Sandpit

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

29 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. Ernetine,
    thanks for alerting us to ‘Nida-Rümelin’ (well Ikon, but I read anything you post -:).

    I’d bet if JQ & Nida-Rümelin met, they’d do some type of collaboration. Or JQ would have invited him into “Epistemic & Personal Transformation: Dealing with the Unknowable and Unimaginable” – (to which I still am unable to get results – JQ?)

    EG said – ” and his notion of ‘coherence’ (in math econ people talk about ‘logical consistency’ – same basic idea). It all makes sense to me.”…
    https://johnquiggin.com/2020/10/26/sandpit-166/#comment-229561

    “Nida-Rümelin propounds an approach to practical philosophy based on his theory of “Structural Rationality.” As an alternative to consequentialism, it avoids the dichotomy between moral and extra-moral rationality that is typical in Kantian approaches, and is thus able to integrate a vast complexity of practical reasons that result in coherent practice.” Wikipedia. 

    My question is, to you Ernestine, Ikon and all, does LUCK impinge on, or consequentially remove our concept of  ‘LUCK’? Is luck a catalyst to dicotomies ir expunged – fungible?

    After reading the abstract below of “There is no Moral Luck” By Julian Nida-Rumelin, I thought why not ask Ernestine. Your reply will be a quantum leap from mine. So…

    My reason for asking is I had a jarring effort reading JQ’s conception of luck in; “Inequality and the Pandemic, Part 1: Luck”
    https://johnquiggin.com/2020/09/30/inequality-and-the-pandemic-part-1-luck/

    I want to say something of worth yet I am limited linguistically & my emotional response to some statememts in this piece render a responsed my only as a plea, not as a useful input. I did not post it.

    Eg JQ1… pt1 Luck … “The randomness of economic success implies that concerns about the incentive effects of high taxes on those at the top of the income distribution are misplaced. If the lucky winners in the economic lottery are…”

    JQ2… “that Biden wins the US election, and takes office. While a Trump win would be an object lesson in the importance of luck, it would render any commentary on responses to the pandemic pointless as far as the US is concerned…”
    ****

    There is no Moral Luck
    By Julian Nida-Rumelin

    Archiv für Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie 93 (2):167-177 (2007)

    Abstract
    “Most present day philosophers assume that chance or luck is morally relevant. That it makes a moral difference whether an action of mine has, by chance, good or bad consequences. I will defend the opposing view: There is no moral luck, luck is morally irrelevant.”…
    https://philpapers.org/rec/NIDTIN-2

    Can’t find download without €30.

    Thanks as always.

  2. I assume everyone will drop all objections to immigration provided all new immigrants are required by law to offset all their greenhouse gas emissions. Using current LGC prices this should come to under $100 per person per year for a person without a car. To be on the safe side we can double that to $200 or we could just use a cheaper offset.

    Maybe all the Quiggin Readers should chip in and offset the emissions for a new Australian. Our country is a great little cactus and nothing would make me happier than to welcome another person to it.

  3. Ronald,

    For what possible reason would you support more immigration to the driest continent on earth and a country which has already exceeded the sustainable capacity of the M-D Basin? All of our cities are and farming areas are already at or past the limits of water sustainability.

  4. A typical rather fake accounting proposal coming from your neck of the woods where few migrants go in the first place and a lot less stay for long after using it for a back door access to the east coast.. Many many more extra cars result than in your risible guess, all with consequent exponentially increased ghg emissions due to stalled traffic crush and never enough catch-up on also high emitting concomitant car demands like roadbuilding, cement production, shipping, on and on… Oh, but not in your backyard is it. What the eye don’t see… can be creatively accounted for, shazam, it’s disappeared altogether… and what ever could go wrong?

