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Post 0

Wednesday, June 6 - 9:28pmSanction this postReply
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According to Scott Walker's TV commercial, Wisconsin gained just over 23,000 jobs in 2011 and another 10,000 jobs in 2012 (so far), for a total of just over 33,000 jobs gained -- but how many were lost during that time frame? Apparently, enough to make unemployment fall 0.8% (in absolute terms).

Ed

p.s. Fred says that there isn't one "economy" (and that much woe comes from us thinking that there is), and I'm sure everyone here would say that politicians don't create jobs -- but they do have it in their power to get out of the way of job creation (by the private sector). Now, I would say -- contra Fred -- that there isn't one "market" (a market of the economy), but that the word "economy" is perhaps more like what Rand had to say about the word "society" -- it doesn't actually exist as an "it" (it's not a monolithic, metaphysical existent), but we still use the term for heuristic reasons. Unicorns don't exist, but we can still talk about them. The same is true of economy and society. Even if they were fictions, they could be useful fictions. I 'spect Fred'll differ with me on that.

:-)




Post 1

Thursday, June 7 - 5:16pmSanction this postReply
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Along with der cheese in der chedderland, plenty of whine.





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Post 2

Thursday, June 7 - 5:43pmSanction this postReply
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Ed:

We -can- and certainly do think of all of them as in it, but that leads away from understanding them, not towards, IMO.

I think it is a human crutch; when thinking of them as a them makes our head hurt, we make the pain go away by calling them an 'it.' That doesn't help us understand their true nature, it only allows us to fool ourselves by considering a simple model of reality.

Handwaving, by claiming that some of them impact each other and therefore they are all integrated into a singular 'it' is just that; handwaving. It doesn't inform us how they impact each other, it erases the impact and attempts to smoosh them all together into an average depth of the streams not stream 'it.'

Politicians have another reason for referring to them as an it; would we be more or less convinced that they could actually run 'it' if they referred to them as a them?

Of course the aspiring witch doctor runners of 'it' are not about to refer to it as a them. And so, when they claim to have their hands firmly on the controls of the alternate prodding/flogging air conditioner/heater, we let them drone on about controlling 'the' temperature of our 'the' economy, just like they would gladly do with 'the' temperature in Florida/Alaska if we let them try.

Only... we would readily see that 'the' temperature controlling as foolish to even try, whereas our mental comprehension of the complex systems that are the economies is sufficiently foggy to let us be convinced, more or less, that these buffoons have a prayer of controlling 'it.'

Our politicos have access to nearly unlimited funding and the world's most acclaimed economic minds; is there the first f'n clue that they are controlling something called 'the' economy, or have the slightest concept at all of what they are doing?

If so, then where?

State of the art economists cannot even reach scientific consensus on what already long ago already happened in 'the' economy, long after it happened. It for sure is not a predictive science by the evidence, and one of the many reasons for that, IMO, is the widespread modern political tactic of referring to the economies as 'the economy.'

There was a time, long ago, when the phrase 'the economies' was actually more in vogue, precisely to emphasize their nature. It was purely a political expedient to refer to them as an it.

And as for Durkheim's God "S"ociety, no, I don't believe in 'it' as the highest form of psychic life, the consciousness of all consciousness above and beyond all mere local contingencies that alone can see all from above, without which it would be impossible to mould the minds of individual men and so on. That is pure Dionne Warwick Psychic Network material, straight from Durkheim's eyes rolled into the back of the head confession in his summary of Religious Formes.

Society, from the Latin, socius: ally, companion, as in known associate.

Do you know everybody? Neither do I.


regards,
Fred




Post 3

Thursday, June 7 - 8:14pmSanction this postReply
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Good points, Fred.

But could we refer to them as the set of "economies" (though I still prefer "markets"), to signify that they are all just one class of a thing (i.e., that they are all "places" where uncoerced exchange takes place)?

