2117. Silos and economics

Silos allow for research that connects dots within the silo, but not connecting to dots in other silos. Silos exist probably as a least cost way of organizing a university.  But so limiting. Things can be more interesting.

Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of blood (1628) was quickly followed by Petty’s (who began his career as Harvey’s personal assistant) concept of the velocity of circulation of money, and afterwards the circulation of blood in a body became a go-to analogy for the circulation of money in the economy.”  From Malko’s great book Economics and Its Discontents.

He continues, 

When the Scottish physician Arbuthnot urged in 1773, “Let the corn flow like water, and it will find its level,” he encapsulated both the ends and means of the physiocratic argument. Freedom of trade must lead to the best possible results because market is both the providential and natural place of equalization. First, Divine Providence guarantees the proper functioning of the markets, and therefore all imbalance must be caused by human wrongdoings Second, the market mechanism is conceived in biological and hydraulic terms. Already Boisguilbert (Chapter 21) theorized market equilibrium in these terms, arguing that: “by immediately removing an “unnatural element” like a fallen boulder, the deviation of the natural course of a river ceases, with the ensuing reestablishment of the good conditions of nature. Consequently “the remedy of an ill is nothing more than the cessation of its cause.” No “disorder” has ever been found in nature without its “remedy”, as “there cannot be a mountain without a valley.”

Unaided flow supports a conservative view that governments should not interfere in markets. Metaphor’s unexplored implications can be a sign of ideological intent, not an effort in analysis. The river flows but integrated with the rain, pulled up by evaporation and cooled in the upper atmosphere (what happens to clouds in the warmer air of climate change?).The river is hardly self equilibrating.  Economy “like the  flow of blood”, but what is the equivalent in economics of the heart The blood is not in equilibrium by itself.

Malko BTW has chosen to be a high school teacher in Poland and runs a project where small press magazines with siloed points of view publish each others articles in order to create some dialog.   See NYT https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/29/opinion/poland-journalism.html

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