Homonymy: The last complexity source

Casino of Monte-Carlo

Homonymy is a semantic relationship between two words which have equal signifier and different signified. There are many words in every language summited to homonymy. An example related to complexity can be the word casino. While in English this word has the meaning of a public building or room where people play gambling games for money, in Spanish this is a modern meaning. An older meaning of this word in Spanish should be Social Club. Spanish casinos were social clubs of the main small towns of the country, with the traditional British meaning: an organization and a place where people, usually men only, can meet together socially or stay used by the social elites of a community.

Of course, these meanings are very far. The English one is a synonymous of uncertainty, the ancient Spanish one is a synonymous of social order, and agreements among different powers of the society. As we can see, they are concepts totally different in terms of complexity both from a qualitative and a quantitative viewpoint.

Will you define the Prestigious Bilderberg Club as a casino at Las Vegas? Well, using the word casino in Spanish can be equivalent to do this.

As I said before this is common in every language with many words, but the word casino in Spanish can be very exemplary when we are talking about economic complexity. American casinos should be a representation of the use of uncertainty to increase our incomes, and Spanish ones should be a representation of the structure to do a similar action. Both components of complexity produce an increase of complexity of the economy. But there is an important difference: Agreements by representatives of different economic agents in a social club can produce an effect on the economy of those agents and even the whole economy of a country, however, a bet in an American casino has only effect on the economy of the gamblers. If financial markets work as an American casino, are they really providing a dangerous effect on the economy of the country? I should bet they are not. The problem of financial markets are not related to that behavior, they would be more problematic if instead of being acting randomly, it was driven by the social elites in an structured way. Financial markets would be a problem of complexity if they were acting as a Spanish casino instead of as an American one.

There are many activities where structure provides value, for instance, commerce can be improved through the relations established in a social club. Spanish casinos should be, for instance, a good mean to meet potential clients and providers, to establish technology alliances in order to improve collaboration in activities as R & D, and so on. Many good businesses have been done having a drink in the clubhouse at the end of a golf play. But where the system has been designed to act randomly, a structured way of acting is a fraud, as when a group of people count cards in an American casino in order to win forever.

“Old Spanish casinos” would be very useful to improve the economy through business agreements and alliances, but they were not made to drive the financial markets for the benefit of a certain social group.


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