Escalation happens to actors who set their goals relative to one another.

This can optimize parts of the overall system—for better or worse. One upmanship will go until one or all actors break down. To prevent that, one side may accept a reduced state, provided this does not pose an existential threat; a stand-down may be negotiated with new regulatory balancing feedback loops added; but better than solving is to avoid entering into this cycle.rM3

  1. Donella H. Meadows and Diana Wright, Thinking in Systems: A Primer (White River Junction, Vt: Chelsea Green Pub, 2008). (See notes.)