Thursday, February 2, 2012

The ideological errors of capitalism, VIII -- disingenuity

Moral: Wherein we continue the "ideological errors" with another post; ever wonder how economics, in terms of our beans (money), has gone so far awry?

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Did we not just look at illegality or mere stupidity as the motivator for errant-ness?

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There is much to look at, as a whole bunch of theory has been proposed the past century or so. We need to look at that; the idea is to not demean the old masters. That their followers idiotically mis-use great ideas is not a bad reflection on the master. If the master is not here to intervene, then who will? Besides, all of these ideas have a context that ought to be kept in mind.

Take Markov, for instance. His ideas are central to a whole lot of modern (such as, that of the quants) worldviews. He also plays heavily into decision processes in unknown ways which we'll bring out into the light. For one, we can ask: do we need to know how we got to our current dilemma in order to get things corrected and on their way again?

Say what?

Well, the answer would be no, but then yes. For the types of thinking that would say no, we could point to Andrey's ideas and extensions thereof. How many instances do we see now where decisions are made as if we can just cast off what has happened to date?

In fact, the illegal versus stupid thing says that we can use the latter for the bosses, in many cases. As in, stupidity is hard to legislate away (this is not cynicism, by the way). And, in many cases, the notion of 'to err is human' is applied, such as noone goes to jail. But, harming oneself through stupidity is one thing; bringing hard times to the multitudes is another.

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Aside: there have been subtle changes over the times since the 60s. We can talk two things. Take general aviation. I remember the arguments about dropping liability concerns which then opened up the field; have not many more planes been out and about on a daily basis? In fact, some wonder if that area just might be the one open to mis-deed at some point. Take computing. How many have had angst (more, measurable results from failures -- how many zeros after the $1 could one accumulate for all of the business costs related to software failure (no particular company in mind, I might add)?

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Of course, Andrey's take only works for particular decision types where we have information sufficient to build, and maintain, the decision chain. Now, overlaying human characteristics is where one type of issue comes to fore. The quants (mentioned above) bewail that people are not like particles whose states (though they may have unbounded properties) are far easier to handle by system thinking.

Take the modern corporate environment, for example, suppression of individuality is key to success; for all those, except for a favored few. In fact, off-shoring, in many cases, was motivated by the willingness (actually, their suitability for being exploited) of poor workers (in oppressive societies) to be amenable to doing unconscionable amounts of work for little to nothing (yes, Steve, what say you?). This suppression goes to the quick; talk to the top guy, he would love to have mindless automatons who follow orders (actually, they need to adore the guy or gal at the top).

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Economics goes wrong from loving abstraction too much, we have said. So, why is this dis-ingenuous? After all, how else does one get a Nobel?

Well, that love has led to a computational framework as if by necessity; then, that which is considered sufficient to "believe" the results of having this framework has been doctored such that we do not know what is what anymore. Yes, folks. But, we have to ask if it was any better before? Or, to put it another way, has it ever been what it ought to be? Well, no.

In fact, what is the 'it' being referred to here? What we need is a re-look that is constructive from an almost elemental sense. Some posts here have tried to do this, albeit somewhat cursorily (imperatives, knowledge, technology). The trouble is that we can't stop the world (as Buckley would have liked us to do, several times).

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Then, we'll need to show how the basis ought to be people. That is somewhat implied with the emphasis on the consumer (I, II, III) in the basic equation, however we need more (see rank and file).

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Expect more on this theme.

Remarks:

12/15/2012 -- Coase, on the subject.

03/15/2012 -- Okay, might have used incomputability in discussing quants (see post on Alan M. Turing) but stand by the context, the issues, and the need for resolutions. Wake up, quants (you, too, Ben).

02/04/2012 -- This trait adds to the potential fraud power.

Modified: 12/15/2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Illegal or just stupid


Moral: Wherein we look at some modern quandaries.

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Without pointing fingers, one has to ask whether it's the idiots who ascend in our modern society? Oh, let's point a couple. There was a headline that got my attention, today. It's a firm that recently went bankrupt. And, just a few days before, the head guy (extreme over-achiever (ah, don't those types just make you sick - barf, barf, ...?), Senator, Governor, etc. probably an Eagle Scout) was telling people that things were okay.

The talk today was about the size of the missing money. Well, it was more than a billion (1 with 9 zeros following). I didn't read the whole thing (too depressing) but saw someone saying that the actions within this company may not have been illegal but that the head guy definitely was not a good manager.

Say what?

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Wait! There are those who text and drive and who, thereby, create increasing likelihoods of harming someone, perhaps even themselves. I know; these idiots almost run me over every day as I walk on a sidewalk or in a marked crossing. Business is run like this; that, folks, is what we get from the best and brighest?

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We'll forego more than only a few words about this other guy who wants to continue to stiff the savers for another couple years. Gosh. I wonder if he puts on special garb in order to kiss up (worship) that big chimera who plays with him (Sirens).

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Then,we're in an election year that is taking unprecedented steps because of bench decisions the past few years. Like someone said, we'll all hold our noses and vote when it's time.

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So, back to the title. Someone took a big company to task telling management that they could not drive things solely with rules. You need a proper mental outlook for the workers to follow. It's not like you lay down the code and a dumb machine executes these.

A company needs a spirit and some ethical sense (I'll start to use moral as soon as I work out how the secularist think that this ought to go); management is supposed to bring this out; ah, those guys/gals are after their own rewards, is that not so?

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The larger economy has the same issue. Yet, money has become the sole thing of value; all sorts of decisions the past couple of decades have resulted in our current mess almost by definition. Were we all just stupid?

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What was the article from a year ago or so? Oh, yes, we'll dumb ourselves down to make our machines look good. Evidently, this applies, as well, to management and leadership. Yes, leaders seem to have the worse case of lead feet; why is that?

Remarks:

01/20/2013 -- The bad spirit of the thing.

05/11/2012 -- Featuring Jamie.

03/23/2012 -- Ben is doing a series of four lectures on his, and the FED's, role.

03/15/2012 -- Okay, might have used incomputability in discussing quants (see post on Alan M. Turing) but stand by the context, the issues, and the need for resolutions. Wake up, quants (you, too, Ben).

02/03/2012 -- Stockman on Ben.

02/01/2012 -- Their risk officer (the first example, above) said tsk, tsk. He was shown the door. Ah, way to go, Governor!

Modified: 01/20/2013