Home > Uncategorized > What are axiomatizations good for?

What are axiomatizations good for?

from Lars Syll

Axiomatic decision theory was pioneered in the early 20th century by Ramsey (1926) and de Finetti (1931,1937), and achieved remarkable success in shaping economic theory … A remarkable amount of economic research is now centered around axiomatic models of decision …

UnknownWhat have these axiomatizations done for us lately? What have we gained from them? Are they leading to advances in economic analysis, or are they perhaps attracting some of the best minds in the field to deal with difficult problems that are of little import? Why is it the case that in other sciences, such as psychology, biology, and chemistry, such axiomatic work is so rarely found? Are we devoting too much time for axiomatic derivations at the expense of developing theories that fit the data?

This paper addresses these questions … Section 4 provides our response, namely that axiomatic derivations are powerful rhetorical devices …

I. Gilboa​, A. Postlewaite​, L. Samuelson, ​& D. Schmeidler

‘Powerful rhetorical devices’? What an impressive achievement indeed …

Some of us have for years been urging economists to pay attention to the ontological foundations of their assumptions and models. Sad to say, economists have not paid much attention — and so modern economics has become increasingly irrelevant to the understanding of the real world. 

an-inconvenient-truth1Within mainstream economics internal validity is still everything and external validity nothing. Why anyone should be interested in that kind of theories and models is beyond imagination. As long as mainstream economists do not come up with any export-licenses for their theories and models to the real world in which we live, they really should not be surprised if people say that this is not science, but autism!

Studying mathematics and logic is interesting and fun. It sharpens the mind. In pure mathematics and logic , we do not have to worry about external validity. But economics is not pure mathematics or logics. It’s about society. The real world. Forgetting that, economics is really in dire straits.

Mathematical axiomatic systems lead to analytic truths, which do not require empirical verification, since they are true by virtue of definitions and logic. It is a startling discovery of the twentieth century that sufficiently complex axiomatic systems are undecidable and incomplete. That is, the system of theorem and proof can never lead to ALL the true sentences about the system, and ALWAYS contain statements which are undecidable – their truth values cannot be determined by proof techniques. More relevant to our current purpose is that applying an axiomatic hypothetico-deductive system to the real world can only be done by means of a mapping, which creates a model for the axiomatic system. These mappings then lead to assertions about the real world which require empirical verification. These assertions (which are proposed scientific laws) can NEVER be proven in the sense that mathematical theorems can be proven …

hqdefaultMany more arguments can be given to explain the difference between analytic and synthetic truths, which corresponds to the difference between mathematical and scientific truths … The scientific method arose as a rejection of the axiomatic method used by the Greeks for scientific methodology. It was this rejection of axiomatics and logical certainty in favour of empirical and observational approach which led to dramatic progress in science. However, this did involve giving up the certainties of mathematical argumentation and learning to live with the uncertainties of induction. Economists need to do the same – abandon current methodology borrowed from science and develop a new methodology suited for the study of human beings and societies.

Asad Zaman

  1. Frank Salter
    July 14, 2018 at 7:11 am

    I was in agreement until the final two sentences.

    On the first:
    I would suggest that it was the recognition of there being two distinct procedures — first principles analysis based on physical reality and the axioms of mathematics which form their own universe of discourse. Both are inherently valid AND different. First principles analysis can then provide mathematical analyses which are relevant in the real world.

    On the second:
    The invalid current methodology should be abandoned and the scientists’ understanding of the scientific method be applied. I do not believe that requires a new methodology. Accepting that falsification is a major technique, only requires the acceptance that this is how peer review should be carried out.

    An example:
    Neoclassical analysis provides a description of a universe of discourse. Zambelli (2018) has shown that that universe does not correspond to our reality. Neoclassical analysis should be dead and new explanations of reality sought. However, that does not seem to be happening! Yet?!?!

    Zambelli, Stefano (2018). “The aggregate production function is NOT neoclassical”. In: Cambridge Journal of Economics 42, pp. 383–426. doi: 10.1093/cje/bex011.
    eprint: /oup/backfile/content_public/journal/cje/pap/10.1093_cje_bex011/3/bex011.pdf.

  2. Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
    July 14, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Thanks, Lars & Asad, for these useful comments. I am involved with Artificial Intelligence, which generally is the collection of enormous numbers of variables, & measurements on them, the use of standard statistics, & most importantly I believe the use to computers to do computations at incredible speeds. Oversold to those of us who deal with human behavior, I agree with one of our group who call AI “machine learning”–that is, the computer does the best it can to find “solutions” for us while we enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.
    Of course, axiomatization is involved here due to the math & the way coding operates. We have observed & perhaps accurately measured variables, so it appears empirical. Yet lots of variable are subjective, such as “she appeared very distraught at hearing her son had died” . In this narrative perhaps the son had long suffered from mental illness or cancer, so the death might be considered a blessing to most of us in Western culture. In other cultures it is appropriate to beat one’s breast to both relieve personal unhappiness & to communicate to people the depth of personal loss. (Even as an adult I have teared up at the loss of a beloved pet, for example.) Thus the observer is often without adequate information about the culture & specific conditions of death. It is often similar in economic transactions such as buying homes, acquiring vehicles & planning extended trips.
    My point: even with computers & their computations we can not go forward in economics until we deal with the meaning of empirical observations, which at least is a step forward from what we all learned in logic or in foundations of mathematics (at least I did). Lots of work ahead of us to become really relevant, I think.

    • July 14, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      James, What did you learn in the foundations of mathematics? In a related blog I have been referred to https://selfdefinition.org/psychology/Robert-S-De-Ropp-The-Master-Game.pdf , which suggests to me that Whitehead et al have a lot to say of great significance to our age.

      Ropp uses the term ‘formatory thinking’. Much of what some people seem to think is mathematics is actually mathematics corrupted by such thinking, or perhaps mathematics ‘seen through the lens of’ such thinking. If Ropp is right that such thinking is endemic, then the use of mathematics, A.I. or ‘machine learning’ may only drive us to disaster quicker. The solution, it seems to me, it to consult Whitehead et al (including Turing) to expose the folly of formatory thinking.

      My own view is that unless and until such issues are addressed, our social life is without sensible foundations. Not just economics!

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 14, 2018 at 6:23 pm

        Hi, Dave & Helen, my advice to all is not to take all this current insanity too seriously, that is, we accept its seriousness but we cannot be incapacitated. I am reminded of Vietnam where I nearly died many times–and many of my men did pass on. My prayer at such times was something like “Dear Lord, if I should survive this ordeal let my life have some positive meaning to myself & others.” I normally think of the 23rd Psalm at these moments.
        Dave, from Russel/Whitehead I learned set theory. From my Greek philosophy prof I learned about syllogisms. I basically trust my senses, but less so my intuitions. There are various realities, including spiritual, artistic & scientific. Each has different characteristics.
        I know of De Ropp–may have visited his house in Glen Ellen, north of Berkeley where I was based at the time. I immediately think of Eric Berne, founder of transactional analysis & writer of “Games People Play” (1964). Eric was based in San Francisco, so we all were in the social/intellectual ferment of the day.

      • Craig
        July 14, 2018 at 10:17 pm

        It’s funny how ideas take root in one’s mind and just wait for us to re-discover and further integrate them. Re-reading from Part 1 about the various mental games De Ropp enumerates the higher games of art, science, religion and master games, if I may be so bold, I think what I refer to as paradigm perception is the integration of all four of the higher games and which would also be a parallel integrative temporal universe game to the personal master game.

        If Wisdom is the process of integration of ideas, truths and apparent opposites call it the Wisdom Game. Paradigms as I have previously posted by definition are integrative “things” in that they are simultaneously single unitary mental concepts that fit/apply seamlessly within the area of human endeavor/body of knowledge they take place in and yet create an entirely new qualitative pattern as well. It also fits the integrated duality within an integrative thirdness greater oneness formula I’ve floated here several times.

        This is not to lay claim to some terrific genius on my part really, more a combination of flaw, desire for honesty, lucky grouping of intellectual interests, fate/coincidental timing and standing on the shoulders of giants which I would guess parallels the mindsets of most here.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 15, 2018 at 6:37 am

        Hi, Dave, from Principia (Russel/Whitehead) I learned about “primatives”, logical basics of which there are hundreds–often substitutable for one another. Wittengenstein enters the picture with his Tracticus, so there are no easy answers in foundations of mathematics. However, mathematicians continue grinding out their proofs of various conjectures, not very much affected, it seems. Indeed, a part of my Master’s exam in econometrics was writing out the proof for Gauss-Markov, itself dependent on the Central Limit Theorem of which we were not asked to duplicate the proof of validity. This points up that “worker bees” keep doing their assigned jobs whether in forecasting GDP or logical validity, without much concern for the logical underpinnings which we discuss so fervently here.

  3. Craig
    July 14, 2018 at 9:37 am

    We need a Wisdomics, a Gracenomics. Wisdom is the best integration of the practical, the ideal and the ethical….and grace or whatever other wisdom word you want to hang on it is its pinnacle state or systemic condition.

    • July 14, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      I would settle for something logically credible. But I may have a more demanding view of logic than most. (And thanks for the Ropp tip.)

  4. Helen Sakho
    July 14, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    I think right now we should all settle for a small carry on the back of a donkey and detox a bit. Golf is an option, but high heels might be problematic. “Hotel California” is round the corner, and we can (It really does make perfect economic sense: externalities, social costs and benefits, no toxic gases, a bit of cleaning to cleanse our souls and clothes in the pure waters of the North the whole North and nothing but the North.)
    And just to make sure we are not too exhausted from fending off protest (all protests), we can engage in deep Philosophically adjusted exchanges with the grandchildren of the likes of Bobby Sands and other terrorists.
    What say you? Can the wiser and the more mathematically minded colleagues please develop a new economic model, real or imaginary using AI? I would be really grateful.
    I take responsibility for any linguistic mistakes on my part.

  5. July 14, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    And the answer is NCND ― economics after 200+ years of Glomarization
    Comment on Lars Syll on ‘What are axiomatizations good for?’

    Gilboa, Postlewaite, Samuelson, Schmeidler ask: “What have these axiomatizations done for us lately?” Wrong question, of course. The right question economists have to ask themselves is: what have WE done for the proper axiomatization of economics lately.

    Fact is, to begin with, that economic methodologists do not understand to this day what axiomatization is all about. Lars Syll even maintains that is a kind of mental body-building: “Studying mathematics and logic is interesting and fun. It sharpens the mind.”

    It is not at all a surprise, therefore, that economics is a failed science. Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism is mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, and materially/formally inconsistent. As a result, economic policy guidance has NO sound scientific foundations since Adam Smith/Karl Marx.

    This pluralism of provably false theories is pretty strange. How could it happen that economics is still at the proto-scientific level while science has made such incredible advances? The answer is that economics had been captured from the very beginning by political agenda pushers. Agenda pushers, though, have no truck with science except for building Potemkin facades.

    Science is binary true/false and NOTHING in between. Non-science is the swamp between true and false where “nothing is clear and everything is possible” (Keynes). Vagueness/inconclusiveness is what Popper called an immunizing stratagem because: “Another thing I must point out is that you cannot prove a vague theory wrong.” (Feynman) While scientifically this is a bad thing, politically it is a good thing.

    Because economists are not scientists but swamp creatures they see to it that no analysis and no debate ever leaves the swamp. This is achieved by the tried and tested method of Glomarization.#1 For example, to the central question Does a General Economic Equilibrium exists? the answer is: “We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a General Equilibrium.” And so on with NCND for any other question.#2, #3, #4

    Accordingly, if a clear-cut refutations occasionally happens it is simply filibustered away: “In economics we should strive to proceed, wherever we can, exactly according to the standards of the other, more advanced, sciences, where it is not possible, once an issue has been decided, to continue to write about it as if nothing had happened.” (Morgenstern)

    Glomarization is the communicative modus operandi in the political sphere. Science is the exact opposite of the political swamp. Science aims at a clear-cut true/false answer with truth well-defined as material and formal consistency. The methodological tool to achieve this is the axiomatic-deductive method. As Aristotle put it 2000+ years ago: “When the premises are certain, true, and primary, and the conclusion formally follows from them, this is demonstration, and produces scientific knowledge of a thing.” This is why axiomatization is of overriding importance.

    Neither orthodox nor heterodox economists know how to apply the axiomatic-deductive method correctly.#5 This is why their economic policy proposals have no sound scientific foundation. To the question What have economists ever done for their fellow citizens? the clear-cut answer is nothing but vacuous political blather.

    Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

    #1 Wikipedia, Glomar response

    #2 How the representative economist gets it wrong big time

    #3 Economic recommendations out of the swamp between true and false

    #4 Failed economics: The losers’ long list of lame excuses

    #5 For details of the big picture see Axiomatization

  6. July 14, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Lars and Asad, great minds but still groping after all these years… All reasoning starts from assumptions, but in order to be valid in the real world those assumptions require empirical conformation. All economists, as far as I know, assume that the present is complete and we live within our economy. Hence, they come up with assumed points of departure like the accounting identity: Y = C + I, blissfully unaware that accounting itself is based on unprovable assumptions.