Ed




Post 4

Friday, June 8 - 6:23amSanction this postReply
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Ed:

We could, and it would certainly emphasize them as you say, but imagine; if adding just that extra 's' is a cultural burden beyond imagination(to be distinguished from the set of imaginations), then what prayer does adding a whole clause have in the scheme of the set of things? When I am jousting at a set of windmills(to be distinguished from 'the' set of windmills), I need to travel lightly.


Besides...is there any lasting impact if I say 'no' to your question? Of course not.

But do we refer to the Great Lakes as 'the set of Great Lakes?'

Do we refer to the Arts as 'the set of Arts?'

Do we refer to the weathers(are you going to let me get away with that?)as the climate? Is there just one climate?

Back in the Stone Age(s), when I was taking some economics at Disneyland as part of my set of humanities requirement(?), they were often and regularly referred to as 'the economies' but that was in the late set of 70s.

Correctly, IMO.

The political totalitarian variant 'the economy' has become dominant since.


regards,
Fred



Post 5

Friday, June 8 - 6:34amSanction this postReply
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Ed:

Markets overlap, and so do economies. But I think of economies as more than just an aggregate of markets; they are also the local tribal rules, incentives, customs, ethics and tax structures that govern them.

There is a thriving black market in drugs; its rules and customs and tax structures overlap and are orthogonal, sometimes to each other, much less the non-criminal economies.

But even the non-criminal economies overlap. This is illustrated to me plainly by the example of my older sister, the lifelong alcoholic. If we share the same markets, rules, incentives, etc., then it is only in the most trivial of ways and means.

Only in the most trivial and meaningless sense can it be said that a 58 year old farmer from Iowa is participating in the same 'the economy' as a 28 year old stock broker from Manhattan or a 38 year old defense contractor from Huntsville, AL. The rules, incentives, customs, ethics and tax structures that govern them are largely unique, and a monopolistic tribal effort to force them all through the same federal mandrel is deeply, fundamentally flawed, except for the decreasing number of those who that benefits, which is not any of the above.

regards,
Fred





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Post 6

Friday, June 8 - 7:20amSanction this postReply
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Ed:


Centuries ago, 'a market' was literally a place where trade occurred. The market. The place where buyer meets seller and value for value takes place.

Today, and long before the internet, 'markets' are more virtual, and we have various flexible forms of 'the marketplace.' Like everything, this has had both advantages and disadvantages. We'd like to think this dispersion of 'the marketplace' has in balance been beneficial, which explains why the trend persists.

I think of economies as a much higher level of abstraction than either markets, the marketplace, or simple aggregates of them in a time or place.

Economies are driven; either by humans with incentive to run up hills and create value, or by whips, or by cold circumstances, the entropic turbulence of the universe, natural disasters, and the collective failure that we call 'war.' If not driven, then economies run only downhill to stasis, death.

The sign of healthy economies is circulation of value for value, and the sign of ethical economies is that circulation based on free association, with no whips or guns or chains in evidence.

Economies circulate value as a result of two human actions, not just one. This is a law of the universe. Creation and consumption under the boundary condition of unavoidable risk in the universe. It is possible to expend more value in creating a new value than is realized by the new value; that is risk. It is also possible to realize a new, more valued value; that is reward/profit.

We attribute magic qualities to collective action. One of the latest, widespread, is the belief that if we massively subsidize spending by boundless credit/borrowing from our kids in the future, realized today by printing words and symbols on paper and throwing them into our economies without any more effort than that, and then let our economies run only downhill, that this will somehow provide incentive for us to run uphill and re-jumpstart circulation of value for value in our economies.

It clearly has done the opposite of its stated intent, and that isn't hard to fathom; its by necessity selective nature has broadly dampened the incentive to take on risk and run uphill, the required engine that drives circulation in our economies.

We take on risk and create first in this universe ... and then, if we profit from our risk and effort, we spend.

The enabling means of spending is intelligently managing risk and creation; not just in a universal cause and effect way, but in an ethical way.

Our financial engineers have a theory that they can short circuit the universe, and drive our economies using nothing more than gravity and the flow of effort yet to be expended in the future running only downhill. In believing this myth, we run our economies only downhill and dig ourselves into an ever deeper ... set of holes.

