Stability and cost!

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Source: trendy meditation (id:xinchaochensi)

By Sega

In the past two days, the beating incident in Tangshan barbecue restaurant has aroused nationwide attention and discussion. People are angry that there are such blatant evil forces in the context of years of efforts to eradicate the underworld, and they are also deeply affected by the unprovoked misfortune of the beaten people. Due to the economic development and long-term governance of society, China’s current public security environment is good, and the low level of crime rate is among the highest in the world. However, just as the eradication of the underworld and evil forces is still going on, we are far from saying that the soil of the underworld and evil forces has been eradicated.


Today, let’s talk about the relationship between social stability and cost from another angle.

In a certain context, social security and social stability have been equated for a long time. Therefore, the term “maintaining stability” has been given self-evident correctness. It has become one of the characteristic words familiar to the people all over the country and one of the greatest political responsibilities of governments at all levels. Of course, the maintenance of stability here refers not only to the letter and visit work or public security work in the narrow sense, but also to the maintenance of stable social order in the macro sense.

People are the sum of all social relations, so they must also live in social relations, that is, the connection between all people and all people. At the micro level, the relationship between specific two people is completely uncontrollable and may change at any time. It is difficult to have objective and even subjective stable expectations. The so-called “knowing people and their faces but not their hearts”, the so-called “husband and wife are birds in the same forest, and they will fly their own way in great difficulties”, and the so-called “no filial son before a long illness bed” are all about this kind of unreliable and fragile interpersonal relationship. In this natural state, there will be what Hobbes called “everyone to everyone war”, with layers of confrontation games, costs and risks soaring simultaneously, which is bound to be neither stable nor safe.

Therefore, from the perspective of macro integration, rather than focusing on the stability of each specific individual and judging and handling each pair of relationships from the standpoint of each individual, it is better to create a stable social order, balance the endogenous pressure with the collective shell, so as to obtain the surface calm – this is the inevitable choice of every adult who claims not to see right or wrong.

An order with stability as its goal must also have stability itself – the acceptance of reality is the discount of future expectations. Expectations should be stable, and the discount rate should be stable. The acceptance of reality can be stable. Even if it is stable, it is also a kind of stability – stability is the first principle of all behaviors with the goal of shaping order, that is, the first nature of order.

Therefore, it is not difficult for us to understand why “stabilizing expectations” is a “panacea” for all the work of governments at all levels. Only when the “expectations” are stabilized, can the “expectations” for the future be discounted to today for people to make rational decisions, whether it is employment, housing prices, finance or foreign trade. From the perspective of rational decision-making, expectation instability and expectation return to zero are almost equal signs. I don’t know whether the restaurant opened today will be closed tomorrow because of the epidemic, and I know exactly that there will be no guests in the restaurant tomorrow. Rational decision-making is not to open a restaurant; The college entrance examination is assigned by lottery. No matter how much you study, you can get up to 200 points. The rational decision is to give up learning; I don’t know if I will meet Evergrande in 2022. The rational decision is never to borrow money to buy a house for 30 years——

The expectation that the future will return to zero under the existing order is bound to be transmitted to the abandonment of reality, and the psychological abandonment will point to the complete suppression or desperate, resulting in the separation from the current order. The former is relatively simple and can return to the normal order at the right opportunity, while the latter will form a “vagrant group” in the social sense, completely move towards the dark side of the existing order and form a new order in the corner.

A “outlaws of the marsh” is actually a vivid portrait of the refugees at the bottom. The profound implication of the image of “vagrants” in China’s history and culture is not the focus of this article, but you can feel it by recalling the psychological shadow of childhood dominated by Li Kui and Wang yingsun. No matter how hard we try to give these people the positive concept of “Heroes”, They are afraid of the ordinary people living in order.


Therefore, in order to avoid this great terror, logically, the stability of the order itself should be higher than everything else. A stable order is the best order. The rationality, operation efficiency and cost of the order itself should be compromised to this point – that is, since its birth, the greatest achievement of an order is to maintain itself, so its greatest goal has become to maintain itself.

Of course, different social conditions have different ways to stabilize their own order. For example, in the United States, it seems that we are not pursuing the stability of public security and social groups. It is through the pressure relief valve game at various social levels, and by conniving at the bottom to carry out all people to all wars based on ethnicity, identity tags, political spectrum, etc., to maintain the operation of its entire capital and political order.

