Glen Beck’s hazy “Restoring Honor”

All Things Considered today gave the usual calm treatment the remarkably incongruous claim by news anchor Glen Beck to the mantle of Dr. Martin Luther King this weekend. An minister who had attended the “ecumenical” political gathering pointed to how the number of children born without married parents had gone up dramatically since the 1960’s, as indicating the nation taking a “wrong turn” then, and what a new religious revolution was needed to heal.

My comment Continue reading Glen Beck’s hazy “Restoring Honor”

Misperceived Paths to Energy Savings

How in trying to “save the environment” most people choose symbolic energy savings, instead of responding to what “the experts” point to as having real effects, is the theme of the NY times blog “Dot Earth” post Misperceived Paths to Energy Savings.

It’s sadly also “the experts” themselves who are the very worst offenders, in truth, constantly recommending energy savings for their business value, but by making energy use more profitable also stimulate the economy to use more. I occasionally try to get Andy Revkin, the author of the blog, to question his own assumptions… Continue reading Misperceived Paths to Energy Savings

The (simple) whole story of money, growth and nature

The whole story of growth and money. The players in a simple resource using natural trade economy.


Whole Story

As in a four person market economy, shown with two resource providing and two resource consuming trades, people create wealth by exchanging complementary goods in exchange for money. Growth comes as each learns how to do things better and the resources hold out. For price stability the banker prints money to keep up with growth.

The banker also provides safe keeping for the money saved by people with more than they presently need, and gives it out in exchange for a promise of money growth in return.

At the limits of the earth that tells people to make money taking big risks to avoid limits, when that’s more of what’s left with high returns, so to avoid being responsible for growing risks, people with savings should just spend their returns instead of expecting them to multiply. It’s the natural thing to do to make peace with limits.


“The Catch”, why you read nature’s models

My friend George posted a good article on modeling the approaching decline of energy returns on energy invested in the earth (EROI), and I mentioned “the Catch”.

One of the difficulties with complex theoretical models is that they all need to assume the parts are following rules.

How economies work, of course, is with ”animate learning-bots” (that’s “us”), all exploring the world and discovering new relationships all the time. That’s why I tend to take the limiting conditions nature displays as a guide, based on her own synthesis of the whole process (like the switch from multiplying to diminishing returns on the success of the search for stuff). Continue reading “The Catch”, why you read nature’s models

Market earth quakes, a sign of emergent chaos

Regarding an article in the NY Times, A Richter Scale for Markets and to Dirk Helbing’s letter to Soros on the new physics exploring the great disruptive events our economies so frequently produce.

To Xavier Gabaix, w/ H. Eugene Stanley – authors of the study referred to: A theory of power-law distributions in Financial market


Xavier & Eugene,

The term you use is “econophysics” but the graph in “A Richter Scale for Markets” in the NY Times seems to display much more than you mention.   It shows the swelling and decaying disturbances in the economy, where theoretically they are not supposed to be. I use a physics based data mining tool to expose emerging systems of that kind.  One example I found shows market pricing mechanisms dramatically “fishtailing” an going out of control, for example.  It might be useful to you. Continue reading Market earth quakes, a sign of emergent chaos