Sunday, September 8, 2013

Symmetry and Government

We see symmetry every day in the form of humans, buildings, flora, and almost every living thing. Symmetric patterns are common in certain types of art. Symmetry can be seen on a large scale in the shapes of galaxies and on a small scale in the shapes of crystal structures, snowflakes, and atoms. And it is no surprise that symmetry is a common study in mathematical and scientific concepts and principals. Symmetries, to mathematicians, are defined as transformations that leave pictures, objects, or equations unchanged.

Symmetry allows us to find solutions to mathematical equations from algebraic to differential. Symmetry is important to material science and elasticity to study the behavior of solids and liquids. Symmetry is also important in our understanding subatomic particles such as quarks, string theory, and the theory of relativity. Incidentally, string theory is the study of all forces in nature. Symmetry plays a fundamental role in the applications of medical imaging and control theory used for both aircraft and satellite system designs.

Symmetry is important in genetic studies and in my field of analog to digital conversion. I was able to make a living studying the errors in analog to digital conversion systems. Some errors, such as superposition, are symmetrical, but the random errors are the ones that are hard to define and account for in designs.

Just as symmetry is important to understanding the universe, so is the study of the absence or loss of symmetry. When symmetry is broken chaotic behavior or dramatic consequences may occur. Chaos theory is a mathematical concept and is used to understand weather patterns for instance. Hence, symmetry is the reason for balance and stability in structures, atoms, and universes.

For this reason, when I look at an object, I use mathematics such as symmetry to define it, not words.

I view government as a transformation function acting on economies, peoples, and companies. Unfortunately, in my view of the world, government is attempting to break and destroy symmetries naturally created within our systems and way of life. In other words, the ultimate outcome of too much government interference (rules, mandates, regulations, and laws) is chaos on economies, but not because they have any effect on symmetry. Symmetry is maintained despite government interference attempting to transform the economic status of populations. But in doing so, the health of the government is deteriorating in terms of spending, debt, and deficits.

Let’s look at an example of the government’s attempt to rid society of poverty from 1967 to 2010. During this time government spending on social programs increased from 5.4% to 15.5% as a percentage of GDP. However, analyzing annual income over this same period of time, the number of people in each income bracket (under 25K, 25K to 50K, 50K to 75K, 75K to 100K, and over 100K) was within 5% each year resulting in a normal distribution for each income bracket (income is adjusted to current dollars for each year). This means the government’s attempt to rid poverty has done nothing to affect income brackets. However, the overall health of the government has deteriorated because they are going further into debt as they spend more on entitlement programs.

A normal distribution defines many economic conditions and has uses in everyday life. And normal distributions are, for the most part, symmetrical (yes, they can be skewed since it is nearly impossible to get a perfect distribution for any given set of data). Whether the government or liberals like it or not, the economic status in this country will fit, for the most part, a symmetrical normal distribution. And it will be impossible for the government to transform, alter, or skew a perfectly balanced and stable state defined by a normal distribution.

It is both the arrogance and ignorance of government which thinks it can transform perfectly stable and balanced symmetrical systems by throwing money at the issue. It is not much different than how the government thinks they can also overcome evolution (survival of the fittest) and climate change by throwing money at the issue. It may be unfortunate that people live in poverty, but there is not enough money to overcome this problem or transform income distributions.


  1. Good post, Patrick. “Arrogance” and “ignorance” are the perfect words to describe those in the gov’t who think they can micro-manage the world and control peoples’ behaviors just because they want to. Apparently it’s escaped their notice that after all the wealth transfers, regulating and meddling we have as many people in poverty as ever before.

    Whether their meddling works or not, though, is really not the most important point. The most important point is this – what gives them the right to micro-manage people? I didn’t agree to this. Did you?

    1. I never liked working for a micro-manager. I always felt managers should be working on strategy and the future. I feel it is probably the same thing with the government. Micro managing does not work for the most part.