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Daily Digest 2/20 - Limits To Growth Was Right, Facts and Economic Science

Friday, February 20, 2015, 12:27 PM

Economy

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse (lesphelps)

These graphs show real-world data (first from the MIT work, then from our research), plotted in a solid line. The dotted line shows the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario out to 2100. Up to 2010, the data is strikingly similar to the book’s forecasts.

Facts and Economic Science (Wilson Sy)

More widespread and extreme pursuit of policies based on unscientific theories has been putting the global economy in unprecedented risk, because the results have been counter-productive. Both the economic profession and economic education need urgent and radical reform, without which our economic future will be bleak. To understand how economics has been trapped in a practice of unscientific, “observation-less theorizing”, we indicate the origin of the practice and compare it to the scientific practice of physics.

Guardian Slams Telegraph Suggesting HSBC Coverage Was Biased Due To Owners' £250 MM Loan From Bank (pinecarr)

A few hours ago, The Telegraph responded with its own blistering retort, saying that it "makes no apology for the way in which it has covered the HSBC group and the allegations of wrongdoing by its Swiss subsidiary." It then promptly changes the topic and deviates away from the facts with what is an ideological ad hominem against those who cast the "allegations that have been so enthusiastically promoted by the BBC, the Guardian and their ideological soulmates in the Labour Party."

Feds want you to bid on $11.7M worth of Ross Ulbricht’s bitcoins (jdargis)

Federal authorities previously sold some of Silk Road’s bitcoins, but this marks the first auction since the guilty verdict. These bitcoins were seized as part of a wallet file found on Ulbricht’s computer during his arrest.

Deadly CRE Germs Linked to Hard-to-Clean Medical Scopes (jdargis)

“This is exactly what we are worried about,” Dr. Frieden said of the California infections in an interview. “CRE is becoming increasingly common in hospitals around the U.S. If we aren’t careful, it may well get out into the community and make common infections, like urinary infections, and cuts potentially deadly.”

As Walmart Gives Raises, Other Employers May Have to Go Above Minimum Wage (jdargis)

Walmart is surely hoping to get plenty of good press for its decision to offer raises, but it’s worth examining the decision less based on whether they deserve applause on some moral grounds and more based on the economic forces that led them to act. Indeed, the best possible news would be if Walmart’s executives made this decision not out of a desire for good press or for a squishy sense of do-gooderism, but because coldhearted business strategy compelled it.

Why The Stock Market Likes Cheap Oil (Evan K.)

To listen to the talking heads on TV over the last few months you would think that there is a direct positive correlation between oil prices and the stock market. “Stocks fall as oil price decline continues” and “Stocks follow oil lower” or even “Markets bounce back as oil halts decline” have been common refrains. The implication is that lower oil prices are bad for the stock market, but in reality that could not be further from the truth. Historically speaking, the correlation between oil and stocks is around 20%. In other words it is virtually non-existent. If anything, logic tells us that lower oil prices, and particularly this drop, should be a buy signal for equity investors. For sure, there have been times when a sharp drop in oil has heralded a period of stagnation or declines in stocks. For example, in the twelve months following the 1985 oil collapse the S&P 500 lost around 1%. On the other hand, one year after the 1998 low in WTI the S&P 500 closed over 8% higher. The fact remains, though, that recently stocks have followed oil. The obvious question is “why?”

This Paper Keeps It Fresh (jdargis)

Today, Shukla’s company, Fenugreen, ships FreshPaper to 35 countries and sells it online and in stores like Whole Foods. With every sale of FreshPaper, Fenugreen donates another box to a local food bank and matches profits with donations to farmers in the developing world.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 2/19/15

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

7 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 30 2009
Posts: 4169
Fannie, Freddie weak earnings raise possibility of future bailou

Fannie, Freddie weak earnings raise possibility of future bailouts

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1632
TPP close to being fast-tracked

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/paul-ryan-looks-forward-to-passage-of-bill-limiting-congressional-input-on-controversial-trade-deal/

The chairman of a U.S. congressional committee responsible for trade said on Thursday he expects passage of legislation to fast-track trade deals soon, a vital step towards a Pacific trade pact covering a large chunk of the global economy.

Negotiators from 12 Pacific nations hope to conclude talks on a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) within months, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said legislation known as trade promotion authority (TPA) should pass soon, easing a major hurdle.

“We’re very close, we’re in the 11th hour of negotiating the final pieces of TPA,” Ryan, in Tokyo with a Congressional delegation for negotiations, told a news conference ahead of a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Under U.S. trade promotion authority, the executive branch under President Barack Obama negotiates trade agreements with input from Congress.

