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Social Stability and Math

November 11, 2010

“History repeats itself.” If this were true, the world would be the parametric equation: x = cos(t), y = sin(t) where t = time. But life isn’t only cyclical. While events today bear striking similarities to past ones, they do not eternally trace a circle, but rather approach a value. We simply need to break the cycle of believing that the world is purely cyclical. Thus, a better mathematical model is necessary. I believe the history of government, economics, and just about all of life takes the form of y = 1 + (sin(t))/(t) where t = time.

According to my equation, life is reactionary, but reactions become far less radical as time progresses. Here’s an example: First semester you studied for hours a day to get an A in Calculus and your social life suffered dramatically. Next semester you went out every weekend and even a couple of Tuesdays and you got a C. Third semester, you have some fun, hit the books when you need to, get the B+ and life is good. That balance is the equation approaching one. Now that we’ve established this equation, let’s apply it.

Republicans and Democrats are often portrayed as polar opposites, but we should reevaluate this view. A controversial point between the parties in Michigan’s gubernatorial race this year was about Michigan becoming a right-to-work state. 150 years ago, the controversial issue between republicans and democrats was whether or not it’s right to enslave people. So I think it’s safe to say that we’re a little more moderate nowadays.

This principle, of tending towards the moderate has a been a consistent fact of humanity. In economics when fiscal irresponsibility leads to financial crises, we increase regulation. Conversely, in times of plenty, we deregulate. When macroeconomics first emerged, changes in the economic system meant the switch from feudalism to capitalism, but now a change might mean increasing the amount of money in banks federally insured by the government. Certainly they are not of the same magnitude, but they don’t need to be. Change still exists, but it’s more exact.

This idea, represented by the aforementioned equation, means that social stability (economies, governments, and even cultures) always fluctuates above and below the number one but gets continually closer to the horizontal line, represented by y = 1. One means that no change is necessary. While the graph is not an exact representation of human development, it details how humanity reacts progressively and regressively, positively and negatively, dangerously and securely, subjectively and objectively to society. Like the equation, we will never achieve perfection (flatline at one), but we will get close.

The point of change, when the equation briefly goes from increasing to decreasing and vice versa is when man starts to believe a instead of b. That we, for instance, instead of our king, should control our own destiny. Hannah More’s “Village Politics” demonstrates this point of change. While ultimately an argument against France’s revolutionary actions, More’s piece is what led to me to write this post.

A conversation between two English proletariats, “Village Politics” discusses the French Revolution and the definition of liberty. In particular, it argues that liberty is best protected under a monarchy. Today, Democracy is accepted as the best form of government. While people disagree, like the fascists in the 20th century, nowadays, no logical man or woman would say: There will be no democracy in the future. Democracy in its implementation will change, but, short of world war, people will be responsible for the election of their leaders and government for a long time. In layman’s terms, More was wrong. Kings are gone. In math terms, monarchies are equal to 1.07620 and we haven’t seen a number like that since t = 8.7 and now we’re practically at 11. More’s dialogue captures the instance when the world begins to stray from Hobbes to Locke, or in Math terms, “Village Politics” is when t = 7.72 (a relative max in the graph). This instance did not mark when the whole world stopped and said Democracy should be our system of government(this instance has never existed). But I believe it is a turning point. At this time, people of western civilization began to believe in the power of the individual – in democracy. Therefore, I believe More inadvertently depicted the most significant point on the graph and furthermore, in human history.

One Comment
  1. adamarcher permalink
    November 11, 2010 3:18 PM

    I think it is fascinating how you applied mathematics to Political Science, espicially because so many polysci students are not the strongest in that field. The study of government being such a subjective field, it is a difficult thing to do, but I beleive that it is necessary to get any real solid anwser out of all of the talk. I think that in the future this type of thing will develop and be much more prevalent. Furthermore if you are interested in this type of thing (informatics and stuff) there are some intriqueing videos about it on TED talks. Just look up Hans Rosling, or David McCandless.

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