Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The State Of The Markets, The State Of The Nation

Looks like another bad day overseas, and CTV economists are expecting a 500 hundred point plunge at opening on the DOW. A co-worker of mine made a call yesterday and found out that $4,000 of his retirement fund had just gone poof.

Recessions suck, and I expect that despite the solid fundamentals underlying the Canadian economy, we are headed into one that will be particularly bad. In 1990, if I remember correctly, there wasn't nearly the kind of stock market apocalypse that we've seen in the last couple of days.

And I remember last time around, when I was with a different employer, the company called a taxi for each of the people they were laying off. Of course they were all from one department and took smoke break together, so they were outside when the cars showed up. It was the cabbies told that first told them they'd been sacked.

As for the political effects, I agree with CG:

I think the"right thing for Canada" would be to wait until things get bad enough that people are willing to toss Harper over the economy and then bring 'em down.

Patience, people, patience.

11 comments:

David Duff said...

It is neither a "bad day" nor 'a good day'! It is merely the markets, reflecting a build up of detritus in the system, correcting themselves. That is what (free) markets do, bless their red socks and matching braces. In un-free markets, that is, those controlled by governments and politicians, no corrections can be made because that would indicate error (see: Soviet Union, Mao's China, Chavez' Venezuela, and so on, and on, 'ad infinitum and nauseum'.)

Actually, if you have a few bob (cents, or whatever), it's a very good day because sometime over the next few weeks and months will be a very good time to buy. You see, markets are like race horses, sometimes they win races for you, and other times they shit on your shoes!

bigcitylib said...

And if you've got a secure job, downturns can be fun. I might finally be able to afford that condo I've always wanted.

Ti-Guy said...

This the same David Duff who thinks the theory of evolution is inadequate to explain the development of life, is he not?

The only advice I'd take from someone like that would concern the best conditions for storing filberts.

David Duff said...

Indeed you might, BCL, if the worker in an insecure job, ie, one with a business enterprise that is *not* a success, moves to a job with another company that is. In that way, we all stand a chance of getting a little richer.

Ah, 'Ti-guy', the man who apparently does not realise that evolution theory does not explain "the development of life" at all, and nor did it ever pretend to. No-one has explained and demonstrated how inanimate matter became animate. Perhaps you mean the development of *differing* life forms, in which case evolutionary theory does offer an explanation, but, alas, not a very convincing one, unless you confine it to the explanation of changes *within* species, where-in it has been tested and not falsified.

There is another and, I suspect (I cannot know, I am not sufficiently qualified), better theory which, in that it is a computational process which is seen in other areas, for example, in today's market convulsions, makes it rather more convincing than Darwin's brave effort over which he, himself, had grave doubts. I would try and explain it to you, 'Ti-guy', but I think I heard the distant sound of a slamming door - or could it have been your mind?

Ti-Guy said...

Ah, 'Ti-guy', the man who apparently does not realise that evolution theory does not explain "the development of life" at all, and nor did it ever pretend to.

That's the origin of life. I wasn't referring to that, although the theory of order out of chaos and the subsequent order favouring replicating bodies is persuasive and does lead nicely into subsequent evolutionary theory.

Perhaps you mean the development of *differing* life forms, in which case evolutionary theory does offer an explanation, but, alas, not a very convincing one, unless you confine it to the explanation of changes *within* species, where-in it has been tested and not falsified.

Current evolutionary theory deals with speciation. At least I'm not aware of any great controversy.

There is another and, I suspect (I cannot know, I am not sufficiently qualified), better theory which, in that it is a computational process which is seen in other areas, for example, in today's market convulsions, makes it rather more convincing than Darwin's brave effort over which he, himself, had grave doubts.

Excellent. So I gather the filberts and find a healthy tree. Then what?

David Duff said...

I have no idea what a "filbert" is but gather as many as you like. When you have finished get on to Amazon and buy:

Chaos and Life: Complexity and Order in Evolution by Richard J. Bird. (Sorry, can't give you the ISBN, I've loaned it to my son.)

