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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2007 :  06:32:00  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I watched Michael Shermer on Youtube talking about an "invisible hand" (sounds like superstition to me), and listened to Frank Cress, the Conservative Atheist on a Podcast talking about how he uses "reason" to find informative sources such as David Horowitz (and recommends Ann Coulter on his web site, except she's been a little too religious lately for his taste).

That led me to google "Michael Shermer" economics and came up with these two articles:

one at the New York Times

And one at a SciAm blog:

So, I have to ask. What does "reason" have to do with invisible hands, and David Horowitz, and attacking other countries?

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter




Edited by - Gorgo on 07/16/2007 06:34:16

Mycroft
Skeptic Friend

USA
427 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2007 :  19:25:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Mycroft a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

Well, I watched Michael Shermer on Youtube talking about an "invisible hand" (sounds like superstition to me), and listened to Frank Cress, the Conservative Atheist on a Podcast talking about how he uses "reason" to find informative sources such as David Horowitz (and recommends Ann Coulter on his web site, except she's been a little too religious lately for his taste).

That led me to google "Michael Shermer" economics and came up with these two articles:

one at the New York Times

And one at a SciAm blog:

So, I have to ask. What does "reason" have to do with invisible hands, and David Horowitz, and attacking other countries?


Simple. Learn what the metaphor means before judging.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_hand
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2007 :  06:38:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's a pretty thorough article, thanks. And it backs up what I said pretty well. I was only half kidding about superstition. I had read most of this kind of analysis about it, but not all, and it confirms what I said. Most of what economists use the idea for seems to be nonsense, and not even what Smith meant, if we care at all about what Smith said.

Superstitious nonsense.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2007 :  07:25:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would like to read Shermer's (upcoming) book on Economics. It seems he also fights against some straw men. I don't really know anyone over the age of 14 that thinks the problem is wealthy people or that talk about a zero sum game.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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JEROME DA GNOME
BANNED

2418 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2007 :  06:14:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send JEROME DA GNOME a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

That's a pretty thorough article, thanks. And it backs up what I said pretty well. I was only half kidding about superstition. I had read most of this kind of analysis about it, but not all, and it confirms what I said. Most of what economists use the idea for seems to be nonsense, and not even what Smith meant, if we care at all about what Smith said.

Superstitious nonsense.


Wealth of Nations

What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. - Bertrand Russell
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2007 :  06:29:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ever read it all?

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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JEROME DA GNOME
BANNED

2418 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2007 :  06:47:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send JEROME DA GNOME a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

Ever read it all?


Awhile back. I am rereading it now.


What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. - Bertrand Russell
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2007 :  06:50:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by JEROME DA GNOME

Originally posted by Gorgo

Ever read it all?


Awhile back. I am rereading it now.


Haven't and probably never will. Do you agree with this statement below?

Most of what economists use the idea for seems to be nonsense, and not even what Smith meant, if we care at all about what Smith said.


I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 09/03/2007 06:51:04
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JEROME DA GNOME
BANNED

2418 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2007 :  12:31:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send JEROME DA GNOME a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo Do you agree with this statement below?

[quote]Most of what economists use the idea for seems to be nonsense, and not even what Smith meant, if we care at all about what Smith said.


Sorry, I am not understanding the statement. Could you; please, rephrase the thought?


What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. - Bertrand Russell
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2007 :  14:46:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by JEROME DA GNOME

Originally posted by Gorgo Do you agree with this statement below?

[quote]Most of what economists use the idea for seems to be nonsense, and not even what Smith meant, if we care at all about what Smith said.


Sorry, I am not understanding the statement. Could you; please, rephrase the thought?




The idea of the "invisible hand." Shermer uses it as superstition, that somehow god comes down and makes the markets work, and if only the government would allow it to work, we would have utopia.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 09/03/2007 14:46:26
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JEROME DA GNOME
BANNED

2418 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2007 :  18:48:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send JEROME DA GNOME a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Gorgo

The idea of the "invisible hand." Shermer uses it as superstition, that somehow god comes down and makes the markets work, and if only the government would allow it to work, we would have utopia.


I do not think that is what Shermer or Smith means by the use of the phrase "invisible hand". It refers to; in my understanding, the action of an economy that is predicated on individuals making equitable trades with other individuals that satisfy each others self interest to the benefit of both.

What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. - Bertrand Russell
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JEROME DA GNOME
BANNED

2418 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2007 :  18:53:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send JEROME DA GNOME a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gorgo, I do believe that government does have a roll in these transaction. It is limited in that it can only right wrongs done within these trades. These wrongs should only be defined as force or lies.


What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. - Bertrand Russell
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2007 :  20:19:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by JEROME DA GNOME

I do not think that is what Shermer or Smith means by the use of the phrase "invisible hand". It refers to; in my understanding, the action of an economy that is predicated on individuals making equitable trades with other individuals that satisfy each others self interest to the benefit of both.
Ignore the "somehow god comes down" part of what Gorgo said and it's nearly as superstitious. It seems to me that the promise of the "invisible hand" is that bad actors within an economy will be punished without governmental intervention simply because fewer people will trade with them. The largely unspoken premise behind the argument is that human nature will be suspended - in that people will generally act in their own self-interest without being greedy - a premise I, for one, reject given the fact of the many scam-artists who are still making a lot of money after being shown to be frauds.

If everyone did act with the enlightened self-interest required by the "invisible hand" theory, then many regulatory bodies of the US government, including (but not limited to) the FDA and the FTC (both of which are less than 100 years old) would be unnecessary. But in reality, most people would prefer to get something for nothing, and the "bad actors" know this and prey upon it. The "invisible hand" requires an idealism among the majority of participants which doesn't exist and has never existed.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2007 :  02:41:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The "invisible hand" requires an idealism among the majority of participants which doesn't exist and has never existed.


I thought that's what I said.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2007 :  02:45:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by JEROME DA GNOME

Gorgo, I do believe that government does have a roll in these transaction. It is limited in that it can only right wrongs done within these trades. These wrongs should only be defined as force or lies.


You believe that government has a role in creating corporations, creating and regulating the markets, prolonging medieval ideas like patents and copyrights, licenses, providing subsidies to huge corporations, making sure wages are kept low and that wars of aggression continue? Because that is what capitalism is.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2007 :  08:15:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think I'd rather see Shermer pushing homeopathy. That's just water. This kind of thing leads to much greater damage than homeopathy.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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