Class Warfare in the Info Age

Lisa & Ian Murray seamus at
Mon Aug 28 08:50:34 PDT 2000

Now, wait a gall darn minute here. We were talking about creating

economic measures of a so-called information economy, and the

arguments and demonstrations that attend them. The idea was to use

those admittedly invented measures as a means to accomplish policy

changes or at least argue them. The rationale is that if left

economists don't produce these sorts of measures and arguments, then

capital and their neoliberal lackies in government will and then those

will be the rational means through which policy is justified and

argued---as it already is. Nobody said nothing about Leibniz.

Of course if you are suggesting Molotov cocktails and Mosin Nagants,

well these seem short on, I don't know, say discursive means?

Chuck Grimes ====

Chuck, pardon my muddle. What I was suggesting was that mathematical/statistical arguments are necessary but insufficient to carry a lot of debates which are most important to too many people on too many issues that effect individual and social wellbeing. I'm more interested in the values and concerns we bring to framing the questions that can be addressed with mathematical tools than falling into the trap that they can be definitively answered by math. Is 2 % unemployment better than 4%? Yes, but not for mathematical reasons. If the ruling class don't believe that to be true, chances are a mathematical argument alone will not suffice, even one couched in a Kaldor-Hicks model of mutual gains to be made [Richard Posner notwithstanding].

Measuring knowledge and information flows in the economy interest me for totally different reasons than Arrow, Stiglitz and their minions and those reasons are ones the ruling class would not like. Nor would I be persuaded by their math to forego my claims because they are "norms" based on my reading of history, political philosophy, law etc. which is every bit as idiosyncratic as theirs. I merely mentioned Leibniz, because he is the originator of the claim that political disputes can be settled by math.


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