Quickie Posts — Wealth Inequality and Thermodynamics — Brother Jake’s Insights

Bogota Che GuevaraChe Guevara grafitti, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, CO, 2014

Here’s a bang-up post by my psychonaut brother-in-arms Jake Leachman about wealth inequality, with an awesome couple of pull quotes below.

Professor Schiedel has identified four primary mechanisms for dramatic wealth redistribution in human history and his analysis is sobering:

  1. Mass-mobilization warfare (Think World War 2)
  2. Transformative revolutions (Think communist revolutions)
  3. State collapse (fall of the USSR)
  4. Catastrophic plagues (think Bubonic plague a.k.a. the Black Death)

All of these events resulted in a system-structural change in the cultures and an increase in empathy — the realization that we are not all that different and that indeed humanity needs humanity.

and this one:

I will argue that Professor Schiedel’s conclusions require big caveats. Like many who predict the rise and fall of civilizations (many even using thermodynamic arguments), these arguments are based on our history, not our future. As we’ve increased the resources (temperature) of civilization, we’ve awakened totally new modes of interacting and being. The average thermodynamic temperature of society has increased immensely over the last several centuries. While the modes of old are still readily accessible, modern society will change phase and interact in fundamentally different ways than societies of old.

It’s a great post.  There’s some thermo talk, but with all the hubbub about science swirling around these days, you can get some learning about thermo too!

Humanity needs humanity.  Words to live by.

2 thoughts on “Quickie Posts — Wealth Inequality and Thermodynamics — Brother Jake’s Insights

  1. I need to make time to check in at your blog regularly. I was talking to someone about it at recent AACSB meeting, and getting blank stare :). Didn’t have those hot quotes close at hand.


    1. Just gotta remember, Jerman — you’re talking to people who live in Mario Kart. When you tell them that Mario Kart is built on a very different objective reality, you’re gonna get those stares. You just have to hope that they don’t bring out the knives. 🙂


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