We have even short circuited Keynes, whose theory had two coherent halves; pay down debt during boom times so that it would be available to borrow from and spend during bust times. Pump up capital reserves during fat times, drain them during bust times.

Our tribal cluster fuck borrows and spends during boom times, and borrows and spends faster during bust times. That is totally insane. We never hear the word 'Keynes' during boom times.

We have profligate public credit fueled spent our way into a cul de sac, and fully half the nation is screaming for yet more during the current sinking lifeboat circling the drain panic.

Even a single man, living on an island alone, provides what every economy must have in order to thrive; effort to run uphill, to take on risk in the universe and realize reward and profit from his expenditure of effort. He may not be collaborating in any economies except for his own-- his personal management of risk/reward and the avoidance of failure in this universe, as it is. His is not a complex social economy, but neither is his one in which he can shed risk onto others as a strategy, or climb up the backs of others, or game the value-proxy market. It is just him and the universe, and the universe always deals the cards from the top.

We don't change that fundamental building block of economies when we take on the universes gradients as a collective. We mutually benefit from specialization and value-proxies and shared experience and knowledge, but as soon as we start gaming risk and shedding it onto others, we are a social cancer, and healthy, ethical economies can only tolerate a fringe of that, not an institutionalization of that.

regards,
Fred










Post 7

Friday, June 8 - 12:45pmSanction this postReply
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Okay, Fred.

I found post 6 most impressive. You made complex things simple. That's cool. Here are examples:

Economies are driven; either by humans with incentive to run up hills and create value, or by whips, or by cold circumstances ... If not driven, then economies run only downhill to stasis, death.
I'm pretty sure that whips eventually (asymptotically) lead to stasis and death, though it may take several "soviet-style 5-year plans" to accomplish that. It apparently took Soviet Russia almost half a century to reach stasis through the use of whips (in order to turn the wheels of an "economy").

The sign of healthy economies is circulation of value for value, and the sign of ethical economies is that circulation based on free association, with no whips ...
Like I said above, I'm pretty sure that only an ethical economy is a healthy one. Now, it might take us half a century to discover that an unethical economy turned out to be an unhealthy one -- but that is the result you will find whenever you look for it (with the appropriate patience). This argument is a priori. It doesn't depend on new information -- it is not altered by new information -- but only a thorough analysis of entities and actions.

Creation and consumption under the boundary condition of unavoidable risk in the universe. It is possible to expend more value in creating a new value than is realized by the new value; that is risk. It is also possible to realize a new, more valued value; that is reward/profit.
What a great synopsis!

We attribute magic qualities to collective action. One of the latest, widespread, is the belief that if we massively subsidize spending by boundless credit/borrowing from our kids in the future, realized today by printing words and symbols on paper and throwing them into our economies ... its by necessity selective nature has broadly dampened the incentive to take on risk and run uphill, the required engine that drives circulation in our economies.
Great point!

We take on risk and create first in this universe ... and then, if we profit from our risk and effort, we spend.
Yip, yip, yip ... uhuh, uhuh, uhuh.

We have even short circuited Keynes, whose theory had two coherent halves; pay down debt during boom times so that it would be available to borrow from and spend during bust times. ... We never hear the word 'Keynes' during boom times.

A key point, noted.

Even a single man, living on an island alone, provides what every economy must have in order to thrive ...  It is just him and the universe, and the universe always deals the cards from the top.

What an excellent way to put it!

We mutually benefit from specialization and value-proxies and shared experience and knowledge, but as soon as we start gaming risk and shedding it onto others, we are a social cancer, and healthy, ethical economies can only tolerate a fringe of that, not an institutionalization of that.
Well said, my good man.

:-)

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 6/08, 12:46pm)




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Post 8

Saturday, June 9 - 8:50amSanction this postReply
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Earlier I said this:
According to Scott Walker's TV commercial, Wisconsin gained just over 23,000 jobs in 2011 and another 10,000 jobs in 2012 (so far), for a total of just over 33,000 jobs gained -- but how many were lost during that time frame? Apparently, enough to make unemployment fall 0.8% (in absolute terms).
I think I have the answer to my question.

Wisconsin employment totals out at about 2.8 million people employed, and there was almost a percentage drop in unemployment (0.8%) from the gaining of a mere 33,000 jobs. If the universe of potential employees in Wisconsin is 3.0 million people, and 2.8 million of those people are actually employed, then that'd make for an unemployment rate of 6.7%, which is what it currently is right now. Now -- with 3 million potential employees -- to have gotten about a percentage drop in the unemployment rate (one that got you from 7.5 to 6.7), how many jobs must there have been at an unemployment of 7.5% (back in April of 2011)? The answer is 2,775,000 --which is 25,000 jobs less than what you started with.

That means that the numbers Scott Walker gives must be net numbers, net jobs gained after fully accounting for all jobs lost in the process. So, in absolute terms -- in 2011 in Wisconsin -- there must have been 44,000 jobs created, to go along with the the 21,000 jobs that were lost, for a net jobs gain of 23,000 jobs (which corresponds to a drop in unemployment of about 0.55%). The 10,000 jobs created in 2012 (so far) simply made up for the difference, bringing the unemployment rate down by a full 0.8%.

So the woman in the video -- the one who said that the number of jobs created does not take into account the number of jobs lost -- was lying (or simply did not know what it is that she was talking about). She thought that the advertised number of jobs gained was the absolute number of jobs gained which, when you subtract away the jobs that were lost, drops substantially (in order to get the number of net jobs gained). But, whether intentionally or not (whether lying or merely misinformed), she was wrong about that.

:-)

Ed



Post 9

Saturday, June 9 - 10:53amSanction this postReply
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Ed:

I'm not arguing with your numbers or logic at all, but making an observation, to point out how confusing the government reporting of unemployment rate can be, and is.

Why hold the 3 million constant for a year? Wisconsin's total population has been growing at 6% per decade(or 0.584%/yr -- below the national average. Ooops-- I grabbed projected numbers, didn't notice they were projected numbers.)

Growth alone in population is adding some number like 17,500/yr to that 3 million of people who will want to work. Just to keep the same 6.7% at 3M and 6.7% at 3.017M, Wisconsin alone needs to add about 16,300 jobs at 3.017M.

And of course, where the government reporting goes wild with the eraser is in the definition of 'people who want to work.'


regards,
Fred



(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 6/09, 11:03am)




Post 10

Saturday, June 9 - 11:36amSanction this postReply
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Good point, Fred.

My primary concern with this blog is to provide an empirico-philosophical response to the outbursts of public-sector-union zealots. There are people in our country who believe that one of the moral/political answers to the problem of us humans living on earth is public sector unions. Now this is tragic. Even FDR realized that public sector unions are a potential cancer for society. As far as I can tell, he even disallowed their formation. So, we've got these folks that believe that a cancer is what's going to heal us -- people who can and (if unopposed) will destroy our country (what Bill Whittle refers to -- in his libertarian "Firewall" videos -- as pampered, elitist, clueless, opinion-shapers). What do we do about them? That is the purpose of this blog thread.

The answer is that we expose them -- we shine public light on their follied thinking, on their ill-gotten conclusions, on their absurd reasoning, and -- perhaps most importantly -- on their dissembling communication style. By exposing how thoroughly wrong it is to argue that the jobs gained in Wisconsin do not account for the jobs lost in Wisconsin, I have -- at least in my 'mind's eye' -- made one small step for mankind ...

Fight with me, my Brother, in this battle-of-all-battles. For we fight on the side of truth and justice ... and we will prevail!

:-)

Ed

p.s., And thanks for the constructive criticism. You have a great point and it actually adds to -- rather than detracts from -- my argument against the PSUZ's (public sector union zealots).
(Edited by Ed Thompson on 6/09, 11:39am)




Post 11

Saturday, June 9 - 4:14pmSanction this postReply
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Fred, I agree wholeheartedly and enthusiastically with Ed on his assessment of your post number 6. That level of abstraction done with that degree of clarity is rarely seen!



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