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On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 09:40:07PM +0900, Eleanor McHugh wrote:
> On 16 Apr 2009, at 21:58, Tom Cloyd wrote:
> >Free market idealism...ah, yes. In the USA, and, as a consequence, =20
> >in world in general, we are presently enjoying the rewards of market =20
> >left entirely TOO free. Wild pigs with the social morality of your =20
> >average two year old took over, uprooted a lot of the garden and =20
> >many of the fruit trees, and as a result many of us are more than a =20
> >bit worried about how we're going to feed ourselves in the coming =20
> >months.
>=20
> You haven't had a free market in the USA, any more than we have here =20
> in the UK. And because the market wasn't free, but a pro-monopoly =20
> model based upon the Chicago School belief that price is the =20
> determinant of market efficiency (it isn't) and that lowest price can =20
> be delivered only where there is a strong market monopoly (which is =20
> patently absurd), we're seeing another bubble go pop.

Nicely summarized.


>=20
> >I'm sad, Eleanor, since this is the first time anything you've =20
> >posted has evidenced anything but keen intelligence.
>=20
> Well I guess that blows the conceit that I'm largely invisible on =20
> here :)

I think invisibility is my job (most of the time) in these parts.


>=20
> >Ever study economics...with an emphasis on data, rather than mere =20
> >theory? I suggest the investment of some time in that endeavor. Free =20
> >market idealism is a lovely thing, but the real world is =20
> >considerably more
> >complex than such a simplistic representation as that. I'm puzzled =20
> >that you missed this.
>=20
> I have a degree in physics and that leads me to believe that all =20
> phenomena can be reduced to a simplistic representation, if they can =20
> be reduced at all. That's a fundamental tenet of the scientific method =
=20
> which I apply to both the development of software and to analysis of =20
> everything else.

My take is more that all phenomena are informed by interactions of a
simple set of fundamental principles, though the emergent properties of
those interactions can be quite complex indeed.  Err, I guess that means
we agree in substance, if not in the particulars of how to express it.


>=20
> I also make no assumptions regarding the good will or rationality of =20
> any participant in a physical system, and that already puts me one =20
> step ahead of those economic theorists who insist on including the =20
> implicate calculus of human motivation into their models.

That strikes me as a critically important insight.  Never trust people in
the general case to have altruistic motivations.  This includes:

 1. people in government

 2. people using the software you write (in Ruby!  Hah!  On-topic!)

 3. people selling you software

It is in part for reasons like this that I have free market and open
source development sympathies.


>=20
> >"In a free market economy, technology will serve whatever is needed, =20
> >when it's needed."
> >
> >Not if the technology needed requires massive investment with =20
> ><correction>LITTLE OR NO</correction> hope of rapid profit. For that =20
> >sort of thing, history tends to show government gets the job far =20
> >quicker and better. The free market didn't defeat the Nazis, or =20
> >invent nuclear technology, and a great deal of the launch of modern =20
> >cybernetics was also government sponsored.
>=20
> True, the free market didn't defeat the Nazis. Except of course that =20
> the economies which funded the defeat of the Nazis were all built on =20
> free market models. The USSR would not have triumphed in the war were =20
> it not for the huge investment of US resources and the war wouldn't =20
> even have lasted long enough for that to happen if it hadn't been for =20
> the huge investment of British resources. Of course that investment =20
> required political will as well, largely generated as a result of the =20
> incredible marketing skills of Winston Churchill.

Probably the biggest factor in the Soviet Union's "victory" over Germany
on the Eastern Front was weather, anyway.  It sure as hell wasn't the
Soviet economy, which pretty much utterly failed to help the Soviet war
effort in World War II.


>=20
> Likewise if there was a perceived need for cybernetics you can bet =20
> that the money would appear to fund it. Look at the truly remarkable =20
> medical achievement of our era, the mapping of the human genome. The =20
> vast majority of that work was funded by private donation to the =20
> Sanger Institute which is a charitable trust. The Welcome Trust =20
> (another charity) is the largest conductor of medical research in the =20
> world.

I think that greater private investment in cybernetics research will come
about in the near future in large part as a result of advancing medical
technologies, anyway.

--=20
Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
Quoth Thomas McCauley: "The measure of a man's real character is what he
would do if he knew he would never be found out."

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