economy viscosity

Dave Long dl at
Tue Sep 16 13:47:00 PDT 2003

> A healthy economy is one with low resource and capital viscosity,
> but a vibrant low viscosity economy also means that people with a
> lot of money have to work a lot harder to keep it.

I realize what you're saying, but to
be pedantic:

1. as viscosity decreases, Reynolds
number increases, and so turbulence
appears.  Now, I'm in favor of some*
turbulence in the economy, but it's
clear one doesn't want too much: the
economy where all the resources in a
period go to a single random person
is as bad as the economy where all
the resources are distributed just
as they were in the previous period.

2. in a low viscosity environment,
such as those airplanes face, it is
possible to move oneself forward by
pushing large masses backward.  In
a high viscosity environment, such
as those microbes face, that isn't
an option, and one must instead find
a cycle of conformations which trace
a loop in phase space to provide the
desired translation.

In general, I would much rather not
have economic actors go for the con
job of moving forward by shuffling
externalities onto many others, for
they ought to be able to find loops
in the phase space of develop-sell-
deliver-collect which integrate to
a positive value.


:: :: ::

* think about this from a growth
perspective: one can usually get a
higher average growth by taking on
more risk, but this process tends
to concentrate most of the return
into a few periods, so if one does
not want to (or can't) risk a long
run of lower growth it's best not
to take on an excess.

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