The Over-Quantification Of Life

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The idea that all endeavors can be distilled down to statistics has put us in the Over-Quantification Box.

Correspondent Chad D. recently submitted a thought-provoking commentary on the Over-Quantification of Life:

"I think you could constructively explore the over-QUANTIFICATION of the US. Or we could call it the Wal-Martization of the US. The only that that counts is a number (i.e. price, sales, clients, patients, tickets, arrests, convictions, fines, sex partners, scores, averages, etc.).

 

What is missing is quality. I think you've mentioned something similar before talking about junk products with a short lifespan, but this way of doing things pervades our society.

 

I would argue that in nearly every area of society, quantity rather than quality rules the day. In the Criminal Justice system, officers and their immediate supervisors are evaluated based on how many tickets/arrests are made and/or how many complaints are answered. Prosecutors are judged by how many defendants go to jail. Judges are judged by how many cases they clear and how many cases are on their docket. Prisons want more prisoners. Legislators are rated on how many laws they passed. I remember Ron Paul was castigated for not passing many if any laws while in office.

 

I could go on with banking, investing, medicine, education, sports, farming, etc. Quality has been left in the dust by the system. The quality that remains is due to the good people who are still in the system. I don't know what really drives this phenomena, but I would say that usury is part of it. Usury demands that the system go ever faster to 'produce' more and more to feed its ever hungry stomach.

 

But there must be something more to it than that. Ideas/thoughts?"

Thank you, Chad, for an insightful introduction to a profound topic we all experience in daily life.

Let's start with Chad's reference to usury, i.e. interest on debt. When we borrow money, the interest we pay over the term of the loan can add up to far more than the sum borrowed, depending on the rate of interest and the duration of the loan.

Over time, indebtedness and the interest due on all the debt diminishes the net income remaining to pay for everything other than interest, and the household/ state / economy is hollowed out.

This is one reason for the biblical notion of debt jubilees, in which all debts are periodically forgiven to remove the drag of debt on debtors and the economy at large.

The only way to sustain expanding debt is 1) inflation, which enables borrowers to pay interest with "cheaper" money and 2) expanding income.

Let's say I owe $10,000, and my annual wage is $30,000. With modest but sustained inflation, my wage eventually doubles (assuming it keeps up with inflation) while my debt remains $10,000 minus whatever principal I've paid.

Alternatively, if inflation is near-zero but my wage rises by 10% a year, eventually my wage will double to $60,000, while my debt remains $10,000 minus whatever principal I've paid.

I think Chad is describing something rather subtle but very real: expanding debts require an equivalent expansion of income, i.e. productivity, to provide debtors with enough income to service the rising debt loads and have enough left to pay the rest of their obligations and to fund the consumption the economy depends on for growth.

This is a driver of demand for increased productivity that is rarely if ever recognized. This demand for increased productivity then drives the over-quantification of the processes and outcomes of every sector and endeavor.

If we think back to the early days of industrialization, a key tool to identify bottlenecks in production and improve productivity was breaking down the entire process into discrete steps that could be measured and quantified.

Quality control was also quantified, which enabled the gradual improvement not just of production but of the quality of the output. This is the foundation of the Deming Prize for Development of Quality Control/Management in Japan, which recognizes contributions to Total Quality Management (TQM).

The prize honors Dr. W. Edwards Deming, who taught that "by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations can increase quality and simultaneously improve productivity."

It was all too natural, if fundamentally false, to reckon that these same statistical tools of quantification could be profitably applied to every field, from education to criminal justice to healthcare.

While certain aspects of these endeavors might benefit from being measured, counted and quantified, the idea that all endeavors can be distilled down to statistics has put us in the Over-Quantification Box Chad described: by relying solely on quantification, we've lost a truly useful sense of quality and outcome.

There are multiple problems with quantification. I often mention the key flaw: we only recognize what we measure. If it isn't measured, it simply ceases to exist in a quantified world.

Another flaw: many activities and endeavors cannot be distilled down to statistics. We can go through the motions of counting something or other, but this process misses the essence of the endeavor or process.

We're also tempted to invoke flawed methods of measure. Take the system many colleges now use in which students are invited to rate (quantify) their professors.