But once an agreement has been concluded, TPA means it cannot be changed by Congress and is subject to simple votes in the House and Senate.

Not that "we the people" are paying the least bit of attention, but this giant piece of globalism/New World Order tyranny is on our doorstep.

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 2840
LTG
Quote:

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse

These graphs show real-world data (first from the MIT work, then from our research), plotted in a solid line. The dotted line shows the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario out to 2100. Up to 2010, the data is strikingly similar to the book’s forecasts.

The Thing is very persistent.

 

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 30 2009
Posts: 800
Amazing is a word I'd use

In 1972, I was taking a programming class learning to write code in some obscure language by punching code on cards and batch submitting it to an IBM I360 that took up a very large room and probably had less computing power than the smart phone I carry today.  The internet did not exist, so information gathering was in the dark ages by today's standards.

That is the environment that produced World3.  It's clear, concise and has an enviable track record compared to model being produced today.

That lends me to wonder about the complexity and obfuscation that shrouds todays model.  Exactly what is gained by the barrier?

Here's an example.  Suppose for some strange reason, that someone in the general public decided they wanted to know what the scientific community accepted as the global annual temperature for modeling purposes.  After searching the internet that person decided that HadCrut4 was a likely agreed upon candidate and downloaded the data file.  After finding out that the file contained 100 datasets, the person in question looked at the FAQ online to understand the contents downloaded and found this explanation:

Quote:

Q: Why are there 100 versions of the data set?

A: Errors in climate data sets come from various sources. Some, like transcription errors, affect a single reading. Others, like the calibration error on a single ship's thermometer affect measurements over a much wider area, but are unlikely to affect estimates of long-term trends spanning decades. These types of errors are handled in the traditional way and are presented as a set of error-covariance matrices that encode this information.

Systematic errors such as those associated with station moves, or widespread changes in instrumentation have complex spatial and temporal structures that cannot be concisely summarised. In order to preserve information about the temporal and spatial structure of these uncertainties, HadCRUT4 is presented as an ensemble data set in which the 100 ensemble members sample the distribution of observational uncertainty described by the underlying bias model. For more details please read the HadCRUT4 and HadSST3 papers.

 

Did you notice that summarized was misspelled in the FAQ explanation?

 

Not to mention that none of the datasets have column headers, nor are the headers explained in the FAQ.

 

Clear as mud.

 

If you don't think scientists can't explain complex topics clearly to the general public, try a book by Stephen Hawking or Bryan Green.  If they can clearly explain something as complex as the higgs boson, then todays modelers leave something to be desired.

 

So does the complexity and obfuscation serve a purpose, or are the scientists not expending the effort to make their selves clear?

 

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
I think in general it is the latter

Re: So does the complexity and obfuscation serve a purpose, or are the scientists not expending the effort to make their selves clear?

The research data were probably not intended for public consumption when the project was originally conducted.

It is one thing to create a dataset for use by the public. Check out NHANES: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/nhanes_questionnaires.htm

NHANES is a well-funded major data collection effort with top-down control. There is a lot of well written, closely considered supporting information (metadata) aimed towards making the analysis experience user-friendly.

The climate data that you are referring to is a collection of individual projects with various instruments maintained by different research groups (assumption- I have not tried to access the data you refer to) that were compiled in the site you mention. There was no central entity dictating procedures for everyone before research was conducted that would ensure consistent variable names, same brand of instrumentation used, same calibration schedule at each location, with instrument redundancy to eliminate missing measurements for any one date and site. Now, they post the data, but it is one level of funding and effort to provide public access and another to maximize user- ease. The post hoc metadata with the typo was probably written by some ill paid intern.

Without significant funding and effort, it is (IMO) unreasonable to expect data that is now being made public after collection and original analysis to be easy for a casual new user to access. A professional analyst realizes that it will take time to learn the strengths and limitations of any new dataset in order to learn to analyze and interpret it properly. Even NHANES has changes in variables and procedures among data collection years; if you do not recognize the limitations and adjust your analysis, you will make interpretation errors.

My 2 cents.

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 30 2009
Posts: 800
Could be

But what's the use in modeling if you don't spend the time to properly present the output and make it available?

What "Limits to Growth" had that's missing in some of today's efforts is Donella Meadows.  Eliminating a few scientists jobs and hiring a few writers who can communicate with reasonably intelligent people outside the scientific community would be a step forward.

 

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