    Heterodoxy, as is, requires a shake up that goes beyond following its heroes… Assumptions are required that we are creators of the economic system we make our living in; which purposeful final output we enjoy outside in the real world wherein we live, as added to an exogenous environment of non-economic utilities and pleasures. And that the economic process of our accomplishments is incomplete at any point in time, with non-linear determinants to follow, so that it’s not depictable endogenously in math equations. Forget all those false prophets, the only hero to follow is Sismondi who already came to that same conclusion in 1803! See my website for more

    • July 15, 2018 at 6:27 pm

      John Vertegaal

      You say: “Lars and Asad, great minds but still groping after all these years… All reasoning starts from assumptions, but in order to be valid in the real world, those assumptions require empirical confirmation. All economists, as far as I know, assume that the present is complete and we live within our economy. Hence, they come up with assumed points of departure like the accounting identity: Y=C+I, blissfully unaware that accounting itself is based on unprovable assumptions.”

      Scientific analysis starts with premises and these have to be clearly stated. This is the minimum requirement.#1 Otherwise, things end after a few steps in confusion and blather. This happened with economics in general and this happens every day in the econoblogosphere.

      The current state of economics is that neither Orthodoxy nor Heterodoxy nor Lars Syll nor Asad Zaman nor Craig nor Dave Marsay nor the rest has gotten the foundational concepts profit and income right.#2

      Economists are swampies. Economics is a failed science. All microfounded (Walrasian) and macrofounded (Keynesian) models are provably false. Economists do not know how the economy works. Economics is a cargo cult science. The “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” is a fraud.

      “The moral of the story is simply this: it takes a new theory, and not just the destructive exposure of assumptions or the collection of new facts, to beat an old theory.” (Blaug) Economics needs a paradigm shift and the expulsion of the scientifically incompetent or the “throng of superfluous economists” as Joan Robinson called them.#3

      Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

      #1 United in the social science delusion

      #2 Wikipedia and the promotion of economists’ idiotism (II)

      #3 Joan Robinson and the ‘throng of superfluous economists’

      • Craig
        July 15, 2018 at 11:42 pm

        Macro-economic accounting identities are false/hopelessly inadequate because they do not distinguish between total money and total free and available INDIVIDUAL income, or at the very least economists themselves do not perceive the relevant differences between the two and how to effectively remedy the problems the scarcity of the latter causes.

        Double entry bookkeeping itself is probably one of the most empirically scientific disciplines that man has ever developed, but it takes economic examination and evaluation of its data along with calculus and the significances of its (and any other system’s) temporal universe process of start, change and stop to fully understand it and how to therefore craft policies that will resolve modern economic problems.

        Beyond these essentials, as we’re almost entirely in agreement that a new paradigm is required, one needs to do an historical study of paradigm changes and so decipher their signatures, inevitable structural and overall effects. For instance the ruling paradigm, its most powerful temporal/structural entity and its effects will always replaced and transformed.

        Thus the ruling monetary and economic paradigm of Debt/Burden/Cost Only must be replaced in primacy by Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting, the structural entity of Private Finance/Banking and its money creating powers must give way to a public entity that intelligently, insightfully and ethically is mandated to end the individual monetary scarcity the paradigm enforces and transform it into NOT an equilibrium with total costs/prices, but an abundance ratio of individual incomes to costs/prices. In other words the higher disequilibrium instead of the static, unnatural and un-maintainable stasis which the temporal universe abhors and will not countenance.

      • July 16, 2018 at 11:39 pm

        John Vertegaal, your prospectus for Sismondi sounds somewhat similar to mine, but I can’t find anything on you web site to justify it. In any case, I totally agree “that the economic process of our accomplishments is incomplete at any point in time, with non-linear determinants to follow, so that it’s not depictable endogenously in math equations”. Since Egmont’s model is based on predictive equations, that in itself seems to put us at odds with him.

    • July 16, 2018 at 8:01 am

      “the macroeconomy’s determinant matrix, although still being the inverse of its supply matrix, not only isn’t contemporaneous with the latter, but it is complex and incompatible with fixed-coefficient micro values.”

      Looking forward to reading more

  7. July 16, 2018 at 1:31 am

    I have edited & modified the final sentence of my post to read: Economists must … abandon current methodology borrowed from (a misunderstanding of) scientific methodology — instead of borrowed from science — My post linked above says that a DOUBLE mistake was made in getting to the current disastrous axiomatic methodology in use in economics. The first mistake was a misunderstanding of scientific methodology, while the second was to apply this misconception to the development of a methodology for social science. Incidentally, I have also written about the Godel theorems of Undecidability and Incompleteness referred to indirectly in my post:

    • July 16, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      I agree with the relevance of your references, although not with some of the fine detail of your interpretation.

      I think the point is that no theory in any domain should ever be considered absolutely true, only perhaps ‘true enough for some identified purpose’. Moreover, applications are often to situations that those who developed the theory hadn’t considered, so one should always assess the suitability of any previous theory to your purpose.

      No theory can possible be simply ‘true’, but what we can look for is theories that are being healthily developed, critiqued and maintained (or replaced) within a broad context, and regard such a theory as ‘probably true enough for here and now within the broad context’.

      To answer Helen’s plea: a theory that becomes a dogma is always going to be a bad theory and potentially part of the problem. In terms of logic, a theory must either be of some definite level, or transcendental. If we see economics as involving some kind of competition, then no finite level will do, as players are always at liberty to ‘raise the level of’ the competition. Any final theory must be transcendental, but they are notoriously hard to articulate and – in economics at least – seem unavoidably controversial.

      In terms of the original topic, I think that in areas such as economics axiomatizations are an essential part of making progress, unless you treat them as dogma, in which case they are a road-block to progress.

      So, part of the answer to our economic malaise is, I think, to appreciate what a theory can and cannot provide. Another part is to try to identify some purposes.

      In my view, the narrow focus on ‘growth’ is no longer viable. A focus on sustainability and ‘healthiness’ would seem better. My own view is that we need to be working towards healthier democracies compatible with healthier notions of knowledge and ‘truth’, and that if new make genuine progress on these then I think there reasonable grounds for supposing that progress on economics will follow.

      Given the logic, we obviously need to pay more attention to stats on life expectancy, ‘well being’, education, energy and climate change, with greater emphasis on them being meaningful as against having ‘sophisticate mathematical’ derivations. But no such list can ever be final. (You might add violence, criminality, ‘fake news’ …) But my faith is that we ‘should’ but do our best.

  8. July 17, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Dave Marsay, we seem to agree on a lot of things, and at your July 14, 2018 at 2:03 pm, we agree on the significance of Whitehead et al, not surprisingly since I worked for twenty years in following it up practically in experiments with Algol68R. However, you miss a couple of crucial points when you say “If Ropp is right that such thinking is endemic, then the use of mathematics, A.I. or ‘machine learning’ may only drive us to disaster quicker. The solution, it seems to me, is to consult Whitehead et al (including Turing) to expose the folly of formatory thinking”. Sadly, Ropp is right in saying such thinking is epidemic (Chesterton pointed this out in his “Orthodoxy” of 1908, having indicated the alternative – visual thinking – in his “G F Watts” of 1904) . The folly of mistaking the label on the tin for its contents is well known, yet in practice it may be the best we can do, and therefore essential. Though one can to a degree transcend it in visual thinking, it is essential in communication, for in language meaning is encoded in form.

    Where Whitehead moved on from Russell’s typed logic (elsewhere you mention “transcendentals”), it was because – in light of Einstein et al – he saw it particularly applied to the process of the transmission of energy discovered by Maxwell, whose Gibbsian mathematics has been taken up subconsciously by mainstream economists. Fourier analysis offers analternative formalism, but its circular motion and complex number notation cannot be taken as axiomatic. What can be is the applicability of orthogonal coordinates (right angles being a representation derivable from symmetry), and continuous rotation having to pass through through all of them. This gives us a way of representing time, but not the quantitative linear measure we tend to assume: a topological (elastic) one, true whatever the speed of rotation. A starting point must also be taken as axiomatic, differenting the past, present and future as quarters already completed, being completed or yet to be completed, with the “hours” marking off topologically not the likes of millenia but past eras of evolution.

    What these axioms are good for is enabling us to form the dots in a low-resolution picture of the history of evolution, parts of which applied theorists may “digitally enhance” to give practitioners some idea of what they are looking for, or whether they have found it.

    Given we live in a material world in which splitting atoms releases energy, we may postulate (take as axiomatic) either the universe as we see it or a Big Bang radiating energy in the way Whitehead imagined. In the latter model the limits of time and reality expand as if we were blowing up a balloon (Hubble’s Bubble), and where we live now is on the surface. Where Gibb’s mathematics falls down is that the coordinate system is (as Keynes says, GT p.16) not a Euclidian one but has to enable representation of energy spreading out (i.e. the expansion and evolution of reality in time) or appearing to converge if we look back in time..

    Let us enjoy what Keynes actually wrote:

    “The classical theorists resemble Euclidian geometers in a non-Euclidian world who, discovering that in experience straight lines apparently parallel often meet, rebuke the lines for not keeping straight – as the only remedy for the unfortunate collisions which are occurring. Yet in truth there is no remedy except to throw over the axiom of parallels and to work out a non-Euclidian geometry”.

    • July 18, 2018 at 11:29 am

      I agree with you in so far as:
      “The folly of mistaking the label on the tin for its contents is well known, yet in practice it may be the best we can do, and therefore [- pragmatically – is] essential. Though one can to a degree transcend it in visual thinking, it is essential in communication, for [- pragmatically -] in language meaning is encoded in form.”

      Pragmatism of any kind, like dogmatism, has a potential down-side and hence trade-offs. I was once persuaded that certain powerfully expressed political dogma were an unfortunately essential to the British political process at that time, while agreeing with many of my intellectual interlocutors that they were palpable nonsense and (as Ropp seems to think) potentially leading to many of the disasters which have, in fact, subsequently occurred. The story I have had from those involved in the de-regulation of banking is that as a matter of fact the trade-offs were fully appreciated at the time, the judgement being made that those who took the risks seriously could raise their concerns when the risks were more imminent, and it would be up to future generations to take action. Unfortunately once we had a generation of ‘great moderation’ the concerns of the old guard were dismissed as without foundation, meaning ‘without evidence’ in the sense of contemporary ‘evidence-based thinking’ or what some psychologists regard as ‘rationality’.

      So the question for me is, are there any long-burn issues that are serious enough for us to challenge the status quo of Ropp’s ‘formatory thinking’? Following both world-wars there seems to me to have been a clear view from British leaders that there was, and honest attempts to enlighten us through various cultural, educational and propaganda/’information’ initiatives, similar to those of Shakespeare’s time under similar circumstances (involving religion). I am aware that formative thinkers tend to regard all this as metaphysics, obsfucatory and special pleading. Others recognize it as an essential ingredient of British cultural life but a distraction when it comes to certain ‘practical’ issues, such as economics.

      What I take from Wittgenstein, for example, is that while ideally, “in language meaning is encoded in form”, this is something we should strive for, but we should never be complacent about having achieved it. (I am trying, honest!) You clearly have a different understanding of ‘the sacred texts’. In interpreting Keynes I am guided by those who seem to me to have been most successful in working with him and taking his ideas forward.

      I once spent two years in which most tea-breaks were spent discussing these issues with some of your Algol 68R colleagues, and particularly their implications for national security. I gained a deep respect of their technical understanding of computer science, and we still talk, but it as almost if we live on different planets, with only our mutual interest in the theory to unite us. So I kind of agree with those who claim that ‘sophisticated mathematics’ and ‘tortured logic’ have been a part of our problems, and still are, but I would rather hang on to it and ditch the ‘formative thinking’. At least, I insist on my right to defend myself!

      Thanks for helping to clarify me of some of the issues, as well as reminding of some more innocent times. But if we accept that formative thinking is ‘essential’ and cannot be reformed, how else can we avoid Ropp’s issues? As a mathematician I would like to see a mathematical model of a social systems with realistic challenges (that would seem to require non-formative thinking) where formative axiomatic thinking might reasonably been seen as in the best interests of the both the social actors and their societies as wholes. Ropp seems to think such a thing impossible? If it is possible, even in a toy model, this might hold out some hope of solution in real life. This might be hugely preferably to trying to change the emerging dominant world-view and its ‘rationalities’, as Keynes et al failed to do (as I see it.)

      Thanks for engaging: I’d buy you a beer!

      • July 18, 2018 at 10:35 pm

        Lots interesting in this, but I’ve got myself into answering your question by chancing on ‘the bible’ which might go to answering it, and finding it hard to put down.

        “So the question for me is, are there any long-burn issues that are serious enough for us to challenge the status quo of Ropp’s ‘formatory thinking’?”

        Isobel Briggs Myers’ “Gifts Differing” is about the development of different gifts by practice, and learning to live with the differences by being aware of them and their value, as suggested in the secondary title, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”.

        I’m flattered by your having wanted to look at my web site, because sadly I’ve not acquired the skills necessary to run one. You can however email me via dave at taylor.to if it is possible to get together for that beer!

  9. July 17, 2018 at 11:48 am

    With respect to Asad, it is not that the methods of Greek science didn’t involve empirical observation. The problem was taking for granted that what you see is what you’ve got, though their logic already addressed the problem of cuckolding in family trees. At that time science was about classifying and relating what explorers were discovering. Modern science began with the invention of clocks, telescopes and microscopes and Bacon advocating taking things to bits to see what could not normally be seen: how they worked. The problems began with Hume denying you could take an observer to bits to see how he worked, and his substituting (for logical understanding of what doesn’t work) agreement between observers familiar with what was being observed. That threw out Bacon’s scientific baby with the bathwater, and indeed Shannon’s taking the logic and language of observers to bits, for observers of the humanities, not having understood or even studied it, have agreed only that this does not apply to them.

