“… Macroeconomics, he argues, is like a science that has not only stalled for three decades, but has actually gone backwards in its ability to understand reality.
In the late 1970s, as the old certainties of Keynesianism collapsed, a new generation of economists moved the discipline on to the terrain of super-abstract equations. Their assumption was that the economy tends towards equilibrium, and that only unpredictable shocks from outside the system can disturb it. Since the shocks come from outside, for the purposes of these mathematical models, the economist has to imagine what they might be. In The Trouble With Macroeconomics, Romer mocks these imaginary disruptions …
Romer is a doyen of the profession, and from the heart of the US academic mainstream. His attack on some of the most esteemed and influential economists of our time is a big thing …
… Romer, scathingly, calls this “post-real” economics, and suggests a horribly simple explanation for its popularity: human frailty … over-confidence, “an unusually monolithic community”, near-religious group loyalties, a tendency to disregard results that don’t match the theory – and too little consideration of the risks of being wrong.
This is not just a problem for economics. Romer says the parallels between bad physics and bad economics suggest there might be a “general failure mode” in any discipline that becomes over-reliant on maths. Basically, the kudos goes to people at the cutting edge of designing mathematical models, not to those whose models match reality. If Romer is right, there are big implications for the way governments and central banks make policy. Instead of abstract models, you would need something much closer to reality – and, with the rise of computer simulation technologies, that is close at hand.
… In an agent-based model, you don’t try to work out whether a million people will, on aggregate, buy more bread or less bread. You create a million digital “people” and unleash them in world with digital bread and digital money.”
“… Cryptocurrencies are having crises of governance — Bitcoin about blocksize and other scaling strategies, Ethereum because the hard fork they made to try to save DAOhub in the midst of its crisis of having no way to authorize an update to a buggy smart contract. Plenty of other coins and systems have had their own issues along the way as well.
These problems are not incidental to the design of these systems, they are inherent.
Cryptocurrencies were designed to escape oppressive governance. Their creators have focused on optimizing personal autonomy and anonymity. The fact that we don’t know who stole $65 million from DAOhub or even who the original creator Bitcoin is, should make this fact obvious.
Why does this matter?
Any system that can’t regulate itself dies. If it can’t respond, adapt, or evolve, it’s dead.
The kind of governance we’re seeking is best thought of as a self-regulatory community. In other words, a community which has the necessary information, communication flows, and feedback loops to regulate its health and longevity.
Until people and community, along with the information flows required for that community to see its own patterns and issues are actually built into the ontology of cryptocurrencies, they won’t solve the problem of governance and collective self-regulation.”
also see Preparing Bitcon for a Hard Fork
A fascinating article in its abstract ideas and in the amazing obviousnesses in which it is disconnected from human experience … a marvelous heartless existence … the “people” traveling in these cars … why would they be there in the first place … why go anywhere to see anything when a “livestreamed HD panoramic view can be projected in helmet that responds to your head and eye movements” can be made available to you … a profound example of intellect run-amok …
“The opportunity to multitask while traveling could make the journey into the destination. Given the expanded possibilities of what one could do inside a vehicle, our existing distinctions between vehicles and buildings, between transit and destination, between static and mobile spaces, may begin to blur. Imagine commuting while sleeping, or socializing at happy hour while the bar transports you home. Imagine if a garage was also the car. If commuting entails being in a space that is functionally equivalent to being at home, one might eventually skip returning home, and commute perpetually. The journey to work could commence as soon we fall asleep. The idea of having a destination becomes as obsolete as drivers and cars. Highways would host listless roaming bedrooms, meandering through the night.
Our understanding of a house as a stable locus of physical and emotional shelter could become diluted. There would be no reason for homes to not also be vehicles. A range of new options for customizing these vehicle-home hybrids would emerge: Homes could be made up of modular docking pods, and specific rooms could be shared, swapped, rented out, or sent away for cleaning or restocking. Modern conveniences that we currently take for granted — such as being able to use a bathroom without needing to arrange for its presence in advance — could become tomorrow’s luxuries. The homeless would be the only people not constantly in motion, the people closest to retaining a fixed physical location called home. Stasis would become homelessness.”
Reading this wasn’t too surprising … a more worrying thought that came to me though was that isn’t this how most of our systems government, business, etc .. are run? The list of systemic failures is so typical … and yet here we are.
“The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory.
This is the lacerating verdict of the IMF’s top watchdog on the Fund’s tangled political role in the eurozone debt crisis, the most damaging episode in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions.
It describes a “culture of complacency”, prone to “superficial and mechanistic” analysis, and traces a shocking break-down in the governance of the IMF, leaving it unclear who is ultimately in charge of this extremely powerful organisation.
… The report said the whole approach to the eurozone was characterised by “groupthink” and intellectual capture. They had no fall-back plans on how to tackle a systemic crisis in the eurozone – or how to deal with the politics of a multinational currency union – because they had ruled out any possibility that it could happen.
“Before the launch of the euro, the IMF’s public statements tended to emphasize the advantages of the common currency, “ it said. Some staff members warned that the design of the euro was fundamentally flawed but they were overruled.
… That the IMF failed to anticipate any of this was a serious scientific and professional failure.”
Again this reminded me of Alexander and unfoding wholeness – a process of making in which felt experience is constantly incorporated in guiding choices … and of Pirsig’s sitting on a hot stove.
“Practice is action. In this, Yoga differs from – without exclding – other schools of philosophy and of belief that rely solely upon intellectual inquiry or presumed truths. Yoga always incorporates felt experience and so, for many, practice begins with the most basic functions of life: movement, respiration and nourishment.
In Yoga, consciousness enters and merges with movement into prescribed exercises, the asanas. The body moes toward a balance of relaxation and alertness. Consciousness enters and merges into the inhalation, retention, and exhalation of the breath in pranayama. We move toward understanding that something greater than ‘air’ constantly flows through us. Consciousness enters into the choice and quantity of food we eat. We move toward nourishment as the source of invigoration, not satiety.”