Friday, January 29, 2010

Quantum Economics?

I was helping one of my daughters with her physics homework the other day (subject: pressure, she's in junior high) and my thoughts wandered to how little we really understand the economy. The immediate reason was that her teacher insisted on a verbatim definition of pressure, exactly as it appeared in her textbook, and loped off 50% of her grade in a a recent test because she answered in her own words.

I was mad as hell and even contemplated pulling rank on him (I had a couple of rather famous physics professors in college), but better sense prevailed. I am old enough to know that an old dog can't change his bark and all I could accomplish would be to put my kid on the spot. The guy probably thinks that Newtonian physics is current science, anyway...

Which brings me to the post's subject: given that quantum physics describes our world in terms of multiverses, probability functions and uncertainty, why do dismal economists still insist on "classical" theories from the time of Adam Smith, the near contemporary of said Sir Isaac Newton - who lost a fortune speculating in the South Seas Bubble and was then honest enough to admit that “I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people”.

(Note: If you haven't already read it, I strongly recommend Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay's classic first published in 1841 and continuously re-printed ever since.)

The Law Of Gravity As Applied To Fools

Our "modern" economic theory even predates thermodynamics! How can we possibly still use Adam Smith as our economic foundation, without first integrating real science into markets and money so that they are at least compatible with the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics? After all, isn't the real economy all about the transformation of matter and energy? Or have we focused so much on money, finance and intangible assets that we have come to think of them as the economy?

And when I say "real science" I certainly don't mean the thin veneer of financial engineering that was applied onto the rotten surface of structured finance (CDO-cubed?!), but something entirely different. For example, why don't we start by including into our econometric models those pesky "externalities" (pollution, environmental degradation, resource depletion...) that Adam Smith left out? Maybe he (and so many others after him) was right in ignoring them, living as he did in an 18th century world that seemed boundless. But can we ignore them today?

Isn't what we are going through today another manifestation of living under boundary conditions? Or, to use a parallel from physics: hasn't our world "shrunk" to the point where Newtonian physics no longer applies and we have to start using quantum economics?


  1. i have my son with me so i can relate with what kind of economics we are struggling right now. thanks for your post, you inspired to make a blog about all the problems I am encountering right now in terms of economic crisis

  2. Economics is about human action, pursuing ones goals in the context of ones means.
    In that sense, there is no reason that economics should change fundamentally. Men are still men.

    That said, many important things have been discovered since Adam Smith, such as marginal utility or the understanding of interest rate as a market aggregate of individual's time preference.

    I find the Austrian School economics (see the most convincing and consistent. But on the surface, their methods seem archaic: plain reasoning, no maths or models.
    It's a mistake to dismiss this method on such superficial grounds, as there are good reasons why maths cannot model human action. In particular, no model of competition or monopolies takes into account ingenuity and innovation. Instead, neo-classical models focus on price competition, which is easy to model mathematically, but is a small part of real competition.

  3. Julien Couvreur, Austrian school is one of the gold standard. They do not need models, they need fear.

    Have a daily read at this blog. I am sure you will find it challenging and opening some eyes

    In this sense Sudden Debt is right on the spot with Quantum Economics?

  4. have a good day.

  5. Hello Hell,

    I couldn't agree more. The thought that we can accurately calculate something... ...when we don't even have the right numbers to put into the equation is just madening!

    If X = fiction
    If Y = fiction

    What is X*Y=???

    This isn’t a case of “madness of people” as much as it’s the obfuscation of truth and manipulation of our reality to create a perceived a fiction that best suits the people who control the horizontal (X) and the vertical (Y). They are writing fiction, and selling it as fact.

    I explore the irrationality of modern economics, and the factors of compounding errors in a piece I wrote for Roubini’s RGE some time ago.

    hope the link works…

    All the best, Rich Hartmann (aka - Miss America)

  6. I would have thought you could afford a better caliber of private school faculty than that.

    I can remember being somewhere around the 4th grade and realizing intuitively that perma-growth was an impossibility in a finite world of resources. Nevermind how long it might take for scarcity to create problems, eventually resources run out. Later I did my required time in economics classrooms, finding it just as irrelevant and impossible at 20 as I did at 10. It's worthless and more of a religion than a science. The way we teach economics requires blind faith and adherence to impossible assumptions -- the worst of which is that human beings always (or even mostly) act rationally in their own best interest. At least Newtonian Physics works up to a point, Adam Smith and the ol' Guns 'n Butter crowd have to invent their own universe for things to work.