    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/12/kpmg-propagandists-pump-immigration-creative-accounting/

    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/12/fake-greens-demand-crushed-wages-ruined-environment/

    theconversation.com/bob-brown-is-right-its-time-environmentalists-talked-about-the-population-problem-148347

    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/?s=environment

  5. Ronald,

    You do realize sewerage and wastewater treatment were introduced to prevent disease? A modern city cannot function safely and healthily without them. Glib, throwaway lines like “Australians literally wash their poo down tubes with water” do not obviate the fact that sewerage and wastewater treatment are necessary for city-density living, unless you want to have cholera outbreaks and other epidemics. This indicates that safe, city-density living is predicated on a given minimum water supply level per person for drinking, washing, cooking and sanitation plus all light and heavy industrial uses plus water for the agricultural areas which feed the city. I find it a little hard to tell if you think everything is a joke or if you simply fail to apply your intelligence understand these issues. I make the generous assumption that you do have enough intelligence if you apply it.

    http://blog.placemanagement.org/2020/03/25/the-epidemics-behind-urban-planning1/

  6. I’m just the messenger for… “migration is essential and unstoppable”. And yes, the devil is in the detail if how wendeal with the…

    “World in motion
    Books | From butterflies to humans, migration is essential and unstoppable

    “The acclaimed author of Pandemic and The Fever, she is a veteran investigator of matters of history and science. Here, she turns her lens on two of the greatest challenges our future holds: climate change and migration. The result is a fascinating, sweeping and at times confronting audit of movement and survival — both human and “wild” — through history.

    “Shah’s central thesis is that movement is an inherent, constant and unstoppable feature of life on this planet. Movement isn’t an “anomaly,” an “aberration,” an “exception,” a “catastrophe” or a “violation of the natural order”; it is essential, and provides possibly our best and only chance at surviving the impending effects of a warming earth. It is potentially life-saving, not just for those who move but also for those receiving migrants into their midst.

    “The book’s greatest strength lies in how its stories, human and wild, are juxtaposed and interwoven.”…
    https://insidestory.org.au/world-in-motion/

  7. For humans, nomad-ism and migration were central to human existence in the hunter-gatherer period. Since the advent of civilization, sedentary-ism has been the standard mode of human existence. This is because huge cities cannot pick up and move notwithstanding the steampunk cities in the movie, Mortal Engines. There is clearly a migration limit of some sort. Too much migration would be as damaging to overall or net well-being as too little migration.

    The other issue is that migration presumes livable room at the other end. In a filled-to-overflowing world that is no certainty. There will soon be a lot of migration, or attempted migration. Climate migrants will number in the tens if not hundreds of millions. Plain fact, people will try to migrate whether there is reasonable livable space and life supporting space at the destination or not, given they are migrating away from something even worse. Plain fact, the sedentary people being “invaded” or “swamped” will have not just emotional and ideological limits to generosity but real sustainability and sustenance limits.

    There is some limit where the great majority of the existing population will resist further immigration. Open global migration in a full-to-capacity world suffering climate collapse on all continents would be useless to counter-productive: exactly like shuffling deck-chairs on the Titanic. There are practical caveats to all this. If various Pacific Islands start going under the sea, as they will, Australia could and should take the displaced people. However, if 100 million S.E. Asians begin to suffer severe protein shortages when world fisheries collapse (as they will), then Australia cannot realistically take 100 million immigrants, in short order or in total.

  8. KT2, re: World in motion Books | From butterflies to humans, migration is essential and unstoppable

    Spiders not butterflies are the usual first fly-in migrants to new territories. There are likely more migrating spiders in the air chancing it at any given time than butterflies, birds, and the rest all combined. Long spidery legs have a high drag coefficient and if that is not enough for the job spiders evolved silken sails hundreds of millions of years before humans developed paragliders. They may often be seen taking up residence on a boat after flying out to it miles off shore. They may circumnavigate at 700km/hr in jet streams. Within thunderstorms they may have a climb rate as good as a fighter jet. They land and take up home on any newly clean cleared territory, such as after wild fires or volcanic eruptions, and await the arrival of their dinners, the slow food butterflies and such like..

    From your Inside Story link about Shah’s book:

    “The evidentiary bases for these claims are neither articulated nor supported by reference material.”

    It is apparently not uncommon for Shah to be bit of a nong waffling on well out of her depth, eg:

    “In 1860, a small contraption that could radically increase the ratio of energy input to output had been invented: the bicycle. This compact simple machine could make human motion almost four time more powerful, catapulting an hour’s exertion from a three-mile slog into a twelve-mile sojourn.” – Shah Sonia (2004) Crude: The Story of Oil (ISBN 1-58322-625-7), The Eclipse of Coal, Chap 1, p7; NY, Seven Stories Press https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&q=isbn:1583226257

  9. Hi John, I would be very interested in your thoughts on “The ergodicity problem in economics”, which has been making a splash in the international press over the last few weeks. Seems related to your earlier work on lotteries.

