Thursday, 20 February 2014

Breaking windows

From Wikipedia

The broken window parable has interested me for years, because much of what we do seems akin to breaking windows.

Much of what we do seems :-

Designed to fail so we can do it again.
Designed to fail so we can buy another one.
Designed to fail so we need regular maintenance.
Designed to fail so we need regular policing.
Designed to fail the vagaries of fashion.
Designed to be laborious so we need more staff.
Designed to be complex so we need more consultants.

And so on and so on. It seems to be a feature of almost any society - promoting wasteful activity once we have a full belly and a warm hut. When we can afford some illusions to keep reality at bay.

Even a Dark Age village may have been able to feed a travelling story-teller in return for a night or two of entertainment - to keep reality at bay.

4 comments:

Sam Vega said...

My guess is that this is the unintended consequences of increasingly complex systems. Those dark-age villagers didn't realise that along with warmth and waterproof huts, they were also creating boredom. And so to assuage that, they need the story-teller. But rootless travellers are thieving bastards, so we now need a policeman. And policemen are notorious for...

I think there is a parallel in Flanders and Swann's "The Gas Man Cometh".

A K Haart said...

Sam - and look what else we've created to assuage boredom - rich rootless travellers, or celebrities as we often call them.

Demetrius said...

Hwaet we Gar-Dena in geardagum etc. etc.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I wonder how many story tellers dined out on that one?