Any such survey method is self-selecting, i.e. the students who choose to rate their professors are self-selected. So if the 20% who dislike a teacher complete the survey while the 60% who liked the teacher do not, the teacher's rating will be harmfully inaccurate.

Students are not unbiased observers. Those who received poor grades might seek a form of payback by giving the offending professor low marks.

There are even subtler flaws in what we measure and how we measure. In a previous Musings Report, I discussed the World War II-era damage reports on aircraft returning from bombing missions over Nazi Germany. The idea was to study the damage inflicted by fighters and flak with an eye on strengthening the aircraft's weak points.

Mathematician Abraham Wald hit on a profound flaw in the methodology: the really important damage reports could not be filed, because it was the bombers which had been shot down that held the vital clues to the aircraft's weaknesses. The aircraft that had been shot down could not be studied, so they effectively ceased to exist. This fatally distorted the results of the statistical analysis.

Here is a link that describes the study: Survivorship Bias

The goal of improving productivity is laudable, but justice (and many other aspects of human society) cannot be reduced to counting convictions. This dependence on quantification creates perverse incentives to game the system and push up the numbers to evoke a success that is phantom.

The infamous "body counts" of the Vietnam War come to mind, as do prosecutors' heavy reliance on plea bargaining to up their conviction count.

Students are now slavishly instructed to serve one goal: to improve their scores on tests that like the WWII bomber study, ignore what cannot be measured easily, yet is actually vital.

Quantification is easier than actually studying complex problems and situations, and it can generate an illusion of knowledge and insight. This is the danger of over-quantification and Big Data, that is, the over-reliance on over-quantification to make assessments and judgments about endeavors in which the key dynamics and meanings cannot be captured or illuminated by quantification alone.

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GestaltNine's picture

It's all women's fault and men too. I think that covers it.

Dsyno's picture

"It's all women's fault and men too. I think that covers it."

You forgot boys, girls, and babies. Not to mention all others who don't identify as either male or female. Then there's also Hillary Clinton.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

My response: America is in a difficult spot. The mathematics of our situation do not work.

America's Problem

The left has convinced Americans to have fewer children, abort their children, and to have no children by using lies such as over-population. This agenda has led to a steep decline of Americans that embrace ideals upon which the country can be maintained. Now Americans are being outnumbered by Muslims, Neo-Marxists, and immigrants that have a hatred for our national ideals and have no plan for assimilation. 

It is a brave new world of debt and collision of both cultural and moral values.

WTFRLY's picture

The over-quantification problem is exactly what plagues the world, tangentially, the over-financialization of everything we consume now.

TurtleSoup's picture

Well, the planet has nearly 8 billion folks to feed, house etc. and can only do so as long as the huge machine we have created to do so keeps operating. So we measure and quanity and adjust it constantly knowing that if and when it begiins to fail (and at some point it almost assuredly will) chaos of an unprecedented and undreamed of magnitude will ensue. So we have to keep buying, consuming, making and doing almost like bailing water from a boat to stay afloat. And thus we forget what the original purpose of what we thought our lives were all about, Quality. 

Wait What's picture

Instead of complaining, the author should undertake a course in metrology. There is a way of measuring 'qualitative' factors of everyday life; just because he doesn't know it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. what he fails to understand is that everything is data, whether it is strictly 'statistical' or not. that septugenerian doctor who can diagnose apendicitis from a few symptoms and a touch is using years of collected data to do so. that it's not in a computer doesn't make it any less valid. the question is how to translate that human knowledge into something that is INDEPENDENT of the individual. when that doctor dies all his knowledge dies with him. by contrast, if he formalizes his method, even writes it down, some future generation will not have to reinvent the wheel just for apendicitis.

the problem is not the quantification of the world, it's how incomplete data are misused. just like a bigot uses stereotypes to attribute qualities to people, people with incomplete data who try to perform optimization or causal analysis are ignorant or worse, disingenuous.

there are measures of quality, too. hedonically, dog food is not the same as fillet mignon, cat food not the same as canned tuna (though some might argue). define your spectrum of quality and you have created a quantifiable measure of what is 'good' and what is 'bad'. while each person will have a different interpretation of each, it's too easy now to find a demographic cluster that feels the same way as 100s if not 1000s of others. why? b/c we are all subject to the same social, political, educational, and media exposure, which means we all have 'generally' the same ideas about most topics.

