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Many things are complicated, but complexity seems to be the root of many big issues

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English: Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of th...
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So what is the difference between something that is complicated, like space travel technology and the complexity of so many of the massive issues that bedevil our political leaders. David Segal writes clearly if not very hopefully about this!

While Gibbon seemed to find the cause of the demise of the Roman Empire in its adoption of the Christian faith, analysts today see that the increasing complexity of public affairs led to bankrupting the Empire and then its downfall at the hands of the pagan tribes.

Here is how Segal’s explanation ends much less than hopefully about our present complex issues:

Of course, nobody at Goldman Sachs or any other large financial institution meant to wreck the economy. The United States military didn’t invade Iraq or Afghanistan thinking that one day its efforts would be mounted on a bewildering PowerPoint slide. The engineers who designed the BP oil platform that exploded and sank and produced one of the largest oil spills in history built it with multiple back-up systems.

But complexity has a way of defeating good intentions. As we clean up these messes, there is no point in hoping for a new age of simplicity. The best we can do is hope the solutions are just complicated enough to work.

So the real challenge is whether solutions drawn up with the best of intentions will in fact be complicated enough to work!

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