Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Nazinomics - Preface

One recent fad on the left is following Mossler and Galbraith's "Modern Monetary Theory." MMT wrong in all three of its assertions. It is not modern, it is not monetary, and it is not a theory, that is it generates no frame work of equations from its assertions. Instead, it is a very old idea, namely that the government can take everything you have. It is "modern" in the sense of being 20th century, in that it asserts that all money comes from the sovereign. Or "the leader." Or to use the German. Der Fuehrer. Mossler has taken the Godwin Gambit: the way to win any argument is to be a nazi. No one can tell the truth about you. The lesser version is to be an idiot. No one can call you an idiot without being rude. Mossler will make a great deal of money from MMT. He is a Nazi. If you aren't getting paid to shill for it, than you are an idiot.

MMT is wrong on virtually every point: it is wrong on history, wrong on economics, wrong on sociology. It appeals because it seems to offer a way of breaking down the barriers that face us: more and more rental claims are piling up. The top of the economy is awash in an arms race inflation, while the bottom is gripped by austerity. In one sense, in an essentiality of error sense, it might have been useful. But of course, those who have implemented it are greedy and stupid, and have botched the implementation, because instead of being a cudgel of the far left against the center-left to not deal with the right, it is now merely one more way where oxygen for good ideas, is sucked out by bad ideas.

This essay will be divided into the historical creation of currency, showing that the creation of currency contradicts the assertions of MMT. Then it will analyze the creation of the present monetary order, and the relationship between the growth of a market-state, and the command of currency. Then it will show how the functions of what we call money are both coordinate and contradictory. Then it will present a conductive/convect theory, as in a theory, as the the functioning of abstract exchange.

Of course I don't expect to convince Nazi zealots of MMT, because their eyes are fixed on the ability to inflate away the debt. However, the ability to inflate away debt is already happening, so the last part of the essay is an ugly truth: MMT is merely a demand on the part of people who do not have access to the present regime of fiat money, to get access to it, and on terms favorable to them. As with many bad ideas on the left, it is really a hope by those marginally outside of the right wing system, to be moved into it.

Generative Epistemology - III The ontological necessity of error.

So far, the tone on the few posts I have finished has been iconoclastic and contemptuous of much of the product of human thinking. There's a reason for that, most of it is not really thinking forward, but the process of communalizing fundamental factors of human cognition. Methods like faith, certainty, the illusion of free will, are deeply built into us, as is the illusion of physicality. We think we see solid objects and that that is "the world." In fact most of those objects are empty space, and most of the universe is not composed of what we call "ordinary matter." These are illusions that are productive in that they allow us to rapidly estimate the behavior of a vast number of interactions faster than they occur.

This is the ontological reality: error is essential. The universe, even when it is not decided, is definitive. Therefore to out run it, we must be wrong. There is no escape from error, because inaccuracy is to look ahead in the future.

This means that much of what we think of as thinking, is not. It is, instead, bounding. We bound a method of thought, to bound the error. This bounding creates a truth manifold. A truth manifold is when the map is tolerably close, to what it maps. The map cannot be what it maps, unless the map is synthetically limited. What I mean by this is we can create a map that maps itself, but then it must be trivial enough not to describe itself, otherwise it produces a Goedelian. A goedelian is a statement which recursively asserts that it is not grammatical within the map. There are three ways out.

One is to accept that there will be statements that lead to contradictions. The other is to have an unlimited number of assertions which block going down a particular line of reasoning. We tell children "you can't divide by zero." But in any logical system that is like Euclid's we must have an infinite number of these. We simply push them out far enough so that they do not happen in ordinary use. Truth, it can be shown, does not map to a finite number of statements, or a finite manner of making them. Any finite map can be represented by a "von Neumann machine." But no truth can be.

So what we do is we create maps. Epistemology as it has been practiced by people to date is wrestling with the difference between maps and truth, or asserting there is no truth until it is mapped. The two sides argue endlessly. Both are deep within us, because one is our adaptation to compare what we thought we would experience to what we experience, and editing our memories accordingly, and the other is the various kinds of language.

What we teach now in epistemology is self-contradictory. We create hoards of priests of the different schools, because really, they are like diets: they work for some people in some situation, but not for other people. Some people gain weight on pasta, others lose it, some people can eat high fat diets and lose weight, others cannot. Your body is different, but alike. The entire operation of philosophy, the profession, is at odds with philosophy the idea. Philosophy the idea is mental health, philosophy the idea, is one diet fad after another.

I will take on one particular example: Popperianism. It is poppycock, and trivially demonstrable as such. Popperianism states that the essential quality of a potential truth is falsifiability, and that which is falsified is dispensed with. Now, attend.

Newtonian Physics is false. It has been falsified. It was falsified, in fact, before Popper. We teach it anyway. The excuse made is that relativity "reduces" to newtonian mechanics. It does not, because Newtonian mechanics asserts a fundamentally different theory of space time than does relativity. The truth then, is that falsifiability is either unfalsifiable, because it has been falsified and is still used. It is self-contradictory. One can generate any number of philosophies that work, so long as the first principles are not open to their own examination. One can do Geology from Genesis, assuming that the devil made up all of history to fool you, but it isn't a good idea, because then you will stumble from one empirical observation to the next, each time rationalizing some feature of the Satan to explain it.

And yet we not only have Popperianism, but an entire cult of it. I'm not picking on it in particular more than others, merely that its priests happen to be more visible to me, so the example is readily to hand.

So what is epistemology? As already stated, it is the process of bounding error, and communalizing the very different ways that we deal with the ontological. Because error is essential, and inescapable, we live in a generative epistemology. We are sure of something, not because it has not been falsified, but because we believe that whatever error will occur is within acceptable bounds. These seem like created quantities, unmeasurable and unmade. However, they will, as can be shown, produce what is closer to the truth.

Euclid then was not proving truths, but mapping the world, and showing how certain methods would produce a level of error which was acceptable. He was unmaking untruth as much as he was making truth.

So what then of the pure gamesman? The problem with the assertion that there is nothing but the map has already been explained: the map is either trivial, or wrong even on its own terms, or both. Hence we neither begin from a cosmic game given us from someplace, nor do we merely toy with language.

But in order to deal with the mess that these realities leave behind, it is necessary to take a fundamentally different way of experiencing being.