"you're not special, you're not a snowflake." you're made of the same organic material as the soil under your feet. this means that, more than likely, every idea you've ever had has been thought by someone before you. better to try to quantify than completely ignore history, or leave it to the biases of unobjective people who have a vested interest in showing you the world they want you to see.

l8apex's picture

You need to break down your generalized comment about who is having children by race.  That answer is far more interesting...

BullyBearish's picture

O.T. but important:

U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

July 19 2017, 9:30 a.m.  
 

THE CRIMINALIZATION OF political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the west. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing t-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.

But now, a group of 45 Senators – 30 Republicans and 15 Democrats – want to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: anyone guilty of violating its prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000, and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reportsthat the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC].” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 Lobbying Agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:



 

The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Illustrating the bipartisanship that AIPAC typically summons, it also includes several of the most right-wing Senators such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Marco Rubio of Florida.

similar measure was introduced in the House on the same date by two Republicans and one Democrat. It already has amassed 234 co-sponsors: 63 Democrats and 174 Republicans. As in the Senate, AIPAC has assembled an impressive ideological diversity among supporters, predictably including many of the most right-wing House members –  Jason Chaffetz, “Dutch” Ruppersberger, Liz Cheney, Peter King – along with the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer.

Among the co-sponsors of the bill are several of the politicians who have become political celebrities by positioning themselves as media leaders of the anti-Trump #Resistance, including three California House members who have become heroes to Democrats and staples of the cable news circuit: Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. These politicians, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are sponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time.

 

LAST NIGHT, the ACLU posted a letter it sent to all members of the Senate urging them to oppose this bill. Warning that “proponents of the bill are seeking additional co-sponsors,” the civil liberties group explained that “it would punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs.” The letter detailed what makes this bill so particularly threatening to basic civic freedoms:

 

 

It is no small thing for the ACLU to insert itself into this controversy. One of the most traumatic events in the organization’s history was when it lost large numbers of donors and supporters in the late 1970s after they defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois, a town with a large community of Holocaust survivors.

Even the bravest of organizations often steadfastly avoid any controversies relating to Israel. Yet here, while appropriately pointing out that the ACLU “takes no position for or against the effort to boycott Israel or any foreign country,” they categorically denounce this AIPAC-sponsored proposal for what it is: a bill that “seeks only to punish the exercise of constitutional rights.”

The ACLU has similarly opposed bipartisan efforts at the state level to punish businesses who participate in the boycott, pointing out that “boycotts to achieve political goals are a form of expression that the Supreme Court has ruled are protected by the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of speech, assembly, and petition,” and that such bills “place unconstitutional conditions on the exercise of constitutional rights.” The bill now co-sponsored in the Congress by more than half of the House and close to half of the Senate is far more extreme than those.

 

THUS FAR, not a single member of Congress has joined the ACLU in denouncing this bill. The Intercept this morning sent inquiries to numerous non-committed members of the Senate and House who have yet to speak on this bill. We also sent inquiries to several co-sponsors of the bill – such as Congressman Lieu – who have positioned themselves as civil liberties champions and opponents of authoritarianism, asking:

Congressman Lieu: Last night, the ACLU vehemently denounced a bill that you are cosponsoring – to criminalize support for a boycott of Israel – as a grave attack on free speech. Do you have any comment on the ACLU’s denunciation? You’ve been an outspoken champion for civil liberties; how can you reconcile that record with an effort to make it a felony for Americans to engage in activism that protests a foreign government’s actions? We’re writing about this today; any statement would be appreciated.

This morning, Lieu responded: “Thank you for sharing the letter. The bill has been around since March and this is the first time I have seen this issue raised. We will look into it” (the Intercept will post any response from Rep. Lieu, or any late responses from others, as soon as they are received).

Senator Cantwell told The Intercept she is “a strong supporter of free speech rights” and will be reviewing the bill for First Amendment concerns in light of the ACLU statement.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, when asked by the Intercept about the ACLU’s warning that the bill he is co-sponsoring criminalizes free speech, affirmed his support for the bill by responding: “I continue to support a strong U.S./Israel relationship.”

