ECONOMICS?

ECONOMICS?
Forget that the word economy is based on the Greek word oikonomos for housekeeping and domestic management. The word is really about the desire for profits and executive wealth in business activities. The talk about ‘the economy’ uses attributes with various econo-babble statements and the claim that the economy needs fixing, restarting, or having money pumped into the ‘economy’. Human needs are secondary. The various definitions do not help in any understanding. Is it about wealth, money, trade, scarcity, or ordinary life? Contrary to the claims of economists it is not a science. Science (scientia=knowledge) is proven (proven = tested) information that is replicated, tested by others, and failed to be disproved by falsification tests. Economic textbooks and reports are full of the word assume which negates science which starts with a null hypothesis. Economic textbooks have an aura of mathematics with a multiplicity of graphs used to illustrate a point. They do not use real data but manufacture data to support an assumption.

An economist’s graph of a demand and supply example (Y axis = price of goods) (X axis= quantity of supply) that shows straight lines not based on any real data and assumes changes in economics (business changes) as parallel displacements. Thinking about the low end of the supply curves intelligent people must believe that the low price depends on the price of the raw materials needed to make the supplied product. That tends to make nonsense of the high end of the supply line.
The fundamental criss-cross of economist’s supply and demand assumed graph can be seen to fail any test for real science.

Economics is more like a religion. There are required beliefs (growth, equilibrium), and prohibited beliefs (limits, dynamic change). There are many religious sects of economics with somewhat different views about aspects which provide endless disputes which are never resolved. They have a well established habit of keeping heretics out of any examination of heterodox ideas.

If economics were a science, then they would be able to use their established theories to make useful predictions. Predictions of economists are a consistent failures. They do not ever come within a couple of standard deviations of their estimates if they ever provide them.
Published work of Professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff was shown to be based on spreadsheet errors.

Theories of economists that have been actually applied have been show to be utter failures. Minimising government control, regulation and social support have all proved to be harmful to life. The assumption that privately owned business is better than state run activities has proved to be disastrous quite often. Privatisation is a failure. Globalisation is a failure. The so-called neo-liberal economic agenda has failed. Science must dispense with a theory that fails testing.

If economics and economists are to get any respect and authoritory then they need to do a few things. They need a charter of ethics like other professions. They need standards which can eliminate professional failures. They need to reveal their conflicts of interest and their paymasters especially when they join the punditocracy. They need to publically accept their theory failures and reject them. They need to rigorously apply true scientific methods basing theories only on real, established data and observations and accept ‘don’t know’ situations. They need to take a ‘do no harm’ basis including changing from the Pareto Optimum to a egalitarian aim and changing to indices which measure real human values.

Economics took a wrong term when the Club of Rome published the Limits to Growth book in 1972. Using the development of computer software (called System Dynamics) that could simulate complex interactions of related variables, uncomfortable trends were indicated. The simulations exposed the real limits to growth and compared alternative economic behaviours. The rejection by economists of the modeling exposed their biases and their lies got acceptance by other sectors of the community who were uncomfortable with the indicated trends. The economists missed a great opportunity to make a leap forward into understanding the complex dynamic nature of economic systems by taking up computer modeling of complex systems and even developing their own dynamics software. Economists still have not caught up with the real sciences which have done this.

Being Precise.

Using the same computer and the same program and the same data there was a different result. How can that be? Was I responsible?
It was the IBM Shell computer which I had just updated the IBM operating system as bugs in the data-base processing had been fixed up. Shell had a big computer with 64K while Caltex and BP had only 32k. That meant that Shell had the responsibility for doing the refinery planning using IBM’s Linear Programming Package which required at least 44k. The oil companies shared the one oil refinery. The package would find the optimum output for the refinery operation given a number of technical constraints.
The constraints could be represented by a polygon in many dimensions in which the answer would reside at an extremity to maximize the profitability of the output. The program would climb up the edges of the imaginary multi-dimensional polygon choosing the best route until it could go no further giving the best result while just staying inside the limiting polygon. A lot of number crunching is involved best described as matrix calculations. When doing divisions in a computer the results are usually imprecise as the results get truncated losing a little precision on the way. The program kept storing up a list of numbers called eta-vectors. These would be used in a matrix re-inversion process to catch up the lost precision. Because the new operating system took up more memory this matrix re-inversion happened at a different stage and a different choice was made in the edge of the polygon to follow and thus end up at a different answer. Nobody in NZ was specialised enough to understand all this but the Shell headquarters in The Hague promptly telexed up the explanation. In the original printout there was an A which was disregarded. It was a message to say that there was a valid alternative solution which we uncovered in the second run of the optimization. Panic over! I have kept the telex as a souvenir. I think this something to remember with computer modeling, precision can be lost.