  10. July 25, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Is there anything axiomatic about constructing an airplane, building a house, or flying to the moon? An ancient Greek “scholar” would answer yes. There’s geometry, trigonometry, logic, etc. The artisans of ancient Greece, and the engineers of today would answer no. They constructed bows and catapults, rockets and houses based on often hard-won data from experience and extrapolation. Many knew nothing of geometry or logic and would have cared even less to learn about them. These engineers and artisans had many “rules of thumb” and equations, but none they couldn’t give up if they proved impractical. It’s been my view for a long time that civilizations are made by these practical persons, not Plato, Pythagoras, Hegel, or Kant.

    • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
      July 25, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      To which, Ken, the Platonists, et. al., might respond that these practical folks had internalized some abstract axioms. One can make a case for Gauss doing this at a tender age when asked in class to spend a lot of time manally adding the integers, 1,….,100. In the end I think it useful (or at least relaxing) for theorists to have some practical activities, like how most easily to mow a large lawn. Einstein liked sailing, fiddling & basic scientific experiments, as I recall reading.

      • July 28, 2018 at 10:02 am

        James, I’m not arguing that scientific “theorists” are all ivory tower folks. I’m arguing that those given the tasks of building and creating artifacts for housing people, transporting people, defending people, feeding people, etc. begin with the problems at hand. For example, how we build shelters, find enough food, move our people from winter to summer residences, etc. Then they look for and test ways to solve these problems. They invent mathematics that helps, create equations and rules of thumb, and test their solutions in practice. Scientists who generally do not undertake this work but are surrounded by it attempt to put the problems and their solutions into frameworks that fit within or can be made to fit within general theories of human actions and the physical world. Scientists are interested in the theories, not the problems or solutions. But the scientists have historically used the problems and solutions, mostly the solutions to populate theories drawn from philosophy, religion, or laboratories. Historically, this constitutes an elite appropriating the ideas and data of non-elites. Not classes in the modern sense, but rather patricians and plebeians as in ancient Rome. There are instances where the direction of arrogation was reversed. But this is the exception, not the rule.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 28, 2018 at 3:28 pm

        Agreed, Ken. I use an engineering example from my current residence in Germany. The addition is largely of sand-blocks, without clay or stones, which are supported by reinforced concrete slabs. Saves perhaps 30% & is appropriate as my 5-floor apartment building was constructed of traditional clay bricks/mortar in 1974. This might be difficult to do in America with it’s earthquake & high wind concerns, but historically should work here. Yet we have global warming & our climate is becoming warmer & so more windy.
        So we have specific engineering solutions to save money, hoping our climate doesn’t change too fast. I have lots of other examples which might upset some people, so I will stop here.
        Can’t we term this “induction by professional example”, showing how the manual arts have played a large role in theorizing? Except current macro?

      • July 29, 2018 at 8:24 am

        Economists are the worst among social scientists. They populate their theories with experiences from certain groups of humans they label as real, while at the same time ignoring
        Experiences from other groups, they label as false or fake. So, how trustworthy are economists? And how useful?

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 29, 2018 at 9:02 am

        Ken, I think of most economists as a priesthood of believers. I see such all the time in my German city, with both monks & nuns appearing from time to time.

      • July 30, 2018 at 6:11 am

        James, that is understood. But some priesthoods are committed to public good and welfare. Economists could be as well, but for their commitment to the dogma of capitalism. Particularly the American version.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 30, 2018 at 6:57 am

        Hi, Ken, examine Catholicism. Priests & nuns do great work among the faithful, but look at the firing of an Ameriacan Cardinal for personal activities many decades ago. In business parlance, he presumably had a favored customer. I see the moral equivalent freqently when well-known economists appear to sell out to powerful special interests. Ethical standards seem increasingly difficult to maintain the higher up the vine one goes, it seems to me.

      • July 31, 2018 at 6:01 am

        Lord Acton agrees, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…”, from a letter to an Anglican bishop. But this is not a cultural absolute. But it is a danger. That’s why there is a tendency in most western cultures to control and counteract this aberration. Right now, American culture is dominated by this aberration and some others.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 31, 2018 at 6:53 am

        Ken, Acton of course knew his society; whether with the wealthy, titled, well-connected, or some combination. Today the massive amount of assets some persons control makes self- control difficult, I expect. However, at least one mega-billionaire has announced he parts from Trump on trade wars & abuse of immigrant families:this Koch brother says he will support candidates of either party on these issues. He has enormous support from other big bucks people, so we will see how this plays out in November. Perhaps these remarks caused Trump to Tweet a few hours ago that he would meet with the Iranian head of government.

      • July 31, 2018 at 7:51 am

        James, begin from the knowledge that people like the Koch brothers are unlike most humans, due to evolution or cultural adaptations. Psychiatrists have lots of names for such differences. The point is the differences occur. Those who have them view themselves as the only normal people. Willing to fight anyone who interferes with the course in life they see as the correct path for all humans. This faith is unrelenting. Those who hold it refuse to acknowledge that it can ever be challenged. There are no other alternatives to it. It is, in a word, truth. This gives them two important advantages over other humans. One, they never have to be concerned with doubt. Second, any action is justified that serves and places the truth in charge of out species.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 31, 2018 at 8:02 am

        Ken, the Kochs, Trumps, Putins, etc are what we have. So how are they replaced except through Democratic processes, which then would try to install acceptable economic systems in most of the world? How to go from Point A to Point B, it seems to me.

      • July 31, 2018 at 9:31 am

        James, few democracies are created democratically. Consider the US for example. If those who wrote the Declaration of Independence and declared the US a separate and for its time a democratic nation had tried to do it democratically they would have failed. First, only about one third of Americans supported the separate nation. Second, King George would have ordered the separate nation crushed and all the “patriots” hanged. Thus, the birth of the American Army, Navy, and diplomatic corp. Not to mention thousands of militiamen. I want no war with Russia over Putin. Nor a civil war over Trump and the Kochs. But then again, we need to consider how to get democracy back. From that perspective some kinds of war may be useful.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 31, 2018 at 9:50 am

        Agreed, Ken, but there are more & less fertile soils for any one of us to enter, or for our tribe to vacate to. I always ask for the optimal step now into an uncertain future.

      • July 31, 2018 at 10:17 am

        James, agree. But I don’t think we can know even after the fact what is optimal. This really is just like the “fog of war.” Humans must make decisions and take actions in the face of unresolvable uncertainty. I think the option of vacating to a new land is off the table. We’re trapped with this land and these actors. What do we want to do with, for, or against them?

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 31, 2018 at 11:57 am

        I have had some harrowing experiences with uncertainty in war & in mountain-climbing. I know the feeling of “the next step may be my last”. Sure, we can only do our best, which one must expect to be sub-optimal, even in terms of one’s values.

      • Craig
        July 30, 2018 at 7:12 am

        Socialism even of the democratic variety: A flawed theory and not the basis for the new paradigm, but that presently in most instances is a better system to live in if you are a human being than finance capitalism.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 30, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        Craig, I guess we agree that capitalism has shown too little regard for the non-winners in the economic game of life. So, logically, what is the flaw in socialism which eliminates it from our consideration? And what then is left the peoples of the world of all religions & cultures?

      • Robert Locke
        July 30, 2018 at 7:55 am

        Socialism has never been understood by Americans. We were brained washed. While an undergraduate, I read Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, in which he mentioned the “fisheyed stare” that people encountered in communist countries, behind which people hid their belief and feelings from the ever intrusive state. I encountered it in the border agents of the DDR, the first time I drove to Berlin. I expected to find it in my wife and her family whenI came to Poland to marry her in 1991. But I FOUND NO FISHEYED STARE in Poland. I asked Vera about it, she just laughed. You find that in Russia and East Germany, but not in Poland. It seems that there were as many varieties of Communism as there were (are) varieties of capitalism, because of the different cultural heritages of “communist” countries. A lot of people in Poland have good memories of “socialism’ (no unemployment, all children accommodated in summer camps, etc.), although they do not yearn for the good old days. For the average person there is a much more realistic evaluation of what has been won or lost, than among American intellectuals.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 30, 2018 at 12:45 pm

        Agreed, Robert, as my wife brought up three sons as a widow under the Soviets. Personally, I meet the Societs in 1988 when we came from Calfornia to run in the Berlin Marathon, knowing the Wall was about to come down. At Checkpoint Charlie my brother-in-law spoke of the wooden Alpin Horn tied to the outside of our vehicle as a “canon”. The East Geman Guards really laughed. We were relieved.
        My current German friends, often raised in/around Berlin, bemoan the signs of economic success carried by many of today’s Germans.

      • Craig
        July 30, 2018 at 4:40 pm

        James, What’s left to us is the genuine third way which rather than being a mere reaction is an integrated/integrative process AKA paradigm change. And that is the flaw in socialism as well. It is a reaction, a mere reform, it is just as elitist as capitalism….and ultimately just as unworkable so long as we do not deal with the current monetary paradigm. Most of the democratic socialist countries are feeling the pinch the same as the capitalist economies are, and would be even worse if they did not have a commodity or a domineering strategy to aid their economies. Germany being probably the best run DS economy in the world still relies upon being an export platform for its stability.

        Finance has become dominating theft. Re-distributive taxation has become soporific and hypnotically manipulative theft. Monetary Gifting insightfully and intelligently implemented is the sword that cuts the Gordian Knot that enables the thirdness greater oneness of the particles of truth in capitalism and socialism.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 30, 2018 at 6:58 pm

        Craig, this concern for finance comes as various firms want to have us use our smart phones instead of credit cards to charge our way through the day. Evidently Alibaba’s version is alarming the Chinese government because so many hundreds of millions are using it for transactions, savings & loans. We looking at a major social issue, aren’t we?

      • Craig
        July 30, 2018 at 5:09 pm

        Robert. I completely agree as well, but the tell is they have no desire to go back to it. My wife is from Romania and while she disdains the domineering police state she lived under for over 30 years of her life she recognizes that there were beneficial aspects to it as well. But what if we didn’t have to have all of the palliative monetary trade offs and justified economic vices to have the benefits of socialism?

        Finance capitalism and communism are the dominating monetary flip sides of the same paradigmatic coin and socialism is the caught up in ever lasting contention reform that cannot accomplish paradigm change. America is lost and headed for a similar disintegrative downgrade to what the USSR and the Warsaw Pact went through in the 80’s and 90’s unless it perceives the new paradigm and shows the world’s peoples and economies that direct and reciprocal distribution will free them.

      • Craig
        July 30, 2018 at 7:58 pm

        If we don’t awaken to the new paradigm and its policies and then intelligently plan for an equally enlightened psychological acculturation to leisure with an expansion of purposes other than/in addition to employment….then we’re all in for an ugly and deadly social “fourth turning”.

        I don’t know that much about Alibaba’s effects, but unless it changes the inherent scarcity ratio between individual incomes and costs it won’t resolve the problem.

        The Chinese and the Orient as a whole are smart, but IMO while being conceptually correct, their collectivist tendencies are an out mental gradient because they reflect an ethic-zeitgeist which is one of only two integrations above a paradigm change. Mental-conceptual integrations, like levels of consciousness, follow specific hierarchies and for good reason because to skip a level leaves important knowledge and insights behind-unperceived.

      • Robert Locke
        July 31, 2018 at 6:26 am

        Craig, I have been pursuing “financialization” for some time (Locke, R. R. (2000). American business school education and the revolution in interactive information technology, “Reform of Finance Education in U.S. Business Schools (2011), rwer, Management from Hell: How financial investor logic hijacked firm governance (2012), Boostzone Institute, PARIS, “Financialization, income distribution, and the social question (2014, rwer), Locke & Spender, Confronting Managerialism, 2011, etc.) The problem is finding something to replace it. Europe’s subservience to Trump and Trump’s to finanization, takes the West out of the search for a new paradigm.

      • Craig
        July 31, 2018 at 6:48 am

        And that is absolutely to your credit. And I completely agree that Trump likely being the poster boy for financial fraud, money laundering and the current monetary paradigm’s disintegrative effects on the whole of human civilization….is not about to awaken to the new one.

        We here however, are aware of specifically what the problem is and all we really need is to realize that new paradigms are always conceptual opposites of the old one and changes of primacy.

        Nomadism to homesteading

        legalism to grace as in love in action

        handwritten to mechanically created literature

        absolution only via the sacraments to a direct relationship with god

        terra-centrism to helio-centrism

        and now Debt/Burden Only to Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting

      • July 31, 2018 at 7:34 am

        James, Robert, Craig, capitalism is at best an aberration. One or another form of socialism is how Sapiens organizes itself for most of its history on Earth. Capitalism is much too destructive of Sapiens’ society as well as the physical environment to make Sapiens a viable species. Even in the most oppressive monarchical and fascist regimes most of human society was organized around socialism. Even if the equality was flawed by a 1%-2% sitting atop the 98% like a boa with its body wrapped around and squeezing, sometimes even the life out of that 98%. Robert and James, I believe you have it right on socialism. In my view, people miss the close human relationships that exist with the police states and oppression. Humans crave and depend on friendships and trust. This is not about paradigm change. It’s about aberrational humans’ intent on dominating, even destroying their species, if necessary to gain and keep control. For the last several hundred years capitalism has been their main instrument for these efforts. Some of these aberrational are evolutionary, while others have cultural origins. Whichever, human at risk from the aberrations need to defend themselves and their species. First step ends all forms of capitalism. Second, try out various forms of socialism. There are numerous examples of successful socialist societies, both current and historical which can be used as models.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 31, 2018 at 7:54 am

        Hi, Ken, the advantage of Capitalism & Democracy for me is that they allow for peaceful change of control at the top, in which we hope that ongoing leadership in each realm provides better for all in some mutually acceptable way.
        I think you need to provide concrete, historical examples of successful Socialism for all to examine.