  7. Hell, I sympathize with you and your kid's predicament.
    When my son was in 6th grade, he wrote a French paper, and the teacher told him that in one of his sentences, the conjugation was off. He showed it to us, and... his teacher was wrong. But, we all knew that telling this to his teacher would have been, how should we say this... COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.
    I told my kids too often when they were in junior and high school that it was an unfortunate fact that CONTEXT seemed to have dictated that their education was inferior to mine. (yeah, all that propaganda about progress, you better NOT believe it ; while some things may SEEM to go forwards, others are regressing at the same time.)
    As for quantum economics, Hell, I shall untiringly direct you to my economic BIBLE, the Merchant of Venice, wherein Shylock decrees that... he prefers getting his pound of flesh to recovering 10X the value of his bond, and that there is NO REASON for his preference.
    And William was writing quite a few years before Adam...
    Some "theories" are timeless.

  8. Oh, so we shall let nihilism show us the way? Have fun when you realize even math is not real.

    ... Hell, we think more alike than you might imagine. ;-)

    re: externalities

    So are we humans particles or are we waves? (forgive the mysticism) and is flipper also part of the wave?

    Personally I think social institutions/human consciousness/etc... are Bose-Einstein condensates for reasons I will not get into in the interest of brevity; as I can never prove this, who knows?

    @Julien and Rich Hartman

    re: the nature of truth.

    As long as we are tiptoeing into the realm of the quantum, I think you (might?) be missing a point.

    Remember: this statement is false.

    Have fun ;-)

  9. I propose we keep this issue KISS simple.

    Howabout we start with:

    1. Place strict limits on money supply growth based on population levels. Limit bank leverage to enforce this growth.

    2. Place limits on number of people employed by government (I'd say 25% maximum, although that's just a guess as to the "sweet spot" of public vs. private employment.). Include in this figure industries supported by direct and indirect payments as "government employed" (ex. "private" education subsidized by taxpayers in the form of grants or subsidies).

    3. No single entity, either public or private, can represent more than 0.5% of GDP. If an entity does become TBTF, then break it up into smaller entities, nationalizing the parts that need be, and force share and bondholders to take the hit.

    4. Place limits on capital markets to prevent high frequency trading, arbitrage plays and other casino-style "system gaming" strategies. These are effectively a tax on investors paid directly to the funds that run such schemes, with no benefit to the rest of the country. As a result of this, investment banks will have to return to their original business, acting as venture capitalists for the "next big thing" (ironically, IMO they would have made more money and society would have benefited if they had stuck to their original business!)

    I'm just spitballing here, and perhaps others have suggested these (or similar) but it's a start.

  10. OK Thai…

    My education is limited. …and my abilty (or should I say willingness) to comprehend that view into Godel’s madness of reason exceeded my desire to understand it… so I gave up reading about 50% through. (I don’t discount the validity??? It just lost me.)

    Either it’s over my head.
    it just doesn’t fit my logic/understandings
    (…and this is coming from a guy who is VERY abstract and obsessed with unforseen variables… and I love to blend that chaos with what I believe is a strong sence of logic at it’s core.)

    If you really want to take it to that level of abstractness… then you could argue that there are no truths that exist, since no truth can be the same to each person or situation. …but rather then stray off the path of abstract too far, …and since I’m not sure about what “point” I might be missing… Can we agree that there are no “truths” but there can still be “constants” that allow us to “believe” that there are reasonable truths?

    …and since the topic is Quantum Economics, I believe at the heart of Quantum Economics is money and it’s life. (or the “meaning of life” for our fiat currancy) …and as abstract as it is to place values/expectancies/etc on this inadimate object (that is somehow a living and breathing thing), it is reasonably carried out through consistancy and basic forces (i.e. Supply/Demand, Interest, growth, etc…) to give it definition.

    My argument acknowledges that there has never been a “truth” obtained through these studies, but at least there have been reasonable deductions (“truths”) attained through consitancy. ...but my argument goes on to say that the compounding of untruths in Money’s “meaning of life” and the factors that define it have led us off the deep end of being able to “reasonably calculate” something that “used to” have a more believable constant that I had faith in.

