On The Move
Registered: Jan 2005
Careful! Assuming you meant 'theories of everything' there is still a possibility; an accounting system which works in all realms. And 'completeness' might not be a concern until you interpret the resulting quantities, if 'consistent' and 'comprehensive' both apply.
'Information sets the limits' was pretty vague. I'm not familiar with Samuelson, so I'll have to check him out, but I think any effort to save 'values' in any absolute or continuous-dimension sense is doomed. Only because of opportunity cost does any price matter, and that must be the fundament of their meaning in economic theory, to remain consistent.
If we didn't *have* to 'pay,' whether with effort, time, thought, or a trade-off...who would choose to?
I'm curious what you mean about being considered a dillitante if you discard 'continuous valuation' - the Austrian School is pretty mainstream, and Rothbard aside, it's starts from value=subjective desire-abating potential.
In some regard, it's already the conventional wisdom; free prices are the best way of getting up-to-date information about human desires and the practical means for fulfilling them...so any individual's opinion about others' desires are essentially meaningless for a discussion of the function of prices, and Samuelson's choice of a criteria other than 'what price got paid' is as subjective as the formulation of value he evidently tried to replace.
How did Samuelson attempt to save 'value' as a dimension? I know there are all sorts of 'conversion' attempts, all akin to the technocrats measuring 'normal human input,' or that other freak who tried to boil it all down to 'hours of labor' as if digging holes for an hour is just as useful as doing heart surgery for an hour.
Both attempts were made by people Mises referred to as 'the would-be breeders of men;' they, in their unconscious evaluations, forgot that all people are constantly making evaluations.
Indeed, I believe it was Von Mises who first pointed out why objective value is impossible. People only trade when they disagree about items on their prioirty lists. If I think $2 is less valuable than a latte, and Starbucks disagrees...then, and only then, does an observable trade occur.
I'm guessing that Samuelson, like many economists, imagined some kind of information he'd prefer to have other than prices paid, and set about developing or deriving some act of measurment for 'value' independent of current prices, which is to say, independent of individual human capriciousness.
The fundamental error in the conceptualization of the 'real' value, is the expression of values in the attempt at 'conversion.' When we *pay* attention, that counts as a revealed preference, a move that was doubtlessly overlooked in Samuelson's attempt...as it must always be overlooked, to make the attempt at all. His focus on any specific criteria is an expression of the very 'value' he was attempting to observe, poisoning the attempt. The only way to make the attempt while accounting for the bias is to use all criteria, or even prefer those you *don't* like, a contradiction in terms, if not emperically. Neither option makes the attempt tenable.
That same 'revealed preference' is why science is not 'value-free'; you can't pay attention to everything, so your 'values' are revealed by what you do, in fact, pay attention to, even if the discoveries are 'value-free,' or the researcher really is disinterested in the 'answer' she seeks.
Regarding point observations; Unity is Plural, and at minimum, Two.
Every 'point' observation always requires (at least) two elements. Trades, obviously, have 4 or more. 2(+) players, 2(+) items traded. Even you weren't aware of yourself before you were aware of someone else, first.
In terms of science, every fact also comes with a 'confidence level,' 'chi-squared correlation' or 'error-bar,' which sometimes counts as the more informative aspect of the data; a measure of the resolution of the observation - how 'fuzzy' it is, which is to say, how much it is *unlike* a point.
Put it all together, and 'point' is a wholly inadequate metaphor for observations. Even metaphors have (at least) 4 parts. I suggest 'event' instead.
Are you aware of anyone attempting a representation of Von Mises work along systems-theory lines? He's got a very systematic approach, and it would combine quite nicely with Feynman's 'least action' approach. It was only in the realm of Physics that we were surprised to discover that all the ways something could happen each contribute to determining what *does* occur. Economists recognized such a mechanism ages ago; opportunity costs, aka, prices = the cost of using an alterntaive instead. When there aren't alternatives, prices go up.
I'll have to check out Cassel, nevertheless.
BTW, Kepler and Galileo did all the work for solar system mechanics. They developed the specific-case relations which Newton generalized into "F=ma" - Newton could have done his work on Venus with a force-table.
So this is excellent; I was looking for some insights into 'NKS.' You've given me two leads already.
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