      • July 31, 2018 at 8:09 am

        James, socialism can involve peaceful change. In most modern contexts, this was an option that could not be pursued due to opposition, sometimes military opposition. Some socialist models we might consider for the US include, China, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway Ireland, New Zealand, Belgium, Iceland, Morocco, Germany, France. Obviously, some of these are less democratic than others and some have incorporated more of capitalism than others. Plus, the US currently has good relations with most of these socialist societies.

      • Craig
        July 31, 2018 at 8:12 am


        I’m advocating neither capitalism nor socialism, but the thirdness greater oneness of the separate truths, workabilities and highest ethical considerations from both perspectives and systems….and the deletion of their separate or mutual untruths. That’s what an actual integration is, and in this case the result is the profit making system of Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting. Consult the logic and insight of the Hegelian Dialectic.

      • Robert Locke
        August 2, 2018 at 7:41 am

        The founding fathers agreed that power corrupts, that is why, they adopted a constitution with checks and balances. But this kind of government is not good at problem solving as we have learned. The average person is screwed by the system, the rich minorities thrive on their abilities to dominate through checks and balances. A solution: strong elites, properly educated to look after the general as well as particular welfare. Our educational system as reformed after WWII fails the American nation in this respect. It seeks solutions through economics, when economics, in its takeover of US higher education, is the problem if the education of a leadership class concerned with the general welfare is a solution.

      • August 2, 2018 at 11:16 am

        Robert, is this akin to the notion of a benevolent aristocracy supported by many in the 18th century? Including many of the founders of the US. If so, this is not that much different from the notion of professional government bureaucrats proposed by many in the Progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century. John Dewey describes in detail how to select, train, and support such an “elite” of government professionals. In either case the main issue in creating a government of benevolent aristocrats or scientific professionals is counteracting corruption.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 2, 2018 at 12:53 pm

        Ken, that’s what I came up with also, but “scientific professionals” are normally seduced by awards & job advancement, the latter meaning both money & enhanced social standing.

      • August 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm

        James, Dewey was described as a “philosopher who combined the stubborn perseverance of a New England farmer with the zeal of a reckless liberal.” He was a progressive and far-sighted thinker with a distinctly American sensibility, espousing the virtues of pragmatism and experience over absolute and metaphysical truths and who advanced a social and political philosophy perhaps more thoroughly democratic than any that has been formulated before — or since. (PS, in an historical sense William James and John Dewey are my mentors.) The two sides of making democracy and government work are for Dewey, liberal passion and pragmatism. Both it seems are out of style today.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 2, 2018 at 2:29 pm

        Ken, in my undergraduate course on American philosophy Dewey was the person whom I felt closest to, although most of us lovef theThoreau of Walden Ponda as well.

      • August 3, 2018 at 7:56 am

        One thing to remember about Dewey – he scares the hell out of reactionaries of every sort.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 2, 2018 at 12:49 pm

        Robert, so where does a society turn to guidance?

      • Craig
        August 2, 2018 at 5:11 pm

        Ken, James, Robert,
        Folklore is the proverbial/common sense aspect of Wisdom. Self awareness and ultimately simply consciousness itself is its direct knowledge aspect. Deweyism’s mixture of moralism and pragmatism is admirable but eventually, as Robert and all of you point out, it is incomplete and corruptible…..unless it is accompanied by the underlying ethical experience of self awareness, and we’re seeing this occur in the present moment in our politics. Trumpists mistake the witty but vile demagoguery, corrupt rakishness and errant orthodoxy of “fourth turnings” of Trump for Wisdom.

        Without direct knowledge of the natural existential experience of consciousness which all of the world’s wisdom traditions affirm is love, and its active temporal universe expression grace-graciousness, the vitality of proverbs diminishes….and the many aspects of the concept of grace as applied to economics, to everyone’s detriment, is not perceived.

      • August 3, 2018 at 8:43 am

        Craig, humans and human experience are always and forever incomplete and corruptible. That’s what makes human existence. Achilles replied when asked how the gods viewed humans – the gods envy humans. Because unlike the gods, human life and experience may end at any moment. That uncertainty makes human existence exhilarating and challenging. On the other hand, the gods have no exhilaration or challenge.

      • Craig
        August 3, 2018 at 4:55 pm

        “Craig, humans and human experience are always and forever incomplete and corruptible.”

        As is both the static and exterior concept of God.

        “That’s what makes human existence.”

        Human existence EXISTS within the temporal/time-space universe which by definition and reality is in continual process. Continual action-process is an aspect of grace. In fact the most concise definition of grace is love in action. Life IS grace…un or incompletely realized. Although time flows life consciously experienced as a continual flow of new moments is pointed at by all of the world’s major wisdom traditions as the ideal and conscious awareness of grace as in the present time newness of nowness of love in action. If one wants to experience grace they simply need to experience every moment thusly….and if we want the economy which is embedded within the temporal universe to flow freely our philosophy and relevant monetary policies should reflect grace as in abundance instead of austerity and scarcity….as are currently ENFORCED by the paradigm of Debt Only/Burden/Additional cost post retail sale.

        “Achilles replied when asked how the gods viewed humans – the gods envy humans. Because unlike the gods, human life and experience may end at any moment. That uncertainty makes human existence exhilarating and challenging. On the other hand, the gods have no exhilaration or challenge.”

        Again that is the static and exterior from human consciousness concept of God. Realizing that we are each of us an expression and experience of God/the cosmos inverts the situation and makes the challenge increased awareness of both the temporal universe-science and self awareness-consciousness….which is the beginning of an ultimate integration that a civilization dominated by the paradigm of inquiry of Science Only….now almost desperately needs to realize…..and that both the new  economic paradigm of Monetary Gifting and a scientific study of wisdom and its highest concept grace are logically aligned with.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 3, 2018 at 5:26 pm

        Craig, do you believeThoreau in his On Walden Pond days was working towards your thinking?

      • August 4, 2018 at 8:55 am

        James and Craig, I first read Walden in the 9th grade. As a 9th grader it impressed me. As I got older Walden impressed me less and less. First, Ralph Waldo Emerson owned the property on which Thoreau’s cabin stood. Second, Walden Pond in 1845 was scarcely more off the grid, relative to contemporaneous society, than Prospect Park is today. The commuter train to Boston ran along its southwest side; in summer the place swarmed with picnickers and swimmers, while in winter it was frequented by ice cutters and skaters.” Thoreau could walk twenty minutes from his cabin to his family home. Thoreau was not “roughing it.” Third, Thoreau’s mother both supplied him with meals and did his laundry. Fourth, for over a hundred years after its publication Walden was not considered nor treated as a major literary work.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 4, 2018 at 2:22 pm

        Ken, good summary on Walden, but Romanticism was in the air in Europe & America. Recall your Lord Byron, NIetsche & the rest before they ran into Marx & Dickens, among others. We were changing from a rural-urbaning to a more urbanized industrial model in much of the West, innocently awaiting the first of two awful world wars. So here we stand with global warming a paen to industrialization & nuclear destruction one to our human intelligence, it seems to me.

      • August 5, 2018 at 10:53 am

        James, you’re correct. There is no better spokesperson for American Romanticism than Ralph Waldo Emerson. A friend to Thoreau and a proponent of the American individualistic romanticism that swept the nation during the early and middle 19th century. Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance” was an inspiration to Thoreau and a sort of road map for Thoreau’s life. From the essay,

        “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” “Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.” “Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.”

        It’s my view these romantic musings are mostly nonsense written by ignorant people not yet familiar with the dangers that faced the nation. But they informed and guided many in the America of the early 19th century. Including Thoreau. Thoreau took some principled and important stands against US actions he considered immoral, such as the Mexican War, slavery, and the banking scandals of the early nation. But Thoreau’s protests changed little.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 5, 2018 at 12:30 pm

        Ken, I believe these thinkers motivated some formally educated people to move West out of their Eastern Comfort Zone as they had a personal Destiny which probably was not Manifest in any political sense but related to reading these authors, often in groups,

      • August 6, 2018 at 7:39 am

        James, Romanticism’s emphasis on the individual actor, emotion over rationalism, and its emphasis on individual freedom at any cost certainly inspired some people. But the results of the inspiration were harmful as well as beneficial. It leads to wars as an expression of freedom and as ways to build a romantic nationalism. But it sometimes allowed people to question the limits of Enlightenment rules (e.g., science and rationalism) and control the kinds of catastrophes resulting from an unquestioning faith in the rational and scientific. Some romantics saw the American west as the unspoiled land where individuals could demonstrate their self-reliance and make changes to the American way of life. That often melted away, however when they realized that the same robber barons who were destroying individualism in the east were also destroying it in the west.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 6, 2018 at 1:53 pm

        Ken, nice summary. Thanks.

      • August 7, 2018 at 7:21 am

        Thanks, James. Certain aspects of the relationships between the romantic American west and the history of American “gun culture” have interested me for years.

      • August 4, 2018 at 7:30 am

        Craig, humans only have their own experience and consciousness. They do not have the experience and consciousness of God; however, humans determine what that is. As Achilles notes, humans have a limited life in every respect. Makes human life exciting but also unknown.

      • August 4, 2018 at 3:26 pm

        Interesting philosophical discussion about the extent and limitations of human intelligence as to finding out how an economy works. I’d like to attempt to both broaden its possibilities upward and put a different focus on it.

        FWIW, my own view is that the harmony of the heavens is timeless and purposefully created from a time-requiring and ever-ongoing exogenous process of resolving base opposites. This would mean that in terms of that harmony, time becomes abstract as in non-existing; while in terms of a worldly (endogenous) time, such state of harmony or equilibrium between opposites becomes abstract and inexpressible/unperceivable; as almost invariably all we can perceive as the truth is reigning conflicts. Consequently, within the temporal existence we creatures of the gods find ourselves in and despite all “obvious” appearances, no present can ever be objectively complete; and any expression of the latter by us, as seemingly true in time and thus a valid point of departure, defines away that reality.

        Now transposing that same idea to this economy of ours… we can posit (axiomatically) that we are the gods of its purposeful creation, i.e. enriching ourselves within our sphere of influence and without a conflict. But instead of a created worldly universe consisting of physical elements and associated numbers, our creation finds its temporal meaning solely in a numbering of captured external physicalities in terms of an endogenous unit of account; the latter, because of creating anything physical from scratch out of nothing remains beyond our capability, being a non-physical entity also. This booked economic reality, as such described and having an exogenous purpose, is objectively observable by us; without any possibility of containing the slightest hint of mystique, conflict, or indeed of any unknowables. The only requirement becomes setting a formal boundary, as to which of our activities fall fully within and are intrinsic parts of the (over time and not _in_ time) resolution of its by us created systemic opposites; and what subsequently transcends all that, as forming additional benefits to our unknowable natural existence as creatures of the gods.

        The choice, as I see it, is either to keep on wallowing in a conflicting mystique as our subjective and thus limited perspective necessitates, or to change the paradigm and work out what the details of the latter and subsequent logical policy advice would entail. And if, because of inherently existing one or more paradigmatic flaws, the latter option is unworkable or critically incomplete, then this situation would become obvious soon enough through an examination by the collective intelligence of this group. Doesn’t the upside potential far outweigh the downside?

      • Craig
        August 3, 2018 at 8:01 pm

        Perhaps. His was certainly a contemplative perspective.

      • Craig
        August 4, 2018 at 9:38 am

        “humans only have their own experience and consciousness. They do not have the experience and consciousness of God;

        They have both. Normal garden variety incomplete partially out of present time consciousness and (gradiently) the much more intensely present self aware Consciousness.

        Some wisdom traditions claim the latter as attributable to themselves and some to god as an exterior concept and experience. Either way the genuine experience is ecstatically now and new in each perceived unit of time.

        Have you ever studied the world’s major wisdom traditions?

      • August 4, 2018 at 11:02 am

        Craig, I worked with the Aborigines during the 80s and several religious communities in the US (e.g., Amish) during the 70s. Part of that work was considering their spirituality. But as an anthropologist I never internalized that spirituality. I’m a scientist.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 4, 2018 at 2:28 pm

        Ken, ditto for me when working with West African & Upper Amazon tribes.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 4, 2018 at 2:25 pm

        Craig, yes, but within the study of religions during my senior year in college. However with two parts of my family in psychiatry or tech, I had to move on to see how I would handle the two as a basis for my life.

      • Craig
        August 4, 2018 at 6:51 pm

        You can have both Cartesian coordinate and unitary experience within the cosmic code formulation of a thoroughly integrated duality within an integrative trinity-unity-oneness-consciousness-process.

        The sages of history were the scientists of their time….and probably of all time. When the zen masters refer to getting past “the breath on the mirror” they’re talking about dropping any semblance of ego identity in pursuit of the experience of consciousness itself. Now that is a thorough integration of the scientific and wisdom modes of mind-experience.

        The paradigm of inquiry, of Science Only, has become a subtle and resistant bias over the last 500 years or so and needs to relent and be integrated with the more inclusive paradigm of Wisdom…. in order to aid perception of the 5000 year old paradigm of Debt/Burden/Additional Cost Post Retail Sale and thereby enlighten and facilitate the new paradigm of grace as in Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting.

