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Google in Sicko Storm - Welcome to democracy google style

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Jimdoria, I hope you are a professional writer - and if so, please point me to more stuff of yours i can read -- you really write well and in an entertaining style.  :up:

Nice followup essay:
So, to recap, the recipe for a disaster is easy: hire marketers with no authentic voice, ask them to pimp offal, and when they're busted for it make them force out an apology in which they blame it on their authentic voice.
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Aw, thanks, Mouser!  :-[

Actually, I am a professional writer, or rather I was, if you count technical writing as professional writing. I was a tech writer for years, and did write the (very) occasional column for trade magazines, although some of these were done anonymously.

Unfortunately, product cycles being what they are, I probably couldn't point you to a single thing online that I've written, other than my blog, which is also a very occasional affair.

Anyway, thanks for the compliment!  :D

I always have to smile at the mention of the invisible hand, though. It's a 230-year-old metaphor, yanked out of its original context about the balance between foreign and domestic trade, and given a whole new life as a universal palliative. The invisible hand takes the frightening, highly ambiguous complexity of the real world of market dynamics and reduces it to a simplistic, soothing mantra which assures us all will be well. Whenever the invisible hand shows up, I take it as a clear signal of what kind of discussion is actually taking place: one about religious belief.-Jimdoria (July 10, 2007, 02:41 PM)
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Obviously Adam Smith couldn't have been speaking from experience about a world so mind-bogglingly interdependent, with near-instantaneous communication, overnight exchange rate arbitrage, etc., but these things actually bolster his point.

To be sure, there's a kernel of truth in your comment about religious beliefs. The whole point is that the system is so complex that it is literally impossible for any one entity to comprehend, let alone engineer. So there must be some element of a leap of faith. But the leap to accept it from what we know scientifically isn't a large one. I think it's very much analogous to accepting the theory of evolution. In that case, we know that evolution does occur, we know a great deal about how it works, and can provide rational explanations for why certain paths were taken. But this doesn't actually prove that it did happen in order to produce humans.

Smith's writing may have been more Gedankenexperiment than real science, but that's no longer the case. Modern economics and econometrics let us verify that the market really works, and even get an understanding of why it sometimes behaves counterintuitively. This is no longer in the realm of a soothing palliative. When today's economists talk about the invisible hand, they are talking specifically about emergent self-ordering systems, precisely the same kind of thing that evolutionary biologists describe: the emergence of a highly complex and fine tuned system (e.g., the human body) from a staggeringly chaotic environment.

There's been a lot of work on this in recent decades. For example, F.A. Hayek won a Nobel Prize in 1976(?) for describing the way that prices serve as the communication mechanism for signaling, e.g., the availability of resources and their relative interchangeability. This is what I was trying to get at above, when I mentioned the scarcity of bandwidth and how important the partisan considers his message.

If you can stomach a book on economics and political philosophy, let me recommend that you read Hayek's The Fatal Conceit. I suppose that for any avid reader, there are just a few books you encounter in your life that truly and deeply effect the way that you think; for me, this was one of those books. Beforehand your "religious" comment would have been apt. But after having read this I understand (as well as any non-economist) why the system is, necessarily, the way it is, whether or not we like it.

CWuestefeld, thank you as well for a great post.. I'm going to read Hayek's book on your recommendation.  I really do appreciate your thoughtful comments.


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