The failure of complex systems – in nature, society, or government – can easily cascade into life-threatening events. As our society has become overly dependent on both technology and government, we’ve unwittingly moved closer to a catastrophic collapse. Over-dependence on complex systems is foolish, and we’ve even put our ability to feed and protect our families at grave risk. This weekend’s EBT card failure is just the latest example.
Now, if you’re my age, you’ll remember that some customers once settled their grocery bill with a stack of strange, multi-colored bills from the Department of Agriculture. In those days, food stamps were considered embarrassing; and when someone used them, everyone in the community knew. But today, welfare is discreet. Just slide your EBT card to pay for food, and then use your debit or credit card for the beer, wine, or vodka that doesn’t qualify for government subsidies. Nobody but the grocery store computer system knows that your food was paid for by Obama.