[[ Check out my Wordpress blog Context/Earth for environmental and energy topics tied together in a semantic web framework ]]

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


Regulation is all about negative feedback. Deregulation is the suppression of feedback.

The ideological right-wing despises negative feedback. They think everything should run open-loop. Faith in GOD and prayer is their one-and-only feedback mechanism. HE will right any wrongs. Everything is either black or white, right or wrong, moral or immoral; negative feedback is a gray area that must be avoided if not under their own control. The political right-wing will add positive (moral) feedback to the mix to exagerrate the effects.

We typically experience three types of feedback in our daily lives:
Negative feedback: Serves to counteract a trend with a suppressing or negating term that is usually proportional to the original trend but opposite in sign.
Open-loop: Nothing is done to counterbalance the trends.
Positive feedback: Positive reinforcement proportional to the size of the trend.

And we have responses to the feedback:
Damped: Negative feedback usually results in a trend toward an equilibrium.
Cyclical or Chaotic: Since nothing runs completely open-loop, especially in nature, the open-loop outcome typically shows lots of fluctuations
Hitting the rails: Positive feedback usually results in the effect of "hitting the rails" (a phrase borrowed from electronics). The rails are usually self-limiting factors, such as running out of resources.

The open-loop in action:
Orcinus demonstrates how Enron flails wildly as they sue customers, and consumers retaliate in kind. Chaos will be the norm in the near future.

Positive feedback in play:
Detroit Auto executives donation patterns favor current administration

We're going to hit the rail soon:
TBOGG finds that Enron and disciples are still foremost fund-raising contributors to the current administration.

Feedback on this post, as always, is appreciated. As you can probably tell, I am running a bit open-loop here.


Post a Comment

<< Home

"Like strange bulldogs sniffing each other's butts, you could sense wariness from both sides"