In reality, we all know that when means become ends, the original ends are often alienated. When we maintain the stability of order at all costs in order to protect ourselves, we find that we have also become one of the costs of maintaining stability.

We know that in a world full of black swans, “stability” is actually the biggest luxury. Stability means “defense”, which is to protect our “modern life”. But “only a thousand days to be a thief, not a thousand days to prevent thieves”. It is impossible to defend a huge front with a width of more than a billion people and a length of nearly 80 years. Unless everyone is allowed to defend everyone, the so-called front will disappear. Therefore, to maintain stability within the scope of cost permission, there must be trade-offs, for example, the right to private relief.

As mentioned above, the greatest enemy of stability is too many social relations, especially those with conflict attributes. As discussed in the Tangshan incident, the reason why it is often costly to use violence to stop murderers’ acts of righteous courage in reality is that the restriction on the right to private relief, and even the suppression of it through judicial means on the premise that the law expressly permits “legitimate defense”, is to suppress and reduce possible civil conflicts to the greatest extent, and to concentrate all the rights of violence, justice and sanctions in the hands of the order itself, To ensure that the order will not be impacted and shaken by the outside world.

On the basis that order covers the vast majority of people, it is a high-quality decision with low cost and high degree of completion to only deal with individual abnormal discrete values that are out of order. After the Kunshan Longge incident in 2018, we can see that there has been great progress in the judgment of justifiable defense in China, but the accumulated time and cases are still not enough to completely reverse the mentality of not daring to act bravely.

Order is the first law of society, stability is the first goal of order, and cost is the first consideration of stability. In other words, the cost of maintaining stability has become a more direct and strongly constrained behavior guide. When there is a lower cost option, will the decision deviate again.

For example, in the past, we had to actively identify and suppress these outliers. Now, can we just passively wait and allow these outliers to become active until they trigger a higher-level principle – systematically affecting the stability expectations of the masses (as the saying goes) and then deal with them? Is it more labor-saving? What’s more, if we collect some discrete values and let them suppress another discrete value (the so-called umbrella) and recruit Songjiang to fight fangla, wouldn’t we kill two birds with one stone? This is the problem that needs constant vigilance and reflection in the process of social stability governance. Take Tangshan for example. In recent years, when the production capacity has been reduced and the economy and employment have been greatly reduced, does it have room to tolerate these thugs? It is a necessary task to promote the anti Mafia storm by this event, but how to prevent such soil from reappearing later is the key for a long time.

Putting aside moral criticism, under the background that local governments’ long-term powers far exceed their financial and decision-making powers, and under the objective law that unlimited power can be collected and unlimited responsibility can not be undertaken, we certainly know that Leviathan cannot be omniscient. We can rationally admit that this is a necessary evil and a necessary price for maintaining stability – but when the price becomes more and more real and close, everyone suddenly realizes that “I really have a cow”, The expectation of this price may suddenly shrink to zero, so that the importance and necessity of stability itself will suddenly weaken. Then this price will become unacceptable and intolerable, and more and more people will begin to drift away from the social order.

This can easily lead to a vicious circle. Because the cost of social order itself needs to be shared by the people within the social order, while the cost of governance is greatly affected by the abnormal value outside the order. When the base number is reduced, the cost may increase in reverse, so the cost of people allocated to the order will also rise, further aggravating the people’s separation from the order – the reason why land annexation in successive dynasties has become more and more intense, It is because a large number of self-employed peasants have taken refuge in the officials, gentry and landlords or become displaced people who have lost their land, which has led to the reduction of the national tax base and forced them to dry up and fish. Taxes are doubled on the remaining groups to ensure operating expenses. When they are separated to a certain extent, social order will collapse.


Of course, the model of traditional agricultural society is relatively simple and cannot be directly applied to modern industrial powers, but the truth is the same: maintaining order and stability requires a price to be paid, and the cost needs to be borne by people. Who will bear the cost and how to share the cost continuously has become an increasingly realistic and unavoidable topic.

The reality always makes the weak side the final price, and this weakness can be changed into different groups in different situations, either economically, physically or politically. Each of us will inevitably become the price on some occasions.

The price is necessary. We have to pay for the life we have enjoyed; But the price also needs to be fair. We also have to fight for the life we want. Only this, perhaps, is the resistance and driving force of progress that can be generated under the wheel of the historical periodic law.

Later, we will organize an article to talk about the history between China’s public security environment and economic development and social governance.

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