Monday, 11 January 2016

The Procrustean Economy

In the Greek Myths Procrustes offered a unique proposition to the weary traveller. He guaranteed that whoever you were he had a bed that would fit you precisely.

Of course once the deal had been made, the reality emerged. There was just one size of bed. If you were too short you were put on the rack and stretched to fit. Too long and your legs were shortened with an axe.

So it has been with the economies across the world for decades now. They have been promised riches by the snake oil salesmen who try to pass themselves off as scientists and then rammed into a 'one size fits all' ideology, based around the false idea of equilibrium.

All the world economies have been forced to fit this peculiar bed, and have had their policies tailored to the idealised model, with the actual underlying people rammed into the structure regardless.

The consequence of this should be obvious, but seems to pass people by. The data collected from such economies will resemble the data you would expect from the model.

It really can't do much else - since the policies are there to prevent deviation from the norm. Therefore when you do empirical studies what you are actually using as data is the output from a system rammed into an inappropriate model. The data is tainted and what the taint means has to be understood.

It becomes part of the Orwellian self-referential structure that reinforces the norm - academic journals  where the peers doing the reviewing 'believe in the concept' and therefore reject anything novel out of hand, awards created by people who 'believe in the concept' and awarded to other people based on how hard they also 'believe in the concept', and data used to try and validate policies that are derived from structures that are already moulded into the form of the policies.

If you observe the movement data from a man in a straitjacket then you will form a particular view of the movement capabilities of a man. The problem is that you are neglecting to notice the straitjacket or the possibility that it could be removed.

Moreover even if you do notice the straitjacket, it is impossible to find an instance of a man without one, or to get into a position where you could remove it and see what happens.

To move forward we really need a world where the restrictions can be removed. The mainstream may have locked out the physical world with their politics and policies, but these days people have alternatives to the physical world that they can immerse themselves in.

We have virtual worlds.