I don't know whether he's right or wrong, but in my dim way I sense that his theory is very much more compelling than Darwin's and appears to answer many of the difficulties of Darwinian theory that the neo-Darwinists refuse even to acknowledge. I would be interested in your critique of it, 'Ti-guy', because I only learn by reading the arguments between the experts.

Ti-Guy said...

I'm already aware of the chaos theory with regard to the origin of life and I find it competlling.

But I'm holding out for panspermia, at least as far as life on Earth is concerned, since I really like the idea of aliens. I'm hoping they'll contact us soon and give us food replicators and sex robots (for the rightwingers, who obviously aren't gettin' any).

You need to make distinctions between the origin of life which has to contend with life emerging from non-living matter and evolution. I don't get the sense that you understand the difference. "Survival of the fittest" is the complete opposite of chaos and is supported by far more evidence in evolutionary theory than chaos.

David Duff said...

No, 'Tiguy', Bird's theory has nothing to do with the origin of life; it is, and here I simplify to idiot level (sorry but I'm no scientist), his theory that reproduction is an example of a Turing machine constantly re-iterating dynamic equations which, so the mathematicians and chaos theory experts assure us, seem to go along quite steadily until suddenly, they go haywire. Obviously this explanation gets over the problem with Darwin's theory of zillions of tiny incremental changes which I have never believed and which, I gather, more and more mathematicians also doubt on the sensible grounds that there simply isn't enough time in the whole universe let alone earth for such diversity of form to evolve by such a slow rate.

Don't take my idiot-level explanation, go read the book, and then come back (to my place if you like) and criticise it - I would be genuinely interested to read what you have to say.

www.duffandnonsense.typepad.com

bigcitylib said...

David, There is actually too little available on the net re Dr. Bird for me to decide whether he makes sense or not.

But, more generally, the scenario you describe, where things go along for a long time and then go haywire, is not on the face of it anti-evolutionary. Google "S.J Gould" and "punctuated equilibrium" or "catastrophism". It is not even necessarily anti-Darwinian (according to Dawkins), because it isn't clear that Darwin doesn't allow for differing rates of evolution.

Ti-Guy said...

David...I read excerpts from Bird's book here and its looks interesting. I'm familiar with iterative processes thought to generate language, so this might be novel way of looking at evolution/life.

I might just read it. Thanks for the link.

David Duff said...

BCL, your point touches on a problem that infects all discussions with neo-Darwinists in that at some point they say, in effect, ah, but that's not the correct sort of Darwinism. (I have the same problem with Marxists who offer a similar reply whenever you point at the myriad examples of failed socialism!)

It's important to realise that the neo-Darwinist movement is riven by disagreements, of which you mention but one. Dawkins, for example, insists that all change occurred by means of very slow, tiny incremental changes, despite the fossil record (apparently) showing "punctured equillibrium". The point that Bird makes is based on the mathematics of constantly repeated equations in which the result is fed back into the next calculation. When you think about reproduction with the two strings of DNA joining together and then later on joining with another string and so on, you have an exact description of chaos mathematics, the results of which can be seen in weather systems, stock markets and so on. Don't ask me how, but according to the experts, like Bird, everything trots along smoothly until suddenly the numbers, for no apparent reason, start producing large peaks or troughs.

I cannot give you the reference because SoD (Son of Duff) has my book, but there is a scientific paper by some mathematicians who came to the conclusion that there isn't enough time in the universe for an eye to develop by tiny increments. However, the sort of dramatic jumps produced by iterated equations *might* be an explanation. It *feels* more convincing to me.

Anyway, I hope 'Ti-guy' reads the book and gives it a good crit. As I have said before, it's only by listening to the experts argue the point that I get a feel for these things.

Finally, you will note that Bird's theory does not presuppose, or dispose of, a God or Intellgient Designer. Sorry for any typos, I'm in a hurry.