First law of economics

It is silly to base economics on game theory with rational actors. Rather, economics is emergent from psychology. Thus,

The economic productivity of a group of people is proportional to the average anxiety of its individuals.

I wanted to name it “Heaviside’s First Law of Economics” because he suggested something like this a couple of times and it took me a while to get around to it. (He’ll have to give an opinion on that and I think probably the law won’t be precise enough and he won’t like it.) He also suggested that everything would end up being fear at the bottom and that turns out to be true- anxiety is just another word for fear that happens to connote a solipsistic mental state rather than a situational reaction.

This law is merely the conclusion, but the big idea is this: an individual’s anxiety is to group activity level as a particle’s kinetic energy is to heat. For instance, in a complex system some particles will be smaller and therefore tend to have more kinetic energy than average at any given time. It’s the same with anxious people.

Combining this with the observation that cold causes anxiety whereas heat causes muscle relaxation, we can begin to see how cold climates don’t just select for anxiety at the population level- they cause it at the individual level. Further, we observe that the process of down-regulating anxiety requires the expenditure of mental energy. This is accomplished primarily by fearing that the problem will repeat, developing an understanding of the problem, and creating general strategies to overcome the problem if it arises. So anxiety causes people to engage in spontaneous problem-solving. It is the inverse of desire, or more to the point anxiety is the fundamental unit and the objects of our desires are merely our attempts to cancel it out.

And now some preaching.

Western Civilization was built on the unmarked mass graves of countless martyrs for the faith. Neoreactionaries take heed: you can’t recreate the glory of this civilization if you can’t inspire devotion to your Machiavellian pseudo-religions that will pass through torture and death. I doubt your chances of re-engineering this success because I doubt you truly understand what fuel drove it.

The Bible is a discomfiting book. That’s why Americans, who worship comfort, can’t be bothered to read it.

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21 Responses to First law of economics

  1. Edenist whackjob says:

    Certainly holds true for Sweden. People here are very stable but anxious at the same time. Stoical people who can hash out a Scrum sprint no problem, but need liquor to procreate. Cold-blooded.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      There will probably be a followup law to account for the fact that naturally anxious people go completely bonkers in the absence of good environmental reasons to have anxiety problems.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        Yep. One invents reasons to feel fear.

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        It bears mentioning that this predisposition goes much deeper than conscious thought, and we do it as a consequence of the way our perceptual faculties are built. We can’t stop doing it simply by training or by trying really hard, we can only recognize when it’s happening and account for it.

  2. Heaviside says:

    No, my first law would be, “In the last analysis, the processes of economic development are struggles for power. Our ultimate yardstick of values is ‘reasons of state,’ and this is also the yardstick for our economic reflections.”

    Cuckservatives need to give up their unrequited adulation of the free market. If Trump becomes President he should nationalize Macy’s. If cuckservatives were really serious about winning they would do just that, and they would use whatever pretext necessary to seize the assets of all their opponents, and they would send them all to be indefinitely detained without trial at Gitmo. They should nationalize every newspaper and media outlet, and kick all of the leftists out.

    They ought to have spent a little more time on Uncle Joe’s khaki-clad knee.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      I was thinking about this and I’ve had a curious insight. If we axiomatize power as a virtue (i.e. “knowledge is good” or some variant thereof), we fall into a similar spiral as those who preach utopia. Tom Kratman expressed this best in The Lotus Eaters but I’ll try to do it justice.

      If we believe it is possible to make a permanent improvement in the condition of mankind, then every action in support of that effort becomes licit and moral. What are the lives of 100 million people compared to the improvement bestowed on the infinite multitudes of our posterity?

      With power-as-virtue it’s the same conclusion: every act in the pursuit of power becomes licit and moral. And the effects are also the same, except a bit more directly than with those who preach utopia. The logical reason escapes me but this can’t be a coincidence. I know the explosion principle when I see it, and it is operative in here somewhere.

      • Heaviside says:

        History is power. Every religion has its dream of the end of the world. Those who don’t even try to bring about their vision of the end will wither and die.

        “Now a religious philosophy of history inevitably takes an apocalyptic colour, and for such a religious, Christian philosophy of history the fact is revealed that the meaning of revolution is an inward apocalypse of history. Apocalypse is not only a revelation of the end of the world and of the last judgment. Apocalypse is also the revelation of the continual nearness of the end within history itself, within time which is still historical, of a judgment upon history within history itself, an exposure of its failure. In our sinful, evil world an uninterrupted progressive development is impossible. In it much evil, much poison is always accumulating. In it the process of dissolution is always going on. Too often it happens that no positive creative regenerative forces are to be found in the community, and then judgment upon that community cannot be escaped; then inevitable revolution is ordained in the heavens; then a rupture of time takes place. An interruption comes, and those forces triumph which appear irrational from a historical point of view, but which, if we regard them from above and not from below, indicate the judgment of Meaning upon the Meaningless, the action of Providence in the darkness. The reactionary G. de Maistre was not a pure reactionary; he recognized this meaning of revolution.

        Revolution has an ontological meaning. This meaning is pessimistic and not optimistic. The revelation of this meaning goes against those who think that society can exist indefinitely in a peaceful and quiet condition while terrible poisons are accumulating in it, when evil and injustice prevail in it, behind seemly idealizations of the past. It is difficult to understand those Christians who consider that revolution is not permissible because of its violence and bloodshed, and at the same time regard war as wholly permissible and morally justifiable. War produces still more violence and sheds still more blood. Revolution, with its use of force and its bloodshed, is a sin, but war is a sin also, often a greater sin than revolution. All history is to a remarkable degree a sin, bloodshed and violence, and it is difficult for the Christian conscience to accept history; this is a fundamental paradox of Christian thought. Christianity is historical; it is the revelation of God in history and not in nature; it recognizes a meaning in history; but at the same time, Christianity could never find room for itself in history; it always passes judgment upon the injustices of history; it does not allow optimistic views about history. For that reason history must come to an end, must be judged by God, because in history the justice of Christ is not made a fact.

