Since Geoffrey is able to provide an algorithm for cities and corporations, the next question should be: Can we now change the results? I am an optimist and would like to think that we could reduce the negatives for cities. For corporations, I don't think that we can substantially change the results.

If wealth and other positive metrics such as education and access to health care increase in cities, is it wise to encourage members of developing economies in Africa to migrate to cities? I serve on the Board of a Non-Profit whose goal is to provide sustainable help to villages in Mozambique. Can some problems be solved if the people moved out of the villages and into the cities? On an micro basis, is it better, given the trade-offs of increased crime? Maybe if we can begin to change the network effects of some of these items. Like I said, I am an optimist and believe that we can reduce the negative effects and still retain the positives.

Are we doing ourselves a diservice by having "Too Big to Fail"- and having companies grow past the optimal size? Once it is too large, each employed person's output is smaller than what it could be in a smaller company. Which is why a lot of people leave large companies to launch start-ups and why a lot of start-ups that are acquired fail when in a larger and bureaucratic system. I don't think that we can change the bureaucracy and mentality in working for larger corporations. I think part of the problem is one's ability to be able to connect with enough people to continue and gain economies of scale. Information is unable to cross through various departments and redundancies.

What is great about the analysis Geoffrey West has made is that the answers were in the data. Hidden away for years, but now we are able to capture, share and analyze like never before in the history of mankind.  


08/17/2011 14:57

What about Detroit ?

David Fuhriman
08/17/2011 15:15

Not sure. I would guess that it would sit off of the curve a little in terms of wealth and crime, but I would be surprised if it is an outlier considering the entire data set.

08/17/2011 20:18

He described a generic principle, much like the one when we say, dogs live 12 to 15 years. To every principle there are exceptions, such as Detroit. And you don't expect every dog to live 12 - 15 years.

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