Meanwhile, some co-sponsors seemed not to have any idea what they co-sponsored – almost as though they reflexively sign whatever comes from AIPAC without having any idea what’s in it. Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, for instance, seemed genuinely bewildered when told of the ACLU’s letter, saying “what’s the Act? You’ll have to get back to me on that.”:

And there is this similar exchange with another co-sponsor, one of AIPAC’s most reliable allies, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who said: “I’d want to read it . . . . I’d really have to look at it.”

Perhaps most stunning is our interview with the primary sponsor of the bill, Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin, who seemed to have no idea what was in his bill, particularly insisting that it contains no criminal penalties. Cardin either has no idea how draconian his own bill is, or is purposely feigning ignorance. Either way, there is no question that, as the ACLU put it, “violations would be subject to a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty o f $ 1 million and 20 years in prison.”

That’s because, as Josh Ruebner expertly detailed when the bill was first unveiled, “the bill seeks to amend two laws – the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945,” and “the potential penalties for violating this bill are steep: a minimum $250,000 civil penalty and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years imprisonment, as stipulated in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.”

The bill is designed to extend the current prohibition on participating in boycotts sponsored by foreign governments to cover boycotts from international organizations such as the U.N .For that reason, Ruebner explains, the bill – by design – would outlaw “campaigns by the Palestine solidarity movement to pressure corporations to cut ties to Israel or even with Israeli settlements.”

 

THIS PERNICIOUS BILL highlights many vital yet typically ignored dynamics in Washington. First, journalists love to lament the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, yet the very mention of the word “Israel” causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy. Even when virtually the entire world condemns Israeli aggression, or declares settlements illegal, the U.S. Congress – across party and ideological lines – finds virtually complete harmony in uniting against the world consensus and in defense of the Israeli government.

 


 

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.

 

 

Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

Second, the free speech debate in the U.S. is incredibly selective and warped. Pundits and political officials love to crusade as free speech champions – when doing so involves defending mainstream ideas or attacking marginalized, powerless groups such as minority college students. But when it comes to one of the most systemic, powerful, and dangerous assaults on free speech in the U.S. and the west generally – the growing attempt to literally criminalize speech and activism aimed at the Israeli Government’s occupation – these free speech warriors typically fall silent.

 

Third, AIPAC continues to be one of the most powerful, and pernicious, lobbying forces in the country. In what conceivable sense is it of benefit of Americans to turn them into felons for the crime of engaging in political activism in protest of a foreign nation’s government? And this is hardly the first time they have attempted to do this through their most devoted Congressional loyalists; Cardin, for instance, had previously succeeded in inserting into trade bills provisions that would disfavor anyone who supports a boycott of Israel.

Finally, it is hard to put into words the irony of watching many of the most celebrated and beloved Congressional leaders of the anti-authoritarian Resistance – Gillibrand, Schiff, Swalwell and Lieu – sponsor one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills to appear in Congress in many years. How can one credibly inveigh against “authoritarianism” while sponsoring a bill that dictates to American citizens what political views they are and are not allowed to espouse under threat of criminal prosecution? Whatever labels one might want to apply to the sponsors of this bill, “anti-authoritarianism” should be not be among them.

 

Dsyno's picture

Jesus Hillary Christ, dude. If it's so important, have Tyler post it as an article.

GeezerGeek's picture

In general, I am opposed to foreign entities meddling in American political life.

Except when those danged Russians hacked the election and aborted the campaign of our beloved would-be First Woman President. 

Bastiat's picture

Will they check my transactions to make sure I have purchased products from Israel?  If not, I guess I would be suspected of the crime of boycotting Israel?

Twee Surgeon's picture

AIPAC and all the Bills sponsors and authors should be arrested . https://www.justice.gov/crt/conspiracy-against-rights

Cordeezy's picture

The one thing that big data over looks is that the human mind ignores statistics completely when making decisions.  One minute the herd of humans is thinking one way, then ten years later they move in a different direction. Most things cannot be judged by numbers.  Certain things numbers can give a good idea, but they are never exact.

 

www.escapeamazon.com

 

Fisherman Blue's picture

Wrong , the biggest factor is some really good pussy. I should know because I get it and lose my damn mind because of her.

medium giraffe's picture

"lose my damn mind"  and then your house, probably

SunTzu2U's picture

Another item where I prefer quality over quantity. As Van Halen said, "There's a short supply of the fine, fine stuff"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1GJxVmYv-E

East Indian's picture

I am lucky I had quite a few in my time; outstanding quality, the type that will serve you breakfast in bed; eventually I moved on. You can stand perfection only so much. 