        Integrate the truths in opposites. Make that your ethic and you’ll be the wisest and best scientist around.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 4, 2018 at 7:50 pm

        Hi, Craig. What I read of many of the most famous physicists of the past 100 years, most had that or were seeking that sixth sense of balance between ourselves & all else. The famous ones would probably stand in your corner almost totally, I expect.

  11. July 30, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Ken on July 28 at 10.02 am. ” Scientists who generally do not undertake this work, but are surrounded by it, attempt to put the problems and their solutions into frameworks that fit within or can be made to fit within general theories of human actions and the physical world.”

    This is a very interesting discussion, but what it doesn’t take account of is scientific teamwork, and personality differences which an observer will generally not see. In my own experience as a scientist, what Ken says about bosses taking all the credit is about right, but again appearances may be deceptive: unknown authors simply have difficulty getting published.

    More to the point, the generalisation of specific problems and solutions is not usually by the class of bosses popularly labelled scientists on account of their publications. The discoverers are more intuitive people like Archimedes, grappling with a practical problem and having the sort of gesalt experience Asad portrayed as seeing the young lady in the face of the old: seeing not only the solution to an immediate problem but also that this is a general principle. Another example might be Al Khorismi grappling with the practical problem of representing very large numbers, discovering that shifting allowed reuse of the same symbols and adding procedure. Today we take this as axiomatic. What are axiomatizations good for? What is the good of having a way of representing numbers we can take for granted!

    Algol60 took this up as a general principle for computing, but found that with new problems like translation into binary numbers it was necessary to specify what the shift process was referring to, hence the data types in Algol68 that led to general purpose data processing. One type of scientific mind worked out how to specify types, another explored how best to use them. The fact that words convey different meanings in different contexts is an issue that economists of different types have either not yet recognised or used for obfuscation.

    • July 31, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Dave, in general the elite rules. They hold the government and merchant positions, and control most of the wealth, and have status and prestige advantages. The unknown scientist lacks most if not all of these. Scientists join the elites for these advantages. They don’t therefore automatically become poor scientists. Just scientists with another set of cultural requirements. One of them being to maintain science in service to the elite. Archimedes and Al Khwarizmi were gifted scientists, serving the elite as members of the elite (if low level members). Khwarizmi changed the world with his public support of the Hindu number structure which later spread to the west and then the entire world. But this was not the only number structure available at the time. Many historical accidents combined in the choice of and spread around the world of the Hindu number structure. In other words, it became axiomatic by accident. The story is similar with Archimedes and his work. Both offered a solution for a practical problem. Others might have offered different solutions. Which may or may not have become in some sense axiomatic. Which begs the question – how did what’s called “mainstream” economics become axiomatic? I suggest in much the same way the Hindu number structure became axiomatic.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 31, 2018 at 11:54 am

        Ken, I sure see how accidents bring consequences, as I still fight €24.81 being spoken “4 and 20, 1 and 80, Euros”. My head does not compute as my lips speak. I don’t know about you.

      • Robert Locke
        July 31, 2018 at 2:27 pm

        James, “When I was one and twenty, I heard a wise man say, ..don’t give your heart away, but now I’m two and twenty and oh t’is true, tis true.” Try, 4×20 and one, for 81 in French, except for the Belgians.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        July 31, 2018 at 3:05 pm

        Long ago, Robert, I did a lot of complex math in my head. No more, due to age. I doubt many who use such verbal forms do either. They call them selves poets. I guess I would rather be Euler than Shakespeare–but there are aspirations for all of us, I expect. –Thanks for the reminder on the French; English & German are enough for me these days. However, I did love all those visits to Verdun & environs, and my mother’s father was French-

  12. Craig
    July 31, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Axiomatizations are utilized to formalize knowledge into data….for people who do not practice contemplation. And that’s why wisdom is more important and superior as a discipline….to science.

    • Craig
      July 31, 2018 at 4:50 pm

      And when you wed axiomatization of the fact that the point of sale is a summing of costs and prices and retail sale is the terminal ending of the summing of costs and prices in any economy to contemplating-looking at the temporal universe effects (the end of systemic monetary austerity and individual monetary scarcity) of the policies of a universal dividend and a 50% discount/rebate policy at the point of sale throughout the entire process of the economy and at retail sale….is when a paradigm changing individual and systemic realization occurs.

      • Craig
        July 31, 2018 at 9:40 pm

        And these simple but not simplistic policies may insult the erudite and well intentioned vanities of economists and economic pundits whose minds still partially reside within the old paradigm, but historically nearly everyone has egg on their faces at the time of paradigm changes…until they see it themselves…..so no shame in that. In fact the only real sin is advocating a palliative when an actual solution is available.

    • August 1, 2018 at 9:13 am

      According to my dictionary the word ‘axiom’ can refer either to a self-evident truth or a universally accepted principle. Economists seem to be assuming the first of these and forgetting about the importance of the second, as exemplified in the ways of denoting sounds and numbers.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 1, 2018 at 10:54 am

        Dave, this is a major issue, is it not? Self-evident to whom? And universally-accepted by whom? And with a meaning mutually understandable/accepted in each instance by whom?
        A standard example is the German word, “gift” = “poison” in English. While a medaeval meaning like “poison” exists, there is a large group of cultures who would say, “receiving a gift implies an obligation to return it, of larger value if possible to signify status or commitment”.

      • Craig
        August 1, 2018 at 4:48 pm


        What is the etymology for the german word gift? It might be enlightening. Cultures that associate gifting with propitiation, which is what is described in the actions and ideas expressed, are undoubtedly authoritarian and so would result in such resentful meaning. They are obviously not the traditional meanings associated with grace-graciousness, nor are they in any way relevant to monetary gifting as a resolving factor in economics.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 1, 2018 at 6:37 pm

        Craig, I would have to my university library & find an old German volume for accuracy, as my nearly complete Pons Wörterbuch (2005) relates similar words like “giftige” (substance) = “poison” and “Schlangengift” = “venemous”. Looking around my office: gift – Wiktionary

        Jump to Etymology – Etymology. From Middle Dutch gifte, from Old Dutch *gift, from Proto-Germanic *giftiz. The words gif and vergif, both meaning “poison”, derive from the same source as gift and were

      • Craig
        August 1, 2018 at 6:20 pm

        Ironically, the definition exactly describes borrowing and the the current monetary paradigm of Debt Only/Burden/Additional Cost Post Retail Sale

      • August 2, 2018 at 10:00 pm

        So James, being an economist, completely missed the distinction I drew between self-evident facts and principles adopted to facilitate ways of doing things?

        In any case, this is not about universal subjectivism, it is about the decision of some people to accept something as an axiom. It would help here if before jumping in with knee-jerk reactions readers took the trouble to work out what is being talked about. Ken begs an answer to – how did what’s called “mainstream” economics become axiomatic? By the alternatives being rubbished rather than studied, distracting attention from the need for logical complexity to be simpler and safer in practice.

        I’ve mentioned before that logic has advanced a lot since the time of Adam Smith, but I’ve just found a particularly good encyclopedia survey of the early history of this at


        The point is not that this is about Peirce but that it is about systems of logical notation. Anyone who is familiar with Venn diagrams will find it particularly interesting, not least its use of lines to represent relations (c.f. wires in computers) and in the final diagram, to show the scope of terms in a model. Half a century later, a somewhat similar effect is achieved by indented layout of nested loops in Algol68.

        It is fairly easy to relate this to the notation of the SSADM method of systems analysis I use, wherein relationships are translated into the processes necessary to create, maintain and end them. Though obsolete for detailed system design, SSADM’s diagrams allow alternatives to be visualised, made logically consistent and systematically compared.


        Living on an overheating earth is not a game. Despite all the cynics and scoffers and uncertainties we need to commit to paradigm change and to mastering tools like these, which can at least help us see what we are doing.

      • Prof Dr James Beckman, Germany
        August 3, 2018 at 6:58 am

        Hi, Dave, I guess I have not made clear that my graduate training included cognitive psychology & economic anthropology. From that purview, what is “self-evident” is in the eye of the beholder: make that statement to a Shaman from a people resident on both sides of the California-Mexican border, or an Iranian Shi’ia Mullah, and you would find disbelief on specifics which are “self-evident”. Of course, my personal culture seems to be much the same as yours. I did, however, my obligatory graduate economic studies both at Berkeley & Standford for a number of years. (I know the Standford online resources in philosopy rather well as a consequence.)

      • August 3, 2018 at 8:54 am

        Dave, mainstream economics can’t become axiomatic simply by “the alternatives being rubbished rather than studied.” Creating these axioms required a supporting framework to defend them and “require” they be accepted and used. So, simply put some people found such axiomatizations useful. So, they made them real. We should be studying who did this, when, and how.

    • Robert Locke
      August 2, 2018 at 7:15 am

      Wisdom is attributed to some old people, never to the young or only rarely to people in power, since old people have lived through the follies of man, whose solutions to problems turn out badly. All the solutions are used up, which is why we are flailing about to thresh out something else, with little hope, wise men say, and conservatives argue, to find something better than what has failed.

      • Craig
        August 2, 2018 at 8:23 am

        “Wisdom is attributed to some old people, never to the young or only rarely to people in power”

        Yes, yet the young often have insight due to not having fully ingrained the burden of orthodoxy and the unconsciousness of current paradigms. But it takes the integrative proclivities of wisdom to truly drop the arrogance of ideologies and combine only the truths in opposing perspectives. Such insight without wisdom IMO characterized “the Woodstock generation” when they sang ”and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden” of an adult leisure economy. It’s taken an additional 45-50 years of failing to finally consider a thirdness greater oneness and so something actually different from 5000 years of the neurotic hypnosis of private finance and its dominating paradigm of Debt Only. Let us end it with both youthful hope and hard and fast temporal universe policy effects.

      • August 2, 2018 at 10:49 am

        James, Craig, Robert, I don’t find the term wisdom very useful. I prefer folk knowledge or folk lore. This is knowledge from everyday experiences of nature, human life, love, hate, and death, and the work involved with creating and sustaining human communities. Scientific knowledge is an extension of folk lore and knowledge. Not inferior, but different. Folk lore and knowledge include all spheres of human interest and need – philosophy, medicine, government, sex, mathematics, deviance, etc. I prefer folk knowledge/lore because it can be described and studied to help us understand the creation and use of all human knowledge up to and including the most recent forms of science and technology. It helps us understand the entire continuum of human knowing. It also allows us to grasp the reflexivity of all human understanding.

  13. Helen Sakho
    August 2, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    I just lost a short piece on this very issue, but I shall endeavour to rewrite it again.
    Any potential double crossing is my fault alone.
    In the previous post, I asked colleagues to read more, quoting a brief extract from Tolstoy’s wonderful masterpiece called Anna Karenin’s conclusionary remarks. Please look it up for a wonderful analysis of everything refereed to above and much more. It is only a few pages long and sums up all scientific knowledge and its use and misuse. I should be obvious to us all that Tolstoy was not an Economist! And that he is one of many writers whose wisdom we must teach ourselves and our students to surpass.
    “Can those hundreds of millions of human beings be deprived of that greatest of blessings without which life has no meaning? Knowledge, sure, unattainable by reason, has been revealed to me, to my heart, and here I am, obstinately trying to express that knowledge in words and by means of reason…”

    • Craig
      August 2, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Yes, “standing in the light” of the natural experience of self awareness, consciousness-love-grace is the thing all people, and especially scientists and economists, finally need to integrate into their lives…to complete it and FULLY understand all of the data, theoretics and philosophy they have accumulated before it.

      An aspect or aspects of grace has always been the operant force behind every paradigm change in human history.

      • August 3, 2018 at 8:21 am

        Craig, my view is humans create grace as part of the reality they choose. And they use grace to create maps. Sometimes useful. Sometimes not.

      • Craig
        August 3, 2018 at 8:32 pm

        I think that grace is a perception-perspective problem not a reality one. Grace is natural we just have to come sufficiently into the present moment to perceive it.

        There ARE levels of consciousness, and the temporal-physical universe perspective generally hypnotizes us into thinking that its space, time and seeming chaos are ultimate reality when they are actually simply the almost utter integrative quantum perspective…with enough space, time and randomness tossed in….to confuse the situation. The Hindu perspective refers to this as Maya-delusion, I would say that the delusion was in thinking of the temporal-physical as the ONLY ultimate reality.

        All realities are real, even insane ones to the insane, but ultimate reality is understanding that ultimate reality is the integration of the realities of the temporal-physical universe and consciousness to the to the point of the perception and experience of grace:
        [ (temporal-physical universe x consciousness) grace ]

        or also what I have referred to as The Cosmic Code described as:

        a thoroughly integrated duality within an integrative trinity-unity-oneness-consciousness-process.

    • August 3, 2018 at 8:15 am

      Helen the relevant word here is “trying.” Humans try to create and express the reality they choose. Failing more often than they succeed. It’s an unending task for humans.

  14. August 5, 2018 at 9:08 am

    John Vertegaal on August 4, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    “Interesting philosophical discussion about the extent and limitations of human intelligence as to finding out how an economy works. … FWIW, my own view is that the harmony of the heavens is timeless and purposefully created from a time-requiring and ever-ongoing exogenous process of resolving base opposites. This would mean that in terms of that harmony, time becomes abstract as in non-existing; while in terms of a worldly (endogenous) time, such state of harmony or equilibrium between opposites becomes abstract and inexpressible/unperceivable”.

    Here again, as above, and on looking at the Sismondi work on your web site, I find myself largely agreeing with you, but able to express and at least imagine what you still find unperceivable.

