The dialectic tension between forces of structure and anti structure were what I was using to describe this tension between the need for the rules to keep a lid on the potential for chaos in cities. As cities evolve, some rules may latently represent an old and now decayed or even collapsed order (i.e., the automobile industry that was so much a part of Detroit), and evolving new rules of order to meet the burgeoning needs of the entrepreneurial spirit in individuals finding new ways to cope that will become part of a newer order, if one can actually evolve. Then you also have macro hierarchies of order, from the state to the nation state to consider and work with.
We here in the Willapa watershed, are dealing with those very layers in our own small community where we have an abundance of water, with great potential to process a very tiny community's waste, in the face of both state and Federal regulations that confine (through regulation) our efforts to models that are designed for much larger mass consumption communities, that allow for efficiencies where the costs of processing waste and water collection and distribution infrastructure has far more capacity that would be spread over a much larger population. As a result of the cost involved in meeting regulations that we don't even need for these circumstances, rules that are too rigid to bend to our local needs, some people with very low incomes in this now shrinking extractive industry county, with a total population of a small city (about 21,000 people) are in the position of spending a third of their income each month on water and sewer. That's in some cases a bankrupting formula wherein they are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure of one sort or another. The mayor and the city council are scratching their heads.
These complexities of rules can sometimes be worked through and changed for the benefit of everyone, and sometimes a community is so fragile it may just collapse and cease to be before it can work that out. The rules themselves, once codified into law, are completely unsympathetic, much like sociopaths tend to be. There is nothing of an actual living, breathing human being about a codified rule. People create them, generally through institutional processes, then everyone's challenged to figure out how to deal with these unsympathetic human creations. Those are just some of the issues created by inventing complex social hierarchies that became civilizations.
But can we now have seven point some odd billion people inhabiting this planet without complex social hierarchies?
Which brings me back to contemplate all the factors we find taking place in The Collapse of Complex Societies.