Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Entropy and evolution

Sometimes I find that entropy and evolution are the visible realities of the world. The more we read about it and try to implement it in our life the more predictable things become. When I say to implement it I mean to implement the principles of evolution and entropy. This basically means by looking at the fossils we can predict what changes we can expect in the future or by measuring how fast the entropy of a system is increasing we can expect the failure of the system.

But the question remains how to implement it in our life or how far is it true. Well, regarding the reliability of entropy and evolution I can vouch that these are scientific laws and are valid in any universe.  It is all about improving the efficiency of the system. It is because of this efficiency we have redundant organs in our body such as appendicitis. In the same way we try to reduce heat loss in various thermodynamic systems.

An organization is too like an organism the only difference with biological evolution is that here organizations doesn’t take millions of years to evolve. An organization which response to outside environment stubbornly tends to remain laggard while those tends to flow with the change remains successful. But the question now comes how to know that the change is in the air and even if one knows then how to implement it. Well, I believe the flow of information in an organization is what genes to an organism; the greatest anti-body for flow of information is bureaucracy or our desi babugiri. This curtailed flow of information creates a false ‘feel good factor’. Arun Shourie once said that by becoming minister politicians tends to think that traffic problem is solved! Even in industry when the top officials don’t interact with the ground workers they tend to enjoy the illusion and there are very rare officers who blatantly say that the emperor is naked(it’s a story about an emperor , you can read it here In such condition it is only the honest officers who suffer. To run a company successfully it is very much required to interact with the lowest staff to know the ground reality.  I can sum-up the whole paragraph in this hindi doha  “निंदक नियरे राखिए, ऑंगन कुटी छवाय, बिन पानी, साबुन बिना, निर्मल करे सुभाय।‘’


In the book ‘how Toyota became world number 1’ the author has mentioned a very unique and remarkable characteristic of one of its CEO that the CEO changed the location of his cabin in such a way that he has to pass through the assembly line to reach his cabin. This helped in creating a positive environment for the workers. The CEO used to have his lunch with people in the normal canteen and frequently interacted with them.  Similarly, one can find that the governments usually frame policy without having much interaction with ground workers. We usually hear that the government has spent so and so amount but we hardly here about the ground reality of the amount spent; let me give you a better example, we hear that the government has released tender for so and so road project. In reality most of the projects gets delayed due to various bureaucratic issues such as land acquisition or improper compensation.  These perpetual delays are hardly highlighted by the media, they go more by the headline statement that is how much tender the government has awarded.

I believe capitalist society with democracy and maximum individual freedom represents that thermodynamic system which has least entropy. Well, the term maximum individual freedom is indeed debatable but at least one can strive for it. No matter what system you try to build it will try to move towards the system mentioned in first sentence. USSR and East Germany are some of the example which has finally accepted the reality and has more or less aligned with capitalist society. Sooner or later China too will have to realign itself. China is part communist though it has opened up its market it is yet to accept democracy. Democracy with capitalism weeds out the inefficient from the system. The more we compromise with the ‘maximum individual freedom’ the more we breed inefficiency. Take for example congress party was a different party during PVN Rao’s time. The contempt for democracy and sycophancy has reduced it to a very inefficient political party. This democracy and maximum individual freedom applies to even the corporate world. A company that is not open to suggestion from its employees will eventually leady to shoddy product resulting in the downfall of the company. Again the catch is the ‘maximum individual freedom’, the way the definition changes for a company will eventually determine its success.

So far we are done with evolution and entropy; the combined effect of two produces foresightedness. There are ‘critical junctures’ in everybody’s life, corporation and even nations. In 1947, two countries got independent and both countries had the same military training yet one became democratic while the other still lags behind with frequent military rule(sometimes even militant rule!). We are like this not because Nehru was very good (he may or may not be I am not going in that debate) or other PMs were super awesome rather because of institution guaranteed by our constitution. Similarly, after separation of church and state UK, USA Canada and other protestant society progressed even though Italy , Spain and Portugal took the lead in early 14th 15th century. This foresightedness is actually the summation of many critical junctures that occur in a country or in an organization. Xerox company in spite being first one to develop mouse and word could not took the lead in PC industry. Kotak developed the digital camera yet lost the race! Blackberry, Nokia Sony Walkman and many others are the perfect example for foresightedness.

At last I would like to end with a paradox of my analogy ‘’if entropy becomes zero then the system will stop working’’! Enjoy physics J