        Revolution is a small apocalypse of history, judgment within history. Revolution is like death; it is a passing through death which is the unavoidable consequence of sin. As the end of history as a whole will come in the passing of the world through death to arise into a new life, so also within history and within the individual life of man an end periodically comes, and death, for resurrection into a new life. This is what gives revolution its horror, its grimness, its pattern of death and blood. Revolution is a sin and the evidence of sin, as war is a sin and the evidence of sin. But revolution is the fate of history, the inevitable destiny of historical existence. In revolution judgment is passed upon the evil forces which have brought about injustice, but the forces which judge, themselves create evil; in revolution good itself is realized by forces of evil, since forces of good were powerless to realize their good in history. And revolutions in Christian history have always been a judgment upon historical Christianity, upon Christians, upon their betrayal of the Christian covenant, upon their distortion of Christianity. For Christians especially, revolution has a meaning and they, above all, must understand it. It is a challenge to Christians and a reminder that they have not made justice a fact of experience. To accept history is to accept revolution also; to accept its meaning as a catastrophic interruption in the destinies of a sinful world. To deny any meaning to revolution must bring with it the rejection of history also. But revolution is horrible, grim; it is ugly and violent, as the birth of a child is ugly and violent, as the pains of the mother who bears it are ugly and violent, as the child who is born is ugly and subject to violence; such is the curse on a sinful world. And upon the Russian revolution, perhaps more than upon any other, shines the reflected light of the Apocalypse. Judgments passed upon it from the point of view of what is normal, of normal religion and morals, of the normal understanding of law and economics, are all of them ludicrous and pitiful. The malevolence of those who made the revolution cannot but repel, but it cannot be judged solely from the point of view of individual morality.” — Nikolai Berdyaev

      • Heaviside says:

        When you kill people you are making history. You have made history out of them. They were, but they no longer are

  3. Edenist whackjob says:

    “It is silly to base economics on game theory with rational actors. Rather, economics is emergent from psychology.”

    Yeah. The ultimate limits are put on a system by matter and energy, the realistic limits by information, and the practical limits by social codes. Engineers build the car, finance types figure out how to convert your 9-to-5 job to access to that car so the system can keep running, and you buy the car to impress the neighbors.

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      What the industrial revolution did is boost the matter and energy signal via technology, which early capitalism (information layer) more or less preserved, which was then gobbled up by a social system geared toward raising survival value (people who grew up dirt poor on a farm).

      Today we have an uber-strong matter and energy signal (although science *is* in decline, and maybe there is something to peak oil, whoknows) coupled with a crippled information layer (shady bankers, various form of dysfunctional socialism, politics) which finishes in a social layer of enslaved automatons who trade mostly meaningless labor for access to consumer-induced feelz (comfort, status, etc). All of this so that someone can be at the top of the pyramid and look down.

      Robotization will increase the signal of the first layer even more, and make it obvious that human labor is not needed, but the information/allocation and social/psychology layers will lag behind. Really, the optimal thing would be a tech layer done Y Combinator style (startups, creative destruction, move fast, smash sluggish corporations’ monopolies), an information/allocation layer done Swiss style (basic welfare services like medicine + guaranteed minimum income, but otherwise free market capitalism), and a social layer where people consume for survival and get their feelz from creativity (aka thals). But all of this is made impossible because of the quality of humans.

      • Heaviside says:

        >Really, the optimal thing would be a tech layer done Y Combinator style (startups, creative destruction, move fast, smash sluggish corporations’ monopolies),

        Unsuccessful startups are a mostly just a trick to get engineers to work longer hours for less pay. Successful startups are mostly just branches of the CIA/NSA/DARPA.

        Startups, because they lack capital, put all of the power in the hands of VCs and ultimately the financial establishment. Engineers are generally treated quite a lot better at large established firms, but they have been brainwashed into thinking that they are somehow worse. If you want to challenge the power of the VCs, engineers have to create their own, long-lived institutions that can accumulate large enough piles of cash that they can fund whatever projects they want without having to beg for nickels and dimes from plutocrats.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        I read a theory that startups are like a cheaper R&D departments. You just acquihire the ones who show potential. Cheaper that way than running your own bloated R&D.

        My point wasn’t about engineer comfort, but more about what would be the most effective way to create wealth.

        AI is obviously top dog, but below that I think small startups rank highest. Bring together sufficiently smart and motivated people and keep the size small enough to keep politics out. Can’t really get more effective than that at our current tech level. I meant “startup” in an extended sense, also. A team of geniuses working within the military would qualify.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        “Can’t really get more effective than that at our current tech level.”

        Or can we? I’m imagining somekind of Brotherhood of Steel type organization, with many small teams of geniuses competing against each other, but sharing all advances on some kind of internal interwebz (coopetition I guess it’s called).

      • Heaviside says:

        >Cheaper that way than running your own bloated R&D.

        Yeah, except then everyone tries to build Uber for diapers instead of cold fusion.

        >My point wasn’t about engineer comfort, but more about what would be the most effective way to create wealth.

        If they aren’t willing to let engineers be comfortable, why would they give them creative freedom?

        >I’m imagining somekind of Brotherhood of Steel type organization,

        I’m imagining some sort of One Big Union for software engineers.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >The ultimate limits are put on a system by matter and energy, the realistic limits by information, and the practical limits by social codes.

      Wow, that’s some condensed truth right there. That shit deserves its own post.

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