Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Critical Point Point

Inflection Point Courtesy Wikipedia
In calculus, a critical point of a function of a real variable is any value in the domain where either the function is not differentiable or its derivative is 0.  The value of the function at a critical point is a critical value of the function. These definitions admit generalizations to functions of several variables, differentiable maps between Rm and Rn, and differentiable maps between differentiable manifolds.

The Critical Point

It is what we are all trying to see.  It is the holy grail of the blogosphere.

For some reason, all of here in the odd little subculture of Doomerland we are obsessed with the idea of nailing down the Year, Date, Hour, and Minute of the process.  But I am thinking that this is a bit of an affectation on our part.  A way to show that, by God, we have been right all along.

But in truth, the point which we are so desperately looking for is not nearly as important as the shape of the curve.

Except in the simplest cases, one cannot expect observation alone to reveal the effect of the use of an aspect of economics. One cannot assume, just because one can observe economics being used in an economic process, that the process is thereby altered significantly. It might be that the use of economics is epiphenomenal—an empty gloss on a process that would have had essentially the same outcomes without it,
Donald MacKenzie, An Engine, Not a Camera

1 comment:

russell1200 said...

For me I think the critical point was the day I was born.

As for the larger critical point issue, it is very possible that we may already be past it. If they cannot tell if we are in something as simple as a recession until we have already been in it for a year, a greater macro-economic downturn (unless it involves a collision with a meteor or something like that) would be that much harder to figure out. If Rome started declining in 180 AD, they likely were still argueing about it in 320 AD.