Friday, January 2, 2009

A post out of a Comment

Relevelelrr left a great comment on the Zero Sum post from the other day.

The beginning and end to your questions is the first rule of economics: There is no free lunch.

What has lately been called free markets and capitalism were both violations of that rule. Ultimately, the no free lunch rule always reasserts itself in the same way you can only ignore gravity as long as you haven't hit the ground.

The free market is ultimately free of anything we can say about it that violates the free lunch rule. The allocation of resources demands optimization, and sometimes the return to an optimized condition can be a mean regression.

The free market is something you don't have to have faith in for the long run any more than you need faith in gravity. It is not optional over the long run, and smacks down appearances to the contrary in the short run.

Capitalism is planting a seed of corn and doing what it takes to harvest a whole ear. It has organic natural limits. If you plant one seed, but expect a hundred plants, you can't call that capitalism, but that's what's happened. Why not reclaim reality? It's just sittin there waiting.
I guess why I found this so appealing is his use of the concepts of organic limits and reversion to mean. Those concepts have been dismissed lately. This was due to the dot com boom and folks thinking that 20-25% boom growth was the right way to do things. The old 5-6% organic growth was gone, a new day had dawned.

Even big companies took up the torch of high permanent growth. Jack Welch at GE didn't do anything useful. He never fixed a companies problems, he never worked. All Jack Welch did is sold off companies that made useful stuff and went into the usury game with the rest of the corporate whores.

We will revert to mean. Things always revert to mean. But it sucks when it is a downside correction. So thank you again relevelerr for your comments and thoughts. I appreciate them greatly.

(As an aside, I also like the name. My folks from the old days took off running out of merry olde England because they were Cromwell-followers and Levellers, when the crown came back, they were a mite testy.)


Mayberry said...

I thought that was a great comment myself. I even used it today in a conversation about the way things are headed.... It's a great analogy. Easy to comprehend.

Relevelerr said...

Apparently my folks took off running too. My family history is that four brothers hid under a bridge from the King's men, and got away to America. However, I didn't know that they'd called themselves Levellers. My handle might arise from some kind of genetic memory.

In any case, those were the days experimental science took its first steps. You might enjoy this: