Re: (OPE-L) Dismal Science

From: Ian Wright (ian_paul_wright@HOTMAIL.COM)
Date: Mon Jan 05 2004 - 18:27:41 EST

Hello Jerry,

>How would you distinguish your own efforts from that of  Mark Buchanan?

I'm afraid I haven't read this author. Do you think I should?

Phil wrote:

>but the sheer difficulty of escaping from the 'game' does seem to merit the
>word 'dismal'.

I wondered what Phil was getting at, but my general reaction is that I don't
think it dismal to try to come to an understanding of objective necessity.
Once the conditions for that necessity are understood they may be changed.
Freedom is the recognition of necessity -- or it's best to know how things
work if you want to muck about with them. So for example, the econophysics
paper Phil cited could be interpreted as an argument that given certain
quite general market conditions then necessarily a power-law of incomes
emerges. Isn't this useful to know? In general I like very much the
econophysics literature I have encountered, apart from the obsession with
financial markets and a certain social naivete. In general, these
researchers are concerned with explaining actual economic data, and they
don't make all those bonkers rational actor assumptions, with everyone
maximising something or other in computationally intractable ways. My
opinion is that it represents some progress.


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