The arc of emergent order

by Russ Roberts on June 22, 2009

in Complexity & Emergence

Video from Mike Munger.

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Daniel Kuehn June 22, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Russ – this appears to be the same link as the previous post.

Russ Roberts June 22, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Thanks, Daniel. Should be fixed now.

Mikeikon June 22, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I don't know that I'd really describe that as orderly… I know that I'd prefer not having to feel like I was in a free-for-all battle for my own life every time I went for a drive.

I thought that emergent order was all about people having control over their own property in competition with others? I would think that even in a network of private roads, there would be rules and regulations set by the owners to improve safety and efficiency.

If people didn't have some authority over what is rightfully theirs, then there really would be chaos.

Damian June 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I think lanes are usually important. I don't think stoplights always are. And those that are are usually only necessary in rush hour, causing wasteful idling at other points in the day. More yield signs please…

Against the Grain June 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm

It does show that there is a lot of natural order, but the sample size of the data does not show evidence that it is more or less timely than a signalized and striped junction. One would also need to consider if people drive less or avoid specific junctions.

Emergent order, yes. Better, I don't know.

K Ackermann June 22, 2009 at 11:08 pm

He should set up a camera on Storrow Drive in Cambridge, MA.

We could see box trucks ignoring the height restriction signs as they enter the narrow, twisting, high speed road only to wedge themselves under a bridge doing 60 MPH.

They have special trucks that come and clear them out in about 15 minutes, and only charge $10,000.

K Ackermann June 22, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Also, during rush hour, it's stupid not to drive on the sidewalks if nobody is using them.

Another thing is, emergent order does not tolerate ambition and strong will very well. If I see that someone might cut me off and I would have to use the brakes, I lean over and pretend I am adjusting the radio and not looking. People only cut you off if they make eye contact.

If somebody won't turn their high beams off, I just move over into their lane and drive straight at them. It's one of the reasons I like trucks.

vidyohs June 23, 2009 at 7:09 am

I see order in the video.

Vehicles wanting to go right, go right.

Vehicles wanting to go left, go left.

Vehicles wanting to go round the circle and emerge on the other side, do so.

I see rule.

Don't hit each other being the most prominent one.

Evidently the people driving the vehicles have learned the order and the rule and do not need other than that.

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