    To simplify,
    $1 with compounding interest of 1% = $1,000,000 in 1,394 years.
    $100 with compounding interest of 3% = $1,000,000 in 315 years.
    $10,000 with compounding interest of 5% = $1,000,000 in 98 years.

    What does the compounding of errors look like after 10-30 years on million/billion/trillion dollar calculations that no longer have the same “constants”.

    It becomes farcicle.

    I have long promoted SD (Hell) over at the RGE, because I love his work. I only wish he wrote more! (I wish there was new insight for me to read every time I logged on!) Thankfully, his readers/contributers such as yourself, Deb, YoYo, Okie fill that void with fantastic insight. …so whether you agree/disagree with any and all of what I say, doesn’t matter to me. hopefully at the end of the day we are all slightly more enlightened…

    All the Best, Rich Hartmann

  11. LOL, Thai, I've already seen that link on maths.
    Why is it that each generation that arrives is consummately blind to the fact that there is nothing new under the sun, and that the ancestors often had breathtaking insights into problems that, after all, have been around for millenia, in one form or another ?
    A little translation would do a lot of good.
    Now that we have all seen the fantastic advantages in symbolic constructions, how is that we fail to grasp the FACT that, since every advantage has its disadvantage, there is no exception in this case either ?
    I don't think Hell is really a nihilist, any more than I am.
    Nihilists are DEPRESSED people, and I don't think that Hell is depressed. I could be wrong...
    Dave, the problem with your list of imperatives is...
    just WHO or WHAT is going to regulate these days when almost everybody has decreed that government=bad, bad thing.
    (Except, of course, when it is taking care of your homeland security, right ?)

  12. Damocles,
    I had the same epiphany at around the same age X-mas shopping with my uncle, I looked at all that stuff piled on the shelves and was convinced that it had to run out sooner or later. I've been instinctively a Malthusian ever since and more so since reading Silent Spring back in the mid 60's.

    I don't know if you remember that long exchange you & I had back in June about, among other things, Sri Lanka and the defeat of the Tamil Tigers and how that fit into China's naval expansion plans and your hope for Obama " gracefully negotiate the U.S.'s decline without sending the whole planet up in smoke."

    If this article is accurate, your hopes may turn out to be in vain. China has historically been a sea faring nation and if the US is determined to frustrate it from regaining its former status then significant portions of the planet will be destined for a smoky future.

  13. Aw, Yoyo, I really miss you over at the saloon.
    That was a great exchange ; I read all the way through it again, and the memorable passages you wrote about a Muslim alternative banking system perceived as threatening OUR way of doing things...
    Yeah, it does look as though Barack is turning out to be singularly lacking in grace, doesn't it ? (Not that I had great hopes for him from the outset, contrary to many people over here.)
    Someone over there on Counterpunch was referring to the U.S. as an elephant in a china shop.
    Oops, an elephant in a... China shop ? ;-)

  14. To me, the most frightening points with regard to the US elephant in the China shop rivalry highlighted in that article were:

    "... at least one respected analyst suggests that the game in play is considerably larger than the Arabian Peninsula and may have more to do with the control of the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea than with hunting down al-Qaeda..."

    “The U.S. cannot give up on its global dominance without putting up a real fight,” says Bhadrakumar. “And the reality of all such momentous struggles is that they cannot be fought piecemeal. You cannot fight China without occupying Yemen.”

    “The U.S., on the contrary, is determined that China remain vulnerable to the choke points between Indonesia and Malaysia,” writes the former Indian diplomat.

    (I'm certain China is equally determined not to remain vulnerable which leads me to repeat my earlier conclusion--"We stand a good chance of seeing either a major re-ordering of world financial/economic affairs in our lifetimes or the outbreak of a major war to prevent it.")

    WRT alternative banking systems, I expect many trading blocks will attempt to establish their own payment clearing systems yo get around America's obnoxious habit of unilaterally freezing other countries' financial transactions to force them to submit to US diktats. IMO the three most likely candidates would be an East Asian bloc, an Arab/Muslim bloc and a Latin bloc in that order of likelihood.

  15. @Rich

    That was a great post you wrote in '09! Are you sure you don't see fractals everywhere too? ;-)

    And Re: "Can we agree that there are no “truths” but there can still be “constants” that allow us to “believe” that there are reasonable truths?"

