Tuesday, August 14, 2007

If you're so smart, ...

Context: See Tru'eng anewfocus going forwardmathematics.


Have you ever heard, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" (We can turn that around, to boot.)

Well, this was a common refrain in the 60s (and is even so now) when massive accumulations of wealth were only held by a few. Since that time, the set of wealth holders has grown quite large, yet it remains, with the proper perspective (what would be the threshold, etc.?), percentage-wise much smaller than the rest of us.

This retort generally was in response to statements alluding to philosophical superiority (since the posts, for now, are dealing with the 'little t' truth, let's exclude spiritual or moral arguments - yet the Fed jokes about moral hazards - it would be funny it this were not so serious -- also, see 3/30/08 remark about capitalism not honoring intellectuals). In many cases, the viewpoint being mocked was idealistic and may have even considered that determination of intrinsic value could be truthfully based.

In the sense of history, some economic and social analysis can start with that 60s era. Expansions occurred along many fronts, since then, that are too numerous for this forum. Just the advances in mathematics and science have been tremendous, and this enabled computation which then helped establish schemes for determining value.

The thing called the 'market' became to have a very large importance in the minds of many. For instance, in finance, 'marked to' market may be preferred to 'marked to' model which trumps 'marked to' wish (not in some views, see 6/1/08 Remark).

But, as recent events show, and again, we could say, since bubbles seems to be as ubiquitous as mankind has baser instincts, the market can become a ploy for those who are smarter to toy with the rest. It wasn't meant to be that way.

Slogan: 'marked to' the market needs truth engineering to improve handling of value issues.

A similar issue can be applied to advanced analytics (CAE, etc.) where the blurring of the line between reality and the model can push us toward losing sight of the former and setting too much reliance on the latter (see Unreasonable effectiveness).

Who is smarter? Those who fly high with abstractions or those who can trudge through gory details. You see, in finance, people chasing after the lure of easy money may fall into the former trap; yet, those pockets that do get lined (as, the success set is the smaller) need to rely on the reality built and maintained by those doing the trudging. So, too, in the product world, the reality is more associated with engineers and other doers rather than with other views (finance, mainly) that we hear from so much.


01/05/2015 -- Renewal, see Context line.

06/12/2014 -- One way to look at this: cognitive elitism.

12/03/2013 -- Born smart or rich: The Atlantic. If the former, it depends upon how far down the hole one's life begins. Standing on the shoulders of giants does help which is what richness may (but, not necessarily) bring. ... Case in point. Take the English aristocracy. If you look at the history some big name families, you'll see a later start. Many times, a guy marries up and starts a dynasty (din-asty, as the brits say). On the other hand, many families died out. Take Charlemagne, all descendants now are via daughters. That is, there is no male line that come down through the years. Whole series of books look at expired lines. ... Back to the present. Of course, getting help is needed (despite the protestations of some supposed self-starters - Ayn loved writing about these - who forget their infantile dependencies, and those who coddled them - in some cases, trampling their families under their feet). Cooperation is part of sustainability. Despite that, though, richness has side-effects that are not easily overcome (even if you give it all away a la Bill and Warren - that does not counter negative karma accumulated over the years of abusive practices). So, for me, I would pick smart (too many examples of idiots with money - need I elaborate?).

09/19/2013 -- To some, evidently, grabbing oodles of money, without due consideration of ramifications to others or to the common weal, is the smartest thing; but, we do know that virtue is smart, to boot. Even the secularists are trying hard to show how their worldview can lead to right living (as in, they do not need God to have a conscience). And, what virtue might be prime important to this discussion? Prudence (see Remarks, this day).

09/18/2013 -- Pop, fizz, ... Ben had to show largess because of idiots who ran the economy to the ground (rogues all around). Ben is going. What do we have to look forward to? Businessweek has a review issue (of the past five years). Several articles are especially interesting. Too, phrasing shines: spin dross into gold (in relation to mortgage bonds). Perhaps, we'll get back to some of the more pertinent ones, at some point. If we do, it would be to bring forward what has been said here, from the beginning. To wit? Tranche and trash (WSJ has a good take on that). Securitization? This article brings on weeping (one example of the misuse of mathematics and computing that has been harped about). Adoption, and improved understanding, of lazy evaluation let loose the powers that resulted in the wild web and its little children, namely social media and more. To grasp the problem, we have to go back to computing that is in some type of responsible area. Avionics comes to mind. If what is couched as software in looser domains (financial engineering? -- looser?, yes bailouts are the norm despite all of the protestations of the ruling elite; or the whole cadre of the poorer folk can just suck it up when there are problems in order to relieve the fat cats' loss) were to used in flight controls, would we not have planes falling out of the sky? We'll get back to the simple issues that seem to not be seen by the elites chasing after the bucks that Ben has been throwing out of his helicopter.

06/03/2013 -- Supposed smarties, with big pockets, are making computational hells for us all due to several factors that we'll address.

05/02/2013 -- This has been a popular post (most popular), of late. Perhaps, it's the growing awareness of the ever-increasing gap twixt the haves and those without. The post ought to be re-done using insights gained over the past six years. It seems like a life-time ago. Well, the theme of the blog needs to look at lessons from the past (such as, we not learning Anselm's message). Too, money does not solve existential problems. Never has. And, one does not need a pot load to figure that out.

