Archive for January, 2009

We can do millions of particles in MD, there’s no reason we can’t do millions of agents in an economy.

The hard part is writing coming up with the equivalent of Newton’s equation for your individual actors: as Michael puts it: “how individuals make decisions in certain circumstances”. I think this might be what some folks call a ‘utility function’.

Maybe that’s not as hard as then coming up with a set of constitutive relations (how does the current system state feed into my utility fuction) that result in something resembling an economy.

I think forget about modern capitalist economies to begin with. Start with a simple idealised economy – the simplest possible system that could conceivable be called an economy. Move on to simple pre-captilalist economies. Easter Island comes to mind.

It’s a fascinating problem, and a thrilling challenge. To achieve a model in which economic behaviour emerges from simple laws would be a grand achievement. But… I don’t see much practical use, or many applications. In particular I don’t see how it would solve our current sustainability predicament.

The real system is too chaotic. Validation would be a nightmare. And capturing innovation and learning in the model seems like a lifes work in itself.


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