Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How did the financai world forget this most basic design feature?

I don't understand one thing:

In all the adventure or sci-fi movies featuring some big ship or large machinery, and in all the fiction books writing about such things, everywhere you see a fundamental precaution inherent in the system : compartmentalization.

In the spaceship, if there's a sudden puncture in the hull in one section and all the air is getting sucked out, all the surrounding sections seal this one off - we can surely remember seeing the emergency doors automatically closing in and the film's protagonists just escaping from under in sp many movies, cartoons and serials by now. Same thing happens in submarines. In huge machinery too if there's an accident in one part then there are systems in place to isolate the fault. Even as an electrical engineering student I witnessed these protections being almost ubiquitous in every single diagram from the smallest motors to the most extensive extremely-high-voltage (EHV - yes, that's a real term used in electrical engineering!) distribution networks. Even in tales of centuries-old sea voyages with sailing ships and pirates and all, the punch-drunk ship doctor knows that to stop an infection in a wounded leg from spreading or to prevent the wound from sucking out all the blood in the sailor's body, the leg has to be amputated.

click on the image to see the article where this was published.
So how is it that now when I see all these financial experts and leaders : (who're supposed to the brightest minds in the world to have gotten through to all those ivy league colleges and to have led such huge companies and governments and made so much money) - when I see them talk or see reports of what they're saying about the Eurozone crisis, and the US debt, and the world finanical collapse and everything related - NOBODY makes any reference whatsoever to any compartmentalization-like protection in the super-duper-ultra-complex systems they claim authority over? Instead they go on and on about the exact opposite : portraying this whole thing as dominoes, with just one faulty piece being sufficient to destroy the entire setup.

That ubiquitous, logical, common sense protection - that when one section goes wobbly it should be isolated and not allowed to affect everything else - is just missing! Even the Titanic had it, for God's sake - it wasn't perfect coz the water was allowed to go over from the top - but heck at least it delayed the disaster long enough to let us make a romantic movie out of it :P
And these people aren't even missing it - they're not even complaining about its absence - it's as if they've spent their entire lives without ever being exposed to anything like it. You'd have to seriously avoid all sci-fi and adventure stories and even common sense to be able to do that!

They simply don't know and now they're running scared that a Greek meltdown will drag the rest of the EU down under without even bothering to consider that if they simply just froze all transactions between Greece and other nations, de-linked the country as far as finance is concerened and isolated the bad sectors then it would stop the whole system from going down under. Sure, it would hurt as much as having a leg amputated, but it wouldn't hurt as much as dying, right?

In any case, looking at the emerging revolution that's going to hit in Greece any time now, that's probably what's going to happen whether all these so-called experts like it or not, and we might just live to see a wounded leg hop away from a dying body so it can survive on its own. The Greek people haven't lost any huge amount of real resources or brainpower - and their connection with the rest of the world through internet and people-to-people travel will stay alive even if it's financially separated. They ought to just refuse to be part of an unfair system where the US having done several times more over-spending than them gets to raise its debt ceiling to stave off disaster while they have no such options. They ought to just stop everything and walk away. Like Iceland did.

If we've allowed these pretentious intellectuals to build a system that no engineer would ever dream of applying to a real construction because it doesn't have any compartmentalization, then is it wrong to expect it to fail miserably? Heck, is it wrong to WANT it all to collapse? The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Let's bring it on, we'll be able to make something much, much better of our lives once this mass delusion is gone.

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