03/25/2013 -- The Atlantic had an article about King Abdullah II. Now, he is an example of a doer, from several angles. What I liked when I read it was that while being educated in Massachusetts, he bussed tables. What that means for those who don't know is clean up dirty dishes and such. When I, as a young man, was in the US Army, we had still had KP duty which included such types of things. Another task that ought to be tried once by everyone: cleaning the grease pit. There is no one so smart that they wouldn't learn something from the experience of the grease pit.

02/09/2013 -- This year, we'll get more into t-issues. Plenty of people are looking at science/religion topics. Too, Dawkins was quoted as saying that the existence of God ought to be subject to a scientific test. This can be arranged, given the right framework. Perhaps, I'm too old to see it, but its day will come. And, with its advent, we would not have an explanation, necessarily. The benefit? Progress of a nature not seen due to the dampening related to not allowing the broader views. Mind you, science getting into religion may help root out all of those accumulated bits of dross which are so problematic (too many to name here, but I would attempt such an enumeration if there were interest).

05/03/2012 -- We'll start a 'meme' discussion, Either / Or.

10/13/2011 -- It is our economy.

05/09/2011 -- Doers, reconsidered.

03/15/2011 -- The M & Ms are apropos.

03/13/2011 -- The machine can help us realize our smarts, in part.

10/11/2009 -- Forbes has an article about the traits of those who made it rich. That one of these deals with technical talent (or the inverse of innumeracy) is correct, yet those who grab oodles of bucks, at the same time, have people working for them who are more talented. So, the question remains, is rich smart?

10/11/2009 -- Discussion has gone over to FED-aerated. Note the 10/11/2009 Remarks about the Business Week article on India's progress' inhibitors. 'Near zero' recognizes that some always suffer more than others, especially in win-win situations, as the whole notion of characterization minimizes visceral reactions by diminishing the real in favor of the abstracted (ah, the modern world, you say?).

08/26/2009 -- Looking at some of the arguments (see Remarks), it seems that a corollary is: if you're so smart, then why don't you accept underdetermination?

08/10/2009 -- As promised, FEDaerated is here.

06/27/2009 -- We can think about this in terms of money and class (as Orwell would have us do).

06/18/2009 -- A fresh look will be needed.

05/08/2009 -- This'll be look at from first principles.

01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

10/21/2008 -- Yes, it's time to re-look at related themes, hopefully coherently.

09/25/2008 -- Things continue to unfold. We're now going to bail out (we meaning the taxpayers) the idiots to the tune of $1 trillion. Oh well. Do smarts lead to fraud? That we need to answer.

06/11/08 -- Seems that some think that marking to 'model' is preferred to marking to 'market' which, if we think about it, could be true. Of course, it's a matter of who wins and loses (it's always near zero-sum, folks, we can only argue how far is 'near' which is an abstractionistic outfall, which, in the terms of money, results from gab standard-ing [a long story, to be told]).

06/01/08 -- Naturally, this topic would cover a whole lot of material, and it's is large enough to keep our interests for awhile. Too, both 'smart' and 'rich' are right at the core of matters that need discussion; that is, these topics cannot be avoided. For instance, we need to look at 'rich' in terms of utility, perhaps, as well as what is needed to be so (monetary basis, etc.).

The sub-prime event has brought attention to several related topics. How does one 'mark' for evaluation is one. No less august person than a Forbes magazine editor thinks that we ought not be marking to market. His argument is that such action causes unnecessary unwinding. Yet. given that abstraction leads to problematics (by necessity), continuing to mark to model stands to just perpetuate a house-of-cards, does it not?

Well, discussions about evaluation, in various senses, can follow a nose metaphor.

03/30/08 -- As referenced in a Cato Institute report, philosopher Robert Nozick noted that capitalism does not hold intellectuals to be of much value. Of course, the report emphasizes the intellectual as being a 'wordsmith' yet one could look at this as similar to the science and engineering rift, assuming that we could identify such.

02/24/08 -- So much going on that topics related to this blog keep growing. A recent article in the WSJ pointed to works suggesting that there is a new aristocracy in the making, the main story being that accumulation of riches is the key factor. That those at the top of business regularly skim off, albeit legally, pocket fillers could hint that the taking is considered as 'divinely' given. What would a different model for motivation look like and could it be sustainable? Well, the answer is not as quickly forthcoming as many would believe; we'll be looking at this further.

01/12/08 -- Things are getting interested, both in the 7'oops7 and finance realms. Plus, analysis is progressing as it ought.

12/02/07 -- So, accumulation and greed seem to be the operative viewpoint, or ought we say operational strategy. Too, though, is the drive to play the game. From the experiences of some, it might be that this latter drive is the stronger. Hence, we ought to provide a means for gaming that allow rewards to those who play the system well, yet, at the same time, protects the innocent (or not so). One result of this growing use of layers of abstraction is that the distance from the 'real' increases.

This whole post might get a different flavor at some point. Tolstoy had the right idea: how much land does one man need? So, the post might ask instead, how much money is necessary? However, large T (Truth) issues start to lurk.

Modified: 01/05/2015

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