Thursday, May 27, 2010

systempunkt definition

I've been using the term "systempunkt" frequently these days. I don't think I've offered a definition because I thought it was self-explanatory. Since it's not in the dictionary, here's what it means (compliments of the most brilliant, intriguing blogger - John Robb).

In global guerrilla warfare (a combination of open source innovation, bazaar transactions, and low tech weapons), the point of greatest emphasis is called a systempunkt. It is the point in a system (either an infrastructure or a market), always identified by autonomous groups within the bazaar, where a swarm of small insults will cause a cascade of collapse in the targeted system. Within infrastructure, this collapse takes the form of disrupted flows that result in immediate financial loss or ongoing supply shortages. Within a market, an attack on the systempunkt destabilizes the psychology of the market to induce severe inefficiencies and uncertainties. The ultimate objective of this activity, in aggregate, is the collapse of the target state and globalization.

Think in terms of a series of attempts at gaming the system which results in a great calamity. The greatest systempunkt of my generation is most certainly 9/11. If my Superbowl prediction were to come true, I think it could represent a close second. Especially considering the fragile mindset of the typical American. Here are some other examples on a smaller scale that come to mind...

The Tylenol fiasco back around 1980. Remember when some idiot poisoned bottles of Tylenol with cyanide in retail outlets around Chicago (I think it was Chicago). It resulted in all over-the-counter medication and a myriad of other products employing safety features (seals and advanced twist off techniques). I seriously doubt that this was his aim. He was probably just some demented moron.

The current home foreclosure crisis offers a prime example. There are a few people out there who have INTENTIONALLY defaulted on their mortgages. Some banks in certain geographic locations just can't keep up with the escalation in housing turnover. The end result, there's a bunch of people out there who opted out of their mortgage contracts and are not being penalized to the fullest extent of the law. This is a big one if you have a game plan and fully understand the consequences (both short and long term). I wouldn't recommend it though.

Here's a good idea for a systempunkt in Morgantown following a huge WVU victory. Organize massive couch burnings all over the campus. As the police and fire trucks are tending to the multiple emergencies, now's the time to loot and pillage. You're just taking advantage of a series of coordinated disruptions and maximizing its potential.

There are millions of examples in nature, business, warfare, etc. Read John Robb's blog if you wish to gain a better perspective.


Larry said...

Can you plan a systempunkt of where I work? Or at least a good scenario? It's ripe for the pickin'. I might even be able to help from the inside.

Anonymous said...

I tried to get things rolling with the Super Soakapalooza when the Westboro Baptist Church freaks came to town. That was more like a straight-up ambush though, but it could have had long-lasting future ramifications.

I don't know... maybe target the Wheeling chili cook off or the race tomorrow. There's a big difference between a prank and a legitimate system disruption.