Information Property.

The internet giants have found ways to get wealthy from internet users. They extract information about us from our use of the internet and monetise it by exploiting what they call big data to select what information and advertising is fed back to us. It is used to manipulate our opinions. My thought for the day is that we are entitled to take back ownership of our own information.

In most societies we have a right to have property and have those rights to be protected. Our information should be respected as our exclusive private property. It is property that has a special quality in that it can be shared without loss. But our property sharing it should up to us. It is reasonable for the state which should be operating in our collective interest to have a right to have a share of our information. It needs some of that for instance to register births, deaths, and marriages and to provide a passport to infer our protection in foreign states. In the interests of security, the state endeavours to protect our information as it should.

When we go to a medical doctor, she may gather information about our self that we did not know. That information about us should be our property still. That doctor should not be able to provide that information property to other bodies without our consent. The same must apply to any of our information collected by those we have any transaction with and share information with. It is perfectly reasonable for a business with whom we have a transaction with, to receive some of our information such as where to deliver to in the case of a purchase. But in having our personal property that business should have an obligation to protect our information. It should not be able to sell our information or provide it without our consent. We should have the right to be paid for the provision of our information property to any entity that just happens to want it.

I have made a habit of demanding a payment for providing my opinions to survey approaches. I haven’t ever got any agreement to be paid. Survey requests come to end very quick. Back in June 1988 I went to an auction of the assets of a bankrupted firm that I had some dealings with. When their mailing list was put up for bids, I disputed the right of my information to be sold. It was my property and I had not given any agreement for the sale of my property. The final bid of $2000 may have been affected by my interruption. At least that information was not used to market to me.

Our property right to own all our information should be recognised in law and inadvertent collectors of our information should not be able to exploit our information. Sharing of our information property should be up to us. If our information has value then it must be our right to have recompense.

DeSkilling.

DE-SKILLING TECHNOLOGY.

That strange plant, what is it, pull out your cell phone and use the app that will tell you what it is. Our ancestors had an extensive knowledge of plants and what they could be used for. The dependance on an app shows that we are more ignorant than our ancestors. The same de-skilling is shown when we have to use an app pointed at the sky to tell us what stars our ancestors knew well. Now athletes use technology to track themselves and not depend on any skill.
This de-skilling through the dependence on technology has been a long trend. When clocks were invented and clock towers used to display time led to a dependence on clocks for time when once people could actually judge the passing of time and were free from the regimentation imposed by clock time.
Once upon a time explorers did not take TV crews with them but artists who could document their trip with very accurate drawing. That is a skill that has passed into history with the development of photography.
The typewriter and word-processing computers have eliminated the skill of writing, both the graphic side and composition.
Arithmetic skills have been eliminated by the dependance on cash registers and hand held calculators. This is just the start of skill elimination considering the use of computer aided design and engineering tools.
Financial skills have been replaced by financial computer apps and robo advisers.
Real cooking skills have been replaced by internet recipes and cooking demonstrations.
The real skills of musicians and public speaking have been devalued with the dependance of microphones and loud speakers.
Spacial awareness has been reduced by maps continuously presented by various technologies.
Many teachers on outdoor trips find that many children do not know how to wash and dry dishes at the camp because they are used to machines that do the washing. Computer drills have taken the place of skilled teaching.
Perhaps the worst of all is the de-skilling of socials skills by the dependance of young people on the internet social media. The effect of children’s use of I-Pads is:1. A lack of creativity, 2. A lack of curiosity and passion, 3. A lack of patience, 4. Lack of exercise, 5. Decreased test scores, 6. Lack of human connection.