    Please realize I was only teasing you and that we absolutely agree

    Remember, I am all about cooperation

    I think my point has always been along the same lines, only from a slightly different aspect (point of view). To me there is only so much diversity a system can handle before the mental constants/ templates we all contain become so different common ground between us becomes difficult.

    I tend to see society as a complex system, where changing any one part also changes every other part in a kind of quantum entanglement.

    But what voter/politician wants to hear that politics is fundamentally a zero-sum game?

    I truly do not beleive most people who either enter or remain in political office are corrupt- though I certainly think some are. But I do think most politicians/people do not see the fundamental boundary conditions imposed on complex systems.

    And so politicians/voters enter office from their particular viewpoint, thinking they will help the one thing they are most passionate about- which they usually do!

    Of course the problem is they also fail to see that doing this also destroys something else in the system. At least they fail to see it until a fire is already set. And once it is there, they start lying to themselves in the hopes that the mess which has been created will simply "go away".

    As Deb says, we are not rational animals. That which is emotionally most important to us will usually take a higher priority when things get messy.

    And this is where our constants differing can cause problems.

    We chose to have a central bank for certain reasons, just like we evolved a spinal cord for certain reasons. They are both very useful. Unfortunately, accepting them also means we accept certain risk that were not present if we did not have either.

    We have lost agreement on the "wholistic" view of what common vision we are all striving towards.

    When this happens, those constants matter greatly since they are the way re-connect.

    Look at this whole health care fiasco. The Democrats have (had) 60 votes and are still having trouble deciding. Everyone knows what they do not want, yet they cannot agree on what they do- the Achilles heel of diversity (which I am not opposed to for the record).

    As I have said many times before, what are your kin boundaries? We may have similar, we may not.

    ... I suspect we share a certain fondness for "just tell me the blunt truth and let me decide myself". If there is anything I have learned as a physician, not everyone is like that. ;-)

    Be well my friend

  16. "payment clearing systems yo get around America's"

    should be:

    "payment clearing systems to get around America's"

  17. Oh and Re: Godel's Incompleteness Theorem (which Street Dog pulled on me once)

    Literally, think about the statement:

    "This statement is false"

    I think you will see my point.

    ... Though I guess it is fair to say that not knowing everything is not quite the same thing as actually making things up.

  18. What I could never understand is why stocks are not just priced every quarter based on a set of parameters or even one metric, say P/E ratio X some number. Then there could be no games, only that final money through to the bottom line would set stock prices. Thsi would eliminate all the speculation and .......oh, I just answered my own question.

  19. Write me an equation for generating purely random numbers.

    All that you need to understand about your quandary lies in the answer to that question.

    It does well to understand the madness of the moments.

  20. Hello "Sudden Debt",

    I read your blogs regularly but my jaw dropped with your insight about "quantum" vs newtonian economics.

    Very interesting point- viewing at what's happening today, it may explain the coming "transformation".

    I mean the probable "transformation".

  21. Thai, your comment on "truth" is THE stunning reason why putting "truth" on a pedestal is really counterproductive.
    I see this "debate"/fixation everywhere in the Western world : truth as the premium value that supercedes all the others.
    Truth is a cold, unfeeling, abstract idol in my book, in a stellar universe.
    It doesn't go very far towards keeping you warm at night, and it will NOT help the economy either...
    Trust and truth don't necessarily go together at all.
    We need trust, and less fear to work through this "crisis", NOT truth.
    A good part of the turn of events has to do with the delicate balance between the place of the individual, and the collective.
    WW1 and 2 were wars of nationalism, about the emergence of the nation state as a form of cementing cooperation under a collective identity. And the nation state seems historically to go hand in hand with the emergence of an industrialized environment, doesn't it ?
    The "crisis" that we are facing questions WHERE we are going to legitimize sovereignty : in individual nation states, or in global supranational structures, private or "public" OR.. in smaller, local structures.
    We are constantly torn between our perception of ourselves as individuals and our need to belong to a group in some form.
    But what KIND of a group ? How big ?
    This is why I harp on about what is federating us ?
    Many people in the European Union are outright hostile to an American "solution" to this problem, i.e., federation. (Federation means loss of state sovereignty to the federal structure= loss of power to make individual decisions on a local level. Federation for the E.U. means submitting to global, supranational constraints.)
    I think that they will become even more hostile to this "solution" as times passes.
    (Need I mention that this affects our economic debate with the essential question of who is LEGITIMATE to control the money supply ? And other fascinating questions... WHERE does legitimacy come from, how does it arise, and WHO confers it ?)
    And if you take into account Rich's perception that money=life (I do not agree with this, but many people do ; I could say that the other side of the money debate is how to assign value to what is OUTSIDE the mercantile equation in terms of GRATUITY, this gratuity is essential to the development of any society), you can see that the European central bank is increasingly coming under attack in the EU, as people in the nation states come to understand that their states have ceded their sovereign right to control their money supply.
    What is a government "worth" that cannot control its money supply ?
    How can it "protect" its citizens ?

