Positive Feedback Loops


Feedback loops are systems where some or all of the system’s output is used again as input. Positive feedback loops are versions of such systems where the process increases, or amplifies, over time. Positive feedback loops are highly destabilizing and they can occur all over the universe at almost every scale of existence. They can be short-term or long-term, but none are ever permanent due to their inherently escalatory nature. One can also find positive feedback loops within the human world wherever one finds behaviors or events that re-instantiate themselves over time, such as when the human brain reads something, gets stimulated by the acquisition of new knowledge, which motivates more reading and more learning, which results in the further acquisition of knowledge, etc., etc., etc. For a more destructive example, consider the depression-to-overeating cycle of weight gain. 

So what exactly is a positive feedback loop? It is a system that uncontrollably feeds on itself. It is the cycle of sound from the speaker entering back into the nearby microphone and growing rapidly to blow out everyone’s ear drums. It is the viral growth of a business that explodes the brand awareness that feeds future business growth. It is the rise in temperature within a high-density urban center that causes more air conditioner usage that further exacerbates the local heat index. It is the political influence of wealth on the means of creating wealth itself (see: patrimonial capitalism). In nature, positive feedback loops generate instability as their escalating effects impact their local conditions and other participants respond or adapt. It’s true, chaos can sometimes produce surprising and beautiful end results, but they are nonetheless entirely uncertain and therefore impossible to fully prepare for.

Obviously, seeing as how the human economy is generated by humans and humans (also) generate and engage in feedback loops, the human economy is certainly littered with positive feedback loops in every manner of ideological and procedural nook and cranny. Pinpointing and evaluating each and every one of them is clearly beyond the scope of this section (and probably beyond human feasibility), but we would all be wise to remember that positive feedback loops do occur, and their consequences are real. When we try to comprehend aspects of capital flow and the human economy, recognizing the implications of embedded positive feedback loops will surely aid in our understanding and preparation for the future.

There is one element of many positive feedback loops in today’s society that can be addressed—the Operating Agreement. If one can break free from humanity’s insistence on profit maximization, the structure of the Operating Agreement is where a company’s moral and ethical ideologies can be redesigned. Anyone can develop a business structure that focuses on maximizing the quality of its products and its workers, reinvigorating the local economy, and creating sustainability, all while reducing inequality and redistributing wealth to the historically economically disenfranchised. But these ideas are incompatible with the maximization of profits. 

LOPSIII architecture addresses, through the Operating Agreement, exactly this type of business/owner/worker balance. The LOPSIII model facilitates the use of targeted, designed feedback loops that promote systemic balance and composure through the gauntlet of economic uncertainty.

Wealth inequality will always exist. Resources are unequally dispersed across this planet. Never will there be a case where every individual has access to the same exact resources at the same time for the same price. The goal ought not be for every person to acquire and have exactly an equal amount of wealth and stuff—the breeding ground for fascist dictatorships. Instead, capitalism-as-usual requires an opposition that eschews the maximum available profits in favor of stability and economic antifragility.

Global communities that have been ravaged and disenfranchised (not to mention colonized and enslaved) by those who subscribe to capitalism-as-usual are fertile grounds for the immoral, extractive distribution of economic gains. The communities that have never before believed that they had the power to stand up for themselves economically now have a new tool at their disposal. The LOPSIII model enriches localities directly. They are then empowered to empower themselves in exactly the way that their own locality deems fit. Yes, LOPSIII Owners, Managers and Members must be unafraid of economic volatility, and this may be a hurdle for some, but we live in a world of constant economic volatility. Choosing to face this volatility head-on in order to understand it and improve your circumstances through it is a choice, we believe, that is worth the fight. 

Redirecting away from capitalism-as-usual is not an impossible battle, but the current system has created some pretty grave economic circumstances for virtually every human on Earth, and it has been, broadly speaking, the only way of doing business that anyone alive today has ever known. Time for a change, don’t you think?

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