  10. Quote of the day.

    “But why do we need politics to deal with this (neoliberal capitalism)? Isn’t politics stultifying, especially socialist politics, which Oscar Wilde once claimed “takes up too many evenings”? Marx and Engels’ answer is: because we cannot end this idiocy individually; because no market can ever emerge that will produce an antidote to this stupidity. Collective, democratic political action is our only chance for freedom and enjoyment. And for this, the long nights seem a small price to pay.” – Yanis Varoufakis.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/apr/20/yanis-varoufakis-marx-crisis-communist-manifesto

    Task of the Day: Everyone look for and read, or re-read, “The Communist Manifesto”. It’s a wet Sunday in half of Australia. What else are you going to do?

  11. @James A colleague just sent me this paper. I reached a leap on logic part of the way through, and need to take a more careful look. My problem is that ergodicity is a property of time series while risk aversion is a property of preferences. It’s not immediately clear to me how the two are linked.

  12. Iko, Australians could have been using waterless toilets for a long time:

    https://www.yourhome.gov.au/water/waterless-toilets

    But they don’t bother because water is cheap. I can pull it out of the national drainage ditch in South Australia for 21 cents a tonne. In Victoria it’s 7 cents a tonne. If we bump it up to 10 cents a tonne and assume an adult uses 150 litres a day for personal use that comes to $5.50 a year. If we charge them a 10% surcharge on to put towards water efficiency projects we’re up to about $100.55 per new Australian resident per year.

  13. One thing I do think is odd — while I’ve heard a lot of anti-immigration sentiment in my time, I’ve never heard of anyone bothering to pay people to leave Australia. Clearly, if we’d be better off with less people that would be the logical course of action. We could also have some sort of national suicide fund with payouts to the estates of people who kill themselves with the amount based on their expected remaining lifespan. I can see a lot of people getting fit and quitting smoking and drinking to maximise their payout. Sure, it won’t directly do them any good, but it could encourage society to become healthier in general. We could have slogans along the lines of, “Knock a few pounds off in case you decide to knock yourself off.”

  14. My position is not anti-immigration sentiment simpliciter. It is a position arguing for a balance of immigration, emigration and natural increase/decrease leading to a stable and sustainable population in a given functional state (Australia in our case).

  15. “One thing I do think is odd — while I’ve heard a lot of anti-immigration sentiment in my time, I’ve never heard of anyone bothering to pay people to leave Australia.”

    Select contractors are paid a fortune to imprison and torture each refugee detainee. Detainees are offered cash to go back where they came from, and some in the end are broken and take it.

    During covid the home affairs stats have been plugged into various calculations of the cost of flying home all ~2 million ponzi temp migrant workers, overstayers, spouses, etc, including giving each a bit of cash to be getting on with. It is cheaper than paying Scummo’s JobDestroyer to Quantas and Virgin to remain grounded, Cheaper than the proposed institutional payments and government subsidy, and quarantine costs for resuming the ponzi international student scam. It seems it would only take a couple of months of regular flights to complete. This doesn’t take into account the tremendous ongoing costs to the country of not doing it. Opportunity costs writ large.

  16. Svante, not too many bloggers ala JQ provide: “”A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.”. Lucky us.

    Use it or lose it.

    If you do manage a reply from Jonathan Kearsley, and get metadata from ASIO re 10:28:59, and original piece of paper with 3x forensics experts on ‘paper crumpled after 10:29:00 –
    I’m all ears.
    Otherwise it is a ‘c’ theory. We need skeptics, but without verification of data, it is the sandpit.

    I appreciate you dumping on that link I posted without bothering to check. It was a concept to me, not a biology thesis. Keep at it.

    Yet 10 links and 20 questions and a thread derail do not constitute censorship. Imho.

  17. The world COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen. The USA, UK, Europe and other countries like India continue to plunge into the abyss with overwhelmed hospital systems. A new “70% more contagious” mutation of the COVID-19 pathogen has arisen in England. It is unknown yet whether just released vaccines will protect against it. They might or might not. Meanwhile, we have an outbreak in the Greater Sydney area threatening to go rogue at the worst time of year when so many are traveling, frivolously and needlessly I might add.

