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The people will not wait

The populism of our day is not popular. "Throw the bums out" is not a mandate. The people need a legitimate choice. Quite frankly, the politicians also need a choice -- as they may be aware, they are on the "hot seat" of all time. THN "saves their bacon" and they will know it as the program takes shape. We do not have that much time. It took the world a millennium to survive the fall of Rome. Mostly, they were fresh out of ideas. What will replace "laissez-faire" and the "invisible hand"? Dual control and fluidity! But not if we do not bring them together.

Public-private partnership in dual control

Who should make decisions, given certain conditions? People that understand those conditions? That would be a good start.

Who should compete with one another? People of a kind, to be sure. There should be a reason that people trust in those that provide products and services for them.

These are not new questions. Our ancestors, living through thousands of years of development, derived many solutions to them. The fundamental point is that mutual benefits are achieved through cooperation. True, there has always been bloodshed, violence, and destruction -- but these to not account for the magnificence that we see in ancient artifacts and constructions. We have records dating to the fifth millennium BCE that outlines these matters. Governance in those times and since has in the balance been cooperative. If this was not the case, we would not live here, now, under such favorable conditions.

Over 700 years BCE, a Greek philosopher, Hesiod, said that great things can be accomplished through competition -- but not just any competition. He said that "potter" should compete against "potter", "joiner" against joiner -- even "beggar" against "beggar". This is a positive form of competition. For this to occur, the potters would need standards of performance, the same as the rest. These could be relied upon by their customers. This is a "polis" of potters -- who make sure that things are done right in their arena. Within those standards, if one potter is more skilled, or diligent, or energetic, than others, he or she should be rewarded for that. Initiative is an important factor, even in a cooperative environment.

One person who was raised in Syria at the end of the Ottoman Empire described an important aspect of cooperative competition. He said that "everyone knew" that if you wanted to buy silver, you would go to the Armenians. The initial answer to this is that Armenians knew their silver well. The problem in the individualist, imbalanced competition of our times, experts tend to use their knowledge and position to extract more than their fair share from their customers. They use their knowledge against their customers. It is straightforward to see why there was much stability in the Ottoman environment in Syria in those times. If the vendors are caring for their clients, stable relationships result. The customers will come back again and again and again.

End of an Era

Liberalism is a cult without ordinances. At least theologians can pray. Those who built the civilizations of old upon which we rely for all aspects of culture and sustenance, look better and wiser to us now. We need ways of restoring order -- not entirely like before, but learning from what worked before. While the politicians battled it out among them, people still needed to live.

A number of factors conspired to upset this balance. They go back a long time -- about a third of the time since our first written records. In the early days, authority had been achieved and considerable development and population growth occurred. The underpinnings of civilization -- including legal and theological records held in high regard. In about 600 BCE, there was a change, resulting in disorder for a time. In those times, the Syrians "held the scepter" with regard to the ancient governance traditions and the Greeks began to investigate ways of combing governance authority with individual will. This got interrupted by the Romans, who were authoritarians bar none. When Rome fell apart, there was a break in contact for essentially a thousand years between the seat of civilization and Northwestern Europe.

Struggling with philosophy, but with the pressing example of northern Vikings of the benefits of initiative and conquest, Europeans developed an individualist philosophy that melded with the little they knew of religion and the predatory mentality of raiders. This individualist philosophy supported a view of commerce in terms of asymmetric competition among people as well as nations. Based on this, a worldwide colonization program ensued that turned cooperation -- and civilization -- around and upside down. In this "End of Era" period, we see commercial efforts to "extract more for less" in terms of contribution -- surely a last breath for individualistic short-sightedness. This is the phenomenon criticized by Schumpeter as a fundamental challenge to passive, dictatorial financial governance. Governance of this kind is reformed, of course, by means of dual control.

Beginning of an Era

How can they live? What expectations could they have -- should they have?

The point of the 2020 Program for Global Health is to teach them what the possibilities are -- specifically, individually. The point of The Horizontal Network ("THN") is to make this possible by establishing necessary infrastructure to gather the needed data to do this by building the expert-driven interpretive model in partnership with the leaders in relevant fields throughout the world.

By giving the populace a taste of that kind of reality, THN will build in a commercial platform of unprecedented longevity. Think of the staying power of the ancient states -- which lasted for thousands of years in many cases. We cannot promise this. We can emphatically state that the foundation of THN will serve human needs far in excess of the typical capitalist product cycles, which inevitably end up cannibalizing themselves. THN will serve the needs of innovation -- supporting growth, maturity and decline of products and industries -- but the need for the underlying data to do so will not go away. Rather, it will be needed more and more with time.

Progress and cooperation

The fundamental thing that was lost was appreciation for the benefits of cooperation. How can dual control and fluidity assist in this? By helping to restore order and balance. In medicine and health, the proposition is to establish an expert interpretive model -- which we refer to as the THN model. This is to be designed to take in flows of public and private health data and interpret it on an ongoing basis. This is to be done using technology that puts the design power into the hands of the experts themselves.

Then, armed with this model, the plan is to collaborate with the nations of the world to establish capacity to gather such data in high volume, taking advantages of economies of scale in doing so. This is to be done in ways that make use of existing data stores. This is to be considered in light of public and private partnership. The nature of the technology is to preserve the contexts of such data and its interpretation so that providers as well as customers receive expert guidance and advice. In the case of medical questions, performance and results are to be evaluated as to such standards. Indeed, in order to be compensated, service providers will be guided through key procedures on a step-by-step basis. Fluidity -- the ability of the participants in the system to improve its functionality and relevance on an ongoing basis -- provides for a feedback loop that can be governed from within the "polis" in question.

As everything is tracked through the system, efforts to corrupt the process or the content will be readily traceable. We have worked for decades on the literature of accounting and systems supporting such capabilities. These capabilities are readily available -- especially a part of the open source communities, which are an example of the kind of cooperation we have in mind for these other fields.

Which people? Which decisions?

It is a very difficult thing for politicians to line up in favor of knowledge-driven solutions. They can talk about them -- and they do. They can fund them -- and they do. There are three problems with this. First, politics is about power. The idea that politicians will give it up -- and the benefits that go with it -- is incompatible with what representational politics is all about. Second, they do not, they cannot understand what they are talking about -- in large part because most science does not translate into the vernacular. Of course, even if it did, if they hadn't studied it out in its completeness, they would not understand. Third, if there were a way to encourage fluidity among scientists and experts, questions of science would be resolved "automatically", and would never be brought into the political arena in the first place. Fluidity allows specialists to collaborate together beyond the the boundaries of their knowledge and it arms generalists to take a much more important role. With fluidity and dual control, there simply wouldn't be a political problem -- at least not for the national "polis" to have to deal with, nor the international "poleis".

The ancient Greeks in a way started the confusion between political power and scientific knowledge with their emphasis on rhetoric. They emphasized another thing as well -- the formula for identifying the "polis" with regard to an issue. A polis in the ancient Greek tradition is the community that rightly should be in charge of an issue or a question. That group should use whatever "rhetoric" is appropriate to their field -- sometimes mathematics, somethings physics, sometimes, chemistry, sometimes all of the above. At times, the formulas and models and equations and terminology is unintelligible to individuals outside of the group. The point is that it had better be, because nature is complex, people are complex, and no one can understand everything. No one can even comprehend most things. There is not sufficient good will and good intent to counter-balance ignorance of important facts and processes and the conditions under which they apply.