Rate of Change
Sep 2, 2022
One of the more interesting facets of life is, the more something is done, the more predictable the results become. That predictability provides for outcome stability. However, when considering outcomes, we also need to take into account the rate of change of existential forces and what the implications of that means.
Accelerated changes are not a bad thing. The ability to drive a car faster means shorter commute times. However, it also means collisions become more dangerous when they occur. An accident at 15 mph will have significantly less damage than an accident at 50 mph. Therefore, safety features within automobiles have been forced to keep up via airbags and things such as collision sensing braking and warning indicators.
In financial markets, we saw a massive rate of change take place beginning in the 1990s. Trading floors, where most trading had been done since the inception of markets, began to be replaced as technology improved exponentially. Computer processing speeds, costs and their ability to process trades more quickly and more efficiently accelerated changes to market infrastructure. As a result, floor traders who failed to recognize the rate of change taking place soon found themselves displaced.
Both examples above illustrate how rates of change improve efficiency but a failure to recognize and adapt with that rate of change can be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. If you want to keep up with traffic on Chicago expressways by driving 85 mph in your 1983 Datsun, you probably can. But if you crash that car, chances of walking away are slim. Floor traders do still exist, but the opportunity to make a living has been significantly reduced.
Right now, we face a challenge in this country in that we’re not adapting key components of our infrastructure in a manner equal to the rate of change needed. Education. Healthcare. Politics. As a nation, we are falling behind the rest of the world because we are not keeping up with the changes necessary.
As the world becomes more specialized, our education system needs to become more specialized and price itself accordingly. We cannot charge the same amount to educate a future kindergarten teacher that we charge a future surgeon when their potential earnings are so different. We cannot continue sending educated but inexperienced workers out into highly specialized fields without incorporating some sort of apprenticeship-based education system where experience and academia can merge.
Our healthcare system cannot continue charging the most to those least able to pay for necessary care. Older generations who worked, paid their taxes, raised families and contributed to society should not have to blow through all their savings before being able to get the care necessary with old age and its debilitating effects. The sickest of the sick who cannot work should not be paying the most for medical care, incurring debt from under which they will never emerge.
Elections, voting and getting more people to participate cannot be encumbered by less means to cast a vote. Making the voting process more difficult will only result in greater discontent with outcomes. We need to give more people more opportunities to cast verifiable and legal votes.
As change accelerates, so too do opportunities and risks. Innovation will propel us forward at exponential rates. However, if we don’t adjust and adapt our core infrastructure to keep pace with those changes, the risk of falling behind will also increase exponentially.
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