"What kind of systems will evolve into a SOC dynamical state? A separation of time scales is required. The process connected with the external driving of the system needs to be much slower than the internal relaxation processes. The prototypical example is an earthquake. The stress in the earth's crust is built up on the scale of years owing to the motion of the tectonic plates. The stress is subsequently released in a few seconds or minutes during an earthquake."
This called to mind the famous metaphor for markets offered by Judge Learned Hand in the Schecter Poultry case:
"In an industrial society bound together by means of transport and communication as rapid and certain as ours, it is idle to seek for any transaction, however apparently isolated, which may not have an effect elsewhere; such a society is an elastic medium which transmits all tremors throughout its territory; the only question is of their size."
Judge Hand here is describing SOC dynamics. The metaphor may be more literal than he imagined. For there is some evidence of SOC dynamics in markets.
The implication is that the firms interact with one-another in the market the same way that tectonic plates rub against one-another under the crust of the earth. Most of the time, we're not even aware of the tension building. But every once in a while, our whole economy gets a good shake.
Incidentally, the Schecter Poultry case was the last in a line of Supreme Court cases stretching back to Lochner v. New York (1905) in which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional various restraints of contract (such as minimum wage and maximum hour laws) enacted by Congress. The end of the line came in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parish (1937), when the Supreme Court upheld a minimum wage law in the shadow of threats by President Franklin Roosevelt to "pack the court" with additional justices who would be more favorable to his desire for a more powerful administrative state. At the time, the President and Congress felt that expanded Executive and Legislative authority were necessary to avoid the market failures of the Great Depression. Does this sound familiar? We should attend to these details of history, since good intentions like these often lead to unanticipated consequences.
Fortunately, unanticipated consequences are both good and bad. One uanticipated consequence of the expansion of Congressional authority under the Commerce Clause was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was probably the most important step toward reconciliation of racial conflicts in the United States since the end of the Civil War almost 100 years earlier. But the opaque and labyrinthine bureaucracies of Federal administrative agency authority is net a more negative consequence.