Thomas Lee Abshier
Comment from Nathan by email:
Thinking of both the entropy of the entire system and turbulence as intrinsic to its internal dialectic, and then re-framing local inequality of wealth in light of that dialectic — seems helpful.
But what maintains the stability of the system as a whole?
I kept honing in on segments like these:
“In a system with good communication, and a Godly sense of service, education, and leadership, local stable poverty could be raised to average prosperity over time.
“When Godly character is instilled in the perpetrators, manipulators, cheats, cons, criminals, and sloths, the largest internal source of social distortion is eliminated.
“Energy can be injected as education in life and trade skills while withdrawing support for dysfunction. The heart must be changed to effect such a change, so, integral to training, must be tutelage in the Word of God, accountability and consequences, both reward for following the way of Right thought, speech, and actions, and punishment for their violation.
“Prayer, forgiveness, love, and Righteousness are the foundations of any proactive action.
So maybe because of my own recent background reading Alisdair MacIntyre and pondering current trends in light of Solzhenitsyn’s prophetic warnings, I understood your words above in the context of virtue theory, where practices (such as love, justice, truth-telling, selfless service, self-restraint, etc) are fostered by and embedded within social communities of practice toward common ends, (e.g. tutelage in the Word of God, etc.).
The thermodynamic model drew Solzhenitsyn to mind also because it put the long view and a picture of the net energy and stability of the whole system before me. One reviewer summarized his thought on this as follows:
“Likewise, Solzhenitsyn argued for a sane economy providing civilization with stability, instead of an “uninterrupted rise in the level of material existence.” Solzhenitsyn spoke favorably of traditional, repairable, crafts replacing shoddy manufactured goods intended for consumers to replace at the slightest defect. Products and technology, he argued, should be measured by how well they serve our needs, particularly our spiritual ones, as our primary concern must be for our inner development, which frighteningly had shifted at the hands of a society bent on material acquisition or outer development. Production should flow as an agent which is subordinate to our inner development within a society sheltering the soul first and foremost.