    Even Australia continues to take this pandemic far too lightly. The year 2021 is going to be far worse than 2020, even if the existing vaccines prove safe and effective. It is going to take a long time to roll them out to the level of 2 doses each to 80% of the Western population let alone to the global population. Then there is the real possibility of immunity fading within as little as 6 months and of new mutated strains arising for which the current vaccines will provide little of no protection.

    There are really so many things which can go wrong that people ought to mentally reconcile themselves to the high probability of a crisis of the duration of 5 years at least. If it turns out better than that, then well and good, but the mental attitude has to that of a nation and nations fighting a war of attrition of many years duration.

    Right now, all states in Australia should be implemeningt a state borders lock-down as hard as W.A.s and committing to maintaining that lock-down for one year, NO exceptions, even if the virus appears to have completely disappeared in Australia. We still have semi-porous international borders. Flight crews and returning Australians are still coming in. This is a constant danger and can only be counter-acted better quarantine measures AND hard state borders. We need to be building purpose-built quarantine facilities. Hotel quarantine is a bad joke. These quarantine facilities will be needed indefinitely from now on as the global zoonotic disease crisis escalates as it inevitably will. We have crossed the ecological boundary leading to a high probability of multiple, runaway pandemics. This is the opinion of some of the world’s most preeminent disease and pandemic experts.

    People who argue against continued stringent measures are essentially arguing for the almost inevitable breakout in Australia which will occur resulting in a breakout killing tens of thousands of Australians, at least. We ought not show inordinate faith in new vaccines as yet untested properly in the full field of action. We must not become complacent. The worst dangers are still ahead. 2021 will be a very challenging and difficult year. This is no time to relax vigilance or resile from the sternest of measures.

  18. Ikonoclast,
    You state: “People who argue against continued stringent measures are essentially arguing for the almost inevitable breakout in Australia…”

    We only need to look at what is happening in the USA and Europe to see how quickly things can get out of control.

    The vaccines have not yet demonstrated that they can prevent transmission:

    “As there’s still uncertainty about whether the world’s approved vaccines stop COVID-19 transmission entirely, it’s likely that partial border restrictions and quarantine will still be around for quite some time.”
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-13/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccines-russia-china-pfizer-borders-travel/12969604

    In the YouTube video below, titled “Covid 19 and American Collective Insanity:”, duration 1:35:26, Prof. Jerry Kroth, a psychologist, explains how delusion, denial, projection, splitting and other forms of psychopathology are interfering with a rational and sane approach to this pandemic.

  19. The virus situation sure sucks in so many ways. As bad as we are doing in Europe – with wide variations among nations, the jokers that said you can’t blame Trump because Europe is doing worse got no leg to stand on left either. At some point, usually two months after any layperson that makes some effort to look into it can see immediate severe measures are necessary, most nations here are doing something more serious after all. Wait another 2 month and most of the US is still doing nothing.

  20. Some Australian experts say the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is “years away”.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-21/australian-scientists-leading-our-covid19-response-look-to-2021/12988828

    If one has paid attention to the science, this was already getting obvious in the last few months.

    One of the experts quoted, Raina MacIntyre, has been a no-nonsense public voice of reason, sanity and hard truths on COVID-19 since she first appeared on TV. One her quoted remarks caught my eye.

    “To see the most scientifically advanced and wealthiest country in the world [the US] fail catastrophically in pandemic control is a shock, it still is a shock. They didn’t have the leadership and the coordination. The science was silenced.” – Raina MacIntyre.

    Her last two sentences are wholly correct. The first sentence contains the type of unexamined assumptions that we are all likely to make in verbal statements if we are not very careful. The fact that the US failed illustrates it is NOT “the most scientifically advanced and wealthiest country in the world.”
    Advanced is as advanced does. If a nation does not act advanced under pressure, under a challenge, it is not advanced as evinced by the real empirical outcome.

    Neither is the US truly wealthy. It is not wealthy in scientific literacy in the general population. It is not wealthy in wisdom. It is not wealthy in compassion. It is not wealthy in equality. It is not wealthy in functional infrastructure. it is not wealthy in its medical system. It is not wealthy in selflessness and cooperation. In all these ways the USA is grotesquely malformed and maladaptive as a society. Can it heal and completely reform itself? The world desperately needs that to happen.

