Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I am Shackled in chains of my own making

I am now working on a review of G. L. S. Shackle by Earl and Littleboy... so guess who you, my faithful readers, will be learning about?

The authors interestingly begin with Donald Rumsfeld's famous quote about "unknown unknowns," and defend it as a Shacklian (?) point, something I noted previously. They argue that, as Shackle contended, "we create the future; it is not sitting there merely beyond our epistemic grasp" (p. 1).

The next point of interest is what Shacklian political economy is like:

"A society of Shackle's design would rely more on the imagination and judgment of decision-makers and less on technical expertise" (p. 2).

They then quote a passage from Shackle on why probability cannot be applied to many real-life situations
Napoleon could not repeat the battle of Waterloo a hundred times in the hope that, in a certain proportion of cases, the Prussians would arrive too late. His decision to fight on the field of Waterloo was what I call a crucial experiment, using the word crucial in this sense of a parting of the ways. Had he won, repetition would for a long time have been unnecessary; when he lost, repetition was impossible. (p. 3)
 I think I am going to like this book.

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"If your approach to mathematics is mechanical not mystical, you're not going to go anywhere." -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb