We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Failure of Economics as a Science

Economics takes a wrong investigative direction. It misses the point by measuring results of ever changing policy of world's elites instead of looking at the real problem of dividing power and resources between 7 billion individual mammals.

Perhaps the most ridiculous and rather insulting concept that has risen in the modern post-religious world is one of "laws of economics". In the future, people will look back with amazement that a concept belonging in the same category of fiction as "divine right", "natural law", or "inalienable right" has managed to survive for as long as it did. Of course just like these previous illusions, this silly study of man made artificial constructs (and the resulting records and snapshots in time of these faith based constructs that are always in flux) is only "relevant" because the constructs are backed by guns, bomber planes, and thermonuclear rockets. The "experts" in these matters only hold power in so far that the giant monopoly game that is 21st century international capitalism is "strictly" adhered to by most of the global force centers (monopolies on violence that are strong states).

This "strict" adherence (to an international elite consensus on how to allocate material resources acquired through force) is not logically possible since the strong individuals who make the rules always modify and change them at will. Thus, even the concept of world's elites playing by their own rules is an impossible fiction since strict adherence is a joke. Yet, for some reason billions of people think that the experts in economics (a playground sandbox that makes an even poorer job trying to be a "real" science than sociology does) have more validity than experts on feudal slave economics hundreds of years ago.

Yes, there were always people who spent years studying symptoms of arbitrary decisions made by elites. They studied serfdom and how the papal state theocracy allocates resources. They studied dynamics of slave trade. When decades of an individual human are spent memorizing and recording the effects of social policy, the human is tempted to make the results of the study into universal eternal law. Thus we have seen academics defending for centuries theocratic/feudal/absolute monarchist slavery as an efficient natural way of allocating materials and human beings. Notice how humans are considered "resources" now just as they were in ancient Egypt.

Even today, it is tempting to think that all the world's conflicts and problems can be boiled down to disagreements on how to allocate material "scarce" resources. It is tempting to side with elites and use supercomputers and fancy graphs to find ever better more efficient way to allocate commodities and human labor. However, human beings and natural resources are not just sitting there in a petri dish to be studied and efficiently allocated. Human beings are actively trying to expand their personal power by creating new rules of the game to trick others into playing by the new rules. The study of economics is the study of an inflatable tent placed on ever shifting sand dunes. All the world's social problems and conflicts occur due to eternal and fluid power struggles between numerous mammals trying to get an edge over other mammals any way they can. We see the strong societies make rules and forcing weak societies to play by them while not following the rules themselves. This indicates that when world's elites get cornered by the rules of their own making, they will attempt to change or get rid of the game altogether.

Economics, besides not being even close to a real science like chemistry (although of course chemistry also studies patterns in shifting sand dunes and crude shapes produced by energy flow), doesn't even focus in the right direction. Only study of power dynamics between individuals combined with biology can begin to provide ideas on what arrangement can give us desired social results.

Here's a visual illustration of the difficulties we're facing. Right now all the world's people are like little spheres of power in a closed container (lets visualize it as cylindrical container for clarity). These spheres shrink and expand based on how much power an individual attains in society due to external and internal variables. The larger the sphere is, the more it rises to the top while the smaller ones sink to the bottom. Of course while the bottom of the container is full of billions of tiny spheres (those mammals making less than a dollar a day) the surface of the pile has a few thousand large spheres rubbing against each other (mammals that are economic, military, and political elites). Most individuals are biologically predisposed to try to become master over the entire world (subconsciously and consciously) by increasing personal power in all directions since it increases their chances of survival and reproduction. Most would not mind being in charge of everything, being the only sphere on the surface of the pile plugging the cylinder and preventing any from even sharing the same level as itself.

It becomes evident that the real question to resolve is one of scarcity of power. The task of economics (looking at world's elites playing monopoly table game with real human lives and constantly making rules up as they go along) to predict anything having to do with reality is a futile and silly one. People should drive these economists (modern day charlatans, useless snake oil salesmen, and king's courtiers) out of town and look towards scientists, doctors, and psychologists for solutions on how to divide power amongst humanity.

usury never changes

Throughout history, in most major civilization and religions, usury was frowned upon and often prohibited. Money changing artists and parasitic middlemen never contributed anything useful. Over thousands of years humans learned the hard way over and over again to prohibit "interest". The trade behind new world colonial expansion could never begin to be compared in "realness" to today's financial sector. The ancient world built awe inspiring mass infrastructure without links of middlemen and their material overhead. The world of the future will do so again. Now that money stopped being tangible rare items like gold and became just a fiction perpetuated by cultural inertia and charlatan salesmen, new prohibitions are needed on behavior that collapses civilization.

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