Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The morality of markets - and a response to hunger

There is no Good in markets Krugman writes. It's short and good, and it should be read in every high school as an antidote to Marketarianism. Markets are not divine, theys are simply satisficing mechanisms for seeking local minima.

Krugman is responding to accusations that he favors war as a solution to the Great Waste (sequelae to the Great Recession).  He gives a smart response to dumb questions, but reading how major wars do Keynes better than politicians made me think about What Would the Market Do?

What do I mean? Well, consider this. Charlie Stross, one of my mind expanding writers included "Finance Economics 2.0" in the novel Accelerando. Economics 2.0 was what emerged when trading/Finance AIs remade the solar system in their own image. It wasn't a pleasant place. [1]

The story captured a sense I often have that the large, complex adaptive systems we live in are, seen from a certain angle in a certain world as real and unreal as our own, alive. Not smart like we are, but alive in a landscape dominated by very powerful amoebae.

In this worldslice Markets are entities with their own agenda -- mostly to eat and grow. Sometimes, though, the growing is slow. The Market has to find new food. It moves along a chemotropic gradient to a new source of nutrition.


[1] I updated this paragraph thanks to a helpful comment.


Bryce said...

I just read Accelerando: you have the right book, but Stross calls it "Economics 2.0."

In fact, Krugman mentioned Stross as one of his favorite sci-fi authors in a post a couple months ago, which is what motivated me to read Accelerando, since I don't normally read science fiction.

JGF said...

Thank you! I've updated my post to correct the error.