Biomimetics of a VIAACEdit
The following life cycle is inspired by that of a page on a web application, and could therefore be considered second-order biomimicry.
- Pre-init: Planning the VIAAC, organizing its members, funding its infrastructure.
- Init: Establishment of its operations, deployment of its services, data entry and knowledge checking.
- Pre-resilient: Moving toward sustainability of basic necessities.
- Resilient: Achieved stable, sustainable production of basic necessities, resistant to shocks.
- Post-resilient: Moving toward thriving sustainably, enabling the creativity of its members.
- Integrated: Connected with one or more other VIAACs.
Remember that a VIAAC that is organized recursively lends for powerful and detailed analysis using a simple-to-understand tool. Each component of the VIAAC may also have a life cycle resembling this; however, components, unlike the VIAAC itself, should at some point terminate. Therefore, there is the additional step of Death or Apoptosis. A finite lifespan for VIAAC subsystems will allow it to exhibit large-scale reorganizational processes much like complex organisms or ecosystems.
The types of interactions that can occur with external social systems can be at least partially enumerated by observing those in nature. There are many types in both nature and function:
Mutualism is where two organisms benefit one another.
Interactions in which one resource is traded for another. This is the normal mode of interaction with a market economy.
Interactions in which a resource is exchanged for a service. This could be viewed as the way a VIAAC should operate with the surrounding natural environment, by protecting ecological stability, it ensures continued ecosystem services.
Phagophiles are organisms that feed on parasites. A VIAAC could aid local small businesses by "feeding" off larger businesses that are competing with them.
Zoochory is where animals disperse the seeds of plants. An obvious social analogy would be individuals or other companies distributing the products of a VIAAC.
Interactions of this type are rare in nature, but may be more common in a social system. A possible example could be advertising a business in exchange for discounted prices to VIAAC members (in the case where the business is unwilling or unable to assimilate), or providing legal services to a responsible business in litigation by an irresponsible one.
Commensalism is where one organism (system) benefits without affecting the other.
Phoresy is where one animal attaches to another for transport. There is no obvious analog for a VIAAC.
Iniquilism is where one organism uses another for permanent housing. This is actually a persistent interaction for a VIAAC, since its purpose is to establish a post-scarcity economy within a host state.
Metabiosis is where one organism creates or prepares a suitable environment for the second. This is a very indirect relationship which is not always clear. A possible analog would be the external social system producing hardship for people, which creates the social environment where a VIAAC is needed.
Antagonism is where one organism benefits at the expense of another. The interactions between a VIAAC and market entities will become increasingly antagonistic over time.
Biological Mimicry Edit
Batesian mimicry is where an organism mimics the sensory signals of a more unpalatable organism in order to avoid predators. There is an analogue of this for organisms within the same species: For organisms that gain defenses over their lifetime, maintaining a common appearance throughout their lifetime creates a gamble for potential predators who have to decide whether their potential prey is a relatively harmless, young creature, or a possibly lethal adult.
Müllerian mimicry is where two organisms that are both unpalatable to predators mimic one another. This increases the survival of each of the two organisms more than just by having their own defenses against being eaten.
Wasmannian mimicry is where an organism mimics another with which it lives, inquilinely, in a colony or nest. A VIAAC can structure itself such that it resembles a business or nonprofit organization in order to gain the advantages of living in the "model's colony".
Gilbertian mimicry is a rare type of mimicry where a potential host or prey drives away its parasite or predator by mimicking it. An example is Passiflora, which has evolved stipules that resemble the eggs of a predatory species. This causes their Heliconius predators to avoid laying eggs on those leaves, as well as attracting the predators of Heliconius to the plant. A VIAAC could attempt to perform a similar feat by making it appear as if a market is being heavily exploited to keep potential newcomers away.
These concepts can and should be synthesized to understand how a VIAAC could act and exist as an organization.