    This follows, I think, from different concepts of process, time and existence. Process requires energy in motion, time is a measure of motion but also of space (time covered in a period). Existence can be either bounded (so locatable in space) or free motion, thereby differentiating visible things from invisible processes, but also generating timescale relationships between measures, motions and processes of observation. Relationships exist as well as things.

    Regarding visibility, the issue is whether the bounds we can locate are on the object or constraining the motion of sets/ensembles of objects, like the banks of a river constrain the motion of water molecules. We can see the water, but we cannot identify the bits of it which are moving. What we can do is see the banks, and thereafter see/imagine the channelled water moving. Likewise with money and goods in economics, the motion of which between individuals is channelled by relationships created by legal institutions and personal habits.

    • August 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      Thanks Dave, for making me realize that the speculative gnostic second paragraph of my previous post wasn’t clarifying enough, as it left out of consideration a large portion of the natural world we find ourselves in; whose things, relationships, and phenomena can be studied as occurring to us wholly existing in time, and that, at least to my awareness, isn’t identifiable in terms of a resolution of opposites. So your counterarguments are certainly valid, as far as its aspects occur within time as the notion is commonly understood.

      My concern is different though. There is a subgroup of phenomena involving sentient beings, that cannot be nailed down as occurring _in_ but only _over_ time. And what I was trying to convey is that when a purpose or goal is an essential aspect of an occurring process we’re trying to understand, incomplete activity or an indeterminate state of being cannot be perceived as harmonious. Perhaps an analogy is somewhat helpful here. Take a bicycle in motion that at every point in time is in a falling (i.e. inharmonious or conflictual) position. Not only is it impossible to isolate such moments as being complete in some kind of math equation of the (opposite) forces involved, but it doesn’t even have a point of departure that can be considered as complete. Every initiated action/reaction from beginning to end is a to be rectified overshoot. Yet over the time that the journey takes place, all its forces as well as the bike and rider are in harmony. And if we abstract from time altogether and take the journey as a purposeful whole, its tract is harmonious too.

      But as with all analogies, this one also is only somewhat applicable, as the dynamic workings of an economy aren’t flowing directly from sequentially counteracting individual inputs as per the above; but a systemic inverse supply-demand relationship exists, _over_ time directed toward a determination (i.e. a resolution and unencumbered regeneration potential) from a host of other earlier achieved partial supply outputs, with the whole being conducted in a social manner.
      Sismondi was the only political economist to consider the workings of an economy from a goal-orientated perspective, and, cutting through his unfortunate ambiguities, held on to the idea that all activities prior to a reaching of that goal are as yet of an uncertain value toward wealth creation.

      But do you see what I’m trying to get at in these threads? It’s to show the fundamental difference that exists in reality between a systematic goal orientation that is sourced from outside the system of its making, and that of individual physical activity toward a perceived goal that is endogenously located; and that while the former is intrinsically economic, the latter is always only ambiguously so, as it may well involve endogenously unperceivable dis-economies in a systemic (macro) sense. It’s still an open question though if my proposed alternate paradigm (where a purposeful demand determines the value of supply) indeed has what it takes to make a difference in this world. Sismondi, regardless of his sagacity, certainly wasn’t able to do so; and I would need an awful lot of help in convincing the electorate to make the necessary political (socioeconomic) changes

      • Craig
        August 7, 2018 at 8:54 pm

        Try applying the cosmic code of an integrated duality within an integrative trinity-unity-oneness-consciousness-process.

        For instance we know that General Equilibrium theory is false, but how do you stabilize a dis-equilibrium?

        Take the example of the reflective curves of the business cycle and the trajectory of a failed orbital insertion. Then consider the effects of a successful orbital insertion (free fall) and of the policies of an abundance of demand in ratio to costs/prices (inverting the scarcity ratio of same and making it a “higher” disequilibrium that escapes/prevents inflation by virtue of it being implemented at the terminal expression point for any and all inflation, retail sale, and so virtually accomplishes the stability goal of classical economics (free flowingness).

        Combining the concepts within the cosmic code:

        [ (unstable monetary scarcity/goal of equilibrium x wise and strategic policies of monetary abundance/reality of disequilibrium) = thirdness greater oneness of greatly stabilized free flowing “higher” monetary disequilibrium ]

  15. Craig
    August 6, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Here’s an axiom for economists: The point of final retail sale is the terminal summing point for all costs and prices for any item or service and also the terminal ending point of the entire legitimate economic/productive process, that is, where production become consumption.

    This means that the “business” model of private money creation/finance is NOT a legitimate economic/productive one because it is an additional cost POST RETAIL SALE. 300-400 years ago production was not nearly as complex, drawn out and costly so far as depreciation/obsolescence etc. was concerned as modern production is hencethe process has become fundamentally cost inflationary, and macro economists have lost sight of such cost accounting realities. Hence they have missed the fundamental illegitimacy of private financial costs.

    Economists bandy the words “paradigm change” around without actually understanding what such an occurrence exactly is and what its signatures are.

    It is not the shallowness of reform. It is ALWAYS BOTH an inversion of the PRIMACY and a FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION of a currently dominating, increasingly unworkable and problematic way of thinking-philosophy and acting-policy. It ALWAYS clarifies and increases human knowledge as well as human productivity, abundance and survivability. It is ALWAYS conceptually oppositional to the current/old paradigm. It is ALWAYS accompanied by a new tool or the general rediscovery of insights from an old tool (the insights, truths and conventions to be found in the nature of double entry bookkeeping and its subset of cost accounting above). It ALWAYS eliminates vias and increases directness of its policy effects in the body of knowledge/area of human endeavor the paradigm change applies to. It ALWAYS ends current monopolies/virtual monopolies and eliminates any need for prior palliative reforms. It’s ALWAYS absurdity for the vast majority….right up until it’s recognized as the new general truth.

    The policies of Direct and Reciprocal Monetary Gifting to the individual, at the point of sale and at final retail sale fulfills every one of these requirements/signatures.

    • August 9, 2018 at 3:44 pm

      “Here’s an axiom for economists: The point of final retail sale is the terminal summing point for all costs and prices for any item or service and also the terminal ending point of the entire legitimate economic/productive process, that is, where production become consumption.”

      Craig: An axiom is a primality. And if, as seems obvious, it’s stated here in terms of a unit of account, you’ve also got the underlying set of accounting assumptions to contend with. So even though true as a reality in terms of my own premises, an axiom it ain’t. The rest of your post I’m afraid degenerates into nonsense, and I’ll explain why.

      Unlike your attempt at theory building from an induced axiom as per above, your hero major Douglas’ point of departure was an empirical observation. While as such it can’t ever qualify for conveying a truth; as it stands however, it could disprove the correctness of a theory based on “certain” assumptions. Problem was and still is, Douglas was wrong in assuming that the discrepancy in purchasing power he observed in static terms was a reality, and one that could be fixed in static terms. But dynamically, under the normal circumstances of a developing economy, not only is there never a shortage of necessary purchasing power at the retail level, there is an excess of it. I’m pretty sure I explained the “why” of this on this forum before, so I’ll skip that herewith and get on with another aspect of the issue.

      While his observation with respect to vertical integration was no doubt correct, as the aggregate retail mark-up is always in excess of the available purchasing power at the embeddedness of costs, higher level received profits, and taxes; that retail mark-up is always theoretically realizable bit by bit dynamically, as a horizontal integration will next finalize or close the economic process. Earlier realizations of retail-level profits generate purchasing power to effect later ones, then being intermixed with earlier realizations of successive production (periods); while overall _never catching up_ to an expressable condition in a static way, being the crux of the matter. In terms of sought economic reproduction potentials, this will happen at a price level determined by the setting and direct spending of later realized retail profits, either by its receivers or by subsequently hired new help instead.

      Once one becomes aware that at any time being in receipt of “money” from an economy, creates an obligation to pay the economy back so that a dynamic equilibrium remains in effect, a so-called insufficiency of “it” as reasoned to exist in static terms no longer is a reality. Instead its sufficiency is created automagically, without any bank or government interference, when the realization of previously set profits occurs at rates of distributed productivity increases; while this is inflationary, when these retail-level profits are set and subsequently realized by those afforded the position to do so above a (natural) rise in productivity. It all becomes as simple as that. The hard part is letting go of the myth that a dynamic purposeful economy can be made sense of in any way statically and that money is a tangible thing, existing as such in time.

      The above shown reasoning only holds of course, if those thought to be determinate profits don’t disappear into the financial-asset circuit at a greater rate than, as being and inherently remaining claims to final output, a (re)appearance from the financial-asset market onto the retail market comes about. Aside from outright (and dis-economic) hoarding, no leakages exist; nor are there any “additional POST RETAIL SALE costs” to be bandied about that in the final analysis wouldn’t be someone’s personal income and hence purchasing power. Until more clearly defined, your taxonomy is nonsensical; especially in light of the fact that the economy has been surviving all this time without your 50%! free monetary gifting.

      Getting back to Douglas… he tried to stay consistent, at least in his mind, by disavowing the unit-of-account/measure-of-value function of money; I guess so it wouldn’t play inflationary havoc with his freely disbursed social dividend. Yet his entire A+B theorem is expressed in terms of a unit of account. This is a self-contradiction blunder that is unforgivable, and I’m afraid fatal, regardless of his numerous ad hoc observations that also from my perspective are true. So even though major Douglas viewed the economy from a goal-orientated perspective, his cardinal sin was being a money crank and he should have been court-martialled from “the brave army of heretics” as Keynes put it.

      So give it up Craig. You’re wasting your time preaching an ideology that’s demonstrably false. Yet your dedication as a seeker of truth and associated effort to better the world is coming through loud and clear. Hope you’ll find a way to steer your inputs into a more productive direction.

      • Craig
        August 9, 2018 at 8:46 pm

        “Earlier realizations of retail-level profits generate purchasing power to effect later ones, then being intermixed with earlier realizations of successive production (periods); while overall _never catching up_ to an expressable condition in a static way, being the crux of the matter.”

        First you’re not considering the separate cost inflationary reality of modern economies. Secondly “later” never happens, and third you’re still confusing total money in the system with total ACTUALLY AVAILABLE INDIVIDUAL incomes. The latter being the salient point vis the free flowingness and workability of the system.

        “In terms of sought economic reproduction potentials, this will happen at a price level determined by the setting and direct spending of later realized retail profits, either by its receivers or by subsequently hired new help instead.”

        Again, “Later” never happens in the economy…whose realities are stuck in each successive present moment of time. Only economists and economic pundits, being (at least partially) conscious can conceive of the future…and erroneously believe that “later” matters and actually occurs in the economy.

        “nor are there any “additional POST RETAIL SALE costs” to be bandied about that IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS wouldn’t be someone’s personal income and hence purchasing power.”

        Same confusion of total money with total available individual income as above.

        “The hard part is letting go of the myth that a dynamic purposeful economy can be made sense of in any way statically and that money is a tangible thing, existing as such in time.”

        I’m not doing that. As I’ve explained before that Douglas’s followers mistakenly assumed a static/set amount for the “Gap”, I’ve innovated that by showing that what is required is a dynamically abundant flow of individual purchasing power TIED DIRECTLY TO THE TERMINAL EXPRESSION POINT OF ALL FORMS OF INFLATION, I.E. RETAIL SALE, which INVERTS the individual income scarcity FLOW ratio with total costs….and which then exposes the fallaciousness of additional money being the truly operant reason for “monetary” inflation when in fact the reason why any inflation other than cost-push inflation is caused by….the utter freedom to raise prices by commercial decision makers. Such utter freedom in human systems is chaos and not freedom as freedom in a human world can only be defined and experienced in terms of known rational and ethical barriers.

        Too much acceptance of orthodoxies and not enough looking at the cost accounting datums and then doing the calculus on them which exposes the basic economic moment to moment problematic realities.

      • Craig
        August 9, 2018 at 8:58 pm

        Also, why have so many reform movements and economists like Steve Keen come to embrace UBI? Because they are nascently recognizing that the cost inflationary nature of modern economies IS THE INHERENT REALITY. They just haven’t recognized how to make that reform a stable, painless and beneficial price deflationary paradigm change by pairing it with the discount/rebate policies at retail sale.

      • August 10, 2018 at 8:04 am

        John, you’ve helped by getting Craig to decode his mystification a bit more, but I don’t accept your own starting point that an axiom is a “primality”. It can also be a choice of representation (as in your accounting assumptions). But it can also be a choice of where to look (and at what scale to focus on) as in Craig’s example and your metaphor of “purchasing power” (as against Craig’s “flow”).

        Purchasing power is an already “horizontally integrated” concept, whereas in a power flow (imagined as water flowing down a river) one has to consider not power but power density. If the river channel is deeper on one side than the other (if there isn’t a “level playing field”) then most of the flow will be down one side and in dry seasons there may be a shortage of water in the shallows.

        Using a river system to model your “vertical integration”, we agree water flowing down (unless replenished by sufficient rain) has to pumped back up again. Downward the flow is conveying “living power”; up, part of our living is doing something different: “recharging the batteries” by “planting the seed corn”.

        What you seem to be missing is those with too much water storing it in pools (Douglas’s figurative “land”) so that while they are storing it, it is not available to recharge the batteries, the flow in the shallows becomes more likely to dry up and we see in reality what the models do not show: austerity causing starvation, shortening the “long run in which we are all dead”.