  21. Ikon, merry Christmas. This is meant to assist, apologies if it grates against pure ontolgy. And it is a hard ask for anyone to have “economics reforms its ontology”. Start with epistemology maybe?^3.

    Re your post “1. ONTOLOGY MATTERS” https://johnquiggin.com/2020/12/21/the-21st-century-economy/#comment-232051
     … you say:
    “The issues J.Q. raises cannot be understood correctly until economics reforms its ontology. “… “Again, I will throw down the gantlet. Will anyone here seriously discuss the ontology of conventional economics? On past experience, I think not.”…
    – Never say never.

    …”This topic is entirely avoided by conventional economists who do not want to have the ontological foundations of their discipline questioned.”…
    – Probably relatively true!

    “My prediction is that once again nobody will pick up this gauntlet and seriously debate this topic in a Sandpit or in a post set up expressly for the purpose.”
    – Never say never.

    Best I can do Ikon is… as you are now ‘throwing down the gauntlet’ to JQ re ontology, you may imho, use an orthodox [ex McKinsy] turned academic economist writing about ontology, and then write something re ontology, but NOT using the word ontology. Tricky, yet I have confidence in your writing abilities. And I would be exceptionally impressed if you get JQ to bite on ontology via topology.

    Maybe substituting topological concepts for ontological concepts, as ^2. provides a “Topological metaphysics: relating point-set topology and locale theory”.
    (‘Niche’ theory seems to pop up too).

    This paper was written in 2011 “Evolution as computation: integrating self-organization with generalized Darwinism”

    … and Beinhocker in 2020 followed up with
    “Toward a New Ontological Framework for the Economic Good”
    16 Oct 20
    “I argue that the Lima de Miranda and Snower SAGE framework represents not just another “beyond GDP” … under ‘publications’ tab.
    https://www.inet.ox.ac.uk/people/eric-beinhocker/

    2011 article;
    “Evolution as computation: integrating self-organization with generalized Darwinism

    ERIC D. BEINHOCKER

    ….”The paper concludes that information theory may provide a fundamental ontological basis for economic and institutional evolution.”

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-institutional-economics/article/abs/evolution-as-computation-integrating-selforganization-with-generalized-darwinism/302FEC13C065E4EAC0C917529F8902FF
    ****

    “Topological metaphysics: relating point-set topology and locale theory

    ^2. …” How much extra ontological reach does this transformation yield? If the locale has a countable basis, then the point-set topology may have an uncountable point-set (specifically, of the same cardinality as the reals). The continuous can, then, be constructed from the discrete, as the underlying continuous state of affairs that could generate any given possibly-infinite set of discrete observations.”…
    https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/yTvZFzcgt7rGYMxP5/topological-metaphysics-relating-point-set-topology-and
    ****

    And as you has posted Syll refs before, I assume you are already on to:
    Lars P. Syll / Why ontology?
    Why ontology?
    https://heterodox.economicblogs.org/lars-p-syll/2020/syll-ontology

    ^3. And finally Ikon, JQ has done but not released as far as I know,  details of “Epistemic & Personal Transformation:
    Dealing with the Unknowable and Unimaginable”
    If you scroll down you will see a list of speakers JQ organised, which you may approve of, or be inspired by.
    https://economics.uq.edu.au/courses/epistemic-personal-transformation

    Thanks JQ, Ikonoclast and all. This blog is like a lolly shop for me. I’ll grow up soon. Merry happy etc…

  22. Mathematics is no guarantee that conclusions will be correct. Hat tip to Ole Peters’ “ergodicity economics” site for pointing this one out.

    “If we assume a false proposition is true, we can prove anything (ex falso quodlibet)…

    Let’s start with Russell’s proof that 1=0 implies he’s the Pope. Russell said the following.

    False Proposition:

    (Eq.1) 1=0

    Theorem 1: I am the Pope.

    Proof: Add 1 to both sides of (Eq.1): then we have 2 = 1. The set containing just me and the Pope has 2 members. But 2 = 1, so it has only 1 member; therefore, I am the Pope.

    QED.”

