"Get your ticket to that wheel in space
While theres time
The fix is in
Youll be a witness to that game of chance in the sky
You know weve got to win
Here at home well play in the city
Powered by the sun
Perfect weather for a streamlined world
Therell be spandex jackets one for everyone
What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free
On that train all graphite and glitter
Undersea by rail Ninety minutes from new york to paris (more leisure for artists everywhere)
A just machine to make big decisions
Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision
Well be clean when their work is done
Well be eternally free yes and eternally young
What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free"
Enter the MONIAC
I am not an economist and I am certainly not a PhD. For that reason I am fairly certain that those of you feeling slightly overwhelmed, as I have, by the shitloads of econo-bloviation surrounding the great quantitative fleecing debate, will find the following to be of great interest.
First, I would like to present to you a full color depiction of the once famous "MONIAC" (Monetary National Income Analogue Computer) also known a as the Phillips Hydraulic Computer and the Financephalograph.
The MONIAC was created in 1949 by the New Zealand economist Bill Phillips (William Phillips) to model the national economic processes of the United Kingdom, while Phillips was a student at the London School of Economics. It was an analogue computer which used fluidic logic to model the workings of an economy. The MONIAC name may have been suggested by an association of money and ENIAC, an early electronic digital computer.
There was a time, when Keynesian's and others of similar ilk believed that the monetary/fiscal macro-levers of the economy could be calibrated, manipulated and adjusted to realize their political/economic goals, just like a machine.
Apparently, we still live in that time.
Now take a look and the MONIAC and enjoy the music for a few minutes...
From Fortune Magazine, 1982
As you know, I love these kinds of visualizations and models. I am also intrigued by the idea of simulating complex adaptive systems with elements of systems dynamics such as "stocks and flows" and "infinite feed back loops".
But I am not deluded into believing that the complexity of the real world can be manipulated and controlled like a model or simulation.
"The map is not the territory" as the saying goes. But as we all know, there are many "all knowing beings" in positions of great power and influence, who continue to believe that their economic map is the territory. They control the levers of the great printing press that decides everything.
I have my own view of their collective folly. But I would not presume that my conclusions are any more valid than yours.
Instead, I want to share with you a fascinating film segment of a BBC series called "Pandora's Box, a fable from the age of science." The six part series examined the consequences of political and technocratic rationalism.
The relevant segment is titled, "The League of Gentleman". Here is a description with my emphasis added:
"This film focuses on how both the Conservative and Labour governments of the 1960’s attempted to use economists to engineer economic growth to specific targets, as well as programme post-war economic management in the United Kingdom, and attempts to prevent relative economic decline and the perception of the 1960s Wilson governments that devaluation would jeopardize against national self-esteem.
By the mid 1970s, stagflation emerged to confound the Keynesian theories used by policy makers. Meanwhile, a group of economists had managed to convince Margaret Thatcher, Keith Joseph and other British politicians that they had foolproof technical means to make Britain 'great' again. The stagflation of the 1970’s catapulted the then obscure economic theory of Monetarism to the forefront of political thought. By the late 1970’s Milton Friedman had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics and even some Labour politicians were claiming that government attempts to grow the economy by injecting capital was causing more harm than good by driving up inflation.
In 1979 Margaret Thatcher came to power and began to implement these new economic theories to drive down inflation by cutting government spending and raising interest rates, thus tightening the money supply. However, this failed both to end inflation and caused widespread job loss and industrial decline. By the early 1980’s unemployment had risen to 2.5 million, British industrial output had declined by 1/6th, and large scale riots had begun to break out in Britian. The Conservative Government decided to abandon the Monetarist project and lowered interest rates in an attempt to create jobs. In fact, by the mid 1980’s Ms. Thatcher claimed in a television interview that she had “never subscribed” to the theories of Milton Friedman.
The film ends with many of the economists involved in the ill fated attempts to manage the economy arriving at the same conclusion their predecessors had 30 years before: they could only prevent an economic disaster not engineer growth. Other economists point out that other county’s success had more to do with focusing on improving their education systems and industrial bases rather that large scale attempts to engineer the entire nation’s economy. While another worries that the whole Monetarist project might have simply been an attempt to reduced the economic and political power of the working class by raising unemployment and lowering wages, as he puts it "creating a Reserve army of labor." [Source: The Source of all Knowledge, Wikipedia]
"They could only prevent an economic disaster not engineer growth!"
I highly recommend that you watch this film because so much of what you will see and hear will resonate with what we are seeing and hearing on a daily basis...
Start the video (11/30) and select the succeeding segments through (15/30)
I would also like to share with you the following satire of the MONIAC, which was published in Punch...
and finally, the modified Banzai7 version...
Have a nice Funday...
[UPDATE: This German machine was just brought to my attention]