        In my opinion Douglas is far more nearly on the right lines than
        your dynamic equilibrium model, John. I don’t go along with him because his solution is too conventional: not seeing that for the simple minded taxation is as unwelcome as children having their toys taken off them. I see the alternative of free credit as needed, given at Craig’s point of retail sale and accounted for (non-profit because firms and bankers also have credit available as needed) using something like the existing credit card accounting system. In this, money withdrawn from an ATM is pre-accounted for without prior commitment as to what it is going to be spent on, i.e. mathematically it becomes a variable rather than a value.

      • August 11, 2018 at 5:37 pm

        If an axiom isn’t a primality then nothing is a primality. Look, I’m perfectly aware that for us humans nothing is absolute. We cannot escape the for us reality of infinite regress. All we can do is devise a starting point, choice of representation, whatever, and hope that it won’t lead to contradictions as the argument moves along. If we’re lucky it won’t, but if a contradiction does appear after a while of seemingly holding true, it means that our point of departure wasn’t fundamental enough and we have to try again from a different one. Certainty will forever be beyond our reach.

        My own point of departure is a set of assertions about what an economy is, why it exists, and whom it is for. From that foundation I build up a logical theory that is true until a contradiction shows up. So far so good because, after more than a couple of decades arguing the point, it’s been holding up. My axioms are taken from outside the field of study. The significance of this not only is that anteriorly, the entire field is empty, but that it holds _meaning_; not internally where the argument remains circular, but from the position of the human condition where the axioms originate and in whose terms the nature of the to be studied field takes shape. If, on the other hand, axioms are taken from within a field of study, this whole “study” remains just a circular argument that’s meaningless to the by us unknowable reality we find ourselves in. The latter in the main is my basis for rejecting the NC axiomatic paradigm. As there, everything originates from an endogenous economic man; its boasted about “internal consistency” being just piffle, without the ability to provide guidance to us in any way.

        I’ve come to the conclusion, without at least so far running into a contradiction with respect to my set of axioms, that no economic stocks, funds, etc. are expressible as a fait accompli in time; nor can facts of nature, that for all intents and purposes are completed physical entities, determine an economic end result. In accordance with my theoretical point of departure, our economy is an ever ongoing process without a determinable beginning, whose features are overlapping and inseparable as complete at all times. This is very bad news not only for economists but also for the pundits active on this forum. Our minds simply aren’t built to think only in terms of a purposeful dynamic process, while then consequently rejecting all what looks like solid evidence from their static appearances. The modus operandi of all economists has always been, lets first look at our field of study in a static way, from that move on to a comparative-static approach, and hopefully at some time in the future we can finally move on to a fully dynamic understanding of it all. From my perspective, _meaningfully true_ until shown self-contradictory, not only is it an impossibility to reach a truth this way, but it’s fundamentally wrong from the get go because nothing economic ever _is_. Don’t agree and you’ll have to show an internal contradiction. Otherwise you’re preaching, and not having a coherent theory yourself, without any legs to stand on.

        As an indication how difficult it is to stay focused on an alternate paradigmatic economy, as comprising the features of a purposeful journey over time, take your previous post. While in the beginning all gung ho about exploring what this would be all about, pretty soon you fall into the mind trap of applying the properties of in-time physical realities to its nature. A journey on a bike isn’t made purposeful by netting out all its internal physical forces through a movement over time to zero; but because of that resolution, a rider can accomplish something at the end of it that couldn’t be done at its start. That “something” could be anything, single or multiplex in time, but it’s never a guide to get one to understand the underlying physics of the journey; nor is there some logical connection the other way around. The two sets of activities occur in separate domains with a distinct boundary to cross; and in the first environment, a storable accumulation of anything is out of the realm of possibilities. Only when the journey doesn’t happen as expected, might it become useful to take a close look as to why the involved forces don’t net out to zero over time, probably best achieved by trial and error; which is an entirely different, and likely much more efficient and down-to-earth, kind of problem solving than from working out what these opposing physical forces are composed of in the reality of time. And yet, the bulk of your previous post concerns itself with the latter. Furthermore in this post you only amplify such kind of reasoning, totally bypassing an incomplete in-time economic paradigm and finally proclaim that “Douglas is far more nearly on the right lines than [my] dynamic equilibrium model”. Any idea why the about face? I think it’s because of what this paragraph’s opening suggests.

        I’ve shown why Douglas contradicts himself in his theorem. Perhaps it wasn’t convincing to you. Show me why and I’ll try to expand. Also, (insufficient) purchasing power is a social credit concept, and not one of mine as you seem to suggest. The resolution of economy deep vertically integrated disbursed (cost) income through the direct spending of the latter is a vertically integrated affair, as it realizes the reproduction potential of the vertically integrated part of our economy. Demand coefficients for capital goods are indeterminate, and so are its “accumulations”. Actually this realization process includes higher level profits as well, as shown before. It’s only the set profits by retailers whose resolution process is horizontal to effect an unencumbered reproduction potential of final output. Flows and densities of flows are determinate physical “thingies” in time, and irrelevant to this alternate perspective; one that yet is deemed able to provide a complete map of the economy’s workings.

        The most significant aspect to take away from the realization process over time is that costs resolve cost, at whatever percentage of the aggregate becomes allocated to cost income, and that profits resolve profits. The proportionally inverse relationship between costs and profits, i.e. the lower the costs the higher the profits, regardless how obvious this appears to be, is another one of the numerous myths fed by an erroneous static (in-time) view of an economy. As I repeatedly said before, the most difficult task involved in accepting this alternative paradigm is to let go of deeply ingrained but false “truths”. And for that we need to start from the clean slate that this paradigm provides, letting its truths solely roll out from a delineation of the chosen axioms.

        Craig’s “paradigm” does no such thing. It’s a hodgepodge of myth and self-contradiction. But this post is getting way too long; and in any case, unless I can be shown to be wrong in my earlier assessment, I’m done critiquing social credit. UBI is a different matter though. Retailers cannot form the foggiest idea of, nor do they care about, the cost, profit, and tax embodiment ratios of their merchandise; their only concern is its feasible inflation-free resolution at a profit. And so a solution will need to be found within the overarching system of accounts, possibly augmented with block-chain technology and a governmentally induced cyber-currency, while outlawing the others; and not in creating a mythical tangible thing called money, at least not until the myth has been taken out of it.

      • Craig
        August 10, 2018 at 5:05 pm

        Philosophy-theoretics is at least one epistemological integration below the meta level of paradigm perception because even thinking is still mental data while consciousness is knowing in the highest sense of the word, and a component part of paradigms is a new conscious realization. It’s why Aquinas said: “All that I have written appears to be as straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.”

        Once you’ve cultivated self awareness-consciousness as an ethic, philosophical exegesis and its policy alignment is not mystification it’s logic informed by the confidence of knowing.

        The reason why heterodox economists, even the best of them like Steve Keen and Michael Hudson, are stuck in the perfectly legitimate pursuit of theoretics but only the futile pursuit of converting academics espousing DSGE instead of creating the mass movement that will herd political elites toward paradigm change, is because they lack an incisive study of the signatures of paradigms and apparently also lack some of the skills (wisdom) involved in paradigm perception…..and so they do not have the insight to decipher and confidence to assert the logical policy progressions necessary to finish their theoretics.

      • Craig
        August 10, 2018 at 5:26 pm

        And by the way Dave I completely agree that everyone and every enterprise should have a debit account with the central bank or other monetary authority mandated to distribute the dividend and rebate monies.

      • August 10, 2018 at 8:56 pm

        Craig, of course I agree that a consciousness is better than a reference to one; but to communicate it we have to refer to it: the reference in effect pointing to where it can be experienced.

        On rebates, my position is the converse of that on tax. Why aim to give back when there was no need to take? There is more than a semantic difference between receiving a rebate and having debts well within one’s credit limit automatically written off. The motivation in a not-for-profit credit system is to keep down the debts we incur and earn a higher credit limit by persistent good work. The motivation provided by profits, fees etc in advance of service can be replaced by fixed prizes for outstanding service actually provided, the fund for these forming a fixed overhead in cost accounting which can be reduced if overall the necessary work is not being done, or vice versa. (A good harvest is a time for celebration).

        I see no need for central banks when local banks with local knowledge can manage local accounts within a distributed database that can be interrogated centrally as occasion demands, c.f. google. I see a need not for human authority but a national and preferably international “constitutional” law: an agreed rather than imposed convention on what we have decided to do after considering the options, much like deciding to drive on the right side of roads.

        PS. I accidentally erased this just before completing it. Apologies if the rewrite seems laboured.

      • Craig
        August 10, 2018 at 10:44 pm

        “Craig, of course I agree that a consciousness is better than a reference to one; but to communicate it we have to refer to it: the reference in effect pointing to where it can be experienced.”

        Yes, the perpetual problem with a nothingness of ultimate and exquisite quality.

        With a 50% rebate percentage and a $1000/mo. dividend that is $2000/mo. and more than the highest welfare payment and if issued upon one’s 18 birthday would also be higher than most people’s social security payment thus enabling us to eliminate the transfer taxes that both enterprise and individuals pay for such.

        Grace is a universal personal and temporal universe solvent.

        My stance on private finance is not only that it is illegitimate being additional costs post the actual end of the economic/productive process at retail sale, but as thrift/cost cutting is always an economic virtue and a public-governmental bank has no need for profit it could offer consumers and enterprise loans at 0% interest. In fact a public bank issuing 0% loans could actually participate in the 50% discount/rebate policy thereby even more dramatically reducing costs. (if an auto was purchased for $15,000, in other words 50% of $30,000 then the public bank could discount the $15,000 note to $7500.

      • Craig
        August 11, 2018 at 1:30 am

        Anyone not recognizing that Finance is the 800 lb. gorilla of economic power….simply isn’t looking. And even though most would agree with this fact the real problem is they’re still working at the data, theory or philosophical level of analysis….when the paradigm level is where both the philosophical and policy insights are clarified.

        That’s why a study of the signatures of historical paradigms and paradigm perception is such an important and essential skill….and wisdom/the process of discerning and integrating only the truths, workabilities, applicabilities and highest ethical considerations in apparent opposites is its tool.

      • Craig
        August 11, 2018 at 9:35 pm

        Science is a dualistic discipline, Wisdom is an integrative one and its pinnacle natural philosophical concept of grace is a thirdness greater oneness of the two and hence includes science….and that concept. This is generally anathema to people who are stuck in either the paradigm of science only or religion only. The concept of grace is the integrative resolution of opposites. When in doubt integrate….and keep on integrating! This is not mysticism, and the concept and its aspects applied to the temporal universe invariably work…especially regarding monetary and economic policies insightfully and intelligently applied at the point of sale throughout the entire economic process and at final retail sale as well.

        If you don’t believe it just play the policies out like in a clay
        demo with the three elements involved: a monetary authority, a business model or a retailer and a consumer. It’s a good zen meditation on the temporal universe for economists and pundits that are a little too involved in abstraction.

      • Craig
        August 11, 2018 at 9:50 pm

        “deeply ingrained but false “truths”.

        Yes, like the paradigm of science only. Which is only a partial incomplete truth.

        A little essay on wisdomicsblog.com

        Accounting And The Paradigm Change

        In order for a paradigm to be a paradigm its transformative and resolving effects must fit seamlessly within the body of knowledge/area of human knowledge the paradigm applies to. This why double entry bookkeeping aka accounting is the perfect vehicle and tool for the new monetary and economic paradigm to express itself.

        Accounting is both simultaneously a record of the minutiae of the micro-economy and the underlying infrastructure of the entire macro-economy. Further its debit-credit digital nature is the same as the pricing and money system’s, and finally this digital nature is perfectly suited to immediately resolve excesses of debt and scarcities of individual incomes and business revenues with a digital point of retail sale discount/rebate policy.

        Paradigms are characterized by their elegance, simplicity and yet broadness and depth of effect, and accounting and the above digital policy fit that definition and reality…to a Tee.

  16. August 9, 2018 at 8:40 am

    John Vertegaal on August 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm: “Thanks Dave, for making me realize …”.

    I’ve started a new thread here to give myself room to respond to the big issues you are discussing. Let me first of all say your analogy of the bicycle on a purposeful journey adds a whole new dynamic of centripetal vs centrifugal forces to the cybernetic error-correcting model (and Fregean language complex enough to express it) that I’ve focussed on so far. Before
    discussing that let me share the concern in your conclusion about “convincing the electorate to make the necessary political (socioeconomic) changes”. I offer help and hope with the thought that the likes of us can re-purpose what the neoliberals have achieved via the Mont Pelerin Society and Hayek’s half-baked Machiavellian version of what we are discussing. (Read Philip Mirowski’s recent books, especially “Never let a Serious Crisis go to Waste”). I’ll write to you as you suggest, but here others may like to join in considering the axiom of purpose in light of your bicycle example.

