Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Truth and toil

Yes, as the title suggests, we're going to consider people issues again, in particular the working class. Earlier posts looked at talkers and doers, lords and serfs, and labor and laborers.

The trouble is that busyness has adopted a view of workers as commodity. Unfortunately, the world rewarded this view with a seemingly endless supply of cheap labor. And, those views grew somewhat stronger despite the longer-term issues of sustainability.

A related fact is that there are many of the able-bodied who have never labored (pity the poor souls) at anything. As I've said before, that could be cured by some type of national service that is mandatory. Jaron Lanier wanted to know if we would have intellectuals out in the field working with their hands as automatons took over.

Well, it may be well to be aware that some who work with their hands may actually be smarter than the best-and-brightest. Fat-cat-ness is sometimes like the rising flotsam in the effluent of life.

Many times, we have the fat cats, and some intellectuals, thinking that they're another class, read better. And, what's irritating is the notion that those who use their minds actually work harder than they do. You see, there is no CEO who expends more energy or exhausts bodily health (except, perhaps, in playing the back-slapping game and posturing - I know, isn't it so exhausting psychically) than those of their workers who face danger, wear themselves out physically, and such.

And, being in hock, in a growing fashion, to those who are allowed to entrap one financially is the worse fate. Some employers create indentured servants and even try to carry it forward to their workers' progeny. Oh wait, aren't we now impoverishing our future generations? Also, some bankers are the scourge (see Class Acts) in a sense; at least the pay-day loan people are up front about their snares and traps.

So, it is in the touch where we find the reality notwithstanding the urge for lights-out and hands-off. And, without a decent income, how can we expect to sustain the consumer part of the economy. Oh yes, let your machines play the consumer (there are those who do see that as a possible alternative, with robots in charge of the world).

Yesterday, the President talked to the union heads. Now, the trouble there is that, in many cases, those heads do not really represent those who are doing the toiling; no, union leadership becomes a type of career. Actually, in the worst case, union leadership was seen as the opportunity to exploit the worker. Ought union leadership be a service? Hey wait, should not those elected be representative rather than career-ive? Yes, you guys and gals, Senators and Representatives both, your role is service believe it or not.

Oh yes, we must not forget the finance guys! Hey, how about a type of world where your role would be service, too? Ah, how else can we break you away from your casino capitalism (gaming)? And, the leeching (circulatory system metaphor).

In my recent reading about quants, two views become apparent. There is the set that games in order to fatten the cats further. There is the more enlightened set that would like to make the modeling to be more scientifically oriented. Gosh, think of that? Economics being less of its usual dismal self?

Note: As said before, I dealt with quantitative methods. There was some magic as managers (and other clueless) were dumbfounded at some of our results; yet, we didn't have the direct link of ka-ching (whatever) of the Wall Street hit dumping oodles of money into the pockets of a few. By the way, this is how our magic was repaid: subsequent iterations were expected to produce what was only accomplished by very hard work (more than any CEO could sustain), by proper use of insight, good engineering, and, essentially, resolving intractable issues. Yet, the managers wanted a repeat, with a snap of the fingers. Perhaps, my agreement with the Vienna boys and girls about undecidability is from long observations on how actual accomplishment with computers comes about. Too, we were being quantitative in metric spaces that required high degrees of accuracy since we were going up against nature. Gaming can be metric, but it is very loose, comparatively. My hunch is that the quants are in-between. They deal in something that can weigh down a pocket, yet they have no notion of the reality of near-zero nor can they actually measure as much as their theoretical views seem to indicate.


05/09/2011 -- Doers, reconsidered.

01/07/2011 -- A whole lot of water under the bridge with enough backflow to, perhaps, learn something.

10/02/2010 -- Ideological problems of capitalism, indeed: classism

12/08/2009 -- Consider Paul and current CEOs.

Modified: 05/09/2011

Friday, September 11, 2009

Roles for schools

We mentioned Harvard as an example of risky endeavors as loss bringers. We've been watching this for a year now. Somehow, people complain about the existence of losses when a true accounting would allow us to see real progress as loss constrained to be less than gain, when it was there, of course. Oh, isn't that the basic definition of profit?

One would think that the best-and-brightest at these types of institutions could get a better handle on these things. Perhaps, one of these days it'll happen. How many did Harvard, et al, lead down a path to financial perdition?

Well, that was 7oops7. Now, over here, we brought up Harvard as an example of a little mathematics going a long way (too far, essentially). This was raised in the context of swarm proof which is of interest to how we handle truth.

Well, since the, we've started to look more closely at quants and their magic. Why? Well, the big money seems to be going that way.

So, schools ought to have roles. For one, they can be used as playgrounds (sandboxes), in part. Keep the endowment secure, folks. Too, they can serve as labs for elucidating the major issues, such as undecidability. Also, those quasi-empirical issues ought to be handled by schools.


10/17/2011 -- If we're to challenge Harvard on its duty, then we'll need to beef this up. For one, is education only operationally important, measured in bucks? Ah, so much to discuss.

09/13/2009 -- Need to pause for a bit, to look at Bookstaber's work.

09/12/2009 -- Sandbox was used without definition. Let's discuss that concept.

Modified: 10/17/2011