Modularity, the Division of Labour, and Valuable Solutions

I’ve been thinking recently about a concept or general idea that is related to, and spawns from, Szabo’s works especially most recently after reading Secure Property Titles with Owner Authority.  I’m not sure if this has been shown yet (and possibly I already read the concept elsewhere probably by Szabo), but I suspect that there is reason to support the suggestion that technology which rewards its creator is superior to an altruistic equivalent.  This has to do with the implication that bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto become wealthy (AND deservedly so) from his invention by mining bitcoins in the early stages of the project.

The fact that bitcoin is so secure that the owner can secretly walk around a millionaire (probably already or at least soon to be billionaire) is part of what is necessary to pay the owner part of this value he created.  So there is a relationship I think that is not necessarily (or perhaps ideally) separable.

I see something else in regard  to Szabo’s works, especially in reference to the phrase he uses to describe them: concise tutorials.  Szabo’s works, presented only as a whole, and if presented by other authors, I think would be completely unintelligible and effectively illegible.  If it wasn’t for the sincere intent by Szabo, I don’t think very many people or readers would be able to decipher much of the content.

Part of the success Szabo is and will likely continue to have, in regard to educating the masses about the benefits of the crypto-currency and economic revolution, is no doubt due the modular nature of the presentation.

Szabo separate’s a much larger thesis, something akin to why bitcoin is real and good, into smaller digestible parts.  What is important is that the parts are both small enough to encapsulate a certain insight (or a few insights) to be highlighted, but also that the insights must be seamlessly connectable to the greater picture.

Modularity is a concept that is not unfamiliar to the computer science field, specifically programming and software design.

I think I understand something a little deeper here that is quite related to Szabo’s works.

We use software to provide solutions, that are used to secure efficiency for our civilization, through replicable technology.  The more replicable and easier to use this technology is, and provided it serves a specific desirable purpose, the more valuable the technology  is to the user (and also to the creator that might profit from its adoption!).

In programming we solve problems modularly for a number of reasons.  When a solution is broken into parts this allows for different individuals (or different groups of individuals) to build components separate from the other groups that make other components. There are many advantages to this which are fundamentally described by Adam Smith under the phrase “the division of labor”.

The efficiency our civilization has gained from the division of labor has been the driving force for sustainable evolution since the dawn of mankind.

Modularity also allows for other inventors or philosophers (and anyone related and in between) to use these components for other problems that might be either otherwise unsolvable or might be simple improved by swapping out parts of a larger solution or efficient (but not optimized) system.

For this I think it can be said that a modular solution should be favored to an equal but not modulated one. This has at least two initial implications to me.  First, that people might take Szabo’s modulated works and modulate them further, and create more granulated and smaller more specific compartments.  There should be great value found in doing this.

Secondly we might think about solving problems in modular layers.  That we cannot provide a solution with one design, but rather with successive modular solutions that attack the heart of the problem, we might someday evolve to design a solution that solves a problem that was seemingly, or believed to be, impossible to solve.

We can think of the difficulty of building the pyramids; some of the fundamental methods of designing the pyramids seems lost to mankind.  I wonder if our misunderstanding of the benefits and power of capitalism cause us to suffer in understanding how these ancient structures came about. We might take the assumption that the pyramids are far superior in design than we give credit.  Perhaps the Egyptians did not have the programming knowledge we do today (or languages?!), but that somehow the pyramids design was in fact VERY modular.  That is to say perhaps we should think about how to build the pyramids through a modulated process.

Maybe many groups or even different civilizations contributed to the design, and so there is a necessity of a modular fashion for it. I mean to suggest that perhaps the evolution of “good design” tends towards modularity.

I think this might be quite a radical thought to most conventional thinking (probably less so in the comptuer science field and the Dawkinian followers).

Lastly this writing deals with altruism vs. the possibility of a world in which people that contribute greatly to the welfare of others deserve to be rewarded. Because of the direction of the  propriety of our society, I think it can be suggested that optimal solutions will in fact likely reward the creator of the solution well.  Then this might serve as a clue that might lead to the discovery of many such solutions.

Viewed from another perspective, value is exponentially greater if a solution serves more people in better or more intensive ways.  Modularity facilitates this value with not only the direct ability to be understood by people that might benefit from such a solution but also the indirect possibility of fostering other solutions that might borrow from or piggy back on existing well modulated designs (and explanations!).



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s