  22. Deb, re: trust

    If you have a way of generating trust without having to agree on a uniform set of truths we can all agree on (the hubs of the network so to speak), I (and I suspect Rich) are all ears.

    I will then decide if I will trust you solution without requiring agreements on truth.

    ... As for Rich's comment that money=life.

    I actually missed this comment but I think this may be more one of those linguistic/semantic issues you periodically bring up where a rose by any other name does not smell as sweet- though I freely admit I could be wrong.

    @Anon 7:37 What is the answer?

  23. What does the compounding of errors look like after 10-30 years on million/billion/trillion dollar

    What does it matter? The purpose of the modeling is to convince the "investor" that being separated from his savings is a good thing.

    For Example: My sisters husband worked for an investment broker specializing in energy and energy-related derivatives.

    They modeled various investment strategies with complicated Excel spreadsheets.

    Occasionally the results would be "funny". When that happened they would just run the model a few times more until the figures "looked right" ... These were often million-usd derivatives contracts, really, really sensitive to 4'th decimal points.

    I.O.W: What they were really selling was: Customer gets a roll at the craps table for a 5% up-front entry fee and 20% leaving fee.

    We get to drive BMW X3's a yacht and a holiday home in Provence, the customer gets to retire at 75 instead of at 55 like the spreadsheet said.

  24. Dear Fajensen,

    Have you read "Where Are The Customers' Yachts?" by Fred Schwed? It's a classic - very funny AND dead serious.


  25. Re: random no. generator equation

    The answer is... It can't be done.

    Unless I am mistaken, that's also another way of looking at Godel's incompleteness theorem.

  26. The answers to your concluding two questions are, quite likely, yes, and yes. More and more folks are beginning to accept that economics, at least in its present antiquated and obsolete state of disrepair, is, at best, of limited utility.

    However, I would caution that trashing the discipline of economics may miss, to a greater or lesser degree, the point, which is, that a variety of august disciplines that purport to "organize the data" in helpful ways don't do a very good job of it.

    -The names of these disciplines, other than economics, will be withheld, not to protect them, but for purposes of keeping this post as brief as possible.

    However, as the not aforesaid disciplines serve the purpose of providing cover for an established social order, they retain an "official" sanction and/or legitimacy. Economics is at the top of the list of useful tools of this sort.

    Now bearing in mind the inadequacies of the model we humans use to understand our behavior as it relates to money, finance, and resources, broadly defined, I think your story may be most instructive, albeit a tad obliquely, with respect to our educational system's shortcomings.

  27. @Debra & Thai

    money = life???

    I did not mean to say that, or imply that. (If I give it thought, at some levels it does = life, but that wasn’t what I was trying to say)

    Either you misunderstood, or I poorly described what I was getting at. Either way, I’ll try to restate…

    What I was trying to say is that “quantum economics” is at its core, a study of money. Similar to if a child asked you: “what is the meaning of life?” There is no definable answer. You may say to that child: love, hate, experience, create, g0d, sxx, etc…

    Well, what I say is that if you treat money like a living/breathing entity who has it’s own life cycle, and if that money woke up one morning and asked its creator “what’s the meaning of life?” …I think the answer filled with as many variables as the child’s answer… but at the heart, the answer would be “quantum economics”.

    When Hell brought up his daughter’s physics homework (pressure), and coupled it with a piece named: Quantum Economics… It just reminded me of my “evaporflation” theory, where I took an abstract scientific view on “pressure” and applied it to money (pricing, valuation, etc…). The gist being… How could inflation/deflation be calculated when the numbers become too abstract? …and the numbers became abstract due to the inability to calculate “pressure” (which in turn is “evaporation, condensation, saturation, combustibility”) in relation to the pressure cooking economy that tried defining those same numbers.

    OK… Gotta go.

