshold.

I think economic models must always be careful to figure in some real flesh constants related to the human lifespan (and, though obviously frought with hard to define numbers, constants matched to life STAGES...say, the "3 different phases of an adults work life/career")."

DC: Evolutionary psychology portrays us as having impulses that took form long ago, in a very pre-modern context (say, 10,000 years ago), and now these impulses are sometimes rather ill-adapted to our contemporary world. For example, in a food-scarce environment, we became programmed to eat whenever we can; now, with food abounding in many parts of the world, this impulse creates the conditions for an obesity epidemic. Given that our world will likely continue changing at a rapid pace, are we doomed to have our impulses constantly playing catch up with our environment, and does that potentially doom us as a species?

SK: In fact, we’re not playing catch up; we’re stuck. For any evolutionary change to take place, the environment has to remain more or less constant for many generations, so that evolution can select the traits that are adaptive and eliminate those that are not. When the environment undergoes rapid change within the space of a generation or two, as it has been for the last couple of millennia, if not more, then evolution can’t happen because nature can’t determine which traits to select and which to eliminate. So they remain at a standstill. Our brain (and the rest of our body) are essentially frozen in time — stuck in the Stone Age.

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