 

Oh, and I had non- quality type also in between, like neutral waffers. 

 

The best type is the one who defends you from your mother-in-law. If you can make a woman talk back to her mother for your sake, you have had it made! The m-i-l will never forgive you for it, though. 

Rick Cerone's picture

Fun with math and graphs? Since most of your articles use these tools, I'm surprised you're mocking most of the work you present, Tyler. Are you looking to sell Zero Hedge? How much do you want for it?

Ignatius's picture

Quantification rationalizes itself simply by being something we identify as measurable.

Frivolous notions like love or compassion can thereby be discarded forthright cause it ain't clear how to profit.

GeezerGeek's picture

Monetizing compassion is actually a big business. Look at all the compassionate suckers who contributed to Haiti's relief via the Klinton Krime Klan.

And consider the hoopla surrounding Valentines Day. We are told to buy candies, and flowers, and lingerie.

Those frivolous notions of yours are milked, too.

Ignatius's picture

You're describing fraud, and I agree that it happens regularly.

What needs to be addressed is justification of policy merely due to its ability to be measured.

NuYawkFrankie's picture

re The Over-Quantification Of Life...

 

Proudlly brought to you by the False Religion of Scientism

Ignatius's picture

Well played.  The connection and progeny to "scientism" is clear.

Sid Davis's picture

One of the problems is that most politicians are lawyers.

A corporate CEO retired and the Board of Directors interviewed candidates to fill the position

As part of the interviews, the VP of Finance and the VP of Engineering were asked what 1 + 1 equals and they both responded, "2". The corporate attorney was asked the same question and his response was, "What do you want it to be?"

Our problems don't relate to math; they relate to having manipulative, con artist sociopaths and psychopaths occupying the seats of power. Math is just a tool, easily misused by those prone to do so.

Squilliam Fancyson's picture

I haven't even read the article yet but I feel immediately corroborated by the headline. "The devil is in the details" is a very old but very wise saying and the devil knows that. That's why the satanists that secretly rule us want to break us down into infinite opposing groups and everything around into its parts (s. Machiavelli - The Prince).

Divinity however, lies in the oneness, the big picture, not in the dots. If you want to understand a painting you must step back in order to grasp it as a whole, but the narrower you observe it the more you get lost in the pixels and start fighting about things that have no real value. It distracts us from the big problem.

After all the details consist out of the whole again (holographic universe) so in essence it is a circle but it can take a lifetime to realize that when you are searching for truth you are walking away from it and when you find it you will see that it has always been there (attention spoiler alert) like it happened to the protagonist of "The Alchemist".

And all this gets really bad when you go to the doctor. He quantifies you to death after you have quantified yourself to illness with your fancy digital wrist band sports performance meter.

Or like Stalin put it: "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic".

csmith's picture

"...all endeavors can be distilled down to statistics..."

Yes...a simple fact of life. It is what will make humans obsolete, and sooner than "we" think.

Mr Perspective's picture

Yes Consumers, when you thought you were nothing but a number the Quants came along and made you nothing but a statistic.

And Elon Musk is worried about some robot AI ruining society.

CRM114's picture

The fundamental premise of over-quantification is correct, but the reasoning is wrong.

 

"This demand for increased productivity then drives the over-quantification of the processes and outcomes of every sector and endeavor."

 

Productivity demand does not drive over-quantification; under-confident, out-of-their-depth managers do. The use of TQM is inappropriate, both in this article and in most cases where it has been applied. I used to have long chats with one of the professors who brought it to the USA from Japan. TQM is only appropriate for multi-stage, clearly defined processes which CAN be easily quantified. The prof used to tear his hair out over all the inappropriate applications of TQM, for which it was then unfairly criticized. Yes, he was bald by the time I met him. The same goes for every other management fad, where Joe Scoggins reckons that, for example, what worked for Jack Welch at GE must work for Scoggins Paper Supplies.

The question we have to ask is why all these fads and search for quantification arise. It is because people who have been over-promoted, either with insufficient judgement, imagination, leadership or confidence, seek quantification as a means to both justify their positions, and attempt to prove that progress is being made, even if it isn't - and especially when they know it isn't.

