Monday, February 13, 2012

Technology and Progress

Robert Frank is really starting to put some interesting notions on the table and will probably be examined more thoroughly and clearly than I would be able to in one blog post. Rather, I would like to touch up on his main theme if you will using Darwin's idea that perhaps the competition is more likely to bring negative than positive outcomes. I have a few problems with this and the way he begins this matter or narrative debate. I believe Darwin had a more reasonable sense to apply his methods to biology and not economy. A common aspect that you can pick from one scientist makes him no less of the "father of economics" than claiming that the methods Newton portrayed as he discovered that "what goes up, must come down". If I was to write an english paper regarding a new father of economics Newton would be a good choice. For example he completely explains the business cycle of economics by the way if things are tossed up they also fall, like a fluctuating normal market. Consider a human constantly tossing an apple up and down with each vertex symbolizing percent GDP growth, I think I may have found the true father of economics!
Perhaps that was a little too harsh to stab at his examples, he does extrapolate to cover more of his premise that competition ultimately has a negative outcome by mis-allocating resources. This is finally a more interesting topic to look at than who is the actual 'father' of economics. I believe to a certain extent that human consumption, or in the extreme case which we are observing (that is to say over-consumption), is a very rough area to observe. As it is more difficult to point out the physiological evolution of ants compared to a relatively small species of elk. If Frank wants to consider the first aspect of this, say the individual ant, is mostly unimportant until the demand is aggregate to a more reasonable number. Let's say that a colony or nation of ants have recently have grown a large demand (unexplicably) for cell phones. Now whether or not these cell phones now in production to profit from a large demand from this colony is a mis-allocation of resources could almost never be known.
We do know however that these ants now have the capability to communicate in a much quicker and mass spread that their old method of hive-mind has become obsolete. Yet to suggest that these resources after competing producers that are making better, more advanced cell phones, are a waste of resources that could perhaps been used for better structural integrity of the colony is unknown to the ants. At least the colony utilized their resources to come up with a product that is reasonably enough useful to keep. If these producers of cell phones hurt the colony in any other way of competition it would be unknown to them.
If Frank is only concerned with the resources that are expended in these common practices he should come out and say it. Although I understand his hesitation to do so. It would mean that someone would have to control these resources and prevent them from being wasted, but who is the only 'true' power that could try to tip markets? Although they have failed before, I think government would believe they are a prime candidate of such a position. To say that the regulations they impose is to protect ourselves from the harm of competition to say is very reverse for me to believe. I don't see OPEC benefiting in the long run when they halt production or speed it up after the meetings and hand shakes between CEO's are over and they turn to stab each other in the back. He may be right in the aspect that if all OPEC decides to speed up production and ruin the oil fields by removing too much too quickly, we be understandable. But I would like to believe that most well established companies would consider the long run disadvantage in their profits. Forsaking a few billion dollars in current rates all for the reason of gaining a few million dollars of profit is hard to believe by this student.

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