Some insight into feedback loops
The advantage of capitalism v. central planning, is that information is sent through prices, supply and demand. This information feedback, however, is still gameable by power blocs. The exact strategies are different than in a command economy, but the end result is the same. The West and America are currently undergoing this exact problem. The entire financial crisis was about inaccurate feedback, and broken feedback loops: it was about the financial and housing industries deliberately damaging the feedback system.
…In a hundred years, when historians and whoever deals with economic issues look back (hopefully not economists as we understand them), they aren’t going to be that impressed that Western Capitalism outlasted Soviet Communism by forty or fifty years. Instead they are going to look back and say that both were doomed, in large part, by inability to manage the exact same problem. In both cases the feedback systems which controlled economic production were so perverted by various internal power blocs that the societies were unable to reproduce the material circumstances necessary for their continuance.
This is why many of us oppose formal organization, because it creates rules which are de facto centralized power, as opposed to what conservatism favors, which is informal, particularized, localized and case-by-case basis decisions.
Leftism is the religion of the rule, and the rule involves the word “all,” which leads to control as it naturally creates a centralized power structure. All people must drive 35 MPH; all applications must be filed in triplicate; all people must go through the door on the right. This forces obedience by making people equal in the rule of the law.
The natural opposite to the religion of the rule is cooperation, which requires inequality, because not everyone can do the same thing. Instead of a rule saying that all people must do the same thing, which means they have equal obligation to the centralized control, cooperation says that each has different importance, we do not all do the same thing, and thus we have unequal obligations and rewards.
Feedback is a vital part of the cooperative system. In it, power resembles a cascading hierarchy, which means that each level delegates to the level below and does not intervene on the basis of method. Instead, they assign tasks and say, “Use best judgment always” or “by any means necessary,” both of which are ends-over-means analyses.
Control on the other hand is means-over-ends. It requires that each person use the same method so that it can filter out methods that it believes weaken its power. The classic example is demanding that each person repeat back dogma on a regular basis, effectively programming their thoughts. Think of someone saying, “Diversity is our strength.” You either accept it and pass the test, or are identified as an enemy.
Feedback loops happen when something is wrong at the level above the one to which it has been delegated; you see this in the form of jury nullification, for example. The person to whom the task is delegated needs to report back that the task is wrongly framed, unintended consequences have arisen, or that a new type of problem has occurred.
The classic feedback loop is what William Gibson observed when he saw a young boy playing a video game. The boy moved the cursor, the computer responded, and the boy responded to that and then the cycle repeated. His inspiration William S. Burroughs saw feedback loops using naturalistic metaphors: monkeys attack the weakest participant in any altercation, so some monkeys play fey, which is a covert form of attack.
You can see feedback in your hand. You intend to grasp something, so you pick it up, and the hand radiates back that it is hot, so you do something else with it. A feedback loop might be a man adjusting a sluice: he fiddles with it, the water goes in a different direction, so he responds to that and the cycle repeats.
The importance of feedback loops is that they recognize what most humans deny: time, and the cyclic nature of history. Our moments are not unique, because they exhibit patterns that others can experience. And, the changes we want to make to the world must be interpreted not in the instant they are performed, but how the world will react, like thinking ten moves ahead in chess.
Classic human informal order recognizes the need for feedback with lattices of power, and for feedback loops with informal power. Lattices of power are hierarchies that are both vertical and horizontal, like the classic aristocratic model, and informal power avoids the rule as much as possible, relying on a case-by-case basis that avoids precedent and therefore can be negotiated not only unequally but specifically.
You can see conservative-style informal power anywhere leadership employs localized, particularized and case-by-case decisions made by culture, wise elders, a caste system where higher castes have social power, religious leaders, local respected voices, and the like. All of these systems are more flexible and resilient that rules, resolutions, laws, regulations, treaties, and command economies.