    All the best, Rich H

    p.s. Fajensen great point! on the modeling. TRUE.

  28. contemporary economics = propaganda

    money = power (not life)

    Hell needs to learn quantum mechanics for a change, and from a real book and not pop physics books like 'Schrodinger's Cat'. Not everything is arbitrary or uncertain in QM. For example, it defines colors of light absorbed by hydrogen atom more precisely than classical physics.

    The uncertainty is in being able to calculate everything at the same time - position, momentum, etc.

    Ok, I know that saying the above thing will make me very unpopular with the resident school teacher :)


  29. Re money=power,

    In a barter society, you exchange some goods or services with another set of goods or services. When money is introduced in the barter system, it gives you the power or ability to claim an equivalent amount of goods of services at a later date. Hence money=power.

    Governments vying for ability to control money supply is a power struggle, that's all. A kid is less powerful than his dad, because dad earns all the money. If it happens that a kid starts to earn more money than his dad, the family is likely to experience power struggle because the socially established power of dad is superimposed by legally established power of money.


  30. Boy he hasn't been married very long ;-)

  31. And Greenie, in case you missed my first link: Math is an illusion

    ... Just having fun.

    Be well

  32. Rich, you're a sweetie, I read back through your comment trying to find out how I got the idea that you were saying money=life, and I noticed your formulation "money and it's life..."
    That good ole apostrophe problem.
    You guys know that wars have been started over translation problems ?
    Well, here we have it...
    I think you meant money and its life... and not money and it's life, right ??
    This evening I was talking to one of my volunteer work colleagues about maths/literature/physics.
    She said that she did maths and physics, and she was bemused to notice that in physics problems, there was a margin integrated for error, something that the "matheux" did not understand.
    Think about it a moment...
    Money=life is an equation. The EQUAL sign says no margin for error, right ? No approximations allowed ?
    The equal sign, like... EQUALITY ?
    I find that rather interesting...

  33. I agree.This needs to be the focus of our effort. The current economic system is impoverishing the planet. If we can modify the this system in the correct way then a sustainable, hopeful future will follow automatically.

  34. Guns = Power as exemplified by all the violence that invariably accompanies imperial decline.

  35. Greenie, you are still functioning on the model of "Totem and Taboo" (Freud) (you probably do NOT know this, though...)
    Read "Totem and Tabou".
    Personally, I think that Freud is off the wall with "Totem and Taboo". A little personal fantasy masquerading as truth (in the form of science...)
    (Careful, this does not mean that I allow myself the luxury of discarding ALL of Freud because I think that "Totem and Taboo" is off the wall.)
    Daddy's monetary power is offset by.. Junior's monetary power, in that Junior represents a form of IDEAL for Daddy. Junior is Daddy's FUTURE.
    Don't forget that kind of power, Greenie.
    You can't quantify it, but it's not because you can't measure it that it's not there.

  36. Every part of our economy has an analog in our physical world. Answer these questions, and you might begin to understand how our true quantum economy works

    What is a proton's analog in the quantum economy? An electron? A neutron? What ties our economy together?

    What about the four fundamental forces - the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnectic force, and gravity? How does the economic system work when you enter them into the equation.

    The picture gets much clearer when you KNOW these answers.

    Matt Goodman

  37. @Игры рынка
    Actually, different Austrian economics think differently about the gold standard.
    More importantly, they recognize that policies are in the field of politics, not economics (with is a value-neutral science), although their understanding of economics does inform their political views.

    Austrian economists don't agree on the gold standard, but they do all agree on the danger of fiat money with central and fractional reserve banking.

    It's not about fear. It's about thinking.

    If you've ever studied some basics economics (even the non-Austrian variety), you know what price fixing does (hint: it depends whether the fixed price is higher or lower than market price).
    Well, the interest rate is itself a market price, which reflects the preferences of the population (how much do people want to save as opposed to consume right now). This is no different than how prices work for other goods. Well, if a central bank tries to fix the interest rate (generally below market rate), then some effects are predictable and inevitable. Also, it is clear that governments usually have incentives to set the interest rate lower rather than higher, to fund additional projects.

    I encourage you to study even a little bit of Austrian economics before you resort to name-calling. Austrians are not fearmongers. But they do understand the effects caused by certain government policies, including many unintended consequences, which most people tend to ignore or miss in their analysis.

    Btw, I've been the reader of this blog for multiple years now.