Take a look at a profession where you almost never get leaders with these problems. I've done military aviation and independent education. I got one metric only in the first; Average-Above average-Exceptional. 85% of guys were Average. The second profession had no metrics at all.

Stats, such as gunnery scores or % of students with top grades, were used for annual reviews, to aid the formation of a judgement, but only very rarely were the dreaded "Targets" set, and then only for one parameter.

This out-of-their-depth bit applies just as much to national leaders as it does to your immediate boss, and applies therefore to entire national economies as well as quarterly sales targets.

The over-quantization problem takes 3 forms.

Things are measured because they can be, whereas important things like student happiness are not because they can't be (or, at least, can't easily be).

Things are measured because it is known they can be improved, whether or not they are relevent.

Things are measured because the data, or process they measure, can be adjusted to make it look like progress is happening (e.g. exams. If the grades don't improve through new teaching methods, make the exams easier. Change the exam specification so the drop in standards can be more easily hidden).

More fundamentally, we need to ask why more people are being over-promoted.

Well firstly, there are too many managers, especially in the public sector. There simply aren't enough good people to fill the ever-increasing number of management jobs. Secondly, the over-promoted now need to suppress the competition from the appropriately promoted, so loyal and submissive individuals get promoted ahead of the competant to support the over-promoted. The Exceptional are driven out altogether.

And the the stats are fixed to make it look like progress is happening.

Whereas in reality, having got rid of the exceptional and under-promoted the competant, productivity is in a death spiral.

runnymede's picture

Excellent post ^^^^^

Laws of Nature--efficiency---will always initially dictate a quantifying approach. One of the great paradoxes of homo sapiens is that the things of most value are  ultimately "unmeasureable".  The most intelligent of our species seem to be able to factor in intangibles into the process of finding that which is of most value; which also is a subjective exercise. 

Like we see in the maddeningly manipulated markets;  after all the data analysis, applied metrics, algo filters, it ultimately comes down to (manufacturing) sentiment; do you believe or not believe---and the markets follow. Until they bump up against the laws of physics, which lay waste to sentiment with sufficient passage of time. Humans are irrational, attempting to be rational; with often horrifyingly amusing results. Esoterica is not for the mass of humanity---they really do need someone or groups of someones to tell them what to think and do. 

As one faithful ZHr always says: "full faith  and credit..."

hedge4Gain's picture

A general falt of all analysis is the final result does not include the unkown or politically unwanted data.

gdpetti's picture

Well, to go esoteric, this 'quantification' is basic to those that choose to focus on the physical as much as possible, and then tunnel vision arrives, and they see that as being quite desirable... thus religion is quantified as well, pushing out any 'spiritual' aspect of life the human herd connects to... the PTB seek to control the herd by distraction, derivison etc... 'divide and conquer'... threaten their jobs, their sense of self etc... they feed off of negative energy, which, like positive energy can and is 'quantified', as doing so, doesn't prevent any quality quantification, it is just a measuring system.

From: https://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,25697.msg305787.html#msg305787

A:  Mathematics is organized such that one can construct what one wishes. 

Q:  Are you saying that Professor Eco was correct when he wrote: "With numbers you can do anything you like... I believe the universe is a great symphony of numerical correspondences..." and that the works of man "reproduce in their structures, unconsciously, the harmonies of the cosmos.  ...If there is a secret, it is much more profound..." and that those who write about such things remain simply on the surface, "discovering with their incredibly tortuous methods a straightforward truth. ...The true initiate knows that these are metaphors, masks, conventional lies or, at most, pathetic surrogates, for an ancestral forgotten force."

A:  Yes.

Dragon HAwk's picture

God doesn't make Junk.

Honest Sam's picture

I was the first on ZH to excoriate Ron Paul and his worshipful acolytes for raising him up to Saint standards for his outspoken career against the status quo. When in fact in 30 years has has done nothing.

He has gotten NO laws passed and is about as useful and effective as a Rosie O'donnell clone. 

 

Sorted.

 

runnymede's picture

You really have no idea how ironic your post is, do you-----

Westcoastliberal's picture

Reminds me of an asshole boss I once had who said "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it".  His mantra was "specificity".  SOME things you just can't measure.