Time-Delayed Contradictory Parameters vs Concurrent Contradictory Parameters and Their Applications to Economics and Politics

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.

TRIZ deals with contradictions where both gains and losses materialize simultaneously. E.g., weight loss immediately entails speed gain; gains in reliability immediately result in losses in cost; etc. But there exist other contradictions where gains happen now but losses may materialize in the future (and vice versa). Such contradictions are more pertinent to economics, politics, etc. But they happen in technology too. Unfortunately, they are seldom realized at the time of making crucial decisions.

For example, contradiction between power, speed, convenience of a car, on the one hand, and pollution that it may create, on the other, existed when people just started inventing automobile. But nobody realized it. People did not know that achieving obvious benefits of creating self-propelling cars would bring about horrible air pollution several decades later. I call such technical contradictions time-delayed as opposed to classical technical contradictions of TRIZ, which contradictory parameters are concurrent.

For technology the main issue with such contradictions is to realize them on time. There are no techniques of doing so in contemporary TRIZ. They have to be discovered.

But in politics, economics, etc. people realize such contradictions pretty well on time. Nevertheless they tackle them always incorrectly, preferring gains now (whatever small they could be) to consequences which may come afterwards.

Consider, for example, the current economical troubles. The government tries to avoid deep recession and stabilize housing and stock markets by pumping money into the system: first interest rates were cut [1], then money auctions for commercial banks were introduced, then $150 billions were given away as stimulus package [2], then money auctions were extended to investment banks, then bailing out of failed companies began, and now housing rescue bill is passed, which devotes another $300 billion to help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure [3]. The consequences of all these steps are pretty obvious: inflation spiraling out of control. What is less known is that the woes, which the afore-mentioned measures are trying to soothe, will return magnified manifold, for time-delayed contradictory parameters, unlike concurrent ones, cannot be traded off. As Winston Churchill put it on the example of trading honour for peace, they that choose shame to avoid war will get shame right away and war later [4]. The same holds for any time-delayed contradiction, to a degree, of course.

To be more accurate, Churchill's aphorism has to be para-phrased as follows: they that go to war to avoid shame will get war right away and likely shame later; and they that accept shame to avoid war will get shame immediately and likely war later. In both cases the probability of getting the both is high.

Similarly, there is high probability that inundating financial system with money to avoid recession will result in uncontrollable inflation soon and severe recession later. On the other hand, there is also high probability that doing nothing will result in a recession soon and unavoidable inflation later.

Thus, the choice is always between what one wants to get first: war now and shame later, or shame now and war later; hyper-inflation now and depression later, or recession now and inflation later; etc. In the absence of theory of resolving time-delayed contradictions there is no way to get out of these quandaries.

But there is a ray of hope in this doom and gloom: start spending money not on stimulus packages and bailing out reckless people and irresponsible companies but on developing the above theory. Had a tiny portion of those hundreds billions dollars been spent on this research, may be we would have known what to do now.