The Exponent Problem, by Robert Gore

2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192…

Most people find managing their own affairs sufficiently challenging. Earning a living, establishing a family, rearing children, saving for college and retirement, and dealing with illness and aging fill the days and leave little time, attention, or energy to manage someone else’s affairs.

A hypothesis: the effort required to run other people’s lives is an exponential function. If X is the sum total of everything required to run your life; running two lives is X squared; three lives is X cubed, and so on. Call it the exponent problem. For partial verification, try running someone else’s life for a day or two. See it how it works out for you and the other person.

Why do governments fail? Government is someone imposing rules on someone else, and backing them up with repression, fraud, and violence when necessary. The governed always outnumber those governing, which means the latter face the exponent problem. In the US, there are around 22 million employed by the government, and let’s add in another million who actively influence it. The US population is around 323 million, so there are 23 million rulers to 300 million ruled, or about 13 ruled per ruler. How fitting, like the 13 original colonies!

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One Response to The Exponent Problem, by Robert Gore

  1. Daniel Salmon says:

    I have always believed that the federal government has created a monster it cannot tame or govern.
    I’m fine with that. So were our founders who planned it that way.

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