When Complex Systems Fail, They Never Fail All At Once

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    Tony Koretz
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    When complex systems fail, they almost never fail all at once. They usually suffer from a cascading failure or a series of smaller failures leading up to the complete breakdown of the functions of the system. Our social, economic and environmental systems are all breaking down and the end result will be catastrophic for the people, but the breakdown will not happen all at once.

    Many people understand that the system is failing but they do not have a clear understanding of how it will affect them. In a cascading failure, one part leads to the damage and failure of another part until everything stops. In an automobile, when the oil pump goes bad it stops pumping oil to all of the internal parts that come in contact with one another preventing them from causing excess wear to one another. As the oil flow stops it will not stop the engine or any other parts from working and you will continue down the road unknowing unless a light or gage gives you a warning. As the oil is worn off of the metal parts you begin to get more signs something is wrong. The lifters will start tapping louder as time goes on and the temperature of the engine will start to increase as the parts cause more friction with one another. Eventually, the bearings will begin to wear excessively against one another until they seize up and stop the engine completely.
    When Complex Systems Fail, They Never Fail All At Once

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