Friday, August 19, 2016

Misscomputing culture

(is 'holism' consistent with 'humanism'?) Here is a review of some dimensions to the long-term living legacy of labour laws, not least with respect to trade and the establishment of markets: 

The invisible hands: women in Marikana
Asanda Benya
[Review of African Political Economy, Volume 42, 2015 - Issue 146]

Abstract: When we think of Marikana we think of the infamous event that took place on 16 August 2012, leading to the death of 34 striking miners. Scholarly analysis takes this further than the event to broader labour–capital relations. While useful, the examination of Marikana through this lens tends to privilege the production sphere and lends itself mainly to the exploration of the workplace; the workers, their employers and the union. In this article, the author argues that exclusive reliance on this lens is inadequate and inevitably results in many silences, one of which is the silencing of the reproduction sphere and, by extension, women. To fully understand Marikana the event, one has to understand Marikana the location, and hence realities and conditions on the ground. Such an analysis of Marikana is not only useful because it sheds light on the reproduction space, but also because it allows us to look at women who are usually ignored when talking about mines.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lean online?

Cognitive offloading: How the Internet is increasingly taking over human memory


Our increasing reliance on the Internet and the ease of access to the vast resource available online is affecting our thought processes for problem solving, recall and learning. In a new article, researchers have found that 'cognitive offloading', or the tendency to rely on things like the Internet as an aide-mémoire, increases after each use.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Trouble with Mathematics and Statistics in Economics - D McCloskey History of Economic Ideas XIII (3,2005): 85-102

Extracts from the essay:

The Trouble with Mathematics and Statistics in Economics
D McCloskey  History of Economic Ideas XIII (3,2005): 85-102


"A real science, or any intelligent inquiry into the world, whether the study of earthquakes or the study of poetry, economics or physics, history or anthropology, art history or organic chemistry, a systematic inquiry into one's lover or a systematic inquiry into the Italian language, must do two things. If it only does one of them it is not an inquiry into the world. It may be good in some other way, but not in the double way that we associate with good science or other good inquiries into the world, such as a detective solving a case.

I am sure you will agree: An inquiry into the world must think and it must look. It must theorize and must observe. Formalize and record. Both. That's obvious and elementary. Not everyone involved in a collective intelligent inquiry into the world need do both: the detective can assign his dim-witted assistant to just observe. But the inquiry as a whole must reflect and must listen. Both. Of course." 


"So pure mathematics, pure philosophy, the pure writing of pure fictions, the pure painting of pictures, the pure composing of sonatas are all, when done well or at least interestingly, admirable activities. I have to keep saying "pure" because of course it is entirely possible—indeed commonplace for novelists, say, to take a scientific view of their subjects (Balzac, Zola, Sinclair Lewis, the post-War Italian realists, among many others are well known for their self-conscious practice of a scientific literature; Roman satire is another case; or Golden Age Dutch painting). Likewise scientists use elements of pure narration (in evolutionary biology and economic history) or elements of pure mathematics (in physics and economics) to make scientific arguments."


"The theorists don't have to operate in this existence-theorem way. They could instead—some do—use mathematics to develop functional forms into which the world's data can be plugged. It is the difference between abstract general equilibrium—a field of economics which practically everyone now agrees was a complete waste of time and talent—and computable general equilibrium, which has nothing whatever to do with the existence theorems and has everything to do with picking sensible numbers and simulating."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Frauden appels?

While Stiglitz may not agree with Steve Keen on the nature of debt, here he takes aim at Apple: