Archive for the ‘ Economy ’ Category

The Power of Being Nothing

This power is being exercised by nearly everyone in the world. They are having a wonderful time being nothing, and destroying everything!

Logically, this makes no sense – how can anyone not be? But logic does not apply here. These people have decided to not be – and anyone can see, plainly enough – that they have succeeded completely!

One can ask “Can they go on destroying the world forever?” Obviously not. The world’s resources are limited – and they are running thin already. In one or two hundred years – the human population boom will be over. There will still be plenty of cockroaches, but not so many of us!

If we were smart – we would see this coming, and plan an orderly transition. Although how we would get rid of most of the world’s population, would be a challenge.

The rise in the level of the oceans will take care of many of them – the shortage of food, the rest.

Society and Religion

We social, and we are religious. And the two interact vigorously – we cannot consider one, without considering the other.

We can also think, and we thought, at one time – we could use this ability to create better societies for ourselves. But these better societies have not been much better, despite some strenuous efforts to make them that way.

Why?

To answer this question we have to go back to our ancient history of tribal units, of no more than 100 individuals each. These societies worked, because making them work was easy. Everyone knew everyone else, and conflicts could easily be worked out.

But they also worked for another reason – they saw themselves as being ruled by divine beings – an amazing variety of gods. Who these gods were, did not seem to matter much – as long as the people believed in them – and believed they were in control.

Any attempt to put themselves in control was sternly rejected – by the gods themselves! And this divine order persisted as we became civilized – a huge change that changed nearly everything else.


How does this apply to the 21st Century? That is largely a secular society.

This is a question so easy to answer, it hardly needs answering. Our gods still exist, and are as strong as ever – but they have become the gods of Business – that has become our new religion. And the same prohibition still applies – any challenge to the gods is forbidden!

Our Economy depends on belief (in itself, as a god) and if this belief disappears – the Economy disappears also!


I hope this stimulates your thinking. Your comments are welcome.

How the blockchain will radically transform the economy

TED – Bettina Warburg

This is a woman’s view of the economy. And she succeeds in putting it in human terms. There are men who can describe the technical details for us – and they are very technical.

In my opinion, blockchain is a clever solution for a problem that does not exist. Just today I was sent OpenStack Storage for Dummies by Red Hat – and it has demolished any arguments against their standard, but comprehensive solutions. It doesn’t even mention blockchain.

The blockchain is a distributed database, a network, spread over many computers – where data can be stored securely. This data is digitized – an important point I keep making, over and over.

Our bodies are not computers. There is a lot of information flowing around in them – but this information is encoded chemically, not electronically. Taking milliseconds to execute – not the scant microseconds the computer needs.

There are people (and a lot of them) who assure us that the computer will somehow make us better.

But the computer has only made things worse.

Bitcoin vs distributed ledger vs Ethereum vs blockchain

techradar

All new technologies involve learning curves and teething problems, and Ethereum has been no different. In terms of creating confidence in a new technology, there’s a chance that Ethereum has already blown it. In June, an anonymous coder tricked a smart contract belonging to virtual firm Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO) into executing multiple times, extracting around $80 million (about £60 million, AU$105 million) worth of ether.

“It caused a loss of confidence, which knocked about 25% off ether’s value in a few hours,” explains Hrycyszyn. “In response, the people who cryptographically create the ether decided to amend the history by simply ignoring the fact that the attack had ever occurred.”

Since Ethereum’s contracts are defined in computer code, stored in a blockchain, and executed by Ethereum itself, Ethereum’s controllers were able to ‘hard fork’ the ledger’s history and delete the fact that there was ever an attack. That kind of intervention goes against the whole point of the blockchain’s ‘trustlessness’ ethics in the first place.

Manipulating People

Is this good or bad?

The general consensus seems to be that, looked at carefully, it is immoral (it is telling lies, aimed at deceiving people) – but, taking a larger view, it is good, because it sells more – and makes more money. And making more money is good.

It also makes the powerful more more powerful – a state of affairs, that most people consider desirable. If the rich get richer, they think – they will get richer also.

Allow me to back up and examine one statement more carefully – having more money is a good thing. Allow me to expand that by talking about the Economy – having more money around is good for the Economy.

Whether this is good or bad does not matter – people everywhere are moving from where there is little money, to where there is more money. From the country to the cities – where the quality of life is low, but there is money – and all the good things it can buy. Or from poor countries to richer countries – where there is money – and jobs.

I made this move myself, when I was a young Electronic Engineer. Without thinking about it, I moved from the Midwestern Rust Belt, to the East Coast – where there were plenty of jobs. I moved from where there was little money, to where there was plenty of it.

Money attracts more money. And this feeds into a boom/bust situation. And an unstable economy. And the overall net result – of a depressed economy.

I repeat that – we now live in a depressed economy – with no improvement in sight.

And this is driving people nuts.

A Look Inside Airbus’s Epic Assembly Line

NY Times

The photographs here are amazing – I cannot believe so much is being brought together, from all over the place – and still works together. Airbus has got its act together.

It was politics, as much if not more than economics, that brought Airbus to Mobile.

Politics is an essential component of the economy. And the areas in America (such as those in the Rust Belt) who do not have this aggressive politicking – have no economy.

Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

I did a Google on this, and it told me this phrase was an idiom, which is often used to describe a futile action, in the face of impending catastrophe.

The catastrophe back then was for the passengers on the ship. The catastrophe now is for all of us – since we are all part of the global economy. We should all be paying attention to this – but instead, everyone is doing his best to ignore it. And keep saying “It couldn’t happen to us, because our ship is unsinkable!”

I subscribe to Finextra, that worries about this constantly. It keeps saying “Banking is better than ever!” And “Banking is in more trouble than ever!” It does not predict the End of the World – only flat tires, here and there – that it can see happening right now.

Plenty of other people can see these flat tires – right in their backyard. They worry about them, and notice nothing is being done about them – and hope they will not get worse. Then put the whole subject out of their minds.

The Economy is such a big subject, no one wants to tackle it – so no one does. Even though they can see it is in big trouble.

What should be done? The first step, as always – is to recognize the problem. The Economy is unstable, and is heading downward.

Next step – refine the problem. How is the Economy in trouble? How big is the problem? This investigation would have to be financed by the Government – the American Government, to begin with. It would not be cheap – perhaps the cost of a carrier fleet, or two.

This analysis assumes we can identify what things cause other things to happen – and the feedback loops involved. A complicated analysis, to be sure – but the world is complicated. Trained people would have to get lots of data – where is the money,  who owns it, and what is it used for?

The Computer could easily handle this modeling of the Economy. A model would be constructed, and then compared to what is happening in the real world. And then modified to make it better.

Eventually, we would know what is going on in the Economy. We could control it – instead of it controlling us!