Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
|I also contribute to Division of Labour||Load HL's Front Page|
Saturday, December 12, 2009
C.P. Snow's lectures at Harvard in 1961 title "Science and Government" provided a lot of things to think about. One issue that came to conversation with my father a few days ago was the extent to which science is replicated independently. What I mean by that is how often there are two or more people working completely independent of one another who, in the process of answering the same general question, come to the same general answer.
My father's examples were two-fold. First, the creation of the calculus was undertaken by two people thousands of miles apart and completely unaware of each others existence. The other was the advancement of nuclear weapons after world war two. The latter example is important because there were fears, some of them legitimate and others not so legitimate, that there were spies on both sides of the iron curtain feeding information back and forth and reducing the value of each side's "secrets." The point is that it is difficult to know just what is a secret that has been shared with an enemy and what is the enemy asking and answering the same question you are and coming up with a very similar answer.
Snow has something to say in this area which I found very interesting (and which might have some role in economic science and climate change science):
This is probably true in economic science - that countries of equal income and investment probably come to the same general conclusion about economic problems. In economic science, as opposed to climate change science, economists all over the world are working on different data samples and, more or less, coming to the same general conclusions - which refute one set of theories and support another set. At the same time there are divisions within economic science, especially in the macroeconomic area, which often fall along political lines. In these cases there is less concensus but still many occassions when economists of a similar world view come to similar conclusions using different data.
It also seems to me that what Snow is proposing, that countries of similar technological and economic status often come to similar conclusions might have some bearing on the current global military struggle. The West would seem to have a permanent technological advantage over our military adversary this does not mean that we have a permanent tactical/strategic advantage. Moreover, if it is true that our postmodern society is not conducive to car bombings, suicide bombings, and the collateral damage that goes along with that form of military strike, then it is entirely possible that our cultural disparity could hinder our ability to achieve victory.
Comments: Post a Comment
Le Chai - galerie du vin
Posts that contain Craig Depken per day for the last 90 days.
Heavy Lifting's Main Page
Money I Found Today
Heavy Lifting - Firehose style (56k warning)
- More from C.P. Snow
Modified maystar design
powered by blogger