Economic Manhattan Project

Edge has recently released footage of the Economic Manhattan Project which has been kicked off by a conference at the beginning of May.

In December, Edge published “Can Science Help Solve the Economic Crisis?” by Mike Brown, Stuart Kauffman, Zoe-Vonna Palmrose, and Lee Smolin. The paper was prompted by a suggestion by Eric Weinstein for an “Economic Manhattan Project”.

This led to the Perimeter Institute conference: “The Economic Crisis and its Implications for The Science of Economics”. According to the organizers, “Concerns over the current financial situation are giving rise to a need to evaluate the very mathematics that underpins economics as a predictive and descriptive science. A growing desire to examine economics through the lens of diverse scientific methodologies — including physics and complex systems — is making way to a meeting of leading economists and theorists of finance together with physicists, mathematicians, biologists and computer scientists in an effort to evaluate current theories of markets and identify key issues that can motivate new directions for research.”

Having just watched the first presentation by Eric Weinstein, I think it is a great opportunity to explore some of the mathematical and scientific points raised, finding and referring to resources and seeing if that helps in understanding the presentation e.g are the scientists referred to commonly known about, why have the charts been used and how do they help clarify what the whole project is trying to achieve. He mentions a divide that exists between economics and other sciences. I would also like to throw into this – to explore what was the motivation for holding this as a f2f then releasing the footage afterwards, who participated so far and why. Might use each video as a different case actually.

I am by no means questioning the value of bringing together a group of very smart people, I would just like to

  • relate that to similar types of discussions which are going on already across the web
  • relate any suggestions of any kind by anyone about future economic practices, to the personal and financial backgrounds of those people (which is not going to be easy to do).

Having spent a considerable amount of time and also bought books or subscriptions which in turn benefit the authors financially (not necessarily attendees at this particular conference) I don’t feel it is inappropriate to look at whether they e.g. own/run a hedge fund. A hedge fund being a type of investment that has ‘differences’ in types of regulation, therefore if an author is arguing a specific way in favour of regulation, it will make it interesting to analyse!

Or to put it another way, if you’re going to take my money and tell me how the economic world should be, I would like a bit more information about why! I think this project is a great idea and its wonderful that the internet & web (&Edge) can allow people to access these thoughts where previously would not have been possible but I’m not sure how many people will actually understand the presentations they may be viewing and/or how they can access useful content and take part in discussions which can help them get ‘up to speed’.

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