Class Notes: SSB Lecture 4, Sep. 2, 2010. “Tragedy of the Commons”

Off-site vs. On-site
Transportation
Each contractor has to transport themselves to the construction site. Materials must be transported to the site. When you work off-site you don’t start the construction process until all materials are on-site. The various scopes of work can then be done quickly and efficiently.

Can, in 4 days, get 85% of construction work done. Then, two to four weeks on site. As opposed to four to eight months driving to and from a construction site.

Materials
When talking about system, often cite less waste. “Systems built.” Prefabrication has a negative connotation.

Systems dynamic models
There are clouds building in from the East. That normally doesn’t happen. The westerlies that run around mid-latitude are the normal pattern.

Meadows
Dynamics systems models get really complex.
The bay game has about 50,000 equations that take in various factors and interact.
This sets the stage for emergent, non-linear behavior.

Why systems work
Resilience
Diversity: Need for biodiversity, system can adapt and regenerate, heal
Adaptability: Has the capacity to change. Not fixed or locked into singular mode
Redundancy: Valuable if/when one part of system collapses

New York: Small footprint, but lack of resiliency (?)
Self-Organization / Emergence
Multiple Agents: No leader
Simple Rules
Connectivity: capacity to share ideas
Parametric Modeling: Setting up conditions that allow connectivity

Self-similar structure: fractals, fractal geometry

Hierarchies
Bottom Up Organization: Difference between top down controlled organization and bottom up organization re: health. Completely bottom up? Chaos, inability to set goals, lack of order. Complexity vs. complicated. But if you allow subsystems to work, local organizations that can interact with each other through dense networks, you can develop a very robust and healthy system. There needs to be a set of rules that allows this balance of welfare freedom and responsibility.
Semi-Autonomous sub-systems
Balance of welfare, freedom and responsibilities within system

Traps
Policy resistance – multiple forces pulling in opposite directions – escalating response
Seek grounds for common agreement
Tragedy of the commons
How do you change that? All three “solutions” have consequences
Educate: Some education is easy to change through education, some is much more difficult if it means giving up health, wealth, etc.
Privatize: With regulation is stereotypical left/right divide. How do you privatize the services that an eco-system provides?
Regulate: Often least attractive, subject to tremendous manipulation.
Drift to low performance
Manage expectations
External references
Escalation
Break reinforcing loop
Build balancing loops
Competitive exclusion
Diversification – develop alternative paths
Impose limits on control (antitrust)
level playing field
Addiction – shifting burden to intervening structure
Long term restructuring
Rule beating
Redesign rules so that rule beating reinforces desired outcome
Seeking the wrong goal
Evaluate what real object is

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