Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Epistomology, Intellectual Titans, and Puns

            We don’t, or often don’t “know what we know”. Admitting your ignorance is the essential first step to maintain reputability. To start, Plato puts it simply in his allegory of the cave, 
“Most people, including ourselves, live in a world of relative ignorance.  We are even comfortable with that ignorance, because it is all we know.”
 I will follow in Freudian footsteps after looking into the history of economics and then dip into our main topics of epistemology and Adam Smith. Hope to see you at the bottom of this post.

What does it take for the field of economics to go from one extreme essential doctrine to the opposite? Prove them wrong and find out. Or just wait until the next superbowl. Or wait until the next world war. For years, economists, philosophers, psychologist, etc. have been arguing and toppling each other’s arguments. Back and forth us citizens bounce from one school of (fish) thought to another, radically altering our fundamental beliefs from time to time. Thanks to anthropologists for figuring that out. RIP to the field today. Let’s take Freud’s penis envy theory as an example of epistemology first, and then we’ll get to Adam Smith. (Side note: Empiricism’s major elements are Occam’s razor (Be stingy to a fault) and parsimony (simplest is often best) )

Logistically speaking, Freud must’ve known that some of the things was saying were full of shit. Instead of being humble though, he was 99.9 % sure in every single theory, to account for one or two bad apples. How does parsimony come into the picture?  Even without being wrong often, some of his ideas were awful, yet he presented them all as equally likely. That’s not Parsimonious, Siggy. He’s not all bad, though. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that during Freud’s intellectual peak a greater percentage of his contributions were stimulating to scientific discovery than not and he is therefore economically or academically viable to be taught to students all over the world. He still isn’t old enough to be bone-a-fide (insert Laughter here). He is dead actualy, but not for as long as Plato and Smith! Ah, so many of my heroes were cocky drunks, though… Go ahead and keep your name and fame, we only use it as a front for the massive body of real research spun from your ideas anyways. 

Adam Smith is basically America in one person. He’s the dude that all of our “Founding Fathers” had boy crushes on. Like Plato, Adam Smith notes human ignorance, while writing against foreign import constraints in Scotland (then Britain) in favor of a global economy, 
“He (man) intends only his own gain; and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.” 

Sounds like god to me, or demi-god. Either way, empiricism and logic demand that we do not assume this force guiding us is infinitely good in the same way we do not assume a pop up declaring us the winner of $ 500,000 is a lucky lightning strike. (Side note: What happens when you invest in Foreign Tobacco? Lucky Strike. Ha-ha, they’d be profitable if they were allowed in USA). 

The future exists whether you’re right or wrong about it, but you still exist long after death if you guess right. The demand for trendsetters is apparent, not transparent. MAKE YOUR MARK!!! BE THE BEST YOU CAN. Recognition for setting the stage for cultural and scientific discovery is no different. Whoever randomly happens to be right is remembered throughout history. You know the drill. Everybody try to get your name in the history books. The nature of the future in my view is that you try to foresee it and then act or speak accordingly. With so many people making guesses at what the future will hold, somebody has got to be right sometimes. 

1,2,3, #SWEconomics is easy as Alpha. Effect Size. Delta. Can’t you see, over-confident GREEKS!? Full chests must be good for something…. TREASURE!! SWEEETT doesn’t stand for Students Who Enjoy Economics, Eating, & Talking Together. YET.

1 comment:

  1. Adam Smith believed that competition-- the belief that everyone should have a fair chance to compete to make, sell, and buy goods and services-- was the key to economic success. This means that everyone should have a fair chance to compete to make, sell, and buy goods and services.