Friday, April 16, 2021

Dynasty as Adaptation

 Recently there was a comment from Jackie Chan about leaving his money to some charity instead of his kid.  Many also trotted those silly arguments, allegedly based on statistics, that most lose inter-generational wealth by the third generation, so why not separate your hypothetically foolish grandchild from his money now- by not letting him have it?

This is looking at the wrong end of the question.  If 70% lose the money, that doesn't mean it isn't worth it to try, because it means 30% adapt, and over time that means a lot of adaptation.  Remember, people generally try to marry into successful families, so the benefits spread a lot farther across the society.

This sort of adaptation is also useful for picking leaders.  A family making it into the fourth generation with their fortunes intact at such terrible odds suggests the family may have developed the sort of talents necessary to keep a nation intact.  It certainly beats what we've seen lately.

The mindset against dynasty is a mindset of bureaucracy.  Even among those who do managed to preserve something now, the bureaucratic mindset is still strong.  You have to create a charity, a trust, create various business structures, and all of these require the proper care and feeding of specific bureaucracies.  The feedback loop to the elites is one of brainwashing- this is why they trot over to Davos and listen to absolute fools while nodding their heads in agreement.  Real elites would arrest, try, and punish these criminals.

I noticed a side effect of bureaucratization as I learned a little about commercial real estate.  Starbucks, Home Depo, Fedex- a lot of these businesses don't own their own real estate, even if the building is specifically made for them.  They go in for these long term leases, while the actual buildings are owned by real estate investors of various types.  While I don't necessarily think it's too terrible, I can immediately see how this can be damaging to society.  It's isn't just the chain business atomizing your town, it's the real estate investors too.  There simply can't be a holistic view taken- the kind a king or local lord could take a particular place.  Instead you have multiple businesses who are usually not particularly interested in keep the society together, running these discrete business units based on their particular numbers.  This keeps a lot of lawyers, not to mention other bureaucrats, busy.  Real estate is a really old business, and they seem quite good at figuring out how to parasite off of such old things.

They weren't quite as good at figuring out the internet, so the internet was good for a while.  We can hope this new trend of turning platform businesses into tools of censorship and control has started to happen too early- that they started this crap too early because they were too hungry for power.  But its another example and a very telling one, since their current actions are often at odds with the very meaning of the platforms.  Early adopters were sharing all sorts of stuff they don't want us sharing today, but that was the point of it.  I mean, how boring is it that so many 'conversations' are now about race?  

Jackie might have particular concerns.  I think his son got into trouble a time or two.  But the charity will, a- perpetuate bureaucracy and b- likely not serve whatever intention Jackie may have when he chooses one to contribute to.   There's progressive mission creep that usually takes them off course, if they aren't completely wrongheaded already, and their primary mission always ends up being making themselves permanent, and increasing their numbers.  The way to be seen as powerful is to create a lot of 'professional' positions just under you while the basic work gets done by people generally disregarded as particularly important.  

The social good of a a decent city to live in, for instance, can't fare well without people who can think well enough to shepherd it through time, past the lifetimes of any one person in it.  Bureaucracy leads to breakdown, theft of whatever value past generations put into a city.  They'll talk about smart cities, but not fill pot holes, get rid of the homeless, or stop this crazy media from lying to incite violence.  We need the sort of people who do make it to that fourth generation, because they help us have a better quality of life- just a valuable as a genetic adaptation.

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