Social Vectors and Individual Behavior

Imagine a pie chart with four sectors which depicts how a fixed size group of people collectively allocate their collective time.

The "Life Support" sector of the pie shows the fraction of human time needed to provide food, housing, clothing, health care, transportation, etc to all members of the group. The  "R&R Sector" shows time allocated by all the members of the group togehter for rest and recreation. The "progress" sector shows the fraction allocated to advance the arts, science,and technology (inlcudes time people spend in basic education and speicallized training.) And the "Black" sector shows time allocations for creation of, or defense against, the dark side.

Social vectors are flows of these time alocations from one sector to another. A "good social vector" describes for example that fewer hours are needed to feed the group. The released time flows to the other three sectors.

A "bad social vector" might be defined for example when more human effort is required to create or prevent dark side events. That is time, previously allocated to life support, rest and relaxation, or progress flows into the Black sector.

Easier access to energy supplies and improvements in technology can and be the basis for social vecters. For example if energy makes it possible for farmers to create all the food that is needed with less time, time is released from farming and can flow to other sectors.

Conversely, a swinkage of the energy supply may mean that more labor is needed in the life support sector -- Maybe coming from the R&R sector

Leaders of groups or institutions, who initiate aggression, cause time to flow to the "Black" Sector. Other leaders who respond to these attacks or threats increase the flows into the black sector. However, we make a terrible error when we assign the existence of these bad social vectors exclusively to these leadership behaviors.

Any two entities sharing a limited resource can create vectors. Consider what happens when market activities beggars one entity. That entity, in regaining its losses, beggars a third entity. Eventually, when market activities don't facilitate reclamation of lost well being, grassroots violence initiates a leaderless bad social vector. If this is true, 1) the leadership contribution to the social vector is a response to the initial social vector created elsewhere. 2) changing the heads of state or killing terrorist leadership will not stop these flows nor prevent new ones from starting, 3) markets have always had control over social vectors, and 4) six billion sets of personal behaviors, (specifically those creating and supporting a family) are the largest determinant of the globe's bad social vectors.

What if these personal behaviors result not from genetic predisposition but from culture's lack of development of six billion individual minds? What if each present mind does not realize that its behavior contributes to (collectively determines) the primary bad social vector? What does it mean if social destruction does not motivate a change in these personal behaviors.

I raise these questions to show how lame societies' are in shaping their future. How completely distracted they are by their daily problems and conflicts. And how current efforts to improve conditions fail to change the personal behaviors which initiate the social vectors that determine the future no one wants.


Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to:      (homepage)      Other position papers

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