A VIAAC could be structured as a collection of corporations, linked together with cooperative legal agreements, such that its implementation is hidden from outsiders. This form of loosely-coupled organization is called iniquiline decentralization. It allows the organization to trade some efficiency for resilience, separating a monolithic organization into cohesive parts. The exact configuration that has the best efficiency-resilience tradeoff will come through experimentation: Too granular and the cost of registering organizations and overhead of communication is too great; Too monolithic and the organization will be brittle and subject to smaller forces.
This form of decentralization will later lead to the ability to perform stealthy, antagonistic actions towards key market entities. Done using cryptographic techniques, its implementation could even be hidden from members, so that the organization can be utilized as a tool, but obfuscated from potential "predators" or infiltrators. This allows for a variety of unpredictable behavior to be used, such as circulating money to obfuscate revenues from market rivals, or to attack them with unexpected companies. In case of retaliation, the whole organization will not be injured from a single action.
Several VIAACs may share a pool of shell corporations. The shell corporations could be used to anonymize the actions of a particular VIAAC, to obfuscate the flow of resources, or to take temporary actions which require an organization which do not justify the formation of a new one. They may also be used for Batesian or Gilbertian mimicry: A shell corporation frequently used for antagonistic purposes will start to resemble a predator in the market. Therefore, a less-formidable organization can carry out activities through the antagonistic organization in resemblance of Batesian mimickry. The shell used for this purpose is known as a black shell. A different sort of black shell, a group of for-profit corporations, can make particular markets seem more saturated than they actually are.
Different sectors of the economy can be organized into trophic levels to obtain some semblance of prioritization.
The main trophic levels are:
|Ecological definition||VIAAC equivalent|
|Plants and algae that make their own food.||Ecosystem services and geological activities that produce raw materials.|
|Herbivores||Human activities that extract or collect raw materials.|
|Carnivores that eat herbivores.||Human activities that process raw materials into useable materials.|
|Carnivores that eat other carnivores.||Human activities that turn useable materials into intermediate products.|
|Carnivores that have no predators.||Human activities that turn intermediate products into final products.|
It should be fairly undisputed that primary producers should be prioritized in the face of scarcity; It is their activity which enables all others, and it is their activity which is hardest to replace once absent. It is also important to prioritize that which is most necessary to human and VIAAC survival. To divide all economic activity into that which is productive and necessary and that which is consumptive and luxurious creates two groups:
- The stone is the set of economic activity which is productive and necessary. All competition for resources should prioritize the stone of the economy so that it does not crumble.
- The pulp is the set of economic activity which is consumptive and luxurious. Competition for resources should cause the pulp activity to cease first so that the stone may remain intact.
Ecological Roles EditIt should be noted that a crucial part of ecological cycle is missing from the trophic levels here: Decomposition. Without decomposers to return biological wastes back to the soil, nature would eventually convert all resources into an unusable form and cease to survive. Similarly, our economy is causing problems for its own sustainability because of its inability to convert its waste back into a useable raw material form.
By ensuring there is a balance between "herbivores", "carnivores", and "decomposers", the industrial ecology can effectively sustain itself through the reallocation of its wastes and retired products. Following the principles of adhocracy and ideal team size, organizations can follow a birth-death process in order to ensure that balance is maintained. Here we mime not only the function but even the process of maintaining nutrient pathways. This method could take the form of a standard base for an ecological niche, that takes care of the majority of cases, as well as the aforementioned birth-death process that creates responsiveness to short-term fluctuations, and provides a platform for experimentation with new ideas to be placed in the standard.
- ↑ ASP.NET Page Life Cycle Overview. MSDN, May 2011. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms178472%28v=vs.100%29.aspx
- ↑ Ecosystems, section "Roles of Organisms". Dave McShaffery, March 2006. http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/102/ecosystem.html
- ↑ Trophic Level. Encyclopedia of Earth, C. Hogan 2012. http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/171874/