    Hat tip to Tony Lawson for this gem:

    “Economists do indeed widely suppose, prior to undertaking any analysis that there is one specific way of proceeding that is appropriate for all occasions … This is to employ methods of mathematical modelling …

    The discipline has failed to provide significant insight for the last 60 years or more … This persistent failure is indeed to a very large extent the result of sustained ontological neglect.” – Tony Lawson

    Hat tip to Lars Syll himself for all this:

    “The kinds of laws and relations that economics has established, are laws and relations about entities in models that presuppose causal mechanisms being atomistic and additive. When causal mechanisms operate in the real world they only do it in ever-changing and unstable combinations where the whole is more than a mechanical sum of parts. If economic regularities obtain they do it (as a rule) only because we engineered them for that purpose. Outside man-made “nomological machines” they are rare, or even non-existent. Unfortunately that also makes most of the achievements of contemporary economic theoretical modelling — rather useless.

    When mainstream economists think that they can rigorously deduce the aggregate effects of (representative) actors with their reductionist microfoundational methodology, they have to put a blind eye on the emergent properties that characterise all open social systems – including the economic system. The interaction between animal spirits, trust, confidence, institutions etc., cannot be deduced or reduced to a question answerable on the individual level. Macroeconomic structures and phenomena have to be analysed also on their own terms.

    Mainstream macromodels describe imaginary worlds using a combination of formal sign systems such as mathematics and ordinary language. The descriptions made are extremely thin and to a large degree disconnected to the specific contexts of the targeted system than one (usually) wants to (partially) represent. This is not by chance. These closed formalistic-mathematical theories and models are constructed for the purpose of being able to deliver purportedly rigorous deductions that may somehow by be exportable to the target system. By analysing a few causal factors in their “macroeconomic laboratories” they hope they can perform “thought experiments” and observe how these factors operate on their own and without impediments or confounders.

    Unfortunately, this is not so. The reason for this is — as underlined by Lawson — that economic causes never act in a socio-economic vacuum. Causes have to be set in a contextual structure to be able to operate. This structure has to take some form or other, but instead of incorporating structures that are true to the target system, the settings made in these macroeconomic models are rather based on formalistic mathematical tractability. In the models they appear as unrealistic assumptions, usually playing a decisive role in getting the deductive machinery deliver “precise” and “rigorous” results. This, of course, makes exporting to real-world target systems problematic, since these models — as part of a deductivist covering-law tradition in economics — are thought to deliver general and far-reaching conclusions that are externally valid. But how can we be sure the lessons learned in these theories and models have external validity, when based on highly specific unrealistic assumptions? As a rule, the more specific and concrete the structures, the less generalisable the results. Admitting that we in principle can move from (partial) falsehoods in theories and models to truth in real world target systems does not take us very far, unless a thorough explication of the relation between theory, model and the real world target system is made. If models assume representative actors, rational expectations, market clearing and equilibrium, and we know that real people and markets cannot be expected to obey these assumptions, the warrants for supposing that conclusions or hypothesis of causally relevant mechanisms or regularities can be bridged, are obviously non-justifiable. To have a deductive warrant for things happening in a closed model is no guarantee for them being preserved when applied to the real world.” – Lars Syll.

    I go back to what I said in my post (with some corrections of expression and elisions to make it tighter);

    “What method could we possibly develop to deal with this sort of complexity and uncertainty in the delineation of economic objects? The problem seems insuperable. The first step is to reject the conventional theory surrounding economic objects, posited and accepted by conventional economics, about objects which do not meet the test of empiricism. Fix does this in relation to “value” and its supposed ubiquitous measure, money. Even when one does not know what is right, one can stop accepting and doing what is provably wrong.” – Ikonoclast.

    I think my last sentence sums it up. There is plenty of junk theory in conventional economics which needs to be jettisoned. Indeed, my argument is that we need to abandon conventional economics in its entirety and begin the project again from the ground up, from the ontological ground up. Of course, that won’t happen in the current system. I am whistling in the wind. But what will happen is that the house that economics built (the current real economy) will collapse. When the house it built collapses then it collapses.

    Of the political economy theorists around, the major living figures who understand these matters well are people like John Bellamy Foster (Monthly Review), Bichler and Nitzan (Capital as Power) plus philosophers and social philosophers like Lars Syll and Tony Lawson. There is even a complex systems economic theorist from Queensland University we can mention, John Foster.

