DonyChristie comments on Where should anti-paternalists donate? - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: DonyChristie 07 May 2017 01:30:31AM *  0 points [-]

'Do No Harm - on Problem Solving and Design' talks about fixer solutions vs. solver solutions. Its key points:

  • When solving a problem, are you looking for a fix or are you looking for the cause?
  • For a complex system to be resilient, it must (in any practical sense) be comprised of a collection of simpler, resilient parts.
  • The aim of a resilient part is to normalize (make consistent) the things that matter, and to minimize (dampen or hide) the things that don't.
  • If you can't solve an existing problem, how do you know you aren't causing more?
  • Resilience invariably relies upon feedback loops, and so the variables involved must be free to move through some critical range or the feedback is broken and the resilience is lost.

Its concluding paragraph:

The bottom line is: there is no escaping the need to make best effort to understand the whys and wherefores. To skip this and go straight for the fix is not humbly admitting the system is too complex to understand, it is arrogantly assuming we understand it well enough to fix it without breaking it. The humble thing to do is less, not more--to respect the difficulty in keeping any complex system stable, and the degree to which doing so relies upon a best effort by, and freedom of, each component to self-regulate.

Highly recommended read! :D