Gaming The System
No system is perfect. It is human nature to try and work any system for personal advantage so until we as a species can evolve past the point of selfishness then it is a fact that needs to be accepted. Whether it is a software or blockchain system or even a financial or political system, it doesn’t really matter. There will be flaws and loopholes that will be exploited by those who are clever and/or lacking morals so there isn’t a lot of point complaining about it, let’s at least understand it.
Systems are designed from the outset to serve a particular purpose. The designer(s) are trying to solve a problem and/or achieve some sort of desired behaviour or result when they architect a new system. Perhaps the system works brilliantly at the start. Perhaps participants use the system in the spirit of its intended design. Systems are not bad by their nature it all just comes down to how they are used and maintained, however people will adapt to a new system and they will find those loopholes in time. Let me give you some examples.
This is a parliamentary system of government for running a country democratically via a legislature. Back in the 1840s when it was first implemented it was a revolutionary and empowering system for the people who were mostly accustomed to rule by an elite (often royal) class. It was intended to be a form of “Representative Democracy” where elected MPs would represent their constituents, but it wasn’t long before Political Parties emerged – the first major groups to Game The System. They turned the Westminster System into a 2-Party system and now it has come to the point where MPs don’t really represent their constituents, they represent their parties and they toe the party line. The Westminster system no longer functions according to its intended “Representative Democracy” design.
A complicated topic and we have had a number of changes to the Modern Financial System, but we saw in the GFC of 2008 that the Financial System is now being Gamed so hard that it is also failing. We have the Financial elite controlling massive wealth with high leverage and taking investment risks with peoples life savings. With the full knowledge that if things go bad, they will be classified as “Too Big To Fail” and be bailed out by the taxpayer. Their mantra is to “Privatise Profits and Socialise Losses” and they are making Trillions of dollars by Gaming our Financial System. As a result this system is becoming more unstable and unbalanced every year.
Everyone here should be familiar with the STEEM Blockchain. It is no different to the other systems I have already mentioned. Some users have figured out they can self-vote, create circle jerks, sell their votes and extract value from the STEEM Platform without providing any value themselves. The design of this system is quite brilliant, but it is not without its flaws. We can argue day and night about Linear Rewards or whatever Hard Fork feature we like, but the fact is that “Where there is a will, there is a way” and there will always be users who will exploit the System design and Game it for their own advantage.
So what can be done? I am not for one moment suggesting we throw in the towel. The answer to me lies in EVOLVING our systems and eternal vigilance is required. Just like with a software program, if a bug is found, you patch it. The people who are responsible for maintaining and upgrading these systems have to stay ahead of the Game. It is a constant struggle, but a struggle that is definitely worth having. To stay still is to die. Systems need to keep moving, to keep evolving or they become irrelevant as they are exploited to the point where they fail to fulfil their intended design and they break down.
The biggest problem comes about with systems where the ones who are trusted to maintain and evolve the system become the same ones who are Gaming it for personal benefit. If this happens it no longer is in the interests of caretakers to keep evolving the system to prevent exploitation, they become more interested in keeping the Game going so that they can extract as much value from it as they can. When problems arise they seek to “Kick the can down the road” for as long as they can until the system eventually breaks or dies. Often that is when a new system will then emerge to take its place and provide the evolution that is missing.