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Social structures: A perspective from electric
送交者: jingchen 2017年12月27日23:17:20 于 [灵机一动] 发送悄悄话

Social structures: A perspective from electric circuits 

Some types of businesses, such as retails, are very competitive. We can buy food and clothes from many stores. Other types of businesses, such as government related or health care, are highly monopolistic. We can apply for passport in one office only. We have to go to one family doctor before we can be referred to a specialist. Why there is such differences and what are their consequences?

We will have a brief look at two types of electric circuits: parallel circuits and series circuits. For parallel circuits, electric current can pass through any part  of the circuits, much like one can buy food at any of the grocery store. More current will pass through the parts with less resistance, much like one people will shop at stores with low price and better services. In other words, with the structure of parallel circuits, we have a lot of choices. More people or more electrons will choose better services or lower resistance.

For series circuits, we have to pass each of all parts. For example, when we have a health problem, we cannot go to see the doctor who we think is the most appropriate for our problem. Instead, we have to go to see the family physician. With her permission and referral, we can set an appointment to see a specialist, which often takes a long time. We have no choice to select a good service. In a series circuits, if one part increases its resistance, it will get higher energy load. This means when one part does worse work, it will get more rewards. This is what happens in monopolistic environment. When the medical profession slows down and generate longer delays, it will receive more fundings.

In parallel circuits, a part has to lower its resistance to receive higher share of resources. In a series circuits, a part has to increase its resistance to receive higher share of resources. As a customer, we would love the world look like parallel  circuits. As an operator, we would love the world look like series circuits. 

We can calculate how much resource each part will receive when the resistance of that part changes in a parallel or series circuits. It is a nice exercise. It shows a theory in physics can be readily applied to understand our human society.


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