Friday, April 3, 2009

Infinite?

So a recent post I did that was really just a temper tantrum put down in words turned into a full on debate, with me supporting the side I was pissed at to start off with. By a wide margin, the most comments any post I have done has ever had, even if better than a third were mine.

I'm not really a fan of debate, I much prefer discussion. But it is easy to fall into when people have different views, especially when the difference is about the basic state of current reality. I am no more immune than others, and such things quickly develop a momentum of their own.

I am currently spending an excessive amount of time doing research on all sorts of economic data, trying to get a feel for trends, testing what I thought I knew against cold hard numbers. When I figure out a good format, I will try and make what I find accessible online.

A couple of requests for anyone who reads this:

1 - How do we measure success on a societal scale? Please try to step back from policy focus and think large scale. For example, equality is good, but everyone starving would be equality. It is not enough by itself. How do we evaluate the health of a system overall?

2 - Anyone know a good flexible way of generating graphs to present data in an easily readable format. I would like to be able to post both graphs and raw tables. The FRED graphs come with shaded bands that show recessions. I would like to be able to mark administrations, congressional majorities, perhaps add lines to show when particular legislation occurred.

And a final thought that created the title for this post. Every major political group, every big name analyst, every budget proposal has one thing in common. They all assume that the goal is infinite growth.

Nothing grows infinitely.

2 comments:

Matt April 3, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

How do we measure success on a societal scale? Please try to step back from policy focus and think large scale. For example, equality is good, but everyone starving would be equality. It is not enough by itself. How do we evaluate the health of a system overall?

At a large scale, I think the best we can do is measure how well a society supports success on the part of its members; even talking about what it means for a society to succeed in itself is too ambitious for me. A good place to start would be with life expectancies and infant mortality rates: without life, liberty and property become largely irrelevant.

(O)CT(O)PUS April 3, 2009 at 7:11 PM  

A very hurried comment (a project on defined benefit pensions and the PBGC has me preoccupied right now). There is still no simple way to generate graphs than to find the data sets and make your own plots in a program that generates jpeg or gif output for posting. My choice: Powerpoint ... clumsy and time-consuming as it is.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP