Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Quality vs Quantity

Recently, the Dutch FT published a story about a well-known start-up company facing production problems: from cool to faltering. This story can be summarized by: quantity up, quality down. To a large extent, it resembles capillary action: if you push the liquid in one tube down, the other one goes up, despite gravity.

In 1855, Robert Browning wrote his poem Andrea del Sarto. Much later, architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe (1886-1969) popularized a phrase from that poem: Less is More (eg, phrases, my blogs). Essentially, it’s the reciprocal of quantity up (ie, more), quality down (ie, less).

A recent article in The Atlantic made me wonder about the above: Why the past 10 years of American life have been uniquely stupid.

Please ignore the click-bait title. Actually, it’s about declining trust in (American) society.

This article also made me wonder if trust is a cycle of quality vs quantity, including several waves like stupidity.

See my diagram at the left.

In my view, the main points on the cycle are Ideology and Pragmatism. The cohesion in society (a.k.a. trust) will decrease following population growth. Just picture trust in the following trend: tribe => village => city => megacity. The reverse must also be true: trust will increase once populations decline (eg, my 2021 blog).

It’s tempting to see growth as a straight line (ie, arrow) rather than a cycle. Yet, any growth is characterized by its birth, its maturity, and its demise – even our Universe. This might even be an absolute truth.

The above is consistent with the Strauss-Howe Generational Cycle or Theory, as developed by William Strauss and Neil Howe, which claims that American and global history reveal cycles of about 80 to 100 years, which end with a crisis and continue with a subsequent recovery.

Spinning Wheel (1968) by Blood, Sweat & Tears
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

What goes up must come down
Spinnin’ wheel got to go ’round

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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