In MAKE Vol. 15, George Dyson, who writes the Retrospect column, looked at the mortgage meltdown.
The roots of the current financial meltdown can be found in John von Neumann’s model of general economic equilibrium, first developed in 1932. Von Neumann elucidated the behavior of an expanding, autocatalytic economy where “goods are produced not only from ‘natural factors of production,’ but ... from each other,” and he proved the coexistence of equilibrium and expansion using the saddle-point topology of convex sets. Some of his assumptions – such as that “the natural factors of production, including labour, can be expanded in unlimited quantities” and that “all income in excess of necessities of life will be reinvested” – appeared unrealistic to others at the time, less so now that Moore’s Law and the zero-cost replication of information are driving the economy of today. Other assumptions, such as an invariant financial clock cycle, are conservative under the conditions now in play.
Von Neumann, who made seminal contributions to digital computing, left a number of distinct monuments to his abbreviated career, among them his Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (with Oskar Morgenstern) and his Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata (with Arthur Burks). Synthesis between these two regimes is now advancing so quickly that no unified theory of the economics of self-reproducing systems has been able to keep up. Periodic instability should come as no surprise. We may be on the surface of a balloon. Or in the saddle of a dynamic equilibrium – we hope.
Can you have your house and spend it too?
• Amazon’s new Chinese thermal spycam vendor was blacklisted by U.S. over allegations it helped China detain and monitor Uighurs and other Muslim minorities
Mark Di Stefano of the Financial Times is accused by The Independent of accessing private Zoom meetings held by The Independent and The Evening Standard as journalists were learning how coronavirus restrictions would affect them.
Hackers tried to break into the World Health Organization earlier in March, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, Reuters reports. Security experts blame an advanced cyber-espionage hacker group known as DarkHotel. A senior agency official says the WHO has been facing a more than two-fold increase in cyberattacks since the coronavirus pandemic began.
If you’re a fan of ABC’s entrepreneurial feeding frenzy “Shark Tank,” then you know complete buyout offers from the expert Sharks don’t happen all that often. But back in 2017, that’s exactly what happened when inventor Logan Riley debuted his instantly eye-catching creation the RokBlok to the agog Sharks. Part of the reason that happened […]
Back in the 50s and 60s, it was no big deal in most areas to make a call to your local liquor store and have beer, wine and spirits delivered right to your house with little to no restriction. However, that ease and simplicity certainly isn’t in place today. Alcohol delivery laws in 2020 are […]
Unless you’re a regular cannabis user, you might be surprised to learn that the plant itself is basically just that — a plant. It’s not until you put cannabis under high heat that the process of decarboxylation breaks down that raw form into the psychoactive compounds that can actually benefit the body. This unlocking process […]