    “In this chapter, the goal is to explain why it is essential to conduct all economic
    analysis within a complex (adaptive) systems framework and to show why this
    makes a very significant difference. It is explained what the original purpose of
    constrained optimisation analysis was when it was imported into economics over
    a century ago and why what was a sensible and pragmatic application of logic in
    special circumstances became a general approach to dealing with economic phenomena. It will be argued that acknowledgement that economic systems are both
    complex and adaptive means that we have to begin by viewing them as network
    structures of elements and connections that are, at base, energetically-driven and,
    thus, dissipative in nature. As such, they are subject to the laws of thermodynamics and survive and grow only if energy throughput can be increased. However,
    with economic systems, we have to travel well beyond Ilya Prigogine’s [1945] seminal representation of a complex physiochemical system as a free energy processor
    and even beyond Daniel Brooks and Edward Wiley’s [1985] controversial, but very
    insightful, representation of biological systems as self-organising information processors, relying on a store of knowledge acquired from experience. Sophisticated
    economic systems are different because they actively seek new knowledge that is
    artificially constructed in the human imagination and is not just a by-product of
    experience.” – John Foster, Handbook of the Philosophy of Science. Volume 10: Philosophy of Complex Systems. Volume editor: Cliff Hooker. General editors: Dov M. Gabbay, Paul Thagard and John Woods.

    My own perspective and project is an idiosyncratic and autodidact project to develop “A Unified Ontology of Real and Formal Systems”. Strange to say, I keep coming up independently with analyses which find echoes in certain strands of the academic sciences and philosophies, when I go to check. I will just drop the hint that on ontology based on Priority Monism, Complex Systems Science and Relational Theory is most consistent with emergence and evolution as phenomena. In turn, there is a way to model formal systems as a sub-set of real systems and to postulate that information flows (and hence information theory) could play a role in unifying the whole field. Either that or I am a crank! 😉

    https://economicsfromthetopdown.com/2020/02/05/how-do-you-spot-a-crank/

  23. James Wimberley,

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/south-africa-identifies-new-coronavirus-strain-that-is-causing-a-surge-in-cases

    I already explained that I had conflated two news reports I had seen. I even apologized for that. And I had then posted the Wikipedia link to the South African variant. This apparently was not enough for you. At the same time I did maintain my position of great concern about the global trajectory of the virus and suggest complacency was our true enemy not alarmism, as in the climate change issue also.

    Above I have posted another link to information about the South African 501.V2 Variant.

    Key points are:

    ““We have convened this public briefing today to announce that a variant of the SARS-COV-2 Virus – currently termed 501.V2 Variant – has been identified by our genomics scientists here in South Africa,” Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize tweeted.

    “The evidence that has been collated, therefore, strongly suggests that the current second wave we are experiencing is being driven by this new variant,” Mr Mkhize added.”

    “South African doctors have remarked that more patients are younger, and do not always have other conditions that amplify the virus’ effect, but are nonetheless suffering from more severe forms of COVID-19.”

    These are news reports of course. They are not peer reviewed science in science journals. It is too early for that in relation to the 501.V2 Variant. Nevertheless, anecdotal reports from doctors in the field cannot be summarily dismissed. They are people trained in the scientific discipline of medicine. Indeed, it is reports like that which play a major role in initiating the rounds of investigation which can end up in peer reviewed scientific literature.

    I am not sure why you are pressing this. I conflated two new reports about the UK variant and the Suoth African variant. I acknowledged that and apologized for that. I added a Wikipedia link to my reply in the other thread and this indicated it was the South African variant which was causing concerns for children. You did not appear to notice or acknowledge that link. I have added another link to an SBS report in this post. I now indicate that of course I understand the difference between news reports, Minister of Health statements, doctors anecdotal field reports and finalized and peer reviewed studies.

    You need to understand that Minister of Health statements and doctors’ anecdotal field reports cannot be lightly dismissed. In that respect, this is more than a rumor but less than completed, verified and peer reviewed science. I think we both understand that. You seem to want to hold me to a higher standard than even that in a blog (partly) on current events: to a higher standard than multiple news reports quoting official statements. This is a blog not a scientific journal. Plenty of opinions about possibilities and trends get expressed here.

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