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Like Water for Money | Steven Strogatz (Guest Columnist) | The Wild Side - Olivia Judson | New York Times
... Unfortunately, we have poor intuition about such complex systems. And yet we have to come to grips with them if we ever hope to understand, with mathematical precision, such issues as cancer, climate change and, yes, the workings of the real economy. All of these are obviously far more complicated than Phillips's cartoonish caricature, with its mere handful of pipes and valves, but still, the family resemblance is unmistakable.

In an earlier time scientists were content to break problems into smaller and smaller pieces and study the individual parts. Reductionism, as the strategy is known, makes good sense. The hope was always that once you figured out how the components behave, it should be possible to put them back together to make sense of the original ensemble. But only rarely has this dream come to fruition, and in too many cases reductionism became an end in itself. ...

See it in action, click on the above image, or here is another YouTube video:

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 10:54:29 AM EST
hasn't someone produced a software version of this device so we can all have a play?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:34:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The hardware version used to be on public view in the Science Museum.

I have a suspicion it used to leak.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 02:12:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The computer model that once explained the British economy | Business | The Guardian
McRobie was given a grant from Nesta - the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts - and spent a summer on the restoration project. The only difference with the original is that McRobie has dispensed with the cochineal because it would stain the Perspex. "Everything was in the wrong place. It had been here since the 1950s but everything was connected wrong. I had to work out what he was trying to do. Economics is run by people who didn't understand it."

(my bold)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the economists who used one for Harold Wilson's govt wrote an article in the Guardian about it. He said they swore by it, but it began to come up with answers about the value of Sterling that Wilson didn't want to hear. He was campaigning about the value of the "pound in your pocket".

The economist said that it was at that point that the machine fell out of favour and the UK economy had a crisis.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 02:23:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do remember film on the news in my childhood of it working.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 02:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a hydraulic analog computer.  I see no reason why it could not be duplicated as an electronic analog computer or as a digital economic model.  Bart Locanthi of JBL long ago came up with an electronic analog computer that accurately simulated the sort of electro acoustic circuits that speakers form in sealed or vented boxes.

The real problem would probably lie in updating the model to accommodate the international nature of corporations and the fragmented regulatory structure of the current situation.  Such an attempt would likely reveal several interesting problems, including vulnerability to positive feedback resulting in crashes due to unsustainable demands.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not doing anything complicated/

It would only take a day or two to code this in Flash with some cool graphics and a comedy music bed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 05:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How to flush, or reset?
by das monde on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 10:24:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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