Entropy In Society

Entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system. You find it in the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Thermodynamics may not be something you pay much attention to, but the idea of entropy should be front and center.

Why does entropy matter?

Entropy is the tendency for a system to become disordered. Disordered systems have more connections and connections use some of the energy just to exist. Think about mixing steam and cold water. The result is the same total heat but distributed differently. Steam represents energy and energy does work. Once distributed the energy concentration is different and work is no longer possible.

Steam accomplishes work, luke-warm water does not. The measure of the inability to accomplish work is entropy.

Entropy in a social setting

Work in the social setting is not like work in the physical sense, but there are similarities.

Society needs to be organized to accomplish the most. Disorder is harmful. Most of what we have learned over the years are methods to enhance order. Suppose schools had no requirement for punctuality. Would it work less well? A business needs people to work together. Society works best when people are working toward useful goals in an organized way.

In a functioning society, you retain efficiency by separating the debate about alternatives from what is already working. When you interfere with order to do things in the name of promoting an alternate view, you increase the entropy of the system and thus reduce its efficiency.

Consider the following:

  1. Do riots increase efficiency?
  2. Do new and unintelligible laws increase efficiency?
  3. Do employee protests against their business’s decisions help?
  4. Does distortion of the truth help?
  5. Does passing off opinion as fact help?
  6. Does demonizing each other help?
  7. Does reducing the ability of people to express opinions productively help?
  8. Do governmental regulation or executive action without evidence of need or efficacy help?
  9. Would informed citizens make more reasonable decisions?
  10. Economics tells us resources are finite and we must allocate them to best use. Becoming less efficient seems a bad plan.

The price of disorder

If we accept the premise that society’s resources are poorly distributed and we wish to do something about that, how does it make sense to increase inefficiency. Entropy grows and there will be fewer resources to distribute. If redistribution, or social justice, is the issue, then the current approach is obviously wrong. We must consider the possibility that redistribution, social justice, and all the other goals are merely cover for something deeper.

What would be the deeper idea, and how does it benefit us individually? If you cannot show who benefits, you cannot reasonably expect people to go along with it.

Knowing who will be harmed is not helpful.

Except:

If you are a power seeker, and foggy ideas mislead the people long enough to get power, you can get what you want even if it benefits no one else.

Play defence.


I help people have more income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call or email don@moneyfyi.com in Canada 705-927-4770

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