Saturday, January 24, 2015

Evidence of Wealth in Agent-Based Institutions

Here is an illustration of wealth in institutions. In my closely related project, Perceived Order, I am developing the Resource-Patterns Model of life. The central thought experiment in that model places agents (critters, I call them) in a setting in which they can grow wealthy if, and only if, they somehow learn to restrain their behavior, to make their choices in conformity with a set of rules.

In this post I will not attempt to repeat all the definitions and circumstances which you may need to understand. I hope you can find that background in early posts on Perceived Order.

Here I will repeat the two pictures in A Resource Pattern Appears in the World of the Critters, and call attention to the difference between the two.

A unexploited resource pattern in the world of dirt-poor critters

After embracing rules of behavior, most critters are comparatively wealthy

In the second picture numerous critters live in the line of exchange between the water (on the left) and the sugar (on the right). These critters are wealthy, I assert, compared to their kin who live outside the line. They are wealthy because they acquire their needs of water and sugar with less time spent searching. They have larger internal stores of water and sugar (they are fatter perhaps); they have more free choices (time) in which they may do things of their choosing other than search for food; they may spend a larger fraction of their time reproducing or reading poetry. True, they had to follow rules, to restrict their choices sometimes in order to attain their wealth, but as a result they have more favorable choices available to them in the remainder of their time.

It seems we have many different concepts contending for what we might mean by "wealth". I am promoting the concept that wealth consists of an array of favorable choices. In the second picture above the critters in the line of exchange enjoy greater wealth which is expressible as the sum of the favorability of their choices.

Of course some people may argue that the wealth is in the raw materials, in the large supplies of water and sugar. I must agree that the wealth enjoyed by the critters in the second picture requires the raw materials; they could not have their wealth without the raw materials.  But the presence of the raw materials does not make the critters wealthy in the first picture. Only the discovery of rules of behavior, of institutions, created the much greater wealth enjoyed by critters in the second picture.

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