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This is some of the best economic modeling I've seen, period, so obviously it's NOT being done by economists 🤔

scientificamerican.com/article

tl;dr Even in idealized conditions where everyone starts out on equal footing, and all transactions are fair, market economies will inevitably tend towards highly unequal wealth distribution (i.e. oligarchy), simply due to quirks of statistics. If anyone paid attention, this would be the end of all talk of "meritocracy".

This also points to the necessity of organizing our lives on some other basis than that of self-interested transactions...*even if those transactions take the form of barter, timebanking, etc.* Those forms of transaction might be more inclusive, but the statistics apply just the same.

As Saint Billie Holiday sings, "Them that's got shall get/them that's not shall lose..." and unless and until we start approaching our livlihoods in a *very different way* that will remain the case.

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@GuerillaOntologist in Republic, Plato claims that the seeds of tyranny, which encourages the drone's desire for a champion is the socio-economic divide btw the rich & the poor. This divide depends on oligarchies in which the wealthy, driven by their greed, buy properties from those who cannot keep them, or lend money with the property as security, & become richer. This drives the exploited into debt and disenfranchisement, creating a class of drones. The seeds are always found in oligarchies.

@GuerillaOntologist
Therefore, any resistance to tyranny relies on preventing the structural inequalities that are characteristic of oligarchies.

@Gotterdammerung
That's what I think is so interesting about this research, it shows that even in a situation with zero structural inequalities, a system based on transactions between self-interested agents will always lead to oligarchy. The only way to avoid total oligarchy is constant transfers between the wealthier-than-average and the poorer-than-average, but that trend is always there, so long as there are *any variations* in wealth at all.

@GuerillaOntologist thoroughly interesting, seems almost too simple to be true (though I think it is).

I swear physicists are better economists than economists, ecologists are better economists than economists, every other academic discipline has more valuable things to add to the study of economics than the propaganda that is normally called economics

@Awizadofearthsea
I did a BA in econ, and spent the majority of my time knowing that most of what I was learning was BS, and saying as much, and having all but one of my profs poo-poo my critiques. I mean, I knew something besides science was going on when I said "but the assumptions your model is built on are demonstrably false" and got as a reply "Milton Friedman says assumptions don't matter." 🤔

@Awizadofearthsea
Oh yeah. I mean, I chose that major specifically so I could "know my enemy," so I did kind of know what was coming...but I wasn't prepared for how nonchalantly my liberal profs could just accept such obviously crazy shit...and believe it enough to teach it with a straight face. Needless to say, I couldn't bring myself to pursue grad studies.

I've learned far, far more about how the economy actually functions since exiting the academy.

@GuerillaOntologist starting thinking about this again suddenly and started to think about different "pre-modern" societies and how they instituted the chi value in this model (a mechanism of redistribution bringing all members of an economy closer to the mean wealth). Examples that came to mind was the social acceptability of cattle raiding among early British peoples, necessary gift giving from Scandinavian leaders to their followers in the Viking Age, the Pacific Northwest First Nation potlatch, and the biblical Jubilee. I am sure there are endless other examples. Seems like the idea that redistribution efforts are unjust or unnecessary is really modern.

@Awizadofearthsea

Yeah, that's just what I thought too. The give-away ceremonies of PNW indigenous peoples, and the debt amnesties of ancient societies both seem likely to be direct responses (at least partially) to this dynamic.

I think the rich in our society have always considered redistribution unjust...at least since the Romans (who did away with the Jubilee tradition) anyway. For the rest of us, though, it really does seem like a recent development (since about Reagan, maybe).

@GuerillaOntologist Reagan was the point I was thinking of as well. Though I guess you're right that it has been something the rich have objected to for much longer (though perhaps not in non-capitalist gift giving societies)

@GuerillaOntologist Sorry you probably already know/think about such things a lot already, I just felt excited about how this model could provide economic context for these cultural features that I was already really interested in.

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