Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id QAA07848 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Sun, 17 Dec 2000 16:30:59 GMT Message-Id: <200012171630.QAA07848@alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk> Errors-To: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com To: CAMREC list members <firstname.lastname@example.org> From: the Campaign for Real Economics <email@example.com> Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2000 08:28:14 -0800 (PST) Subject: Re: CAMREC: Egalitarianism in a world of power-law distributions
Ok, and on it goes... (not that I am not enjoying
Allow me little remark on an older topic:
You mentioned that economists decided to refer the
decison about the goals of society to
This is where economics is loosing its credibility,
because economists tend to be pretty good at framing
their statements in such a way as to control the
outcome the process...remember the statement about
politicians and defunct economists?
So if economists want to become scientists they have
to actually get rid of their impartiality assumption,
get involved and face reality. Seems like economists
discovered consulting before those guys in suits did
But consultants are yielding to that criticism by
To answer your questions:
> >could also form pretty strong convictions about sth
> >like an attractor where the issue would end up in
> >end... which sometimes was not too much off the
> What is this 'sth' attractor.
Good question. I don#t have a good term for it, so I
used a concept from dynamical systems theory and
fuzzified it, thats all. There is a political
scientist at Harvard dealing with political processes
in this framework...
> It is pretty common to describe Adam Smith as a
Ask F. List about this! But he focuses in his
criticism maybe too much on the theory and not the
problems and how to deal with them of Smith's approach
(as a lot of other economists do for the application
of Smith's ideas) - but I am only very faintly
acquainted with both positions, so please dont nail me
on these statements. I know, its a shame for an
economist, but then most curricula dont give enough
room for history of thought in economics and
> identified several problems and advocates a reform
> program. The reform
> program is largely based on assumptions about the
> value of egalitarianism.
Could you explain that?
What about the historic context of such a position,
and is it still valid? Or only applicable in a world
of highly educated knowledge workers, or maybe even
only in a world of economists subscribing to a certain
worldview? - Have a look at Charles Ferguson's High
Stakes, No Prisoners - it describes the dilemma of an
strategically schooled economist in a world of
So, if you show the "social value" of
heterogeneity/differences in economic actors and that
these differences need to associated with inequality
then A Smith would be "dead" wrt this issue?
What I was sometimes reminded of in this mail exchange
was - probably not surprising with my German
background- the concept of Soziale Marktwirtschaft.
But here inequality is associated with the working of
the market process. people don't have perfect
foresight or knowledge, so you (as statesman) have to
protect them via law/setting the rules of the game -
which is arguably a patriacharic position in its root.
Additionally you have to redistribute some of the
proceeds of the successful to the losers of the game
for humanitarian reasons, or if you want to buy their
> Though economist like to think of themselves as
> something like 'engineers'
> trying to keep the 'train' of state on track, their
> energy comes from the
> reform agenda, not the science (if there is any).
Does it? Seems like I have never been educated to be a
real economist (bad schooling?)or maybe I ditched some
of the important things in favour of some
non-economist topics, or it's just a cultural
difference thing: Anglosaxon vs. German (continental?)
> For econophysics to get out of the banks and mutual
> funds where it help a
> minority, it would have to link into this reform
OK, I finally get behind the motivation for your
question. Why should econophysics want to save the
world? People are usually very good at messing up
their lives anyway...so if they don't like to be
helped, it makes a lot of sense to just make money for
yourself and have a good life (if thats your
definition of "good life", and if not, it still helps
a lot). You could rephrase this statement also in more
idealistic terms as: it is better to start cleanning
up in front of your own door than to tell your
neighbor how to do it (which would be in line with A.
Smith explanation of the working of a market process
(society?) as driven by appeal other peoples'
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