    In your discussion of Sismondi you say “the term ‘epiconomics’ was coined to signify a field of study that transcends the level whereon the the study of conventional economics takes place”. That’s where I’m at, studying not just “a subgroup of phenomena involving sentient beings” but all phenomena since the Big Bang which have evolved not only sentient being but different ways of being and thinking. Those of course include the physics of riding a bicycle. My original anti-hero was David Hume (Adam Smith’s mentor), who reconstructed Bacon’s understanding of science to exclude purpose, and my hero remains G K Chesterton (a writer who, almost in asides and sugaring his pills with humour, explained personality differences in sentient beings in terms of genetic and brain architecture, iconic vs symbolic thinking and the experience necessary to grow up: see his Art of “G F Watts” in 1904, “What’s Wrong With the World” in 1910, and much-needed “Outline of Sanity” in the General Strike year of 1926). The immediate point, anyway, concerns Dorothy L Sayers, another profound writer remembered for popular detective stories, offering in “Gaudy Night” a still simpler model than a bicycle – a child’s spinning top – of stability and instability created by centrifugal force or lack of it:

    “Lay on thy whip, O Love,
    That I in no lax bed may lay …”

    If one rotates a weight on the end of a string, the weight not only orbits round the force moving it sideways but rises until the tension in the string matches the centrigual force – or the string snaps! In a bicycle the energy put into rotating the wheels by reciprocating forces on the pedals generates forces which keep it upright, so sufficient weight is transmitted downward by compression of the tyres to transmit the forward motion, even if one is leaning over steering round a corner. Here’s the rub, though: if one pedals too hard when leaning over, the forward motion may overcome the steering motion, so the tyres skid, compression is lost and the rider falls off. That is what is happening in the economic system now: prime and second-order financiers (with a sensory personality focussed on the here and now) are trying too hard to make monetary profits (go faster), and that is compromising the economic cycle’s ability to adjust to its environment.

    Steering the bicycle takes us back to the dynamic logic of cybernetics, where changing course in Keynesian economics is not the same as staying on course by price/income adjustments, but nor is it the same as cutting corners in order to keep up speed and stability.

    You argue that “Not only is it impossible to isolate such moments as being complete in some kind of math equation of the (opposite) forces involved, but it doesn’t even have a point of departure that can be considered as complete”. In the context of economics, the latter does seem to be the case, but in “epiconomics” I suggest the starting point can be considered already complete: turbulence having induced particles of energy in superconductive perpetual motion to chase their own tails. On the maths I agree about equations (fuzzy logic as well as the bicycle slipping example show that one can have greater and less than relationships as well as equality), but consider the truth of right angles and the conclusions helicopter engineer Arthur M Young drew from Newton’s equations of motion in “The Geometry of Meaning”:

    “At any point in time an object has all of:

    > A position (t to the power of -0).

    > A speed (rate of change of position: t … -1).

    > An acceleration (rate of change of speed: t … -2).

    > A controlling force: the force causing the acceleration: t … -3).

    If the force changes one is talking about a different situation”.

    In terms of evolution, we are talking space-time, so speed is in a given direction, and initially motion is free to occur in any direction. [We say it has “three degrees of freedom”]. Speed is constrained to one direction/dimension but creates the possibility of change; over time a focussed beam of light spreads out over two dimensions constrained to be at right angles to the motion to create the possibility of aiming; the light is constrained to spread out by forces sideways to the direction of motion. In short, there is a dimensional order in evolution evident in cells developing the growth capabilities of linear plants, the surface mobility of animals and the capability of conscious aiming of humans; but if human achievement gives them more or less complete control over everything then one is in a new situation. The aim of monetary control of economics becomes uncontrolled money-making (chrematism).

    Can the Great Crash of 2010 be interpreted as the bicycle slipping, and the bailing out of the offenders signalling its restarting not as an economy but as a casino?

    • August 9, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Apologies for a ridiculous typo. The Great Crash, of course, of 2008, now ten years ago and still the needy and their world are being deprived of funds. Should we perhaps restart the financial system with honest credit and earned ownership, leaving gamblers playing their games with monopoly money?

  17. August 11, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    John on August 11, 2018 at 5:37 pm:

    You say “If an axiom isn’t a primality then nothing is a primality”.

    We are at cross purposes immediately. An axiom is a linguistic reference to a real primality.

    “If a contradiction does appear after a while of seemingly holding true, it means that our point of departure wasn’t fundamental enough”.

    So I’ve gone as fundamental as I can get, back-tracking through time from the apparently non-contradictory evidence of the universe expanding to a finite regress in a localised infinity: the Big Bang which is my physical primality.

    “My own point of departure is a set of assertions about what an economy is, why it exists, and whom it is for”.

    These are my conclusions, having used right angles (spatial dimensions) as an axiomatic reference to complete difference to map the evolution of localised energy circuits. This revealed a structure akin to arabic number format, though shifting to a new type of unit after only the four quarters of a circuit marked out by the right angles. This (instanced in genetic structure) has drawn attention to unsuspected meaning and been consistent with the evidence at each level. The evolution goes on, however, though now in thought form, so this only the start of the argument for what has gone wrong.

    “If, on the other hand, axioms are taken from within a field of study, this whole “study” remains just a circular argument that’s meaningless to the by us unknowable reality we find ourselves in. The latter in the main is my basis for rejecting the NC axiomatic paradigm”.

    So my axioms are from a field going outside economics, though economics is inside it. When you refer to “the unknowable reality we find ourselves in”, you are following Hume. I’ve only been able to refute that by showing how perception works and memory is encoded, with absolute distinctions but fuzzy detail. What you mean by “the NC axiomatic paradigm” I have no idea, unless you are referring to Shannon’s “noise cancelling” logic, in which case you need to allow for the evolution of the different types of meaning conveyed by the four information circuits in the PID paradigm of cybernetics. (See Young on Newton’s laws of motion, below).

    I’m much kinder in my assessment of Henry George, Keynes and Craig than most people because, like these three, I know what it is to be a pioneer, struggling to convey what I can see even when I can see it in my own way perfectly clearly. As with Asad’s ‘gestalt’ image of a young lady in an old one, all I can say is, keep looking and perhaps you will see for yourself what I’m referring to.

  18. Craig
    August 11, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    A little essay on wisdomicsblog.com

    Accounting And The Paradigm Change

    In order for a paradigm to be a paradigm its transformative and resolving effects must fit seamlessly within the body of knowledge/area of human knowledge the paradigm applies to. This why double entry bookkeeping aka accounting is the perfect vehicle and tool for the new monetary and economic paradigm to express itself.

    Accounting is both simultaneously a record of the minutiae of the micro-economy and the underlying infrastructure of the entire macro-economy. Further its debit-credit digital nature is the same as the pricing and money system’s, and finally this digital nature is perfectly suited to immediately resolve excesses of debt and scarcities of individual incomes and business revenues with a digital point of retail sale discount/rebate policy.

    Paradigms are characterized by their elegance, simplicity and yet broadness and depth of effect, and accounting and the above digital policy fit that definition and reality…to a Tee.

    • August 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Craig, it seems you are still clinging to double-entry book-keeping in its present form, where each loan of credit is matched by a credit to the bank’s account.

      In my “credit card” system I ask the retailer for credit, and though I end up with debit in my account for the objects I bought, he ends up with a credit in his account for the same goods for having supplied them. Thus he has the wherewithal to restock and I have a reminder of my need to renew my own credit-worthiness by working. This is double-entry book keeping, but in the form of a relational database not dependent on “banks” and financiers supplying fictitious “capital.” What for traditional reasons we call “banks” (as in food-banks in a real economy and gold-banks in ancient trading finance) can in the digital age be reduced to management of automated local databases, linked by the internet, which account not just for prices but for who sold what to whom. Which they did do before commercial bank centralised management started closing them down.

      I’ve come across a delightfully to-the-point sequel to “Small is Beautiful”, Leopold Kohr and E F Schumacher’s “A Pair of Cranks”, 2003, New European Publications (NEP). A book which sold by the million in the 1970’s has been treated like the work of a crank by political parties, governments and universities by then besotted with growth, economies of scale and centralised control; but by now it has become evident these are a large part of our problem. Here Schumacher presents his alternative even more succinctly, his wisdom being enlivened by Kohr’s wry humour about who really are the cranks, radicals, businessmen and slummers.

      • Craig
        August 12, 2018 at 6:54 pm

        Dave, Your credit card system is largely making a “distinction without a difference” in that you’re seeing the significance of the digital nature of double entry bookkeeping and a monetary policy crafted around that fact. As for banks/central banks I advocate a publicly administered national and central bank because:

        1) I do not see or foresee an adequate way to secure cryptocurrencies/blockchain technologies against money laundering, fraud and theft.

        2) You need a third governing/administering entity especially in regard to ultimate powers whether spiritual or economic and monetary. Trinity-Unity/thirdness greater oneness IS the valid concept here not the duality of science and rationality which degenerates into technocracy and amorality because the ethical content gets dropped out. Nor is the dominating false oneness of monopoly like we have now with private finance’s paradigm of Debt Only as the sole form and vehicle for distribution of credit/money.

        3) Private finance and public finance both have inevitable corruption problems unless firmly guided and aligned with the unimpeachable concept of grace as in benevolence and monetary gifting, and having a single entity to watch and regulate as opposed to 10-20 is Occam’s Razor applied.

        In order for the wider monetary and economic effects of the new paradigm to occur the discount/rebate policy needs to be paired with a universal dividend:

        1) enabling the re-industrialization of western economies and

        2) eliminating unnecessary re-distributive taxation which is analogous to the dispensation system that corrupted the church and was a via system that obstructed a direct relationship with god/the monetary authority

        especially as technological innovation and AI disruptively destroy aggregate demand and finally

        3) the major advocates of cryptocurrencies/blockchain are libertarians whose irrational generalization that government is always tyrannical, and their terminal orthodoxy/inversion of the truth and necessity of monetary gifting is summed up in their slogan “there ain’t no free lunch” …..are almost as anathema to the new paradigm as are the private banks whose monopolistic paradigm currently rules and obstructs economic free flowingness….so It’s extremely unlikely that they are going to see the efficacy of monetary gifting.

      • August 13, 2018 at 8:07 am

        Craig, in response to your 1) my concept doesn’t involve money, only the giving of credit. 2) a trinity of points/terms is necessary to describe a living God or a business cycle, but we create three new trinities/cycles when we form relationships to these. (Try drawing a triangle and connecting it to a point outside it). 3) As in (1) there is no private finance, or rather, no seriously corruptible central finance, for each transaction is between two people, one crediting the other.

        Each of your second set of comments misrepresents the significance of the situations you posit. 1) Have you not realised industrialisation has wrecked our world to the point where in another fifty years it is likely to become uninhabitable if we don’t change our ways? 2) The corruption of the church went the other way, not via its distribution of welfare in local parishes but by Rome financing the building of St Peters by supplementing the giving of Peter’s pence by in effect the sale of indulgences. 3) I’m not an advocate of cryptocurrencies/ blockchain, I’m advocating a Copernician inversion of the CONCEPT of wealth, from an idleness-encouraging measure of it to a God-given natural world that we share, but will only continue to maintain us if we gratefully work at maintaining it.

        During the Hitler war a popular radio entertainment here was a Brians Trust, in which a group of clever people, most famously Professor C E M Joad, debated serious issues. Along with the Schumacher book I acquired another by Joad, with a title that now we are nearly all townies may give us reason to pause for thought. “The Untutored Townsman’s Invasion of the Country”.

  19. Craig
    August 13, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    “a trinity of points/terms is necessary to describe a living God or a business cycle, but we create three new trinities/cycles when we form relationships to these. (Try drawing a triangle and connecting it to a point outside it).”

    Not if that additional trinity is an integral part of the original trinity. Consider the symbols of the cross as a duality of lines and the third point of their intersection, the Buddhist yin-yang symbol with of complementing commas with the third integrative dot in each and the dual integrated triangles of the star of David.

    “Have you not realised industrialisation has wrecked our world to the point where in another fifty years it is likely to become uninhabitable if we don’t change our ways?”

    Yes, if the re-industrialization is as wasteful and polluting as our current technologies, but if everything is financable as a result of the new paradigm of monetary gifting then the most productive and ecologically sensitive and sane technologies can be so financed. That and the fact that grace as in dynamic balance in every respect and grace as the ultimate wisdom concept and experience self actualized by many more than currently take the time to contemplate….would make it a whole lot more likely that people would have the rationality and inclination to consider their own and the planet’s survival….than when they are perpetually under stress to survive monetarily and economically….like now.

  20. August 15, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    For me the cross was the upright on which Truth was hung, with untruths leaning either side: the one drawn to Truth, the other repelled by it. Both the Buddhist and Jewish symbols are fascinating, but for me are symbols of the complementarity of objects and contexts consisting of eveything else. Where is there room for change and evolution in an object and an undifferentiated context? I spoke of three new circuits [trinities, cycles], of which the third is in economic terms the development of new processes, interacting with human families who are not God but children of God: sharing his likeness and sustained by him, but as children do, having to learn from their own mistakes. If Big Bang creation is likened to blowing up a balloon, there is motion not only in the direction of the surface but two dimensional motion at right angles to this in its expansion. Tension in this motion controls the rate of expansion.

    If everything were “financiable” as a result of sufficient credit-worthiness and surplus stocks, surely nature’s technology is more likely to resolve nature’s problems than our own? We need to support those employed in planting trees and irrigating those that need it. Nature irrigates its growth by feeding sap through pipes and in our case, blood through arterial circuits. The pipework gives us clues about functions; we have to look at what is going through it to see whether it is going well, or ill.

    • Craig
      August 15, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      The “mystery” of an integrated duality within an integrative trinity-unity is that every separate thing, it’s opposite and their oneness exist at the same time. As I’ve said here before ultimate reality is not a reality problem nearly so much as it is a perception problem.

      “If everything were “financiable” as a result of sufficient credit-worthiness and surplus stocks, surely nature’s technology is more likely to resolve nature’s problems than our own?”

      As grace is dynamic balance, the pinnacle concept of wisdom and also the natural underlying state of the cosmos, cogniting on those facts and aligning with them would mean both we and the rest of nature would together be better able to resolve our mutual problems….with the universal personal and temporal solvent of grace.

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