What are the problems with modern economics?

Discussion in 'Economy' started by william the wie, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    I was starting to reply to the Hazlet thread and realized my post would be thread hijacking so I started this thread.

    "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins pointed out in 1976 that all living things including humans act to maximize the number of their great-grandchildren.

    "Generations" by Strauss & Howe (1991) using USG data demonstrated that this drive for great grandchildren creates a four generation cycle in humans with great economic and political impact.

    Adam Smith in 1776 pointed out the human drive for ever more specialized labor as a pack/team species aids productivity. This also ties into breeding as in all members of rock bands, football teams and companies enjoy at least some improvement in mating opportunities as their team does better.

    Economic competition is used by many species including humans to reduce the violence of selection.

    I was wondering how many people find the economic analysis used on the board deeply flawed because it does not include such factors in explanations?
     
  2. Oddball
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    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

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    The problem with modern economics is all the things that people "know" that just ain't so.

    That and economists who treat six billion people as though they're mere charts, graphs and probability formulas.
     
  3. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    Good one. The major reason the US is the best of the worst is that unlike the Far East, FSU and EU is not pushing productivity ahead of reproduction. The BRIC nations are in long run trouble as India and Brazil start making the same mistakes as Russia and China have in the past.
     
  4. sparky
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    sparky VIP Member

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    the 7 deadlies don't necessarily change anywhere on this rock, they're simply catererd to more within some cultures
     
  5. skeptic
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    skeptic BANNED

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    You want to define economics as a purely anthropological study. OK, cool. But lots of other people have differing interests and seek to view economics through various other lenses.

    The main problems with economics are that the economy is a living being, a complex, dynamic, nearly sentient being that is in many ways far more intelligent and evolutionarily advanced than mortal man.

    And mere mortal man faces the same challenges he always faces when studying something orders of magnitude above his own station in the universe: Man is always biased and always imposes his own bias upon that which he observes. Man is never objective, and man is never scientific in his pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

    Man serves Man's pre existing demand for benefits. Truth be damned.

    Life itself is organization. Organization alone accounts for the difference between a living creature and a pile of dirt. The success of Man's cooperative accomplishments is rooted in our ability to create life forms that are the sum of our own innate individual abilities augmented by the additional abilities of our billions strong cooperative effort. We call it advantage of economies of scale, but it is far more than that.

    What sets man and social insects apart from other creatures is the scale of economies we can exploit. And Man is the champion of exploiting economies of scale. We are the champions of socialism, and socialism is what makes man the dominant creature in the history of Earth.

    Economics is just a subset within the realm of Man's socialist expression. The economy is ever and always a social topic. Anthropology being just a lens through which socialism can be viewed. And procreative advantage being just a minor topic within anthropology.

    Without socialism mankind would never have amounted to anything. The crux of all things man made is their social significance toward our social success.

    IOW humans are not about the survival of their own spawn and grandchildren. But about the survival of our species, tribes, nations etc. The family unit is in decline and yet we still thrive. That has been the case for a very long time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  6. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    What are the problems with modern economics?

    The Confederate Conservative Right Wing Republican Party of Teabags.

    That was easy.
     
  7. 8537
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    8537 Senior Member

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    Rarely can I say: I agree with Oddball;)

    On the micro level, if asked whether producers face increasing marginal costs economists say "Of course!"

    While producers say "No". That's just one example.

    On the macro level, we treat nonrenewable resource depletion as GPD-positive. Ask Nauru how that worked out for 'em. We should not count depleting resources at a rate that can not be replicated in future years (eating seed corn) as "income"
     
  8. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    Quite true but there is serious disagreement as to what are truly depleting resources. For example Phosphorus and Helium stocks are getting seriously depleted and they are elements. Oil can be manufactured from coal, Joule seems to be for real but I want to see the cost numbers, the reports on the Bloom box seem to be encouraging as well and may be available in cars relatively soon and just getting away from ethanol will help. But element overuse/depletion is a real problem.
     
  9. skeptic
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    skeptic BANNED

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    elements are seldom destroyed. There is some potential for element shortages, like Uranium, and some examples wherein elements have been abundant because they were provided in fossil fuels. But as a rule elements don't convert to other elements, unless they are radioactive.

    Hydrogen and water are plentiful, but water is definitely on it's way toward becoming scarce, at least clean fresh water is.

    Oil can be made from coal, vegetable matter, carcasses etc. But it is too expensive to pursue in most cases. And coal has as many problems as oil does, maybe more. There is an abundance of heavy sour oil but extracting the mercury, sulphur and lead is costly refinement. These same problems exist with coal. Venezuela and Canada combined have more oil today than Saudi Arabia ever did, but it is heavy sour oil, so it isn't yet practical to refine it.

    Anybody wanna buy a cubic mile of sulphur and heavy metals every year for the next 100 years? What are you willing to pay?

    The bloom box is not an energy source but a kind of battery. It consumes hydrocarbons.

    Food, water, cheap petro products including plastics and energy products as well as strategic minerals like copper, uranium, rare earth minerals, aluminum, nickel, selenium...these are what we will soon realize shortages of. As well as cheap fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing stocks. Nitrogen in particular. The building block of life.

    The eternal shortage economy is gonna be a blast. Like a Soviet era bread shelf on a global scale.
     
  10. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    Once you get past the food, water and oil I agree, the big problem in those three areas is acquisition costs. The elements you mention are a much bigger problem. Eliminating most food waste would make a population of 11 billion quite sustainable all other things being equal. Likewise there is a shortage of water transport and storage but not water as such. With oil and energy it is simply a question of cost.

    However the elements you mention are a grave shortage.
     

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