[FoRK] Capitalism, Contracts and Cronyism

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Aug 27 10:14:48 PDT 2008

Jeff Bone wrote:
> On Aug 27, 2008, at 11:23 AM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> Jeff Bone wrote:
>>> On Aug 27, 2008, at 1:01 AM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>>>>> What kind of data sets do you test these theories on?
>>> The real world?  (It's difficult to test predictions any other way. ;-)
>> And how many Great Depressions have you successfully predicted so far?
> "These theories" in general have not been predictions about Great 
> Depressions.  I find it odd that you think that the *only* qualifying 
> previous prediction for future predictions of Great Depressions would 
> be previously successful predictions of Great Depressions.  Or, 
> abstractly, "I'll only believe your prediction of X if you've 
> previously successfully predicted X."
I have little basis for assigning probability of correctness of the 
suggested probabilities.  There are many possible forces and actions 
that would be triggered when passing various tipping points that I 
cannot accurately factor in for myself, and many that I cannot even 
guess at.  If you can account for all of those factors with some 
certainty, great, but I you'll have to show your work to be considered 
too seriously.  It's useful to know you think there's 10-20% probability 
of disaster, but not too useful.
> Rather ridiculous, especially with regards to high-risk events;  
> that's would be like completely ignoring NASA's prediction of a 
> low-probability but high-damage asteroid collision because they have 
> not successfully predicted any previous asteroid collisions.
Those are vastly different realms in terms of complexity of interaction, 
math, theory, etc.  It is pretty easy, after you have collected a lot of 
observations of asteroids, to compute the probability of paths through a 
given area of space over time.  It's all relatively simple Newtonian 
physics and error estimation.

In human systems, every single human can create a butterfly effect or 
even give rise, through their genius or corruption, to massive changes 
to the dynamic.  We have only to make a few decisions to completely 
change the equation's balance, even with what we know now, let alone all 
of the world-changing discoveries lurking just out of reach so far.  The 
better way to play the system I think is to invest in and look for those 
advances and try to help them out to reach their possible viability.

While it is pretty easy to assume that the current administration isn't 
going to rock certain boats, like their friends and family in the oil 
business, I certainly don't want more of the same just to make my 
calculations of the future easier.  Being afraid of change because it is 
change is a purely conservative sentiment.  In my observation, change is 
going to happen.  Engineered change tends to be good, passive change 
tends to be bad.

> jb

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